Skip to comments.Investor buys house of one-time poet-priest of Confederacy
Posted on 10/06/2004 5:45:04 PM PDT by yonif
BILOXI, Miss. - A California investor has paid $820,000 at auction for a Biloxi home named for Civil War chaplain Abram J. Ryan, who was known as the poet laureate of the Confederacy.
The previous owners, Dr. Jefferson McKenney and Rosanne McKenney, are missionaries in Honduras. Funds raised from the sale were to be invested in Hospital Loma de Luz, which the McKenneys founded in that country.
"I don't have a plan," said investor Henry Lee, who recently returned to Biloxi and learned of Tuesday's auction "kind of by accident."
Lee represented Golden Bay Investments, a company owned by his family. He came to the United States from Vietnam in 1979 and lived in Biloxi between 1992 and 1996.
The property, which the McKenneys bought in 1989, is one of Biloxi's best-known landmarks because of the tall palm tree that grows through its front steps. The house was built in 1840 and 1841 by Judge W.C. Wade but is named after a later tenant.
Ryan, a poet and chaplain who was friends with Jefferson Davis, lived there periodically after the Civil War. In more recent years, the house and an adjacent property called the Sea Reverie have been used as a bed and breakfast. The McKenneys used profits from the business to fund their missionary work.
Ryan, who died in 1886, became a folk hero of the post-Civil War period with his poetry admired in both the North and the South. A collection of his work published in 1879 went through 40 editions and earned as much as $1.6 million before 1920.
His most noted work was "The Conquered Banner," a postwar salute to the Confederate flag. Margaret Mitchell incorporated the poem and its author into "Gone With The Wind."
The house is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Biloxi Historical and Architectural Review Commission would have to approve any major changes to the property because it is a city protected site.
Lee said he will not tear down the structure to build beachfront condominiums. He said the building will probably continue to operate as a bed and breakfast.
"It might be my home," he said.
The auction included an adjacent beachfront house with four suites, and several other buildings on the property.
Great link, CD. I enjoyed his work.
"A California investor has paid $820,000 at auction for a Biloxi home named for Civil War chaplain Abram J. Ryan, who was known as the poet laureate of the Confederacy."
Did you buy it after all, onyx? ;o)
Cool story ... I love his poetry!
LOL....Onyx and Mr Onyx do know they can expect visitors in the future when down home....I am a definite for "tea" if they'll have me!
I did a quick trip down there just last weekend on family business and went back thru Oxford Sunday nite....so gentrified there now....and the kids are more casual...surprised me.
Regards dears! (not the last two)
My best regards to you, too.
It's very good to see you. ;o)
No, (sob, sob) we are not the CA investor.
I love the looks of that old place (I posted
potos of it on the thread of a month ago) but
I am too tired to google it again.
Yes, wardaddy, we'd be pleasured to have y'all
in for tea or something stonger or weaker. :)
Something stronger like...bourbon???