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A Haunted History

Photography by Jennie Guido and courtesy of Josh McCraine

 

Along Highway 61 just south of Vicksburg, Mississippi, sits the third oldest town in the state—Port Gibson. First settled in 1763 along the banks of Little Bayou Pierre, it became an official part of the United States in 1788. Port Gibson was home to significant figures, such as noted author Constance Cary Harrison, and has seen many visitors in its over 200 years as a town.

 

With agriculture and river traffic coming through the young town, it began to prosper. However, the Civil War brought tragedy and disease to beautiful Port Gibson; and although it escaped being burned by Union soldiers, it saw the horrors of war as wounded and dying soldiers were brought into homes to be treated.

 

To celebrate this storied history, the Claiborne County-Port Gibson Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring a Haunted Historical Tour throughout town for visitors and locals alike during September and October—just in time for Halloween. The evening walking tours will take visitors down historic Church Street and into some of the town’s haunted homes. Along the way guests will hear quips of history about Port Gibson; its beautiful historic homes and their original inhabitants; and various spirits that still walk, stalk, or wander the halls of some of these homes.

 

Josh McCraine with the Chamber explained, “Guests will learn about some of the residences and other visitors to the area that rose to notoriety and played a role in Mississippi’s history. We will also include some of the darker tales of murder and ‘things that go bump in the night’.”

 

Along the Saturday evening tour route, visitors will be treated to tours inside a couple of the haunted homes. One of these is Idlewild. “Built in 1833, Idlewild is famous for its twelve-foot interior doors and windows,” McCraine shared. “Following the Battle of Port Gibson, Union soldiers broke into the home and used the dining room as an operating room. The blood stains still exist from those procedures.”

 

McCraine, leader of the nightly tours, suggests arriving at the Chamber office located at 1601 Church Street at 6:45 p.m. in order to secure tickets and prepare for a haunted excursion through town. The tours will begin at 7:00 p.m.

 

For more information or to schedule a tour, contact the Chamber of Commerce in Port Gibson by calling (601) 437-4351 or (601) 618-4405.

 

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