Dunleith is a one of a kind property for the state of Mississippi. It is the only fully colonnaded house remaining in Mississippi, and its grand Greek Revival architecture makes it one of the premier antebellum homes in the state and region.
Dunleith has a tragic history. The site was originally occupied by another mansion called "Routhland," built during the late 1700s by Job Routh and his wife. Upon their death, they left the house to their daughter, Mary, who was 15 years of age and already a widow. Mary took Charles Dahlgren as her second husband and inherited the house. Dalhgren was a successful banker since before his marriage to Mary and became a Confederate Brigadier General during the War Between the States.
In 1855, Routhland was struck by lightning and burned to the ground. Dahlgren built a new mansion (the present one) in its place in 1856. Mary, still a very young woman, had only enjoyed the new house for three years when she tragically died. The property was sold for $30,000 in order to settle the estate. The new owner, Alfred Vidal Davis, gave the house the Scottish name of Dunleith.
Davis also owned a slave, John Roy Lynch, who spent his childhood as a house slave at Dunleith. Following the arrival of Union troops, Lynch went on to become quite wealthy through trading land and was also one of the first African-American congressmen, serving four terms and advocating for civil rights legislation and against racial violence in Mississippi. Lynch also served as temporary chair of the Republic National Convention in 1884 and in 1898 was appointed by President McKinley to be a major in the US Army and paymaster of volunteers during the Spanish American War.
Dunleith has always been, and continues to be, privately owned. In 1980, it was converted into a bed & breakfast. The property features five buildings that date to the late 18th century - the courtyard dependency, poultry house, greenhouse, carriage house and dairy barn - and the main house which dates to 1856.