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Mississippi Historical Society 

Volume IX 


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This volume of the Publications contains for the most part 
the important results of researches in Mississippi history that 
have been completed since the appearance of Volume VIII. The 
first part of the volume contains a number of important contri- 
butions to the different phases of State history military, polit- 
ical, biographical, literary, religious, economic, and aboriginal 
which have hitherto engaged the attention of investigators. 

The preceding volumes of this series have been devoted 
largely to the publication of new contributions to the exclusion 
of much valuable source material which the authorities of the 
Society have been anxious to give to the public. Upon the sug- 
gestion of the editor of these Publications and the voluntary 
surrender of half of the usual appropriations that have been 
made to the Society for historical publications, the Legislature 
of the State has provided for the regular and systematic publi- 
cation in a separate series of all source materials of an official 
character. As a result of this wise policy the first volume of 
Mississippi Territorial Archives, edited by Hon. Dunbar Row- 
land, Director of the State Department of Archives and History, 
appeared in 1905. The Historical Society will continue to pub- 
lish in connection with "the finished products of research" some 
of the most valuable unofficial sources of State history. It is 
hoped that in the future more space in its Publications will be 
available for this important class of contributions. The reader 
will be gratified to find three valuable contributions of this char- 
acter in the current volume. 

The appearance of this volume marks the inauguration of 
another long-cherished plan of the editor, the republication of 
very rare contributions of great historical value which, having 
been originally printed in ephemeral form in the remote past, 
are now inaccessible to investigators. The demand for this 
class of publications has been rendered almost imperative by 
the rapid development of historical investigation in Mississippi. 

F. L. R. 




Preface 5 

Contents 7 

Officers for 1906-07 8 

i. Proceedings of Eighth Public Meeting of the Mississippi His- 
torical Society, by Dr. Franklin L. Riley 9 

a. A Forgotten Expedition to Pensacola in January, 1861, by 

Judge Baxter McFarland 15 

3. Mississippi at Gettysburg, by Col. William A. Love 25 

"-4. Reconstruction in Monroe County, by Hon. George J. Leftwich. . 53 
5. Reconstruction and its Destruction in Hinds County, by Hon. 

W. Calvin Wells 85 

6. The Enforcement Act of 1871 and the Ku Klux Klan in Missis- 
sippi, by Hon. J. S. McNeilly 109 

7. A Trip from Houston to Jackson, Miss., in 1845, by Judge J. A. 

Orr 173 

8. The Presidential Campaign of 1844 in Mississippi, by Prof. J. E. 

Walmsley 179 

9. Life and Literary Services of Dr. John W. Monette, by Dr. 

Franklin L. Riley 199 

10. The Public Services of E. C. Walthall, by Prof. Alfred W. Garner. 239 

1 1 . Monroe's Efforts in Behalf of the Mississippi Valley During his 

Mission to France, by Dr. Beverly W. Bond 255 

12. A Sketch of the Old Scotch Settlement at Union Church, by 

Rev. C. W. Graf ton 263 

13. Lands of the Liquidating Levee Board Through Litigation and 

Legislation, by Mr. J. W. Wade 273 

14. Historic Localities on Noxubee River, by Col. William A. Love. 315 

15. "A Genuine Account of the Present State of the River Missis- 

sippi," etc., Anonymous 323 

1 6. A Contribution to the History of the Colonization Movement 

in Mississippi, by Dr. Franklin L. Riley 331 

17. Life of Apushimataha, by Gideon Lincecum 415 

1 8. Trip Through the Piney Woods, by Col. J. F. H. Claiborne 487 

19. A Brief History of the Mississippi Territory, by James Hall. . . . 539 

20. Index 577 


GENERAL STEPHEN D. LEE, Columbus, Mississippi. 


DR. R. W. JONES, Laurel, Mississippi. 
HON. E. F. NOEL, Lexington, Mississippi. 

CHANCELLOR R. B. FULTON, University, Mississippi. 


DR. FRANKLIN L. RILEY, University, Mississippi. 

(In addition to the officers.) 

HON. J. R. PRESTON, Jackson, Mississippi. 

MR. JAMES M. WHITE, West Point, Mississippi. 

PROF. GEORGE H. BRUNSON, Clinton, Mississippi. 

BISHOP CHARLES B. GALLOWAY, Jackson, Mississippi. 

All persons who are interested in the work of the Society and desire to 
promote its objects are invited to become members. 

There is no initiation fee. The only cost to members is, annual dues, 
$2.00, or life dues, $30.00. Members receive all Publications of the 
Society free of charge. 

Address all communications to the Secretary and Treasurer of the 
Mississippi Historical Society, University P. O., Mississippi. 




The eighth public meeting of the Mississippi Historical Society 
was held at Jackson, Miss., on January 4th and sth, 1906. All 
the sessions were presided over by Gen. Stephen D. Lee, of 
Columbus, Miss., the efficient President of the Society. 

The first session of the meeting, which was held in the Hall 
of Representatives on Thursday evening, January 4th, was 
attended by a large and distinguished audience. Supt. E. L. 
Bailey, of the Jackson city schools, delivered an eloquent and 
inspiring address of welcome, which was responded to by the 
Second Vice-President of the Society, Hon. E. F. Noel, of Lex- 
ington, Miss. Mr. Noel's address was devoted principally to 
the historic services which Mississippi has rendered to the 
world, in being the first government to recognize the right of 
married women to own property in their own name, and in 
providing for a state school for the higher education of its women. 
It was also the first Southern State to adopt suffrage reforms 
not in conflict with the war amendments to the Federal Con- 
stitution, that placed the control of its government in the hands 
of its white citizens. 

After referring in appreciative terms to the valuable services 
rendered by the society through its publishing activity Gen. 
Lee introduced Hon. W. Calvin Wells, Jr., who in the absence 
of the author presented a paper by Col. Wm. A. Love on "Mis- 
sissippi at Gettysburg" (see page 25). At the conclusion of 
this paper General Lee gave some interesting facts, which it 
recalled to his mind, concerning the heroic death of General 
Barksdale, who lost his life in this bloody fight. 

Prof. J. W. Garner, a native Mississippian, who is now Pro- 
fessor of Political Science in the University of Illinois and who 
has made some valuable contributions to the Publications of 
the Mississippi Historical Society, was then introduced to the 
audience. He made some interesting remarks regarding the 
rapid and highly gratifying development of historical work in 


io Mississippi Historical Society. 

the South and particularly in Mississippi, which has been in the 
forefront of this great movement. He made special reference 
to the valuable work that is now being done in the publication 
of county histories of reconstruction, and stated that this local 
work must be thoroughly done before a true history of recon- 
struction in Mississippi can be written. He also made some 
remarks with reference to the personnel of the Legislature of 
Mississippi in 1870, contrasting it with the Legislature of the 
State which had just assembled. This contrast was extended 
to the local officials in the different parts of the State. Especial 
attention was directed to the rate of taxation under negro and 
carpetbag rule, when the levy rose from i to 14 mills in four 

General Lee appointed the following Committee on Nomi- 
nations: Hon. Dunbar Rowland, Dr. Beverly W. Bond, Jr., 
and Hon. J. R. Preston. The Secretary then announced the 
program for the second and third sessions of the meeting and 
the Society adjourned to meet the following morning in the 
Hall of History. 

The second session of the meeting convened in the place 
appointed, January 5th, at 10:30 a. m. A valuable contribu- 
tion, entitled "A Sketch of the Old Scotch Settlement at Union 
Church" (see page 263) by Rev. C. W. Grafton, was read by the 
Secretary of the Society. General Lee then made some remarks 
about the importance of the Scotch element in our population. 
The Secretary of the Society also called attention to an Irish 
settlement in Jasper County and to other Scotch settlements 
that were made in Mississippi at an early date and spoke of the 
importance of promptness in the writing of their histories. He 
also made some suggestions that would be helpful to investi- 
gators undertaking this work. Hon. W. Calvin Wells spoke 
of the records of the Clinton Presbytery, the existence of which 
he had learned of accidentally. 

An interesting paper by Judge Baxter McFarland on "A For- 
gotten Expedition to Pensacola, in January, 1861" (see page 
15), was presented to the Society. General Lee then made 
some remarks on the number of Southern troops in the war, 
stating that he had changed his mind on the subject at least 
three times. He now thinks that on January 18, 1864, there 

Proceedings of the Eighth Public Meeting Riley. 1 1 

were about 480,000 men on the Confederate rolls, that there 
were altogether about 8,000,000 men enlisted in the Southern 
army and that it lost over 2,000,000. The Secretary of the 
Society called attention to Garner and Lodge's History of the 
United States, written by a Southern and a Northern man, as the 
latest attempt to make an impartial history of our country. 
He also expressed a doubt whether the people of either section 
are prepared to accept an absolutely impartial history. Hon. 
W. Calvin Wells related his experiences in attempting to get 
data for a history of his regiment. He said that the greatest 
difficulty arises from the fact that the roster of a company one 
day is not a roster of that company the next. He referred to 
one company that has not to-day a single survivor, and urged 
upon the Society the importance of doing prompt work in this 
field of investigation. The Secretary then announced the 
program for the third session, and the Society adjourned. 

The third session of the meeting was held in the Hall of Rep- 
resentatives on the evening of Friday, January 5th. Dr. 
Beverly W. Bond, Jr., Assistant Professor of History in the 
University of Mississippi, read a valuable paper, entitled "Mon- 
roe's Efforts in Behalf of the Mississippi Valley During His 
Mission to France" (see page 255). Hon. W. Calvin Wells 
made a report on the progress of his researches in the history of 
"Reconstruction and its Destruction in Hinds County" (see 
page 85). General Lee then made some valuable observa- 
tions on the important services rendered by the Ku Klux Klan 
in Mississippi. Prof. Brunson read part of a contribution on 
"A Brief History of Political Parties in Mississippi," which he 
is preparing for the Publications of the Mississippi Historical 
Society. 1 The abstract of a paper on "The Life and Literary 
Services of Dr. John Monette" (see page 199) was presented by 
the writer. 

The following papers were presented by title: "Grierson's 
Raid," 2 by Dean S. A. Forbes, of the University of Illinois, 
Urbana, 111.; "Reconstruction in Monroe County" (see page 
53), by Hon. George J. Leftwich, of Aberdeen, Miss.; "The 

'This paper was not completed in time to appear in this volume of 
the Publications. 

3 This paper was not submitted to the editor in time for insertion in 
this volume of the Publications. 

12 Mississippi Historical Society. 

Enforcement Act of 1871 and the Ku Klux Klan in Mississippi" 
(see page 109), by Hon. J. S. McNeilly, of Vicksburg, Miss.; 
"Some Notes on the Reconstruction Period," 2 by Capt. W. T. 
Ratliff, of Raymond, Miss. ; "Reconstruction in Pontotoc 
County," 2 by Mr. Luther A. Smith, of Toccopola, Miss.; "A 
Trip to Jackson in 1840" (see page 173), by Judge J. A. Orr, 
of Columbus, Miss.; "The Public Services of E. C. Walthall" 
(see page 239), by Prof. Alfred W. Garner, of Simmons College, 
Abilene, Texas.; "Lands of the Liquidating Levee Board 
Through Litigation and Legislation" (see page 273), by Mr. 
J. W. Wade, of Greenwood, Miss.; "History of the Formation 
of Monroe County," 2 by Mr. H. S. Halbert, of Montgomery, 
Alabama; "Historic Localities on Noxubee River" (see page 
315), by Col. Wm. A. Love, of Crawford, Miss.; "Pearl River 
and Biloxi in Early Maps with Illustrations," 2 by Mr. Wm. 
Beer, of New Orleans, La.; "A Contribution to the History of 
the Mississippi Colonization Society" (see page 331), by Dr. 
Franklin L. Riley, of the University of Mississippi; "The Devel- 
opment of Manufacturing in Mississippi," 2 by Dr. A. M. Muck- 
enfuss, of the University of Mississippi; "The Presidential 
Campaign of 1844 in Mississippi" (see page 179), by Prof. J. E. 
Walmsley, of Millsaps College, Jackson, Miss. 

The Committee on Nominations submitted the following 
report, which was unanimously adopted: 

President, General Stephen D. Lee; First Vice-President, Dr. R. W. 
Jones; Second Vice- President, Hon. E. F. Noel; Archivist, Chancellor 
R. B. Fulton; Secretary and Treasurer, Dr. Franklin L. Riley; Execu- 
tive Committee (in addition to the officers), President J. R. Preston; 
Mr. James M. White; Prof. George H. Brunson; Bishop Charles B. 

Hon. J. R. Preston offered the following resolution, which 
was unanimously adopted: 

"Resolved, That the thanks of the Mississippi Historical Society are 
respectfully tendered to the citizens of Jackson for their courtesies and 
to the honorable Legislature for the use of the Hall of Representatives, 
and for the liberality they have shown in the appropriations to support 
the work of the Society and of the Department of Archives and History. 

"We congratulate the State upon the splendid results achieved by the 
Department of Archives and History, and urgently beseech the repre- 

2 This paper was not submitted to the editor in time for insertion in 
this volume of the Publications. 

Proceedings of the Eighth Public Meeting Riley. 13 

sentatives to continue appropriations necessary to expand and carry 
forward this work, which is reflecting lustre upon the patriotism of the 
State, preserving the renown of the noble dead, promoting the pride of 
the hopeful living, and setting an example to be followed by the immortal 

The Society then adjourned subject to the call of the Execu- 
tive Committee. 

UARY, 1861. 


Early in January, 1861, an expeditionary force was sent from 
Mississippi to the vicinity of Pensacola, Fla., to which only one 
or two State histories make even passing reference and concern- 
ing which no official paper or record can be found in the State 

The expedition was projected during the most critical period 
in the history of the State, at a time when every movement 
made and every step taken by her people for the protection of 
their liberties and autonomy have historic value. Although it 
was unattended with visibly notable results, it well illustrated 
the temper and spirit of the South in that dark hour, and should 
therefore not be suffered to pass into oblivion without an effort 
to rescue it from that fate. 

The desire to do this, at least partially, led to the preparation 
of this brief and imperfect sketch. 

Questions touching rights of the people of the South had long 

[itated the entire country, and the sections became more and 

more estranged as these controversies went on, but the South 


!6 Mississippi Historical Society. 

was reluctant to separate from the Union and delayed so long 
as it had hope that it could remain with honor and safety. 

The election of Mr. Lincoln in the fall of 1860 put an end to 
such hopes. 

It was felt by nearly all that the day of argument, of protest, 
of appeal, had forever passed, and that there were left but two 
alternatives submission or separation. 

The South chose the latter as the only course open to it com- 
patible with the honor and dignity of a free and brave people. 

A sense of wrong and injustice, constantly growing deeper as 
the forces threatening them grew more and more formidable 
and aggressive, finally overcame the lingering desire to remain 
in the old Union, and the Southern people at last turned their 
faces towards a government to be established by and for them- 
selves, and soon became so much absorbed in the affairs of the 
new situation that all other concerns, whether of business or 
pleasure, were put aside. Every thought, every feeling, every 
effort was given in support of the great cause. 

there becoming part of the Eleventh Mississippi regiment, which was 
mustered into the Confederate service at Lynchburg, Va., on May 13, 1861. 

He was "orderly" sergeant, then lieutenant, and participated in the 
battle of Seven Pines and in the fighting around Richmond, receiving a 
desperate wound at Gaines Mill. In the spring of 1863 he was appointed 
adjutant of the Forty-first Mississippi regiment, transferred to the Army 
of Tennessee, and took part with that regiment in the battles of Chicka- 
mauga and Missionary Ridge. In the spring of 1864 he was appointed 
assistant adjutant-general, with the rank of major, and was in the fight- 
ing around Dalton, the battle of Resaca, the Atlanta campaign, Frank- 
lin, Nashville, etc. 

After the close of the war he practiced law for several years at Houston, 
in partnership with Judge J. A. Orr and Col. J. Robert Mclntosh. 

On the i sth of June, 1870, he married Miss Mary A. Holliday, daughter 
of Col. John Holliday, of Aberdeen, Miss., and maternal granddaughter 
of Gen. Jesse Speight, who at the time of his death (1847) was a United 
States Senator from this State. Shortly afterwards Judge McFarland 
removed to Aberdeen and formed a partnership with Gen. Reuben Davis. 
He is still actively engaged in the practice of his profession, being now in 
partnership with his youngest son, Ben H. McFarland. 

On the agth of August, 1883, he was appointed Chancellor of the first 
chancery district, which office he held for sixteen years four terms of 
four years each. He has been first vice-president of the State Bar Asso- 
ciation and has often been a delegate to county and State Democratic 
conventions, but has never sought nor desired political office. In addi- 
tion to his professional duties he has large planting and other business 
interests that demand much of his time. 

A more detailed sketch of the life of Judge McFarland will be found in 
Goodspeed's Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Mississippi, Vol. I, 
p. 1188, and in Confederate Military History, Vol. VII, p. 410. EDITOR. 

A Forgotten Expedition to Pensacola. McFarland. 17 

Preparations for the war impending were everywhere energet- 
ically pushed, with the grim determination to meet force with 
force, if resorted to. The people of the South were agitated and 
excited as never before in the history of the country. The young 
and the old, men, women and children of every condition in 
life, were roused to the highest pitch. The young men rushed 
to arms amidst the fervent plaudits of its devoted women. 

Secession was regarded as the proper means of effecting a 
separation, and shortly after the November election of 1860 
conventions were called in a number of the States to bring it 
about. The Mississippi "secession" convention met on January 
6, 1861, and passed the ordinance of secession on the 9th; that 
of Florida met January 3d, seceding on the roth ; and that of 
Alabama assembled on January 7 and seceded on the nth. 
South Carolina had already seceded, and other States it was cer- 
tain would soon follow. 

That the seceding States would at once secure and retain pos- 
session so far as practicable of the forts, arsenals, arms, equip- 
ments, etc., within their borders, rendering mutual assistance 
where needful for the accomplishment of that purpose, was a 
foregone conclusion. The forts and arsenals in the neighborhood 
of Pensacola were looked upon as highly important strongholds in 
the defence of the harbor and coast, and their possession of great 
value to the South, especially to the Gulf States, and the author- 
ities of Mississippi and Alabama determined to send troops to 
assist Florida in seizing and holding them in advance of the for- 
mation of the new general government. On the 8th of January, 
1 86 1, Governor Moore of Alabama ordered the Second Alabama 
regiment, Col. Tennant Lomax commanding, to the neighbor- 
hood of the Warrington Navy Yard and of Fort Barancas, and 
about the same time Governor John J. Pettus ordered a force 
consisting of eight companies of Mississippi troops to meet on 
the nth of January at Enterprise, where they, or several of 
them, assembled on that date. 

Whilst rendezvousing at that place the soldiers, nearly all of 
whom were educated young gentlemen many of them highly 
gifted spent most of the time in making and listening to patriotic 
and inspiring speeches. At night, by the flickering light of pine- 
knot fires, mounted upon boxes, barrels, etc., scattered over the 

i8 Mississippi Historical Society. 

camp, could be seen eloquent orators, surrounded by dusky 
groups of enthusiastic young soldiers, whose impassioned cheers 
rang wildly out over the shadowy forests. The feeling was 
intense and the bosoms of these gallant volunteers glowed with 
ardent patriotism. The sudden call to amrs found them ready, 
and in responding they fully expected soon to be fronting the 
foe in deadly conflict. 

On the 1 2th of January, 1861, two days after Florida had 
seceded, Lieut. A. J. Slemmer, First U. S. artillery, in command 
of a small garrison in Fort Barancas, probably to avert an antici- 
pated demand for its surrender, evacuated that place, spiking 
over forty guns there and at the Navy Yard, transferring the 
garrison to Fort Pickens, situated on the west of Santa Rosa 
Island, whence it commanded the approach to Pensacola Harbor 
and Bay. 

On the 1 3th of January the force gathered at Enterprise was 
sent by rail to Mobile and thence by steamers to the Navy Yard 
at Pensacola. These companies, along with other volunteer 
organizations, had been formed in anticipation of war between 
the sections, were armed and equipped, and their esprit de corps 
was superb. Notwithstanding there was no authority to send 
them beyond the borders of their own State, the volunteers did 
not hesitate. In this crisis they pushed forward with patriotic 
alacrity to the assistance of their neighbors and ally. 

The companies were the "Chickasaw Guards" (of which the 
writer was a member), from Chickasaw County, Wm. F. Tucker 
captain, L. W. Galbraith first lieutenant, J. H. Moore second 
lieutenant, Dr. W. C. White third lieutenant; the "Columbus 
Riflemen," from Lowndes County, Charles H. Abert captain, 
W. E. Baldwin first lieutenant, Sam D. Harris second lieu- 
tenant, J. W. Benoit third lieutenant; the "Lowndes South- 
rons," from Lowndes County, Wm. B. Wade captain, George H. 
Lipscomb first lieutenant, T. P. Shields second lieutenant, W. C. 
Richards third lieutenant; the "Prairie Guards," from Noxubee 
and Lowndes Counties, J. W. T. Hairston captain, A. H. Led- 
better first lieutenant, James H. Hairston second lieutenant, 
Wm. H. Gray third lieutenant; the "Noxubee Rifles," from 
Noxubee County, George T. Weir captain, J. H. Rives first lieu- 
tenant, Wm. Longstreet second lieutenant, Joseph Koger Dixon 

A Forgotten Expedition to Pensacola. McFarland. 19 

third lieutenant; the "Enterprise Guards," from Clarke County, 
John W. O'Ferrall captain, W. S. Reynolds second lieutenant, 
and Andrew E. Moody third lieutenant (R. Stewart Weir re- 
signed as first lieutenant a few days before the company started, 
was later captain of another company, and died in 1862 with 
that rank) ; the "Lauderdale Rifles," from Lauderdale County, 
Con. Rea captain (Will Whitaker, Laines Lasley, Dr. A. J. Craw- 
fordor Crumpton, or Wm. Spinks were the lieutenants, as 
well as can now be ascertained) ; the "Quitman Light Infantry," 
from Clarke County, J. L. Duck captain, F. G. Nicholson first 
lieutenant, William Hughes second lieutenant, J. E. Hardy 
third lieutenant, as well as now can be learned. 

There has been much difficulty in ascertaining the names of 
some of the lieutenants in the three companies last mentioned, 
the memories of the few members of those companies who can 
be found at this late day have grown dim, but no pains have been 
spared to give the names of the officers of all the companies in 
the expedition as accurately as possible. 

At Mobile the Mississippians were joined by two Alabama 
companies, the "Alabama Light Dragoons," Capt. Theodore 
O'Hara (author of "The Bivouac of the Dead"), and the "South 
Alabama Rangers," Lieutenant Ripley. 

On the way from Mobile to Pensacola the weather was rough, 
the waves high, and many of the soldiers suffered greatly from 
seasickness. When the steamer bearing part of these troops 
passed Fort Pickens, at the entrance of Pensacola Harbor, the 
Federal garrison stood to their guns, apparently with the inten- 
tion of firing into and sinking the frail craft and all on board, 
but the demonstration proved to be no more than a military 
observance, and the troops kept on their way, landing without 
molestation upon the Navy Yard pier, where they disembarked, 
the companies marching to the marine hospital, in which they 
quartered during the campaign. 

The position to which the Mississippi troops were assigned was 
about one mile east of the Navy Yard and 600 yards from the 
beach, fronting Fort Pickens. This fort was then occupied by 
a garrison of about eighty men under Lieutenant Slemmer, and 
was distant about two and three-fourths miles. 

2O Mississippi Historical Society. 

Fort Barancas was to the west about half a mile, and was 
occupied by the "Montgomery Blues" and possibly by other Ala- 
bama troops. That State then had upon the ground a regiment 
under command of Colonel Lomax. Florida ordered two com- 
panies to Pensacola, but the order was countermanded before 
they reached there, and therefore that State had very few troops 
in the vicinity at that time. 

A day or two was spent by the soldiers, mostly in arranging 
their quarters and in preparing ball cartridges, then almost 
exclusively in use, under orders to be ready with fifty rounds of 
ammunition and upon the alert for a call to arms at any moment. 

On the 1 7th day of January the companies were organized into 
a regiment, of which Captain Charles A. Abert was elected colonel, 
Capt. William B. Wade lieutenant-colonel, and Samuel F. Butler 
major, the election having been made by the company officers. 
Captain Duck was appointed adjutant, William H. Brown quar- 
termaster, Charles S. Morton or Hugh Topp commissary, Rich- 
ard Murray quartermaster-sergeant, H. Lyons sergeant-major, 
Dr. W. D. Lyles surgeon, Dr. B. A. Vaughan and Dr. C. M. Dick- 
inson assistant surgeons. 

The companies were industriously drilled upon the deep sand 
of the shore, almost blinding in its glittering whiteness, and the 
men feasted upon fish and oysters. They also assisted in the 
erection of sand batteries upon the shore fronting Fort Pickens 
and Santa Rosa Island. In these labors they were joined by 
Alabama troops under Colonel Lomax. 

There were regimental dress parades in the evening, guard 
mountings in the morning ; and reveille became a familiar early 
morning sound to the unwilling ears of the drowsy soldiers, who 
quickly conformed, however, to the unaccustomed routine. In 
a few days the soldiers of each side settled into a state of watch- 
ing and waiting, after which little of interest occurred nothing 
save the dull routine of camp life. Occasionally some unusual 
movement of the Brooklyn, Wyandotte, and one or two other 
United States war ships, hovering in the offing out near Fort 
Pickens, attracted attention, but it soon became apparent that 
for some time at least no attempt would be made to retake the 

A Forgotten Expedition to Pensacola. McFarland. 21 

Meantime, in those days of tense excitement and strenuous 
activities, developments were swiftly going forward, and the 
phases of affairs constantly changing as events took their rapid 
course. New objective points and other theaters of military 
operations swung into view and soon lessened the early impor- 
tance of Pensacola and its surroundings. Attention quickly 
turned to these later centers of activity and the immediate need 
for troops elsewhere began to be realized. The sudden expedi- 
tion to Pensacola, having practically accomplished the purposes 
for which it was sent, was nearing its end. 

On the jist of January Gen. Charles Clarke came down from 
Mississippi to look over the situation. In the condition of affairs 
at that time it was deemed unadvisable to precipitate hostilities 
by an attack upon Fort Pickens, especially with new troops, 
destitute of artillery and supplies, and it was evident that no 
early effort would be made by the Federal troops to recover the 
forts in possession of the Southern soldiers. Neither side was 
quite ready to take the initiative in hostilities. Both were ener- 
getically pushing preparations for the great conflict, and both 
acted with wary circumspection in the pause before the storm 

There being no necessity for the Mississippi troops to remain 
longer at that point, and the limited fund for their maintenance 
having been exhausted, Gen. Charles Clarke, on the ist of Feb- 
ruary, 1861, "mustered out" the companies from this State, and 
on the 4th of February the "Chickasaw Guards," the "Prairie 
Guards," the "Lauderdale Rifles" (which disbanded), and the 
"Quitman Light Infantry" embarked upon the steamer Dick 
Keyes for Mobile, proceeding thence by rail to their respective 
homes, arriving about February 6th. The remaining companies 
left camp on the 6th and reached their homes on the ;th and 8th 
of February. 

This military episode sudden and brief occurred nearly 
forty -six years ago and has long since been forgotten, but it 
must be judged in the light of contemporaneous conditions 
rather than by visible military results. It was regarded at the 
time as of significant importance, aroused great interest and 
enthusiasm, and was the subject of wide and excited comment 
at home and abroad. It strengthened the determination and 

22 Mississippi Historical Society. 

increased the confidence of the people all over the South, and was 
everywhere regarded as a test of the spirit, devotion and purpose 
of her people. 

It was the first aggressive movement in which Southern States 
acted in concert, and dispelled all doubt as to their future coop- 
eration. The moral effect greatly exceeded in value and impor- 
tance all other resulting physical advantages. It is, therefore, 
perhaps impossible for any to measure its full influence except 
those who felt and observed it. Until Sumter it was the 
most formidable of the operations in which separate States acted 
together. Knowledge of this intended military movement in 
aid of Florida doubtless hastened the abandonment of several 
other important forts and arsenals in that State, as well as of 
others along the coast in other States, and quickened movements 
to capture all the forts in the borders of the South. Very soon 
Fort Pickens and Sumter were all that held out. 

The young Mississippians in that expedition were nearly all 
scions of the best families in the State and the highest types of 
Southern gentlemen of the olden times, and in the mighty con- 
flict that soon followed displayed a constancy and valor rarely 
equaled and never surpassed, freely shedding their blood, many 
of them yielding their lives, in defence of a cause they believed 

A number of them rose to military commands of importance. 
Capt. William F. Tucker, after serving in Virginia one year at 
the head of his company, the "Chickasaw Guards" (Company H 
in the Eleventh Mississippi infantry regiment), raised the Forty- 
first Mississippi regiment, of which he at once became colonel, 
and later was made a brigadier-general. He was twice severely 
wounded, first in one, then in the other arm, and after having 
passed through the perils of the war was foully assassinated at his 
home a few years after its close. A gallant soldier, a splendid 
officer, impetuously brave, he was a man of heroic mold. The 
writer served in intimate relations with him through most of the 
war and cannot forbear, in passing, this brief tribute to the char- 
acter and worth of a dead comrade. He was a patriot, a noble 
gentleman, and a good man. 

Maj. Sam F. Butler became lieutenant-colonel of the Eleventh 
Mississippi regiment as gallant a command as ever met a foe 

A Forgotten Expedition to Pensacola. McFarland. 23 

and along with the lamented Frank Liddell, its knightly colonel, 
and the brave T. Sidney Evans (who was with the Pensacola 
expedition), its major fell, as became soldiers, at Sharpsburg. 

Kennon McElroy, a member of the "Lauderdale Rifles," 
became colonel of the Thirteenth Mississippi regiment, under 
Longstreet, and perished at the head of his men in a bloody charge 
upon Fort Sanders, near Knoxville, Tenn. 

Capt. W. E. Baldwin became colonel of the famous Fourteenth 
Mississippi regiment, later was a brigadier-general, and unfortu- 
nately, toward the close of the war, was killed by a fall from his 
horse in Mobile. 

Captain George H. Lipscomb, as major of the Twenty -seventh 
Mississippi regiment, fell gallantly in the sanguinary battle of 
Perry ville, Ky. 

Capt. William B. Wade had a distinguished career as colonel 
of a cavalry regiment, often in command of his brigade, and was 
murdered in Columbus shortly after the war by soldiers of the 
Federal garrison at that place. 

Capt. J. W. O'Ferrall became a brigadier-general of State 
troops, and died about 1894 at Enterprise. 

Many others became officers, and all the members of the com- 
panies in that campaign, save a few too old for service, served 
with distinguished gallantry, a large proportion of them having 
been killed or disabled during the war. 

After long and patient inquiry, this sketch contains all that 
has been ascertained of that campaign. But few of those in it 
survive, and most of the survivors accessible have forgotten 
much that took place, and there are no records of the expedition, 
so far as known to the writer. 


It is not the purpose of the writer to discuss technically the 
maneuvers of the two armies leading up to Gettysburg, or to 
describe specifically the battles that followed, but rather to 
recount the deeds of Mississippians who shared the glory of 
victory and bitterness of defeat in those sanguinary struggles. 

It is appropriate, therefore, in the outset to refer to the diffi- 
culties encountered in securing first-hand information from actual 
participants. Forty years and more have come and gone ; the 
commercial and industrial strides following a rehabilitated 
country have separated far and wide the survivors, and the great 
conquerer death has been ever on the march. 2 

Gettysburg was the only battle of the War between the States 
fought north of Mason and Dixon's line. Although its fields of 
operations have been visited by tourists from all quarters and 
studied in its tactical and strategetical maneuvers by military 
men of the world, it is less understood, or more misunderstood, 
in the South than is any other battle of this great conflict. 

This is probably due to the fact that the Pennsylvania cam- 
paign consumed but eighteen days, consisting of a rapid march 
into the enemy's country, a three days' battle and a retrograde 
movement, followed by defensive operations to the close of hos- 
tilities. The disastrous results to the South immediately fol- 
lowing the war precipitated such a struggle for civil and political 
existence as to overshadow for a time everything else. So the 
history of Gettysburg is mainly the work of Northern writers. 
True, the part performed on the afternoon of the third day by 
one division of General Longstreet's corps has received the atten- 
tion of many Virginia contributors to military literature, but as 
that division did not reach the firing line until after 15,000 Con- 
federate soldiers had been killed, wounded, and captured, and 

'A biographical sketch of the author of this contribution will be found 
in the Publications of the Mississippi Historical Society, Vol. VII, p. 351. 

2 Grateful acknowledgment is made to various survivors of the Penn- 
sylvania campaign for material upon which this sketch is based. Their 
contributions will be carefully preserved. 


26 Mississippi Historical Society. 

as its companion division of General Hill's corps suffered in that 
action equally, if not worse, in casualties, it is evidently unfair 
to accept its exploits, however grand and glorious, as a complete 
history of even one of the half dozen separate and distinct battles 
fought around Gettysburg. Nor is it fair for North Carolina 
historians to claim superiority for their troops in the third day's 
battle on the basis of losses which it is evident were sustained 
for the most part in the battle of the first day. 

Soldiers of twelve Southern States share the honors of victory 
and the grandeur of defeat in that defensive-aggressive campaign, 
and it is only a question of time when they will assume their 
proper place in history. 

Mississippi was represented on the fields of Gettysburg by the 
infantry brigades of Davis of Heth's division, Hill's corps, con- 
sisting of the Second, Eleventh, and Forty-second Mississippi 
regiments and the Fifty-fifth North Carolina regiment, which 
was temporarily assigned to it; Barksdale's brigade of McLaw's 
division, Longstreet's corps, consisting of the Thirteenth, Seven- 
teenth, Eighteenth, and Twenty-first regiments; Posey's brigade 
of Anderson's division, Hill's corps, consisting of the Twelfth, 
Sixteenth, Nineteenth, and Twenty -first regiments; Ward's Mis- 
sissippi battery (the Madison Light Artillery) of Poague's bat- 
talion, which was attached to Fender's division. In addition to 
these infantry-artillery forces from Mississippi, the Adams County 
troop of cavalry, the Chickasaw Rangers, and the Kemper 
County cavalry of Hampton's brigade, Stuart's division, also 
took part in the battle of Gettysburg. 

These troops were, in the main, veterans, having volunteered 
before hostilities began and having participated in most of the 
great battles in Virginia, from first Manassas to Chancellorsville. 
They had met the Army of the Potomac under every condition 
of warfare and had experienced every phase of fighting, both 
offensive and defensive, not infrequently meeting the enemy in 
the open, where they disproved more than once the Napoleonic 
axiom that "success is always on the side of the strongest bat- 
talions." Time and again had they assisted in driving back "on 
to Richmond" demonstrations, and now "the finest army on the 
planet" was outgeneraled and beaten at Chancellorsville and 
compelled to seek cover behind the Rappahannock. The time 

Mississippi at Gettysburg. Love. 37 

seemed auspicious for another aggressive movement, forcing 
further retirement, but after a long delay invasion instead was 
determined upon and the necessary strategic maneuvers were 
executed and the initial move of the campaign made. 

On crossing the Potomac into the enemy's country there was 
in the rank and file that bouyancy of spirit, firmness of purpose, 
and self-confidence characteristic of an invading and hitherto 
invincible army. In morale it was unsurpassed, and, except in 
point of equipment, a stronger and more reliable force, numer- 
ically considered, never existed. 

Since the Mississippi commands were in different divisions, 
and fought separately and on different ground in the several 
battles, they are treated of consecutively and in the order of 
their engagements. 

From a diary kept by G. W. Bynum 3 of Company A, Second 
Mississippi, penciled on the line, on the march, and in the camp, 
the following extracts are made : 

"June 10, 1863. We have been lying in the entrenchments (at Freder- 
icksburg) for three or four days. All quiet except an occasional shot 
from the artillery. General Lee has gone up towards Culpeper Court- 
house with Longstreet's corps. 

