Colonsay Cottage (also known as the Lusher-Bonds-Buchanan House) was built in 1840 by Henry Mills Lusher.  Lusher was born in Charleston, South Carolina in 1811.  Lusher’s uncle was Robert Mills, the architect who constructed the Washington Monument.  In the early 1830s, Lusher came to the newly-opened Chickasaw Cession of North Mississippi.  Lusher was a draughtsman with the Land Office in Pontotoc, and his most famous work there was the creation of the “Lusher Map”, in 1835, which Lusher platted and drafted after the new lands were surveyed by John Bell.  Lusher’s Map was used to divide and sell every single lot available in all of North Mississippi.

lusher1835
The Lusher Map

Lusher and his family moved to Holly Springs soon after it was founded in 1836.  Lusher was a founding vestryman of Christ Episcopal Church in 1839, and was on the town’s governing board throughout the 1840s.  Henry Lusher’s connection with this home was only discovered recently due to the exhaustive research of local historian Bobby Mitchell and historian and author Dr. Hubert McAlexander.

In 1839, James Lucas Sory and his wife Nancy purchased the lot that this house would eventually be built on.  Due to several clerical errors in the land records, Sory’s name was mis-recorded as “James L. Levy”, and his subsequent land transfer of this property to Henry Lusher less than a month after purchasing the property was never properly recorded.  In fact, Henry Lusher purchased the lot in 1939 and constructed this house soon thereafter.  Lusher lived here until 1859, when he sold the house to Captain William Clark and his wife Mary Barton Clark (d. 1888).

Captain Clark served in the Confederate army, but he was known more as a local educator.  During the 1850s, Clark was a teacher at St. Thomas Hall (1844).  After the beginning of the Civil War, Clark joined with Lizzie Watson to form a new girl’s school which would eventually be known as Mississippi Synodical College (1864).  Soon after the Civil War ended, Clark established a new school called Fenelon Hall (named after Francois Fenelon, a French teacher) inside this home.  In 1869, Clark would also re-found Franklin Female College (1849).  Decades later, Clark’s sister-in-law Rosa Barton Tyler (1841-1937) established another version of Fenelon Hall in the house, which lasted from 1893 until 1908.

In 1874, the Clarks sold the house to Dr. Willis Lea (1802-1878).  After Dr. Lea’s death in 1878, his daughter Lucy Lea owned the house until 1904.  Between 1904 and 1908 the home was owned by B. F. Laurence (1854-1915),  and between 1908 and 1919 the home was owned by J. C. Miller.  In 1919, the house was purchased by Conway “Con” Bonds (1883-1950) and his wife Bertha Bonds (1885-1978).  Their daughter, Lois Swaney, grew up in this house.

In 1950, the house was bought by George M. Buchanan Jr. (1913-2001).  The Buchanan’s renamed the house “Colonsay Cottage” after the ancestral Buchanan home in Scotland.  The Buchanan family owned the house for 52 years, before selling it in 2002 to John Dudley.  Dudley owned the house from 2002 until 2008.  Thomas and Lisa Phillips owned the house from 2008 until 2016.  Stephen and Dottie Gozan have owned Colonsay Cottage since 2016.

Colonsay Cottage has gone through at least three major renovations throughout its history, resulting in the current house sharing little of the original home’s historic integrity.  Between 1907 and 1925, the original west wing of the house was removed, and a new front porch was added (see 1907 and 1925 Sanborn Maps and the pre-1950 picture above).  In the 1950s, the Buchanans removed the front porch and added a new Gothic front door, which was salvaged from a destroyed Gothic house on Craft Street.  Sidelights and a Tudor arched transom window was added.  A second-story dormer window was also removed at this time.  In the 2010s, a third restoration resulted in the alteration of the brick exterior and removal of many of the features added during the 1950s, along with the return of the front porch.

Colonsay Cottage is a single-story flanking-gable brick Greek Revival house, with exterior end chimneys and a three-bay porch supported by square columns.

4 thoughts

  1. My name is Clark Dowell Lea. This appears to be my ancestral home. My father was William Lea who was born and raised in Holly Springs. His aunt was Lucy B. Lea. My mother’s maiden name was Elizabeth Clark Dowell and her mother’s maiden name was Mary Barton Gohlson. My grandmother’s mother was Lizzie Clark. My mother was a high school graduate from Mississippi Synodical College.

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