A History of Linden Plantation and Gardens

Linden was established in 1827 by John Wesley Vick, the son of the Rev. Newitt Vick, who founded Vicksburg.  He married Ann Marie Brabston who was living with her parents, near Washington, Mississippi. The Vicks had secured vast land grants from the U. S. Government.  The land on which Linden was founded was deeded to John Wesley Vick and his uncle Burwell Vick in the early 1820's.

The original house was built in 1827, two years after the founding of Vicksburg and 10  years after Mississippi became a state.  The final treaty with the Choctaw tribe was not signed until 1830.  The eastern boundary of Linden today is the Choctaw Treaty Boundary.

Anne Marie died in childbirth and John Wesley moved into Vicksburg.  Anne Marie's brother, James, and his wife, Roche, assumed ownership of Linden about 1840.

Roche was the first great gardener of Linden.  She created 12 acres of formal gardens on the grounds.  The magnolias she planted in 1847 still flank the entrance to the present house.  Eastern Red Cedars planted during the same period now form the nucleus of a 1/4 acre botanical garden. 

Like most Warren County planters, including Jefferson Davis, the Brabstons did not support secession.  The Brabstons, also like most planters, were Whigs.  Nonetheless, war came.  The battle of the Big Black River took place about 6 miles NE of Linden.  The Confederates retreated into the fortification of Vicksburg and the union Army swarmed over the rural countryside of Warren County.  The first group that overran Linden established a field hospital in the school building and a Union surgeon, Dr. Joyceline, and his wife resided in the house at Linden.  Since armies of that day survived by foraging, the store houses of Linden were soon empty.  Wagons were loaded with flour and other food supplies; the cotton gin and other buildings were torn down for the lumber.  All of the farm animals were also taken.

During the siege of Vicksburg, James became ill in Madison County, Mississippi while attending to other business interests.  As Madison County was still controlled by the Confederacy, it was considered "enemy" territory.  Roche appealed to General Sherman to allow her to leave "occupied" Warren County to visit James, and bring him home.  Sherman denied her request and accused her of being a spy.  After spending the night and visiting with Mrs. Sherman, she had Dr. Joyceline intervene and permission was granted.

After the war, James paid his insurrection taxes ($33.54) and reclaimed Linden.  He also signed his Oath of Allegiance.  Roche filed claims with the U.S. Government in the amount of $9,375 for the damages done during the siege.  The claim was denied.  The next generation's mistress, Agnes Willis Brabston, (the present owner's grandmother), continued the claim into the 1900's.  No settlement has ever been made.

While Linden survived, the economy of the South, especially the "hill country", was wrecked.  The soil was worn out and at the turn of the century, the boll weevil arrived.  Even worse, the present owner's grandfather, William H. Brabston and husband of Agnes, died in 1889 at the age of 32, leaving a widow and five small children.  Roche died in 1895. They survived by selling land and when all the land was gone, except Linden, they borrowed and heavily indebted it.

Following service in WWI, Bryan Willis Brabston, Sr., the present owner's father and namesake, was single and secured what was considered a plum of a job-rural mail carrier.   He spent his life paying off the debt on Linden. 

Agnes died in 1943 and Linden was abandoned and heavily vandalized in the following years.  Fortunately, some of the furniture, silver, china and other things were saved before the house burned in 1956.  Some are on display in the present home.

Upon retirement in 1994, Bryan and his wife Joy returned to Linden, converting the then cow pastures into eight acres of formal gardens.  Realizing the importance of the land, the Brabstons have opened the home and gardens to the public, so that others may share in its beauty.

 

Phone 601.529.1148