Isom Place, located at 1003 Jefferson Avenue, is one of Oxford’s oldest and most historic homes.
Although some say the greek-revival Southern mansion was built by Dr. Thomas Dudley Isom, the first white settler at the present site of Oxford, others dispute this claim.
According to my friend and fellow Oxford historian Jack Case Wilson, the home as it now stands was actually built by the Carothers family in the 1840s, although a log structure inside may have existed previously. “Samuel Carothers bought the lot in 1843, built the house in 1844, then died in 1845, as referenced in his will at the courthouse,” Wilson explained. “Isom bought it around 1847.”
The structure, which served as Dr. Isom’s home, office and apothecary, was expanded in 1862. The charter of the University of Mississippi was signed in its dining room. Following Dr. Isom’s death in 1902, the house was sold several times and many minor additions were made before it was bought by Dr. and Mrs. H. D. Worthy in 1960 and returned to its 1920-era appearance.
In 1995, Susan Barksdale bought the house and renovated it as a bed & breakfast. It is now known as the Barksdale-Isom House. Since 2000, the building has housed the Barksdale Reading Institute. The Barksdale Reading Institute is designed to improve significantly the pre-literacy and reading skills of Mississippi’s children from birth through the 3rd grade.
Isom Place was declared a National Historic Place in March 1975.
John Cofield is a HottyToddy.com writer and one of Oxford’s foremost folk historians
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