The Story of Windsor:
Along a rural road which winds through valleys of land with kudzu vines and moss covered hardwoods you find many riches of Mississippi's history. Among those most cherished and visited today are the Ruins of Windsor. Windsor was built by Smith Coffee Daniell II, who was born in Mississippi in 1826, the son of an Indian fighter turned farmer and landowner. In 1849, he took Catherine Freeland for his wife and, together, they had three children. Just weeks after completion of the grand home, Mr. Daniell died at the age of 34.
The Construction of Windsor:
In 1859 the couple begin to build their home, Windsor, which was not completed until 1861. Slave labor was used for the basic construction of the home. The bricks used in the columns were made in a kiln across the road from the house. The columns were then covered with mortar and plaster. The fluted columns had iron Corinthian capitals and were joined at the galleries by ornamental balustrade. Note the iron carvings atop the columns and the iron centers. Skilled carpenters were brought from New England for the finished woodwork. The iron stairs, column capitals and balustrades were manufactured in St. Louis and shipped down the Mississippi river to the Port of Bruinsburg, several miles west of Windsor. The total cost of the mansion was $175,000 (app. $3,152,000 today).
The Design of Windsor:
There were 29 forty-five (45) ft tall columns supporting the projecting roof line with it's plain, broad frieze and molded cornice. This provided protection for the galleries which encompassed the house at the second and third levels. Located 10 miles west of Port Gibson, Mississippi the family maintained their own commissary, doctor's office, school and dairy on the bottom floor of the mansion, along with the kitchen and storage areas. The second story floor plan reveals two parlors, library and, unusual to that period, a bedroom with a bathroom and study. Also, located on this floor was the dining room. Eight bedrooms and an additional bathroom were located on the top floor. The front right corner bedroom was the birthplace for S. C. Daniell IV.
The Legacy of Windsor:
Windsor was a host to many cultural events marking the romance of the era. When visiting the ruins you can almost hear the rustle of dresses and petticoats as the ladies danced with the gentlemen seemingly stylish with their silk ascots. During the War Between the States, Windsor was used as an observation post by the Confederates, who sent signals from its cupola across the river to Louisiana. The house served as a Union hospital after the Battle of Port Gibson in May, 1863.
The Fall of the House called
On February 17, 1890, fire broke out in the house after a house guest accidentally dropped a cigarette in debris left by carpenters making repairs to the third floor. All was destroyed except a few pieces of china and 23 of the columns, balustrades and iron stairs.