Friday, May 4, 2012

"Our Home" Hotel Register

  Pictured are two pages from the register book of Baldwyn's "Our Home" Hotel. Click on photo for larger view.
  Notice the price for a night's lodging - two dollars. I think that may have included a meal, but I'm not sure. Sunday meals were open to the public for one dollar and included tea, coffee, fruit and dessert along with the meal.
  People in those days were more careful with their handwriting, most all the entries shown here are in very legible script. The dates and other information in meticulous calligraphy were entered on the pages by "Uncle" George Pierce, porter and mainstay figure at the hotel. He was self-educated and a son of former slaves. George lived until 1949 and was revered by townsfolk and travelers alike. He was the wake up person to those who needed that service, he called everyone to dinner, and other things. Here he is shown with dinner bell in hand waiting for the precise moment to ring it for the guests.

  Uncle George met all the trains with his luggage cart in tow. There were many visitors to this area, most notably salesmen. Notice on the register they had people from as far away as St. Louis. If you look close you'll notice that George usually put the weather for that day in the book next to the day and date.
  The hotel burned several years ago. It stood at the corner of Front and Water streets. The front first faced the East and the railroad tracks, but eventually it was redesigned to face North. It also had many visitors in automobiles after train passenger service declined.
  In its' heyday, there was a large bandstand nearby and during good weather many bands played there for the public.
  Funny thing happened with this posting. I saw this book for the first time in many years just today. When it was handed to me, I opened it up without regard to where, and notice what the date is of my open pages. May 1st and additional days, 1910. Just a coincidence?

Thanks to Edwina Carpenter of the Brices' Crossroads Interpretive Center for these photos.


  1. RE: The Hotel
    Uncle George WAS a slave for eight years.
    He was that old when the Mancipation Proclamatrion
    was signed.
    The VFD: The first guy at top is Austin Majors.
    The third from right, top is Gene Prentiss, the fellow
    who bought our barber shop so I could "volunteer"
    for the Air Force.

    I almost have a short article about the 'foreign' history
    of Baldwyn. II cannot round up the way the land was
    obtained (though I am thinking land grant after the
    Dancing Rabbit Treaty with the Choctaws in 1830. Nor
    can I find the architect who lined up the streets and
    laid her out so nicely. Who can help?

    Bill Lampkin

    1. Bill, I can give you a little information about the land in the Baldwyn area. The Pontotoc Treaty of 1832 with the Chickasaw Indians was where the Chickasaws ceded their land to the US Government. The land was then sold to settlers for about $3 an acre, with the buyer having one year to pay off the debt, and the proceeds to go tothe Chickasaw Indians. About 1834 settlers came from several states, mainly Tennessee and South Carolina, and settled in Tishomingo County in what is now Prentiss County and established the town of Carrollville. Carrollville was a thriving town until the Mobile & Ohio Railroad came through and the town was moved to the railroad and renamed Baldwyn. I have heard, but have no documentation, that a surveyor for the railroad who was named Baldwin laid out the streets in the new town. And that later on the spelling of the town's name was changed to Baldwyn because there was a Baldwin Missouri and the post office was having problems with mix ups in the mail between the two towns.

      This may be more information than you wanted, but I'm extremely interested in Carrollville's history.


    2. Thanks for the information, BB. Maybe someone can accurately answer your queries.

    3. Uh, Carl, please read my post right above yours.

    4. UMMM... it's been one of those days, Cindy. I just saw Bill's comment on the almost have short article info and meant the comment for that only. BTW Bill is a great source of information about Baldwyn - wish I had the time to visit him. Sorry!

    5. No need to apologize, Carl. I enjoyed the laugh.

    6. Bill, I found another source as to how Baldwyn could have been named and this one seems more logical. The founder of the Gulf and Mobile railroad was named J.D. Baldwyn.

  2. Where was Carrolville located, Cynthia? I remember the name from when I was a kid. Something to do with the old Cox house on that dead end road?

  3. In a book of my mother's I found this:

    "A familiar form on the streets of Baldwyn is Uncle George Pierce. He is as much a fixture in the town as the big water oaks which stand guard about Our Home Hotel. For nigh on to a half a century now this faithful of servitor has held the position of porter and generalissimo at our famous hostelry. Dark of color is Uncle George externally; white as snow is his soul. Honest and loyal, courteous and accomodating, Baldwyn is a better place because this old fashioned darky has lived in it. And when the roll is called up yonder, don't you believe Uncle George will be there?"

    1. Thank you, Mr. Palmer. Seems I had read that before, maybe in a book by one of our local historians, Buddy Spight. I knew Uncle George just before his death. He was a very well respected man. May he rest in peace and glory.