William Johnson House, The Barber of Natchez and Time With Good Friend Kym

4/10/13 Wednesday at Natchez, MS (Natchez State Park)

AfIMG_8453ter I managed to get some computer work done and John replaced a broken cabinet bracket, we went to Natchez to see the William Johnson House (National Park Service). By the way, none of the NPS parks in Louisiana or Mississippi that we went to charged a fee except for Melrose. The building on the left is for NPS offices. The one on the right is William Johnson’s. His family lived there for 3 generations, so once again we have original furnishings. Johnson built this house in 1840 using bricks from a hotel that was demolished in a tornado that year. He was freed at eleven years old by his white slave owner who was probably his father. He became a very successful businessman (barber- cutting white peoples’ hair), farmer, slaveholder and even wrote a diary for 16 years. Still, he walked a fine line between the rights of a white citizen and strict laws that governed colored peoples’ rights.

IMG_8454 IMG_8455 IMG_8456

Master bedroom, mother-in-law’s room (this was on her land) and the parlor. All of this is on the second floor where his family (10 surviving  children) lived. The sad thing is that his neighbor killed him over a boundary dispute (shot William in the back) and managed to avoid jail because the only witnesses were black. At that time this neighbor made pronouncements that he was part white, and part Indian and the law wouldn’t allow black people to testify in court against white people. Later they discovered he was black, but it was too late at that point.

John knew that a former co-worker, Kym, had moved back to her hometown in Louisiana, so he had texted her about a week ago to see if they could get together. It just so happens that she lives just across the river from Natchez! So today we got together at the Isle of Capri casino boat for a buffet lunch. They serve wonderful food, a different selection each day for $7 (lunch) or $11 (supper). Delicious. Throw in a visit with Kym and we had the best of times!





* Her family has been in the area for generations – her grandmother even owned “Fort Rosalie” mansion/fort before selling it the Historical Society.





She took us to the AMR in Natchez that she works for, showing John their lovely facilities and her old “truck”.

At our campsite we showed off Miss Zanzibar, then we spent a relaxing, warm afternoon visiting with Kym in the sweet breeze of the woods. Eventually she had to leave to meet her boyfriend and we got our crock pot chili supper. A bit warm for a warm day, but so it goes!

We had a burst of rain, so we put 2 of the slides in, knowing that we have lots of rain predicted for the next night and day. We’ve learned the hard way that our slide leak badly in heavy rain unless they are pulled in.

We capped the day with a gentle walk around the campground, then put the 3rd slide in and relaxed for the night. This was another hot (84 degrees), humid day, like yesterday. So hot we slept without the sheets over us and with a fan blowing on us. There is a cold front coming, bringing snow to Denver and Minneapolis. Tomorrow’s prediction for here: Heavy thunderstorms, hail possible, and a slight chance of Tornadoes. We have reservations to be in Legion State Park Thursday. Sure hope the rains are quiet before 10 am or so. It’s a long drive, almost 200 miles, that we’re anticipating.


A parting shot of our Miss Zanzibar in her campsite at Natchez State Park.


About Patricia Elser

I've always loved the loose, flowing, transparent look of watercolors, of Chinese paintings and their calligraphy, but alas, no watercolor classes were available when I was in school, so that interest remained buried until my children were grown. Even then, I was afraid that I couldn't really paint, so upon my sister's advice, I actually started to take classes. I signed up for every class available, determined to learn no matter how afraid I was. I came upon a teacher, Stan Miller, who inspired me, who opened the door to success in watercolor. I love to look at beautiful images. I want to capture them forever. All my life, photography was how I gathered images of the beauty I saw. Thanks to all that photography, I enjoy composing pictures, especially up close. Watercolors allow me to add more of me in their translation of that beauty. My paintings reflect my love for music and dance, with their rhythm and flow. I am fascinated by the play of light, so it appears in my pictures as drama for they are filled with darks and lights. Maybe it's the challenge, maybe it's the beauty, but now, when a work comes together, it fills my soul.
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