Rocky Springs was once a thriving community, and its ruins can be found just a short distance from the Natchez Trace. A significant portion of its history has been uncovered, which provides a unique look into the past. You will find a marker at this exit that will direct you to the historic Grindstone Ford, which was an important part in the development of this region.
We were taking a road trip to Natchez, Mississippi with two other members of our family and making stops along the way to see some of the beautiful scenery and historic landmarks. Although the Natchez Trace Parkway functions as a roadway, it is carefully tended to ensure that it remains a parkway. The maximum allowed speed is never more than 50 miles per hour. Because of its long history of use as a transportation corridor for commerce and people moving from one place to another, it has seen the rise and fall of hundreds of fascinating locations over the course of its history. There are some that are ancient and others that are contemporary, but the majority of them have some kind of important historical significance.
The Natchez Trace Parkway is one of the few roads in the world that has played host to such a diverse range of travelers throughout its history, including pioneers and explorers, presidents and peasants, doctors and lawyers and Indian tribal leaders. The road is in good condition, and I believe that most important historic sites have markers at their locations. This is where the park rangers and staff who are responsible for maintaining the road earn their salaries.
You will come across a historic marker every few miles, and sometimes even more frequently than that. These markers will direct you to a location that contains artifacts from the past, a scenic overlook, or picnic, and restroom facilities. These pull-overs feature a diverse array of landscapes, ranging from mountain vistas at the Parkway’s northern terminus to swamps, Indian mounds, roadside inns, and abandoned towns further south. It has been my experience that the people who read and appreciate this website have similar passions and interests, which is why I choose to write about these topics. I believe and hope I am among friends.
We got off the highway close to Mile Marker 55, just before the sign that said “Rocky Springs.” This well-known attraction features a parking lot that is of very good quality, as well as restrooms, picnic tables, and walking trails. The location of the old deserted town can be reached from the parking area in a relatively short distance; however, the journey should be extended if possible. Because of the town site’s proximity to the parkway, it is possible to hear the vehicles passing by. The “old Natchez Trace” is the path that leads from the parking area to Rocky Springs and is also known by that name. It isn’t much wider than a wide path, but it is incredibly attractive thanks to the split rail fence that lines both sides.
Because of the “sweet water” spring that flowed here, the town of Rocky Springs was established in the early 1800s close to where Natchez Trace Parkway now stands. We do not give much thought to the availability of water in Mississippi because it can be found in large quantities almost everywhere and wells do not typically need to be dug very deep in the state. However, when people lived in more primitive times, finding a reliable source of water was the first thing that had to be considered. Because there was an adequate supply of water, entire towns were able to be established. This town featured an additional draw in the form of an ancient road that can be found less than a half mile away from where the old town once stood.
In the year 1837, this location saw the construction of a Methodist Church, which is still in use today. It is a lovely structure made of brick, and it features hardwood floors and pews that were crafted by hand. There are still weekly services held at this location, but they are not held throughout the entire year. Every year in the spring there is a reunion with old friends and family. Both the building and the grounds are in excellent condition.
The historic cemetery adjacent to the church is widely regarded as one of the building’s most appealing features. Another ‘family site’ can be found within the cemetery, and this one is protected by a formidable brick fence that is approximately five feet high and easily two feet thick. The entrance is located through a gateway that does not currently have a gate attached to it. Although the tombstones are in generally good repair, it is to be expected that some of them will exhibit significant signs of aging.
In the year 1860, the population of Rocky Springs, Mississippi was 2,616. It had a school, a church, a Masonic lodge, a post office, two or more stores, and two artisan shops when it was built in the middle of the 1800s. Because of these factors and the availability of water, it was a desirable location for its time. At this time, you will be able to see the lovely church, two old safes that have rusted away, two cisterns, and numerous markers that tell the history of the old town. An outbreak of yellow fever was a significant factor in the decline and ultimate destruction of the town.
When you are heading back to the Parkway from Rocky Springs, you will see a sign for Grindstone Ford along the way.
The Choctaw Nation’s uncharted territory began at Grindstone Ford, which also served as the boundary between the old Natchez District and the Choctaw Nation.
During the years 1801 and 1802, the nearby fort Deposit served as a supply depot for the crews that were clearing the Natchez Trace Parkway. During the alleged Aaron Burr plot, this location served as a gathering place for troops. The plot’s goal was to break the Western States away from the Union.
The name of the location comes from an old water mill that used to be located nearby.