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The Milk House or Buttery

Boyd Milk House (or Buttery)
Boyd Milk House (or "Buttery")

At the southwest corner of the main Boyd House sits the restored or reconstructed milk house or “buttery.” It is a brick cylinder about five feet tall and five feet in diameter, topped by a modern conical metal roof. The brick walls are pierced by slit-like vents with cast iron grillwork closures. The floor is of cement and formed into a two-level basin with the higher side at the rear half of the cylinder. Originally, there was a door to close the structure, and there were wooden shelves inside.

A milk house is somewhat unusual in the South. It was a problem to keep milk products cool before the days of refrigeration. Milk was often left in pans, set in water to cool and allow the cream to rise before removal to churn into butter. This took several hours and several changes of water. A milk house may have held spring water for cooling, or even ice shipped down from New England.

Buttery Cast Iron Sill Plate
Buttery Cast Iron Sill Plate

The original milk house was likely built about the same time as the main house. The location is right at the corner of the house where a gutter could have filled the tank with rain water.

The milk house has been repaired many times through the years.  It contains materials of different ages, including an iron sill plate cast with the name of “R. McGill 1885,” a reference to the son-in-law who married Mary Boyd and lived with her in the Boyd House. The most recent restoration was in the 1970s, paid for by Boyd descendants as a memorial to Thomas Henry Boyd, grandson of James Hervey and Eliza Ellis Boyd, and his wife Katharine Kingsley Boyd.

823 North Jefferson Street  -  Jackson, Mississippi  39202   PH. 601.353.9339 Click for map