The Hugh Craft House, also called Fort Daniel Place, was built in the Greek Revival style by Hugh Craft (1799-1867) in 1851. Hugh Craft was an early land commissioner for the north Mississippi area. During the Civil War the house was occupied by the Federal armies. It was the headquarters of Colonel Murphy during Van Dorn’s Raid of 1862. Hugh Craft’s child from his first marriage, Martha Craft Fort (1826-1885) married James Fort (1822-1878), and in 1868, after the death of Hugh Craft, Martha and James Fort moved into the house. Sadly, James Fort and his daughter Mary Fort both died in the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1878.
The widowed Martha Craft Fort continued to live in the house with her surviving daughter Fannie Fort Daniel (1856-1934), until Martha’s death in 1885. Fannie Fort married Dr. Chesley Daniel (1849-1914) and the couple moved into the Craft House. Their children, James Fort Daniel (1883-1975) and Lucy Hill Daniel (1891-1989) were born in the house. James Fort Daniel first married Willie Polk Daniel (died 1912), and after her death, he remarried to Sallie May Daniel (1894-1992). James Fort Daniel died in 1975 and Sallie May Daniel continued to live in the house until her death in 1992. The Craft House was inherited by James and Sallie’s adult children, Voorhies D. Clayton and Willie Polk D. French.
In 1992, the surviving Fort Daniel children sold the house to Scott Robinson, ending 141 years of ownership by the Craft/Fort/Daniel family. After three years, Scott Robinson sold the house to Mabel M. Hall, who lived here from 1995 until 2002. Chelius Carter and his wife Jenifer Eggleston Carter bought the house in 2002 and still own it today.
Chesley Thorne Smith (1910-2012), a local historian and photographer, was related to the Fort Daniel family through her mother, and was raised in the house. Smith’s memoirs, “Childhood in Holly Springs”, remains a valuable primary source for life in Holly Springs in the early 20th century.
The Hugh Craft house in an excellent example of the Greek Revival style. The house has a two-story veranda, wrapped around the house on three sides, and supported by square tuscan columns. An outstanding cast-iron fence, created by the local Jones-McIllwain Foundry before the Civil War, surrounds the house. There are extant slave quarters on the property, which also served as the home’s kitchen. The house is very similar in construction and style to two other homes, the Watson House and Hull Place, which were destroyed long ago.