Weird Wednesdays: The Ghost Town of Rodney Mississippi

Rodney Mississippi, tales of ghosts abound in this place. Although, with nobody around to see them, who really knows….

Nestled above the banks of the mighty Missississippi, this small town was once destined for great things.  It was only three votes shy of becoming the capital of the Mississippi Territory.  In the 1860’s, Rodney was booming. It had almost 4,000 residents and was the busiest port between New Orleans and St.Louis.  Rodney Mississippi quickly became the place to be, drawing settlers from England and Germany.

However, the draw of the promising town soon diminished when yellow fever spread through the town, devastating the population, not once, but twice. Natchez physicians visited the town and reported back that it was almost depopulated due to the illness.

Later on, the town saw some Civil War action. With Union gunboat “The Rattler” stationed outside of Rodney, Yankee sailors tried to infiltrate the town.  Awarkdly posing as townsfolk, they attended church services one morning at the Presbyterian Church.  A Lieutenant Allen for the Confederate Calvary called out the Yankee sailors. He demanded they surrender, but his demands were met with gunfire ringing throughout the church. The congregation scattered, diving under pews and running outside in a hail of gunfire.  Except for one old lady, who climbed up on her pew and proclaimed “Glory be to God”. However, that didn’t stop the gunboat outside from firing a cannonball through the church.

Then in 1869, the town was almost completely consumed by a fire, leaving very few structures untouched. However, this was not the last nail in the coffin, so to speak. In 1870, the Mississippi River underwent a natural transformation, a newly formed sandbar altered the course of the river and shifted it two miles west of Rodney. Thus the town was then bypassed by the railroad, due to the town being so severely fire damaged and no longer a port of commerce.

Want to visit the historic ghost town yourself?  Directions given by the Historic Rodney Facebook Page

“From Hwy 61, take the Alcorn State University exit to hwy 552 West. Go about 3 miles until you see a turning lane to turn left. Take that turn, then the next left on Firetower Rd. There will be a water tank at the turn. When that road ends, take a right. Travel about 6 miles and it will bring you into Rodney. The road will turn to gravel before you get there. Don’t give up though! It will go back to pavement at the top of the hill leading into the old town!”

 

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