Monmouth is a historic antebellum home located in Natchez, Mississippi on a 26-acre (11 ha) lot. It was built in 1818 by John Hankinson and inhabited by John A. Quitman, a former Governor of Mississippi and well-known figure in the Mexican-American War. It was declared a Mississippi Landmark in 1986 and a National Historic Landmark in 1988.
The home was built by John Hankinson, a postmaster, lawyer and steamboat entrepreneur, during the depression that followed the War of 1812, and named after his home, Monmouth County, New Jersey. The mansion was a brick two-story in the Federal style, with a wide central hall with four rooms located off the hall on both floors. There was also a detached brick kitchen behind it, a garden house, and several outhouses. Hankinson began to have financial troubles in 1821 and borrowed heavily using the plantation as collateral. The loan was defaulted on in 1825 and the house was sold at a public auction to Calvin Smith, who one year later sold the property to John Anthony Quitman, the future Governor of Mississippi. John Hankinson did not live to see the sale, as he died in 1826 from complications of excessive drinking.
John Quitman, originally of New York City, was a partner in a successful Natchez law firm and married Eliza Turner, a member of one of the most prominent families in the city, being the niece of Edward Turner, a Mississippi Supreme Court judge. Quitman purchased Monmouth in 1826 for his wife and growing family. The house was extensively renovated by the Quitmans in 1853 in the fashionable Greek Revival style. The original brick was covered by stucco, scored to look like stone, and the portico was added to the front, along with the four square columns supporting it. Quitman also added the rear gallery and southeast wing of the house, along with a second story for the detached kitchen.
After Quitman died at Monmouth on July 17, 1858, and his wife died a year later, their five daughters and one son inherited the plantation. In 1862, when Natchez was attacked by the Union army during the American Civil War, most of the slaves escaped, and some joined the Union forces. Most of Quitman's original possessions were either stolen in 1863, when the house was occupied by Union soldiers, or sold by Quitman's daughters in 1865 due to financial difficulty. The house was spared from further damage during the war, as the daughters befriended a Union general and pledged loyalty to the United States. In 1866, three of the daughters, Louisa, Annie Rosalie and Fredericka, purchased their siblings' share of the property, and by 1890, Annie Rosalie was the sole owner of Monmouth. In 1914, when she died, the house was left to her nieces, who later sold it in 1924. For the next half century, the house was severely neglected with the house and other surviving structures filled with litter and the grounds overgrown.
After several changes of ownership, Ronald and Lani Riches of Los Angeles, California, purchased the property in 1978 and restored the property to its original condition. The restoration of the house and original brick kitchen took three years. In 1982, after archaeological research determined the location of two small houses used as slave quarters, the buildings were reconstructed on the original sites. Though most of John Quitman's original furnishings had been lost, the house still contained a few pieces such as a sofa, a carved settee, and several chairs. The Riches searched for other furniture and memorabilia from Quitman, and they were able to recover his desk, two four-poster beds, and the Quitman family Bible. Other memorabilia now include the gold sword presented to Quitman by James K. Polk and the United States Congress for his services in the Mexican-American War, as well as the red handkerchief Quitman used to rally his troops.
Nancy and Warren Reuther are some of the current managing owners of Monmouth Historic Inn along with private investors. With extensive experience in the hotel and tourism industry, they continue to make sure every modern comfort has been provided in the 30 elegantly appointed spacious rooms and suites, yet carefully integrated as not to spoil the historic architectural virtue.
Monmouth is now a small luxury hotel with 30 rooms and suites throughout the house and grounds. There is a fine-dining restaurant on site, Restaurant 1818, as well as a casual dining in The Quitman Lounge. Tours of the mansion are offered daily at 10 am and 2pm, and a gift shop in open to the public 7 days a week from 8am until 9pm. There have been a number of notable guests including President and Hillary Clinton, Michael Eisner, Alec Baldwin, Maya Angelou, Sela Ward, James Woods, Rob Reiner, Connie Chung, Morley Safer, Debbie Gibson, Ruby Dee and Michael Damian.