Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Itawamba County Preservation Notes: Historic Morganton

For years, travelers going to and from Monroe County from Fulton get a glimpse of an old structure on the highway below the New Salem Community, yet most do not know this historic structure once housed the Morganton post office. Morganton post office was created during 1885 and discontinued with the coming of rural delivery out of Smithville in Monroe County during 1905. But the history of the old structure pre-dates the post office by at least ten years.

During 1875, Samuel G. and William Morgan purchased the north half of the northeast quarter of Section 17, Township 11, Range 9 from John Thomas Culpepper Evans, in addition to other adjoining lands. It is not known if the house was already on the site at the time of this deed signing or not, but the property was a part of the Evans family’s vast land holdings in the New Salem area. Parrott Evans had purchased this particular piece of land from the Federal Government at the Pontotoc land sales during 1842.

During the later 1800s Morganton was a bustling community and during 1905 the south half of the section, adjacent to the house property was sold to the firm of Booker, Evans and Morgan. This firm had a sawmill, gristmill and operated a timber company.

Today this historic home has been revived thanks to the efforts of Reggie and Debbie Ann Johnson, the current owners of the property. This husband and wife team have made the revival of the old Morganton structure a labor of love and Reggie is a direct descendant of the original owner of the property, Parrott Evans.

The couple retained many of the 19th century details in the home, including the old wooden walls, high ceilings and original doors with glass doorknobs . In restoring the historical structure, the couple found in one place, where the floor had been patched with a Prince Albert tobacco tin. They left this unique floor patch intact.

Throughout the beautifully appointed house many family heirlooms are displayed. Today, the mostly forgotten old Morganton settlement is being revived, thanks to the noble preservation efforts of the Johnsons. The Itawamba Historical Society commends this couple for their work with the preservation of a part of Itawamba County’s rich history and heritage.

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