Survey of Historic Sites and Buildings
In 1698, a French mission was established by Fathers Davion and Montigny at this bluff, on the bank of the Mississippi River. The site is of considerable historic interest in relation to the changing fortunes of the European powers in the lower Mississippi Valley in the 18th century, and in the later growth and development of the United States. Davion's Bluff became known as Loftus Heights following the ambush there in 1764 of an English force under Maj. Arthur Loftus.
In 1799, the United States constructed Fort Adams on the heights after the Spanish withdrew from the Natchez district. This fort helped to mark and defend the boundary between Spanish and American lands east of the Mississippi River. Aaron Burr sought to enlist the support of Gen. James Wilkinson, the fort's first commander, in his scheme to found an empire in the old Southwest. No remains are extant of the early mission and few of the fort. The town of Fort Adams, a small farming center, is now on the site of the mission. The site's historic environment has been changed by the altered course of the Mississippi River, which now lies about 1 mile away.
Fort Rosalie was established in 1716 at present Natchez by the French, 3 years after a trading post was opened, for protection against the Indians. The wooden structuresofficers' quarters, guardhouse, barracks, and powder magazine surrounded by a palisadesoon fell into ruin, and plans for rebuilding a permanent brick structure came to naught because in 1729 the Natchez tribe massacred most of the inhabitants. The following year, the French built another provisional post at the site.
When the British took over at the end of the French and Indian War and found the post in ruins, they rebuilt it and renamed it Fort Panmure. Seized by an American force during the War for Independence, the post was recaptured by the British, occupied by the Spanish during the period 1783-98, and then passed again into American hands. Finally, it was abandoned after Fort Adams was constructed, in 1799, nearer the crucial United States-Spanish boundary.
Peter Little built the present Rosalie Mansion in 1820 on part of the fort tract, and in 1930 the mansion was acquired by the Mississippi State Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution.
This house, known as the Old Spanish Fort, is probably the oldest in Mississippi. Yet it has changed little with the passage of time. It was built about 1718 by Joseph Simon de la Pointe on land given to his aunt, the Duchess of Chaumont, by Louis XIV. Fortified by its French occupants for defense against the Indians and Spanish, it was sturdily built of hewn timbers, shell lime, and shells. The Spanish, who took over the area in 1783, utilized it both as a fort and a chateau.
Last Updated: 22-Mar-2005