River Dreams, comprised of Dr. Janis Tutor of Pontotoc, left, and June Caldwell of Tupelo, entertains guests of Lauri Mundi during last year’s Aberdeen Pilgrimage. This year’s Pilgrimage features 10 homes ranging from 1840 to 1902 and numerous events celebrating Aberdeen’s storied history.

ABERDEEN – Local history will flourish through stories centered on several older homes April 5-7 as part of the 44th Annual Aberdeen Southern Heritage Pilgrimage. Next to the centerpiece home tours, several other activities are planned to keep guests and locals entertained.

“We’re excited about it because we’ve got two homes that have never been on the tour. We’re really excited about the Civil War encampment at The Magnolias and really excited about Lies and Legends. We’ll have some local adults who will portray characters this year,” said Aberdeen Pilgrimage Association Chairperson Gail Dalrymple.

Those adults are Diane Rehling-Smith and Jack and Connie Hamilton. Jack will actually portray his great-great-great-great-great-grandfather, John Boland.

“His claim to fame is that he fought in the Battle of Brice’s Crossroads,” Hamilton said. “I’ll be talking about him and Aberdeen during the Civil War. It was the bread basket and the hospital town for the Confederates.”

The Lies and Legends tour features mostly Aberdeen High School students portraying a few of the noteworthy people buried at the Old Aberdeen Cemetery.

Homes on tour this year are Dunlee, McKinney Cottage, Watkins Hill, The Magnolias, Gregg-Hamilton House, Bella Vida, Mon Chalet, Lauri Mundi, Sunset Manor and Prewett Place. They will be open at varying times Friday through Sunday.

Additionally, City Hall will be open as a free tour throughout Friday and Saturday.

“Go see all 10 homes because they’re all different. Some are antebellum, and one was built in the 1900s. I think all 10 are great this year,” Dalrymple said.

People may purchase tickets for the home tours at the Elkin Theatre.

In addition to homes, First United Methodist Church, First Presbyterian Church, St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church and St. John’s Episcopal Church will be open for tours Friday and Saturday. Admission is $3, and proceeds benefit the Loaves and Fishes Food Pantry.

Other Pilgrimage activities include the Riverview Garden Club’s luncheon, Boy Scout Troop 39’s pancake breakfast, a proper tea at the Cottage Tea Room, the Monroe County Children’s Vision Center 5K and a free screening of “Steel Magnolias” at the Elkin Theatre.

Carriage rides through historic parts of downtown will also be available for ticket holders.

The historic James Creek M.B. Church will host storytelling, as Jane Cunningham and Jim Crosby will drum up laughs and interesting facts about local history and southern life.

Artisans Marketplace will also host a few events targeting Pilgrimage visitors through spinning wheel and crocheting demonstrations Saturday from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. The Tombigbee Dulcimer Group will perform from 1 until 2 p.m.

“We’ll have artisans here to show what they do with their lost arts,” said store owner Pat Spicer.

For a complete list of events, check out the Aberdeen Pilgrimage insert in this week’s Monroe Journal or visit

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