Mount Holly (a.k.a. Dudley Plantation) was a historic Southern plantation in Foote, Mississippi. Built in 1855, it was visited by many prominent guests, including Confederate President Jefferson Davis. It was later acquired by ancestors of famed Civil War novelist Shelby Foote, who wrote a novel about it. It burned down on June 17, 2015.
The land was patented by John C. Miller in 1831. By 1833, he sold it to Henry Johnson and his wife, Elizabeth Julia Flournoy.
In 1854, their widowed daughter, Margaret Johnson Erwin Dudley, acquired 1,699 acres of land known as the Mount Holly Plantation for US$100,000. It came with outbuildings, livestock, and 100 African slaves.
A year later, in 1855, she married Dr Charles Wilkins Dudley, the son of Kentucky surgeon Benjamin Winslow Dudley. Margaret's husband, Charles, commissioned the construction of the mansion as a present for his wife. Made of red bricks, it has two storeys and thirty-two rooms. It was designed in the Italianate architectural style, either by architect Samuel Sloan or Calvert Vaux, after the Dudleys consulted with both architects.
In the 1880s, it was purchased by Hezekiah William Foote, a wealthy planter, Confederate veteran, and member of the Mississippi House of Representatives and Mississippi Senate. It was later inherited by his son, Huger Lee Foote, a planter and member of the Mississippi Senate. His grandson was the author Shelby Foote, whose 1949 novel Tournament is based on his father's loss of the family home.
From 1903 to 1956, the mansion belonged to Mrs Mary Griffin Lee. In 1927, it was used as a relief shelter during the great flood. It was later inherited by Mrs John Cox, Mrs Lee's granddaughter. She turned into a bed and breakfast. It remained a private residence, with an absentee owner.
The plantation mansion burnt down on June 17, 2015.
Upon revisiting Holly Manor, I found it largely unchanged from my last visit. While the immediate surroundings appear tidier, vegetation has thickened along its perimeter. I can't fault whoever maintained it; the walls look like they could collapse at any moment.