"June 14. The Yankees this side of the river fell back last night, and 
we moved up near Falmouth, which is situated on the opposite side of 
the Rappahannock, two miles above Fredericksburg. 

"June 15. The enemy's pickets retired last night, except their videttes. 
Tom Arnold, Corporal Patrick and myself went across the river to recon- 
noiter. The few videttes fell back when they saw us wading the rivet. 
When we appeared in the streets of Falmouth I never saw a happier 
people. The old men and ladies happily met us with a cordial hand- 
shake, their eyes brimming with tears of joy. We went through the vil- 
lage to the enemy's camp on Stafford Heights, and then returning found 
the brigade (Davis's) on the march. To-night we are camped near the 
Wilderness battle-field. 

"June 17. Arrived at Culpeper about 10 o'clock and camped. 

"June 1 8. March continued to-day. Very warm and disagreeable. 
Several of the boys were overheated and fell out of ranks, Brother Turner* 
among them. We are now camped on a high hill on the north side of 
the Rappahannock. 

''June 19. Still on the march. Camped to-night within seven miles 
of Front Royal. 

"June 20. Crossed the Blue Ridge and waded the Shenandoah river. 
Camped in three miles of Front Royal. 

2 There were six Bynum brothers in this company, and although often 
wounded they all survived the war. 

8 He was a member of the Second Mississippi and fought the first day 
at Gettysburg. He was so close on the enemy when wounded that the 
paper attached to the old-fashioned cartridge was forced into his leg. 
However, he had his wound dressed, rested on the second, and went into 
the assault on the third, and came out with three others of his company. 

28 Mississippi Historical Society. 

"June 21. Left the Winchester pike and passed through White Post, 
and are now camped near Berryville. General Longstreet's corps is here 

"June 22. Rested to-day. 

"June 23. Left camp this morning about noon; passed through Berry- 
ville and Reppan, and now we are camped near Charlestown, a place made 
famous by the hanging of John Brown. 

"June 24. Passed through Charlestown and are now in two miles of 
Shepherdstown on the Potomac. 

"June 25. Crossed the Potomac by wading and passed through the 
battle-field of Sharpsburg, which was fought September 17, 1862. Much 
sign of the conflict is visible. The low mounds which cover the bones of 
those who fell, the furrowed ground and scarred trees, all speak more 
plainly than words of that terrible conflict. I saw the ground over which 
we charged on that memorable occasion and the very spot where I was 
wounded. Sad, sad thoughts are recalled by again reviewing the old 
battle-ground. To-night we are camped near Hagerstown, Md. 

"June 26. To-day we crossed over into Pennsylvania. The people 
appear to be badly frightened on account of our presence. 

"June 27 To-day one year ago we were fighting around Richmond. 
To-night a large portion of Lee's army is across the mountain. We are 
now camped at the base of Cumberland Mountain, near Greenwood, Pa. 

"June 28. Remained in camp cooking rations. Our army is pressing 
a number of horses into the Confederate service. 

"June 29. Marched across the mountain and camped near Cashtown. 
Saw where Longstreet's corps destroyed Thad. Stevens's iron works. 

"June 30. Remained in camp to-day. Raining." 4 

4 The following brief extracts from the diary of F. L. Riley, a private in 
Company B, Sixteenth Mississippi, will be of interest to many Mississip- 
pians : 

"June 5, 1863. We march to the front and occupy the works about 
Fredericksburg, the Yanks having crossed the river. Skirmishing inces- 
santly. We remain in the ditches to the i/jth inst. 

" une 14. To Chancellorsville. 

"_ une 15. Cross Rapidan River at Germana. 

" une 16. To Culpeper, 

" une 17. Waded Hazel River. 

" une 18. To Flint Hill. 

" une 19. Crossed Blue Ridge Mountains to Front Royal; waded 
South and North Shenandoah Rivers. 

"June 20. To Whiteppst. 

"June 21. To Berryville. 

"June 23. To Charlestown. 

"June 24. Waded Potomac River at Shepherdstown. To Sharpsburg 
and Petersburg, Md. 

"June 25. To Boonsboro and Funktown, Md. 

"June 26. To Hagerstown, Md. To Middleburg (which is on the line 
of Md. & Pa.). To Greencastle, Pa. 

"June 27. To Marion and Chambersburg, Pa. We rested here three 

"July i, 1863. To Fayetteville, New Salem and Gettysburg. Fight 
Yanks driven. 

"July 2 and 3. Fight continues. Tom"! Shorter wounded r and after- 
wards captured. 

"July 4. To Fail-field, Pa. 

"July 5. To Wainsburg, Pa. 

"July 6. To Lightwoodburg, Md. 

"July 7. To near Hagerstown, Md., where we rested two or three days." 

Mississippi at Gettysburg. Love. 29 

This concise diary might be continued with interest to sur- 
vivors of the Second regiment, and indeed of the rest of Davis's 
brigade, for they marched together and fought together; and it 
might also furnish valuable data for the use of future historians, 
but as the writer confines himself to the personal experiences 
and observations of participants in the battle of Gettysburg, the 
extract serves his present purpose. A diary is far more reliable 
than recollections and in many instances preferable to official 


On June 3oth, General Heth, in camp at Cashtown, secured 
permission to send to Gettysburg for supplies, principally shoes, 
of which his troops were in great need. General Pettigrew's 
North Carolina brigade was selected for the duty. Advancing 
in that direction, he soon discovered the enemy and withdrew, 
as his force was too small to bring on an engagement. The next 
day, July ist, the brigades of Archer (Tennessee) and Davis 
(Mississippi) were ordered forward. On passing Pettigrew's 
men the Mississippians were told that they would have only 
Pennsylvania militia to fight. But at the point where the Cham- 
bersburg pike crosses Marsh creek, three miles west of Gettys- 
burg, they encountered two brigades of Buford's cavalry. Skir- 
mishers were thrown forward, and the great battle of Gettysburg 
was on. 

Archer advanced on the south and Davis on the north of the 
pike, supported by artillery. Additional cavalry was hurried to 
the front, and, joining Buford's dismounted force, endeavored 
with carbines to check the advance. The advantage of rapid- 
fire guns and the protection afforded by fences, trees, etc., made 
the resistance more formidable than would be expected from 
militia; but the impetuous Southerners pressed onward and 
drove the enemy back to Willoughby Run. Here they encoun- 
tered Gamble's cavalry brigade, also dismounted and supported 
by artillery, and the fight became stubborn and long drawn out. 

General Reynolds, commanding the First Union corps, with 
Wadsworth's division, now arrived and took position in the rear 
of the cavalry. The leading regiments of Cutler's brigade, in 
relieving the cavalry, came into action confronting the Second 

3o Mississippi Historical Society. 

and the Forty-second Mississippi and the Fifty-fifth North Car- 
olina, commanded respectively by Colonels Stone, Miller, and 

The Eleventh Mississippi was left at Cashtown guarding the 
trains and did not participate in this battle. 

Realizing the magnitude of resistance, but remembering the 
achievements of the past, the Mississippians nerved themselves 
for the arduous task, and with that inimitable "rebel yell" 
rushed forward to within almost bayonet reach before the steady 
lines of Cutler gave way. The advance was continued over a 
well defined line of dead and wounded Federals. Many prison- 
ers were captured, together with two beautiful silk flags. 

After the repulse and while crossing an old abandoned railroad 
cut, orders were given for a new alignment, and during the par- 
tial confusion incident thereto a Wisconsin regiment, marching 
on the left flank of Archer, changed front, and, charging up the 
cut, captured Major Blair and a number of men belonging to the 
Second Mississippi. Archer being in the woods, his right was 
overlapped by Meredeth's Union Brigade, which, taking him in 
the flank and the rear, captured him and a large portion of his 

General Reynolds, while personally directing the extension of 
his line, was killed in front of the woods. Why these two Con- 
federate brigades were ordered or allowed to fight their way into 
the midst of the First Union corps without proper or timely flank 
support, has not been explained by historians. 

Reinforcements, however, afterwards arrived, and the Confed- 
erate battle lines were extended and the enemy driven through 
Gettysburg in great confusion, losing over five thousand pris- 

Early in the action, when the boys were "drivin" "em," as in 
the early days of the war, the gallant Colonel Conally of the 
Fifty-fifth North Carolina was wounded, and when asked by 
Major Belo of the same regiment if seriously hurt, replied: "Yes, 
but the litter-bearers are here ; go on and don't let the Mississip- 
pians get ahead of you." 

Colonel Stone of the Second was wounded, and the command 
devolved upon Lieutenant-Colonel Humphreys. The Forty- 
second Mississippi was comparatively a new regiment, having 

Mississippi at Gettysburg. Love. 31 

been organized in May, 1862, and Gettysburg was its first "bap- 
tism of blood." If any doubt existed as to its fighting qualities, 
they were dispelled that day. Colonel Miller was an early vol- 
unteer, and commanded Company G "Pontotoc Minute Men," in 
the Second, until the formation of the Forty-second, and on this 
occasion fought his regiment fully up to the high standard set 
by the Second and Eleventh. 

The loss of Davis 's brigade in this day's action was not sepa- 
rately reported, but included in the general returns for the cam- 
paign. It is generally estimated, however, that two-thirds of 
the loss of the regiments engaged was sustained on that day. 

For nearly six hours had these two brigades marched and 
fought, and it was doubtless the sight of their worn and depleted 
condition, as well as that of Heth's other brigades, that deterred 
General Lee, who arrived on the field in the afternoon, from 
forcing the fight beyond Gettysburg and thus reaping the reward 
their gallantry had so dearly won. 

Near the scene of its last action the brigade made camp for the 
night, and anxiously awaited orders for the morrow. 


Barksdale's brigade was camped at Greenwood, sixteen miles 
from Gettysburg, and at 9 o'clock A. M., July ist, under hurry 
orders, marched in that direction. Owing to the congested 
condition of the Chambersburg pike, over which Ewell's corps 
and supply trains were moving, the brigade marched by the most 
direct route, regardless of roads, on by-paths, through fields, 
over rocks and hills, and finally reaching, after midnight, a point 
on Plum Run, north of the town, there halted for rest and sleep. 
At sunrise on the 26., it formed a line of battle in the suburbs of 
the town, where it lay inactive for two or three hours. It then 
formed column and marched by the right front, then counter- 
marched and took position between Wofford, who was on his 
right, and Wilcox, who was on his left, and behind a small eleva- 
tion in a skirt of timber fronting the "Peach Orchard," then 
occupied by Graham's brigade of Sickle's Union corps. In front, 
600 yards away, was a battery, which the impetuous Barksdale 
asked permission to charge immediately, but his request was 

32 Mississippi Historical Society. 

denied. The brigade was formed in the following order from 
right to left: The Twenty-first regiment, under Colonel Hum- 
phreys; the Eighteenth, under Colonel Griffin; the Seventeenth, 
under Colonel Holder, and the Thirteenth, under Colonel Carter. 

Artillery was posted on the right, fifty yards in front. Men 
were ordered to tear away a plank fence within 200 yards of the 
enemy, which was done without molestation. Caps were taken 
from the guns and orders given for movement in closed ranks. 
At a signal the artillery opened fire, and for half an hour the fight 
was fast and furious. 

General Longstreet makes the following statement about this 
interesting period in the struggle: "I rode to McLaw's; found 
him ready for his opportunity, and Barksdale chafing in his wait 
for orders to seize the battery in his front. After additional 
caution to hold his ranks closed, McLaw ordered Barksdale in. 
With glorious bearing he sprang to his work, overriding obstacles 
and dangers. Without a pause to deliver a shot, he had the 
battery." 5 

A further advance was ordered and continued. The regiments 
on the left, the Thirteenth and the Eighteenth, encountered 
Seely's U. S. battery, strongly supported by infantry, while the 
regiments on the right, the Twenty-first and the Seventeenth, 
met the New York Excelsior brigade. Another charge, and 
victory again perched upon the banners of the gallant Mississip- 
pians. Although the enemy was being steadily driven back, 
reinforcements moved promptly out to cover their retreat. 

Next to be encountered was Willard's splendid New York bri- 
gade, as it advanced to cover the left of Humphreys 's retiring 
line. Having recently entered the field with the step and pre- 
cision of a dress parade, though in "rough uniform and with 
bright bayonets," these veterans, now covered with dust and 
blackened with the smoke of battle, with ranks depleted by shot 
and shell, and faint from exhaustion, responded with cheers to 
the clarion call of the intrepid Barksdale as he "moved bravely 
on, the guiding spirit of the battle." Mounted and with sword 
held aloft "at an angle of forty-five degrees," he exclaimed: 
"Brave Mississippians, one more charge and the day is ours!" 
But the resistance was too great, and, besides this, he was being 

5 See From Manassas to Appomattox, p. 370. 

Mississippi at Gettysburg. Love. 33 

outflanked by Willard. Orders were given for a recall, but 
Barksdale either did not receive it or failed to obey before he fell 
mortally wounded. He died defiant and unyielding, a costly 
though willing sacrifice upon the altar of patriotism. 8 

All the field officers of the brigade were either killed or wounded 
except Colonel Humphreys of the Twenty-first, who assumed 

General Longstreet makes the following statement: 

"When General Humphreys, who succeeded to the Barksdale brigade, 
was called back to the new line he thought there was some mistake in 
the orders, and only withdrew as far as a captured battery, and when the 
order was repeated retired under protest." 7 

Neither Barksdale nor Humphreys had had the advantage of 
military training, except in the actual theater of war; but no 
troops were ever led by truer or braver officers, and no leaders 
ever had more loyal or determined followers. Whatever history 
may say of the gallantry and prowess displayed on the rocky 
slopes and green fields of Gettysburg, whether at the so-called 
"high-water mark of the Confederacy" or elsewhere, no incident 
can surpass in grandeur the glorious achievement of the Griffith- 
Barksdale-Humphreys brigade, and no spot on that blood- 
stained field is a more hallowed spot than that "where Barks- 
dale fell." The loss of the brigade during this brief afternoon 
fight, which closed with the setting sun, was 750 killed, wounded, 
and missing. This fact indicates not only the character of the 
opposition, but the fighting qualities of this brigade, which we 
are told put almost one thousand of the enemy out of action in 
its victorious march. 

Mississippians justly prided themselves on marksmanship. 
The bear hunters of the Mississippi- Yazoo Delta, the deer 
hunters of the pine woods, and the small game hunters of the 

'General Barksdale was mortally wounded by a grape shot in the edge 
of the wheat field, near the branch, and started to the rear. Private J. 
C. Lloyd, of Company C, Thirteenth Mississippi, was within twenty feet 
of him at the time. Almost immediately thereafter Lloyd himself was 
shot in the arm and fell in the bushes lining the branch. Here he re- 
mained until the enemy advanced over him and then retreated, when he 
started to the rear, and soon found General Barksdale lying upon the 
ground alone, weak and helpless, but uncomplaining and resigned to his 
fate. Lloyd, who is now a prominent citizen of Meridian, Miss., lost an 

7 See From Manassas to Appomattox, p. 371. 

34 Mississippi Historical Society. 

East Mississippi prairies were ready marksmen and invincible 
except against great odds. 

When brigaded with the Fourth Alabama, Sixth North Caro- 
lina and Second Mississippi, under General Whiting, Colonel 
Fender, of the Sixth North Carolina, reported to headquarters 
that a hog had been killed within the lines of the Eleventh 
Mississippi. General Whiting inquired what evidence he had 
of thjs. Colonel Fender stated that he heard the report of the 
gun inside their lines and heard the hog squeal. "I am sat- 
isfied that you are mistaken, Colonel," replied General 
Whiting, "when a Eleventh Mississippian shoots a hog it 
don't squeal." 

Posey's Mississippi brigade, composed of the Twelfth regiment, 
under Colonel Thomas; the Sixteenth, under Colonel Baker; the 
Nineteenth, under Colonel Harris, and the Forty-eighth, under 
Colonel Jayne, was at Chambersburg and marched to Cashtown, 
where its division, Anderson's and Hill's reserved artillery, were 
halted. At the opening of battle it marched to the scene of 
action, taking position in the rear of Seminary Ridge. Late in 
the afternoon of the second day it advanced against the right of 
Humphreys's Federal division and drove in its skirmishers under 
a strong musketry resistance in front of an enfilading artillery 
fire. Here it established a picket line, which was maintained 
until late into the night, when it retired to the line behind 
Pegram's artillery, where it remained in support throughout the 
eventful hours of the third day. This brigade remained on the 
ground until the night of the fourth day, when it was withdrawn 
and formed the rear guard of the army until Lee's formation in 
front of Meade at Hagerstown, Md. 

This splendid veteran brigade had already won high honors 
on hotly contested fields and only needed an opportunity to add 
fresh laurels to its well earned reputation. The gallant Colonel 
Nat H. Harris later became its commander, and its history closed 
with Appomattox. 8 

8 In the winter of 1863-64 the Young Men's Christian Association of 
Posey's (afterwards Harris's) Mississippi brigade led off in a movement 
which was followed by a number of other brigades and deserves to be 
written in letters of gold on one of the brightest pages of our country's 
history. They solemnly resolved to fast one day in every week in order 
that they might send that day's rations to the suffering poor of the city of 
Richmond. Although they received only $11 a month in Confederate c.ur- 

Mississippi at Gettysburg. Love. 35 


The Pennsylvania campaign may be properly said to have 
commenced on June gth, on which date was fought the great 
cavalry battles on and around the plains of Brandy Station, 
south of the Rappahannock River, between the forces of Stuart 
and Pleasanton. Little has been said concerning the conspic- 
uous part played by the small force of Mississippi cavalry belong- 
ing to the Army of Northern Virginia, their division chief having 
been censured by early historians of the war for the failure of 
Lee at Gettysburg. This opportunity cannot, therefore, be lost 
to attempt tardy justice to this able commander and his gallant 
body of troopers, as brave as ever strided horse or drew blade 
in the defense of any cause. 

That the Confederate Government did not appreciate the 
importance of cavalry at the commencement of the war, and 
afterwards did not make adequate provision for its maintenance, 
is clearly set forth by the condition of acceptance of the first vol- 
unteer company from Mississippi to go to Virginia. General 

rency and never got more than half rations, and very frequently not that, 
they voluntarily fasted one day in the week in order to send that day's 
rations to God's poor in the city, for whose defense they were so freely 
and heroically offering and sacrificing their lives. (J- Wm. Jones's 
Religion in Lee's Army, pp. 398-399.) 

When the orders for moving came to A. P. Hill's corps, near Freder- 
icksburg, in June, 1863, and put the column in motion for Gettysburg, 
they found Chaplains J. J. Hyman and E. B. Barrett, of Georgia, engaged 
in baptizing in Massapomax creek some of the converts in the revival 
which had begun in their regiments and which did not cease during the 
bloody campaign which followed, and as a result of which a remarkable 
scene was enacted near Hagerstown, Md., on Sunday, June 29, 1863. 

The banks of the historic Antietam were lined with an immense crowd 
of Confederate soldiers. But they came not in "battle array" no oppos- 
ing force confronted them; no cannon belched its hoarse thunder, and 
the shriek of shell and whistle of the minnie were unheard. Instead of 
these, sweet strains of the songs of Zion were wafted on the breeze and 
the deepest solemnity pervaded the gathered hosts as one of the chap- 
lains led down into the historic stream fourteen veterans who a few months 
before had fought at Sharpsburg and were now enlisting under the ban- 
ner of the Cross. (Ibid., p. 254^) 

These army chaplains almost without exception accompanied their 
commands to Gettysburg, and after the great battles were over volun- 
tarily remained to render the comforts and consolation the Gospel affords 
to the wounded and dying soldiers ; but contrary to the rules governing 
civilized warfare they were arrested and imprisoned, as were also the 
Confederate surgeons detailed to care for the badly wounded left behind. 

This arbitrary action of the Federal authorities will ever form a dark 
blot on the page of American history. 

36 Mississippi Historical Society. 

Will T. Martin, then as now a prominent citizen of Natchez, Miss., 
not unlike a large and substantial class in Mississippi, favored the 
Union, or rather union under the constitution and laws of the 
United States, but opposed fanaticism, visionary theories of a 
"higher law," and insurrectionary measures. Visiting Washing- 
ton in the winter of 1860, he heard the debates in Congress, read 
the newspapers, and caught the trend of divided public senti- 
ment. Realizing that the "irrepressible conflict" was fast 
approaching, and acting upon the principle that "forewarned is 
forearmed," he went directly to New York and to New England 
and purchased full and complete equipments for a cavalry com- 
pany. On reaching home he immediately set about the work of 
organization. Men and horses were voted upon and all of either 
that were in any way undesirable were "black-balled." Shortly 
after the inauguration of President Davis at Montgomery, Gen- 
eral Martin tendered the services of his company, the Adams 
County troop of cavalry. He received the following reply from 
Adjutant-General Cooper at Richmond: 

"Have all the cavalry wanted in Virginia. No money for cavalry trans- 

Companies of infantry and artillery were leaving for the front. 
The cavalrymen were called "aristocrats" and "too fine to fight." 
Besides their showy equipments, they had tents, cooking uten- 
sils, a big lot of servants, and were fully supplied with Saratoga 
trunks. But in addition to these things they had the real "sin- 
ews of war," or the wherewith to go to war, in the form of a large 
"company fund." The taunts of the populace were provoking. 
Despairing of Government aid for transportation, the fine steamer 
"Mary Keene" was chartered for Memphis, Tenn., and the troop- 
ers, bidding adieu to families and friends, left for the scene of 
conflict. Among the many to inspect and admire the company 
en route was N. B. Forrest, a man destined to reach great prom- 
inence in the profession of arms by rising rapidly from private 
to lieutenant-general by meritorious service alone. Before com- 
mencing an inspection of this company he courteously explained 
that he wanted to raise a "hoss company." 

Chartering a train of cars at Memphis, the command in due 
time lined up in front of General Cooper's office. The com- 
mander then entered and engaged in the following conversation : 

Mississippi at Gettysburg. Love. 37 

"I presume this is General Cooper. I am Captain Martin of the Adams 
County troop of cavalry, from Natchez, Miss. I did not think you had 
cavalry enough in Virginia. You could not pay transportation, we 
could, and are here." 

"Where is your company?" asked General Cooper. "In the street in 
front of your office," said Captain Martin. "What?" exclaimed General 
Cooper, in astonishment. "Yes; come and see it," suggested Captain 

General Cooper and President Davis inspected the company, 
and in accepting it declared it the best equipped command then 
to enter the service. In this way the Adams County Troop 
became Company A and formed the neucleus of the "Jeff Davis 
Legion." The following companies coming in later completed 
the organization: Company B, "Chickasaw Rangers," Chickasaw 
County, Miss. ; Company C, "Kemper Cavalry," Kemper County, 
Miss.; Company D, Alabama; Company E, Alabama, and Com- 
pany F, Georgia. 

Captain Martin was made major, then lieutenant-colonel of 
the Legion, and commanded it until after the Maryland cam- 
paign, when he was promoted to the rank of brigadier-general 
and sent to Bragg's army. In 1863 he became major-general 
and served in that position to the end of the war. At the open- 
ing of the Pennsylvania campaign the "Jeff Davis Legion" was 
officered as follows: J. F. Waring, of Savannah, Ga., lieutenant- 
colonel; Wm. G. Conner, of Natchez, Miss., major; Richard E. 
Conner, of Natchez, Miss., captain and adjutant; T. Jeff Adams, 
of Adams County, Miss., captain of Troop A; Wm. G. Hender- 
son, of Chickasaw County, Miss., captain of Troop B ; and R. M. 
Avery, of Kemper County, Miss., captain of Troop C. 

On the morning of June 9, 1863, General Pleasonton's cavalry 
crossed the Rappahannock River at Beverly and at Kelly's fords 
in strong force, and a general engagement ensued, Stuart being 
compelled to bring into action his entire strength of 8,000 men 
to contest the field with Pleasonton's force of 12,000. The battle 
lasted all day, with varying fortune. During the night the 
enemy recrossed the river. When the army of General Lee took 
up its march for the Potomac, Stuart, as usual, went forward to 
cover its advance. On June i;th he found himself confronted 
by his old antagonist, Pleasanton, at Aldie. Then followed a 
series of battles covering a period of three days, in which charges 
and counter charges were frequently made with conspicuous 

38 Mississippi Historical Society. 

gallantry. In these engagements the "Jeff Davis Legion" bore 
an important part. 

Company B sustained the loss of Lieutenant Fisher, killed, 
and of Captain Henderson, seriously wounded. 

Stuart's loss was over five hundred, including many valuable 
officers. Col. Frank Hampton, of South Carolina; Colonel Sol 
Williams, of North Carolina; Major Wheloke, of North Carolina; 
Captain Farley, the noted scout and staff officer, and many others 
were killed. Gen. W. H. T. Lee, Col. M. C. Butler, and Maj. 
Heros Von Borcke, the Prussian staff officer, were wounded. 

In obedience to orders from General Lee for crossing the Poto- 
mac with a part of his command, Stuart assembled at Salem the 
three brigades of Hampton, Fitz. Lee, and W. H. F. Lee (then in 
command of Colonel Chambliss). The brigades of Robertson 
and Jones, numbering 3,000, and under command of the former, 
were left at Middleburg, in observation of the enemy on the 
usual front, with orders to report its movements to Generals Lee 
and Longstreet. It was deemed entirely practical at that time 
for Stuart to march directly to the Potomac through the inter- 
vals of the Union Army corps, Colonel Mosby, the veteran scout 
and partisan commander, having reported them as stationary. 
At an early hour on June 25th Stuart crossed the Bull Run moun- 
tain at Glasscock's Gap and marched in the direction of Seneca 
ford on the Potomac. At Haymarket he encountered Hancock's 
corps, which was in motion and was occupying every road leading 
to the Potomac. The day before Longstreet's corps had marched 
to the Potomac at Williamsport in full view of the enemy on 
Maryland Heights, which set the Army of the Potomac in motion. 
Had Stuart moved a day sooner, or Longstreet a day later, the 
history of Gettysburg, or of the Pennsylvania campaign, would 
no doubt read differently. 

Here, however, was a condition facing Stuart which, although 
perhaps unexpected, was not unprovided for. Having discre- 
tionary orders in directing the movements of the three brigades 
under his personal command, and believing that General Rob- 
ertson would report the withdrawal of the enemy from his front 
and promptly follow in the wake of General Longstreet, Stuart 
chose to march by the rear and right of Hancock, hoping by hard 
riding and hard fighting, if necessary, to form a juncture with 

Mississippi at Gettysburg. Love. 39 

Ewell on the Susquehanna before the moving armies should join 
battle. Barring the unavoidable delays caused by battles, 
destruction of public property, and convoying wagon trains and 
paroling prisoners, the instructions of General Lee were fully 
complied with, both in the letter and in the spirit. The failure 
of General Robertson to report the withdrawal of the enemy from 
his front, while justly censurable, is no reflection upon Stuart, 
only in so far as it illustrates a mistake in the selection of an 
officer for observation. Observation in military usages implies 
reports; otherwise it would be a useless and senseless duty 
imposed. The records show no reports from General Robertson 
for that critical period. When his whereabouts were finally made 
known he was ordered to take his proper place with the army. 

It appears, therefore, that it was not so much the lack of cav- 
alry that disconcerted General Lee's plans as the absence of 
Stuart himself and a failure to make use of the cavalry he had at 
command. Stuart, though remarkably resourceful, could not 
personally be on both sides of the Potomac, nor on both sides of 
South Mountain, at one and the same time. It is interesting to 
note just here the positions of the several Confederate cavalry 
forces on the 3oth of June, when the accidental meeting of the 
two great armies occurred. Stuart, with his thin and weary 
squadrons, was fighting off the two strong divisions of Kilpatrick 
and Gregg, whose presence was deemed necessary for the pro- 
tection of Meade's right flank, while Buford's division watched 
its front. Jenkins's Confederate brigade was at Heidleburg, ten 
miles away, and a part of it twenty miles away. Imboden't. 
brigade was at Hancock, thirty miles away, and Robertson's and 
Jones's brigades were lying idle in Virginia. 

Gen. A. L. Long, General Lee's biographer, wrote" that, when 
at Fredericksburg, Va., General Lee selected Gettysburg as the 
probable point of contact of the two armies in the Pennsylvania 
campaign. But surely on the 3oth of June General Lee was not 
intending to precipitate battle there. Otherwise the "eyes of 
the army" should have been turned in that direction, even 
though "the knight of the black plume" was off on a "wild ride." 

However, Stuart's ride of 150 miles ended at Gettysburg on 
the evening of the 2d of July, where he rested under the protec- 

See Long's Memoirs of Robert E. Lee, p. 268. 

40 Mississippi Historical Society. 

tion of the infantry the first and only real rest within eight 
days. On the morning of the 3d, reinforced by the brigade of 
Jenkins, he moved by the left of the army and attempted to 
reach the rear of the enemy, then massed on and behind Cemetery 
Heights awaiting another assault by a part of the Army of North- 
ern Virginia. Three miles east, on the Hanover road, he encoun- 
tered the Union cavalry. Dismounting a part of his force to 
engage the enemy's skirmishers, he moved to the right under 
cover of the woods, and then advanced. Here he was confronted 
by a strong cavalry force, supported by artillery. Realizing that 
his object could not be attained without a fight, preparations 
were made for forcing the issue. The skirmish line in front of 
Hampton was hotly engaged and in the act of giving way when 
the order came to charge. With horses jaded and men worn out 
and sore from hard riding, a charge was a desperate and uncer- 
tain undertaking, but with characteristic bearing these veterans 
drew sabre and moved forward. Before Hampton's line was 
well under way, a reserve mounted force of the enemy, as yet 
unseen, advanced, at the sight of which the Southern horsemen 
raised a yell of defiance and dashed madly onward. Soon the 
lines clashed together, when every man fought for himself, on 
the offensive or on the defensive, as opportunity or circumstances 
demanded. The commanding form of the dauntless Hampton 
was conspicuous as he dealt blow a^ter blow, on the right and on 
the left, as the Union troopers assailed him. Members of the 
Kemper County troop rallied to his rescue, just as a sabre stroke 
rendered him hors de combat. In this melee the gallant John 
Dunlap, of Scooba, Miss., lost a leg. 

During the almost daily conflicts in Virginia, prior to the ad- 
vance into Pennsylvania, there was a tacit agreement between 
Lieutenant-Colonel Waring and Major Conner that the latter 
should lead the charges of the "Jeff Davis Legion" in the ene- 
my's country, and right nobly did he perform his part. Taking 
position in front, he ordered it forward and led his willing fol- 
lowers into the very focus of the fight, where, amid the rattle of 
pistols and clash of sabres, he seized a guidon of the enemy, and 
when ordered to surrender drew his pistol and killed two of his 
assailants before being himself killed. Such conduct, under the 
circumstances, requires an explanation, which is given by his 

Mississippi at Gettysburg. Love. 41 

brother, Captain Conner, adjutant of the Legion, who, after being 
himself unhorsed by a sabre blow and trampled over by the con- 
tending squadrons, escaped, and is to-day engaged in the active 
affairs of life at Natchez. Major Connor was a prisoner in the 
early part of the war and had frequently vowed that he would 
never again surrender, and fulfilled it by bravely courting death 

The thin platoons of Hampton were outnumbered and worsted, 
but responded to the rally call and retired to their original posi- 
tion, where under a long-range fire they awaited with Stuart's 
other brigades the result of that "supreme attempt to wrest 
victory from Cemetery Heights," and ready to "follow up vic- 
tory or mitigate defeat." Here Jordan Moore, of Kemper 
County, was shot through and through, and his orderly sergeant, 
N. P. Perrin, placed him against a tree, gave him a canteen of 
water, bade him "good-bye," and marked opposite his name on 
the roll, "Killed in action;" but within two months Moore ap- 
peared in camp sound and well and served to the end of the war. 
The losses of Stuart were: Hampton's brigade, 92; Fitz. Lee's, 
50; W. H. F. Lee's, 41, showing that Hampton bore the brunt 
of the battle. 

Following that glorious defeat came the arduous task of guard- 
ing the flank of the retreating army to the Potomac. Many 
were the encounters on the march that will never find a place in 
history, as many a cavalryman who died in bushes while on scout 
or outpost duty will have as a record of service the one doleful 
word, "Missing," and thus be denied the poor privilege of a last 
resting place among hero comrades who lie 

"Where the blades of the grave-grass quiver, 
Asleep in the ranks of the dead!" 

Between Boonsboro and Williamsport, when holding back a 
force of Federal infantry and artillery marching to the latter 
place in an attempt to c.ut off the retreat of General Lee, men- 
tion is made of two other Mississippians who gave their lives to 
the cause, the gallant James H. Perrin, of Company C, and the 
polished gentleman and superb soldier, Thomas Metcalf, of 
Company A. 

The opinion expressed by General Sedgwick, his classmate, 
friend, and "enemy," that J. E. B. Stuart was the best cavalry 

42 Mississippi Historical Society. 

general "ever foalded in North America" may be a correct one, 
and will doubtless stand uncontradicted, but when the cavalry 
exploits of the civil war are completely and truthfully written 
there will appear as a close second the name of the man who 
wanted to raise "a boss company" N. B. Forrest. In considering 
this indulgent comparison it should be remembered that Forrest 
had the great advantage offered by nearly two years of service, 
the like of which the lamented Stuart was unfortunately denied. 
Time and opportunity are essential requisites to a well rounded 
and successful career in war. Much of the lustre that embel- 
lishes the name of Lee came as a result of achievements after 
his defeat at Gettysburg. 

Ward's Mississippi Battery (The Madison Light Artillery), 
Company A of Poague's battalion, was attached to Fender's 
division, Hill's corps. 

During the third day's battle it occupied a position nearly 
opposite the center of the Union line on Cemetery Heights and 
about a half mile to the west. The officers in command were 
George Ward, captain; T. J. Richards, first lieutenant; F. 
George, second lieutenant; T. K. Kearney, third lieutenant. 

The battery was in reserve until the formation for Longstreet's 
assault, when it was advanced to the main line of artillery. It 
consisted of two twelve-pound Napoleons and two twelve-pound 
howitzers. The howitzers being too short to reach the heights, 
were sent to the rear. The Napoleons were in action during the 
cannonade, but did not advance in support of the assault, their 
last round of ammunition having been expended before the in- 
fantry moved. No casualties are given for separate batteries, 
but that of the battalion were: Killed, 2; wounded, 24; miss- 
ing, 6. The amount of ammunition expended was 657 rounds, 
and the number of horses killed or disabled, 17. 


While there had been severe fighting in the early morning on 
the left and around Gulp's hill, the battle lines were practically 
the same as at the close of action on the second day, with pos- 
sibly some advantage in advanced position on the left, and cer- 
tainly as regards strengthened fortifications and reinforcements 

Mississippi at Gettysburg. Love. 43 

in the Federal center. Pickett's fresh division had now arrived. 
Although no material advantage had been gained since the enemy 
occupied the Heights on the night of the ist, General Lee now 
ordered preparations for another assault. The two divisions 
assigned this hazardous duty were those of Pickett (Virginia), of 
Longstreet's corps, and Heth, of Hill's corps, their formation 
and movements being under the direction of General Longstreet. 
Accordingly the divisions were placed in position behind Sem- 
inary Ridge, Pickett on the right and Heth on the left, with such 
supports as were deemed necessary on the flanks and in the rear. 
Heth having been wounded on the first day, his division was 
now under Pettigrew, the senior brigade commander, and was 
formed in the following order from right to left: Archer's (Ten- 
nessee) , under Colonel Frye (Archer being captured) ; Petti- 
grew's (North Carolina), under Colonel Marshall; Davis's (Mis- 
sissippi), and Brockenbough's (Virginia). 

