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All roads lead to Rodney

In 12th century France, the theologian Alain deLille said, “A thousand roads lead men forever to Rome,” which later morphed into the well-known idiom “All roads lead to Rome.”

In a similar vein, inhabitants of the early 18th century Mississippi Territory might well have heard “All roads lead to Rodney.”

A few weeks ago, I had the honor of escorting about 15 members of my Sunday School class and their families on a day trip to the “ghost” town of Rodney, near Natchez, and the nearby ruins of the antebellum Windsor mansion.

I use the word “ghost” advisedly, because there are at least three ghosts associated with the Windsor ruins and none that I know of with Rodney.

Even though my MA from San Diego State University is in Asian History, gained during two tours of shore duty, I have always been a Mississippi historian at heart. In fact, the first book that anyone ever bought me was a history of the Battle of Vicksburg when I was 15.

While not exactly the Appian Way, there was a time when many, if not all, roads in the Mississippi Territory did lead to Rodney.

First settled by the French around 1700 and called Petit Gulf, it was earlier the site where the old Spanish El Camino Real, or “Royal Road,” from St. Augustine, Florida, the oldest continually inhabited city in the United States, to Los Angeles, California, crossed the Mississippi River. 

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