History & Biography

Courtesy of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History

The Elms, built circa 1804, originally held two ground floor rooms, two second floor rooms, and a two-room attic. All six rooms were serviced by a central chimney. In 1815, extensive remodeling, including a new two-story wing, added a formal parlor on the first floor and a master bedroom above. This addition enclosed the front galleries into halls.

Colorful histories are not uncommon for Natchez homes, and The Elms is no exception. For a 10-year period between 1825 and 1835, it served as the Presbyterian manse and, for a few years in the early 1840s, as a young ladies’ boarding school. Tutors advertised that the site was “sheltered, retired, with extensive pleasure grounds.” The house has been known as The Elms since 1843. In 1878 Mosely John Posey and Caroline Agee Drake purchased the property, and their descendants have occupied the house since then. Much of the furniture is original to the Carpenter family.

Esther Carpenter, the present owner, is the fifth generation to live and own The Elms. She returned to Natchez in July 2006 to renovate and restore The Elms to its place in Natchez history. Esther is a well-known artist, recognized by Architectural Digest, and her artwork can be viewed in the hand stenciled wallpaper that adorns the master suite. Esther is also a professional chef, voted one of the 20 best women chefs in the country by USA Today, so any meal that Esther creates will be one to write home about.