The Eleventh Mississippi, under Colonel Green, had joined 
its brigade (Davis's) on the night before. The position of this 
brigade for the assault was just below the crest of Seminary 
Ridge, in a skirt of timber, the Fifty -fifth North Carolina on the 
right, the Eleventh Mississippi on the left, with the Second and 
Forty -second Mississippi in the center. 

At i o'clock P. M. the signal guns were fired by the Washing- 
ton Artillery of New Orleans, followed by the batteries along 
Seminary Ridge, which were replied to by the Federal batteries 
on Cemetery Hill. For two hours this world-renowned artillery 
duel continued. Officers had been sent to the crest to view the 
field beyond and to inform the troops of the situation in front. 
So every private knew what a herculean task was being imposed 
upon them, but never for a moment did they cower. W. W. 
Scales, of Company E, Eleventh Mississippi, was detailed to go 
for water. Believing that he could not return in time for the 
assault, called for a volunteer to take his place, and found one. 
Scales went in, and to-day enjoys the honor of being enrolled 
among the twenty-one of his company that were wounded. The 
Mississippians suffered from the very beginning. Lieutenant 
Featherston, of Company F, and Jerry Gage, of Company A 
(Eleventh Mississippi), were killed while lying in position. 
Finally, after a long and anxious delay, the order was given to 

44 Mississippi Historical Society. 

advance, and the line moved forward, slowly but steadily. 
Reaching the crest and coming in direct range of the enemy's 
artillery, the ranks were thinned at every step. Five men of 
Company E, "Prairie Guards," were put out of action by the 
explosion of one shell. The assaulting line as formed not being 
parallel to the enemy's works, the left had a greater distance to 
cover than the right ; but quickening their step the Mississippians 
soon could not fairly be considered as "supports," or as in eche- 
lon formation, as they were fully abreast throughout the whole 
line. Before reaching the Emmittsburg road, which crosses 
diagonally from right to left the intervening space, Brocken- 
brough's brigade halted. This being quickly observed by the 
enemy, an enfilading fire was directed against Davis's flank with 
telling effect. Soon most, if not all, of the field officers were 
either killed or wounded. No one seemed to be in command. 
It had become a soldiers' battle, in which the Southerners' 
watchword, "The grave of a hero or victory," was being glo- 
riously exemplified. Captain John Moore, of Company A, 
"University Greys" (Eleventh Mississippi), was in front, facing 
the regiment and trying to close up the fearful gaps being cut 
in the line, when Lieut. A. J. Baker, of the same company, 
shouted, "For God sake, John, give the command to charge!" 
(They were classmates at Oxford, and while red blood was flow- 
ing so profusely red tape was for the moment forgotten.) "No," 
replied Moore, "I cannot take the responsibility;" whereupon 
Baker himself gave the command and the thin line rushed for- 
ward to the stone wall as individuals rather than as an organ- 

True, many of Davis's brigade "gave way," leaving blood 
behind and bringing marks of Federal lead and iron with them, 
but almost an equal number went down to rise no more, or rising 
to find quarters in Northern prisons. Lieutenant Belton, of 
Company E, Eleventh Mississippi, "gave way" with a grape shot 
lodged in his mouth which it required the services of a surgeon 
to remove. Only recently he answered the "last roll" in far 
away California. 

The Eleventh Mississippi was the only fresh regiment of Heth's 
division that participated in this assault. Its strength has been 
variously estimated from three hundred to four hundred, and 

Mississippi at Gettysburg. Love. 45 

its loss is generally placed at thirty -two killed and 170 wounded. 
While this is official and doubtless based on reports, the number 
of killed is evidently incorrect, for it is positively known that 
the "Prairie Guards," Company E, lost fifteen killed; the "Nox- 
ubee Rifles," Company F, lost eight killed; and the "Van Dorn 
Reserve, Company G, lost eleven killed, making thirty -four and 
leaving seven companies unaccounted for. 

The writer of this article, in his efforts to make a correct rec- 
ord, has ignored the spiteful and unjust criticisms of certain 
historians, both North and South, who have had much to say 
of the "raw," undisciplined "cowards," "men of common clay," 
"who fled the field" on the left, causing failure and disaster to 
those on the right of the assaulting column. The facts here given 
are based on the manuscripts of surviving participants, now in 
the possession of the writer. This form of historical data could 
be extended would time and opportunity permit. 

There may be some people in these "piping days of peace" 
who entertain doubts of the reliability of recollections of such 
distressing circumstances. Others may condemn the rashness 
of action in the face of such danger; but the veteran Confed- 
erate soldier, accustomed to such surroundings, was not deterred 
from the performance of duty by a sense of danger, an element 
ever present in battle. He went forward with faith in himself 
and in his comrades, bequeathing his reputation as a heritage to 
his family and his country. 

In order that the uninformed reader may gain an intelligent 
conception of the situation at that time, it is necessary to state 
that a part, a great part, of the Army of the Potomac was posted 
on and behind Cemetery Hill, its main object of defense being a 
stone wall, with a prolonged structure of wood and earth. This 
stone wall forms an irregular line north and south. Near the 
center it recedes eighty yards, speaking from the Confederate 
position. Just within this angle of the wall and to the south of 
it stands the "copse of trees" which was the objective point of 
the assaulting column. Upon it was trained the Confederate 
artillery with great effectiveness. 

To the left or north of the angle is the Bryan barn, a frame 
building standing in the wall, that is the wall touches it on either 
side. This barn is the front of the position of the left of Heth's 

46 Mississippi Historical Society. 

division, and is the "high-water mark" of Mississippians for that 
afternoon, being forty-seven yards beyond the point where 
General Armistead of Pickett's second line fell, a hero of heroes. 

This statement is made in the face of historical assertion and 
even of official reports to the contrary, but the following facts are 
given to substantiate it: Lieutenant A. J. Baker, of Company A, 
"University Greys" (Eleventh Mississippi), was wounded when 
within ten feet of the stone wall and twenty feet to the left of 
the barn, and was captured by troops coming from the left flank. 
This enfilading fire was more destructive to Davis 's force, espe- 
cially his left regiment, than to that in front. DeGraffenried, 
a brother of ex-Congressman DeGraffenried, of Texas, and of 
the same company with Baker, crossed the wall, was wounded, 
returned and made his way to the rear. 

Lieut. W. P. Snowden, of Company G, "Van Dorn Reserves," 
was wounded and captured near the wall. His company went 
in with forty-five men. Five of them returned unhurt, eleven 
were killed, and twenty-nine wounded. 

Capt. J. T. Stokes, Company F, " Noxubee Rifles," was 
wounded within twenty steps of the wall, and the few remaining 
of the company went on. John J. and Frank A. Howell, broth- 
ers, reached the wall together. The former went over, was cap- 
tured and died a prisoner. The latter was wounded and returned. 
Lieutenants Brooks and Woods were captured, leaving but a few 
privates and no commissioned officer. 

Captain Halbert, Lieutenants Mimms and Goolsby, of Com- 
pany E, "Prairie Guards," were killed, and Lieutenant Belton 
was wounded. Corporal John Morgan and Private John Sher- 
man reached the wall. Sherman was wounded and Morgan 
returned with him unhurt. This company entered the assault 
with thirty -seven, rank and file. Fifteen were killed and twenty- 
one wounded, leaving only Corporal John Morgan to voluntarily 
"give way." Company A, "Tishomingo Rifles" (Second Mis- 
sissippi), had but four men left after the assault George Rey- 
nolds, C. Farris, N. M. and G. W. Bynum. Company E, of the 
same regiment, went in the first day's battle with forty-two 
men, and lost in killed, wounded and captured all except one 
lieutenant and six men. This skeleton company went into the 
assault on the third day, and only R. C. Jones and S. B. Scott 

Mississippi at Gettysburg. Love. 47 

returned. Company B, "Senatobia Invincibles" (Forty -second 
Mississippi), entered the first day's battle with sixty-one, rank 
and file. At the close of action on the third it had but nineteen 

The showing of these three companies indicates the probabil- 
ity, if not the absolute truth, of the statement of Colonel Ven- 
able, of General Lee's staff, that it was a mistake to reckon Heth's 
division in planning the assault, for it suffered more on the first 
day than was reported and had not recuperated. Be that as it 
may, it is a fact that many of Heth's wounded were present on 
the third day, the sight of which, it is reported, made General 
Lee shed tears and say "They should not be here." It was not 
for Heth's people to say when and where they should or should 
not fight. Had the spirit of Stonewall Jackson been present 
the division would have slept on Cemetery Hill on the night of 
the first day. But once in the speculative field, it might be 
added, and that hill might have proved a Vicksburg or an Appo- 

Of the Fifty-fifth North Carolina, the right of Davis's brigade, 
but meager information is at hand, but it is certain that Captain 
Satterfield, of Company H, Lieutenant Falls, of Company C, 
and Sergeant Whitley, of Company E, reached the wall, and it 
is a reasonable conclusion that others accompanied them, as also 
in the case of the Mississippians named. So far as is known, no 
field officer of the brigade reached the wall. Lieutenant-Colonel 
Humphreys, commanding the Second, and Colonel Miller the 
Forty-second Mississippi regiments, and Lieutenant-Colonel 
Smith, commanding the Fifty-fifth North Carolina regiment, 
were killed. Colonel Green of the Eleventh Mississippi was 
wounded, but the adjutant of the brigade, Captain Magruder, 
brother of Gen. J. Bankhead Magruder, was killed on the wall 
just to the left of the Bryan barn, while urging others by order 
and example to do their duty as he saw it. Thus the fact is 
established by living witnesses that this mere skeleton of the 
Davis brigade went as far as human strength and endurance 
could go, unaided by a miraculous interposition in their behalf. 

They cannot be appropriately likened unto a steel-pointed 
spear, piercing the vitals of the enemy's line and causing con- 
sternation and dismay, but rather unto common humanity, 

48 Mississippi Historical Society. 

moving under the impulse of an inherited spirit to do or die in 
the effort to gain victory in a just cause. 

While Mississippi joins North Carolina in praise of her peerless 
Pettigrew, and Virginia in her love for her fearless Armistead, 
she will ever remember with pride the place where Magruder 
died, where Barksdale fell, and where the dauntless Conner sac- 
rificed his valuable life. 

Southern historians of the civil war period have assigned 
various and conflicting reasons for the failure at Gettysburg, 
and as time goes by others are being advanced. 

The latest contribution on the subject is by La Salle Corbett 
Pickett, widow of General George E. Pickett, C. S. A. Says 
Mrs. Pickett, in Pickett's Charge at Gettysburg, recently published 
in various newspapers and periodicals: 

"Longstreet assented to the invasion only on condition that it should 
still be a campaign of defensive tactics. 

"He (General Pickett) was equally loath to carry on an aggressive cam- 
paign of invasion of the North when it was proposed." 

In the light of these statements, the reason assigned by Gen- 
eral Lee himself for failure is given : 

"As to the battle of Gettysburg, I must again refer you to the official 
accounts. Its loss was occasioned by a combination of circumstances. 
It was commenced in the absence of correct intelligence. It was contin- 
ued in the effort to overcome the difficulties by which we were surrounded, 
and it would have been gained could one determined and united blow have 
been delivered -by our whole line. As it was, victory trembled in the bal- 
ance for three days, and the battle resulted in the infliction of as great an 
amount of injury as was received and in frustrating the Federal campaign 
for the season." 10 

Gettysburg, though unquestionably the pivotal battle of the 
War between the States, was by no means the Waterloo of the 
Confederacy, for hostilities not only continued for almost two 
years, but according to Federal statistics the Army of the Poto- 
mac, later appropriately called "Grant's Army," lost in round 
numbers 10,000 more men after than before and including Get- 
tysburg. Besides, immediately after the battle and during the 
retreat, Lee was ever ready to give Meade a Roland for an Oliver. 

That the army had just cause for doubt and discouragement 
its experience and condition fully attested. General Lee, whose 

10 Letter written by Gen. R. E. Lee in 1868 to Maj. William H. McDon- 
ald. See Gettysburg Campaign, by Col. R. M. Stribling, p. 68. 

Mississippi at Gettysburg. Love. 49 

faith in his men was unbounded, thought proper, however, on 
the occasion of his stand at Hagerstown, Md., to inform him- 
self of the real condition and spirit pervading his troops. The 
duty of gaining this information was assigned the general 

Of the picturesque General Lafayette McLaw's visit to 
Barksdale's brigade, let Major Robert Stiles in his Four Years 
Under Marse Robert relate: 

"He was on horseback, riding, as I remember, a small, white pony 
built horse, and as he rode up into the circle of flickering light of camp- 
fire to talk with the men, he made quite a marked and notable figure. 
The conversation ran somewhat in this line : 

"Well, boys, how are you?" "We are all right, General!" "They say 
there are lots of those fellows over the way there." "Well, they can 
stay there; we ain't offerin' to disturb 'em. We've had all the fighting 
we want just now; but if they ain't satisfied and want anymore, all 
they've got to do is to come over and get their bellies full." "Suppose 
they do come, sure enough, boys? What are you going to do with 
them?" "Why just make the ground blue with 'em, that's all; just 
manure this here man's land with 'em. We ain't asking anything of 
them, but if they want anything of us, why, just let 'em come after it 
and they can get all they want; but they'll wish they hadn't come." 
"Well, now, I can rely upon that, can I?" "You just bet your life you 
can, General. If we're asleep when they come, you just have us waked, 
and we'll receive 'em in good style." "Well, good-night, boys. I'm 

The appearance of "Lee's Miserables" on the retreat was pre- 
possessing in one respect only. Their muskets were clean and 
their bayonets bright, and a firm and undaunted spirit every- 
where abounded. With clothing dirty and ragged, shoes worn 
and broken, and hats dilapidated and covered with dust, they 
came homeward-bound with jests, jokes and repartee that enliv- 
ened the march even under such distressing conditions. Twitted 
on his shaggy attire by one of a group of residents gathered on 
the roadside to see the "Rebels" pass, the jolly Neely Nance, of 
the "Noxubee Rifles," apologetically explained that at the South 
it was the custom to put on one's worst clothes on "hog-killing 

When passing through the little village of Greencastle, Pa., a 
bevy of young ladies appeared on the sidewalk flaunting United 
States flags. Two, with the national colors folded and crossed 
over their shoulders, were especially demonstrative. To an 
army composed largely of students of the professions and men of 
culture, men versed in the amenities and civilities of life, this 

5o Mississippi Historical Society. 

spirit of aggression displayed by ladies (even under the adverse 
circumstances) was a subject of interest and admiration. But 
such a display was bound sooner or later to meet a rebuff. 
Every army, every command has its untutored, uncouth "dia- 
mond in the rough." Marching on sullenly, weary and hungry, 
came one of these specimens. Observing this demonstration of 
hostility, he halted and quietly observed, "See here, gurls, youens 
better take off them durned flags; we old Rebs er hell on breast- 
works." The two over-patriotic "gurls" retired under the first 
fire amid the laughter of companions and good natured cheers 
of the soldiers. ll 

After crossing the Potomac, and scrambling up the bank, 
Gabe Smither, of the "Lamar Rifles" (Oxford, Miss.), in passing 
the regimental band, said to the leader: "Stewart, by blood, 
play Dixie." 

Soon the quick notes of that ever inspiring air wafted upon 
the breeze, when followed a roll of the "rebel yell" of defiance 
that meant too plainly to the enemy on the other side that there 
was yet remaining strength, determination, and fight in the 
Army of Northern Virginia. 

Outgeneralled and outnumbered, but not conquered ; defeated, 
but by no fault of its own ; a great loser, but inflicting a greater 
loss, it remembered with pride former victories and accepted 
this reverse as but "a ripple on the stream of its destiny." 

And so it battled on, with varying fortune, to the distant and 
bitter end. The world knows the result. With brigades 
shrunken to less than battalions, and companies in some instances 
to the one-man unit, the climax came, when all was lost save 
honor and the consciousness of duty well and faithfully per- 

Of the 16,000 Mississippians who went to the Army of Northern 
Virginia during the years 1861-65, tne records of the closing 
scenes at Appomattox make this woeful numerical showing: 
Davis's brigade, 75; Harris's brigade, 382; Humphreys's bri- 
gade, 257. These figures include the details serving in the 
various departments. Corp. Wm. L. Taylor, of Yazoo County, 
was the only member of Company B, Eighteenth Mississippi 
regiment, to answer roll call at the final round-up. Other com- 

1 * An historic incident. 

Mississippi at Gettysburg. Love. 51 

panics made little better showing and some not so good. Missis- 
sippians in Virginia were peculiarly unfortunate in being sacri- 
ficially assigned in battle ; nor were they less unfortunate at 

Davis's brigade, as has been already stated, fought its way 
unsupported into the First Union corps on the first day, losing 
heavily in killed, wounded and captured. Barksdale's victorious 
advance on the second day proved abortive for lack of timely 
support. Davis, again on the third day, was ingloriously for- 
saken in the assault and left to advance under both front and 
flank fire, and then cursed for having "given way." At Falling 
Water, on the Potomac, Heth's division formed the rear guard. 
To Gen. Fitz. Lee was assigned the duty of protecting the infan- 
try, but under a misapprehension of the situation he passed to 
the ford below and crossed, thus precipitating a battle between 
Heth and the Union cavalry, in which the heroic Pettigrew was 
mortally wounded. 

To Heth's division, then, of which Mississippians formed a 
part, belongs the honor of fighting first at Gettysburg and last 
at Falling Water, on the Potomac. 



Monroe County was established in 1821. It is large and 
populous, although it has been more than once dismembered by 
the formation of other counties. It now contains about 764 
square miles, has a population of 31,211, of which 12,555 are 
white and 18,656 are colored. In reconstruction days the 
negro population was about the same as it is to-day, and the 
white population about 2,000 less. Its soil is of two distinct 
qualities, as divided by the Tombigbee River. On the east are 
the level, sandy bottoms, adjoining the river, forming gradually 
into the hill country; on the west are the black prairie lands. 
The Tombigbee cuts its way closely around the east side of the 
black lime lands of the prairie, leaving the sandy pine lands on 
the east. Its population is founded largely upon two separate 
immigrations. The lands composing the Huntsville survey 
were surveyed and opened to settlement by the Federal Gov- 
ernment about the year 1820. These extend eastward from the 
Huntsville Meridian to the Tombigbee, as far north as Gaine's 
Trace, and thence northeast along that ancient Indian trail. 
On the completion of the survey just mentioned and the opening 
of it to settlement, there came a tremendous incursion of immi- 
grants from the hill country of Alabama, Georgia, and still more 
from the State of Tennessee. Among the latter families were 
the Prewitts, who grew to be wealthy and influential, the Tubb 
family, and numerous other large families that might be men- 
tioned if this were the proper place to do so. These settlers 
came about the time of the organization of the county in 1821. 
About the year 1836, after the treaty with the Chickasaws, 
which opened their rich lands east of the Tombigbee River to 
settlement, and after the completion of the Chickasaw survey 
there was a second immigration to the county of citizens who 

1 A biographical sketch of the author of this contribution will be found 
in the Publications of the Mississippi Historical Society, Vol. VI, p. 359. 


54 Mississippi Historical Society. 

made their homes mainly east of the Tombigbee. These were 
in the main people of wealth, who originally came from Virginia, 
North and South Carolina, and some from Georgia, and whose 
fathers had settled in the meanwhile on the Tennessee River in 
North Alabama and in that neighborhood. The lands having 
grown more costly and the negroes more numerous in that 
region, the children of the original settlers sought the rich black 
lands west of the Tombigbee, where their descendants remain 
until this day. The ancestors of these people, on one or both 
sides, are frequently traced to the ancient State and colony of 
Virginia, and sometimes to the Huguenots of South Carolina, 
as - their names frequently disclose, but in the main they are from 
the distinctly English people who founded the Old Dominion 
and settled the Carolinas. Large and promiscuous additions 
have since been made to the population of the county from all 
quarters of the land, but the citizenship has to a great extent 
become homogeneous. The large negro population is mainly 
found west of the river in the prairie belt, or just east of the 
Tombigbee along the rich sandy loam bottom lands. There 
was a large body of slaveholders in the county before the war, 
but whether slaveholder or small hill farmer, these were the last 
people in the world to be deprived of their right to rule, or of 
their right of franchise, or to be restrained in the free exercise 
of their liberties. An effort in that direction possibly may be 
followed by a temporary calm, but such a calm is nothing more 
than the incubating period, when an upheaval is being hatched 
which is sure to make itself widely felt. These people, like their 
Virginia and English ancestors, are generally invincible and 
their disposition is to rule when and wherever they get a per- 
manent footing. 


I deem it unnecessary to give the general history of the period 
as a background to the history of reconstruction in Monroe 
County, but on the general subject I especially refer the inter- 
ested reader to the lucid article, "Suffrage and Reconstruction 
in Mississippi," by Hon. Frank Johnson, Volume VI, p. 141, 
of the Publications of the Mississippi Historical Society. After 

Reconstruction in Monroe County. Leftwich. 55 

the chaotic conditions superinduced by the war between the 
States, it is an interesting comment on the civilization of the 
people to observe how rapidly they fell into the channels of 
normal civil government, regulated by law. There is no better 
criterion of the intelligence and character of the general body 
of a people of a country than the Board of Supervisors. They 
come from the smaller divisions of the county, are a body to 
which the people delegate their financial matters, and are the 
most strictly representative men known to the body politic. 

On January 5, 1865, when the Confederacy was approaching 
its dissolution, Floyd Winter, H. M. McCoy, J. T. Swansey, B. B. 
Barker, and T. W. Baker qualified as members of the Board of 
Police of Monroe County, a body known as the Board of Super- 
visors after the Constitution of 1869. B. B. Barker was elected 
president and C. W. Walton clerk. They were both repre- 
sentatives of large, respectable and wealthy families. The 
oaths which they took were to support the Constitution of the 
Confederate States of America and of the State of Mississippi 
as long as they remained citizens thereof. Lest the matter be 
in doubt the oath was in proper form copied on the minutes. 
When the Confederacy fell, a few months later, the following 
entry was made on the minutes of the board: 

"Be it remembered that at the meeting of the members elect of the 
Board of Police of the said County, said election having been had pur- 
suant to the proclamation of W. L. Sharkey, provisional Governor of 
the State of Mississippi, to fill the unexpired term of two years from the 
first day of Jan. 1865, the former election of the present term of County 
and City officers under the Constitution of the so-called Confederate 
States having been by recent act of a Convention of the State of Missis- 
sippi declared unconstitutional, the said members (naming them) met 
at the court house of said County in the City of Aberdeen on Monday, 
Oct. 9, 1865, and after having taken and subscribed the oath which is 
hereunder recorded, they are declared members of said Board for the 
unexpired term, to wit, until the first Monday of Jan. 1867." 

Following this is the solemn oath taken and subscribed by 
all members before C. W. Walton, clerk, to support the Consti- 
tution of the United States and of the State of Mississippi as 
long as they continued citizens thereof, and to faithfully per- 
form and discharge their duties as officers and members of the 
board. The board that was then elected was composed of 
Floyd Winter, M. M. Lewis, Wm. Page, B. B. Barker and 

56 Mississippi Historical Society. 

T. W. Baker. About this time there began to appear after many 
names on the minutes of the board that strange symbol "F. 
M. C.," meaning free male citizen. These occur mostly when 
colored men asked for license (presumably under the "Black 
Code") to keep a gun and ammunition to kill game. On Jan- 
uary 7, 1867, the following Board of Police qualified, the first 
named of whom became an important factor in reconstruction 
days: R. M. Stockton, David Crenshaw, Wm. Page, B. B. 
Barker and T. W. Baker. The same board was re-elected and 
took their seats January n, 1869. The term of office of the 
Board of Police was two years. The sheriff at that time was 
S. F. Kendrick, and the clerk John R. Gilleylen, both of whom 
were rewarded with office for their arduous duties as Confed- 
erate soldiers. The last minutes of this ancient and honorable 
governing body, so respected, so representative, so conservative, 
are recorded on the second Monday of April, 1869, and are 
signed by "David Crenshaw, President pro tern." 

A significant memorandum on these minutes is that B. B. 
Barker, President, was living in Memphis, he having drifted 
away from his home in the upheaval and doubtless in appre- 
hension of coming events. It must not be overlooked at this 
stage that the Civil Rights Bill had been passed by Congress in 
1866 over the President's veto; that the military governor of 
Mississippi had called a convention for forming a constitution 
on December 7, 1867; that the convention met in January, 
1868, and that in the election of delegates to that convention 
held in November, 1867, the late slaves, who were set free by 
the war, first voted. The constitution had been adopted; it 
had been first submitted to the people and defeated, and again 
resubmitted by President Grant, and accepted by the people, 
put in force, and the civil government under the new regime 
had started on its perilous way. On July 12, 1869, the first 
Board of Supervisors met under the new constitution. It was 
composed of John E. Meek, Alfred Pickle, Anthony Irvin, O. H. 
Whitfield and N. B. Munson, "each of whom," recite the min- 
utes, "have been duly and legally appointed according to law 
and have qualified, and they therefore proceeded to organize 
by electing John E. Meek President." These were appointed, 
it must be observed, by the then military Governor of Missis- 

Reconstruction in Monroe County. Leftwich. 57 

sippi, Adelbert Ames, the first civil Governor not having been 
elected until the following fall. James Oldshoe appears as 
sheriff and J. B. Woodmansee 2 as clerk, the latter of whom 
figured conspicuously in the several years to follow and about 
whom more will be said, but the first minutes of the board are 
not in his well known "unpracticed hand." 

From this time on the county government was chaotic and 
irregular, being in the hands of foreigners whose names were 
never heard of before, imported for the occasion by the then 
military Governor and installed in office. James Oldshoe, the 
last sheriff mentioned, was an old citizen of the county, but his 
successor appearing on the scene at the September meeting of 
the board, was C. F. Holle. Holle (pronounced Holley) was a 
big shouldered, boisterous braggart. He seems to have been 
selected for his muscularity. He came south from the State of 
Pennsylvania, and Governor Ames made him sheriff of Monroe 
County. He was by his wild conduct embroiled in several per- 
sonal difficulties with members of the bar and others and was 
soon induced to leave. 3 Col. A. P. Huggins appeared as sheriff 
at the November term of the board, 1869. Huggins was from 
Niles, Michigan, about forty years of age, and a man of orderly 
habits. He later became superintendent of public schools, was 
a member of the Baptist Church and at one time its Sunday- 
school superintendent. Early in his career he was accused of 
being too fond of negro social equality, but he so far recovered 
from that as to offer to assist the Democrats to overthrow 
negro rule in 1875. His proffer was accepted, but his influence 
was small. At the January meeting, 1870, of the board, R. B. 
Little appeared as sheriff. Sheriff Little and his brother, Finis 
H. Little, were Kentuckians of respectable family. They were 
men of talent and force. Finis H. Little became later State 
Senator and married into a well known and respectable family 
of Aberdeen. He had been a Union soldier. They were men 

2 Woodmansee was a typical carpetbagger from Indiana whose political 
idol was Oliver P. Morton of that State. He came like driftwood from 
the ocean and became at once identified with the local Republican poli- 
ticians. He appears to have been more or less illiterate. He returned 
North and married, but lost his wife later. He encountered sundry 
afflictions and buffetings and in a few years disappeared from view. 

3 See article of Judge R. C. Beckett, Vol. VIII, p. 177, of the Publica- 
tions of the Mississippi Historical Society. 

58 Mississippi Historical Society. 

of courage and became naturally leaders of any cause they 

The office of sheriff and of clerk, the two most important offices 
of the county, seem to have been held by Little and Woodmansee 
respectively until the reorganization of the State government 
after the adoption of the Constitution of 1869. The first meet- 
ing of the new Board of Supervisors of Monroe County under 
the new constitution was held the first Monday in September, 

1870. The board was composed of W. W. Troup, Elisha Howell, 
George Pickle, Price Hogan and Spencer Watkins. The first 
three members of the board were representative white men, 
Col. W. W. Troup being one of the wealthiest and most respected 
citizens of the county. Price Hogan and Spencer Watkins were 
negroes, and their presence in office cast the first shadow of the 
storm to follow. The board, as then constituted, was not very 
threatening to the finances of the county because the majority 
were representative white men. Public improvements were 
then begun, however, which were later completed and which 
resulted in extravagance and graft. This board had the appoint- 
ment of the grand juries of the county, two negroes represented 
the two supervisors' districts west of the river, and the grand 
jurors from those districts were usually negroes. Many of these 
negroes are still living and many of them are negroes of the 
commonest character. During the fall of 1871 Elisha Howell 
was removed for some cause, and Adam Bradford was appointed 
in his stead; Spencer Watkins resigned and Finis H. Little 
appeared in his stead. The successors of this board were 
elected the first Tuesday after the first Monday of November, 

1871. The board then elected and which qualified the first 
Monday in January, 1872, was composed of T. R. Caldwell, 
W. C. Thomas, Washington L. Walton, Geo. Strong and Price 
Hogan. 4 This board was also composed of three white men 
and two negroes, Strong and Hogan being negroes. W. L. 
Walton was elected president. Caldwell and Thomas were 
both from that part of the county chiefly inhabited by white 

* Hogan, who soon became President of the Board, is still living in 
Monroe County, and is a respectable colored citizen. He is a real African 
and a preacher. He was a slave and has little education. He claims 
to have made some money out of politics, but says he lost most of it 
lending it to his political friends. He claims to be doing, and doubtless 
is doing, all he can to enlighten his race. 

Reconstruction in Monroe County. Leftwich. 59 

people, which was east of the Tombigbee, and seem to have set 
their faces squarely against the threatened misrule. One of 
the first protests which we find them recording on the minutes 
was against an order of the board allowing the return of a fine 
imposed for selling firearms to freedmen. There seems to have 
been a statute passed by the Legislature which enacted the 
famous "Black Code" forbidding the sale of firearms to freed- 
men. Very soon thereafter these same supervisors moved for 
the discharge of one J. H. Anderson, who, in the employment 
of the board, was superintending the construction of the county 
bridge across the Tombigbee. The reason they assigned was 
that Anderson was a party to the building contract. On July 
3, 1872, Chesley Young, another negro, appears in the place 
of Geo. Strong as supervisor. At the August meeting the Presi- 
dent, W. L. Walton, resigned, to take effect October 25th. In 
his place Wm. Watson, another negro, was elected or appointed. 
At the October meeting, 1872, these three negroes, constituting 
a quorum, met and elected Price Hogan president, and fined 
W. C. Thomas and T. R. Caldwell five dollars each for being 
absent. This seems to have been a special meeting. On 
October 2ist, reciprocating the compliment, Caldwell and 
Thomas held a special meeting and fined Hogan, Young and 
Watson each five dollars for being absent from the special 
meeting. The minutes of the board from this time on for quite 
a while are authenticated by the scrawl of Price Hogan, the 
negro president, who sometimes signed himself as Price Hogan 
and sometimes as J. P. Hogan. A considerable contest seems 
to have sprung up about this time between Caldwell and 
Thomas and these three negroes, who not only insisted 
on ruling in their respective districts, but also in the 
white districts represented by Caldwell and Thomas. It 
seems that A. P. Huggins, who lived in the Fourth District, 
filled the office of sheriff for a time. He is the one who later 
became Superintendent of Public Instruction and whose whip- 
ping by the Ku Klux created such widespread disturbance. 
He began his political career as school director in Caldwell's 
district, the first. This action was later rescinded and J. A. 
Johnson, a resident citizen, appointed. The grand jurors were 
appointed at the January meeting, 1872, and we find Caldwell 

6o Mississippi Historical Society. 

and Thomas loudly protesting because they were not allowed 
to appoint or name the grand jurors from their districts. In 
March Caldwell tendered his resignation as supervisor, . but it 
was not accepted for some reason, or perhaps withdrawn. It 
was at this time that the bridge over a very small stream in the 
county was let by contract to Wm. H. Hodges for $4,000. The 
price was considered so outrageous and raised such a storm of 
opposition that the contract was later rescinded and relet for 
only a few hundred dollars. At this same meeting Price Hogan, 
the president, was allowed the sum of fifty dollars, a special 
allowance, for signing the bonds recently issued to the Mem- 
phis & Selma Railroad. Caldwell again protested. At the 
May meeting, 1873, Caldwell and Thomas, apparently in sheer 
desperation, resigned their places on the board. Some thought 
they should have stood by their guns, but they thought other- 
wise. They spread on the minutes of the board the following 
protest, which is here given in full: 

"This day Messrs. Caldwell & Thomas, members of this board from 
the first and second districts, presented their resignations to the board, 
which is in the words and figures as follows, to wit: 

"To the Honorable Board of Supervisors of Monroe County, State of Mis- 

"The undersigned members of this board from the first and second 
districts of said county, beg leave to tender this, their resignation as 
members of this board, and state that they will positively not serve 
longer as members of said board. 

"They further beg leave to offer the following reasons as operating 
upon their minds and consciences to induce this action: 

ist. Because the action of the majority of the board is so fraught with 
ignorance and corruption as to render all the members personally and 
pecuniarily liable for its action and bring upon its members the just oppro- 
brium of all honest and upright citizens. 

"and. Because the undersigned are not willing to bear any part of 
such opprobrium, not being in any wise responsible for the same, and 
the action of the board being controlled for unconsciable partisan pur- 

"3rd. Because of the indifference of the citizens of the county in not 
supporting the protests of the undersigned as members of said board by 
taking legal steps to prevent the great frauds of the majority of the said 
board on the finances of the county. 

"W. C. THOMAS." 

Upon motion of Chess Young "it was ordered that the above 
resignation be received and approved, and that the said Cald- 
well and Thomas be and they are hereby released as officers 
of this board." 

Reconstruction in Monroe County. Lejtwich. 61 

The resignation of these members left three illiterate and 
practically irresponsible negroes masters of the county affairs 
of one of the wealthiest counties of the State, many of whose 
citizens for wealth, intelligence and civilization would rank 
with any in the country. The vacancies on the board seem 
not to have been filled until the November election, those 
elected taking their seats the first Monday in January, 1874. 
To make matters still worse S. C. Anderson, sheriff, died 
in the fall of that year, and on October 13, 1873, J. S. Wat- 
kins, a young and illiterate negro, who had been thereto- 
fore elected coroner, succeeded to the sheriffalty and was 
recognized as such on October 30, 1873. The new Board of 
Supervisors who qualified January 5, 1874, was composed of 
R. N. Stockton, Lafayette Willis, Chess Young, Wm. Watkins 
and James Stith. The first two were citizens of the highest 
character, the last three were negroes. Colonel Willis was 
elected president and Stockton was standing protestor from 
that time on. Colonel Willis was one of the wealthiest and most 
respected citizens of the county and seems to have exercised 
his talents by controlling the negroes by gentle and persuasive 
methods, but Stockton was a real son of Thunder. His pro- 
tests spread on the minutes are mild and civil, but his anath- 
emas uttered at the meetings of the board are said to have been 
sulphuric in the extreme. Judge Stockton, as he was famil- 
iarly known to a ripe old age, was a prosperous and well to do 
farmer in the hill country and a man of the very highest char- 
acter, and he contended that strong and biting language was 
not improper for a gentleman in such times as those which we 
are now chronicling. So that when measures that he opposed 
were carried, and when his own measures were voted down by 
his adversaries, and when unjust allowances and levies were 
made and contracts let which he deemed improper, he would 
take comfort in chastening the three negroes with a dreadful 
scourge of abuse. This he kept up all through those days of 
misrule. While he did not boast of the service thus performed, 
there is no computing how many dollars he saved to the oppressed 
people by his torrents of denunciation and his actual and threat- 
ened use of his great hickory walking stick. 

6a Mississippi Historical Society. 

