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14 July 2011
Lochinvar 300 Lochinvar Loop Pontotoc Mississippi
The present owners of Lochinvar are Forrest T. Tutor, M.D. (academic neurologist) and his wife, Janis Burns Tutor, M.D. (plastic surgeon). Dr Forrest Tutor taught neurology in Jackson, Miss. Dr Forrest Tutor grew up about 12 miles from Lochinvar in Randolph. Dr Tutor, while growing up, never had much interest in the War Between the States. But as a youth, while doing the Natchez Pilgrimage with his family, he became enthralled with the history. He had grown up only 12 miles from Lochinvar, but had never had much interest in history. On the pilgrimage, Dr Tutor learned that so many of the Natchez houses survived because of the ladies of the town. It was said, tactfully, that they were ‘unusually kind’ to the Yankee soldiers. After visiting Natchez, Dr Tutor became highly interested in antebellum homes. After doing some research, he learned that Lochinvar is the most notable antebellum home in Mississippi. Dr Tutor found information in the archives in Jackson where he found Robert Gordon’s personal diary and records of his slave and land purchases. At one point, Robert Gordon owned 300,000 acres which had been part of the Chickasaw Cession. With the Treaty of Pontotoc, the Chickasaw ceded 6.4 million acres to the United States government. At the centre of the 6.4 million acres, the federal government set up a land office. Later, the settlement of Pontotoc sprang up around this land office as a huge number of people moved into the area. Robert Gordon and John Bell formed a landholding company during this period of growth. Lochinvar House was built in 1836 by Robert Gordon, from Lochinvar in Scotland, for his wife, Mary Elizabeth Walton of Virginia and himself. In the 19th century, Lochinvar was considered to be on the ‘Houston road.’ Robert Gordon became rich and was able to buy thousands of acres. Lochinvar was only one of five plantations he came to own. His other properties were in Monroe and Chickasaw counties in Mississippi, and in the Mississippi Delta. The Delta plantation was bought for Robert’s son, James. During the War Between the States, Robert and Mary moved to Okolona, Chickasaw County, Mississippi to avoid the raids in the area around Lochinvar. During that time away from home, the Gordons rented out Lochinvar. Page 1 of 8
He was an amazing man. J. Page 2 of 8 . He was forced to leave Lochinvar. rustling the same cows he was forced to leave behind at Lochinvar. vandals stole the iron fence and headstones. Everything was able to fit in a one-horse wagon. a Pontotoc attorney. alongside his daughter. also. The black Republicans. A GPS reading is taken here today. Gordon put together a dairy operation. also. Col. taking all the possessions he had left. Col. James Gordon claimed he whistled as he left Lochinvar. The cemetery has been made an official cemetery of Pontotoc County. Joanna. began selling off large parts of the plantation. Dr Tutor named the cemetery the ‘Gordon Cemetery. blamed the aristocracy for the war. they raised taxes on land so that the large plantations disintegrated. D. Dr Tutor has more respect for Col. the house was rented out or served as a bootlegging joint or dance hall. Lochinvar was owned by Lloyd’s of London. Robert died in 1867 in Okolona. Dr Tutor maintained the place. there was still a fine iron fence and marble headstones at the Gordon family cemetery behind the house in the woods. Robert and Mary Elizabeth moved back to Lochinvar. and his wife Katherine bought Lochinvar. Tutor bought Lochinvar in 1966. Mary died in 1869 and is also buried there. In 1926. To hold on to Lochinvar. Eventually.com after today’s visit. Gordon and his son Robert James Gordon went to Okolona and hired themselves out as farmhands. and he had the sum of $1. During this period of time. a women’s college in Pontotoc. Fontaine. as Dr Tutor relates. Although the Fontaines stayed in the house until their 90s. In 1926. Over a 10 to 15 year period. Today during our tour. Col. he was buried in the Gordon Cemetery behind Lochinvar house. Mrs Fontaine was a dean at the college for a couple of terms. To destroy the aristocracy.’ The Tippah Tigers will put the cemetery online at findacemetery. James Gordon. Only the fence’s base remains—it appears as a brick footing.42 in his pocket. approximately 50 feet by 50 feet square. Robert Gordon really took advantage of blacks. two years after Dr Tutor bought Lochinvar. who were politically in charge. Dr Forrest T. Col. Mr Fontaine was a lawyer for 32 years. and per his request. Only then did maintenance on the house resume. Mr Fontaine died in 1968. Gordon than for his father Robert Gordon. and Mrs Fontaine was a professor of English at Chickasaw College. Col. No one took care of the house from 1891 to 1926.After the war. Gordon was able to hold on until 1891 because he had so much land. Robert Gordon’s son. Catfish Lowery will do some dowsing to locate the positions of the graves. While the Fontaines were living at Lochinvar.
