The Bessie Jones House is a Queen Anne Victorian house in Holly Springs that has been owned by several significant African-American families. Originally an antebellum house was located here, owned by the Ross family. That house was torn down, and in 1897 the Ross family sold the land to Griffin G. Logan, an influential African-American who was a high-ranking member of the Colored Methodist Episcopal Church (later known as the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church) and a faculty member of the nearby Rust College (1866). Logan built this beautiful Queen Anne Victorian house on land that was once owned by a slave-holding family.
The Logan family continued to live here until 1918, when they sold the house to Bessie Jones, another influential African-American. It was exceedingly rare, in this period of the Jim Crow South, for an African-American woman to own such a substantial home. Bessie Jones converted the main house and the surrounding out buildings (including a former slave house) into boarding houses catering to the large number of African-American residents and visitors who needed temporary housing, including students at the nearby Rust College and Mississippi Industrial College (1905). In the 1940s, the main men’s dormitory at Rust College was destroyed in a fire, and this house was opened to Rust students who needed a place to live. Throughout the turbulent times of the 1950s and 1960s, the Bessie Jones House remained a safe haven for African-Americans.
By the 1980s, Bessie Jones had passed away, and the house was inherited by Bessie’s six children. In 1989, the Jones family sold the house to the Holly Springs Federated Improvement Club. The Club’s leaders registered the house as a Mississippi Landmark in 1990, and then began plans to form an African-American Museum inside the home. Though these plans never reached fruition, the Federated Improvement Club has continued to restore and repair the house (most recently in 2010) which is today used for events and meetings, and still remains an important African-American historic location in Holly Springs.
The Bessie Jones House is a two-story multi-gable frame house with a prominent rounded-corner porch and decorative woodworking and trim on the front gables.
Thanks to Leona Harris, Director of the nearby Ida B. Wells-Barnett Museum and a member of the Holly Springs Federated Improvement Club, for much of the preceding information.