- 1840- Haller Nutt married Julia Augusta Williams in Natchez
- 1841-1863- The Nutts had 11 children, all of whom did not survive childhood.*
- 1860- Construction began on Longwood.
- 1861- After the exterior was complete, artisans returned to the North due to the Civil War.
- 1862- Slaves completed the basement (main level) and the Nutt family moved in. After this, construction on the home stopped.
- 1864- Haller Nutt died and his wife, Julia, and their 8 children continued to live in the first floor.
- 1897- Julia Augusta Williams Nutt died at Longwood.
- 1968- In August of ’68, Longwood and 94 acres of land were acquired by Mr. and Mrs. Kelly McAdams of Austin, Texas.
- 1968- In December of ’68, they donated the estate to the McAdams Foundation of Austin, TX.
- 1969- Longwood was designated a National Historic Landmark.
- 1970- Longwood was sold to the Pilgrimage Garden Club of Natchez, MS.
The Nutt Family History
Julia Augusta Williams, daughter of Austin and Caroline Routh Williams, was born at Routhlands in Natchez, Mississippi, on August 11, 1822. Much of her youth was spent at Ashburn, also in Natchez. Williams was eighteen at the time of her marriage to Haller Nutt in 1840. [vi]
Haller and Julia Nutt had eleven children:
Haller Nutt acquired several plantations through inheritance or purchase, including Araby, Evergreen, and Winter Quarters in Louisiana and Cloverdale and Laurel Hill in Mississippi. The cultivation of cotton, sugar cane, and other cash crops on these plantations brought him considerable wealth. Nutt owned nearly 43,000 acres of land and 800 slaves, and he had made a net profit of more than $228,000 from agricultural enterprises in 1860. His fortune prior to the Civil War was estimated at more than three million dollars.
When Haller and Julia Nutt were ready to build Longwood in the late 1850s, they chose Philadelphia architect Samuel Sloan. The couple worked closely with Sloan to create plans for the mansion. Sloan designed a multistory octagonal villa in the Oriental Revival style, with a domed cupola, full basement, and more than thirty rooms. Construction on Longwood began in the spring of 1860, and the exterior was virtually complete at the beginning of the Civil War. However, work on the interior was soon halted as Sloan’s artisans, fearing for their safety, hastily returned to the North. The basement story was completed by slave labor and was ready for occupancy by 1862. Although Julia Nutt later received bids for the completion of the interior of Longwood in the 1890s, the upper floors were never completed.
Haller Nutt suffered large financial losses during the Civil War from the destruction of cotton and real estate and the expropriation of stores and supplies by the Union and Confederate armies. This situation caused severe cash-flow problems that ultimately led to the foreclosure on the mortgages to Nutt family plantations in Louisiana. During the war, Nutt took steps to document the value of assets lost to the Union army in the hope that reparations would someday be paid. After the war, these records were filed with the federal government to substantiate the reparations claim of the Haller Nutt estate.
The Nutt family continued living at Longwood after the death of Haller Nutt from pneumonia on June 15, 1864, but Julia Nutt was left with the responsibility of rearing and educating several minor children. The remaining plantations, Cloverdale and Lochland, were not always productive, thus creating financial difficulties for the Nutt family. Nevertheless, Julia Nutt managed to support her children and provide them with what educational and social opportunities she could afford. However, without the counsel and support of Julia Nutt’s son, Sargeant Prentiss, her task would have been nearly impossible.
Sargeant Prentiss Nutt (later Knut) was educated in Philadelphia and at the University of Virginia. After reading law in Natchez, Knut moved to Washington, D.C., to pursue a legal career. Knut persistently lobbied for the passage of a bill that would partially compensate the Nutt family for losses due to the Union army. The total of payments for reparations actually received by the Nutt family probably never amounted to more than $100,000. [viii]
The last decedents to live at Longwood were the five children of Lilly Nutt and her husband, James William Ward. In time, only an elderly grandson of Haller and Julia Nutt remained in the house. [ix] The five children were Julia Nutt Ward, James Haller Ward, Robert Julian Ward, Isobelle Carolyn Ward, and Merritt Williams Ward. [x] Merritt (Unknown - 14 Mar 1939), James (04 Feb 1888 - 02 Sep 1950), and Robert (29 Nov 1889 - 01 Jun 1962) are buried with their parents at Longwood. [xi]
Reports of Hauntings
[i] "Antebellum Mansions Open Year-Round." Natchez Pilgrimage Tours. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 Sept. 2011. http://www.natchezpilgrimage.com/dailytour.htm.
[ii] "Longwood." National Historic Landmarks Program. National Parks Service, 2008. Web. 4 Sept. 2011. http://tps.cr.nps.gov/nhl/detail.cfm?ResourceId=824&ResourceType=Building.
[iii] The Broken Dream of Longwood. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 Sept. 2011. http://www.newsouthernview.com/pages/nsv_ie_longwood.html.
[iv] Heintzelman, Patricia. "National Register of Historic Places Inventory - Nomination Form." National Register of Historic Places. National Parks Service, 3 May 1975. Web. 4 Sept. 2011. http://pdfhost.focus.nps.gov/docs/NHLS/Text/69000079.pdf.
[v] "Longwood." National Historic Landmarks Program. National Parks Service, 2008. Web. 4 Sept. 2011. http://tps.cr.nps.gov/nhl/detail.cfm?ResourceId=824&ResourceType=Building.
[vi] "PILGRIMAGE HISTORICAL ASSOCIATION COLLECTION: NUTT FAMILY PAPERS 1841-1911." Archives & Library. Mississippi Department of Archives and History, n.d. Web. 4 Sept. 2011. http://mdah.state.ms.us/manuscripts/z1817.html.
[vii] RootsWeb. Ed. David Lawrence. Ancestry.com, 4 Apr. 2003. Web. 4 Sept. 2011. http://wc.rootsweb.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?op=AHN&db=samlyons&id=I3064.
[viii] "PILGRIMAGE HISTORICAL ASSOCIATION COLLECTION: NUTT FAMILY PAPERS 1841-1911." Archives & Library. Mississippi Department of Archives and History, n.d. Web. 4 Sept. 2011. http://mdah.state.ms.us/manuscripts/z1817.html.
[ix] Brown, Alan. Haunted Natchez. Charleston, SC: Haunted America, 2010. 28. Print.
[x] RootsWeb. Ed. David Lawrence. Ancestry.com, 4 Apr. 2003. Web. 4 Sept. 2011. http://wc.rootsweb.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?op=GET&db=samlyons&id=I182.
[xi] Oberscmidt, John. "Nutt Family Cemetery." Adams County, Mississippi Genealogy and History Network. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 Sept. 2011. http://adams.msghn.org/cemnutt.html.
[xii] Taylor, Troy. "Ghosts of Natchez." Haunted Mississippi. N.p., 1998. Web. 4 Sept. 2011. http://www.prairieghosts.com/natchez.html.
[xiii] Brown, Alan. Haunted Natchez. Charleston, SC: Haunted America, 2010. 29-30. Print.
[xiv] "Folk Lore and Ghost Stories of Adams County, MS." Adams County Genealogical and Historical Researc, n.d. Web. 4 Sept. 2011. http://www.natchezbelle.org/adams-ind/folklore.htm#nutt.