CATEGORY: Chickasaw County
Houses with History
Okolona’s Mabry-Hodges Home
Antique-packed home includes bed Grant slept in
By Eileen Bailey
OKOLONA – In 1862, Ulysses S. Grant stormed into Corinth with his Union forces. While in Corinth, Grant ate, slept and planned in the home of Houston Mitchell.
One of the items Grant is documented to have used in the home is a half-tester bed. That bed and several other items from Houston Mitchell’s home have been passed down to an ancestor who lives in Okolona.
The bed is just one of many antiques that can be found in the Mabry-Hodges Home in Okolona. Built in 1910, the home contains several architectural aspects from the Victorian era, such as gingerbread molding, transoms and stained-glass windows.
William G. Mabry Jr. and Clara Sansom constructed their home on the site of an older home, which may have been torn down for the new construction.
Mabry’s daughter, Mary, married Lafayette Ligon Hodges in 1907. This couple had two children – William Mabry Hodges and Kathleen Myers Hodges, who was born in the home in 1913. Kathleen Myers Hodges Minniece is the mother to the current owner, Houston Mitchell Minniece Jr. and his wife, Becky.
As a child growing up in Okolona, Becky Minniece said she would walk by the Mabry-Hodges home, with its original red tin roof, and wonder what it looked like inside. She said she got her wish when she married Houston, whose mother and grandmother lived in the home.
“There is a lot of history not only in the home, but in the furniture passed down from different families,” Minniece said. And she said even with all of the antiques “the house is still a lived-in home.”
Downstairs is a kitchen, dining room, front parlor, guest bedroom and a second bedroom. All have 11-foot ceilings.
The kitchen is the oldest part of the home. Minniece said that when the new house was built in 1910 the family added the kitchen that was on the old home.
The guest bedroom downstairs contains the half-tester bed Grant slept in, a wig cabinet and a baby cradle once used in the family. Also in the room are several pieces of vintage clothing, including a pair of women’s lace-up boots worn at the turn of the century.
Minniece said these boots are part of the home’s ghost story. When Minniece and her family first moved in the home some unusual events took place. Several times items in the home were mysteriously moved. Once when Minniece returned home from a visit she found one of the lace-up boots in the middle of the entryway. No one was at home when the boot was moved.
She said once a glass doll was placed on the floor in the center of her daughter’s room, who was not home at the time. Several times people have reported hearing someone come in the back door and go up the stairs to the second floor and go into the bedroom on the right side of the house.
Minniece said she is not sure who the ghost might be.
The front entryway is bright from light filtering through the lead glass windows. Family portraits sit on the table in the center of the entryway and along the walls leading up to the second floor. A large mirror that once graced the wall of another home can be found on one side of the entryway.
Gingerbread molding tops the stairway to the second floor. On the landing of the second floor is what was once the upstairs back door, which contains a stained-glass panel. There also are two stained-glass panels on each side of the door and a stained-glass transom above it.
The Minnieces made the large hallway between the rooms into a sitting area complete with an antique sofa that was once used in the home and a piano. Upstairs there are three bedrooms and a family room.
The top floor of the home is a massive attic filled with numerous family treasures. Minniece said some of those treasures include trunks that were left behind in the home by former boarders when part of the house was rented out to borders. The trunks contain different types of clothing and other personal items and treasures.
Minniece, who married Houston Mitchell Minniece Jr. in the Mabry-Hodges Home 20 years ago, said the antiques in the 8,000-square-foot home came from a variety sources. Some of the antiques were original to the home, such as the dining room table, sideboard and china cabinet, several other beds and numerous smaller pieces. One of the smaller pieces is a Limoges plate with painted blackberries that’s trimmed in gold.
A cut glass punch bowl serves as the container for a centerpiece on the dining room table. The punch bowl was brought to the home by the original builder.
Minniece said in addition to the antiques that were found in the home, her husband has collected numerous other pieces, such as a large hunt board that was added to the dining room and a stained-glass window recently purchased at an auction.