Abandoned house in Mississippi

John Hall Kimbrough House, Ethel Mississippi
Date added: September 23, 2022 Categories: Mississippi House
East elevation, view to west (1997)

Originally built circa 1860 with two, one-room deep pens connected with the open dogtrot passage and having both front and rear galleries. The house achieved its present form circa 1870 as the front and rear galleries were enclosed and an ell was placed on the eastern rear of the building attaching the historic kitchen to the main house.

John Hall Kimbrough was born on July 3, 1829, in Greene County, Georgia, and is believed to have been the seventh child son of John and Ester Winslet Kimbrough. John Hall Kimbrough moved to Attala County, Mississippi in the fall of 1849 and is recorded as having purchased 280 acres of land on section 10, T 15, R 8E. It is unknown when he purchased and built the dogtrot house but it is believed to have been around the time of his marriage to Marie Josephine Woodard on October 1, 1855. Mr. Kimbrough built his home and lived in it throughout his life passing the house and its property from generation to generation.

Building Description

The John Hall Kimbrough House is located approximately five miles north and slightly west of Ethel, Mississippi, and just off the Natchez Trace in the Liberty community in rural Attala County. The house is an excellent example of the traditional vernacular house form called a "dogtrot". Situated on a gentle rise off the Old Rockport Road, the John Hall Kimbrough House faces south onto a dirt road and is a one-and-one-half story, side-gabled, dogtrot house of wood frame construction with a rear ell. The house rests on stone piers with wood timbers and is constructed with sawn-cut bevel siding. The original wood shingles have been covered with corrugated metal. The house is believed to have been built in two phases circa 1860, and circa 1870. The original dogtrot was one room deep with rear and front galleries and a detached kitchen. However, in about 1870 the galleries were enclosed to create four cabinet rooms and a rear ell was added incorporating the northeast cabinet room into the original kitchen. Also the ceiling was lowered in the east room to make a half-story room in the attic. Stone chimneys were attached to either end of the house; however, both deteriorated and only the east chimney has been replaced with brick in circa 1940.

The south facade is three-bays wide with the outer bays featuring paired, nine-over-six double-hung sash windows and the open dogtrot passage in the central bay. The doors and windows are trimmed with wooden surrounds. An undercut gallery supported by box columns originally spanned the facade but was enclosed to form two cabinet rooms circa 1870. Windows throughout the main house and ell are nine-over-six double-hung sash, while those in the kitchen are six-over-six double-hung sash.

The original 1860 rooms have retained their flushboard interior walls with wainscoting that were covered with lath and plaster. The cabinet rooms and rear ell feature beaded board walls indicating their later date. The ceilings throughout the house are board-and-batten along with a section of the wall of the east room near the staircase. Doors and windows throughout the house feature plain-eared surrounds, and various forms of vernacular panel doors with their original hardware. The mantels are plain with mantel shelves and limited moldings. The upper half story is accessed by an interior staircase in the southeast room from both the southeast and dining room ell that connects the kitchen.

The John Hall Kimbrough House retains an exceptional degree of integrity and demonstrates the craftsmanship of the vernacular dogtrot form as well as the aspirations of an early frontier family. This is demonstrated by the builder's conscious attempt to refine the home with wainscoting, plaster walls, decorative doors, and hardware.