Thursday, October 30, 2008
Featherston Place on Christmas Tour
By Lois Swanee Shipp
Next in our series of beautiful homes on the “Christmas In Holly Springs Tour” is Featherston Place on December 6 and 7.
Alexander Calvin McEwen, who came here in 1834 when the newly opened territory had started up with the Chickasaw Cession, built the home. He is credited with giving Holly Springs its name. He shipped the first bill of merchandise that was ever sent to Holly Springs before the town was laid out.
Alexander McEwen was a man of importance as he was altruistic. He was one of the commissioners to mobilize the Indian Territory. He went into business with John C. Walker. Then he was induced to embark in the banking business. When it failed, Mr. McEwen surrendered all he owned to the bank’s creditors. His father-in-law, Colonel Byers of Virginia bought the home from the creditors and deeded it to his daughter, an only child.
Winfield Scott Featherston married the McEwen daughter, Elizabeth in 1858. They lived here and raised a large family until the 1900s, when Oscar Johnson acquired the house.
In 1900, Oscar Johnson inherited the Walter Place and at the same time he bought Featherston Place, Polk Place, Dunvegan and Alicia (three of these are raised cottage type houses.) He incorporated them into guest houses for his overflow of guests that would come on the train from St. Louis for his grand parties at Walter Place.
All the houses were rescued from obscurity as Johnson employed one of the leading architects in the nation, Theodore Link of St. Louis, to put his magic touch on Holly Springs. Theodore Link also put his genius on the St. Louis Zoo, the St. Louis Railway Station, the Mississippi State Capitol, etc.
In 1917, Oscar Johnson died and his widow sold the property to M.A. Greene, who in turn sold it to George Buchanan. Mr. Buchanan was the mayor of Holly Springs for many years. The banquet size dining room downstairs served as a showplace for dignitaries visiting the mayor.
The mayor’s son, Jim Bright Buchanan, was in the Air Corps in 1941. His squadron was flying in Pearl Harbor as the Japanese were finishing their devastation but his plane wasn’t equipped to down the Japanese. A year later he was afloat at sea for a week. The whole town prayed for him. He came home safely. Then he became the mayor of Holly Springs,
The house is now owned by Jorja and Michael Lynn.
Advance tickets for the tour and concerts are $22 until November 29, and $25 from November 30. Advance tickets for groups of 10 or more are $20.
Funds from the tour will support our sponsor, the Marshall County Historical Museum. The museum telephone is 252-3669. Our website is www.mchmuseum.org, and our email is firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re temporarily located on the Square at 111 Van Dorn Avenue, where we have incredible artifacts on display. We’re open six days a week.
News: (662) 252-4261 or email@example.com
Questions, comments, corrections: firstname.lastname@example.org
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