James W. Lee was elected sheriff at the November election 5 
of 1873 for the full term, and seems to have been elected also for 
the unexpired term in place of the negro, Joe Watkins, who had 
been coroner. Captain Lee was a gallant Confederate soldier 
in a Texas command and married into one of the best families 
of Monroe County. He was formerly a Democrat, but seems to 
have agreed with Governor Alcorn that the best way to serve 
his country was to join the Republicans and aid in controlling 
the negroes and preventing misrule among them. He became 
the leader of the Republican party in the county. He was and 
is still a man of a great deal of force and courage and character, 
and was finally overthrown in the upheaval that occurred on the 
3d of November, 1875. He did much to keep the Republican 
party alive, but finally became more or less lukewarm, due no 
doubt to the continued failures which he suffered. He was 
later twice postmaster in Aberdeen and is now a respected citi- 
zen of Birmingham, Alabama. 

A number of negroes held office in the county of Monroe who 
qualified in January, 1874. One, Wm. Holmes, who had been 
a representative in the Legislature, was elected treasurer. 
One Howard Settle was deputy sheriff under Lee, but was al- 
lowed by Lee to execute process only on the colored people. 
One, Ed. Williams, was on the police force of the city of Aber- 
deen, and about this time sundry negroes were justices of the 
peace within the bounds of the county. 

The tax levies were very high as compared with what they 
are now and with what they should have been, but they were 
not so extortionate as in many other portions of the State, due, 
no doubt, in many instances to the protests of Caldwell and 
Thomas, the big stick of Stockton and the just resentment of a 
large citizenship, none of whom were very submissive. I find 
that the levy in 1871 was twenty -seven mills; in 1872 it was 
300 per cent of the State levy; in 1873 it was thirty -four and 

5 1 have been furnished by Judge Baxter McFarland with a copy of 
the Republican election ticket voted Nov. 4, 1873. The candidates for 
Chancery Clerk, Treasurer, Assessor, Coroner and Ranger and two of 
the three Representatives were negroes. Capt. Lee led the ticket for 
Sheriff and on the back is printed his picture festooned with flags and 
this certificate to be signed by each voter: "I certify that I voted this 
ticket without scratches or erasure on the 4th day of November, 1873." 


Reconstruction in Monroe County. Lejlwich. 63 

three-eighths mills; in 1874, thirty and eight-tenths mills; and 
in 1875 it was nineteen and eighty -eight one-hundred ths mills. 
These levies, compared with those of the present day, consid- 
ering the public improvements now being made, are very high. 
One of the greatest excesses indulged in by this board of super- 
visors was the length of time they sat. For instance, in January, 
1871, they sat fourteen days; in February they sat nine days. 
Special meetings were frequent all along through the month, 
sometimes a quorum was present, sometimes not. Another 
species of extravagance seems to have been the jobs they let 
to white men mostly for constructing or overseeing the public 
improvements going on in the county. The carpet baggers 
seem to have been here in force, the negro was in office, but 
local white men seem always to have been found who would 
accept a large stipend for nominal public service. 


The Aberdeen city government shows the same condition of 
anarchy that prevailed in the county. One J. F. Lacey was 
appointed mayor about October, 1870, by the then military 
Governor Ames. Some instances of Lacey 's administration 
and the mock tragedy of his leaving Aberdeen are recited in 
the article of Judge Becket, Volume VIII, page 177, Publica- 
tions of the Mississippi Historical Society. Lacey was from 
Pennsylvania originally. He had some generous instincts and 
was by no means a coward, but his bed was certainly not one 
of roses. During his administration of the mayor's office it 
was brought to his attention that in order for him to preserve 
his honor it was necessary for him to challenge for a duel one 
Tom Ragsdale, a young man about town, who it seems had been 
abusive of him in some respect. Lacey challenged Ragsdale, and 
Ragsdale decided to fight "fist and skull." T. G. Elliot, now 
of Memphis, was selected as Lacey's second, and M. H. Stevens, 
a city employe, was selected as Ragsdale's second. Lacey was 
a powerful man and both of the seconds were afraid that he 
would badly use up Ragsdale. The ring for the fight was estab- 
lished on the bank of the river, and it began with a considerable 
crowd which continued to swell until almost half of the male 

64 Mississippi Historical Society. 

population of the town was there before it was over. Stevens, 
Ragsdale's second, now a respected citizen of this county, 
states that his principal would certainly have been worsted 
but for the fact that Lacey had a magnificent flowing beard, 
which Ragsdale got hold of in the melee and refused to let go 
until his antagonist was out of breath. This duel was of course 
a huge burlesque in which all conspired against Lacey to bring 
him into ridicule. Things could not go too far, however, at this 
time, as Lacey was appointed by the military power and a 
detachment of the Federal soldiers was quartered at Aberdeen, 
which he could at any time call to his aid. Lacey 's docket 
shows a huge number of breaches of the peace for a town of the 
size of Aberdeen at that time. In December, 1870, thirty-five 
(35) were docketed; in November preceding, twenty-eight (28), 
and in January following twenty -four (24). Some of the de- 
fendants' names it is deemed not improper to give, as their 
appearance in the roles they were then playing is no discredit 
at this day, especially considering the character of the men. 
For instance, I find the city of Aberdeen against Judge Joel M. 
Acker, three cases for cursing and resisting an officer; the city 
of Aberdeen against R. C. Becket, disturbing the peace" ; the 
city of Aberdeen against W. H. Clopton, fighting; the city of 
Aberdeen against John D. McClusky, fighting; the city of 
Aberdeen against F. G. Barry, disturbing the peace; the city 
of Aberdeen against W. D. Hooper, disturbing the peace. It 
is a little odd that nearly all of these "insurgents" against the 
city's rule were lawyers and young men who became prominent 
lawyers afterward. We find numerous entries like this also: 
The city of Aberdeen against W. B. Woodmansee, "drunk and 
down." It will be remembered that Woodmansee was chancery 
clerk. We shall have more to say about him later. 

Lacey 's last entry was made April, 1871, about which time 
no doubt his hasty departure occurred, which is graphically 
chronicled in the article of Judge Becket, already referred to. 
Lacey was succeeded by Captain J. W. Lee, who served until 
he became sheriff, and was succeeded as mayor by T. J. Bran- 
nin. It would be extremely interesting to give all the stories 

6 The peace was broken in all of these encounters we have heard of by 
personal difficulties either with carpet bagger officers or federal soldiers, 
sometimes officers, sometimes privates. 

Reconstruction in Monroe County. Leftwich. 65 

that are told about the "fights and foot races" that occurred 
in Aberdeen about this time while the Federal soldiers were 
here and while these chaotic conditions prevailed. Tragedy 
and comedy were thoroughly intermixed. A few of these inci- 
dents will be referred to later on in connection with the defend- 
ants already mentioned who were prosecuted before the mayor. 
That the soldiers were not strict preservers of the peace is 
clearly evident from the great number of fines imposed against 
them for breaches of the peace. Another commentary is 
apropos to this history, which is that, where fines were imposed 
by the mayor against the distinguished lawyers and gentlemen 
whose names we have given as being prosecuted, rarely does 
it appear that one is marked "paid." It seems that they would 
suffer themselves to be arrested and fined, but there the ma- 
chinery of the law would stop. Whether it was a lack of funds 
or whether they further resisted the officer does not appear. 


The events that immediately followed the adoption of the 
Constitution of 1869 palpably demonstrated to every one that 
a new order of things had come about. As the common expres- 
sion was, "the bottom rail was on top." How the people would 
extricate themselves no one could pretend to foresee. A rude 
and startling suggestion of this new order was the ejection of 
Governor Humphreys, a civil Governor elected by the people, 
who had only held his office by sufferance of the Federal authori- 
ties, from the gubernatorial mansion, and the installation 
therein of Adelbert Ames as military Governor. The Legis- 
lature which met in January, 1870, contained forty negroes, 
and among them was Wm. Holmes from Monroe County. The 
Federal troops, stationed at the various centers of the State, 
were directly under the command of the military Governor 
and ready to vindicate the authority of the new government 
officials in whatever they undertook. These events naturally 
developed sundry disorders. Chaos prevailed throughout the 
State. The people were not without hope that the end would 
come somehow, but how they knew not. It was about 1869-70 

66 Mississippi Historical Society. 

that the famous Ku Klux Klan, a secret society, was organized, 
which created widespread comment. General Forrest, "the 
wizard of the saddle," was about that time building the Mem- 
phis & Selma Railroad through Monroe County. Forrest is 
sometimes credited with organizing the Ku Klux, but that is 
now known not to be true. Certain it is that he and his brother, 
Wm. Forrest, boarded at the well known city hotel, then and 
for many years afterward kept by Major Warren A. Webb and 
his good wife. This hotel stood on the elevation just north of 
the county courthouse, and there Forrest and his brother spent 
many nights and Sundays, and of course they were not without 
interest in what was passing at the time. There cannot be a 
doubt that many a secret conclave was held between the men 
who exercised and controlled the Ku Klux and the Forrests. 
"The Robinsons" was another secret order of like character 
which existed about the same time. Gen. S. J. Gholson was the 
head of the Ku Klux Klan in Monroe County. 

While the first negro Legislature was in session in March, 
1870, an incident happened which acquired widespread interest 
and which finally reached the ears of Congress and the courts. 
I refer to the whipping by the Ku Klux of Col. A. P. Huggins, 
who was then Superintendent of Education in Monroe County. 
He was organizing public schools among the negroes and was 
supposed to be giving them encouragement in the line of de- 
manding their political rights, and some thought was advocating 
social equality. I can hardly think he was doing the latter, 
for he seems to have been a man of some standing and of a 
moral and religious character. At any rate the Ku Klux saw 
fit in one of their nightly escapades to surround him where he 
was at the home of a Mr. Ross, where he was stopping in the 
country, and severely whip him. The man who did the actual 
whipping is now a well known citizen of Monroe County whose 
name it is needless to call. ' For a special account of this occur- 

7 Some say the bloody shirt worn by Huggins was carried to Washing- 
ton by an army officer, turned over to Gen. Butler and that he waived 
the ensanguined garment in an impassioned sectional speech and that 
the incident gave rise to what is called "waiving the bloody shirt." I 
have not been able to positively verify this statement though it is vouched 
for by no less an authority than Major S. A. Jonas. Dr. Spofford, the 
learned ex-Librarian of Congress, says that no such incident occurred 
in the hall of the House of Representatives. Lieutenant Pickett is said 
to have carried the "bloody shirt" away from here. 

Reconstruction in Monroe County. Leftwich. 67 

rence I again refer to the article of Judge Becket, Volume VIII, 
page 177, Publications of the Mississippi Historical Society. 

Certain it is that this occurrence gave the people of Monroe 
County much cause for regret, although none now or then were 
or are disposed to censure the motives of the men participating 
in the whipping. The Ku Klux Klan became so powerful and 
bold in its operations that Congress, on April 20, 1871, passed 
the Anti Ku Klux Act. When the United States Court met at 
Oxford many citizens of Monroe County were indicted for Ku 
Kluxing, among them being W. D. Walton and twenty-seven 
other persons who were charged with killing a negro. The 
name of the negro was Alex Page, who lived on the plantation 
of Mr. Andrew Pope, east of the Tombigbee. A writ of habeas 
corpus was taken out before Judge Hill to test the constitution- 
ality of the Act, and the famous trial known as ex parte Walton 
et al. began June 28, 187.1, at Oxford. A large number of the 
bar of Aberdeen were engaged in defending Walton and the 
others who were indicted. A great legal battle was fought. 
The United States District Attorney, Wells, was assisted in the 
prosecution by H. C. Blackman, H. W. Walter, Van H. Manning, 
G. P. M. Turner and E. P. Jacobson, United States District 
Attorney for the Southern District of Mississippi. The con- 
stitutionality of the Act was sustained by Judge Hill, but the 
defendants were released, some on bond and some on their per- 
sonal recognizance. Walton's counsel were Col. W. F. Dowd, 
Col. R. O. Reynolds, Capt. E. O. Sykes and Capt. Robert E. 
Houston, and Capt. J. D. McClusky. The result was that Wal- 
ton and the others came home heroes and were welcomed with 
great rejoicings by the town and country, and no further prose- 
cutions were had under that Act. 8 This was not the end, how- 
ever, of the Ku Klux agitation. A subcommittee of the United 
States Senate composed of Gov. Geo. S. Boutwell of Massachu- 
setts, Senator Angus Cameron of Wisconsin, Senator McMillon, 
Senator McDonald and Thomas F. Bayard of Delaware, began 
its investigations at Macon, November 9, 1871, and held other 
sittings, notably at Jackson and Aberdeen. During the sittings 
at Aberdeen Senator Bayard was considered the friend of the 

8 It was at the trial of these Ku Klux cases that the conduct of one of 
the government witnesses provoked the famous "court scene" in which 
L. Q. C. Lamar figured so conspicuously. 

68 Mississippi Historical Society. 

white people of the State of Mississippi, as he in truth was, and the 
other two members there present were put down as being more or 
less inimical to their interests and favorable to negro rule. It must 
be remembered that the possession of the right of franchise by 
the negro at that time was an untried experiment and unre- 
stricted suffrage by them was advocated by leaders in the 
North, chief among whom were Stevens and Sumner. Senator 
Bayard was entertained while the committee sat in Aberdeen 
at the home of Capt. Thomas B. Sykes, and many interesting 
stories are told of his gracious manners, distinguished bearing, 
and his bold championship of what he believed to be right and 
his denunciation of what he believed to be wrong. He was 
in the minority on the committee, and it is said that more than 
once things and measures were attempted which he denounced 
so vigorously and sometimes so profanely that the committee 
would yield to his demands. That he rendered an invaluable 
service on that occasion is not doubted at this time. The tes- 
timony taken by the committee and printed by the Govern- 
ment is still intensely interesting and will serve as a foundation 
for the comment of future historians. 

The aggravations of ignorance and extravagance and the 
perplexing annoyances of the negro office holder continued 
steadily on. The Ku Klux Klan may have become less promi- 
nent because of the fear of prosecutions, but its spirit and meth- 
ods continued. An overt act it was dangerous to commit, both 
because of the presence of the Federal soldiery and because of 
the stringent Federal and State statutes enacted, and the per- 
sistent and steady enforcement of the thirteenth, fourteenth and 
fifteenth amendments to the Constitution of the United States. 
It seems that the people realizing that they were powerless to 
protect themselves in their rights and liberties in the face of a 
tremendous majority of qualified negro voters, determined by 
secret meetings to make the life of all the official representatives 
of the then civil government as unpleasant as possible and to 
terrify and intimidate the colored voters to the limit of endur- 
ance. To recount the harassing measures used which were 
generally secret, sometimes breaking out into open rupture and 
sometimes taking the shape of burlesque, would be an endless 
task. Among the leaders who determined to make the life of 

Reconstruction in Monroe County. Leftwich. 69 

the radicals and negroes unbearable were a number of promi- 
nent and promising young men of Aberdeen and the surround- 
ing country, most of whom having lately come home from the 
war, had smelt powder, were brave and fearless, and were thor- 
oughly determined that, come what might, they would never 
surrender to any such government as was then ruling the coun- 
try. It would be impossible to name all of these, but among 
them were R. C. Becket, J. W. Howard, F. G. Barry, E. O. 
Sykes, S. A. Jonas, John D. McClusky, A. H. Whitfield, W. H. 
Clopton, W. D. Walton, A. E. Dairy mple, R. E. Houston, 
N. W. Hatch, James Dillingham, Plummer Willis, and many 
more too numerous to mention. These young men represented 
the white people and property rights of their country much in 
the same way that the Cossacks represent the governing power 
of Russia to-day. A large and weightier class of well known 
and older men did not engage in the nightly escapades of these 
younger ones; they did not advise the excesses committed, but 
felt that something had to be done to rid the country of the negro 
and the carpet bagger, and in lieu of some better device, they 
submitted to what was happening, no doubt, hoping, as was 
once said by Lord Milton, that "Whatever is, is right." Among 
these older men were Judge L. E. Houston, Col. R. O. Reynolds, 
A. J. Sykes, J. M. Trice, W. W. Troup, B. R. Howard, W. G. 
Evans, and W. H. Clopton, Sr., Col. L. Willis and many others. 
The writer is told by many of these young Cossacks, who are 
now grown older, that these old men were constantly warning 
them against their excesses, but just as often defending them 
when overtaken. Things grew no better, but worse, until 
January, 1874, when the famous taxpayers' convention met at 
Jackson to devise ways and means to better their condition 
and to save the property of the State from absolute confiscation , 
thus ultimately to preserve their civilization from utter extinc- 
tion and ruin. The taxes reported delinquent from Monroe 
County are shown by the minutes of the Board of Supervisors 
to have been for the fiscal year of 1874, $35,992.70. A very 
large percentage of the lands of the county were sold for taxes 
on the first Monday of January, 1875 and 1876. The tax- 
payers' convention alluded to infused new hope into the people. 
The Democratic Executive Committee of the State awoke to 

70 Mississippi Historical Society. 

renewed energies. J. Z. George was made chairman. County 
organizations of like spirit and character began work throughout 
the State. The chairman of the Executive Committee of Mon- 
roe County for the year was Col. John M. Moore and the sec- 
retary was E. 0. Sykes. This committee, backed largely by 
the white people, determined to overthrow the government 
then in existence or to perish in the attempt. The Republi- 
cans of the county were led by J. W. Lee, candidate for sheriff, 
and Geo. C. Coleman, candidate for treasurer. The Democrats 
nominated J. W. Howard for sheriff, H. S. Gilleylen for chan- 
cery clerk, Andrew Wood for circuit clerk, and Col. W. W. 
Troup, J. M. Trice, and Major A. J. Sykes for representatives 
in the Legislature, and Col. R. O. Reynolds for senator. Col. 
Reynolds was a distinguished lawyer and orator. The three 
distinguished gentlemen named for representatives were 
wealthy planters and citizens who in anything but a crisis 
would have been very far from seeking or holding office at the 
sacrifice of their large business interests and of their inclinations. 
But the exigency was on hand which demanded the time, 
money, and even the life, if necessary, of every good citizen, 
and in selecting this ticket, it was not a question of who wanted 
office, but who was needed and who could best serve the people 
in getting rid of the negro and the carpet bagger, frequently 
led by misguided and deluded home people. The County Exec- 
utive Committee taxed each of the candidates for Representa- 
tive one thousand dollars ($1,000) for campaign expenses, 
which sum was cheerfully paid. 


During the year 1874 public sentiment in the North began to 
change materially, and became much more sympathetic toward 
Southern white people and far more unfriendly to the carpet 
bag rule that was subjecting all the gulf States to humiliation. 
The use of the soldiery by the civil power in Louisiana that year 
to oust the Governor elected by the people and to install another 
at the point of the bayonet, and many other events that cre- 
ated less comment at the time, turned the tide of public senti- 
ment. An open letter was written to the Southern people by 

Reconstruction in Monroe County. Lejtwich. 71 

their leading Representatives in Congress in 1874, counseling 
moderation, patience, determination and reliance on the good 
will and the conservative sentiment of the North, and prophe- 
sying that light and relief would come to them by some means 
yet to be discovered. As the election to be held on the Tuesday 
after the first Monday of November, 1875, tnat being the 3d of 
November that year, approached, interest became more and 
more intense in the importance of the event and the determina- 
tion of the white people to again resume the control of their 
own government became more widespread and universal. 
Preparations for the campaign began certainly not later than 
the beginning of the year 1875, and the campaign was organ- 
ized under the name of Democracy. But beyond Democracy 
and beyond all else, was the overthrow of the carpet bagger, of 
the negro and of the scalawag. Politics has ever used derisive 
names, each adversary inventing epithets for his opponent. 
Mississippi adopted for Republicans from other States the 
term "carpet bagger," which was said to have been first used 
by Chas. A. Dana in the New York Sun; for the white Repub- 
licans, Mississippians by birth, was invented the opprobrious 
name "scalawag." The third name of the trilogy was "nigger." 
In the first election for Governor between Dent and Alcorn 
the Democrats supported Dent, -the less offensive Republican 
as they thought. So the white people would have marshalled 
their forces under any name under heaven which would have 
offered the most sure relief, but as Democracy had survived 
all the changes of all the trying periods of the nation's history, 
and as most of the white people were in harmony with its real 
tenets, and as it was still the watchword of that party, which 
was supposed to guard the peoples' rights, the white people 
boldly organized themselves under the title of the Democratic 
party. In the work which began and ended so auspiciously, 
Monroe County was a leader and helped set the pace for many 
other counties in the State. It is claimed that many of the 
plans of organization and many of the methods of confusing 
the adversary were invented and first put into successful use 
by the capable leaders who inaugurated the campaign in this 
county. The Democratic Executive Committee was organ- 
ized, consisting of twenty-five members. This committee 

72 Mississippi Historical Society. 

elected a central committee composed of five members, as fol- 
lows: Dr. John M. Moore, chairman; E. O. Sykes, secretary; 
S. A. Jonas, Colonel Redwood and W. D. Hooper. This com- 
mittee of five worked in secret and some of them gave their 
entire time to the campaign for many months preceding the 
election. They had in the treasury to start with about $5,000- 
The military company was thoroughly organized and drilled. 
This was first inspired perhaps by Governor Alcorn's militia, 
largely composed of negro troops and commanded frequently 
by negro officers. One of these negro companies was in active 
service in Monroe County, commanded by Arthur Brooks, 
once a negro representative in the Legislature. 9 This military 
company gave much ground for apprehension. The captain 
of this company at Aberdeen during the active campaign was 
E. O. Sykes, who succeeded General Gholson, and his lieuten- 
ants were Geo. C. Paine and John C. Wicks. The gunner who 
handled the artillery branch of the company was Captain George 
W. Elkin. In organizing this company the importance of 
noise and thunder was not underrated, and Major S. A. Jonas 
was accordingly sent to Mobile, where he purchased of the city 
authorities a twenty -four-pound cannon, which was brought to 
Aberdeen, mounted and put into service. Recognizing the 
importance of a bold, unflinching front, this committee inaugu- 
rated the sentiment that they were going to carry the election, 
if by fair means, well; but foul or fair, they were going to carry 
the election. They organized cavalcades of horsemen which, 
with their swift and brusk movements, added enthusiasm to 
every enterprise. In the background was a large company of 
old and wealthy men who would have been more or less distin- 
guished in any like number of Anglo-Saxons in the world. I 
have already mentioned some of them. These were daily con- 
sulted by the leaders of the young men and the latter were as 
often warned against excess and imprudence. Capt. E. O. 
Sykes, who had charge of the campaign in its military aspects, 
that year, tells of frequent interviews with Bishop Robert 
Paine, an old and distinguished minister living in Aberdeen. 
He warned Sykes constantly on the lines indicated, but his 

'This negro company was said to have been furnished guns by Gev. 
Ames at the state's expense. Capt. Sykes' company was armed with 
Enfield rifles furnished at their own expense. 

Reconstruction in Monroe County. Leftwich. 73 

invariable refrain was, "You must carry this election, you must 
carry this election ; if you do not we are lost." And the serious- 
ness of the problem could not be better illustrated than by the 
interposition of this serene old minister in the crisis. 

It must not be forgotten that the Republican organization 
was very complete and was led by bold and strong men. The 
great mass of negroes were bold and many of them made poli- 
tics their sole business. Much of the time of the Democrats 
was put in watching their adversary, in reconnoitering, as a 
soldier would say. The public discussions were not inaugu- 
rated by the Democrats, but by the Republicans. Their lead- 
ing speakers were Capt. Lee, Colonel Coleman and W. H. Hodges, 
all native Southern men and Confederate soldiers. They pub- 
lished dates for series of meetings to be held for public speakings 
throughout the county during the summer, to which meetings 
all were invited, but no offer was made for a division of time 
with the Democrats. This announcement of the Republicans 
was immediately seized hold by the Democratic committee as 
the time and occasion to do their work. So they made all 
arrangements, all of which were of course secret, for having 
speakers at the first appointment at Cotton Gin, and demanding 
there a division of the time. When the day arrived the artillery, 
under command of Captain Elkin, went to Cotton Gin on the 
west side of the river, while the speakers, two of whom were 
E. O. Sykes and A. H. Whitfield, now Chief Justice of Missis- 
sippi, drove through to the east side. Cotton Gin, which has 
been since abandoned as a town, was then on the dividing line 
between the white and the black belt. There were great num- 
bers of negroes present on this occasion, and the division of 
time was finally reluctantly granted by the Republican speakers. 
While Captain Sykes was making his reply, the cannon opened 
fire and created no little consternation and confusion among 
the negroes, who ran pell mell out of the house. The gentleman 
speaking for the Republican cause in the testimony before the 
Boutwell committee claimed that there was great confusion 
and a disposition on the part of the white Democrats to treat 
contemptuously the Republican speakers, to interrupt and 
insult them. The Democrats, however, in their evidence, dis- 
claimed any such intention, but stated that any disorders that 

74 Mississippi Historical Society. 

arose grew out of the occasion, many being uncontrollable in 
such an atmosphere, and meant no disrespect. The speaking 
the next day was at Smithville, where the Democrats grew 
bolder, and it was claimed by some of the Republicans that 
Elkin would fire into the tree tops with his cannon and cut the 
limbs off and disturb those who were discussing the political 
issues. It was also claimed that while the Republican speakers 
were in the middle of their addresses Elkin would fire off his 
cannon. As everything was running on the military order, it 
is not disputed now that every feature of this campaign was 
arranged to discourage, to confuse, and to intimidate in all 
means that could be tolerated the Republican speaker and 
voter. At Quincy, the third day, Colonel Coleman claimed 
to have been again insulted, and considerable disturbance arose, 
which, however, was pretty thoroughly controlled by the cool- 
headed gentlemen in charge of the Democrats. The last public 
speaking on this round was had at Sulphur Springs, a place 
in the fork of the Buttahatchie and Tombigbee Rivers, in a 
thickly settled negro community, near the present home of 
Col. Lafayette Willis. It must not be forgotten that the negroes 
were bold enough in those days to cause great fears of conflict. 
They were out at Sulphur Springs in force, arrayed in military 
paraphernalia and were in command of an officer with drums 
to march by. A very disturbing element was a kettle drum in 
the hands of one of the negroes. The officers of the military 
command and the drummer sat on the front seat next to the 
speakers, and whenever a Republican speaker would make as he 
thought a strong point, the drummer would lead the applause 
by a loud beating of his drum. The Democrats had pressed 
into service a speaker by the name of Beck, a Georgia drummer, 
and were very anxious for the negroes to hear Beck, and the 
word got abroad that they intended to leave as soon as the 
Republican speakers were through. It was thought that Beck 
would have a strong influence over them. Plummer Willis 
and his brother, W. H. Walton, Young Quarles and many others 
of like type of young men, some of whom had lately been Con- 
federate soldiers, were determined to control the meeting. 
Some of the negroes before the Boutwell committee complained 
that these young men would stand in the aisles during the speak- 

Reconstruction in Monroe County. Leftwich. 75 


ing and that one was seen to change a large pistol from one inside 
coat pocket to another. This charge was especially made 
against Plummer Willis, but he denies it, and he is a truthful 
man. He admits, however, that he was armed like all others 
present. Willis, after remonstrating with the drummer about 
the offensive use of his drum during the speaking, and to no 
effect, used his pistol over the negro's head. It was charged 
that Walton and others did the same thing. The writer has 
interviewed some of these gentlemen about this, and they claim 
that when the Republicans closed their arguments a sign was 
passed around among the negroes, indicating that they should 
leave. The Democrats determined that they should not leave 
and should hear their speakers, and so closed the doors. They 
claim that they struck some of the negroes with their pistols 
and kept them from jumping out of the windows. The Demo- 
crats seized and cut up the drums, but a collection was taken 
to pay for them before they left the ground. At any rate, the 
meeting at Sulphur Springs broke up in what the negroes called 
at that time a "riot." 

The next speaking was advertised to take place at Paine's 
Chapel on the next day, in the very heart of the prairie and in 
the black belt. Great crowds of Democrats from the East side, 
including about seventy-five on horses who were at Sulphur 
Springs, an improvised military company commanded by James 
Dillingham came into Aberdeen, during the night and many 
started in force to Paine's Chapel the next day when they met 
many coming away who announced that the speaking had been 
called off. The Republicans saw from the Sulphur Springs 
experience that there was great danger of serious collision and 
that further prosecution of a joint canvass was unwise. The 
speaking did not discontinue, however. Both the Democrats 
and the Republicans were making incursions into various parts 
nightly and haranguing the voters. The Democrats sent able 
speakers who exhausted themselves talking to the negro voters. 
Many incidents, amusing and laughable, occurred in this cam- 

A move had been agitated during the fall of 1875 to refuse 
to rent to one-third of the negro hands, and it seems to have 
been intended to turn off the most offensive Republicans. A 

76 Mississippi Historical Society. 

large planter, and a Republican at that, in the northern part 
of the county of Monroe, Col. Overton Harris, wrote to the chair- 
man of the Executive Committee that the negroes were stirred 
up over the resolution of the Democrats not to rent to them. 
Harris favored the Democrats in that election and wrote the 
committee to send him a conservative speaker. General 
Reuben Davis, Col. W. W. Troup and N. W. Hatch went out to 
Blackwell's Chapel to speak at Colonel Harris' invitation. A 
large audience of negroes was there, and General Davis was the 
principal speaker. Mr. Hatch is able to remember some por- 
tions of Davis' speech, and it may interest the future historian 
to have a sample of the lurid oratory of those days. General 
Davis spoke in part as follows: 

"Colored men and fellow-citizens, the Democratic Executive Com- 
mittee of Monroe County has sent me here to make a conservative speech. 
When I left my home, my wife asked me where I was going, and I told 
her 'I was going to fight the battles of my country. I was going to the 
fifth beat to make a talk to the voters.' I understand the State Demo- 
cratic Executive Committee has recommended to the planters to turn 
off one-third of the laborers, unless they vote the Democratic ticket. 
I understand you to say you don't give a d m whether they turn you 
off or not, that you will never vote the Democratic ticket. I under- 
stand you to say you will go out and get your drinking water out of 
the creeks and branches. Who do the creeks and branches belong to? 
Colored men? Don't they belong to the white people? I understand 
you to say you will go out and live under the trees. Who do the trees 
belong to? Colored men? Don't the trees belong to the white people? 
No, colored men, the only way you can rid yourselves of the white people 
is to catch yourselves by the seats of your pants and lift yourselves 200 
yards above the tops of the trees, d m you! Who are your friends, 
colored men? The white people of the South are the best friends you 
ever had. The d m Yankees took their ships and brought your ances- 
tors to this country and sold them to the Southern people. And when 
the Southern people bought your ancestors, they fought and ate one 
another like wild animals. When your ancestors were found in the 
wilds of Africa, they were hanging from the limbs of the trees like 
baboons, and throwing cocoanuts at one another. Colored men, do you 
think the white people are a set of fools to feed and clothe you and then 
let you vote for the d m carpet bagger?" 

To this question a negro in the audience, seeing the great agita- 
tion of General Davis, rose from his seat and answering as to 
whether or not they thought General Davis and the white people 
were fools, said in a loud voice, "Yessir." 

General Davis reached into his grip for his pistol, but Robert 
Gordon, who knew the negro, stopped Davis and told him not 
to hurt him, that he was deaf and wanted to please the speaker 
and then he began again: 

Reconstruction in Monroe County. Leftunch. 77 

"My colored friends, you are ruining the white people of the South, 
and yourselves as well, by running after the carpet bagger and voting 
the Republican ticket. If it goes much further, colored men, I am for 
war and blood, war to the knife, and the knife to the hilt." 

At this challenge, a bold negro rose to his feet in the audience 
and responded, "I am, too, General Davis." 

This was more than General Davis could stand ; he went for 
his pistol again and made for the negro, who jumped out at the 
window, and the remaining colored portion of the audience did 
likewise. Col. Overton Harris complained bitterly at the com- 
mittee for not sending him a conservative speaker as he requested. 
The oratory of General Davis was displayed in many localities 
in that campaign and it was a little more lurid than most others. 
General Davis' theory was that the best plan was not to per- 
suade but to control and alarm the colored voter by threats 
of force. Whether he was right or not is a question to be left 
to the historian. Henry Kernaghan in his testimony before 
the Boutwell committee, describing the events in Rankin 
County, said "there was horror and the atmosphere was loaded 
with it, that there was not a more demoralized set of beings in 
the world than the negroes of that county." l The evidence now 
is that Kernaghan gave a true picture of the campaign of that 
year which culminated in the success of the white people on 
November the third following. A colored speaker in that cam- 
paign for the Democrats was Jeff Walker, whom the committee 
had employed to make speeches. A great meeting of the 
negroes was being addressed by Walker at Prairie Station. 
Colonel Reynolds also spoke on that occasion. Jeff Walker in 
his speech was telling the negroes that the Democrats would 
enact good laws, was telling them of the advantages of making 
hog stealing a penitentiary offense. A negro at once stood up 
in the audience and retorted, "Jeff Walker, youse no right to 
talk. Not eight months 'go Major Gus Sykes paid out $150 to 
keep you out ub de pen fur stealin' a hog." 

Walker instantly retorted, "Yes, dat is so, but den I wuz a 
Republican and it wuz part of our 'ligion to steal hogs from 
the white folks." 

'See Vol. II, Report of the Select Committee to Enquire into the Mis- 
sissippi Election of 1825, pp. 1248 and 1250. 

78 Mississippi Historical Society. 

At this same meeting Col. Reynolds was illustrating the 
advantages to the colored man of having a white representative 
at Jackson, and told them if one of them was going to send 
money to Jackson, which would you send it by, Col. Troup, 
Maj. Gus Sykes or myself, or Jeff Walker, for instance. 

A big negro at once replied from the back of the audience, 
"I blieve I'd sen' mine by Jeff Walker, Col. Reynolds." 

Ready as Col. Reynolds was, the retort puzzled him, until 
some one near by told him that the negro making it lived on 
the plantation owned by Mrs. Reynolds, his wife. Col. Rey- 
nolds at once ordered the negro to leave his plantation, that 
he did not want so impudent a tenant on it. The negro in- 
stantly replied, "All right, Colonel, de grass-hoppers has already 
eat up everything anyhow." 


The tension was near the breaking point at Aberdeen on 
November 3, 1875, election day. It must be remembered that 
the campaign was a stirring one, lasting for months. The 
organization of the Democrats was perfect; there was no defect 
anywhere. Major Jonas, who was a member of the central 
committee of five and practically directed everything, char- 
acterizes the campaign as a military campaign. Abundant 
funds were provided. Of the County Executive Committee of 
twenty-five, five were in every beat and scattered all over the 
county. Orders coming from the central committee at Aber- 
deen were promptly and faithfully executed. The plans of 
the campaign were guarded with military secrecy. The most 
noted and effective speakers to be had were engaged. Lamar 
spoke to a great throng from a portico of the county court- 
house. Col. Chas-. E. Hooker came after great importunity. 
It is the striking comment that, when the invitation was ex- 
tended to him through Major Jonas, he expressed the opinion 
that it was useless to spend time, money, and energy on a county 
with such a negro majority as Monroe. But. he came and 
returned home enthusiastic, to be himself elected to Congress. 

Monroe seems to have been the first or among the first to 
inaugurate the use of the cannon. Campaigning on horseback 

Reconstruction in Monroe County. Leftunch. 79 

was also put in vogue here. The effect of hundreds of men 
parading on horseback on days of public speaking was as inspir- 
ing to the Democrats as it was depressing to the radicals. For 
a more pleasing effect there was a local glee club organized by 
Mr. E. H. Bristow, a member of the bar, and Esquire B. C. 
Sims, both excellent musicians. The singers were negroes led 
by Sims. The latter was elected a justice of the peace at that 
election, and has held that important office to this good day. 
Federal soldiers were still quartered at Aberdeen, and it was a 
matter of some concern to the leaders as to what part they would 
take in the election. Dr. J. M. Greene and two others were 
deputed as a committee to interview the captain in command. 
That officer had already become disgusted with the work to 
which he was detailed and was not slow to agree that the elec- 
tion might be relieved of any military flavor. 

