Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Stands on the Natchez Trace in the 18th Century PLUS GIVEAWAY



In the 1790s, there was basically one route from Natchez northward to Nashville, TN, and that was the Natchez Trace, also known as The Devil’s Backbone.

Plantation owners, statesmen, loggers, and men of all walks of life travelled down the Mississippi River to sell their products (cotton, corn, tobacco, pelts, lumber, sugar, etc.), but even that route wasn’t without its hazards (but that’s a blog for another day… when book #3 releases next year!). But heading back north was a bit trickier, and certainly more dangerous. The same folks who floated downriver either walked, rode horses, or bumped along in wagons up the trace on their way northward after selling their goods downriver in Natchez or New Orleans.

Rustic Cabin. Landrums Homestead & Village, Laurel MS

And each and every trip, they put their lives at risk. Highwaymen lay in wait on the trace to steal, kill, and dispose of unwary travelers. In light of these hazards, how did travelers protect themselves?

The most obvious protection would be to travel in a large group and with others they could trust, but that wasn’t always feasible. More than one group found themselves in the middle of nowhere among vile highwaymen pretending to be upstanding citizens.

Assuming someone could trust their traveling companions, their next goal was to start their journey bright and early each day in order to reach the next stand (or inn) by nightfall. Stands were located every 15-20 miles, and sometimes closer, but seasoned travelers learned to avoid disreputable inns.

Dining area similar to what many Stands along the trace would have looked like.
Landrums Homestead & Village

For a price, travelers could secure food, lodging, fodder and possibly stabling for their horses. Some stands were clean, with nourishing fare, and private lodging facilities, while others were little more than pigsties and the food provided not much better than that fed to the pigs. Some stands were safe places to lodge overnight, while a traveler risked his life by closing his eyes at others.

Here are a few of the more well known (and infamous) stands along the 400 mile stretch of the Old Trace. The numbers listed give the mile marker on the modern-day Natchez Trace Parkway, starting in Tennessee, just south of Nashville.

407.7 Gordon House and Ferry Site. Built in 1818, the Gordon’s provided lodging for travelers and ran a ferry across the Duck River.

A cabin resembling where travelers might have stayed during their journey.
Landrums Homestead & Village
385.9 Grinder’s Stand. Along with a campground, picnic area, and ranger station, a monument honors Meriwether Lewis who died at Grinder's Stand in 1809. Over 200 years later, it is still debated whether Lewis was murdered or committed suicide.


249.6 Tockshish. Settled in 1770 by John McIntosh. When the Natchez Trace was declared a National Post Road in 1800, this stand became the midway point where post riders from Natchez and Nashville met, exchanged mail bags, and then each retraced their journey.

Dining area at Mount Locust, Mile Marker 15.5, Natchez Trace Parkway.

180.7 French Camp. Established as a stand in 1812, French Camp became a school in 1822 and there is still a school there today. Each Spring French Camp hosts a Frontier Day. Unfortunately, it was this past Saturday and I missed it. So sad! (But I have my calendar marked for 2019!)

104.5 Brashears Stand. Brashears Stand was located just northeast of present day Jackson, MS. In 1806, this stand was advertised as “a house of entertainment in the wilderness”. Brashears Stand is about 70 miles from where I live, and several historical figures who make cameo appearances in my Natchez Trace Novel series (Stephen Minor and Andrew Ellicott) are mentioned as having dealings with Turner Brashears, the man who operated this stand.

93.1 Osburn Stand. Opened in 1811, but didn't enjoy the benefits of foot travel for long as the preferred route shifted away from this site in the early 1820s.

73.5 Dean Stand. Served travelers in the 1820-30s.

Mount Locust, the Old Natchez Trace, restored and open to the public.

15.5 Mount Locust. As the mile marker denotes, Mount Locust is 15.5 miles north of Natchez. Mount Locust was one of the first stands in Mississippi. Restored, there is a ranger station, restrooms, and exhibits. The bulk of my Natchez Trace Novel series takes place a few miles north of Mount Locust.

