Windsor Ruins-Clairborne County, Mississippi

Located not far off the banks of the Mississippi are the Windsor Ruins. Designed by architect Dave Shroder for Smith Coffee Daniell, a cotton planter, the home was built between 1859-1861. According to the 1860 census, Daniell enslaved close to 200 men, women, and children in Mississippi and Louisiana to build his wealth. It is known that enslaved labor helped construct the large mansion.

Twenty-nine columns, crowned by iron Corinthian capitals, set the footprint of the home. Four iron staircases flanked the home. One set of staircases still exist and are located at the entrance of the chapel at Alcorn State University which is not far from the ruins.

In 1861, Daniell passed away shortly after the home was completed. During the Civil War, the home was initially used as a lookout until federal troops took the nearby port of Bruinsburg. The Union troops used the home as a hospital and a lookout. After the Civil War, the Daniell family continued to live in the home. It burned in 1890 after a guest dropped cigarette ashes on building materials.

Until the 1990s, the look of the home was only a guess until a drawing made by a Henry Otis Dwight, a Union officer, was discovered in his belongings. It is believed he drew the home when General Ulysses S. Grant and Union troops took over the Windsor home during the Civil War.

March 20, 1936 photo for the Historic American Buildings Survey (Library of Congress)

The land and the ruins stayed in the family until it was given to the state of Mississippi in 1974.

Front view of home on March 20, 1936 for the Historic American Buildings Survey (Library of Congress)
1940 photo by Marion Post Wolcott (Library of Congress)

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