Rodney…Almost The Capitol Of Mississippi….Now….Just Another Ghost Town

By  | October 12, 2017 | Filed under: Interesting Facts, News

Located in Jefferson County, about 32 miles northeast of Natchez, Mississippi, Rodney was once such an important city that it very nearly became the capitol of Mississippi. Today, it is a ghost town with only a handful of area residents.   Long before a settlement was ever formed here, the location was a popular Mississippi River crossing for many Native Americans. It was also an early crossing place for travelers along the El Camino Real, the old Spanish “Royal Road.” Today, the old townsite isn’t on the Mississippi River anymore; but, rather, about two miles inland.

By the 1850’s, Rodney had become the busiest port on the Mississippi River between New Orleans, Louisiana and St. Louis, Missouri. Many of the major steamboats of the era made Rodney one of their chief ports of call. By this time, it had grown to nearly 1,000 area residents and boasted 35 stores, two banks, two newspapers, a large hotel, complete with a ballroom; and several churches and schools. The next decade it grew even faster, quadrupling its size to 4,000 residents by 1860. Its main business streets, Commerce and Magnolia, were lined with businesses including banks, wagon makers, tinsmiths, barbers, doctors, dentists, general mercantile stores, hotels, saloons, and pastry shops. Mississippi Lodge #56 of the Free and Accepted Masons was located in Rodney from the 1850s until the 1920s.

A greater “disaster” was forthcoming for Rodney. A large sand bar had formed in the nearby Mississippi River, causing the grand waterway to alter its course in about 1870. With the river now two miles west of Rodney, the town obviously lost its port. With many of its buildings destroyed by the fire of 1869 and its river commerce gone, many people left the area. Rodney’s population further declined when it was bypassed by the Natchez, Jackson & Columbus Railroad that reached nearby Fayette, Mississippi. With its citizens poor, it was too late for Rodney.

The Rodney Town Cemetery is located on the wooded bluff behind the Presbyterian church. Abandoned and overgrown today, it not only contains the remains of locals, but also the graves of river travelers, and folks from Saint Joseph, Louisiana, across the river from Rodney. Many of the graves our enclosed in rusting ornate wrought-iron fences. Here, can also be found the traces of Confederate Civil War trenches which overlook the old river bed. These defenses once gave a commanding view of the area and the river.

Now Rodney is just another ghost town…with maybe more ‘ghosts’than most.

For more information on Rodney, Mississippi CHECK HERE

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