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Wetherbee House

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 were met.

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.

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