an F4 tornado hit Lochinvar and the cemetery. Near the pine piece. known as ‘big leaf. The leaves of Vinca major. The carpenter/electrician/plumber who restored Lochinvar house after the 2004 tornado made this wooden coffin. daughter Joanna H. The centre stone. Aged Four Years & Nine. d. Mary Elizabeth Walton Gordon (b. between Robert and Mary’s headstones. which is kept in the basement. wife.’ are larger. The vinca may have been planted about the time that the cedars were planted in 1835. It was during their ownership that someone stole the cemetery fence and gravestones.50 per acre.’ ‘ greater. 1869 at Lochinvar). reads: ‘Erected by Robert and Mary E. Gordon who departed this life 27th Dec. The coffin is made of walnut with a pine inlay on the lid at the head of the coffin. 1788 in Scotland. At the right rear corner of the house stood an old.The graves in the Gordon cemetery are: Robert Gordon (b.’ or ‘blue periwinkle. Robert Gordon bought the land from Molly Gunn. the ladies who tended cemeteries planted vinca as a low-maintenance ground-cover to prevent erosion. James Gordon’s land was bought and deeded through the land office in today’s Pontotoc. who was educated at Monroe Mission. The marker is an insignificant marker. Vinca minor. Dr Forrest Tutor found the cemetery covered in vines and found the brick base from the iron fence. A barbed wire Page 3 of 8 . Historically. Virginia . where the historical marker now stands. it was completely intact. Along the back wall of the kitchen was the yard that was used as a cow pasture. toward the centre of the coffin is a cedar cross made of wood from one of the trees destroyed by the 2001 tornado. straight cedar trees within the boundaries of the old iron fence. A large tree missed falling on the headstones by about one foot. Gordon in memory of their beloved child Joanna H. 1835. 1835). The coffin has already been made— only the interior is left to be finished—after Dr Tutor passes away. detached brick kitchen. for $3. At each end of this building were huge fireplaces which held large ‘Dutch oven’ pots which hung from cranes. 1867 in Okolona). Fontaines and Tutors have been the only owners of Lochinvar—quite remarkable. The bricks are slightly larger than modern bricks and were made of local red clay by slaves. In the 1960s. d. Gunn was the grandmother of Governor Cyrus Harris of the Chickasaw Nation. The brick base of the fence measures 50 by 50 feet. as are its blooms.’ ‘ large. It is the smaller-leaved Vinca minor that is planted in cemeteries. known as ‘lesser periwinkle’ or ‘small periwinkle. In 2001. a Chickasaw woman. The Gordons. The tornado split the huge tree into three parts as it was uprooted.’ carpets the cemetery and some of the ground in the woods.’ The huge central monument in the cemetery was beaten to pieces by vandals a while ago. When the Fontaines came in 1926. Holding the coffin together are pegs made of wood from the bodock (bow d’arc) tree in back of the house. Dr Forrest Tutor is to be buried in the cemetery under one of the smaller. The Fontaines took up residence in 1926. This was twice the price paid by others in the area. Gordon (d.
