Friday, July 15, 2011

Rosalie Mansion

 This is the Rosalie Mansion. The Rosalie was built on one of Natchez prime real estate overlooking the Mississippi. The views from the veranda are absolutely gorgeous. Can't you just imagine sitting on the veranda sipping mint juleps?
This is the back of the house overlooking the gardens. When you scroll down you'll see pictures I've posted of the lovely flowers that are planted around the property.

The story behind the Rosalie is very interesting. The house actually sits on Fort Rosalie. The French built Fort Rosalie in 1716. Remember the French was settling along the Mississippi River exporting furs and other goods (such as tobacco). Growing tension between the French and the Natchez Indians lead to the Natchez War. The Natchez Indians attacked the French settlers and killed hundreds of men, women, and children. The Natchez Indians took control of the fort until the French and Choctaw forces came in and destroyed the it. Leaving it in ruins.

The French had allied with the Choctaw Indians and captured most of Natchez. They sold them into slavery for transportation to French plantations down in the Caribbean. Then the French rebuilt the fort in the 1730s but lost control of the land after the "Treaty of Paris" in 1763. The land went under British rule and then again under Spanish. Finally we became our own nation and after 1798 it became part of the United States. However, the US abandoned the fort in 1804. Today you can visit Fort Rosalie as it is part of the Natchez National Historical Park.

So, when did the Rosalie mansion come into play? In 1820, Peter Little, migrated from Pennsylvania to Natchez, Mississippi. His purpose for relocating to the area is still a mystery. However, he did build his mansion so I'm assuming it had something do with commerce (obviously he was wealthy). Easy enough to conclude considering that the Mississippi river was a busy highway of water that shipped imports and exports to the Southern region at the time. There are two reasons behind a big move and they usually have something to do with family or work. Since there was no family in the area I'm safe to assume it had something do with work (just my opinion). Many wealthy cotton plantation owners shipped their children to be educated to Pennsylvania. Perhaps he heard of a fortune to be made in the south. It was forty years prior to the Civil War and many cotton/tobacco/sugar plantations were making a lot of money at the time.Things to think about.

Peter was only 17 years old when he found himself in Mississippi. It's amazing when you think of the responsibilities young people had at the time. Can you imagine a 17 year old doing that today? Although, Peter was young I believe he was groomed for business his entire life. His grandfather, Colonel Peter Little, was George Washington's physician. It also states that he was one of the pallbearers at President Washington's funeral. I wonder if he was the physician who bled our poor President to death. Thankfully medicine has come a long way. So, with his grandfather being close friends with the President of the United States you can get an idea where Peter Little came from.

I'm sure he took family money to purchase his property in Mississippi and as well as property across the river over in Louisiana. It is said that Peter would often take the ferry to cross the river back and forth to check on his land. During the years he had befriended the ferryboat owner and his family. Unfortunately the owner and his wife came down with yellow fever and both died. Before the wife passed away she begged that Peter would look after their own only daughter, Eliza. She was 14 years old at the time. He was 25 years old and so he married her. However, it was a platonic relationship at first. He sent her to a boarding school in Baltimore.

When Eliza returned to Natchez as a young woman of great means. She was very well educated, beautiful, and sophisticated. Over the years a closer relationship developed. Although, they never had children of their own. They loved children and help raise Peter's niece (after his sister's death). They were married 45 years. Eliza passed away first from the same horrible yellow fever that took her parents lives.  Peter passed away three years later and the house went up for auction.

In 1857, the new owners, The Wilsons, took possession of the property. They too never had children of their own. However, they took two orphaned sisters in. They became extremely close to one of the girls, Fannie (McMurtry). Fannie married and had six children. They all lived at the Rosalie mansion. Their daughters, Annie and Rebeca remained living at the house even after they sold the house to DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution). They sold the house in 1938 (couldn't afford the property tax) and resided there until Annie passed away in 1958. They had made an arrangement with DAR. She was the last descendant due to the fact that none of the six children had children of their own. Isn't that something that not one child had an offspring? It had been the family for 101 years.

The furniture you see in the pictures are from the family's estate.

This is the dining room. The china pattern is referred to as "Old Paris" because it came from Paris but does not have a stamp from the manufacturer. Considering that there isn't a stamp it makes it impossible to know the maker or the date; so they refer to it as "Old Paris." Many of the plantations in this area have the same china but varies in color/pattern. You are looking at the original set. Amazing when you think how old it is and it's still in excellent shape.

You'll notice a picture of a battleship in the picture above. That is the USS Mississippi. The USS Mississippi served in the Pacific during WWII. She earned 8 battle stars. She survived two kamikaze crashes from the Japanese and helped our grandfathers fight in Okinawa. She was anchored in Tokyo Bay and witnessed the signing of surrender (ending WWII).


  1. I love the DAR was able to get the bell from the ship. The ladies there are so sweet. And I loved the case full of the MS DAR president dolls in their gowns.

  2. Lovely photos of Rosalie. A group of us Mississippi bloggers met in Natchez last year and visited here and had a day of shopping and visiting. We get together about once a year somewhere-would love for you to join us.