‘Grande dame of Vicksburg’ is once again on the market
One of Vicksburg’s most notable homes is for sale.
The Balfour House, the home of Emma Balfour, the woman noted for writing the most accurate accounts of the Siege of Vicksburg has been listed by realtor Harley Caldwell of Coldwell Banker All Stars, LLC.
Located at the corner of Cherry and Crawford streets, the red-brick, two-story structure, built around 1836, features elements of Greek Revival and Federalist styles and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Originally owned by J.R. McDowell, the home was purchased in 1848 by Dr. William Balfour, Emma’s husband.
Emma was quite pleased with the house and as recorded in Gordon Cotton’s book entitled, “From the Letters of Emma Balfour 1847-1857,” Emma wrote to her sister-in-law Lou Harrison saying, “everyone agreed, (that it) is the best house in town.”
Caldwell, who is also the owner of the Duff Green Mansion, said she “loves historic homes,” and called the Balfour House the “Grande dame of Vicksburg because of Emma Balfour.”
In addition to her historical accounts of the Siege, Emma was also known for the parties she threw at her home, Caldwell said, like her strawberry gala.
“Somebody, who had read Cotton’s book said, she (Emma) would have strawberry parties in the summer and serve nothing but strawberries,” Caldwell said. “Something else she did was she used the last food that she had during the siege entertaining Gen. Pemberton and his other generals, and then when they finished dinner there was nothing left. Instead of spreading the food out, she had a party with it.”
Caldwell said this sounded like something she would have done.
The most recalled party Emma threw was the Christmas Eve Ball in 1862.
Comprised of Confederate Army officers and their ladies, shortly after midnight a courier rushed into the Balfour home with a note for Gen. M.L. Smith. Upon reading the note, the general turned to the party-goers and announced “This ball is at an end. The enemy is coming down the river. All non-combatants must leave the city.”
During the siege, the house did suffer some damage when a shell hit above a second-story window.
Because of the “history of the home” Caldwell said, she is listing the antebellum house as commercial property since it could be used as a tour home and or a Bed and Breakfast.
Caldwell said the historic home’s current owners are asking $699,000. The home is listed with four bedrooms and four and a half bathrooms.
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