As you can see, this is just a sampling of the stands that catered to travelers on the Natchez Trace in its heyday. Many stands came about by necessity, not because the homesteaders moved to the area with the intention of becoming hosts & hostesses to travelers. If they homesteaded close to the main road, and they just happened to be a day's travel from the last inn, travelers tended to roll in about dusk and asked to spend the night for their own safety. Sometimes, it was easier to open a stand and provide food and lodging instead of just letting travelers mill about, or worse, try to cram everyone into a one-room cabin that was already bursting at the seams with a houseful of children.

And, why, you ask, am I interested in these stands? Well, Kiera Young, the heroine in The Road to Magnolia Glen, discovers a need not long after she arrives in the colonies and opens a stand at Breeze Hill Plantation for weary travelers. It's a win-win for my heroine, the travelers, and the owners of Breeze Hill. Or is it?

www.pamhillman.com

Giveaway: Share today's post via social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) and then leave a comment letting me know you shared for a chance to win a print copy of The Promise of Breeze Hill (book #1) or The Road to Magnolia Glen (book #2) in the Natchez Trace Novel series. (Limited to US entrants only.)

Want an Additional Chance to Win? Sign up for my newsletter HERE (make sure to let me know in the comments below) and I'll throw your name in the tricorne a second time!

And the winner of her choice of either
The Promise of Breeze Hill or The Road to Magnolia Glen is .... 
Jeanie (aka Mama Cat)!
Congratulations, Jeanie. 

(Photos are from Landrums Homestead and Village in Laurel, MS unless otherwise noted. Pam Hillman, photographer. Landrums is not on the Natchez Trace, but is a wonderful historic village that will take you back to a more relaxing time and place.)

51 comments:

  1. Great post, thanks! I'm heading off to FB to share the post. bcrug(at)twc(dot)com

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    1. Thank you, Connie! You're in the drawing! :)

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  2. I signed up for your newsletter. (jozywails@gmail.com)

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  3. I shared on Pinterest / https://www.pinterest.com/pin/535506211937471947/

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  4. I shared on Twitter / https://twitter.com/AudreyS23511436/status/996732444605808640

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  5. I shared on Facebook / https://www.facebook.com/audrey.stewart.140/posts/1672765682810838

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    1. And this... Methinks I have a new BFF!! lol Appreciate all the share love so much! :)

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  6. Learn so much from the post on this blog. Shared on Facebook. cheetahthecat1986ATgmailDOTcom

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    1. Thank you, Kim! So glad you stopped by.

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  7. I shared on Facebook and am already receiving your email newsletter. princessdebbie1_2000(at)yahoo(dot)com https://www.facebook.com/debbie.clatterbuck.9/posts/10209680751654591

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    1. Thank you, Debbie for sharing and for subscribing. I SO appreciate it. Your name is in the hat!

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  8. I reference Doak's Stand in my upcoming novel, The Marital Scandal due out this June.

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    1. That's so cool, Jonita. In what time period is your novel set?

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  9. Hi Pam! Thanks for an informative post - very nice pictures! I've only been on part of the Trace, but (for me) even all these years later there are sections that have a mysterious air to them :-)
    Nancy C

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    1. Nancy, I agree. I enjoy riding the Natchez Trace Parkway, of course, but there's just something magical about getting off the main road to the Old Trace.

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  10. what a wonderful post. so interesting.
    I shared on twitter.
    I would love to start this series, so book #1 is on my TBR list
    quilting dash lady at comcast dot net

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    1. Thank you for sharing, Lori. Blessings!

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  11. Thank you, I have signed up for your newsletter
    quilting dash lady at comcast dot net

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  12. And... huge thanks for signing up for my newsletter. It's so nice to have that direct contact with fans. Thank you!

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  13. Hey Pam, the piano in the dining picture is just like mine, player and all! It's been passed down from generation to generation. It holds a tune better than any piano I know of. Solid brass and well over 1000 pounds. How cool to see one in a photo.

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    1. Wow, Debbie, what a treasure. I have one of those, too. Hubby insisted that when we moved it in our den that he would never move it again. I'm pretty sure the one I have is over 100 years old. It's a Walworth from Chicago. It holds no special heirloom value to me, but I still hate to get rid of it. But I can hardly play it, and even if I could (or one of the grand-girls end up taking lessons), it needs tuning something fierce. Would probably need new ... everything, and it would cost less to buy a keyboard, more than likely.

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  14. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    1. Oops, I had a typo so I deleted the comment...