and it was Col. In photographs. On this marker were the names ‘Marshall’ and ‘Alice Gordon. Dr Tutor found a small metal grave marker like the kind of temporary markers used by cemeteries. however. Utley of the 22nd Wisconsin. Union General Colburn of Indiana.fence was attached to each end of this building. a prisoner of war. When Virginia Gordon noticed the Yankees’ approach. had a son and two daughters by ‘Miss Law. Sherman made his destructive march to Atlanta. the owner harvested its pine. Likewise. Sherman knew that Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest would raid the Yankee supply lines near Nashville and Chattanooga. Grierson sent his friend. At one point. He went to Virginia and came back to form a regiment. General Samuel Lippincott Woodward to raid Lochinvar and burn it down. Col. Gordon who transported them through the cold winter rain to General Braxton Bragg’s headquarters in Tullahoma. Tennessee. James Gordon was in the Second Mississippi Cavalry during the War Between the States and was in 22 or 23 battles.’ Before Dr Tutor bought that additional piece of land. Colonel Gordon was pardoned by an influential Yankee from New York City so he could return home to the South. Colonel Gordon was a fine gentleman who treated his prisoners kindly.’ Robert Gordon’s son. Tennessee to Baton Rouge. During the war. Because he was so Page 4 of 8 . ‘We don’t have that many watches. Union General Grant ordered Grierson to go through Mississippi to cut out the Southern rail line at Union Station. Marshall Gordon was the son of James Gordon and Miss Law. Colonel James Gordon. salt was added to the clay. She replied. Miss Law does not look like an Indian at all. Gordon sent the sword home to his wife. No one is sure as to what happened to the cranes and pots. On the piece of property next to Lochinvar. gave Colonel Gordon his sword. One year. He took part in battles in Tennessee. but she should save the kitchen. As a result. she had the sense to show the sword and its accompanying letter to Woodward. Forrest and Earl Van Dorn. Yankee Colonel Benjamin Grierson made his infamous raid through Mississippi from Lagrange.’ the ‘Indian’ woman who worked in Lochinvar house. such as the Battle of Thompson’s Station in middle Tennessee. To keep Forrest occupied. At the time the kitchen’s bricks were made. Louisiana from 17 April to 2 May 1863. Virginia. he served with Generals Nathan B. By that time. Senator Theodore Bilbo visited Lochinvar and saw the brick kitchen. She was far too dark-skinned and had facial features unlike the Indians. A windstorm blew the kitchen down after the structure was greatly weakened by the cows licking the salty bricks over the years. He was amazed at the relatively good condition of such an old kitchen. He did his best to keep them properly fed. Grierson’s success at this meant cutting off Southern supplies to Vicksburg. as noted by Union Colonel William L. the Confederates took 1100 Yankees prisoner. the metal marker could not be found. He told Mrs Fontaine she should sell her watch if she ever had to. After the war.
the Yankees burned Ripley. the Yankees were attacked by Confederates. The house itself is framed with white oak. The tornado tore the roof off and much of the upper floor. The rod’s square nut is visible on the bottom of that floor joist. It was the wrong man they nabbed for killing President Lincoln.impressed by Col. the spiral staircase still stood firm and projected into the sky. It is hard to detect which column is the original. It has been said that John Wilkes Booth hid in an attic in a house owned by some Booths in Guntown. Virginia and that sword saved Lochinvar. Pine logs are at the centre of the columns which were then covered with cement. Hardeman County. giving the impression that all the Yankee troops were headed back to Lagrange. Woodward posted guards at Lochinvar so that no one would harm the place. The road ran from Saulsbury. There is probably no truth in any part of the story. injured troops back to Pontotoc so they could make as much noise as possible. Three of the four large columns supporting the front porch fell and were destroyed. John Wayne played Grierson. across U. Gordon’s character. He sent the slow.) At Pontotoc. After the tornado. Page 5 of 8 . (In the movie Horse Soldiers. Benton County. Grierson’s raid was well-planned and effective. through Hopewell. Tennessee. an F4 tornado struck the house and damaged it to such an extent that Dr Tutor did not believe it could be restored. however. above the middle room of the basement. Along the way. and through Hamilton in Benton County. Mississippi myth involving Colonel Gordon. Mississippi.S. and as a result. many were injured and disabled. This staircase had been installed in the 1830s with a square steel rod running through it and through a floor joist. and the rebels were kept away from the area. as the replacements are so well-made. The Lagrange-to-Ripley Road Pleasant Hill is part of the old Lagrange-to-Ripley road. 72. Supposedly. There is a Guntown. On 24 February 2001. it was not John Wilkes Booth that the federals got in that barn in Virginia. Mississippi. Grierson passed through Pontotoc south of Lochinvar.
