French Camp, MS on the Natchez Trace Parkway

July 21, 2011 · 0 comments

in The Natchez Trace Parkway

My wife's birthplaceWelcome to French Camp, MS. Don’t blink or you’ll miss it!

  In 1830, an important Indian Treaty, The Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek was signed by the chiefs of four Indian tribes and representatives of the US Government at what is now known as French Camp, MS. I will have few opportunities to write about anything as close to my heart as this place. My wife was born in French Camp, MS. She was not simply born at French Camp, MS; she was born on the very site of one of the most remarkable events in US history. The Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek was signed at  exactly the same place where she was born. Historical markers  on Green Bronze Legend Placards are posted at strategic points throughout thr area.

French Camp was originally established by Louis Leflore as a trading post. Leflore married a Choctaw princess, and their son Greenwood Leflore became Chief of the Choctaw Nation.  The Carriage of Greenwood Leflore is displayed in a glass encased carriage house between the café and the bed and breakfast. There is a walk-through area containing authentic replicas of early period rural and farm buildings and equipment.

At mile marker 180 The Natchez Trace Parkway exits into the little village of French Camp, MS. You can see The French Camp Baptist Church. Across the driveway from the church, is the place where the old home of my wife’s grandparents was built. In their home, one dramatic January 11th morning my future bride was born. (At the time she was too young to know she would someday marry me.)

Pictures of this historical site are mingled into this article. One picture shows the split-rail fence over which you can see a structure over the top of the old well. The porch of her grandparent’s home was built around that old well. When she was born the house was still located here and her parents were living here with her grandparents. She was delivered by Dr. Thomas, a kindly old country doctor who faithfully served in the village which thrived at that time.

Charlotte tells stories similar to those I’ve heard other children tell, about playing around and under an old house that was elevated off the ground by stone pilings. Even on hot Mississippi Summer days, it is always cool under the house. The elevated structure of the French Camp Baptist Church also provided cool shade for the play of small children. She played with her brothers who preferred to “play cars.” (If you don’t know what “playing cars” means, it would take too long to explain it. Just ask someone older than you.)

At this same location you will find “The Council House Cafe” which serves a delicious fare of light yet hearty meals. Adjacent to the cafe is a gift shop. These businesses are operated by The French Camp Academy. This same area is also home to the historic French Camp Bed and Breakfast. This bed and breakfast is probably located closer to The Natchez Trace Parkway than any other. You can actually park in a parking lot, and walk across a wooden bridge directly into the B&B. I don’t know of any other lodging located this close to The Trace.

French Camp Ben and Breakfast

In 1885 a group of Scotch-Irish Christians established a school at French Camp, MS. Later The Presbyterian Church established the Central Mississippi Institute for Girls, followed by French Camp Academy for boys later that year. After a fire destroyed the girls institute in 1915, the schools were combined to their present configuration. Since 1950 the academy has been an interdenominational boarding school to serve young people and families in crisis for the glory of God. The school also serves as part of the Choctaw County Public School district for local students. There are also international students at the school.

The school also owns and operates a religious broadcast station with call letters, WFCA at FM 107.9 The station has religious programming and features Southern Gospel Music, Bible teaching and news programs. It broadcasts about 100 miles in all directions across North-central Mississippi. Profits from the station are used to support the Academy.

Until next time, keep rolling up the miles and dialing up the smiles

Bill Taylor

 

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