      Great post Pam! I loved the pictures too, thanks for sharing.
      I shared on facebook.
      I also signed up for your newsletter (may be a duplicate).
      Blessings, Tina

      KINGsDaughter5683 (at) gmail (dot) com

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    2. Thank you, Mrs. Tina! So glad to have you on this journey with me. Blessings!

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  15. Pam, a fabulous historical post with lots of information and pictures added so much. Your books will be wonderful to read with the history if Stands on Natchez Trace. Thank you for sharing.
    I signed up for your newsletter (thought I was already a subscriber).
    Also, shared post on my Facebook.
    marilynridgway78[at]gmail[dot]com

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    1. Thank you, Marilyn. Sometimes service providers bumps people off of newsletter lists. I know mine is really bad to do that. Hopefully, you'll stay connected now. :)

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  16. This is so fascinating to me! I love learning more about history in the south, and these pictures really help me to visualize what it might have been like for those who traveled along the Trace!

    I shared this post on Facebook and I'm already subscribed to your newsletter! Thank you, Pam!

    mylittlebirdiebooks (at) gmail (dot) com

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    1. Glad you enjoyed the post. And thanks for sharing. You're in the drawing! :)

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  17. I shared on Pinterest... https://www.pinterest.com/pin/60376451239084794/

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  18. Looking forward to reading this series! I lived near Jackson, MS for awhile and have driven the Trace a few times. Got my first and only ticket on the Trace as an impatient 18-yr-old... they’re serious about the 55 mph speed limit! ;-)

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    1. So true, Cyndi. They don't play around with the speed limit on the trace.

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  19. Thanks for this interesting post, Pam! I have your first book in the Natchez Trace series and am looking forward to Kiera Young's story in Book #2, The Road to Magnolia Glen! Thanks for this chance to win! I shared on:

    Twitter: https://twitter.com/aligirl777/status/996864190764802054

    Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/505177283196521192

    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/alison.g.boss/posts/10212117821720421

    And I signed up for your email!!!

    ~Alison Boss

    nj(dot)bossman(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. Thanks, Alison. I appreciate the shares and signing up for the newsletter. Got you in the drawing! :)

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  20. The Promise of Breeze Hill is on my goodreads TBR. I shared on Facebook.

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    1. Awe, thanks!!! Got you in the drawing! Blessings!

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  21. Thank you for the chance to win! I posted on Facebook, G+, and Twitter, and already get your email newsletter.
    jeaniedannheim(at)ymail(dot)com

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    1. Thanks for helping spread the word. Tossing your name in the tricorne! :)

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  22. Thank you for the chance to win. I shared on Facebook and signed up for your newsletter. Dmskrug3 ay hotmail(.)com

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Daniele, and for sharing. You're the best!

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  23. I shared on facebook. Thanks for the chance to win - this sounds like an interesting setting for a story!

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    1. I so enjoyed writing the entire series, Julia. Hope you get a chance to read all three books. Blessings!

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  24. I would love to win the second in the series (I have the first already). I love how much historical fiction brings things to life and teaches me about places and times I otherwise wouldn't know as much about. I shared on twitter: https://twitter.com/Laura30W/status/997090323921887239?s=19

    I also am a subscriber already. P.S. Did your new grandbaby arrive? Have a great weekend!

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    1. Yay!!! So glad you already have The Promise of Breeze Hill. :) And thank you for sharing and for subscribing. I love to stay in touch with readers.

      And, yes, new grand is here, and we're enjoying seeing her thrive. #GodsTinyBlessing!

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  25. I shared on Google+, facebook on my personal and blog pages, and tiwtter! :)

    I am a newsletter subscriber to! :D

    Hugs, Amada (pronounced: a.m.a.th.a)
    amada_chavezATyahooDOTcom

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    1. Amada, so good to hear from you. Love you name, btw. Thank you for sharing and for reading.

      You're in the drawing!

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  26. And the winner of her choice of either The Promise of Breeze Hill or The Road to Magnolia Glen is Jeanie (aka Mama Cat)! Congratulations, Jeanie!!!

    And, thank you all for commenting and sharing and being so supportive of me and all your author friends. YOU are the reason we write, and your excitement and encouragement feeds ours. Blessings, friends!!!

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