Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Old postcard of Twin Oaks in Natchez, Mississippi

The only thing that piques my interest in this staid and stuffy bedroom is the blanket at the foot of the bed. This location is Twin Oaks Plantation in Natchez, Mississippi — a city named after Indigenous peoples who were violently erased from the region and then built up with the back-breaking labor of Black slaves.

Here is the info from the back of the undated postcard, which is also shown below:

  • A Deep South Card
  • Published by Deep South Specialities Inc. of Jackson, Mississippi
  • DS-674
  • Color photo by Dusty Rhodes (probably not the wrestler)
  • Mirro-Krome Card by H.S. Crocker Co. of San Francisco

The caption states: "Built in 1812 on Spanish land grant. Was occupied by Federal troops during the War between the States. Home of Dr. and Mrs. Homer A. Whittington. Twin Oaks is shown by Pilgrimage Garden Club."

The phrasing in that short caption is significant. Within the Confederacy, the U.S. Army were referred to as "federal troops." And, per Wikipedia, the nomenclature War Between the States "was rarely used during the war but became prevalent afterward among proponents of the 'Lost Cause' interpretation of the war." Furthermore, again per the concise and helpful explanations on Wikipedia, "the Lost Cause of the Confederacy ... is an American pseudo-historical, negationist ideology that holds that the cause of the Confederacy during the American Civil War was a just and heroic one. The ideology endorses the supposed virtues of the antebellum South, viewing the war as a struggle primarily to save the Southern way of life, or to defend 'states' rights' such as the right to secede from the Union, in the face of overwhelming 'Northern aggression.'" The Lost Cause ideology served to undergird nearly a century of Jim Crow laws that left Black Americans impoverished and incredibly disadvantaged in nearly every aspect of American life and society. "Nostalgia" for the Lost Cause around the time of World War I led to the erection of many of the Confederate monuments that are thankfully and finally coming down this summer.

Homer Alexander Whittington died in August 1996 at age 90. He had served as a doctor in Natchez for 56 years, according to his obituary in the August 16, 1996, edition of the Clarion-Ledger of Jackson, Mississippi. Further, Dr. Whittington was an Episcopalian and a member of many clubs and lodges.

Twin Oaks Plantation later came to be owned by popular chef Regina Charboneau, who turned it into a bed and breakfast and cooking school. The property is now for sale this summer — the original circa 1830 (not 1812) house and a six-bedroom guest house — for $889,000 (as of May 2). Full details and a set of lovely professional photographs are available at this Realtor link.

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