Statuettes returned to Stanton Hall by relative

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 10, 2008

NATCHEZ — When Peg E. Rollans left California Wednesday, she was packing more than just a change of clothes for her trip to Natchez.

Rollans’ great-great-great-grandfather was Frederick Stanton, Stanton Hall’s original owner. When she arrived in Natchez last week she returned some of the home’s original adornments.

Rollans returned two statuettes that she inherited years ago.

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Rollans said she only knew the statues by the names her family gave them.

“The happy mother and the sad mother,” Rollans called them.

One depicts a smiling mother looking over two children at her feet.

The other isn’t as quaint.

It shows a mother about to discipline her two children with what looks like a stick.

But Rollans said the way the sad mother looks now isn’t the way she always looked.

The stick is actually a whip handle, over the years the whip was lost leaving only the handle, Rollans said.

“I remember it was very impressive when I was younger,” Rollans said of the whip.

And when Rollans was a girl she was getting an up close view of Stanton Hall and all it’s unique pieces.

Rollans was raised in southern California, but every other summer she came to Natchez to stay with family.

Back then, when Stanton Hall was family owned, Rollans said she loved to play in the giant old house.

“I felt like a little princess,” she said. “It was wonderful.”

But Rollans said it was difficult to relate her tales of summer at Stanton Hall back her to friends in California.

Rollans said she would mainly use books and photographs to show her friends what she did over the summer.

But even today Rollans doesn’t always share her unique connection to Natchez’s history with her West Coast acquaintances.

Rollans also has family ties to the Martin family that built Montaigne.

Rollans said since many people still have stereotypical views of the South, it’s not a topic she regularly brings up.

“It’s a world a way from California,” she said of Natchez. “But it’s a world I love.”

She said bringing back the statuettes was important to her in order to help preserve the house’s rich history.

Rollans also said she wanted to return the statues, like a gesture of thanks, to the people who now run the house.

“The love and devotion people have for this is not insignificant,” she said.

Over the summer Rollans also had an original dresser shipped back to the house.

And Mimi Miller said its people like Rollans that are helping to ensure Natchez’s historic past is as rich, and accurate, as possible.

Miller, Historic Natchez Foundation’s director of programs, has helped Rollans in identifying pieces of furniture that were once at Stanton Hall.

“It makes an authentic picture of the past,” Miller said. “What you’re looking at is real.”

And Miller said people like Rollans help make Natchez unique in that many of the area’s historic local homes have original furnishings.