The negroes throughout the county were alarmed by the 
inroads made in their own ranks by the Democrats. The 
spectacular and warlike campaign had intimidated them, as 
was no doubt intended. To again use the expressive language 
of Henry Kernaghan before the Boutwell Committee, "There 
was terror and the atmosphere was loaded with it." An elec- 
tion law allowed a voter to either vote at his own precinct or 
at the county seat. Feeling no doubt that they would be more 
secure at the county seat where most of the leaders were, there 
was a movement among the negroes to come to Aberdeen to 
vote. Foreseeing danger from this course, the Democrats dis- 
couraged massing the negroes at one voting place. 2 Men were 
detailed at every precinct to go to the homes of the negroes 
and advise them to stay away from the election. The county 
bridge over the Tombigbee was turned during the night before 
the election to keep the negroes from the east side out of 
town. But many found a ford higher up and crossed. The 
way was open from the west, where most of the negroes lived, 
and they came in droves. 

Capt. E. 0. Sykes in command of the military company was 
on hand at sunup to send some gentlemen on horses to Muldon 

2 A few days before the election a meeting was had between the leaders 
of the Democrats and Republicans, when the latter were asked to 
advise the negroes to vote at home precincts, but no agreement was 

8o Mississippi Historical Society. 

and elsewhere in the black district. They were about to leave, 
with Judge Locke E. Houston at their head, when it was dis- 
covered that the courthouse yard, which is off the main public 
street, was rapidly filling up with negroes from all quarters of 
the county who had evidently left their homes in many instances 
during the night. Among these horsemen were some Alabam- 
ians who had volunteered to come across the line and help 
carry the county for the Democrats. They had crossed over 
from the east before the bridge was turned. Much testimony 
as to the intimidation by these horsemen from Alabama was 
given before the Boutwell Committee. At any rate, they at 
once desisted from their ride to the country and galloped into 
the street west of the county courthouse. 3 General Reuben 
Davis testified before the Boutwell Committee that apprehend- 
ing a crisis of some sort, he ate his breakfast early, told his family 
"good-bye" and was at the courthouse by seven o'clock, several 
hundred negroes were already there and they were rapidly 
increasing in numbers. The cannon was soon planted at the 
northwest corner of the courthouse in command of Elkin. By 
the time the voters were really awake to the situation, the 
large courthouse yard of several acres was a mass of negro 
voters and the polls at the east door of the courthouse were 
practically inaccessible to the people from the town offering to 
vote. So high had become the tension that Captain Lee, the 
sheriff and a candidate for re-election, was advised by his 
friends to leave the courthouse. 4 He was a fearless man but 
he acceded to this and spent most of the day at the jail and at 
the house of the jailer near by. Many negroes had clubs, some 
with feathers in their hats, and many were bedecked in various 
forms of military paraphernalia. 

The crisis came when A. E. Dalrymple, of Amory, then a 
lusty young fellow, struck a negro, who was. in his way at the 
polling place, over the head. The use of other sticks followed 
rapidly and the negroes were soon stampeded and started for 
their home precincts. The noise of the cannon and the swift 

3 The position of these horsemen was between the courthouse, where 
the negroes were, and jail, where it was believed the guns of the negro 
military company were. 

4 Wordy altercation had already occurred early that morning over the 
election between Capt. Lee and Capt. T. B. Sykes. 

Reconstruction in Monroe County. Lejtwich. 81 

movements of the cavalry company accelerated their move- 
ments. Not one was seriously hurt, but the bridge to the east 
of the town being turned many forgot the ford higher up and 
swam the river in their hasty retreat. Most of them of course 
lost their opportunity to vote at the county seat and many 
did not vote at all. Capt. Lee testified before the Boutwell 
Committee that he thought thirteen hundred were driven 
away from the county courthouse; some thought a less num- 
ber. 5 At any rate, after the incident just recounted, the elec- 
tion at Aberdeen was most quiet and orderly. The news of 
this occurrence, which happened early in the day, sped rapidly 
to other precincts in the county and gave the Democrats re- 
newed energy. The horsemen already described rode rapidly 
to other voting places and the enthusiasm spread. Many 
negroes voted the Democratic ticket, many did not vote at all. 
I have searched in vain at the office of the Secretary of State 
for the tabulated vote, only fragments of which are to be found. 
The best criterion showing the change of complexion in the 
vote of the county I can find is in that for State Senator. The 
candidates for the State Senate in 1871 were F. H. Little, 
Republican, who received 2,457 votes, and E. 0. Sykes, Dem- 
ocrat, who received 1,905 votes. In 1875, R. O. Reynolds, 
Democratic candidate for the State Senate, received 2,611 
votes, and William Hodges, Republican candidate, 1,536 votes. 
The election machinery was at this time in the hands of the 
Republicans and there could have been no stuffing of ballot 
boxes for the Democrats. The leading county officers elected 
at this election were J. W. Howard, sheriff; H. S. Gilleylen, 
chancery clerk; Andrew Wood, circuit clerk; W. W. Troop, 
J. M. Trice and A. J. Sykes, representatives, and R. O. Rey- 
nolds, senator. 

Since that day the white people of Monroe County have 
never surrendered their control of its political affairs. How- 
ever, they have constantly remained on friendly terms with 
the colored population, who have remained reasonably contented 
and prosperous. While the whites have increased considerably 
in numbers since then the negroes have remained almost numer- 

5 See Vol. II, Report of Select Committee to Enquire into Mississippi 
Election of 1824, p. 1030. 

8a Mississippi Historical Society. 

ically the same. Many interesting incidents might be recounted 
between the election of 1875 and the adoption of the Consti- 
tution of 1890, but reconstruction was practically complete 
when the vote was counted, November 3, 1875. 


A book could be written of incidents, sometimes amusing, 
sometimes tragic, which occurred during the reconstruction 
period. The younger portion of the population led by the 
recently parolled Confederate soldiers, some of whose names 
have been mentioned, determined to make the conditions as 
disagreeable for the Republicans whose plans and principles 
favored negro rule for the county as was possible. While the 
soldiers were quartered here, much took the form of burlesque. 
Many huge practical jokes were got off, many of which have 
been related elsewhere and referred to already. Maj. F. G. 
Barry and Judge Herbert, a Republican of Southern birth, had 
a very serious shooting affray. Barry and his companions were 
that night arrested by the soldiers, put on their parol, and were 
the next morning arraigned for trial in military style. When 
they were asked their names, they responded somewhat as 
follows: Barry would say "I am Frederick Napoleon Wellington 
Barry." Jno. D. McCluskey answered "I am Oliver Cromwell, 
McClusky." Becket would answer to his name, "I am Richard, 
the Lion-Hearted Becket." This illustrates the sort of con- 
temptuous, yet not strictly forbidden, demeanor the accused 
exercised toward the military tribunal. McClusky, now a well 
known lawyer of Vernon, Alabama, and a highly respected 
citizen, came to Aberdeen from Northern Alabama, near Tus- 
cumbia, in 1866. He began life as a printer, but after the war, 
donned his worn-out captain's uniform and set out for Mexico. 
All he claimed of the estate of his ancestors was an old family 
carriage and a pair of ponies. He reached Aberdeen on his way 
South and having a brother-in-law here, changed his mind, sold 
out his equippage, and began studying law. Col. McClusky is of 
Scotch-Irish extraction and is a natural wit. He never got 
excited, and had abundant courage to carry out his plans when 
formed. A frequent resource of his was to pretend an undying 

Reconstruction in Monroe County. Lefturich. 83 

friendship for officeholders whose lives he intended to make 
miserable, often lying awake at nights to devise schemes to 
humiliate them. He was bold enough, however, when occa- 
sion demanded it. He was on one occasion sent with some 
other young men to White's store in the northern part of the 
county to meet Republican speakers. A division of time was 
refused, but while the adversary was speaking, McCluskyand 
his friends climbed into the wagon used as a temporary rostrum. 
When the Republican speaker was through, McClusky stood up 
with a pistol in each hand; he told the crowd that he intended 
to speak, and waving his pistols, he said, "And maybe these 
will speak also." 

McClusky made Mayor Lacey believe that he was his only 
friend and Lacey appointed him, in his absence, mayor pro tern. 
He presided with great dignity in the mayor's chair and pro- 
nounced some remarkable judgments. One of the complaints 
that he heard was that of a negro who was working about some 
man's house in town and made a bitter complaint that his 
employer kicked him for not making a fire in time one morning. 
McClusky heard his complaint with a great deal of gravity and 
then turned to the deputy sheriff and asked where he had hung 
the negro he had executed on the day before. The deputy 
sheriff saw the joke and humored it by answering McClusky, 
but before he got through describing where he erected the 
gallows, the prosecutor of his employer was gone. McClusky 
boarded at the city hotel kept by Maj. Webb and his wife 
already referred to. Woodmansee, the chancery clerk, was 
also about the hotel a great deal, and especially when he was 
drinking. Maj. Webb tells it that late after midnight on one 
occasion he heard a dreadful noise in the wagon yard and went 
out to inquire about it, and found that McClusky and a lot of 
the other fellows had found Woodmansee drunk, had put him 
in the wagonbed and nailed him up. Woodmansee had come 
to and was kicking wildly and clamoring for his liberty, and 
Webb liberated him. 

The negroes had grown tremendously afraid of firearms and 
anything that sounded like a gun promptly set their legs in 
motion. One day in the winter McClusky found a saloon full 
of them. He pulled off the corner of a house one of the tin 

84 Mississippi Historical Society. 

down -pipes, the lower elbow of which was stopped up with ice. 
He set a bunch of cannon crackers on fire, dropped them into 
this improvised cannon, and at once pushed the open end of 
the down-pipe through a broken pane in the window, leveling 
it squarely at the negroes. They were of course taken terribly 
by surprise at being confronted with such an instrument of 
death. Some ran under the counters, some out of the doors, 
and it is claimed that some of them carried off window sashes 
as they jumped through the windows. This joke played such 
havoc that McClusky reloaded his gun, and finding a negro ball 
in progress that night, broke it up in the same way. Of course 
he had to pay the usual fines for such escapades, rather they 
seem to have been levied but never paid, but they were some 
of the devices employed to make the Republicans uncomfor- 
table, and politics was at the bottom of it all. It seems that 
Governor Alcorn heard how McClusky got into the good graces 
of Lacey, the mayor, advised him that a mob was assembling 
to do him harm and carried him to the M. & O. railroad station 
to seek safety, and put him aboard the train south, all as related 
in the article of Judge Becket heretofore referred to. McClusky 
was later in Oxford while Governor Alcorn was there, and the 
Governor sent for him to come to his room at the hotel, and with 
great gravity asked how it happened that he had treated Lacey 
the way it was reported he had done. McClusky at once told 
the Governor that he understood it to be a rule of commercial 
law that when a merchant got goods that he had not ordered, 
that he could always return them. 

"Now," he says, "Governor, you Republicans shipped us 
Lacey for mayor, and as he did not suit us, we concluded we 
would just ship him back to you." 

It is reported that the Governor could no longer contain 
himself and rolled over on his bed bursting with laughter. It 
would be impossible to recount all the numerous pranks that 
were played on the Federal soldiers. Sometimes they were 
not altogether pranks, for McClusky and Capt. W. H. Clopton 
were each said to have whipped an army officer belonging to 
the Federal military company in a fisticuff on the same day. 




To fully understand the condition of Hinds County at the 
time the Reconstruction Acts went into effect, one must not only 
know the condition of the country at that time, but must have 
in mind the import of the reconstruction measures. In order 
to do this it will be well to go back a little and review very briefly 
the history of the country. In 1861 the memorable election 
took place by which Abraham Lincoln was chosen President of 
the United States. The political status of the North gave the 

1 W. CALVIN WELLS was born in Hinds County, Mississippi, about eight 
miles south of Edwards, on January 25, 1844. He was the son of Thomas 
Wells and Cynthia (Thompson) Wells. The Wells family is of English 
extraction, and emigrated first to Abbeville District, South Carolina, and 
about the beginning of the nineteenth century settled in southern Mis- 
sissippi. The parents of W. Calvin Wells were pioneers in Hinds County, 
entenng land from the United States Government at the land office at 
Mount Salus, now Clinton, Mississippi. 

At the beginning of the War between the States the subject of this 
sketch, at the age of seventeen years, enlisted in the 2 ad Mississippi 
Regiment, Infantry, C. S. A., and served with distinction throughout the 
entire period of hostilities. 

At the close of the war he entered the University of Mississippi, from 
which institution he was graduated with special distinction in the class 
of 1869, taking the degree of Bachelor of Arts. 

He was married in August, 1869, to Miss Mary Eliza Miller, a daughter 
of Rev. John Henry Miller (Lt. Col. ist Miss. Cavalry, C. S. A.) and Eliza 
(Givhan) Miller of Pontotoc, Mississippi. 

He read law privately and was admitted to the bar in 1871, at Ray- 
mond, Mississippi, and is still in the active practice of his profession, now 
living in Jackson, Mississippi, where he moved in 1893. 

He was Secretary of the Executive Campaign Committee of Hinds 
County during the notable campaign of 1875, when a political revolution 
took place, and the white people again seized the reins of government. 

Mr. Wells is a ruling elder in the First Presbyterian Church of Jackson, 
Mississippi, and has repeatedly represented his church in the higher courts 
of his denomination. 

He has been the commander of the Robert A. Smith Camp of United 
Confederate Veterans, of Jackson, Mississippi, holding that office for 
many years. 

He has always stood high in his profession, and having made a specialty 
of the law of real property, has had a large and successful practice, espec- 
ially in that branch of the law. 

As a man he has been marked by a strong love for his State, by un- 
swerving devotion to duty, and by a steadfast adherence to those prin- 
ciples that he believed would make for the moral, intellectual, and 
material advancement of his people. EDITOR. 


86 Mississippi Historical Society. 

country three political parties, the Democrats, the Whigs, and 
the Republicans. The Republicans were made up of two classes, 
called then Republicans and Black Republicans. The views of 
the Black Republicans differed from the Republicans in that 
they had the most extreme views on the subject of slavery. 
They hated the slave owner with great intensity, and sought to 
do just what was done by Mr. Lincoln, emancipate every slave 
and make him a citizen with all the rights of the white race. 
The Black Republicans were in the minority and were unable 
to get the Republican platform based on such extreme measures 
as they advocated. If that had been done, Mr. Lincoln could 
never have been elected. It is claimed now by some of his 
friends that he entertained those extreme views when he was 

He said in his inaugural address: 

"I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institu- 
tion of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful 
right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so." 

The Southern people did not believe he was sincere in this, 
but believed that the policies of his administration would tend 
to the emancipation of the slaves, and that when opportunity 
arrived, he would override all law and the constitution, and 
emancipate the slaves. Indeed, the biographer of Henry Ward 
Beecher tells us that Mr. Lincoln promised him that as soon as 
public sentiment would sustain him, he would issue an emanci- 
pation proclamation. And we know that after he became 
President, Mr. Beecher visited him frequently, urging him to 
issue the proclamation. 

However that may be, the Black Republicans continued to 
grow in influence and power, and the result was finally consum- 
mated in what is known as the Reconstruction Measures. On 
March 2, 1867, the reconstruction laws were passed and immedi- 
ately went into effect. 

A brief retrospect of Mississippi and of Hinds County from the 
time of the surrender of the Confederate forces down to the 
time of the passage of these acts will help the reader to under- 
stand the condition of things and the effects of reconstruction 
on this county. 

Reconstruction in Hinds County. Wells. 87 

When the war closed Mississippi had a government which was 
in operation in all of its departments, save where it was inter- 
fered with by the invading armies of the United States. Only 
a part of the State was held by those armies and the remainder 
of it had its officials as before the war. The same^laws were in 
force that had existed prior to the war, with the exception of 
those which had been changed to meet the wants of the State 
in its relation to the Confederate Government and its military 
needs. Charles Clark, the Governor of the State, called together 
the Legislature immediately after the surrender of the Confed- 
erate armies,. No sooner had it organized and gotten to work than 
orders came from Washington that it should disperse. Governor 
Clark was arrested in his office in the Capitol by the United 
States forces under Canby, and was carried away to prison. 

It had been contended by Mr. Lincoln all along that the war 
was not one of conquest, that the States could not secede, and 
that they were all the time in the Union and a part of it. But 
when the conquest was made and the people of the South had 
laid down their arms, the fact that they had seceded was ad- 
mitted. W. L. Sharkey, who was appointed Provisional Gov- 
ernor by President Andrew Johnson, on the i3th of June, 1865, 
proceeded to get the affairs into running order. He had an 
election for all State and county officers on the 2oth of October, 
1865. At that time the following persons were elected for Hinds 
County : 

R. N. Hall, Probate Judge. 

W. T. Ratliff, Probate Clerk. 

W. O. Chapman, Circuit Clerk. 

S. B. Thomas, Sheriff. 

H. S. Pond, Treasurer. 

A. J. Chapman, Assessor. 

P. M. Alston, Ranger. 

E. B. Lamons, Coroner. 

T. G. Dabney, Surveyor. 

With the exception of a few, who were too old, these were all 
ex-Confederate soldiers, and without an exception they were all 
of them splendid citizens. Most of them had been born and 
reared in the county. The fact that these men had all been in 
the Confederate service chafed the Northern people, and was 

88 Mississippi Historical Society. 

used by the Black Republicans in their efforts to get the recon- 
struction laws passed. At that election, the prestige of being a 
Confederate caused nearly every State office to be filled by men 
of that class. Andrew Johnson was President, and because he 
was a Southern man and had taken sides with the North, he 
was intensely hated by the South. His recommendations made 
through Governor Sharkey were unheeded, as neither the State 
convention nor the Legislature would listen to his advice. I 
refer to these things here to show that our own conduct helped 
to bring on us the reconstruction laws as they were subsequently 
passed. This also helped the passage of the three reconstruction 
amendments to the Constitution. 

On the 2d of March, 1867, the reconstruction laws passed 
Congress. They placed the whole of the South under military 
rule, swept out of office all who could not take the Ironclad Oath, 
and placed in office the carpetbagger, the negro and the scalawag. 

Of the officers who were elected in Hinds County, as herein- 
before narrated when the reconstruction laws became effective 
in Mississippi the following declined to take the ironclad oath 
and were driven from office, others being appointed instead by 
general order of the commander of the district: 

R. N. Hall, Probate Judge, resigned and A. L. Dabney was 
appointed in his stead, on September 15, 1867. W. O. Chap- 
man, Circuit Clerk, was removed and L. A. Lindsey appointed 
in his stead, on March 13, 1867, and in turn he was removed and 
J. M. Stone appointed on April 13, 1869. Stone was then re- 
moved and N. Hodge appointed in his stead on September n, 
1869. W. T. Ratliff was removed and Samuel Donnell appointed 
in his stead on April 3, 1869. A. L. Dabney, Probate Judge, 
was removed and E. W. Cabaness appointed in his stead, April 
13, 1869. H. S. Pond, Treasurer, was removed andThos. Palmer 
appointed in his stead, May 6, 1869. Afterwards, J. A. Herron 
was appointed Treasurer on May 29, 1869. S. B. Thomas, 
Sheriff, was removed and J. L. Lake, Jr., was appointed, June 17, 

It is well here to remark that a scalawag was a Southern man 
who became a Republican, and the carpetbagger was a Northern 
man who came here to hold office, some of them being imported 
for the purpose. Of the men named above, Samuel Donnell, 

Reconstruction in Hinds County. Wells. 89 

J. L. Lake, Jr., and N. Hodge, were carpetbaggers; E. W. 
Cabaniss and Thos. Palmer were denominated scalawags, and 
J. M. Stone and J. A. Herron were, and still are, unknown to 
the writer. 

Of the supervisors of the county, then called members of the 
board of police, the following were elected and qualified, in 
October, 1865: N. W. Bankston, T. A. Millon, John Brown, 
Hugh Campbell, and Howell Hobbs. In 1866 R. B. Coorpender 
became supervisor in place of John Brown. When the removal 
by military authority came, the following changes were made: 

L. J. Fathere in place of R. B. Coorpender, by special order 
(military), October 12, 1867. 

E. D. Fisher and Ned Hill, May 3, 1869. 

Chas. Caldwell, May 28, 1869. 

The board then consisted of W. S. Cabell, scalawag; L. J. 
Fathere, scalawag; E. D. Fisher, carpetbagger; Ned Hill, negro, 
and Chas. Caldwell, negro. 

The board of supervisors are of more importance to the county 
than are any other officials, since they provide for the expenditure 
of all the money in the treasury, provide also for the levy of all 
the taxes, and the approval or adjustment of the tax rolls. 
This board, as then constituted, was the first to begin the 
extravagant waste of the people's money. 

It will thus be seen that in the year 1869 Hinds County was 
turned over to the plunderers, by military authority, for after 
the reconstruction acts went into effect the whole South was 
under a military despotism. 

The robbing of the treasury under this and subsequent boards 
of supervisors, down to 1876, was fearful. One illustration out 
of hundreds that might be given will put the reader in possession 
of how things were managed. The board of supervisors has, as 
is known, control of bridge building and road-working throughout 
the county ; and although at that time the whole board passed 
on questions of the outlay of money, each member had the 
practical control of everything in his district. In 1869 or 1870, 
L. J. Fathere was the member from what was then known as the 
Five Mile district. In that were two important points for 
bridges, one on the Utica and Edwards road where it crosses 
Fourteen Mile creek, and the other on the lower Raymond and 

90 Mississippi Historical Society. 

Edwards road across Baker's creek. These bridges had been 
destroyed during the war and had never been rebuilt. The 
board having passed an order that they should be rebuilt, left 
it to L. J. Fathere, the member from that district, to let out the 
contract. He made a contract with his brother to build both 
of them of wood, the one across Fourteen Mile creek for $5,000, 
and the one across Baker's creek for $4,000. The contractor 
went to work and erected both of the bridges. Before they were 
received and paid for, the writer passed by the one over Fourteen 
Mile creek and carefully looked at it and felt convinced that it 
would in a short time fall of its own weight. He so notified a 
number of the best citizens, some of them experienced bridge 
builders, and appointed a day when they should all meet there 
for consultation. They were all of the opinion that the bridge 
where they met would fall of its own weight, and as the other 
bridge was like it, only a little shorter, it was agreed that a purse 
should be made up and an attorney employed to enjoin the 
reception of the bridges. The writer, being the youngest man 
in the company, was requested to raise the money and employ 
counsel. The money was soon made up and counsel employed. 

It should now be stated that the citizens who met at the bridge 
had lived there since the pioneer days of the county, and knew 
every bridge, and the cost of it, that had ever been built there. 
The first one cost $350 and stayed there very many years, until 
it finally rotted down. Another was built at an advanced cost, 
and it rotted down, and one was built just prior to the war at a 
cost of $1,250, and the citizens made a great howl at such 
extravagance. But it was an excellent bridge, and gave good 
service until it was destroyed during the war. The reader can 
thus compare these figures with $5,000, now about to be paid 
for a bridge that competent men said would fall in a short time 
of its own weight. 

L. J. Fathere, the member of the board who had the matter 
in hand, hearing of what was being done by the citizens of the 
neighborhood, came to the writer and told him he had heard 
of what was being done and had come to assure him that he 
would never accept the bridges as they were, and that he had 
no thought of paying $9,000 for them. He said that he would 
see that they were securely and properly made, that he had 

Reconstruction in Hinds County. Wells. 91 

kept an account of the expense incurred by his brother in the 
building of them, and that nothing more than that would be 
paid. The writer notified the citizens of what had been told him 
by Fathere, and having confidence in him, the intended suit was 
called off. Imagine our chagrin when we learned that the very 
first act of the board of supervisors when it met was to receive 
the two bridges and issue the warrant for $9,000 for them, with- 
out any futher work being done on them. The writer immedi- 
ately wrote an article detailing the circumstances of the transac- 
tion and published it in the Hinds County Gazette and dared 
Fathere to deny it, which he never did. The bridges fell in less 
than a year, of their own weight, as had been predicted. When 
the grand jury met, Hon. Luke Lea, who was district attorney, 
had the writer called before it and questioned him himself. 
As the writer was leaving the room he heard Mr. Lea urge the 
grand jury to act on that and other testimony. But the grand 
jury was made up principally of negroes, and so nothing was 
ever done. 

Some years afterwards, a scalawag officeholder told me that 
he and a number of other prominent Republicans were interested 
in those bridges and divided the spoil between them. He said 
that he was uneasy about the warrant which reached him until 
it had been cashed and he had the money in his pocket. Fathere 
could stand public sentiment no longer than the end of his term, 
and then sold out and left the State never to return. This was 
by no means the only case of robbery of the county. They were 
legion, and to meet them taxes went up to thirty dollars on the 
thousand, and still the county warrants went down to as low 
as sixty cents on the dollar. 

During the years which intervened between 1870 and 1875 
things went from bad to worse. The elections which were held 
in those years always went Republican, as the negroes, the 
scalawags and carpetbaggers had complete control of the Repub- 
lican party, for they alone composed it. I heard Governor 
Alcorn say in an address at the courthouse at Raymond: 

"My countrymen, it has been said that the Republican party in Missis- 
sippi is composed of myself, a few carpetbaggers, and the negroes, and I 
think that that is about correct." 

92 Mississippi Historical Society. 

At the election in 1873 there were one white man and four 
negroes elected members of the board of supervisors, and they 
held office until after the election in 1875. The Democrats 
through that period felt that they were in a hopeless condition 
and would have to stand all that the Republican majority would 
put upon them. Behind it stood the military power of the 
United States, and while there were only a thousand United 
States soldiers in Mississippi, yet behind that was the whole 
United States Government. The negro, if he had any reason 
about him, refused to exercise it when approached by a Demo- 
crat to argue with him. They were taught by the Federal 
soldiers and by the white Republican leaders that they must 
stand together and vote the ticket "even if it contained a yel- 
low dog." Intimidation was immediately brought to bear on 
one of their number who should listen for one moment to a 
Democrat's persuasive argument that all was going to ruin under 
the Republican rule. 

Let it be said to their credit that there were always a few 
negroes who stood by the Democratic party. One, to whom I 
was greatly attached, because he had gone through the war with 
me, had been captured by the Federal army three times but 
had each time escaped and returned to me refused to join the 
Republican party, and for a long time voted the Democratic 
ticket. For this he was maligned and abused by nearly all of 
his color, including his own wife. Finally a number of them 
jumped on him and cut him so badly he barely recovered. He 
came to me at the next election and told me that he could not 
vote the Democratic ticket any more for fear of his life, but that 
he would never vote the Republican ticket. The political con- 
dition seemed so hopeless that until the summer of 1874 but little 
was done to thwart the Republican party of Mississippi. During 
that time the negroes became exceedingly insolent and over- 
bearing towards the white people. How the white people ever 
stood what they did is a wonder to those of us who lived under it. 

In the summer of 1874 a few of us got together at Raymond, 
formed a taxpayers' league, and began a concerted effort to 
keep down the extravagance of the board of supervisors. But 
we could really do little except protest. And so matters went on 
until the election in 1875 began to approach, when, driven to 

Reconstruction in Hinds County. Wells. 93 

desperation, we started the opposition to radical rule and kept 
it up until after the election. The feeling of unrest and deter- 
mination to rebel against Republican rule grew throughout the 
county, at first without much concerted effort. Every taxpayer 
felt it, and at the suggestion that clubs should be formed at 
every voting precinct, it was promptly done. The Democratic 
Executive Committee was composed of some of the very best 
men in the county. It met at Raymond and organized with 
C. D. Gillespie, an attorney at Raymond, as chairman, and the 
writer as secretary. A subcommittee to manage the campaign 
was appointed, consisting of five men who lived at or near 
Raymond, and including the chairman and secretary of the 
executive committee. We urged the establishment of clubs at 
every voting precinct, and asked that they have meetings every 
Saturday, and that a report after every meeting should be made to 
the secretary of the executive committee, and that these reports 
should give the numbers in attendance and the additions to each 
club. We urged them to get a list of all the Democratic voters 
in the precinct and that personal efforts be made to get every 
one of them to join a club. This was pretty thoroughly carried 
out. We then urged every man to select the negro voter with 
whom he had the greatest influence and endeavor to get him to 
join, and to promise him protection from the Republicans in so 
doing, and to carry out to the letter that promise. Before the 
i8th of August, 1875, we had a thorough organization, and our 
membership included some negroes. The executive committee 
then called for a mass meeting at Raymond to be held on the 
1 8th of August, and urged every Democrat, white and black, to 
come on horseback and in procession. They formed at their 
respective precincts and marched to Raymond, exhibiting all 
the way the greatest enthusiasm. Many of these clubs provided 
themselves with uniforms. The one I remember most distinctly 
was the Terry club, who had fancy shirts trimmed in red. At 
the head of this club was ex-Governor A. G. Brown. 

Everything was carried in that parade which would belittle 
and degrade the Republican party. It was the greatest dem- 
onstration of the kind ever seen before or since at Raymond. 
The line of march was so long that the streets of the little town 
would not hold it. The people passed through on every street 

94 Mississippi Historical Society. 

and went to a grove north of the town where they disbanded 
and gathered around the improvised stand. The wildest en- 
thusiasm prevailed, and when C. D. Gillespie, chairman of the 
executive committee called the meeting to order, quiet could 
scarcely be restored until ex-Governor Albert G. Brown, with 
his red shirt on, was introduced as chairman of the meeting. 
He made an enthusiastic address. If my memory serves me 
right, Maj. E. Barksdale of Jackson made the next speech. But 
the people needed no speaking to arouse them to their duty. 
Even the barbecue which had been provided had but little 
attraction. Resolutions were passed expressive of the deter- 
mination of the Democrats to carry the election, and pledging 
every man to do his duty. In talking with the negroes emphasis 
was laid on the fact that every one who joined the Democratic 
club would be defended to the death if need be. It was not the 
policy of the democracy to indulge in much speaking, as we had 
found that public speaking to the negroes amounted to nothing. 
The clubs continued to grow, but very slowly, when about the 
first of September the executive committee received from the 
Republicans an invitation to a joint debate at Clinton on the 
4th of September. 

The invitation to the joint discussion was sent to me by the 
Republicans, and the subcommittee was called together to con- 
sider the matter. We concluded to accept and I was instructed 
to invite the Hon. Amos R. Johnston to represent the Democrats 
and speak on that occasion. He responded to my letter that 
he would be present and speak as we had requested. On Satur- 
day morning the 4th of September, the day for the meeting at 
Clinton, I found that very few white people were inclined to go. 
Just before I was ready to go I stepped into Col. Richard Charl- 
ton's store, and he asked me if I knew the negroes were purchas- 
ing ammunition. I replied that I did not know it. He then 
told me that quite a large number had purchased ammunition 
and that when he found so many buying he had declined to sell 
any more to them. He remarked, if you go to Clinton you had 
better go prepared. I went to my office and got from a relative 
my navy six shooter I had when the war closed, and asked him 
if it was all right. He said that he had cleaned it up and it 
was all right (I had not seen it for a long time). I told him what 

Reconstruction in Hinds County. Wells. 95 

Colonel Charlton had said, and he went and prepared himself- 
I do not know how many white men were at that meeting, but 
the highest number I ever heard named was seventy -five. These 
were principally from Raymond, Clinton and the surrounding 
neighborhood. On our way to Clinton, in and around the town 
and on the grounds, an immense crowd of negroes appeared. 
The men were formed in companies and the whole put together 
like a regiment with commanders, though with not very much 
order save that they kept in the lines as placed and marched 
through Clinton. Their manner was arrogant and somewhat 
offensive toward us, and there was evidence of bad feeling 
toward the white people. When we arrived at the grounds the 
Democratic and the Republican members of the committees got 
together and arranged the program about as follows: John M. 
Chilton, a Republican, raised in the county and the son of a 
distinguished lawyer, presided over the meeting. Judge John- 
ston was to open with an address of one hour and a quarter, to 
be followed by H. T. Fisher, a carpetbag Republican and the 
editor of a Republican paper at Jackson, for one hour and a 
quarter, and then Judge Johnston was to have fifteen minutes 
to reply. Judge Johnston spoke for about an hour and Mr. 
Fisher had replied about fifteen minutes when the disturbance 
took place. I was within a few feet of the speakers' stand, 
reclining on the grass, and by my side was my friend, Baldwin 
Marshall. While the speaking was going on we were within a 
few feet of the stand and heard all that passed on the stand and 
near by it. I said to Mr. Marshall, "Things look pretty squally 
here, don't you think so?" He replied, "Yes, and I am going 
to leave and go home." There was a seriousness on the faces 
of so many people that I feared a riot, but had no idea when 
and where it would begin. I said to him that neither of us 
ought to go, that there were but few white men on the ground, 
and that they would be at the mercy of the negroes. A few 
moments afterwards I saw a disturbed condition of the crowd 
about seventy-five yards away. Chas. Caldwell, of whom I will 
speak later, was very near to me, and as soon as he saw the 
disturbance begin, he went hurriedly to the place and placed 
himself between the belligerents, a few white men on the west 
side facing the east and an immense horde of negroes facing them 

96 Mississippi Historical Society. 

and only a few feet apart. Caldwell had no arms as far as I saw, 
but going between the belligerents he used his walking cane 
(I think struck some of them) on the negroes, and seemed to be 
counseling with the whites. It is fair to him to give his statement 
of what occurred as written by him the next day and published 
some days later in the Weekly Pilot, a radical paper published 
at Jackson : 

"Upon hearing some very rough language I proceeded to the spot 
indicated. When I got there I asked what is the matter. A policeman 
said this man Thompson has drawn a pistol on one of the colored men 
who was marching in the procession, using certain opprobrious epithets. 
I remarked, my young friend, for God's sake don't disturb the meeting. 
I soon saw that the feeling was so strong and so determined that I called 
upon some of the other white men to assist me in preserving the peace. 
No one responded. I saw Neil Wharton and Thompson (white) draw 
their pistols, and I slipped up to Neil telling him that that would not do. 
I did the same with Thompson, and they put their weapons back in their 
pockets. In a few minutes they had them drawn again ; then the shoot- 
ing began. I saw Thompson shoot the first shot that was fired, pouring 
some four or five shots into the crowd of which he formed a part. At 
this time the firing had become general. The colored people soon con- 
centrated at this point, when the white lines dispersed, and the firing 

I have thus given Chas. Caldwell's version of the matter in 
order that I may now clearly state my own observations. I 
was on an elevation near the speakers' stand and could see 
clearly what was going on, but could not hear because of the 
noise and confusion and the distance. Hardly had Caldwell 
extricated himself from between the men when the negroes 
pressed on towards the white men in a belligerent and threaten- 
ing manner. There was a mere handful of the white men at that 
point, some being around the stand and others scattered about. 
I am not sure, but I think the negroes pressed the white men 
so vigorously that there was nothing left to do but to shoot or 
retreat. I saw Thompson shoot as rapidly as he could fire his 
pistol, not being at the time more than six feet from the negroes, 
until he emptied it, as did also his comrades I think, and then 
they were at the mercy of the negroes, and he, Thompson, 
turned and fled to the west. The confusion became so great I 
could not distinguish the white men, or tell the way they went. 
I concluded the wisest thing I could do was to get my buggy 
and go as rapidly as I could to the telegraph office and wire for 
assistance from Bolton and Jackson. My friend Marshall at 

Reconstruction in Hinds County. Wells. 97 

the first fire made for bis horse near by and escaped without 
trouble. I left the stand with not a white man with me and went 
northeast through the infuriated mob alone, until Dr. Miller, 
my brother-in-law, came to me and said, "Let me stay with you, 
I killed a negro a few moments ago and they are after me." 
I told him that it was wise for us to hold our fire until compelled 
in self defense to use our pistols, and then we must do the most 
effective work possible. We had gone but a short distance when 
we came up with Captain Aisquith of Raymond, who was then 
in the clutches of the negroes and was shot in the body. We 
succeeded in getting him away from the negroes and exercised 
all the policy we could to keep the negroes from attacking us, 
as we knew that with the numbers around us we would have no 
show for our lives. In a very few minutes we reached my horse 
and buggy, lifted Captain Aisquith into the buggy. I sat beside 
him and Dr. Miller got up behind and we rode to the nearest 
house, which was Mr. Chas. Chilton's, going through the mob. 
How we kept them off of us I am unable to say. When we 
arrived at Chilton's he met us at the gate and asked what was 
the matter. I told him a riot of the worst kind had broken out. 
I requested him to take Aisquith into the house and to do what 
he could for him. He and Dr. Miller took Aisquith into the 
house and found that he was not seriously shot. I turned to 
go to the telegraph office, and in doing so had to pass several 
hundred yards back through the mob. I was driving my horse 
very rapidly south on the public road and on both sides I could 
hear such expressions as "Catch him," "Kill him," "Shoot him," 
etc. The dirt road crossed the railroad at right angles and on a 
considerable rise. As I approached the crossing I saw five or 
six negroes who had Capt. B. S. White in their possession. 
Their drawn pistols indicated to me that they intended to kill 
him. I could not shoot for fear of shooting White; so as I 
approached I called out to them as loud as I could to let him 
alone, hoping to attract their attention. While I was approach- 
ing a negro, whom I afterwards learned was Wade Walker, 
knocked White down, stood over his body, struck him a terrible 
blow on the top of his head, and rolled him over into a gully. 
I was in the angry mob as soon as my horse could get me there. 
One negro, with his pistol drawn, leaped in front of my horse, 

98 Mississippi Historical Society. 

caught the bridle, and began to shoot at me from my horse's 
head; two others on my right and not twenty feet away were 
shooting as fast as they could at me, and two more on my left 
were also shooting at me. The man who had knocked White 
in the head started towards me at the same time the others 
began to shoot, and said, "What in the hell have you got to do 
with it?" At the same time some of the mob rushed up behind 
and began to beat me in the back. My policy was to kill the 
negro who was coming at me with the club. I had been so 
engaged managing the horse, and I had been so determined not 
to use my pistol until it became a life and death matter, that I 
had not drawn it. When the negro made at me with the stick 
I reached for my revolver, cocked, and aimed to kill him before 
he got to me, but the pistol hung in the scabbard and I was a 
moment delayed in getting it out, so as he struck me a dread- 
ful blow in the forehead, I shot him through a little above the 
heart and he died in a few minutes. The blow knocked me 
senseless for a moment, and when I came to I found the pistol 
in the bottom of the buggy. I reached for it and raised it, looked 
around, and took deliberate aim at the negro holding my horse, 
but the pistol refused to revolve, having become disarranged by 
the fall. He saw my deliberation, turned the horse loose and 
ran with great speed on the road towards Clinton. The reins 
had become unbuckled at my hand and were lying on the 
ground. The horse, having been slightly wounded, was greatly 
frightened and ran with all his might. The road from the cross- 
ing to Clinton is a circle about half a mile long. I was so in- 
terested in the horse, which was now running away with me, 
that I saw no one except my life-long friend, Col. W. A. Mont- 
gomery, who had escaped the mob, gone to town and obtained 
a shotgun and met me as I was about half around the curve. 
His horse was in a lope, and just after passing me, he shot at the 
negroes. My horse ran up into the town and was caught by 
some friends. I met there Dr. Dupree, my neighbor, who looked 
at my bunged-up condition and advised that I go on to Ray- 
mond, my home, where my wounds could be attended to, all of 
which proved to be slight. I received one shot in the hand, and 
my body and head were badly disfigured. I found that tele- 
grams had been sent already to Bolton, Jackson, Edwards, and 

Reconstruction in Hinds County. Wells. 99 

Vicksburg, and from these points help soon came. Some of the 
witnesses before the Bout well Investigating Committee say that 
as my horse ran around that curve while the reins were on the 
ground, there were forty or fifty negroes beside the road shooting 
at me. I was so much concerned with the runaway horse and 
the results, I gave no attention to those shooting at me then. 
Captain Montgomery testifies that he shot two loads at them 
immediately after passing me and that dispersed them. 

