Preserving history

The Deason Home was donated to the Tallahala Chapter National Society Daughters of the American Revolution in early 1991 by Mrs. Frances Anderson Smith, granddaughter of Isaac Anderson, Jr. and Sarah Pool, second owners of the home.  Her main stipulation was that the home be preserved as a historical entity for all the people of Jones County, present and future generations.  Another provision was that the house be open at intervals to school children and the general public.  We regularly schedule school field trips and the home is open on the first and third Saturdays of the month from 1 – 4 P.M.  Open houses are scheduled throughout the year and private tours and ghost hunts are scheduled by appointment.  The home also hosts weddings, family reunions, showers and parties.  Visit our website for more information – http://www.deasonhome.org.

The Smiths had a concern for possible school acquisition of the property through eminent domain and subsequent demolition since the home is surrounded by the campus of South Jones High School.  They decided to save the home for present and future generations by placing it on the National Register of Historic Places and this process was completed in 1984.  Subsequently the home was established as a Mississippi Landmark in the year 2000 by the Tallahala Chapter NSDAR. *

The Tallahala Chapter has been restoring the home for a number of years.  The inside is complete.  The decor is from the Victorian era.  The home features authentic Victorian colors in each room and the mantle in the parlor boasts a faux marble finish.  Floors have been sanded and sealed and the home has been completely rewired and re-plumbed.  Central heat and air were installed and the kitchen and bathrooms were updated.  Most of the furniture has been graciously donated by family members and friends.

Over the last year, great strides have been made in restoring the outside of the home.  Late last summer, the west side of the home was completely restored.  Rotten wood was replaced, a gutter was added to prevent further water damage, the beveled wood blocks were sealed and the original sand finish was replicated.  The front of the home received a facelift in the early fall.  Over the last few weeks, the rotten wood on the eastern side of the home has been replaced and this week that side of the home will be sealed and receive a fresh coat of paint!  As money becomes available, the back of the home will receive the same TLC.  It is so rewarding to see this old home restored to its former glory.

 

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*Information from the book Secrets of Historic Deason Home was used in this post.  The book and other Deason Home publications are available locally at Ward’s Pharmacy (Ellisville, MS), Southern Antique Mall (Laurel, MS),  and at the Deason Home and can also be ordered by sending $12 plus $5 for shipping to Deason Home Restoration, P.O. Box 643, Ellisville, MS 39437.  Other books are individually priced.  Information about these books can be found in the preceding blog and on our website http://www.deasonhome.org.

Background before you see the movie..

Did Newt Knight shoot Amos McLemore?

This Friday, the movie The Free State of Jones will be showing in a theater near you.  There has been a lot of talk about the movie and its connection to the Deason Home.  To start this blog, I wanted to give you the story of Newt Knight’s association with this historic home.  The following is an excerpt from our book, Secrets of Historic Deason Home, published in 2002 by the Tallahala Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution, owners of the home.

“It was on a dark and stormy night in 1863 that Major Amos McLemore stared into the fire, exhausted.  Somewhere in the dark of the night, the War Between the States raged on.  He sighed and sat down in the old wooden rocker.  Laying his sidearms down on the table, he wrenched off his mud-encrusted boots.  It was good to be in a warm, comfortable place tonight.  His soldiers were quartered elsewhere but his friends Amos and Eleanor Deason, had invited him to stay at their home.  He was happy to accept.

McLemore’s eyes were getting heavy and his head was nodding.  Outside, unknown to the tired man, Newt Knight was stealing up on the house with some of his followers.  Newt being the self proclaimed leader of the band of Leaf River Rowdies that Major McLemore may have been sent to apprehend and Newt was determined not to be caught.  Suddenly the door to the room was flung open.  Newt Knight stormed into the room, shot Amos McLemore, and vanished into the night.  The wind moaned as Amos fell and died* in front of the fireplace.  Other accounts state that Newt Knight shot him through a window.

The family was shocked, the town grieved and the soldiers swore to avenge their Major’s death.  Eleanor Deason openly wept as she cleaned the blood of her friend from the floor and fireplace.  Major Amos’ lifeless body was taken home to his old homeplace where he was later mournfully buried and time passed.  Somehow Newt Knight always managed to evade capture and lived a long life. ”

*Correction to the story:  Major McLemore was taken home to Eastabuchie, where he died a few days later.

A few questions and answers:

Q. Was any of the movie filmed at the Deason Home?

A. No.  The movie was filmed in Louisiana.

Q. Will the Deason Home receive money from the movie company or proceeds from the movie?   Does the home receive government funding?

A. No.  The Deason Home has not received any money and does not anticipate receiving any money from the movie, although we would gladly accept if any money was offered!  The Deason Home is privately owned and we do not receive any money from the state or national government.  All money used for the upkeep and restoration of the home comes from tours, ghost hunts, sales of books and other products and donations from Tallahala members and the public.

Q. Will a home representing the Deason Home be in the movie?

A. Not having seen the movie, we do not really know.  However, many names were changed so characters in the movie that were based on real people now have different names.  It is not known whether or not the shooting of McLemore is in the movie at all.

The Deason Home is a wonderful home, full of history and character.  It is open the first and third Saturday of each month from 1 – 4 PM.  Private tours and ghost hunts can also be scheduled.  Contact us at 601-577-1066.  We hope you will find time to visit this summer!

Visit our website – http://www.deasonhome.org.