Rodney Road, Port Gibson, MS

(601) 576-6952

Status: Former Plantation House; Historical Ruins



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Windsor Mansion was constructed on former plantation lands which encompassed 2,600 acres (1,100 ha) of land around the mansion. It was constructed between 1859 and 1861. Most of the construction was done by the owner’s – Smith Coffee Daniell II – slaves but artisans brought in from the North and Europe to put the glamorous finishing touches on the plantation house.

It was framed by 29 columns and had 3 floors. In total it was 17,000 square feet (1,600 square meters) and cost $175,000 ($5,040,648 in todays dollars) despite being mostly constructed by slave labor. It was the largest Antebellum Greek Revival mansion ever built.

On April 12, 1861 Mr Daniell died, just a few weeks after the mansion was completed.

Coincidentally, the American Civil War started the same day Daniel left the earthly plane. Confederate Forces used the cupola on the roof of the mansion as an observation post and signal station. After the Battle of Port Gibson (May 1, 1863) the victorious Union Forces took over the first 2 storeys of the mansion as an observation post and hospital. The family was allowed to live on the third floor during this time.

In period after the Civil War the family kept themselves flush by leasing out part of their vast land holdings.

On February 17, 1890 a guest dropped cigarette ashes into debris left by carpenters making repairs on the third floor. The mansion was completely destroyed leaving only 4 cast iron stairways and the columns left at the site today.

Ownership of the property had passed to Daniell’s wife – and cousin – Catherine. When Catherine died in 1903 the ruins of the mansion and the vast acreage passed to Priscilla, her daughter. Priscilla married Joesph Magruder and the property stayed in the Magruder family until 1974 when they donated 2.1 acres, including the ruins, to the Mississippi Department of Archives and History.

Currently the ruins are fenced off to prevent anyone from defacing them and to prevent anyone getting hit by falling masonry which, apparently, does happen more often than you’d think. There are plans to do repairs making the ruins safe for people to enter, but no definite date as to when that will happen.


Paranormal Activity

The ghost of a Union soldier killed either at the doorway of the mansion or in the basement (1st floor) is said to haunt the ruins. His apparition has been reported walking the former grounds.

The ghost of Smith Daniel II – the original owner – has also been seen. In one report a visitor approached a man in period clothing assuming him to be a reenactor only to have the man turn, smile, and then fade away to nothing.

Other Activity: phantom sounds of a party going on in the former mansion – perhaps a recording of the night the mansion burned; feelings of being watched; cold spots; mysterious mists

In the nearby family cemetery – containing 45 gravestones including that of Daniel himself – strange lights have been seen that float around the gravestones at night. The cemetery is rumored to be built on an Aboriginal burial mound.