Golconda, Illinois, is 20 miles upriver on the Wabash River from Paducah KY. Hiram C.
Wetherbee lived there with his parents at the outbreak of the Civil War. Born in 1842, he, like
many young men in both the North and South, felt compelled to join the army. Hiram served in
Company E 120th Regiment of Illinois Infantry and was stationed in Memphis. As Grant’s Army
of the Tennessee made ready to attack Vicksburg, the 120th moved to the Greenville area
before going to Vicksburg. After the war young Wetherbee returned to Greenville to farm and
opened a hardware store.
The original modest wooden home, of 4 rooms, with a separate
kitchen and typical cistern for water was only a block from Mrs. Blanton’s own plantation
home. He purchased the land in 1873 that had been part of the original Blantonia plantation
(deed book D2:481) He probably moved the original house to its present location using mules
and logs. The carriage house (presently the Flood Museum) was probably already on the
property. The arched doorways in the carriage house, and the presence of 3 fireplaces makes
one wonder what its original purpose was. November 7, 1874 he married Dora McCoy (1854-
1911). A number of additions have been done to the house as children and progress needs
The home stayed in the Wetherbee family until the death of Ethel Wetherbee Finlay
in 1973. Her heirs sold the house December 27, 1973 (deed book 1300:156-57) to the Council
of Greenville Garden Club’s. They took on the responsibility of restoring the property and, with
the help of restoration architect John DeCell of Yazoo City, Mrs. Robert Harding, the Garden
Club Council and its many members, restored most of the house.
Clinton Bagley (historian) and Ronald Miller (architectural historian) got the house listed on the National Register of Historic
Places in 1977. On August 25, 1986 the Wetherbee house was dedicated to John E. DeCell for his
help in restoring the house. Wetherbee House became a Mississippi Landmark in 2002. The
property was transferred to the city of Greenville.
From 1997 to March 2009 when the Flood Museum was finally opened in the old “carriage house” behind the Wetherbee, many
individuals and organizations helped in its restoration. The house is located 509 Washington
Avenue across the street from the old “Cotton Pickers” Elk Lodge built 1907. It currently houses
the Greenville Main Street Association and the Greater Greenville Housing Authority.
The Joint Greenville – Washington County Historic Preservation Commission is currently soliciting
donations to place a Mississippi Landmark Marker on the property. Donations can be sent to
Planters Bank and Trust, 424 Washington Ave., Greenville MS 38701.