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