LOOKING BACK: You could save this Drummond Street gem

Published 8:00 am Wednesday, April 19, 2023

By Nancy Bell | Vicksburg Foundation for Historic Preservation

2322 Drummond St. was built before 1886 in an area developed in the 1880s by Judge Frederic Speed and Thomas R. Foster, called Speed’s Addition.

In 1881 Speed and Foster bought 210 acres of Lonewood Plantation, divided the tract into lots approximately 50 by 150 feet, and sold them for about $600. In 1882, Drummond Street was opened through Speed’s Addition from Harris Street to Bowmar Avenue.

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By 1887, they had sold 107 of the 261 lots. During the planning of the subdivision, Foster was serving in the state legislature and secured a municipal charter for the area. The City of Vicksburg attempted to annex the area, but failed and Speed’s Addition became a town.

Foster stated that Judge Speed wanted to name the village “Fostoria,” but Foster insisted that it be named after Judge Speed. According to Foster, one day he suggested that a 50-cent piece be flipped to determine which of the two partners would select the name. Foster won the toss and picked the name Speed.

According to Foster, the partners spent a great deal of money grading the streets for a number of years. Though it was only six blocks from downtown Vicksburg, in 1890 Speed’s Addition had no water or sewer service, no electricity, telephone or public transportation.

In 1908 when the city of Vicksburg promised to give the citizens light and water and other municipal conveniences, the town of Speed’s gave up its charter and permitted annexation.

In 1886, Edmund Henry Magruder, the deputy U.S. Marshall, and his father, Major Lawson William Magruder, an attorney, lived in the house. Major Magruder was born in Madison County, Miss., in 1842 and graduated from Princeton in 1861.

He enlisted in the 18th Mississippi Regiment and was seriously wounded at the Battle of Manassas. In 1867, he married Jennie Kilpatrick, daughter of Lieut. Col. Kilpatrick who fought in the Mexican war. Jennie died in 1902 and her husband followed in 1908.

By 1905, J. Beauregard and Sadie Cowan lived here. J.B. Cowan was an alderman at large for the city of Vicksburg and worked at J.J. Cowan Cotton Buyers. By 1911, 2322 Drummond St. was the residence of Captain W.T. Rigby who also conducted the business of the Vicksburg National Military Park Commission from an office there. He lived in the house until he died in 1929.

In 1935, John and Ellen Walker lived here. Ellen was a daughter of Col. Charles Conway Flowerree. Tradition holds that the six marble mantels used throughout the house, which are not from the period in which the house was built, came from Col. Flowerree’s home and were originally from Italy, dating to the 1830s.

The mantels would have replaced the original Queen Anne mantels. In 1959, Juanita Dean, a teacher at H.V. Cooper High School, and Kenneth and Mary Louise Little lived here.

Kenneth was listed as a supervisory civil engineer with the U.S. Engineers. When Kenneth died in 1977, Mary continued to live here until at least 1983. She passed away in 1985.

The 1989 city directory records that the house is vacant and then in 1993, Richard and Rhonda McGee are living here.

The beautiful Queen Anne house is currently for sale and retains all of its architectural features.