Students in the Local Culture Class at Hernando High School toured one of the oldest homes in DeSoto County this past week, gaining insight into life from the late 1800s.
Teacher Margaret Hicks said her students learned a great deal about the pivotal period in DeSoto County's history, which occurred a decade after the county's founding in 1836.
"When I asked my class who had been in a home from the 1800s, only two students raised their hands," Hicks said. "I knew then where we needed to go on our field trip. I wanted them to be able to stand in a room and imagine what it would be like to live then and be surrounded by objects from the past. I wanted them to try to take history out of a textbook and instead immerse and put themselves in what daily life would have been like."
Eddie Burks, the homeowner of Rose Hill at Mussacuna Plantation, said he has given numerous tours of the historic property over the years but when he is able to share history with students, it makes the storytelling all the more special.
"I enjoy the time I spend with young people," Burks said. "The house has so much history. I enjoy sharing local history with anyone who is interested. Those kids were excited to be there - they were like sponges."
The home's history dates to the late 1840s when it was built and occupied by the Robertson family.
General Julius Caesar Nichols Robertson, who was born in 1792 in the nation's capital, lived in the home along with his wife, the former Margaret Reagan and their children.
His father was George Robertson, the youngest son of Colonel Charles Robertson of Revolutionary War fame, who was in Col. John Sevier's regiment at King's Mountain. Sevier would later go on to become Tennessee's first governor.
Both of his grandfathers and four of his uncles fought in that battle. One uncle, Robert Sevier, died in that battle and another Jules Robertson was wounded.
Rose Hill at Mussacuna Plantation is formerly located on land once owned by a Chickasaw warrior named Mussacuna whose superior cornfields were among the most envied in the entire region.
In later years, the home was occupied by members of the Yates and Whitten families.
The imposing structure, which was cut virtually in half at one point in order to be presented as a wedding present to a relative, still commands a sweeping vista along Robertson Gin Road, southwest of the historic town square, approximately one and a half miles from the Hernando Civic Center sportsplex.