Annandale Plantation

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Annandale Plantation
Annandale Plantation Mansion.jpg
Front facade of the main house. Two human figures under the far left arch of the front porch give an indication of scale.
LocationMannsdale, Madison, Mississippi
Coordinates32°30′56″N 90°11′08″W / 32.51545°N 90.18557°W / 32.51545; -90.18557Coordinates: 32°30′56″N 90°11′08″W / 32.51545°N 90.18557°W / 32.51545; -90.18557
Architectural style(s)Italianate

Annandale Plantation was a historic cotton plantation and Italianate-style plantation house in what is now the Mannsdale neighborhood of Madison, Mississippi. The house was designed and built for Margaret Louisa Thompson Johnstone, the wealthy widow of John T. Johnstone. Completed during the late 1850s, it was destroyed in a fire during the mid-1920s. A replacement, part of a modern residential development, was later built at the site during the mid-20th century.[1][2][3]

Before the new mansion was built, Mrs. Johnstone commissioned what is known as the Chapel of the Cross, in memory of her late husband. This Gothic Revival-style structure was completed in 1852 on the plantation property. Johnstone deeded it and 10 acres to the Episcopal Diocese. The chapel was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1972.[2]


John Taylor Johnstone, born on April 28, 1801, migrated with his family to Mississippi from Hillsborough, North Carolina about 1820. He eventually had total land holdings of 2,600 acres (1,100 ha), divided among a number of plantations, and engaged in farming. Through this he accumulated a fortune from the cotton market.

The Johnstones had two daughters, Frances Ann and Helen Scrymgeour Johnstone, and two sons, Samuel and Noah Thompson Johnstone. Both sons died in 1840, the same year that the family moved to Mannsdale.[1] Johnstone used part of his fortune to build Ingleside, a family plantation house in the Mannsdale area, for Frances and her husband, as she was his first daughter to marry.[4]

After his death, his widow Margaret Johnstone built a chapel and another plantation house, Annandale, on the large plantation property. She donated the chapel and some property to the Episcopal church in her husband's memory.[4]

The first Johnstone home on the Annandale plantation was a large log house. Tradition maintains that Johnstone was descended from the Johnstone family who once held the title Earl of Annandale and Hartfell in the Peerage of Scotland and that he named his plantation in their honor.[1][5] Frances Johnstone married William J. Britton in 1844. Her father had Ingleside built for the couple as a gift; it was completed in 1846. The Italianate house, with a 180-foot (55 m) wide front facade, contained eight bedrooms, dressing rooms, a parlor, library, dining room, breakfast room, and an office.[1]

A side and rear view, taken during the 1910s.

John T. Johnstone died on April 23, 1848, leaving Margaret a widow.[1] Prior to building a new house at Annandale, Margaret Johnstone had the masonry Gothic Revival-style Chapel of the Cross, completed in 1852, built in memory of her late husband. Located on the plantation property, it was a quarter of a mile north of the future site of the Annandale mansion. After completion, she transferred ownership of the church and surrounding 10 acres (4.0 ha) to the newly created Episcopal Diocese of Mississippi. The Chapel was assessed under the Historic American Buildings Survey in the twentieth century and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1972.[4]

A few years later, Mrs. Johnstone hired the architect Jacob Lamour from New York City to design a new mansion for her and her unmarried daughter, Helen. He adapted the design from a plan in Minard Lafever's Architectural Instructor, published in 1856. Construction of the grand three-story, 40-room mansion in the Italianate mode began in mid-1857 and was completed in 1859. It featured one-story arched arcades that encircled the entire structure and spacious interior hallways, providing abundant shade and ventilation.[1][6]

Helen Johnstone was engaged to be married in 1857 to Henry Grey Vick, descended from the founder of Vicksburg. Their wedding was set for May 21, 1859 but Vick was killed in a duel in Mobile, Alabama on May 17, 1859. Helen later married the Rev. George Carroll Harris, an Episcopal priest, in 1862.

During the American Civil War, her mother Margaret Johnstone cared for sick and wounded Confederate soldiers and supplied money and material to the military.[1][5] Margaret Johnstone died at Annandale on March 16, 1880. The plantation was sold after her death.

After many years of George and Helen Johnstone Harris' moving around while he served as an Episcopal priest, the couple built a grand house for their retirement, Mont Helena, in Rolling Fork. Situated atop an ancient platform mound, the two-and-a-half story mansion was built on land left to Helen by her family.[1]

The Britton home, Ingleside, burned down in 1906, and Frances Johnstone Britton died on March 24, 1907. Her sister Helen Johnstone Harris died on November 19, 1917. The Annandale mansion, then unoccupied, was destroyed in a fire on September 9, 1924.[1][5] A Classical Revival-style replacement is at the site of the former mansion.[1]

The former 560-acre (230 ha) plantation is now divided between two communities, Annandale Estates on the west side of Mannsdale Road and Reunion on the east.[5][7] As golfing communities each has its own golf club, also on the former plantation lands, known as the Annandale Golf Club and the Reunion Golf and Country Club.[3][8]


Annandale Plantation has two ghost stories associated with it that have been published in at least two books.[9][10] One, "The Ghosts of Annandale", in Jeffrey Introduces 13 More Southern Ghosts by Kathryn Tucker Windham details the supposed hauntings. One ghost is claimed in the story to be that of Annie Devlin, a former governess for Helen who died at the Annandale mansion in June 1860 and was purported to haunt its halls until the night it burned in 1924. The other is reportedly that of Helen Johnstone. The story claims that the ghost of Helen now weeps at the grave of Henry Vick, her former fiancé, in the churchyard of the Chapel of the Cross.[5][10]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Lane, Mills (1989). Architecture of the Old South: Mississippi and Alabama. Savannah, Georgia: The Beehive Foundation. pp. 178–179. ISBN 0-88322-038-5.
  2. ^ a b "Chapel of the Cross (Madison County, Miss.)". Mississippi Department of Archives and History. Archived from the original on February 25, 2012. Retrieved August 5, 2012.
  3. ^ a b "History". Annandale Golf Club. Retrieved August 5, 2012.
  4. ^ a b c "Chapel of the Cross". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. Retrieved August 5, 2012.
  5. ^ a b c d e "History". Annandale Estates. Archived from the original on July 30, 2013. Retrieved August 5, 2012.
  6. ^ Miller, Mary Carol (2010). Lost Mansions of Mississippi. Oxford, Mississippi: University Press of Mississippi. p. 35. ISBN 1-60473-786-7.
  7. ^ "History". Reunion. Archived from the original on January 6, 2012. Retrieved August 5, 2012.
  8. ^ "About". Reunion Golf and Country Club. Retrieved August 5, 2012.
  9. ^ Norman, Michael; Beth Scott (1995). Historic Haunted America. New York: Macmillan. pp. 184–187. ISBN 978-0-7653-1970-8.
  10. ^ a b Windham, Kathryn Tucker (1971). Jeffrey Introduces 13 More Southern ghosts. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press. pp. 44–57. ISBN 978-0-8173-0381-5.