Ida McGuire Gillespie (left) and Odille Angelety grew up across the street from each other on St. Catherine Street and were lifelong friends. Odille never married and had a long distinguished career as a teacher at nearby Brumfield High School. An older Odille Angelety stands with her foot on the running board of a car parked in the side yard of the Angelety House. The Angelety family moved to North Martin Luther King Street in the late 1930s, and shortly after World War II new owners added a front Commercial addition that housed B & C Auto Parts in the 1950s. Standing in front of the elaborate dormer on the Angelety House in 1977 is the late restoration architect Samuel Wilson of New Orleans.The City of Natchez acquired and restored the house as part of a 1970s urban renewal project that demolished numerous deteriorated historic buildings for construction of new housing. The brick house at 180 St. Catherine Street blends the classical symmetry of the Greek Revival style with the romantic flourish of the Gothic Revival style.The house was probably built in the mid to late 1850s for Ellen Smart McDougall, widow of George Smart and wife of Peter McDougall.
The house eventually became the property of her daughter Mary Ellen Smart Griffin, who willed it to her son Louis T. Griffin.In 1919 Louis T. Griffin sold the
house to Emile Angelety. The deed noted that Angelety had already been residing in the house. City directories and census records indicate that Angelety lived in the house for at least a decade before he bought it. Emile Angelety was an African American brick mason Contractor who also operated a wood yard on St. Catherine Street. He built the Dumas House on Franklin Street and a series of one-story buildings to the east. He also buiolt the brick gutters from the National Cemetery to Maple Street.Emile Angelety and wife Minnie had seven children: Emile Jr., Rudolph, Lionel, Bertha, Lovella, Odille and Minnie.Retired educator Thelma Wallace Williams (above) gave new life to the Angelety House when she made it headquarters for Project Southern Cross, an innovative, cultural enrichment program for African American young people—a program that contributed to the culture of the whole community from 1986 to 2005.Local churches recommended participants who mounted exhibits, published newsletters, produced oral history recordings, and learned about the Natchez community through numerous field trips. The program also operated the popular Mostly African Market to generate income to support the project.Today the Angelety House serves as headquarters for the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Inc., Southwest Mississippi Chapter.