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Episode 96 Windsor Ruins

The ruins of Windsor are among the most photographed historic sites in Mississippi. Twenty three towering columns that cast long shadows on the history of the once grand mansion and places like it across the American south.

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The winding Mississippi road leading to Windsor Ruins is a lot like the ruins of the antebellum mansion…lonely, remote and eerie. Each year, thousands of history and architecture enthusiasts and many a curious soul travel down Rodney Road in Clairborne County. They follow signs that lead them to a turn off on a gravel road and this is the moment they see what’s been called the Stonehenge of Mississippi.

Twenty three columns tower above the outline of the remains of a Greek Revival mansion that was constructed for Smith Coffee Daniell, II and his family between 1859 to 1861. Windsor survived the Civil War but would be destroyed by fire in 1890.

The 17,000 square foot plantation home was the largest home in the American south when construction ended in 1861.

Winsor Ruins/Natchez Trace Loop

The original architectural drawings and all plans and photos of the home were destroyed in the 1890 fire which left us with the mystery of what Windsor looked like. Over 160 years after Windsor was completed, there are still questions surrounding the home.

Hear all about Windsor and why thousands are drawn to the ruins each year in the new episode of Southern Mysteries.

Episode Photos and Video

Catherine Freeland and Smith Coffee Daniell II
Windsor Plantation Architectural 3D Render by Seth Parker
Lt. Dwight’s 1863 sketch of Windsor Image: MSDAH
Windsor floor plan, as based on memory of Smith Coffee Daniel IV. Image: 1974 Clarion Ledger-Jackson Daily News Article
Reconstructive oil painting of Windsor, done in consultation with Smith Coffee Daniel IV Artist: Mary Ritchey. Image: MSDAH, 1971
The Daniell family photo published in The Southern Reveille. The family is sitting on the steps of “Retreat,” the home they moved into after Windsor was destroyed. Pictured front row: Dr Williams, Smith Coffee Daniell, IV, Catherine Daniell Williams and Aunt Lizzie. Pictured back row: Priscilla Daniell Magruder, Thomas Freeland Daniell and daughter Katherine Crane Daniell.

Episode Sources

Windsor Ruins National Register of HIstoric Places Nomination. 1971, updated 1992

“Burning of the Daniell Residence.” The Southern Reveille. February 21, 1890

The Ruins of Windsor. WLBT. April 30, 2011

Cotton. Mississippi Encyclopedia. July 10, 2017.

The Creation Of The Cotton Kingdom. African American History and Culture.

United States Census, 1860. Claiborne County, Mississippi. Population Schedules

Windsor Ruins, Mississippi – A Silent Sentinel to the Magnificent South. Legends of America. November 2019. 

The Windsor Ruins of Mississippi. Parker Studios. June 11, 2019.

Episode Music

Sense of Loss by Purple Planet Music. Licensed under Creative Commons 

Fresh Fallen Snow by Chris Haugen and I Need To Start Writing Things Down and I Am A Man Who Will Fight for Your Honor by Chris Zabriske. Licensed under Creative Commons 

Autumn Sunset, Relaxing Piano Music and March of the Minds by Kevin MacLeod. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license. Source:

Devouring the Whole by Ross Gentry. Special thanks to Headway Recordings, in Asheville, North Carolina for permission for use

Theme Song “Dark & Troubled” by Pantherburn. Special thanks to Phillip St Ours for permission for use.