Thursday, May 31, 2007

WPA Historic Records Survey: Interesting Old Homes of Itawamba County

Some of the more interesting documents for Itawamba County research are found in the Works Progress Administration Historic Records Survey for Itawamba County . During the 1930s WPA workers went around the county gathering material relating to the history of the county. The report of several hundred pages consisted of old county records, biographies, stories of the Civil War, old family letters and one section entitled “Interesting Homes of Itawamba County.” The excerpt below is about the old Cummings home, known as Sunny Dell, located north of Fulton on a hill overlooking Cummings Creek. The old antebellum home was destroyed by fire around 1920.

“The home of ‘Uncle Mac’ Cummings, one of the most beautiful private dwellings in north Mississippi, was located one mile from Fulton on the road leading north. This twelve room house had eighteen windows, twelve glasses 18x20. Glass was cut by hand. Six rooms were 20x20 feet. There were twelve fireplaces in the house. All lumber used was ripped sawed by hand and dressed by hand. The home was surrounded by oak and hickory trees. The front yard consisted of one-half acre. Native wild flowers and shrubs were on every side of the house.

The floors, windows and panels were made of virgin pine and fitted together with square finished nails that were polished. The doors were made of dressed oak and the grain was plainly visible. The walls were plastered and splits were made from heart of cypress. The brick used for the foundation were molded by hand. All work on the home was done by slaves. The construction covered a period of five years and was completed in 1856. Even with all the work done by his slaves and a very large part of the lumber from his own land, the building cost Mr. Cummings five thousand dollars.”

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