His chairs have gained notoriety and have been bought by famous people. it leaked. Some of the other boxwoods are about eight feet tall and have been re-shaped. Many of the English boxwoods were ripped from the ground. Around the back of the house. from the ridge down to a certain point. makes rocking chairs from this wood. in anticipation of Christ’s return. Joanna and Mary Elizabeth Gordon. and each time. This was the second largest bodock in the United States. Mississippi. Dr Tutor had the craftsman. Its lid has a pine panel at the head of the coffin. In preparation for this. the tornado destroyed a shed in the back of the house which housed cars and a Century boat. who led the restoration of the house after the tornado. Greg Harkins in Vaughan. then. Then again. After the tornado ripped off the roof of the house. Traditionally. graves have been sited so that the head of the deceased points to the east. Bodock wood is one of the strongest woods. as the front of the roof had always been. these boxwoods only grow one inch per year. terribly bent. to hammer nails into bodock wood. It is odd. behind the house. In the Gordon cemetery. and the vine now grows over the trunk. there. The coffin has yet to be lined inside. Dr Tutor wishes to be buried in this cemetery. he might choose to be buried inside the fence or under a small cedar tree. outside the old brick base of the iron fence. ‘bodock. Yazoo County. the roof was relatively flat.’ From this name comes the anglicised form. Dr Tutor had the wood cutters set the 10 or 12 foot trunk upright in the same place it once stood. Dr Tutor had the back portion rebuilt as a pitched roof. In addition to damaging the house. slender brick fireplace and compacted dirt floor. Dr Tutor has planted Carolina jasmine around its base. An aluminium boat still rests in the woods. and a cedar cross on the lid just below the pine panel.The tornado twisted and splintered one large cedar in the front yard and knocked over others. It had to be re-roofed three times before the 2001 tornado. Reportedly. The new pitched roof does not leak at all. The French named the tree bois d’ arc which means ‘wood of the bow. which was 18 feet in diameter. The pine and cedar grew on the grounds of Lochinvar and was salvaged after the 2001 tornado. but they have been replanted.’ Usually. The coffin is kept in the basement in the room with the tall. too. make a walnut coffin. One chair was even sent to the White House. Vaughan can be seen on the west side of the highway. the enormous bodock tree. the tornado pushed over two large cedar trees on either side of the graves of Robert. was uprooted and split into three parts. that the heads of the graves in the Gordon Cemetery face north. It is held together with small pegs made of dowels from the destroyed bodock tree. On the back of the house. When travelling south on Interstate 55. just north of Jackson. French fur traders learned of the bodock tree from the American Indians who used the wood to make bows. one must first drill a pilot hole about the same size as the nail. Page 6 of 8 .