In his article, from which I have heretofore quoted, Caldwell 
says that after Fisher began to speak some one in the audience 
called him a liar. I was in twenty feet of Fisher, and if such 
was done I did not hear it, and I do not think it was said. 

Thompson's horse seems to have been west of the grounds, 
and when he retreated he mounted his horse and went west alone. 
His body was afterwards found shot, and his head and face fear- 
fully mutilated. A dead negro was found between his body and 
where the fight began, and the supposition was that he reloaded 
his pistol and in a fight killed the negro, and that there being 
too many for him they succeeded in killing him. Martin Siv- 
ley went east, and after he had emptied his pistol was killed in a 
field about one-fourth of a mile from where the fight began. 
In less than ten minutes after I left him Chas. Chilton was killed 
in his own yard, it is said while attempting to give shelter and 
protection to some negro women and children. When the fight 
began those who were not actually engaged in fighting were 
thrown into a stampede, and the women, children, and men left 
the grounds without regard to the manner of leaving. 

Some writers, in giving an account of Colonel Montgomery's 
assisting me, leave the impression that he got to me in the thickest 
of the fight, but when I was in that terrible and unequal fight 
which I have described, there is no man on earth I would rather 
have had come on the scene than Colonel Montgomery, for I 
have no more devoted friend, and there are none braver. But 
as I have heretofore explained, he did not meet me until some 
minutes after I was in the fight, and nearly a quarter of a mile 
irom it. If he had known the fearful danger I was in, I do not 
doubt he would have come to my assistance and thrown himself 
into the breach and risked his life in my defense. 

ioo Mississippi Historical Society. 

During the next few days there was anarchy in our county. 
Friends of mine from all over the county came to me at all hours 
of the day and night to know who the negroes were who gave 
me such a fight. I did not know a single one of them and could 
therefore give only a faint description of the one who held my 
horse. If these negroes could have been found and identified, 
not one of them would have escaped death. But the question 
which presented itself then and there to the people of Hinds 
County was whether or not the negroes, under the reconstruc- 
tion laws, should rule the county. The terrible ordeal through 
which we passed on that eventful fourth of September fired a 
determination in the minds of the white people to overthrow 
the negro rule at any cost. Throughout the county for several 
days the negro leaders, some white and some black, were hunted 
down and killed, until the negro population which had domi- 
nated the white people for so many years were whipped. Since 
that time they have never ruled the county, and I prophesy they 
never will. 

Thus the backbone was broken, but the end was not yet 
reached, the coming election had to be carried. I cannot for- 
bear to tell how this was done. Before doing so, however, I 
desire to make some further comments on the Clinton riot. 
Who fired the first shot was a mooted question ; but I am now 
informed by a reliable man, who was by Thompson's side, that 
the first shot came from the negroes, and that it was caught by 
Thompson in the thigh or groin. 

Maj. Geo. W. Harper, in an editorial some weeks before, had 
recommended that at every radical meeting ten reputable citi- 
zens should appear from among the Democrats, and that when a 
radical speaker should tell a falsehood to deceive the negroes, it 
should then and there be publicly disputed. The radical papers, 
after the 4th of September, claimed that this was done by the 
Democrats at Clinton, and that it was by the Democrats giving 
the falsehood to Fisher that the trouble was brought on. I was 
a member of the Raymond club and a member of the county 
executive committee, and I know that such was not the case. 
That the negroes went there to raise a row, some of them at 
least, was afterwards abundantly proved. Negroes whom I 
knew well told me that messages came from Clinton to even 

Reconstruction in Hinds County. Wells. 101 

their distant clubs, inviting them to come armed and prepared 
to fight. The same negroes told me that, if they had known I 
was going, they would have done all they could to keep me 

H. T. Fisher, in his testimony before the Boutwell Committee, 
undertakes to show that there had been no waste of money in 
the county expenditures, and that the taxes were not exorbitant. 
The minutes of the board of supervisors show to the contrary. 
A copy of The Pilot, published in 1874, gives in six closely 
printed columns a list of lands sold for taxes, which taxes were 
so exorbitant that many persons could not pay them. 

Of the effects of the fight at Clinton it will perhaps be well to 
speak. Very many leaders of the Republicans in different parts 
of the county were killed in the next few days. This was not 
done by any order of the Democratic party, but the white men 
were so enraged that it was impossible to control them. The 
men who had done most to urge the negroes on in their antago- 
nism to the whites, where they could be caught, were killed. 
Many of the negroes who were known to have been in the fight 
were killed, and, of course, some innocent ones also suffered, but 
not many. When it became a race war, some of the whites who 
had affiliated with the Republicans, joined the Democrats. The 
negroes in the county were pretty thoroughly subjugated. Num- 
bers of them joined the Democratic clubs, some doubtless through 
fear, though some of them said that they would have joined long 
before but for fear of the Republican negroes and whites. 

Chas. Caldwell, of whom I have heretofore spoken, was a 
mulatto, far above the average negro in intelligence. He was a 
blacksmith by trade when a slave. He was then a candidate for 
the State Senate and saw his chances waning every day. He 
became embittered beyond measure against the whites, and 
sought counsel from Ames, our carpetbag Governor. It was 
agreed between them that Caldwell should raise a colored com- 
pany of militia, thus hoping to give courage to the negroes and 
at the same time cause them to cling to the Republican party. 
Nothing done while Ames was Governor so aroused the antago- 
nism of the white people. He armed this company, and still 
another negro company, and accepted them as State militia. 
While the immediate effects of the Clinton riot were being felt, 

io2 Mississippi Historical Society. 

Ames appealed to President Grant for United States troops. 
Grant responded that the condition of things in Mississippi did 
not warrant Federal interference. But the white people were 
in constant dread that something would occur which would cause 
President Grant to send troops to our county and thereby 
destroy our hopes of carrying the election. Gen. J. Z. George 
was chairman of the State Democratic Executive Committee, 
and had his headquarters at Jackson. Our county committee 
was in constant communication with him He advised us of 
the very delicate ground upon which we stood and urged us to 
do nothing which would give Ames a legal pretext to call for 
troops. Another negro company had been formed at Edwards, 
and Ames desired to arm them also, but for some reason was 
afraid to send the guns on the cars. He detailed Caldwell and 
his company and the other Jackson negro company to go through 
the country by land and take the guns to the Edwards company. 
The white people were greatly incensed at this, as they knew 
that the negroes, and especially their leader, hated them with 
great intensity. While on this march, messenger after messen- 
ger came to the executive committee at Raymond from com- 
panies of white men who had hastily gotten together, asking for 
permission to attack the negro companies on their way to 
Edwards. It was all we could do to keep them from doing it. 
It was the opinion of our men then, and it is mine now, that 
Ames sent these men through the country in that way, hoping 
that they would be attacked by the white people, so that he 
could then successfully call on the President for troops. The 
scheme did not work, for they were allowed to go to Edwards, 
and to arm the company there. All three companies then 
marched back to Jackson unmolested. This was about the 
24th of September. In the meantime the Democratic clubs 
were at work. Every nerve and muscle was stretched in the 
effort to gain votes. One of the schemes to get votes will be 
illustrated here. 

A white man met a negro in the public road and accosted him about 
as follows: 

"Captain, what is your name?" queried the white man. 

"My name is Jack Smith," replied the negro. 

"Well, Jack, on whose place do you live?" the white man asked. 

"Boss, I lives on Mr. Yates's place, right down there next to Five Mile 
creek bridge," was the reply. 

Reconstruction in Hinds County. Wells. 103 

"All right, sir," added the white man. 

Then taking out his little memorandum book and beginning to write, 
he slowly spoke as follows: "You say your name is Jack Smith and you 
live on Mr. Yates's place, next to Five Mile creek bridge?" 

The negro had his curiosity aroused and said, "Boss, what you writin' 
down dere?" 

The white man said, "Your name and where you live." 

"Well, boss, what you doin' dat for?" further asked the negro. 

The white man put the book back in his pocket, merely saying "never 

"But boss, I shore does want to know what you do dat for," impor- 
tuned the negro. 

"Well, you see, Jack, I am getting up a dead list and I wanted you 
on it," replied the white man as he rode away. 

But the more the negro cogitated, on his way home, the more uneasy 
he became and the more he wondered what it all meant. In his dire 
distress the only hope of saving his life that came to him was by joining 
the Democratic club. So he mounted his mule and started off to find 
his old master, whom we will denominate as "Mars Wes." 

When he arrived at Mars Wes's home, he did not see him, but seeing 
his mother, said to her, "Miss Becky, whar's Mars Wes?" 

"Well, I suppose he is out in the field, Jack," was the reply. 

"Whar "bouts?" asked the negro. 

"Well, I can't tell you, but he will be back here in a short while. Sit 
down there on the step and wait, he will be in here after a while," said 
the lady. 

"I shore must see Mars Wes, Miss Becky, and shore hopes he's gwine 
ter come," ejaculated the simple negro, taking his seat on the doorstep. 

"Mars Wes" came after a while, and Jack spoke to him as follows: 

"Mars Wes, when's the Democratic club gwine to met at Auburn?" 

"Well, I think Saturday, Jack. Why do you want to know?" replied 
the white man. 

"Well, Mars Wes, I wants to jine the club," said the negro. 

"But Jack, you are a Republican and have voted all these years with 
the yankees, and the Democrats don't want Republicans in their club," 
was the reply. 

"Now, Mars Wes, please sir don't talk dat way. I shore is a Democrat 
now and wants to jine the club," urged the negro. 

He then told "Mars Wes" what had happened in the road and urged 
that he "neber was a 'publican no how. Dem niggers," he continued, 
"made me jine deir club and dat yankee made me vote the 'publican 
ticket. Now, fore God, Mars Wes, I'ze a Democrat and knows dat if 
you just say so, dem Democrats will take dis nigger in and let him vote 
wid 'em." 

"Well now, Jack," said the old master, "as you are one of my old 
niggers and we always got along pretty well, you come and go with me 
next Saturday evening and I will see what I can do for you." 

"Now, Mars Wes, what time you gwine to start," asked the negro. 

"Well now, Jack, sometime after dinner; I don't know exactly," was 
the reply. 

"I's shore gwine to be here at dinner time so I won't git left," said the 
happy negro. 

And sure enough Jack came and went with "Mars Wes" and became a 
Democrat and voted the ticket. 

The policies outlined in carrying that campaign on were these : 

IO4 Mississippi Historical Society. 

1. A solidly organized Democratic front. 

2. Individual effort with negroes, persuasive, but if necessary, intimi- 

3. And if these failed, then stuff the ballot box by putting in Demo- 
cratic votes after the election and before the counting had taken place. 

4. Destruction of Republican tickets when they could be gotten. 

5. Substitution of Democratic for Republican tickets in the hands of 
the negroes before they voted by inserting "Republican" at the top of 
Democratic tickets and have the names of Democrats below the word 

6. As a dernier resort, if these plans did not carry, then the Republi- 
cans were to be counted out and the Democrats counted in. 

This last plan met with a formidable difficulty, which I will 
explain and show how it was overcome. The registrars who 
were to make the count of the votes after the election consisted 
of one intelligent white Democrat, an ignorant negro, and a 
smart scalawag. It was easy enough to get over the negro 
because he could not count the votes if he were to try, nor could 
he cast up a column of figures if the opportunity offered itself. 
But it was going to be more difficult to get rid of the scalawag. 
It was known that he was a scalawag for the money there was in 
it, and so the money was the only thing which would get him 
out of the way. It was felt that five hundred dollars would per- 
suade him to be out of the way on the day that the count was to 
be made, and so it was decided that he should be approached 
and the arrangement made for him to be absent at that time. 
There was a wealthy Democrat in our county who had announced 
publicly that the taxes which were being imposed upon him 
prevented there being any net profit on his property in the 
county, and he was therefore exceedingly anxious that the 
Republicans should be turned out in order 'that the taxes might 
be reduced. He was approached and asked to give the five 
hundred dollars, which he cheerfully did, and it was turned over 
to the scalawag registrar, who accepted it. On the day that the 
count was made after the election this scalawag was sick and 
failed to appear to assist in making the count. 

I feel confident that all of these means were used, except 
stuffing the ballot box and the counting-out. These were not 
necessary, and I am sure were not used. 

The reader of this, who did not live through that terrible 
ordeal, will lift up his hands in horror and say that those were 
corrupt practices. And I am not prepared to deny it. We 

Reconstruction in Hinds County. Wells. 105 

looked upon the matter thus: We had quietly borne the corrup- 
tion of the Republican party until disaster and bankruptcy 
stared us in the face. We had lost all hope that the negro would 
ever cease to be dominated by the Republican party, and we 
were forced to a choice between the evils of negro rule and the 
evils of the questionable practices to overthrow it. We chose 
what we thought was the lesser evil, and it is now not to be 

Before coming down to the final day of election, let me go back 
to the time of Caldwell's march through Hinds County. While 
that was being prepared the white people became fearfully 
wrought up against Ames. The executive committee received 
messages and was otherwise importuned to allow a squad of 
men to enter Jackson, surround the mansion at night and take 
Ames and hang him to a post. We protested, not because we 
loved Ames, but we knew if this were done troops would be sent 
by the President and we would fail to carry the election, and 
military despotism would be the result. The day that Caldwell 
marched through Hinds County to Edwards the circuit court 
adjourned, and I at once started to Pontotoc by way of Oxford 
to join my family, where I had a sick child. When I left Ray- 
mond it was by no means certain that Caldwell would not be 
attacked, nor was it certain that a well organized squad would 
not go to Jackson, take Ames, if to be found, and kill him. 
It is true that the subcommittee had done all it could to prevent 
it. As I passed through Jackson that evening I learned that 
Ames was dreadfully uneasy, and there was a possibility, I knew, 
that his emissaries would notify him of the coming of the mob. 
When the train I was on reached Coffeeville, Col. L. Q. C. Lamar 
entered the car, on his way to Oxford, and as he walked down 
the aisle he saw me, shook hands with me and sat beside me. 
While I was a student at the University he was a professor there, 
and I got to know him quite well. I immediately told him of 
what had happened in Hinds County ; of the sending of the negro 
troops through the country, how the people were outraged, how 
we had made every effort to keep armed men from attacking 
the negroes, and especially how we had used our best endeavors 
to keep armed men from going to Jackson and making away 
with Ames. I remarked that I supposed if such a thing were 

106 Mississippi Historical Society. 

attempted it would be almost impossible to keep it from reaching 
Ames' ears, and if it did, that I thought he would flee for his life 
and pass that way over the Illinois Central Railroad. I had 
never seen Colonel Lamar so indignant, nor did I ever know him 
to fly into such a passion. His language about Ames was decided- 
ly more forcible than elegant, and he added, "If they will wire me 
when he leaves, I will organize a posse at Oxford and take him 
as he passes and hang the miserable scoundrel." But better 
counsel prevailed, and Ames went unmolested. 

The fever heat continued down to the day of the election. 
Hinds County expected every man to do his duty, and well did 
they do it. The fear of trouble at the polls put a quietus on 
everything and it was like a funeral day. While every Demo- 
crat was at his post and remained during the election, there was 
not a ripple to disturb the calmness of the day. Utica, after- 
wards dubbed the "Gibraltar of Democracy," sent a solid vote, 
save one, for the Democratic ticket. Not one vote would have 
been cast for the Republicans had not the Democrats got one 
old negro to cast a single vote for his party. This habit they 
kept up, out of a spirit of fun, in subsequent elections. Every 
Democrat in the county who was on the ticket was elected by 
overwhelming majorities. The men, as far as could be, who had 
been turned out of office by Federal bayonets six years before, 
were elected. The grand old hero of two wars, S. B. Thomas, 
was elected sheriff. That splendid citizen and soldier, W. T. 
Ratliff, chancery clerk; Benj. F. Edwards, circuit clerk; S. D. 
Currie, treasurer, and J. B. Graves, assessor. And to take the 
place of the ignorant, corrupt negroes on the board of supervisors, 
John Shelton, the gifted attorney who would have graced the 
bench, was named president. J. F. Tatom, J. W. Neal, Geo. H. 
Robertson, and J. R. Home, each and every one of them among 
our very best citizens, were the other members. 

In the history of republican governments, the rejoicing by 
the good people of the county over the results was never sur- 
passed. The carpetbaggers read the handwriting on the wall 
and left the State never to return. The scalawag hung his head 
in shame, soured and sulked. Some are dead now and some 
remain, fit emblems of the degradation of man, and some became 
and still are good citizens. 

Reconstruction in Hinds County. Wells. 107 

But the end of reconstruction was not yet reached. Every 
two years thereafter a county election would be had, and the 
Republican party would hold up its head to be hit again. There 
was still trouble to keep the negro out of power. Sometimes 
the Democrats would become negligent and fail to give attention 
to the elections, and the few who were always on guard would 
have trouble in getting the masses out to vote. 

One incident which occurred at the election at Raymond, 
some time between 1875 and 1890, is worth relating. 

The election day came and the negroes came in squads 
and soon showed that they were in earnest in their efforts 
to regain their lost power. The voting place was in the west 
entrance to the courthouse, and the voter was expected to 
come from the front and vote and then pass on through the 
hall to the rear. It seemed that all of the negroes in the voting 
precinct were on the ground to vote and all the white people 
were going to stay away. The negroes practically had possession 
of the ground leading up to the voting place. A consultation 
was held by a few of the Democrats, and this plan to get rid of 
the negroes and keep others from coming was determined upon. 
They took into their counsels a certain negro who had been true 
to the Democratic faith and on whom the Democrats felt they 
could rely. It was determined that he should crowd in and vote 
and that there should follow him a white man, and both should 
stand at the polls together, and at the same instant another 
white man should appear at the polls from the rear. On meet- 
ing, the old negro was to vote, and then a dispute was to arise 
between the two white men as to which should vote first. They 
should quarrel over the matter, both snatch out their revolvers 
and shoot straight up into the ceiling of the courthouse. The 
old negro was to turn and run and cry out to all of the negroes 
as he ran out, that every man of them had better run or they 
would be killed. The old negro was to leap on his horse and cry 
out to the negroes to follow. 

The scheme was carried out, and in less than five minutes 
there was not a negro on the ground. The negroes ran in every 
direction and spread the stampede as they went, and the negroes 
they met on the way declined to come to Raymond and did not 
vote that day. 

io8 Mississippi Historical Society. 

On another occasion, when it was learned that the negroes had 
reorganized and were going to the polls to vote solidly against 
the white people, they were driven to disband and stay away 
from the polls in the following way: 

A safe, careful man was selected in each neighborhood and 
told to summon to his aid about a dozen men he could control, 
all well mounted and armed with repeating guns and pistols. 
The night before the election these squads were to ride all night 
so as to go into every part of the county. They were to halt 
and shoot a great number of times about every half hour during 
the night. But they were not to go to any negro houses, and 
not have a word to say to any negro during the time. If one 
appeared he was to be passed in silence. The work was carried 
out as projected and the result was what was desired. The 
negroes all went to their work next morning and did not go to 
the polls and vote. 

But the good people of Mississippi, tiring of this manner of 
carrying elections, called a Constitutional Convention in the 
year 1890. The Constitution then adopted went into effect on 
the ist of November of that year. This Constitution destroyed 
the evil effects of the Reconstruction Acts in Mississippi, and it 
was so done as not to violate the Constitution of the United 

Thus was reconstruction destroyed in the good county of 
Hinds, and we hope and believe it will never be resurrected. 


BY J. S. McNEiLLY. 1 

"O that a man might know 
The end of this day's business ere it comes, 
But it sufficeth that the day will end. 
And then the end is known." 

That measure of national legislation commonly known as the 
Enforcement or Ku Klux Act, marked extreme fever heat in the 
reconstruction rabies. April 20, 1871, is the date of its approval 
by President Grant. Before recounting its operations in Missis- 
sippi, a sketch of its design, with the causes and circumstances 
incident, and out of which it was produced, is in order. Such a 
sketch of this law is indeed essential as a chapter in every recon- 
struction history. The congressional plan of restoring the 
"lately rebellious states" to the Union had been effected when 
this odious and evil measure was conceived. The readmission 
of the three lagging states of Virginia, Mississippi and Texas a 
year before, marked the end of the process. All of the wayward 
sisters were restored with state constitutions prescribing equal 
negro political and civil rights. Government was lodged in 
the hands of the "Loyal" the negro, the carpetbagger, and the 
scalawag ruled over the land. For "lewd fellows of the baser 
sort" it was harvest time. Using a comedy figure of speech, 
"The bottom rail was on top." Expressed in tragedy, the 
"black heels were on white necks." Yet no sooner had the 
inverted statehood pyramids been raised than they began to 
totter and crumble. In the same year that the task was hailed 
complete, elections in Virginia, North Carolina, Alabama, and 
Georgia resulted in the defeat of the aliens, scalawags, and freed- 
men. The Democrats, or white men, were victorious in spite of 
the free use of Federal troops and all the influences of the na- 
tional government; a use that was in North Carolina brutally 

1 A biographical sketch of the author of this contribution will be found 
in the Publication of the Mississippi Historical Society, Vol. VI, p. 129. 


no Mississippi Historical Society. 

Reckless of the lessons of history, taking counsel from sectional 
malice and partisan expediency, the radical party determined 
to arrest and turn back the flood that menaced their work in 
the South with destruction to buttress governments raised on 
the ruins of constitutional liberty by laws of greater stringency 
and savagery. The first note of warning was sounded in the 
President's message, December 5, 1870. In its first paragraph 
Congress was told that "a free exercise of the elective franchise 
has by violence and intimidation been denied to citizens in sev- 
eral of the States lately in rebellion, and the verdict of the people 
has thereby been reversed." The next step in the conspiracy 
aimed at the Southern States was a resolution introduced by 
Senator Morton, calling on the President for information in his 
possession of disloyal or evil-designed organizations in North 
Carolina which threaten resistance to law or denial of protec- 
tion by law and constitutional rights; and what murders and 
outrages have been committed for political purposes. To this 
resolution, which was adopted December i6th, the President 
submitted a reply January 13, 1871. "For the information of 
the Senate," the President broadened the scope of his reply to 
cover "outrages in other states." 

It required no close scrutiny of the documents accompanying 
the President's brief message to betray an evil and sinister pur- 
pose. The message reads: 

"I transmit herewith abstracts of reports and other papers on file in 
the war department relative to outrages in North Carolina, and also, for 
the information of the Senate, those relative to outrages in other South- 
ern states. The original reports are too voluminous to be copied in sea- 
son to be used by the present Congress, but are easily accessible for ref- 

Such was the introductory to excerpts from reports filed in 
the war department of disorders, outrages, and homicides to 
the number of near five thousand. To read the message with 
the partisan comments on it, one would suppose that the 
South was seething with slaughter and crimson with crime. 
The message referred to outrage "reports too voluminous to be 
copied." There was no suggestion of the fact that in answering 
an enquiry as to existing conditions, the sum total had been 
made up by ransacking the dust covered war department pigeon 
holes, clear back to 1865. While the trick was soon exposed, 

Ku Klux Klan in Mississippi. McNeilly. 1 1 1 

the wrong of the guilty lie could not be undone. It paved the 
way and gave the cue for the North Carolina investigation, 
which was made to provide the argument for the passage of 
the enforcement act. 

The President's message caused, as designed, a shock of horror 
throughout the North, for a time arresting the 'turn of sentiment 
which had been trending against the radical Southern policy. 
For the time being it clouded the truth of the Southern condi- 
tion, which was at that time, as it had been for months pre- 
viously, wholly free from serious or organized domestic lawless- 
ness. To show this to be the fact the messages of certain rad- 
ical governors, cotemporary with President Grant's message, 
are quoted from. Governor Holden of North Carolina addressed 
the legislature as follows: 

"We have cause to be thankful to Almighty God for the abundant har- 
vests of the year (1870) now closing, and for the general peace and quiet 
now prevailing throughout the State. Peace and good order has been 
restored to all parts of the State with the exception of the county of 

It is a fact of history that the peace disturbers of Robeson 
County were a band of negro marauders and murderers whom 
the governor "expected would be soon arrested and brought to 

In a communication to the legislature of South Carolina, 
Governor Scott said: 

"I cannot say with truth upon any information in my possession that 
in any section of the State the laws are not executed, for not a single 
case has been reported in which the officers of the law have been resisted 
in the discharge of their duties. There is no insurrection which I am 
called on to suppress. All the cases of reported violence are individual 
violations of law." 

Governor Clayton of Arkansas, said in his message of January 
4, 1871: 

"You assemble here under very propitious circumstances. Our rela- 
tions with the Federal Government are harmonious and law and order, 
peace and security, reign throughout our borders." 

Governor Warmoth of Louisiana, said in his message of Jan- 
uary ii, 1871: 

"A growing spirit of harmony and good will between the different classes 
of our people has been strikingly evinced during the last year. It has 

ii2 Mississippi Historical Society. 

been seen in a strongly pronounced disposition of all good citizens, with- 
out respect to partisan differences, to preserve order and enforce the 
laws. The result has been that during the last fall there was the most 
quiet and peaceable election the State has witnessed for many years." 

In Georgia there had been an exciting election but no violence. 
The Democratic majority f legislative members were awarded 
certificates of election by Governor Bullock in January, 1871. 
There had been no election in Mississippi in 1870. During that 
entire year the State had been, consequently, free from excite- 
ment and disorder. Governor Alcorn's message to the legis- 
lature when it assembled the second week in January, 1871, was 
a long, loud pagan in praise of the complete vindication and 
triumph of reconstruction. "Evil auguries anticipated your last 
assemblage. They are hushed now into silence." In a subse- 
quent message he said: "The State generally enjoys a repose 
unknown to it since the close of the war." A month before the 
President's message the Washington Republican said: 

"Governor Alcorn is thoroughly in earnest in the work of reconstruct- 
ing Mississippi and in executing the laws. Opinions need not be governed 
by occasional acts of violence, which occur everywhere. Personal and 
political rights are nowhere more sacred or more securely protected than 
in Mississippi by law." 

Why North Carolina was singled out for an investigation is 
explained by the circumstances of the election in that State, in 
August, 1870. In the whole reconstruction carnival of guilt 
and crime, that chapter is probably the blackest of all. The 
election was for a legislature and congressmen. As there was 
a large white Republican element in the western part of the State, 
and a heavy negro population in the eastern, an apparent drift 
toward Democratic, or white, rule was met by the most ruthless 
and tyrannical measures of repression. Federal troops not being 
forwarded as promptly as he desired, and not being available 
for the extremes of action he designed, Governor Holden raised 
two regiments of State troops; one white under a notorious 
ruffian of East Tennessee, Colonel Kirk, and one negro. The 
paramount aim of the Governor and his party was to produce 
the impression that the State was overrun by the Ku Klux. 
To that end testimony was obtained through terrifying and even 
torturing witnesses. In certain counties arrests were made by 
wholesale and in violation of law. Colonel Kirk, with the ap- 

Ku Klux Klan in Mississippi. McNeilly. 113 

proval of Governor Holden, defied habeas corpus writs issued by 
the chief justice of the State. The condition of terror and tyr- 
anny prevailing just before the election was thus described in 
the Wilmington Journal: 

"To-day throughout this broad State no man is safe in his property, 
his liberty, or his life. The civil law is a dead letter. The authority of 
the chief justice is derided, offensively scorned by an unauthorized mil- 
itary official." 

Some of the prisoners arrested secured release by turning 
State's evidence against the Klan. The chief scene of Colonel 
Kirk's operations was in Alamance and Caswell Counties. James 
Boyd, a citizen of the former, not only confessed he had been a 
Ku Klux, but that Andrew Johnson was, while President, the 
head center of the band. This preposterous statement was 
repeated by Holden in his testimony before the investigating 
committee of Congress. The confessions and revelations of the 
Ku Klux were converted into a defense of Holden's oppressive 
acts, and of his call for troops at the election. Every murder 
was multiplied into many and charged up to the Klan. The 
piece de resistance in a bloody shirt banquet served up for the 
Northern palate was a letter from the noted author, Judge 
Albion Tourgee, to Senator Abbott both North Carolina carpet- 
baggers. After it had served its purpose in the bloody indict- 
ment against North Carolina, the judge complained that his 
figures had been changed. In a letter to the editor of the New 
York Tribune he said: 

"I wrote four arsons instead of fourteen. Instead of 4,000 or 5. 
houses opened, I wrote 400 or 500. I said thirteen murders in the State, 
not in the district." 

He further said that of the murders he had reported, "State 
Senator Stephens and two colored men were alive and all right." 
There was abundance of proof after the election that Governor 
Holden's operations against the K. K. K. was wholly a campaign 
device to provoke resistance. Confessions were made that some 
of the arsons and acts of violence were perpetrated by his sup- 
porters with that view. Senator Abbott's dependence for re- 
election on the legislature chosen supplied the motive for his 
wicked multiplication of Tourgee 's men in buckram. 

H4 Mississippi Historical Society. 

In noting Tourgee's belated correction of Senator Abbott's 
forgery, the Tribune said, after the election was over: 

"It is shown that the Ku Klux are few in number and have created ter- 
rorism only because of the timidity of those opposing them. Exposure 
has made the organization ridiculous and substantially its strength is 

The Tribune had been an extremist in denouncing the North 
Carolina "Ku Klux outrages." Its open confession permits the 
belief that it had been honestly deluded as to the Holden-Tour- 
gee version of affairs in that State. Its acknowledgment of 
delusion was published prior to the Morton resolution of investi- 
gation, which was the seed from which sprang the enforcement 
act. After the election Kirk's Ku Klux prisoners were all 
brought before Judge Brooks of the United States district court, 
whose authority Holden and his ruffian henchmen dared not 
defy, and upon investigation of the charges against them all were 
released. These exposures and contradictions of Governor 
Holden's Ku Klux theory all came out before Congress met. 
It was in spite of them, and of the testimony that the South was 
free from violence and disorder that the radical leaders decided 
upon applying the North Carolina tactics more thoroughly and 
on a broader scale. It was determined to work off on the North- 
ern voters the original Tourgee picture, in spite of its disproof. 
The purpose was, from a partisan standpoint, a vital one. 
There was not alone fear of losing the South, but the defection 
of Northern Republicans of prominence and influence caused 
great apprehensions of the result of the national election in 1872. 
The North Carolina Democratic victory proved too signal to be 
figured away. This was the direct motive for the Morton reso- 
lution, to create ground for seating the defeated radical candi- 
dates for Congress and the legislature, and to arrest Holden's 
impeachment. The purpose was broadened as revealed in the 
President's message of January 13, 1871, which forecast the 
enforcement act. 

The guilt or fatuity of the pretense of the North Carolina in- 
vestigation is even more conclusively established, through the 
reports of the officers of the United States troops in the State 
during the Holden-Kirk outrage campaign. Colonel Hunt, the 

Ku Klux Klan in Mississippi. McNeilly. 115 

commander of the district, said in an official communication 
from Fort Adams, January 2, 1871: 

"Evidences of the existence of such organizations was produced. 
Nearly all the cases inquired into proved, however, that other than 
political purposes were effected through these organizations whose 
machinery was used to punish thefts, burglaries, insults to women, and 
other offenses in no way connected with politics. In fine their principal 
work seemed to be to do the work of regulators, or vigilance committees. 
Bad enough in themselves, these crimes were in the bitterness of party 
feeling exaggerated and misrepresented. To what extent murders and 
outrages were for political purpose I am not in a position to state. For 
when the legislature passed laws to punish members of secret organiza- 
tions they were to a great extent if not wholly dissolved and this before 
I assumed command of the district." 

Lieut.-Col. R. O. Frank reported to Raleigh, July 3, 1870: 

"The marshal at once applied for a military force, as he had done in 
the previous case, without making any effort on his own part to make 
the arrests. I explained to him that an ffort to execute the laws by the 
civil authority should be made, as otherwise the necessity for military 
force was not apparent. Under these circumstances I thought the 
presence of troops would prevent the necessity for their use, and therefore 
telegraphed, although it did not appear to me imperatively necessary, 
nor that the civil authorities had exhausted all other measures." 

