Place

Brashears Stand and Old Trace, Milepost 104.5

overgrown trail covered in fallen leaves. Large trees and saplings border the trail area.
Old Trace Section at Brashears Stand, Milepost 104.5

Quick Facts

Historical/Interpretive Information/Exhibits, Parking - Auto, Trailhead

Brashears Stand is named after Turner Brashears, who moved to the area in the late 1700s. He became a trader with the Choctaw and learned their language.

In 1806 Turner Brashears placed an advertisement in the Natchez newspaper about his stand labeling it “A house of Entertainment on the road leading from Natchez to Nashville.” Travelers on the Natchez Trace generally seemed to be pleased with their treatment and accommodations at Brashears Stand. In 1807 Reverend Jacob Young, a Methodist preacher, wrote “Near the line that divided the Choctaw Nation from the Mississippi Territory stood a fine public house kept by a man by the name of Brashears...He treated us very well but knew how to make a high bill.” In addition to earning money from his stand operation, Brashears prospered by selling land and enslaved people.

Why were the stands along the Natchez Trace?
The need for stands appeared when the US government wanted to improve the Natchez Trace into a post road to deliver mail from Nashville, TN to Natchez, MS. In 1800 most of the Natchez Trace ran through Choctaw and Chickasaw lands. A limited number of homesteads offered provisions on Chickasaw land.

As trade and travel increased down the Mississippi River so did stands along the Natchez Trace. Many of these stands were owned by frontiersmen and their American Indian wives. While the United States did not recognize women’s rights to own land many American Indian nations-including the Chickasaw and Choctaw-did. Tribes preferred to manage their own businesses on tribal land. During this time stands generally bore the last name of the owners: Brashears Stand, for example.

What were the stands like?
The stands along the Natchez Trace varied widely in size and services offered. Many stands offered very basic food along with meager accommodations. Advertisements by stand owners in Natchez newspapers focused on the travelers’ diet along the Natchez Trace. The highlights included ground coffee, sugar, biscuits, bacon, and whiskey. Corn was a staple served to Natchez Trace travelers. It usually took the form of hominy, a dish prepared by soaking the corn in lye. Lucky travelers would have the option to sleep on a crude bed, but a cleared spot on the floor was what they expected. Due to cramped and dirty conditions inside the stands, many travelers chose to sleep outside on the porch or yard under the stars.

Slavery along the Natchez Trace
Each decade from the 1820s through the Civil War, roughly 200,000 enslaved people were forcibly moved from the upper south to Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. Many of these roughly 1 million enslaved people traveled the Natchez Trace on foot. Many stands along the Natchez Trace were home to enslaved people; they worked for the profit of stand owners and served travelers. Mount Locust, Colbert Ferry, the Gordon House, and numerous other stands relied on the labor of enslaved people to prosper. Some plantation owners, including Turner Brashears of Brashears Stand, became wealthy as traders of enslaved people.

Unfortunately there are no remnants of Brashears Stand visible at the site.

Brashears Stand is also a trailhead for the Chisha Foka Multi-Use Trail

There is a boardwalk here that leads to the The Bill Waller Craft Center, Home of the Craftmen's Guild Of Mississippi.

See Stands along the Old Natchez Trace for additional iformation.