The home of James L. Alcorn, in Coahoma
county, received its name in a most natural way; an eagle had built
her nest for many years in a large cottonwood tree in a field adjoining
the park which surrounds the residence. In alloting work to the plantation
laborers the supervisor spoke of it as the Eagle-nest field, thus the plantation
and the home became known as “Eagle’s Nest.” There are several nests
of these birds in the cypress brakes just back of the buildings.
The home is a large modern frame structure.
The lumber was cut from the forests on the plantation, and dressed by hand
under the supervision of Gen. Alcorn. The house has five wide halls, twenty-two
large, high ceiled rooms, made home-like and cheerful by ingle-nooks, cozy
corners and numerous broad windows. Three bay windows open on the
blue waters of the lake on which the home fronts. Broad verandas
extend around three sides of the house; the whole surmounted by an
observatory commanding a view of beautiful Swan lake, the park, and the
broad fields of corn and cotton, the whole making a picture never surpassed
in natural beauty.
Mrs. Alcorn tells the following interesting
story as to the way the lake received its name:
“In the early days it was a feeding ground
for numbers of wild swans. A huntsman on one occasion shot, and broke
the wing of one of these graceful birds. It could never again leave the
lake; year after year it welcomed the coming of its fellows with
glad cries, and pined in sorrow when they plumed their broad wings and
took flight for new feeding grounds; it was pitiable to see its efforts
to follow. Since then the pretty sheet of water has been called Swan’s
Lake. Upon the shore of this lake stands the tree in which the great
eagle mentioned above built her nest. She showed both judgment and
taste in the selection of a home; for the waters of the lake furnished
an abundance of food for her young, and the view is one of unsurpassed
The axmen were directed to leave that tree
untouched when the field was enlarged by clearing the southern part of
the park; but the careless, thoughtless, destroyer of the forest,
regardless of orders, belted this monarch of ages.
The grounds immediately about the house
are shaded by large oak, magnolia, holly, and varnish trees. The
gardens are gorgeous with bloom from the coming of the dainty snowdrop
and purple violet of spring to the asters of the late autumn. In
the park, near the southern limit, is a large Indian mound, and on this
mound sleeps James L. Alcorn, his grave marked by a marble statue of himself.
Near by rest the remains of four sons. Two died in defense of their
home and country. Major Alcorn, the eldest, was as brave and true
a soldier as ever went to the front of battle. Henry, the second
son, then a lad of seventeen years, captured and taken to Camp Chase, contracted
typhoid fever and died on the way home, an exchanged prisoner, and now
sleeps beside his father on the old Indian mound.
The wide halls and lofty rooms of this
stately home that once echoed to the tread of busy feet, are now silent,
and deserted by all save the widowed mother.