Again he writes, July 22, 1870: 

"The Governor, however, beli ves that in the progress of events an 
effort will be made to get possession of the prisoners now in custody, or 
who may hereafter be arrested, and in that event he thinks an attempt 
would first be made to get possession of the State armory. Though not 
fully concurring in these apprehensions, I would suggest, if it be intended 
to use the United States troops in aid of the State authorities in such a 
contingency, that a detachment from the company at Fort Johnson be 
sent to this post to serve the two light twelve pounders which I have." 

Major J. Stewart writes from headquarters, Fort Macon, 
North Carolina, December 28, 1870: 

"Since Ifliave been in command of this post this'portion of the State 
has been very quiet and undisturbed, nor can I learn that there are any 
organizations of the kind referred to in this vicinity." 

Capt. Evan Thomas, at "Headquarters, Post of Lumberton, 
N. C., December 30, 1870," says: 

"The cause of the trouble in this county is in no way political. A 
band of outlaws, six in number, have been for the period of four years 
hiding in the numerous swamps that traverse this county in every direc- 
tion and robbing and murdering the citizens. They have committed, 
since the spring of 1868, four murders in this county, and about as many 
more in the adjacent counties. * * * They are mulattoes and have 

n6 Mississippi Historical Society. 

almost as many friends as enemies. They have friends partly from fear 
of them and friends who are suspected of helping them in their acts." 

Capt. Frank G. Smith, under date "Headquarters, Post of 
Raleigh, N. C., December 30, 1870," reports: 

"I have the honor respectfully to state that except through the news- 
paper press, common rumor and published official documents emanating 
from the civil authorities, nothing pertinent to the subject of inquiry 
has come to my knowledge." 

Capt. John Mendenhall from "Headquarters Post, Fort John- 
son, N. C., December 31, 1870," writes: 

"I have the honor to report that there is no organized body of disloyal 
or evil-disposed men in this immediate section of the State. In this 
county (Brunswick) and New Hanover (in which is the city of Wilming- 
ton) the people so far as I know or can learn are good, peaceable, law 
abiding citizens." 

Major George B. Rodney, writing from Yanceyville, July 30, 
1870, says: 

"Colonel Kirk, who is in command of the militia, appears to fear an 
attack, and has made great preparations for defense by barricading the 
courthouse, doubling his guards and posting a strong force of pickets; 
and his whole cause for alarm is some foolish reports given out by negroes. 
* * * Wednesday when a man named Williamson tried to serve some 
writs on Kirk, the long roll was sounded and all citizens ordered to leave 
the public square on penalty of being fired into. I think there were 
exactly four men present. I do not hesitate to assure you that there is 
no fear of any disturbance between the citizens and military unless Kirk 
provokes them to it, and it seems to me he has been endeavoring to do so 
ever since he has been here." 

Again, August 14: 

"I have fears of an outbreak. Colonel Kirk is either endeavoring to 
create a disturbance between the people or my men and his own troops 
in order to justify his recent conduct. His men roam around the country 
and pillage and insult the people with impunity, and some threaten to 
attack my men." 

Capt. Frank G. Smith, under date of August 8, 1870, writing 
from Ruffin, says: 

"I have the honor to report for the information of the post commander 
that since my arrival here on the 2gth ult., when I found an exciting 
political contest going on among the citizens of the vicinity, which was 
prosecuted with vigor by both parties until election day, the 4th inst., 
not a single case of riot or disturbance has been brought to my notice 
up to this time. I am informed by all the persons with whom I have 
conversed on the subject that no political campaign here has ever been 

Ku Klux Klan in Mississippi. McNeilly. 117 

conducted with more order than that so recently concluded. The dis- 
position to assist and submit to the civil authorities seems general." 

This is the testimony of officers of the army who went to North 
Carolina to uphold Governor Holden and the administration. 
They were scattered all over the State, and if they had any par- 
tiality at all it was on the side of the Federal authority. Yet 
they all concur in representing that peace and order were almost 
universal, and that the only interruption was that of negro out- 
laws. It is not necessary to add comment to such conclusive 
proof of the wickedness of those striving to excite agitation. 
It was in spite of this mass of contradictory evidence that the 
President's message with its fictitious murder exhibits was sub- 
mitted to the Senate. A committee for a Southern investiga- 
tion to begin on North Carolina was ordered, after earnest oppo- 
sition from the Democratic minority. Commenting on the in- 
vestigation proposed, the New Orleans Times thus stated its 
design : 

"The appointment of this committee is said to have been prompted in 
a caucus of radical leaders assembled to deliberate upon the prospects 
of the party. It was there admitted that the control of four or five 
Southern States was necessary to success at the next election and usur- 
pation was boldly advocated. 

This forecast was sustained by every cotemporary circum- 
stance, and substantiated by events. During the debate and the 
taking of testimony Washington literally swarmed with South- 
ern carpetbaggers and scalawags from Georgia, Alabama, North 
Carolina, and other Southern States, with livid stories of out- 
rage, to induce Congress to give them new leases on their offices, 
which were passing from them. Scores of witnesses to back up 
the scheme were summoned before the Morton committee, sit- 
ting at Washington. March 10, 1871, two committee reports 
were submitted. The majority declared that "the Ku Klux 
organization does exist and is composed of members of the 
Democratic or conservative party, with a political purpose 
. which is sought to be carried out by murders, whipping, intimi- 
dation, and violence against opponents." There was no mis- 
taking the logic of this report. It pointed direct to further and 
more repressive legislation. 

The minority report by Senators Blair of Missouri and Bayard 
of Delaware, joined issue with that of the majority with extreme 

n8 Mississippi Historical Society. 

severity. In conclusion it was declared that "Grossly and wil- 
fully as the number of outrages were exaggerated, no act of law- 
lessness had been proven except in six, perhaps eight, of the 
eighty -seven North Carolina counties." And that "the evidence 
overwhelmingly established the untruth of the charges of an- 
archy in the State." In the following the real motive of the 
proceeding was exposed: 

"If aggressive laws are to be enacted let all disguise be cast off and the 
truth avowed. It will not be less violent or wrong, but it will be less 
hypocritical and more manly. To every fair minded man we commit the 
proof contained in the testimony now presented by the committee, and 
that, in the face of such wrongs as have been inflicted upon the unfortu- 
nate and crushed people by the rulers placed over them, not by their 
own consent, but by the exercise of despotic power by Congress, no 
example of equal submissiveness and patient endurance can be found in 
history as is now presented by the people of the State of North Carolina. 
This is the truth in a nutshell. Holden and his official supporters have 
failed to maintain themselves by any means, fair or foul. They appealed 
to a popular election and they were- rejected with something near una- 
nimity by every taxpayer in the State. And now Congress is asked to 
step in and force North Carolina down again under the feet of her late 
radical masters." 

The next move in the radical campaign was thus forecast by 
the Cincinnati Commercial, at this time the leading paper of 
the middle West and Republican in politics, in a comment upon 
the committee reports: 

"A deliverance is now expected from the President on the necessity of 
additional legislation for protection of the loyal people in the Southern 
States. The carpetbagger looks to Congress continually. Latterly the 
carpetbaggers are becoming important. In many cases they are indis- 
pensable. The President's possibility of renomination rests with the 
carpetbaggers. If they should be against him his last chance would 
vanish. The intense solicitude of the President for the safety of the loyal 
men in the South means anxiety to secure the carpetbag vote." 

The "deliverance" was forthcoming March 23, 1871, when the 
President transmitted a message to Congress reading as follows: 

"A condition of affairs now exists in some of the States of the Union 
rendering life and property insecure and the carrying of the mails and the 
collection of revenues dangerous. The proof that such a condition 
exists is now before the Senate. That the power \o correct these evils 
is beyond the control of the State authorities I do not doubt ; that the 
power of the executive acting within the limits of existing law is suffi- 
cient for present emergencies is not clear. Therefore I urgently recom- 
mend such legislation as in the judgment of Congress shall effectively 
secure life, liberty and property and the enforcement of the laws in all 
parts of the United States." 

Ku Klux Klan in Mississippi. McNeilly. 119 

The day before this menacing message was issued, the career 
of North Carolina's miscreant Governor, W. W. Holden, was 
terminated by his impeachment. He was removed from office 
before the enforcement act, to which the crimes of his govern- 
ment of North Carolina led up, was passed. One of the counts 
on which he was adjudged guilty was the refusal to obey a writ 
of habeas corpus, issued by the Chief Justice of North Carolina, 
for the release from jail of a number of the men held on Ku 
Klux charges. He was voted guilty on other counts, one being 
for "unlawfully recruiting a large body of troops from this State 
and the State of Tennessee, and placing them in command of 
Kirk and other desperadoes from the State of Tennessee." 

The President's message of March 23d was immediately suc- 
ceeded by the appointment of a joint committee to "inquire 
into the condition of the late insurrectionary States, so far as 
regards the execution of the laws and the safety of the lives and 
property of the citizens of the United States, with leave to report 
at any time during the next or any subsequent session of Con- 
gress, with such recommendations as they may deem exped- 
ient," etc. 

The act in compliance with the President's request as stated 
in his message, was introduced, debated and finally passed April 
20, 1871. It is known as the Ku Klux, or Enforcement Act, and 
reads as follows: 

"An Act to enforce provisions of the i4th amendment to the Constitu- 
tion and for other purposes. 

"Be it enacted * * * That any person who under color of any 
law, statute or ordinance, regulation, custom or usage of any State shall 
subject or cause to be subjected any person within the jurisdiction of 
the United States to the deprivation of any rights, privileges or immuni- 
ties secured by the Constitution of the United States * * * be liable 
to the party injured in action, lawsuit, etc., in equity or other proper 
proceeding for redress, such proceedings to be prosecuted in the several 
District or Circuit Courts of the United States, with and subject to the 
same rights of appeal, review upon error and other remedies provided in 
like cases in such courts under provisions of the Act of April, 1866, entitled 
'An Act to protect all persons in civil rights,' etc. 

"SECTION 2. That if two or more persons within any State or Territory 
of the United States shall conspire together to overthrow, or to put down 
or destroy by force the government of the United States, or to bring war 
against the United States, or oppose by force the government of the 
United States, or by force, intimidation or threats to prevent, limit or 
delay the execution of any law of the United States, or by force to take, 
secure or possess any property of the United States contrary to the 
authority thereof; or by force, intimidation or threat to induce any 

I2O Mississippi Historical Society. 

officer of the United States to leave any State, district or place where 
his duties as an officer might lawfully be performed, or to injure him 
in his person or property, on account of his lawful discharge of the duties 
of his office; or to injure his property so as to molest, hinder, interfere 
with or impede him in the discharge of his official duty; or by force, 
intimidation or threat to deter any party or witness in any cause of the 
United States from attending such court, or from testifying in any mat- 
ter pending in said court fully and truthfully; or to injure any such per- 
son or witness in his person or property on account of his having so at- 
tended or testified ; or by force, intimidation or threat to induce to influ- 
ence the verdict, presentment or indictment of any juror or grand juror 
or grand jury of any court of the United States; or to injure such juror 
in his person or property on account of any verdict, indictment or pre- 
sentment lawfully assented to by him on account of his being or having 
been such juror; or shall conspire together or go in disguise upon the 
public highways or premises of another for the purpose either directly 
or indirectly of depriving any person or any class of persons of equal pro- 
tection of laws, or equal privileges or immunities under the laws, or for 
the purpose of preventing or hindering the constituted authorities of 
any State from giving or securing to all persons in such State equal pro- 
tection in the laws, for the purpose of in any manner impeding, hindering, 
obstructing or defeating the due course of justice in any State or Terri- 
tory, with the intent to deny any citizen of the United States due and 
equal protection of the laws; or to injure any person in his person or his 
property for lawfully enforcing the right of any person or class of persons 
to the equal protection of law; or by force, intimidation or threat to 
prevent any citizen of the United States lawfully entitled to vote from 
giving his support or advocacy in any lawful manner toward or in favor 
of the election of any qualified person as an elector for President or Vice- 
President of the United States or as a member of Congress of the United 
States; or to injure any such citizen in his person or his property on 
account of such support or advocacy, each or any person so offending 
shall be deemed guilty of high crime, and upon conviction thereof in any 
District or Circuit Court of the United States, or District or Supreme 
Court of any Territory of the United States having similar jurisdiction 
of similar offenses, shall be punished by a fine of not less than five hundred 
nor more than five thousand dollars, or by imprisonment with or with- 
out hard labor, as the court may determine, for a period of not less than 
six months nor more than six years, or by both such fine and imprison- 
ment, as the court may determine; and if any one or more persons 
engaged in such conspiracy shall do or cause to be done any act in fur- 
therance of the object of such conspiracy whereby any person shall be 
injured in his person or property, or deprived of having and exercising 
any right or privilege of a citizen in the United States, the person so 
injured or deprived of such rights and privileges may have and maintain 
an action for recovery of damages occasioned by such injury or depriva- 
tion against any one or more of the persons engaged in such conspiracy ; 
such action to be prosecuted in the District or Circuit Court of the United 
States with and subject to the same rights of appeal, review upon error 
and other remedies provided in like causes under the provisions of the 
Act of April 9, 1866, etc. 

"SECTION 3. That in all cases where insurrection, domestic violence, 
unlawful combinations or conspiracies in any State shall so obstruct or 
hinder the execution of the laws thereof so as to deprive any portion or 
class of the people in such State of any rights, privileges or immunities 
or protection named in the Constitution and secured by this Act, and 
the constituted authorities of such State shall either be unable to pro- 
tect, or shall from any cause fail in or refuse protection to the people in 

Ku Klux Klan in Mississippi. McNeilly. 121 

such rights, such facts shall be deemed a denial by such States of the 
equal protection of the laws to which they are entitled under the Con- 
stitution of the United States and in all such cases or wherever such in- 
surrection, violence, unlawful combination or conspiracy shall oppose 
or obstruct the laws of the United States or the due execution thereof, 
or impede or obstruct the due course of justice under the same, it shall 
be lawful for the President, and it shall be his duty, to take such measures 
by the employment of the military and naval powers of the United States, 
or of either, by such means as he may deem necessary for the suppression 
of such insurrection, domestic violence or combinations; and any per- 
sons who shall be arrested under the provisions of this and preceding 
sections shall be delivered to the marshal of the proper distnct, to be 
dealt with according to law. 

"SECTION 4. That wherever in any State or part of State the unlawful 
combinations named in the preceding sections of this Act, shall be organ- 
ized and armed and so numerous and powerful as to be able by violence 
to either overthrow or set at defiance the constituted authority of such 
State or the United States, within such State, or where the constituted 
authorities are in complicity with or shall connive at the unlawful pur- 
poses of such powerful and armed combination, and wherever by reason 
of either or all the causes aforesaid the conviction of such offenders and 
the preservation of the public safety shall become in such districts un- 
practicable, in every such case such combination shall be deemed rebellion 
against the government of the United States, and during the continuance 
of such rebellion and within the limits of the district under the sway 
thereof, it shall be lawful for the President of the United States, when 
in his judgment the public safety shall require it, to suspend the privi- 
leges of the writ of habeas corpus to the end that such rebellion may be 
overthrown; provided that all the provisions of the second section of 
'An Act relating to habeas corpus, etc.' approved March 3, 1863, 
be in force so far as the same are applicable to the provisions of the sec- 
tion. * * * Provided that the provisions of this section shall not 
be in force after the end of the next regular session of Congress. 

"SECTION 5. That no person shall be a grand or petit juror in any 
court of the United States upon inquiry bearing upon the trial of any 
suit, proceeding or prosecution based on, upon or arising under the pro- 
visions of this Act, who shall, in the judgment of the court, be in com- 
plicity with any such combination or conspiracy. Every such person 
shall, before entering upon any such inquiry bearing on the trial, take 
and subscribe an oath in the open court that he has never secretly or 
indirectly counseled, advised or voluntarily aided any such combination 
or conspiracy; and each and every person who has taken this oath and 
shall thereon swear falsely shall be guilty of perjury and shall be subject 
to the pains and penalties declared against that crime in the first section 
of an Act entitled An Act * * *etc., approved June 17, 1862. 

"SECTION 6. That any person or persons having knowledge that any 
wrongs conspired to be done and mentioned in the second section of this 
Act are about to be committed, and having power to prevent or aid in 
preventing the same, shall neglect or refuse so to do, and such wrongful 
act shall be committed, such person or persons shall be liable to the per- 
son injured, or his legal representatives, for all damage caused by the 
wrongful act which such first named person or persons by reasonable 
diligence could have prevented, and such damages may be recovered in any 
action in the case in any proper court of the United States; and any 
number of persons guilty of such wrongful neglect or refusal may be 
joined as defendants in said action. Provided that such action shall be 
commenced within one year after such cause of action shall have occurred. 
And if the death of any person shall be caused by any such wrongful 

122 Mississippi Historical Society. 

act and neglect the representatives of such deceased person shall have 
such action thereto as may recover not exceeding $5,000 damages therein 
for the benefit of the widow of such deceased person, if any there be; or 
if there be no widow, for the benefit of the next kin to such deceased 

"SECTION 7. Nothing herein contained shall be construed to supersede 
or repeal any former act or law, except so far as the same may be repug- 
nant thereto, and any offenses heretofore committed against the tenor 
of any former act shall be prosecuted, and any proceeding already com- 
menced for prosecution shall be continued and completed the same as if 
this act had not been passed, except so far as the provisions of this act 
may go to sustain and validate such proceedings." 

The true design of this law, which was obnoxious to all prin- 
ciple and precept of American representative government, was 
thus exposed in an address, dated the day of its passage, from 
the Democratic members of Congress to the people of the United 
States : 

"Our presence and official duties at Washington have enabled us to 
become fully acquainted with the actions and desires of those who con- 
trol the radical party, and we feel called on to utter a few words of warn- 
ing against the alarming strides they have made toward the centrali- 
zation of power in the hands of Congress and the executive. No regard 
for the wise restraints imposed by the Constitution has checked their 
reckless and desperate career. The President of the United States has 
been formally announced as a candidate for re-election. The partisan 
legislation to which we refer was designed and shaped in secret caucus, 
where the extremest counsels dominated and was adopted to place in 
the hands of the President the power to command his own renomination, 
and to employ the army and navy and militia at his sole discretion as 
a means of subserving his personal ambition. * * * Under the pre- 
tense of passing laws to enforce the i4th amendment and for other pur- 
poses, Congress has conferred the most despotic powers upon the execu- 
tive and provided the official machinery by which the liberties of the 
people are menaced and the sacred right of self-government in the States 
ignored if not tyrannically overthrown. They are at variance with all the 
sanctified theories of our institutions. 

"Under the Enforcement Act the executive may at his discretion 
thrust aside the government of any State, suspend the writ of habeas 
corpus, arrest its Governor, disperse the legislature, silence its judges, 
and trample down its people under the heel of the troops. Nothing is 
left to the citizens or State which can be called a right. All is changed 
into mere subservance. * * * Everything that malicious iniquity 
could suggest has been done to irritate the people of the Southern States. 
The gross and exaggerated charges of disorder and violence owe their 
origin to the mischievous minds of the political managers in the Senate 
and House of Representatives, to which the executive has, we regret 
to say, lent his aid and thus helped to inflame popular feeling. In all 
the causes of hostile legislation and harsh resentment no word of con- 
ciliation, of kind encouragement or fraternal fellowship has ever been 
spoken by the President or by Congress to the people of the Southern 
States. They have been addressed only in language of proscription." 

Opposition to this "force bill" was not limited to Democrats. 
None spoke more strongly against it in the Senate than Senators 

Ku Klux Klan in Mississippi. McNeilly. 123 

Schurz and Trumbull. In the House, General James A. Garfield, 
subsequently President, joined in denouncing it. It was com- 
bated most urgently by the liberal press. At a public enter- 
tainment in New Orleans, the commander of the army, Gen. 
W. T. Sherman, said of the avowed pretext of the act: 

"I probably have as good means of information as most persons, in 
regard to what is called the Ku Klux. I am perfectly satisfied the thing 
is greatly overestimated. If Ku Klux bills were kept out of Congress and 
the army kept at their legitimate duties, there are enough good men in 
the South to put down all Ku Klux or other marauders." 

Having secured the law and possessing the machinery under it, 
the radical leaders were little concerned about mere declama- 
tory hostility. 

No feature of reconstruction has been so misunderstood and 
misstated as the Ku Klux facts the motives and causes pro- 
ducing the order, its purposes and deeds. As it was conceived 
in mystery and moved in darkness, exaggeration and error is 
natural on the part of those who write its history. It requires 
both actual acquaintance with the period and close sifting to 
free the grains of truth from the chaff. Reflected through Re- 
publican and carpetbag glasses, there was a Ku Klux in every 
bush, every deed of violence was set down to the Klan. As to 
the origin of the order, its blood curdling rituals, its awe-inspir- 
ing titles and gruesome insignia and signs, there is substantial 
agreement of narration. The facts are comprised in a recent 
letter published in the Montgomery Advertiser, from Prof. Walter 
L. Fleming of the University of West Virginia, and author of a 
valuable History of Reconstruction in Alabama. It is in part 
as follows: 

"Mr. Thomas Dixon says that the Klan proper began at Pulaski, Tenn., 
as a social club of young men, and spread thence over parts of the South. 
This is borne out by the testimony of the founders of the order, one of 
whom Captain John C. Lester (who lived a few years ago at Sheffield, 
Alabama), wrote in collaboration with Rev. D. L. Wilson, of Pulaski, 
Tennessee, a history of Ku Klux Klan. Mr. Dixon gets his main facts 
as to the beginnings from this history. Other members have placed 
themselves on record. I quote from a letter written by one of the 
founders, Major James R. Crowe, now of Sheffield, Alabama: 'The origin 
of the order had no political significance. It was at first purely social 
and for our amusement. It only required a quaint garb and a few 
mysterious sounds to convince the unitiated (the negroes) that we were 
spirits from another world. We were quick to catch on to this idea,' and 
hence came the change to a body of regulators. The Lester and Wilson 

134 Mississippi Historical Society. 

history says the same and describes the spread of the order into other 

"As to the origin of the name, one of the founders stated: 'A committee 
composed of Richard R. Reed, Calvin Jones (his brother, Charles P. 
Jones lived in Birmingham, Alabama, a few years ago, and his daughter, 
Miss Cora R. Jones, wrote a sketch of the Klan in The Advance Magazine 
last year), was appointed to select a name for the organization. The 
Greek for circle was chosen. We called it Ku-klos, which was changed 
to Ku Klux afterward. John Kennedy suggested that we add another 
K, and the order was then called Ku Klux Klan.' Lester and Wilson 
give a similar account of the origin of the name. 

"Mr. Sheehan, in stating that there were numerous local orders, some 
of which later were merged into larger ones, is certainly correct, and just 
here he touches upon Mr. Dixon's weak point historically. Mr. Dixon 
is inclined to notice only one great order, Ku Klux Klan, and ascribe all 
results to that order. There were several larger ones, such as Pale Faces, 
Knights of the White Camelia," etc. 

The oath of the order, as printed in the majority report of the con- 
gressional committee, reads as follows: 

" 'I, , of my own free will and accord, and in the presence of 

Almighty God, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will not reveal to 
any one not a member of the * * * by any intimation, sign, sym- 
bol, word or act, or in any other manner whatever, any of the secrets, 
signs, grips, passwords, mysteries, or purposes of the - 
or that I am a member of the same, or that I know of any one who is a 
member, and that I will abide by the precepts and edicts of the * * * 
so help me God.' " 

Conceived in jest, the K. K. K. was soon turned to sterner 
purposes. In his testimony General Forrest said: 

"If Ku Klux ever existed in Tennessee it was on account of Brown- 
low's 1867 proclamation, saying to the militia that they would not be 
molested for outrages and punishment of rebels and because of apprehen- 
sion of injury to persons and property." 

Contemporary with the time of the birth of the Ku Klux in 
Tennessee, as above stated, in 1865 and 1866, in the months im- 
mediately after the war, there were local "night ridings," some- 
times in disguise, in a number of Mississippi counties to detect 
and punish violators of law, such as stealing cotton and mules. 
They were limited to particular occasions and as civil authority 
became established they ceased. There was a slight recrudes- 
cence, only, in the political agitation and race excitement after 
the reconstruction acts were passed. This was for protection, 
and it, too, was local in organization. There were some installa- 
tions in this period, 1867 and 1868, of the Ku Klux Klan, in a 
few of the Northern counties. But this was attended by no 
activity and it died out and disappeared entirely after the defeat 
of the constitution in 1868. 

Ku Klux Klan in Mississippi. McNeilly. 125 

Irrefutable and conclusive proof has been cited in claiming 
that the law of 1871 originated in a conspiracy of radical leaders 
to serve the purpose of perpetuating Republican negro rule in 
the Southern States, which was threatened with overthrow. 
It will be more particularly shown that at the time it was de- 
signed and proposed, the State of Mississippi was not only free 
from organized resistance to the laws, or combinations for that 
purpose, but from any excessive prevalence of disorders or vio- 
lence. The then Governor of the State, James L. Alcorn, is 
quoted in proof of this on a preceding page. But toward the 
close of the year 1870 there were symptoms of disorder and vio- 
lence in several Northeastern counties, which were thus referred 
to in his message to the Legislature, January 8, 1871: 

"In apprehension of organized resistance of the law in eastern counties 
of the State, I took steps for the organization of the militia in these 

What he had done was to send Major-General E. Stafford, a 
'pot-valiant' carpetbagger and editor of the official journal, and 
"Colonel" Ireland, commonly styled "Big Yaller," to organize 
companies of whites and blacks respectively. After perform- 
ing that duty, on paper, to the extent of adding fuel to the fire 
of race animosities, the doughty pair had rendered an expense 
account. This was of doubtful validity, as related in the mes- 
sage, "the auditor of public accounts labors under some diffi- 
culty as to the obligation resting on him under my certificate of 
account presented by the paymaster. He appears to think that 
while I am authorized by law to call out the militia, I can do so, 
but require his consent to pay the bills." It was upon this issue 
that the Legislature was appealed to. The response was an ap- 
propriation of $3,000 for "expenses" for the militia organizers. 

In Mississippi nothing whatever had occurred to warrant 
"apprehension of organized resistance to the law." Disorders 
which were augmented by the Governor's menacing message 
might safely have been left to correction of local authority and 
local sentiment. This was so apparent that the genuineness of 
his professed apprehension was questioned. There was the 
obvious motive behind his zeal against a mythical "organized 
resistance of law," of making himself secure in his strange and 
repellant affiliations against his own people. By treating them 

ia6 Mississippi Historical Society. 

like outlaws and providing against the dreaded white political 
uprising, he sought to disarm the distrust of the carpetbaggers. 
Apprehension of resistance was chronic with Governor Alcorn. 
In his inaugural he had asked for extraordinary powers as com- 
mander-in-chief of the militia. He wanted "a militia estab- 
lishment in the interests of a strong government." 

The effect of proclamations and declamations against the 
Southern white people by the radical chiefs at Washington and 
Jackson, the introduction of force bills to hold them in subjec- 
tion to alien and negro officials, could have but one effect upon 
the negro masses. Day by day they became more hostile and 
vindictive toward the white people. Such evil influences and 
teachings torches touched to an inflamed condition were 
sure to cause friction and violence. The seeds thus sown sprout- 
ed in arson and bloodshed at Meridian, March 4th and 6th. The 
riot caused great excitement. Circuit Judge Leachman con- 
vened court and had an exhaustive investigation, Governor 
Alcorn employing special counsel to represent the State. The 
result was the placing under bond to appear before the grand 
jury of half a dozen white men. But this did not meet the exi- 
gencies of the situation as viewed by the radicals. In the 
twinkling of an eye the worthlessness of Alcorn's militia prepara- 
tions, the weakness of the whole mongrel governmental fabric had 
been exposed. To prepare for a call for Federal troops a resolu- 
tion for a legislative investigation was adopted. The testimony 
taken fills fifty pages in the journal appendix, but, significant 
of the facts disclosed, no report or recommendation accompanies 
it. There was, however, an appeal to Washington for troops 
"a good, large detachment" proclaimed the official organ, March 
i5th, "to restrain and regulate the turbulent and disorderly 
bodies who are now perpetrating the most damnable abomina- 
tions and outrages that have been recorded for years." Rad- 
ical leaders in the Legislature communicated the situation to 
Washington, and asked the State delegation to have the Presi- 
dent send troops, which the Governor would not ask for. Learn- 
ing of this, the Governor addressed the delegation, protesting 
against "dispatches that have been forwarded to Washington 
derogating from the power of this government to enforce the 
law, and I desire to correct that misrepresentation." In this 
connection he adds: 

Ku Klux Klan in Mississippi. McNeilly. 127 

"A riot occurred in Meridian, which was promptly suppressed. Some 
minor outrages have been committed in other points on the Alabama 
border, in the night, by people in disguise. My only difficulty is to dis- 
cover the wrong doers; but that overcome, as I confidently hope it will 
be, this government is powerful enough to make them tremble for their 

This communication was made the text for a speech in the 
Senate by Ames, who defended the call for troops. He assailed 
Alcorn, charging that "while every cent of the appropriation by 
the Legislature to aid in the arrest of Ku Klux assassins had been 
drawn out of the treasury by the Governor, he had not heard of a 
single arrest." This impeachment of the Governor's loyalty to 
party was echoed by Northern Republican papers the New 
York Tribune saying it had been "led to conclude that Governor 
Alcorn had little wish or design to suppress the Ku Klux in Mis- 
sissippi, but is largely responsible for the demoralization of the 
party which elected him as an exponent of Republican prin- 
ciples." The Washington Chronicle, the President's organ, prob- 
ably got nearer the Governor's susceptibilities. Endorsing 
Ames' attack, it threw out a threat that Alcorn might not be 
allowed the seat in the Senate, to which he had been elected. 
This would have suited Ames, who not only felt overshadowed 
by Alcorn, but there was intense dislike felt by each for the other. 
A letter Ames wrote a negro member, which added fuel to the 
fire of Alcorn 's fury, was published. Bearing date March 27, 
1871, it read: 

"I send you a copy of my speech. You see I take issue with the Gov- 
ernor. I talk as I did when I held his place. It seems to me that were 
I in his place now I would give protection, as I did then, and not have my 
friends killed by tens of hundreds, as they are now being killed. I think 
he is guilty of a great sin. I can have no sympathy with a man who 
gains power or favor as he does with the Democracy at the price of blood 
and that the blood of his friends. A. AMES." 

The Governor replied to these attacks savagely, in an inter- 
view in a New York paper. But in just a week from his dispatch 
saying that "the State government was powerful enough to make 
wrong doers tremble," it was announced that he had asked for 
troops, and that they were on the way to the State; to be fol- 
lowed by a regiment of cavalry, if it could be spared from the 

The attempt to turn this Meridian riot to partisan uses, to 
trace it to a Ku Klux source, calls for a history of its origin and 

ia8 Mississippi Historical Society. 

outline. It happened in the very nick of time for radicalism, 
when there was both utmost need and least material for making 
out a case against "the late insurrectionary States." It was 
shown in the investigation that the disorders incident to the 
Alabama election had driven some negroes across the line into 
the eastern counties of Mississippi. Farm labor being much in 
demand, certain Sumter County farmers sent a negro named 
Adam Kennard to Meridian to persuade or trap their absconded 
tenants to return. Having made one trip with some success, 
Kennard had returned. He was taken from his bed at night in 
Meridian, carried out of town and severely whipped by masked 
men. The next day he made an affidavit under the State Ku 
Klux law of 1870, against a white negro school teacher named 
Price, and his assistant, a negro named Warren Tyler. Both of 
them had lived in Sumter County, Alabama, which they left for 
the same reason the carpetbag defeat that the negroes Ken- 
nard was after, had. It was a curious circumstance and an 
ironic one that the first arrests under the Mississippi Ku Klux 
law of 1870, and the first claim of Alcorn's proclamation reward 
of $5,000, grew out of the Ku Kluxing of a Democratic negro by 
a band of disguised negroes, led by a white and a negro radical. 
The arrest of Price and Tyler created a sensation and much 
excitement and loud talk by their negro followers. The exam- 
ining trial was set for Saturday, February nth. Before the 
day arrived Price was defiant and threatening. He was reported 
as saying that if convicted and committed he and his crowd 
"would begin shooting." 

The Meridian Gazette said: 

"It is asserted and the statement comes pretty straight, that Price, 
the Grand Cyclops of the negro Ku Klux, says he will not go to jail nor 
give another bond. Governor Alcorn's attention was called to the situ- 
ation by the Gazette, and he was advised to take charge of the examina- 
tion. But he did not, and matters went from bad to worse unchecked." 

Price's violent talk getting abroad, on the day of the trial 
some forty or fifty white men came from over the border to see 
that Kennard had a fair showing. The examination was post- 
poned "on account of absent witnesses," it was alleged. 

The Gazette said in a succeeding issue: 

"There was an unusual amount of disorder in the city on Saturday, 
and a very unnecessary display of firearms. It was feared at one time 

Ku Klux Klan in Mississippi. McNeilly. 129 

that there would be a serious disturbance between the whites and blacks. 
The negroes were reported to have arms stored in a certain house in 
town, and were certainly greatly excited. The most of the excitement 
no doubt grew out of the Price case, about which the negroes seem greatly 

The Meridian Mercury thus commented on the incident: 

"We heard some of our citizens talking considerably about Alabamians 
coming here Sunday evening with Adam Kennard, and carrying shot 
guns and other arms. They had a right to come, and would have been 
fools to come without arms. Will anybody dare say that there was any 
protection here for Adam Kennard by the civil authorities or by citizens, 
that he could dare to trust himself to without known and tried friends 
with arms in their hands?" 

To add to the bad blood the Alabama party "arrested" several 
of their fugitive laborers and carried them back with them. In 
consequence of the menacing condition prevailing, the county 
Republican officials prevailed on Price to forfeit his bond and 
leave Meridian. 

Up to this stage of the matter the white citizens of Meridian 
had not been involved in the issue. But the departure of Price, 
instead of ending the trouble, intensified it. It was resented by 
the mayor, a white carpetbagger, an appointee of Ames, named 
Sturgis. He had proved a thorn in the flesh of the white citi- 
zens already, and now used the Price expulsion to inflame the 
negroes. His chief abettors were Bill Clop ton, the captain of a 
negro militia company, and the negro who had been Price's 
assistant teacher, Warren Tyler. On Saturday, March 4th, a 
meeting of negroes was addressed at the courthouse by these 
three men and a negro preacher and member of the Legislature, 
Aaron Moore. Their speeches were threatening and violent. 
Long tolerance made the leaders very bold. Pistols were dis- 
played and the Rev. Moore warned Meridian to beware of the 
fate of Sodom and Gomorrah. The meeting adjourned and short- 
ly afterwards the fire alarm rang out. The citizens running to 
the fire found the streets thronged with turbulent negroes. 
Captain Clopton's company was drawn up under arms. He 
ordered the negroes to let the town burn, and none of them could 
be induced to fight the fire. With beat of drum and imprecating 
vengeance on the white men, the negro militia company was 
marched through the principal streets. While they fired on 
several men no one was hurt and their leader, with other turbu- 

130 Mississippi Historical Society. 

lent negroes, was arrested after a body of white citizens assembled 
and placed themselves under charge of the carpetbag sheriff, 
who had been afraid to proceed against the negro rioters. The 
city then became quiet. The fire had inflicted losses estimated 
at $150,000. 

Believing that the fire had been kindled designedly and that 
the design contemplated slaughter, the feeling of the white citi- 
zens was almost uncontrollable. On Monday morning there 
was a large meeting at the courthouse and resolutions adopted 
that bespoke utmost determination to effect a change. A com- 
mittee was appointed to visit the Governor to represent the situ- 
ation to him and request the removal of the mayor and the ap- 
pointment of a fit man. Violence was deprecated and the meet- 
ing adjourned after the appointment of a committee to co-operate 
with the sheriff in the suppression of disturbances. The people 
acted with the utmost forbearance and regard for the law, under 
the extremest provocation. Had the resolutions been sterner 
what followed might have been different. In the evening the 
trial of Clopton, Moore and Tyler, for their riotous conduct the 
previous night was being held before Justice Bramlette, a 
respected white Republican. What followed is shown by the 
evidence of witnesses before the Congressional Investigating 
Committee, sitting at Washington. Deputy Sheriff L. D. Belk 
testified : 

"I had just left the court room and gone into the sheriff's office; heard 
the words 'damn liar' and then report of a pistol ; ran into the court room 
and saw Tyler standing with pistol in threatening position pointing to 
Judge Bramlette; did not see anybody else with pistol; I state as my 
belief that Tyler killed Bramlette." 

