The earliest portion of the town residence currently known as the Elms was built in Natchez, Mississippi, on an eleven-acre tract that John Henderson purchased from William Barland in 1804. A native of Scotland, Henderson had settled in the Natchez District in 1787, and he was the author of the first book to be published in Natchez. Henderson later advertised the Elms for sale in the Natchez Chronicle on April 30, 1810. It was purchased by Lewis Evans, first sheriff of the Mississippi Territory. After the death of his wife, Sarah, on May 13, 1815, Evans sold the property to Samuel Postlethwaite in 1818. A small tract of land adjoining the Elms and situated on the corner of Homochitto and Pine streets was later conveyed by Postlethwaite to the Female Charitable Society for use as an orphanage. Before moving to Clifton, his newly constructed mansion near the Natchez bluffs, Postlethwaite deeded the Elms to his daughter, Matilda Rose Postlethwaite Potts, and his son-in-law, the Reverend George Potts. The Potts family lived at the Elms, which they called the Manse, for several years, but after being called to a Presbyterian church in New York, Dr. Potts sold the Elms to Joseph Sessions in 1835. Cornelia Sessions Baynton inherited the Elms after the death of her father. In 1849, she sold the Elms to David Stanton, who was a native of Ireland. David Stanton's wealthy brother, Frederick, built Belfast (Stanton Hall) in Natchez in 1857.



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