If your dream has always been to own a plantation home – and maybe run a bed and breakfast there, this is your golden opportunity.
“This is the last antebellum plantation in the Mississippi Delta,” said Peter Patout, the listing agent with Talbot Historic Properties.
The history of Belmont begins with the Worthington brothers - William, Elisha, Isaac and William – who were natives of Kentucky. In the early 19th century they all purchased vast amounts of land along the Mississippi Delta and each established his own plantation and home.
Of all the Worthington houses, only Belmont remains. The land where it stands was sold by the U.S. government to Governor Alexander G. McNutt, the first white man to own it. Samuel Worthington purchased it in 1853 to complement his three existing plantations: Redleaf, Mosswood and Wayside. Two years later, Samuel sold it to his brother, Dr. William W. Worthington. Worthington was apparently more of a planter than a doctor, as evidenced by his 80 slaves and the hundreds of acres which surrounded Belmont. He built his house between 1855 and 1861.
Originally, the grounds extended to the Mississippi River. Just across the road (now the levee) was Wayside, the home of Dr. Worthington's brother, Samuel. That house suffered more directly than did Belmont during the Civil War, yet all of the Lake Washington homes, including Belmont, were spared. Belmont remained in the Worthington family until the late 1920s.
In 1927, the Delta was devastated by a great flood and broken levee. Faced with immense repair costs, the Worthington heirs decided to walk away; the insurance company foreclosed on the plantation by 1928. Belmont was purchased from the insurance company by the Weathers family who immediately hired an architect and set to work restoring the estate. They repaired plaster, installed indoor plumbing and modern electricity, purchased new furniture, and even created closets between the bedrooms by salvaging doors and moldings from Wayside Plantation.
Governor Dennis Murphree bought the house from the Weathers in the 1940s and converted it into a hunting lodge. After the hunting club disbanded, Belmont was converted back into a private residence. Mr. and Mrs. Fernando Cuquet attempted to restore it to its antebellum elegance. It stands a few hundred feet back from the traffic of Highway 1 as a last reminder of the pioneers who claimed the Delta.
Inside, Belmont features some of the finest decorative plaster work in Mississippi. Local lore holds that German plaster artists were stranded in Washington County when the Civil War started; having no means of escape and no other work, they whiled away the war years by carving intricate molding and ceiling medallions into Belmont's plaster. Another version relates that Dr. Worthington met a group of Italian carvers on a boat trip to New Orleans and convinced them to return with him to Belmont. The decorative work in Belmont rivals the finest interiors of Natchez or Columbus.
The large central hall is backed by an elegantly turned stair. Two rooms open on either side of the hallway. To the right, the formal rooms can be divided by huge wooden doors which glide in and out of the walls. On the left is a music room and a library. Upstairs are four bedrooms, separated by a wide hallway that serves as a billiard room.
Ceilings soar to 14 feet on both levels. A two-story ell adds several more bedrooms, kitchen space, and the formal dining room, all opening onto long, high-ceilinged screen porches that look out over endless cotton fields. Altogether, the house encompasses 9,000 square feet, with 3,000 square feet of porch space, ten bedrooms, and twelve fireplaces.
Angela Carll may be reached at email@example.com
About this House
Address: Belmont Plantation, 3498 Mississippi 1 South, Greenville, Washington County, MS
Living area: 9,000 square feet
Bedrooms: Ten; Five ensuite/two with semi-private bath
Extras: Last plantation in the Mississippi Delta, Microwave, Refrigerator, Fireplace
Peter Patout, Realtor Historic Property Specialist 1111 Bourbon Street New Orleans, Louisiana 70116 Cell: (504) 481-4790
Licensed in the State of Louisiana and Mississippi
Talbot Historic Properties
605 Congress Street New Orleans, Louisiana 70117
Office: (504) 414-9730