Who doesn’t love a historic house? The story of the Eads-Mansell Sudduth House which is located in Carthage, Mississippi is quite a fascinating one. Our trip here all started in North Little Rock!
The back story!
A while back, my husband Keith and I traveled to North Little Rock to play tourists. In North Little Rock, we forged a lasting friendship with Scott Sudduth. Scott, of the North Little Rock convention and visitors bureau along with Stephanie Slagle showed us around their fair city.
Recently we learned that Scott and his Aunt Mary Sudduth donated Scott’s father’s boyhood home. It is the oldest home in Leake County, Mississippi. They donated the home to the Dancing Rabbit Genealogical Historical Society (DRGH). The Society will use the house as their home and they will open it for weddings, public events and other venues that will benefit Carthage and the local community.
Since we were heading south, we decided this would be a cool stop on our southern trek.
“There was a city dedication of the house in November of 2018. Towns people attended,” Scott said. “Tents set up for food, entertainers, the Mayor spoke on the importance of tourism and what the Sudduth-Eads Home would mean to the City of Carthage.”
Our Carthage Adventure
February 17th, 2019, Keith and I met up with our friends, Kent and Jane Elliott and their daughter Beth in Collinsville, Illinois. We headed south with our sites set for stopping in Canton, Mississippi. (Read my blog about what we found in this fun town.)
After staying the night in lovely Canton, we headed for Carthage. It is a charming town with a neat square that we circled several times in pursuit of the Eads-Mansell-Sudduth house. Once there, we were greeted by Robert Evans, the President of the DRGH, and Russell Baty, Director of the Main Street Chamber of Leake County.
The house is quite lovely with its big rooms, distinctive porch and ten-foot doors.
Colonel Eads & the house history
Robert provided us with the history of Colonel Eads who was a Colonel in name only. Col Eads built the house that is linked to Scott’s family. “Col. Eads had a law degree,” Robert shared. “He purchased lots in 1852. We actually think the house was built in 1858, but archives show 1880.”
Col. Eads established the Methodist Church in town. According to Russell Baty, the Col. also kept a daily diary but he didn’t say a lot about building the home. “He noted births and the weather and such,” Russell added.
House history has been learned through papers found in the home and from the house structure itself. “The house is built with wood pegs,” Robert said marveling at the construction techniques.
The land originally belonged to the Choctaw Indians. This is where the Treaty of the Dancing Rabbit comes in. The Dancing Rabbit Society was established in 1997,” Robert said. “I had hoped for 50 members and we got over 100 doing family research. Currently we have about 30 members. I’ve been the President for about six years.”
Robert shared that the actual treaty happened when the Choctaw ceded 52 counties in Mississippi. The treaty was signed close to the Leake County line near Macon, Mississippi. “Chief Greenwood LeFlore was the son of an explorer. He knew Andrew Jackson was going to remove the Indians after he was elected President.”
The site of the treaty signing is in a very wooded area. It has a monument that was put up by the Daughters of the American Revolution. Robert said that this area has become a burial ground for some Choctaw members that consider it sacred.
Chief LeFlore was well educated and a land owner. He built a mansion and lived the life of a plantation owner. Named the principal chief, he signed the treaty with the provision that some Choctaw could remain behind. However, Robert said the person signing the books ignored this provision. This resulted in only a handful of names written in the book. So only a few Choctaw were provided that allowance. Many Choctaw felt betrayed by the treaty.
The Eads Home
It wasn’t until after that treaty that the land was transferred to a few owners before being purchased by Col. Eads.
Col. Eads was one of the premier citizens in the area. He is well known in Carthage. Before he passed he told his daughters, “Take care of my cows and chickens,” Robert said.
The Col. is buried in the local cemetery, and after his death, one daughter ended up buying the others out. The property then transferred through a few owners and ended up belonging to the Mansell family. Lilly May Mansell married a Sudduth and that is how the Sudduth family came into the picture.
“Carthage was my father’s boyhood home,” Scott Sudduth shared with me. ” the house was built by Col Eads, through descendants. The Sudduth name took the house from late 1800s to present. My father and siblings were born in the house as well as his mother and her mother and so on…”
Progress on the House
“Miss Mary was born here in the house, she had two bachelor brothers that had moved back to the house. She decided (along with Scott her nephew) to give the house to us,” Robert added.
They have been converting the building back to the 1800 time period removing carpet and opening the fire place. The hand blown glass and the high ceilings and hand hewn beams are some of the high points of the home. “There are no studs, at all, only beams,” said Robert who was in construction. “This house is built with lock and joint construction using a tapered peg.”
The front porch is one of a kind Robert said you will never see another like it anywhere. They hope to have the home open to tour by late 2019 early 2020.
Should you like to make a donation on the progress of the home, donations can be sent to DRGH, P.O. Box 166, Carthage, MS.39051. Questions on the home can be directed by email to email@example.com.
Russell shared that the city itself has some pretty interesting history. “A lot has happened on this street,” he said where the Eads-Mansell-Sudduth house is located.
This was where the first rural school was integrated in 1964.
Carthage offers a wonderful historic square though and the school is open for touring as well.
Dining in Carthage – The Bakery & Cafe
Besides being on the Chamber, we learned that Russell and his wife own the Bakery and Café in downtown Carthage. Since it was past lunchtime and we were hungry. We headed up town for dinner and loved the homey atmosphere.
I had chicken strips and the food was down home and great. I checked out Trip Advisor and one reviewer mentioned that the Bakery and Café had the best onion rings in all of Mississippi!
One last stop – a Railroad Museum!
Jane Elliott has the gift of gab and while we were at the Bakery and Café she struck up a conversation with Dan and Carolyn Gilchrist. She learned that Dan has his very own Railroad Exhibit. Before we knew it we were invited to take a look.
We followed Dan to his beautiful home. A retired farmer turned Presbyterian minister, Dan loves trains. “I grew up in Courtland Alabama and that’s where my fascination with trains started.” he said.
A friend of the family in Courtland would invite Dan and his friend to stay the night. Dan recalled riding the Southern Railway freight train to the home, “Miss Annie would wave her handkerchief to stop the train and we would get off.”
What a wonderful way to get acquainted with trains! Since his love began as a child, Dan has been adding to his collection ever since. He has a man cave filled with trains that are fun to look at and enjoy! If you get to Carthage to see the Eads-Mansell-Sudduth house, you might call Dan at 601-267-8883 and see if he has time to open up his mini museum for you to peruse.
Carthage was a delightful stop with much to see and do. If I have learned nothing else it is that one thing leads to another. History connects across the states and centuries. I hope you enjoy reading my take on it!