’ the modern day Lawrence Lowrey. This is thought to be Uncle Ebenezer with his lantern. Dr Lawrence T. the cost would have been enormous. The craftsman who led the restoration of Lochinvar was a carpenter. resulting in a match to the old moulding. As was typical of the time. before the 2001 tornado. there are ghosts at Lochinvar. this moulding was made of plaster that was formed into its desired shape before being affixed to the wall. this time. In the front parlour. is dowsing at the graves in the Gordon Cemetery. Allegedly.’s nephew. After the general’s death. F. checking the grounds and seeing to it that the gates to Lochinvar were secure. Lawrence ‘Catfish’ Lowrey. As he patrolled the grounds. The moulding was painted and simply stuck to the walls.T.’ The other ghost is Colonel James Gordon’s manservant. Uncle Ebenezer was known to be very faithful to the family and he took his job as a lookout very seriously.T. Catfish has been able to determine the position of the bodies as Page 7 of 8 . Instead. A ghost has been seen sitting in the old wooden chair in the basement in the area near the dirt ‘hillside. Crane/Crane Brothers of Houston. He was to protect the property. This new moulding was then taped to the reconstructed walls of the front parlour. who fought at the battle of Brice’s Crossroads. General Lowrey started Blue Mountain College in 1873. Again. his son. with us today on our tour of Lochinvar. However. Crane Brothers suggested using Styrofoam stock cut to shape using a computer-aided laser. At the retirement of W. Dr Tutor was much impressed with his work and recommends him highly. as the Yankees were expected to raid Lochinvar.T. Mississippi made a template from the existing moulding and used it to replicate the missing pieces of the cornice moulding over the French doors between the parlours. W. After the tornado. Lowrey. became president and remained till his retirement in 1960. woodworker. Shaping and installing plaster moulding would have been wildly expensive. W. Uncle Ebenezer made the rounds.. the cornice moulding had been damaged and fell away from the wall.’ who have reported a light moving through the trees at night. assumed the presidency in 1885. There are people Dr Tutor considers ‘sensible .Lochinvar house has an ornate double parlour. ‘Catfish. checking the property and looking out for Yankees. they followed the template to cut the new moulding from Styrofoam. He was tasked with looking after Virginia and the children while James was away during the war.L. is the great grandson of General Mark Perrin Lowrey of the 32nd Mississippi. plumber and electrician. Crane Brothers replaced the original damaged moulding. By dowsing. Had the mouldings been replaced with plaster mouldings. Uncle Ebenezer. the rest of the parlour was a wreck. he carried a lantern. The new moulding is in the only part of the double parlour that was left after the 2001 tornado. all in one. in 1925.
is buried at Blue Mountain. then to St Clair. Mississippi. as was done here today. he placed fluorescent-coloured flags at the corners of the graves. dowsing truly works—it may pick up the iron left in the corpses. rather than bent steel rods. After finishing.well as their sex. Sr. Tippah County. Page 8 of 8 .html). the head end of the grave can be found by dowsing because of the deceased’s hair. Dowsing has been said to work through electromagnetism. where he died. Mississippi. Catfish says that a Mr Emery Morgan of Aberdeen. Elbert and Franklin counties in Georgia.ca/rileyvw. Then he moved to Sevier County. he moved to Camden District and enlisted as a private in the 2nd Rlegiment of the South Carolina Militia under Captain Barnett. Marshall County. Virginia and died in 1854 in Blue Mountain. He was born in 1760 in Amherst County. Tennessee. Riley fought in battles at Thompson’s Fort. and is sometimes done by using a small forked tree branch. Eventually he settled at Blue Mountain. a Revolutionary war soldier. (starbacks. His grave was first marked in 1907 with a memorial marker by the Major Matthew McConnell Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution of Holly Springs. He is buried in the Macedonia Church cemetery at Blue Mountain. He is able to determine which way the head is facing. Catfish says that John Riley.. He later lived in Wilkes. Somehow. Alabama and Franklin County. Alabama. In South Carolina. Orangeburg Fort and was wounded at Eutaw Springs in 1781. Mississippi can dowse and determine the sex of the deceased and can tell if the body’s legs have been amputated! Supposedly.