Museums & Historic Sites

This series explores the life of Dunbar Rowland (1864-1937), first director of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History. He served from 1902 to 1937. This post will be the last of the series.

We close this series with an entry by guest writer William F. Winter, governor of Mississippi 1980-84 and the former president of the MDAH board of trustees, who met Dunbar Rowland.

Dunbar Rowland’s portrait in the Hall of Fame, Senate Gallery, Old Capitol Museum (Museum of Mississippi History Collection)

Dunbar Rowland’s portrait in the Hall of Fame, Senate Gallery, Old Capitol Museum (Museum of Mississippi History Collection)

Among the pleasant memories of my boyhood was a meeting in November 1935 with Dr. Dunbar Rowland, who was then the Director of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History.  I was visiting my father who was a member of the State Senate.

My father was a long-time friend of Dr. Rowland and thought that I should meet him.  His office was located on the first floor of the New Capitol.  The entire department consisted of only three people.

Dr. Rowland greeted my father and me most graciously and spent a generous amount of time discussing his work in the Department of which he had served as Director since its founding some thirty years before.

As we got up to leave, Dr. Rowland took from a shelf behind his desk a rather large book entitled Andrew Jackson’s Campagin Against the British written by Dr. Rowland’s wife, Eron Rowland.

He handed it to me but not before writing on its title page these words:

“To William F. Winter, with the best

wishes of his friend, Dunbar Rowland”.

I was just twelve years old, and to have Dr. Rowland refer to me as “his friend” impressed me very much.

That book has been a prized possession ever since.  The meeting with Dr. Rowland did much to inspire my life-long interest in history.

–William F. Winter

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Windsor Ruins Today

On February 22, 2011, in Museums & Historic Sites, by Amanda
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Windsor Ruins 2004

These images show Windsor as it looks today. The site, which is administered by MDAH, is open to the public.

Windsor Ruins 2004

Directions to Windsor Ruins:

From U.S. Hwy 61 north of Lorman, take the Alcorn State University exit and proceed west on Hwy 552.  Go past the Alcorn entrance and continue west and then north on 552.  There are Windsor Ruins signs along the way.  The entrance to Windsor Ruins is on the right about 3 miles past the Alcorn entrance.  The site is always open.

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Call Number: PI/1987.0020, Item 1 (MDAH Collection)

Call Number: PI/1987.0020, Item 1 (MDAH Collection)

The Ruins of Windsor, near Port Gibson (Claiborne County) are what remain of an extravagant plantation home completed by S.C. Daniel in 1861. The house was five stories tall, with an observatory at the top, and the railings which enclosed the upper gallery still wrap around the Corinthian columns. Windsor burned today in 1890 and unfortunately there are no surviving photographs of the house. These photographs were created in 1910.

Call Number: PI/1987.0020, Item 2 (MDAH Collection)

Call Number: PI/1987.0020, Item 2 (MDAH Collection)

Today, MDAH administers Windsor Ruins and the site is open to the public. 

Directions to Windsor Ruins:

From U.S. Hwy 61 north of Lorman, take the Alcorn State University exit and proceed west on Hwy 552.  Go past the Alcorn entrance and continue west and then north on 552.  There are Windsor Ruins signs along the way.  The entrance to Windsor Ruins is on the right about 3 miles past the Alcorn entrance.  The site is always open. 

For more information, please contact the Historic Properties Division at 601-442-6502 or by email.

Source: Federal Writers’ Project of the Works Progress Administration, Mississippi: A Guide to the Magnolia State, The American Guide Series (New York: The Viking Press, 1938), 329.

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This program is Friday, January 7, 2011 from 10 a.m.-noon in the House of Representatives Chamber at the Old Capitol Museum. It will feature the following speakers:

  • Reenactment of the speech of John Wood, delegate to the Secession Convention from Kosciusko, by Ray McFarland
  • “Into the Abyss: Secession and Confederate Revolution” by George Rable
  • “Observations on the Mississippi Secession Convention” by Timothy Smith

January 7 is the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the Secession Convention, which convened in Jackson (at the Old Capitol, of course) to discuss Mississippi’s exit from the Union in 1861. The Ordinance of Secession document, signed by members of the convention, will be on display in the Chancery Court at the Old Capitol for the program and for the rest of 2011.

For more information, please call 601-576-6920.

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Sesquicentennial website screen shot

Screen shot of the new website (click the image to go to the site).

Check out the new website from the Mississippi Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War Commission! It was recently unveiled and will serve as a clearing house for the various statewide events commemorating the 150 anniversary of the Civil War. Other fun stuff on the website: a timeline of Civil War action, photos, videos, reading lists, visitor information, related collections at various institutions (including MDAH) and more!

The website was developed by the Mississippi State University Libraries Web Services Department.

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