Walt Grayson braves the summer heat to explore the home that housed soldier Andrew Jackson on his way to the Battle of New Orleans.
It may not be the oldest house in Mississippi, but on a baking summer afternoon, it could qualify for one of the hottest. That’s because the old John Ford Home is still pretty much the way John Ford built it in about 1809. Three story. The bottom bricked dining area is by far the coolest part of the house on summer days. The surprisingly spacious middle living quarters is tolerable, if you didn’t know about air conditioning. But the attic bedroom is just an open oven in 97 degree heat.
But that’s the charm of the John Ford Home. Other than the addition of electricity, it’s just like it was when its pioneer builder lived here. Myra Boone lives just down the road and opens the house on Saturday and Sunday afternoons.
“The beams were hewed with ax. It was the first timber cut out of this part of the Pearl River. All heart pine. And that’s why it’s lasted so long,” said Boone.
The house also lasted this long because it stayed in the same family until the 1960s when the Marion County Historic Society bought it. Matter of fact, buying the Old Ford Home was the reason for the creation of the society; to keep intact this pioneer dwelling. Not only for what it is, but for who’s been here. You might call this the presidential bedroom. Only better put, the pre-presidential bedroom. He wasn’t president yet when he stopped by.
“Andrew Jackson stayed here on his way to fight the battle of New Orleans in 1814. But he had to get John Ford’s consent because he was an ugly talking man and he drinked,” said Boone. “He couldn’t do any of that. And he had to attend prayer meeting.”
But even if none of that had ever happened, the John Ford Home would be a treasure to show us what the other antebellum was like. The pioneer home carved from the wilderness.
“But this is what he cut down in the woods and what he lived in and this is the way it is,” said Boone.
And the way it is, is hot in summer. But the first cool weekend of fall, here’s you a day trip destination: the historic John Ford Home in Sandy Hook.