History Steele Cottage
history states the Steele Cottage was standing in 1829 but the tax
assessor's records state it was built in 1833. Either date makes it
one of the oldest properties in Warren County.
was originally built by a partnership of Prentiss and Guion as a
spec home. The house did not sell and they turned it into a rental
before the war, Sheriff Francis Newell Steele, who was also tax
assessor, brought his new bride, Esther Caroline Rawson, to
Vicksburg from Ohio. On the way, she told him she hoped he had not
bought a two-story home as she did not want one. He had purchased
the home on the corner of Adams and China streets which was built on
a hill. The home is entered on the Adams Street floor but always had
a China Street floor. In the early 1800s, there were no power tools
and homes had to be built into the hillside.
home always had an indoor cistern and is believed to be the only
indoor cistern still in existence in the area.
the War Between The States, Mrs. Steele and a servant climbed into
the cistern, hanging pegs and hiding Mrs. Steele's silver on the
pegs. Mr. J. M. Swords was the newspaper
editor during the Siege of Vicksburg. He and his family stayed in a
cave in the Steele Cottage
yard where he printed the newspaper on wallpaper, some of which came
from the house.
Mr. Steele died shortly after the war, at which time Mrs.
Steele closed up the downstairs.
downstairs was not used for over 90 years until her granddaughter's
death in the 1960s. At that time, the home was restored as a
two-story with a full staircase.
original sun dried bricks still make up the downstairs of the home.