Nov. 8, 2006 12:00
I've never before been moved to write a letter to the editor, but in the interest of correcting the wild inaccuracies which are rampant in Mary Tutwiler's article on Albania Plantation ("Ageless Beauty," Oct. 18), I feel I must put pen to paper and set the record straight.

I take issue with the use of the word "teaster" in several different places; while that is its pronunciation, the correct spelling of the word is "tester," which comes from the Medieval Latin testrum, meaning a canopy or covering.

Tutwiler also refers to numerous pieces of furniture which were allegedly "made by New Orleans cabinetmaker Prudent Mallard;" it has been established for some time now that Mallard was a retailer, not a cabinetmaker. The inventory from his succession reveals no cabinetmaking tools or supplies; Mallard imported the furniture for which he is renowned.

Furthermore, reference is made to the kitchen cabinets, sink and drainboard being "original to the house." While these features may have been present when the house was purchased, they are hardly original elements from the 1840s. During the antebellum period, the kitchen was located in a separate building, and the room which is now the kitchen then served as the summer dining room.

Finally, and in the most glaring error of all, Tutwiler refers to Albania as the house that Miss Emily "could not afford to keep up." Anyone who has the most passing acquaintance with this family knows that this is most definitely not the case, and while respecting the privacy which Miss Emily valued so, it is pertinent to note that she left over $1.2 million in cash bequests at the time of her death (a matter of public record), which does not even begin to address the value of the remainder of her estate. For those of us who actually had the honor of knowing her, Miss Emily was one of the greatest ladies this state has ever produced, and to imply that penury was the cause of Albania's state is an insult to her memory and reputation. People do what they like with their property, and it is not for others to speculate why or attribute causes, when they know not from whence they speak.