Mississippi Agriculture and Forestry Museum

The Fortenberry-Parkman Farmstead is significant because it is a fully intact Mississippi farm representative of the typical farmer from 1860 to 1960. All of the original buildings, with the exception of the chicken house, were preserved intact and restored to their 1920’s appearance when it was relocated to the Ag Museum from its original location in Jefferson Davis County in 1981. Tremendous attention was paid to accuracy and detail during the relocation and restoration process. It was the authenticity resulting from such accuracy that convinced the Department of Archives and History that the site deserved designation as a Mississippi Landmark in 1988, even though the farm did not qualify for listing in the National Register of Historic Places, due to its having been moved.

The farm was started by Jesse Fortenberry in the late 1850’s or early 1860’s. Jesse received a land grant from the U.S. Government in 1861. Jesse went to fight in the Civil War in 1862, leaving his wife Amelia Wiggins Fortenberry and his only child, Melvina Christiann, to run the farm. He would not return to the farm, and was buried in Fredericksburg, VA in 1863. Jesse’s widow Amelia married Jasper Parkman in 1865. The Parkman Family raised four more children. One child, Eliza Cornelia, married the son of John Gazzie Fortenberry (Jesse Fortenberry’s brother.) Story Littleton Parkman, the only son of Amelia and Jasper Parkman, spent his entire life on the farm. After he died in 1960 the farm ceased its operations.

The farm was donated to the Ag Museum in 1979 by Duthiel W. Fortenberry. In 1981 the farm buildings were recorded using photography, survey instruments and labeling. The farm was dismantled and moved to its present site at the Museum. Each building is in its original position in relation to the other farm structures. The road which runs through the farm is representative of the county road which passed through the original site.