While traveling the backroads you come across unexpected finds. This photo in this blog is one of these. We were traveling from Nachez to Memphis following the Mississippi River on highway 61. I had stopped at a county courthouse in Mississippi and asked about grist mills or old covered bridges in the area. A lady told me about a grist mill near the River at Grand Gulf Militiary Park outside of Port Gibson.
We found the park, which also had a neat campground, a gristmill and an old frontier house. On the porch was this old rocking chair. Behind it you could see the log construction of the house.
The story here is not about the rocking chair, but about the frontier house constructed in 1768 after Great Britain acquired the land from France following the French and Indian War. Unfortunately I did not get a photograph of the entire house. The pioneers squared the logs with their broadaxes and carefully dovetailed the corners for a snug fit. (You can see that in this photo). The log timbers above the door are 52 feet in length. While most frontier houses were only one story, this one was a two-story. The upstairs was added for family’s living quarters and the downstairs was used as a stage stop accommodation for travelers.
Originally the kitchen had been a separate building, with an open hallway to the rest of the building. This open hall was called a “dog trot.” This open hall way was later enclosed to the rest of the house. .
This house was moved log by log from its original site to the park in 1974. I thought the old rocking chair on the porch made a very interesting scene. You have seen this photograph before, but I wanted to bring out the detail of construction and a bit about the history of the frontier house.
You never know what is around the next corner…and that relates to photography and life in general.
Let me give you a couple examples. We were traveling along highway 61 from Natchez to Vicksburg, MS following the river the best we could. Our goal was to get to Vicksburg that evening and later in the week, Memphis.
Driving slowly through Port Gibson my wife suddenly said, “Look over there!” I looked to the left and here was this beautiful old courthouse at the end of the street up a small hill. I immediately make a U turn and parked near the old courthouse. The late afternoon sun was shining on part of it…and remainder was in a medium shadow.
I took several shots in color and black and white…and then went inside the courthouse to find out more about its history. The lady at the front desk called out another lady who took me to her office and told me about the history. The court house was constructed in 1845 and is the seat of Claiborne County. It was a city that General Grant said was “Too beautiful to burn.” However, but the court house had been burned and restored several times.
I chatted with the lady for several minutes and then she asked….had I been down that road (and she pointed out the back window) to that Grand Gulf Military Park just a few miles away. I said no…and then she said… ”You should. There is a neat church and an old mill there.” That was all it took and away we went.
The park was a place where General Grant tried to land his troops for the Vicksburg Campaign.
The results of the conversation give me two great photographs which you will see here, the old mill, which I am told was brought in, it is not original, and the photograph of a rocking chair on an old house porch at the park. The photo of the courthouse in on this week’s “Photo of the Week, in both black and white and color. We arrived in Vicksburg a good hour later than anticipated.
The second part of you never know what is around the corner…is… that as a senior in college a photographer friend of mine asked me to fill in for him at the last minute for an assignment that he could not make. He said would tell the lady to look for me in the front of the main college building. I told him I would be sitting on the railing with a camera around my shoulder.
That evening a attractive young coed came around the corner, saw me with my camera, patted me on the shoulder and said, “You must be the man I am looking for.” We were married several months later. That was almost 53 years ago. End of stories. Here are the two photographs.