W. C. Ford, who was representing the State in the trial, testi- 
fied that an altercation arose between Tyler and a witness, 
Brantley. He said: 

"I told the witness to take his seat. Tyler asked the witness to get up, 
saying: 'I want three colored men summoned to impeach your testimony.' 
Brantley started forward with a stick. The marshal caught hold of 
him. Tyler got up, put his hand around, as I thought, to draw a pistol. 
But somebody then passed between us and I saw him no more. At that 
instant a pistol was fired from the door leading into the hall which led to 
the sheriff's office. That was in the direction of Tyler when I last saw 

C. L. Sherman, a practicing physician, testified: 

Ku Klux Klan in Mississippi. McNeilly. 131 

"I was in the court room when the affray began, sitting about six feet 
from Judge Bramlette. I saw Tyler fire the first shot that was fired in 
the court room. The first shot killed Judge Bramlette and was fired by 
Warren Tyler." 

A. R. Wilson testified to seeing Tyler draw his pistol, present 
it and fire towards Judge Bramlette. This was the first shot 
fired. J. D. Klein, W. W. Shearer, and T. H. Winingham testi- 
fied to the same effect. No one else was charged with the first 
and fatal shot but Tyler. Whether he meant to kill the witness, 
Brantley, or Judge Bramlette, there was no means of knowing. 

In the inflamed temper of the people what followed Bram- 
lette 's murder was as natural as for the explosion of powder to 
succeed the flash that fires the train. Instantaneously pistols 
were drawn with deadly intent. In the fusilade Clopton, the 
murderer, and another negro were killed. Affairs at once fell 
in the hands of a large posse of white men, acting under authority 
of the Republican sheriff. The mayor, who in a subsequent in- 
vestigation was charged by the Circuit Judge of the district to be 
primarily responsible for the outbreak, was placed on a north- 
bound train and notified never to return. 

Three negroes, marked as chronic disturbers of the peace, were 
killed Monday night, and other strife-stirring negroes, including 
the notorious negro preacher and member of the Legislature, 
Aaron Moore, absconded. The latter found asylum in his seat 
in the Legislature, finding willing ears for highly flavored ac- 
counts of the Meridian riot and his own innocent and perilous 
mix-up in it. 

The following partisan declaration of the facts of the riot 
appeared in the Jackson Pilot, the State radical organ: 

"The only comment necessary in order to show where the burthen of 
fault should rest is to make the plain statement that there was only one 
white man killed, and he accidentally, while eight or ten negroes were 
left on the field of massacre weltering in their blood." 

To this the Meridian Gazette replied: 

"It is a notorious fact that the people of this city have purchased peace 
at the expense, almost, of self-respect. They have suffered indignity 
and outrage for the sake of law and order. They have patiently listened 
to inflammatory and insulting speeches by incendiary negroes, quietly 
witnessed public processions of lawless men gotten up for the purpose of 
exciting and demoralizing those of the colored population who were dis- 
posed to do right. They have not interfered with the negroes whose 

132 Mississippi Historical Society. 

ceaseless annoyances in the way of firing at night has for months past 
kept women and children in a state of alarm. In short, they have en- 
dured everything in the presence of Sturgess, Bill Clopton, Price, Warren 
Tyler and others. The simple fact that these men have for two years 
past domineered over this community attests our long suffering and for- 

While the Meridian riot was made to do service in carrying the 
force bill through Congress, for which it came on very oppor- 
tunely, it was so palpably and solely provoked by the wretched 
local government and the incendiary teachings of local radical 
leaders, that the investigating committee did not refer to it in 
the majority report. Proving that there was no possibility of 
coloring and twisting it to party uses, the hundreds of pages of 
testimony taken was entirely ignored. The committee minority 
report said: 

"The whole affair was unquestionably attributable to bad men who 
stirred up strife between the races in order to keep control of the negroes ; 
in that sense, and in that sense only, was it a political riot. It is clear 
from all the evidence that the great mass of the white people tried in 
every way possible to preserve order and keep the peace.' 

Although Governor Alcorn had written to the State delegation 
in Congress that "except the Meridian riot, which had been speed- 
ily suppressed, there were only some minor outrages on the Ala- 
bama border," he used all his influence for legislation that noth- 
ing short of organized resistance to the State power would have 
justified. In response to his message recommendation, the 
Senate passed a bill March 2oth providing that the Governor 
should have power to order prosecution of any person charged 
with a felony in any county in the State, in such other county 
as he might select. And that "the facts on which prosecution 
was directed shall be held as true and not be subject to dispute 
or denial, and that when any indictment shall be found under this 
act in any county other than that in which the offense was com- 
mitted, it shall be kept strictly secret until the offender or offend- 
ers, either as principal or accessory, shall have been arrested." 
Power was also conferred on the Governor to change the venue 
of any person indicted, whenever "it shall appear to his satis- 
faction that a fair and impartial trial cannot be had in the county 
of the crime." To carry out its provisions, this bill, which the 
official organ gave formal notice that the Governor favored, car- 

Ku Klux Klan in Mississippi. McNeilly. 133 

ried an appropriation of $50,000. The Democratic members 
filed a protest against the enactment of the mischievous measure. 
But, drastic and usurpatory as were the powers it devolved on 
the Governor, it did not go far enough to meet his ideas. And 
on April the first he addressed the Legislature a message which 
contained the following statements : 

"Recent outrages at Meridian and a few other points on our eastern 
border point to possibilities which demand special measures of detection 
and punishment. In anticipation of such a necessity I asked you in my 
annual message for authority to deal with the crimes of the Ku Klux 
by an offer of rewards as high as $25,000, and added to what I now again 
earnestly urge upon you 'that the rewards offered in any county shall, 
when paid by the executive, be made a special tax upon that county. 
With the right to change the venue on the part of the State placed in my 
hands, a power which cannot fail of effectiveness will have been set in 
motion with certain success in not only detecting and punishing but to 
a great extent in otherwise preventing the outrages of those midnight 

The Legislature was further reminded that it had not yet cured 
the militia law of the defect he had pointed out, of settling the 
auditor's doubts as to the Governor's power to order payment 
of expenses involved in using it. He said further : 

"With the question of my authority to order payment for a single 
saddle or a cartouch box, the conveyance of the power to 'organize and 
equip not to exceed one regiment of cavalry' becomes a dead letter. I 
again invite the attention of your honorable bodies to this fact, with the 
earnest request that in addition to actual authority to organize the 
militia generally you give me actual authority to organize and call into 
the field a cavalry regiment of picked men for operation wherever masked 
assassins shall be seen the cost of subsistence of those troops to be levied 
as a special tax upon the county to which they shall have been called by 
the appearance of masked assassins. With this power made good in my 
hands, outside any scruples of the auditor of public accounts, such tax- 
payers as shall dare to tolerate by their sympathies the performances of 
the Ku Klux will very soon find out that toleration will have cost them 
heavily in penal taxes." 

April 6th the Senate passed the "picked cavalry" regiment bill 
the Governor had set his heart on. It carried an appropriation 
of $100,000. The House hanging fire, the Governor returned to 
the despotic proposition in a message May 4th, saying: 

"I call your attention earnestly to the fact that you have not yet sup- 
plemented those powers by giving me authority to change the venue, etc. 
I trust your honorable body will not fail to pass, before your adjournment, 
such laws as will enable me to draw the Ku Klux assassin from his hiding 
place, and hand him over to certain justice." 

134 Mississippi Historical Society. 

He further asked that pending examination before a circuit 
judge or chancellor "persons accused of Ku Kluxism shall be held 
in the county jail to the exclusion of any application for his en- 
largement on bail. This will remove cases of so grave a charac- 
ter from the good nature or the timidity of an ordinary magis- 
trate, to a magistrate whose learning will prove a foil to that of 
counsel, and whose dignity of position will overawe the agencies 
of intimidation." Thus spurred a favorable report was had on 
the bill from the House Military Committee, May nth. But 
it failed a motion to pass it was displaced by another bill. On 
the same day, which was only two days before adjournment, the 
House postponed further consideration of the change of venue 
bill. It is palpable that these measures which Governor 
Alcorn so persistently and insistently urged were more menacing 
to the lives and liberties of the citizens than any stretch of 
national authority. It was fortunate for the State that the car- 
petbag auditor refused to honor warrants for the expense of 
calling out and equipping "a picked regiment of cavalry," with- 
out express legislative direction and authority ; and that a legis- 
lature with a majority of aliens and scalawags held back from 
passing a law so heavily charged with probabilities of direst evil. 
The message was referred to the Judiciary Committee of the 
Legislature, but adjournment came without its being reported 
back. It was plausibly charged that the real purpose of the 
legislation asked by the Governor, his picked cavalry regiment 
and change of venue measures, was for coercing the whites in 
the ensuing election. 

Of course it was not for such reason that a radical majority 
failed on this bill. But when the Ku Klux act was adopted, 
April 20, 1871, and Federal troops were provided to aid the 
Federal Court in prosecutions under it, the carpetbag leaders 
felt independent of Governor Alcorn and chose not to place such 
power in the hands of one they detested and distrusted, hence 
the picked regiment bill was dropped. 

Governor Alcorn's recommendation for legislation so dan- 
gerous and odious was simply atrocious. His message urging 
it reflects a wholly false view of the conditions in Mississippi. 
In the 1871 State campaign, out-Heroding the radical Herods 

Ku Klux Klan in Mississippi. McNeilly. 135 

in an effort to justify his embrace of negro equality of citizen- 
ship, he declared: 

"Southern people surrendered all rights of citizenship, all rights of 
property, when they laid down their arms. If the government had put 
to the sword every white man, if the guillotine had been moved by steam, 
no voice in all the world would have been raised in your behalf. Look at 
the treatment of the commune by the French government. The world 
endorses that, and would have endorsed similar treatment of ourselves. 
What right have we to talk of the Constitution?" 

There was no lack of hot rejoinder to such offensive and in- 
flammatory reviling. The following resolution adopted in what 
was described as the largest meeting of white men in Vicksburg, 
expressed the common sentiment the Governor aroused against 
him for his Ku Klux proclamation and his campaign speeches 
seeking to place the white men of the South beneath the negroes 
in the scale of American citizenship: 

"Resolved, That we regard Jas. L. Alcorn as an open and avowed 
enemy of his race ; that we denounce him as a corrupt tool of a vindictive 
and relentless policy ; as the friend and abettor of the vilest set of villians 
that ever preyed upon a peaceful people; that we utterly repudiate and 
condemn the doctrine as enunciated by him that nothing short of the 
gallows is a fit punishment to a free and high spirited people; and that 
we hereby deny that he is in any way a representative or an exponent of 
the feeling and sentiments of the upright and honorable people of Mis- 

This is a bitter and a sweeping arraignment. But it cannot 
be said to go beyond the provocation as recorded. 

The Congressional investigating committee first took testi- 
mony in Washington. The first of the Mississippi witnesses was 
called June 8th and the last August 4, 1871. The greater por- 
tion of the testimony taken at this time was relative to the 
Meridian riot. As already stated, this yielded the committee 
no valuable material. A sub-committee was appointed to take 
testimony at certain Southern interior points. But, over the 
protests of the minority, the committee majority made up its 
report upon the testimony taken at Washington. Thus con- 
sideration of evidence subsequently taken, directly disproving 
much of that on which the report was based, was cut off. Mis- 
sissippi was calumniated and condemned on the word of wit- 
nesses afterwards proved to be without reputation or standing 
at home. Some, the chief indeed, were indicted criminals. 
Logically the Congressional investigation should have preceded 

136 Mississippi Historical Society. 

the enforcement act. The reversal of the order was the equiv- 
alent of hanging first and trying afterwards. Logically, after 
the act was passed, on the presumption of the guilt of "the late 
insurrectionary States," there was no reason for the investiga- 
tion. Logic, however, gave way to partisan strife. The opera- 
tion of the act and the report of the investigation were needed 
simultaneously to check the tendency in the North to revolt 
against the reconstruction practices. 

The sub-committee had for its minority member Senator 
Frank P. Blair of Missouri. It convened at Macon, in Noxubee 
County, November 6th. Testimony was taken here until the 
9th, when the committee began taking testimony at Columbus. 
On November i8th the taking of testimony was closed, and the 
sub-committee adjourned. The political conspiracy theory had 
for its chief witness and exponent U. S. District Attorney G. 
Wiley Wells. He took the stand November ijih, the day before 
final adjournment. His evidence is quoted: 

"I commenced the prosecutions about the isth of May, 1871. I have 
been engaged continually, traveling or otherwise, prosecuting my duties 
day and night. I have now under indictment between two and three 
hundred persons. I have under bond for appearance at court per- 
haps thirty-five to fifty. I have investigated the matter pretty thor- 
oughly, I believe. I have striven to ascertain the aims and objects of 
the organization, because it became a settled fact soon after I began these 
prosecutions that there was an extensive organization, which had its 
surroundings and ramifications over a large portion of my district. It 
seemed to be under one management, or at least its different parts were 
co-operating. The aims and objects I have also ascertained from parties 
who have turned State's evidence, and I have the most positive and con- 
clusive proof that the purposes of the organization were to carry the 
elections by terrorizing and keeping away from the polls the blacks and 
by compelling them to vote the Democratic ticket. * * * We com- 
menced a vigorous prosecution. This seemed to strike terror into the 
organization, and then it lulled. * * * The papers were teeming 
with articles concerning the Ku Klux bill, and that seemed to have the 
effect to suppress them for the time being, until that law came to be dis- 
cussed among certain lawyers by whom it was thought to be a very de- 
fective act. About that period the organization seemed to spring into 
existence again, and the authorities were being overpowered in different 
sections. Reports were coming in asking me for assistance, and I started 
out again and caused the arrests of large numbers." 

Upon the conclusion of the testimony of United States Dis- 
trict Attorney Wells, Senator Blair, the minority member of the 
sub-committee, said: 

"In calling this witness at this hour when the determination of the 
committee has been arrived at to adjourn to-night, it is utterly impossible 

Ku Klux Klan in Mississippi. McNeilly. 137 

for me to call any witness in answer to him, and in this the object of 
sending this committee down here has been defeated so far as the ends of 
justice and truth are concerned. This is done not only in the case of 
this witness but in the whole body introduced here to-day from a distance, 
and that course has been pursued at almost every place we have visited. 
* * * If the ends of justice were had in view I was entitled to know 
when witnesses were to be called from any part of the State, but I have 
never been allowed to know it. * * * I have no cross examination 
to make of the witness." 

Held back until the close, District Attorney Wells' testimony 
had been very shrewdly contrived. He was forced by Senator 
Blair, on whom he was sprung unawares, to admit that he had 
been in Columbus for a week and in constant consultation with 
the other members of the committee. He shaped his testimony 
accordingly. So largely had other witnesses of his side been 
contradicted and discredited by circumstantial proof that Wells 
testified mainly of new matter, where evidence in rebuttal was 
not available. But in general his theory of a political conspiracy 
was completely refuted by testimony previously taken. The 
Ku Klux oath as he obtained it from men who pretended to have 
belonged to the Klan, and whom he used as witnesses and grand 
jurors at Oxford, that the initiates were sworn to "suppress the 
negro and keep the Democratic party in control of the country," 
was shown to be a pure invention. A few instances illustrative 
of how unscrupulous United States Attorney Wells was in his 
prosecutions are cited. 

He told the committee of the killing of a negro named Solomon 
Triplett, who was assassinated in his cabin one night in Novem- 
ber, 1870. Wells claimed "conclusive and positive proof" that 
the cause of the killing was that Triplett had voted the Repub- 
lican ticket a year before. 

A. K. Davis, afterwards the State's negro Lieutenant-Governor, 
testified that the killing was supposed to be by a certain white 
man who coveted Triplett's wife. Other witnesses who lived 
in the vicinity testified to the same effect, and none of them 
attributed it to politics. But it was political murder this com- 
mittee wanted, and Wells proved a most accommodating wit- 
ness. He told of a negro named Turner who was killed in March, 
1871, "because he would not vote the Democratic ticket in 
1869." This palpably false story was run into another to the 
effect that he had secured an indictment against a man named 
Harrison, based on his remark that the party "had killed the 

138 Mississippi Historical Society. 

wrong negro, that it was not Turner, but Nero, they wanted to 
kill." United States Attorney Wells claimed that he obtained 
his information relative to the purposes, organization, etc., of 
the Klan from certain members who had belonged to it. One 
of these was John R. Taliaferro, of Noxubee County. This 
man, after being used as a witness in the indictments at Oxford, 
testified before the committee at Washington. He gave the 
most lurid evidence, perhaps, of all. He was proved to be utterly 
unreliable, a thief and worse. One of the negroes he swore in 
Washington had been murdered was proved to be alive and un- 
harmed. While testifying at Washington and Oxford he was 
a fugitive from justice, an indicted mule stealer. Worse than 
that, he had while a Confederate soldier been guilty of a most 
atrocious murder of Union soldiers. Of that affair, which wit- 
nesses testified he boasted of, the following newspaper account 
was put in evidence: 

"We had an intuitive feeling when we read the evidence of Taliaferro 
before the outrage committee that he was the Taliaferro we saw during 
the latter part of the war, who was a Ku Klux, and coward, and a mur- 
derer, for we helped to bury one Sabbath afternoon, in the fall of 1864, 
at our old home in Madison, Georgia, five Yankee prisoners whom he 
and two other assassins had foully murdered. Well do we remember 
his telling us of how four of the men had pleaded for their lives, telling 
him they were his prisoners, that they were soldiers, that they had their 
wives and little ones at home, and that they ought not to be killed for 
doing nothing else than defending their flag; then we remember how 
one brave spirit told him to kill, that he was an infamous hound, desti- 
tute of courage and manhood; that the tied prisoner wanted to show 
him how a man could die. The infamous Taliaferro placed a pistol to the 
heart of the brave fellow and fired. Taliaferro told us this himself before 
we went to where the prisoners were dead, and the facts of the killing 
sustained his statement of the butchery." 

The witness, Colonel Baskerville, who tendered this paper, 
was asked, "Is that the man? Does the article truly express 
his reputation?" 

"Yes, sir," was the reply. "I know nothing of the circum- 
stances mentioned in the article, but he is the man referred to. 
I have heard Taliaferro boast of the Yankees he had killed. He 
was a neighbor of mine. He stole a mule in April and left the 

Another of the witnesses and procurers of evidence for District 
Attorney Wells on whom he depended for his indictments was 
a negro named William Coleman. According to their story this 

Ku Klux Klan in Mississippi. McNeilly. 139 

victim had been shot, stabbed, knocked down and whipped, 
and "all because he was a radical and owned land and stock." 
Mr. Robert Rives, a lawyer of Macon, who knew Coleman, testi- 
fied that "he owned no land and nothing else; that he was a 
laborer on his (Rives) place, and that the report was that Cole- 
man had been whipped for hog stealing by negroes in his own 
neighborhood." Two of the witnesses for the government at 
Oxford were Monroe County negroes under indictment for mur- 
der. It was made apparent in the committee investigation 
that they testified against Wells' Ku Klux under threat of the 
penitentiary on the one hand, and the boon of freedom on the 
other. M. A. Metts, a reputable citizen and ex-sheriff of Win- 
ston County, testified of some of Wells' outrage cases. He 

"Mordecai Mitchell was whipped because he harbored negro thieves, 
and not because he rented land to negro tenants. Nathan Cannon, a 
negro teacher, was whipped for telling his scholars to demand race equal- 
ity. Mose Bird was not killed he absconded under three indictments 
for stealing. Jesse Thompson was not killed 'for voting the Republican 
ticket he was killed in 1865 or 1866. Allen Bird was not killed in con- 
sequence of his political opinions. He was in jail where he was killed, 
indicted for attempted rape. George Worth, a negro preacher, attempted 
to raise a race war in a negro meeting, which was dispersed by the radical 
sheriff. Shortly after Worth was assassinated by two or three unknown 

This fairly comprises the testimony of a perfectly reliable wit- 
ness of whipping and killing, in what Governor Powers said was 
the "worst Ku Klux county" the offenses for which the county 
was repeatedly raided by unprincipled deputy marshals and 
scores of citizens accused and carried before the United States 
Court at Oxford. Mr. Metts testified, and this will be recognized 
as important in its contradiction of the "conspiracy theory," on 
November 8, 1871: 

"On April 6th (1871) a meeting was held attended by men from all 
sections of the county, and adopted a resolution condemning the Ku 
Klux depredations. Since then there have not been any; everything 
has been quiet since." 

This was early in 1871, and two weeks before the passage of 
the Ku Klux law. 

One of District Attorney Wells' grand jurymen, Edward E. 
Holman, testified before the committee concerning the Ku 

140 Mississippi Historical Society. 

Kluxing of a man named Eccles, for which a batch of indictments 
had been found. He swore that Eccles, who was from Chicka- 
saw County, had been whipped "because he said he was not in 
favor of the Ku Klux." Witnesses familiar with the locality 
and the affair testified that he was whipped for the crime of 
incest. He was a notoriously bad man. General Gholson tes- 
tified that he had bought Eccles' land in Monroe County to put 
him out of his neighborhood years before, "believing Eccles had 
burned his gin." 

It was with such tools as Eccles, "a good Union man," as the 
grand juror Holman in his evidence called him, that G. Wiley 
Wells worked. With a grand jury of whom all were Republi- 
cans and two-thirds members of the Loyal League, oath -bound 
to obey the behests of the radical leaders above law and con- 
science, it was no trouble to obtain indictments. His batch 
of deputy marshals would have disgraced convict stripes. Mur- 
derers and thieves, they were sent abroad to make arrests at 
discretion, accompanied by soldiers for protection in their vile 
work. How zealously the law officers of the government car- 
ried out the scheme of their party is to be read in a statement 
made by a negro, one of half a dozen K. K.'s arrested in Oktib- 
beha County, which was borne out by every corroborating cir- 
cumstance. He said: 

"The Holly Springs jailer worked to get me to testify against the white 
men. When I told him I knew nothing against them I was carried before 
a high United States officer who worked for holirs on me. He told me 
if I would say I was connected with these men as Ku Klux I would not 
be sent to the penitentiary. When I wouldn't tell because I knew noth- 
ing against them, he said he intended to send me to the penitentiary." 

The prominent United States official alluded to was the carpet- 
bag United States District Attorney, G. Wiley Wells. 

Such were the crimes committed under the pretext of suppress- 
ing Ku Klux outrages. Col. Charles Baskerville of Noxubee 
County, said in his testimony: 

"Warrants of arrests were sent in blank to a deputy marshal named 
Wissler, a vagabond Dutchman, a murderer, a robber and a justice of the 
peace. Another deputy working with Wissler, named Reed, was accused 
of being a robber of the express company." 

He said "the arrests were for political purposes, and to earn 
the rewards offered by Governor Alcorn." Of this precious pair 

Ku Klux Klan in Mississippi. McNeilly. 141 

Reed had been indicted some years before for robbing the ex- 
press company, of which he was agent, of $10,000. He was a 
Northern man, and was arbitrarily taken from custody of the 
civil officials by order of the military governor, General Ames. 
In his trial before a military court he only escaped conviction, 
according to the testimony of Judge H. L. Jarnagin of Noxubee, 
who prosecuted him, through the death of a witness. Judge 
Jarnagin said his guilt was clear. Wissler, or Whistler, his name 
is printed both ways, was a magistrate at Macon, and under a 
number of embezzlement indictments. He was also under a 
$5,000 bond to answer to quite a singular charge of manslaugh- 
ter. While on his way from Oxford to Macon in charge of Ku 
Klux prisoners, Wissler was delayed at Corinth. He became 
acquainted with a tobacco drummer named Shipley, and they 
had a drinking bout. While sitting at the supper table a coal 
oil lamp in Wissler's hands was thrown or was upset on Shipley, 
and he was fatally burned. In a dying declaration he said 
Wissler had robbed his person of $500, and when so accused had 
thrown the coal oil lamp on him. The story was corroborated 
by a waiter in attendance, who said that Wissler ran away with- 
out making any effort to rescue the burning man. Wissler was 
arrested by a magistrate. He wired Wells who, in the name of 
Judge Hill, peremptorily ordered his release. As this did not 
work, Wells sent another telegram that he had communicated 
with the attorney-general, that he was on his way to Corinth 
and when he got there he would "teach the sheriff a lesson." 
He did have Wissler released, threatening the magistrate with 
arrest. Wissler was subsequently arrested and bound over as 
above stated. 

Pending trial of his case, and a few days before the congres- 
sional committee reached Macon, on the night of the election, 
Wissler was killed by a shot through a window of his home. Wit- 
nesses sought to make the impression on the committee that he 
was killed to prevent his testifying before it as to Ku Klux crimes ; 
as though the committee did not have Wells and Taliaferro and 
Huggins. The belief was that he was assassinated by some of 
his wife's kin, whom he had arrested, through private spite, 
under the blank Ku Klux warrants sent him to fill out and serve. 
Wissler had been an Ohio bounty jumper, and had been exten- 

142 Mississippi Historical Society. 

sively engaged during the war in the circulation of counterfeit 
Confederate notes. His father was an engraver at Richmond 
of Confederate notes and postage stamps. 

Wissler was also the occasion of the disturbance in the Federal 
court room at Oxford, in which Col. L. Q. C. Lamar so promi- 
nently figured. In the investigation before the committee this 
was brought out and aired through a number of partisan wit- 
nesses, including United States Attorney Wells. Though some- 
what of a digression, the circumstances as stated by two reliable 
witnesses before the sub-committee, men of high character and 
prominence in their day, is quoted. Both were eye witnesses of 
the exciting scene. It was during the trial of the Monroe County 
prisoners. Col. R. O. Reynolds, one of the counsel for these 
men charged with Ku Kluxing, stated: 

"Colonel Lamar arose and commenced to address the court, stating 
that a few days before Judge Hill had bound over the Oktibbeha pris- 
oners to keep the peace. That he desired the court to bind over a man 
who was there before the court because he had been threatening him, 
dogging him on the streets of Oxford, as he believed, for the purpose of 
provoking a disturbance. My recollection of the remark is: 'I ask your 
honor to protect me from the cowardly assassin.' When he made the 
remark Wissler jumped up and threw his hand behind him." 

Here Colonel Reynolds does not give Colonel Lamar's words. 
But General Gholson, also a witness to the scene, testified: 

"Lamar ordered Wissler to sit down. He did not do so. Lamar caught 
up a chair and told him if he did not sit down he would make him do so. 
The Judge seemed to be a little excited, got up and ordered silence, and 
ordered the marshal to keep order. What went with Wissler I do not 
know, but somebody pulled down the chair that Lamar had in his hands. 
Colonel Reynolds said pretty loudly to the prisoners: 'You Monroe men 
sit down.' About that time soldiers came to the door. Lamar was 
still demanding his right to speak. The marshal came up to him and 
spoke. What he said I do not know. Lamar struck him a pretty hard 
lick on the face and sent him reeling. That increased the excitement. 
Lamar went on speaking." 

Of the entrance of the soldiers Colonel Reynolds said: 

"My attention was then directed to the Federal soldiers, and I heard 
the click of their guns. As soon as I heard that I said to General Feath- 
erstone: 'General, let us not let these soldiers fire.' We went up to them 
and told them there was no use in interfering, and they brought their 
guns from a 'ready' to an 'order.' Everything became quiet. Colonel 
Lamar still on the floor. Judge Hill ordered him to sit down. He said 
he would not do it, that he claimed his constitutional right to be heard 
and said something else which was handsome. Finally General Feath- 

Ku Klux Klan in Mississippi. McNeilly. 143 

erstone and other friends led Colonel Lamar into another room. Every- 
thing quieted down and, as General Gholson said, 'we went on with our 
case.' " 

Colonel Lamar was disbarred, to be restored a few days later. 
In May's Life of Lamar the origin of the trouble is told as fol- 

"Colonel Lamar's law office opened on the same stairway and passage 
of the Federal court room. As he approached it on this occasion he found 
a scene of turbulence and excitement. Whistler (Wissler) was beating 
a citizen of the town named Kelly, an old man under the influence of 
liquor and unable to defend himself. Kelly appealed to Colonel Lamar 
for protection, to which Whistler replied by swearing at the Colonel. 
The latter applied to the mayor, whose office was in the same passage- 
way, to have the man arrested, and passed on, but the arrest was not 

The deputy marshal in attendance on the court arrested 
Wissler because the noise of his attack on Kelly was disturbing 
the proceedings, and carried both parties before the mayor. 
But the authority of that official was disregarded. Afterwards, 
seeing the man at liberty, in the court room, Colonel Lamar ap- 
pealed, as related above to the court to place Wissler under 
the restraint of a peace bond. For what ensued the officers of 
the court were wholly responsible in employing and counte- 
nancing such a creature as Wissler. 

It is still a living memory in Oxford of the riff raff gang of ruf- 
fians G. Wiley Wells had gathered during this June, 1871, term 
of court. Informers inspired by grievances, grudges and greed, 
a rascally group of deputy marshals, without reputations or re- 
sponsibilities, sent abroad to make arrests upon batches of war- 
rants in blank. To protect them from popular indignation, 
which was justly excited, United States soldiers were sent with 
them. Every fray, whipping or killing, where a negro or white 
Republican was the victim, was treated as a Ku Klux outrage. 
Brought before a grand jury packed and picked to indict, United 
States Attorney Wells was successful in securing, as he testified, 
"between thirty-five and fifty indictments, embracing about 
three hundred men." 

These indictments were all for offenses committed in the three 
months between the middle of February and the middle of May ; 
when there had been no election and no political agitation in 
the State for a year and a half. This circumstance, as well as the 

144 Mississippi Historical Society. 

facts of the indictments drawn by Wells, prove the absolute 
falsity of his evidence, that the purpose of the crimes or the 
criminals charged was the carrying of any election or the keep- 
ing of the negroes away from the polls. 

District Attorney Wells testified a few days after the election 
in 1871. That was the next election held in the State after 1869. 
His political conspiracy theory is unsustained by a single instance 
of outrage or disturbance in the Ku Klux batch of counties, or 
elsewhere in the whole State, growing out of or connected with 
the campaign and election of 1871. There is nothing in all the 
testimony or the facts to show that the election did not pass off, 
so far as the white voters were the oppressors, without violence 
or intimidation whatever at a single precinct. By all of the 
witnesses the Ku Klux outrages ceased months before the elec- 
tion; none were alleged later than the first of July. 

In spite of an earnest and patriotic struggle the election went 
against the Democrats. The radicals secured a majority in both 
branches of the Legislature, but in the representatives it was 
by one so narrow that only the grossly unfair apportionment 
saved it. In nearly all of the white counties local government 
was rescued from the aliens. Federal troops were freely used 
and contributed largely to the result by keeping up the intimi- 
dations of the Ku Klux campaign. Raids and arrests were made 
on the most trifling cases and complaints. On receipt of news 
of an assassination in Leflore County, a company of infantry was 
hurried there from Jackson. At Winona it was learned that the 
victim was a white man and a Democrat and his assassins negroes, 
whereupon the soldiers were sent back. The negroes were voted 
solidly as organized in their Loyal Leagues. Disorder and demor- 
alization prevailed to a greater extent than ever before. Excited 
and inflamed by the speeches of Governor Alcorn and others, to 
look upon Democratic success as tantamount to their reduction 
to a condition approaching slavery, they were greatly wrought 
up. Rioting and violence were narrowly averted in a number of 
places. The Governor, who led the radical campaign, was met 
at various places by General Lowry, Colonel Lamar, Judge H. 
Chalmers and Hon. E. Barksdale, who exposed the falsity of his 
assertions, his sham and shady record. A dramatic incident 
occurred at Meridian, in the joint debate between the Governor 

Ku Klux Klan in Mississippi. McNeilly. 145 

and Editor Barksdale of the Clarion. From his seat the Gov- 
ernor denied a charge that the editor of his official journal, the 
man he had appointed Superintendent of the State lunatic 
asylum, had been an active member and a high official of the 
Ku Klux. Barksdale thus met his denial: 

"Sir, for two months past I have made this charge and Dr. Compton 
himself has not denied it. Now you have undertaken to do for him what 
he has not done for himself. To settle this question I will make this 
proposition. I will again make the charge and if Dr. Compton does not 
deny it, or if he does deny it and I will prove it, will you pledge yourself 
to dismiss him from office and the organship of your party?" ' 

The offer was received in silence and confusion, to which the 
attention of the audience was directed with telling effect. It 
constituted a peculiar aggravation of Governor Alcorn's part in 
the outrageous Ku Klux prosecutions, that Dr. Compton, his most 
trusted friend and counsellor, had been the organizer of the 
order in his section, in 1867, and active in inducing men not only 
in his own but adjoining counties to join it. The fact had been 
charged and substantiated, in Alcorn's presence, through wit- 
nesses by Colonel Lamar, at Holly Springs, where Dr. Compton 

While a great strain upon the patience of the white people of 
Mississippi, the 1871 election passed, as above stated, without 
riot. To this statement there is just one exception. A few days 
before the election, October 2ist, a white man named Lee was 
brutally murdered by a negro mob of nearly a thousand, which 
was being addressed by the carpetbag county leaders and candi- 
dates at Artesia, in Lowndes County. The affray so faithfully 
reflects the prevailing political condition of the South that the 
testimony of two eye-witnesses before the congressional com- 
mittee is quoted. Sheriff-elect Hiram W. Lewis said: 

"Mr. Bliss, candidate for the Legislature, had just got up; had not 
spoken more than a sentence, when a voice was heard directly on the 
left hand of my buggy, saying: 'Are you a white man?' I looked and 
saw it was a white man in the midst of the crowd, the only white man 
in several rods of the buggy. I hunched Mr. Bliss and told him to pay 
no attention and he kept right on. In a minute or two I heard the report 
of a pistol in that direction. I looked and saw this man running. I 
called as loud as I could to let him go. But the colored men took after 
him. One colored man standing in the buggy called as loud as he could, 
three or four times 'to catch him.' All at once there were five or six 
shots fired in rapid succession. He dropped instantly and was dead. 

146 Mississippi Historical Society. 

A number of colored men came to me that night and told me they saw 
him when he pulled his pistol and fired quickly at Mr. Bliss or myself in 
the buggy. They told me he began to fire at them when he found out 
he could not escape." 

Dr. Oscar C. Brothers of Artesia testified as follows: 

"In the afternoon my attention was called by the sound of a drum 
and fife and yelling coming up the railroad. It was a party, numbering 
I suppose six or eight hundred. A freedman, Levi Jones, was mounted 
at the head of the column. It was divided off in companies, each having 
its commander riding with a sword. One company seemed to be armed 
with guns. Lewis was about the center in a buggy, Bliss in a carriage. 
The speaking began in front of the station. A friend suggested we get 
on our horses and ride up and hear what they had to say. We rode in 
among the mounted men with guns. We were about twenty paces from 
the speakers. After about three minutes I saw smoke from a gun, heard 
the sound and am satisfied it was a gun. Then I heard the yell: 'White 
man, kill him, kill him.' The crowd from the buggy west seemed to 
shove in that direction with one accord, accompanied with a firing of 
six or seven guns or pistols. As soon as that was over some one hollered : 
'Boys, to your wagons and get your guns.' I saw parties take three or 
four guns from a wagon. A negro took out a carpet sack of what I sup- 
posed to be pistols. I said: 'For God's sake don't take those pistols out.' 
His reply was: 'I'll be damned if I am not going to take those pistols out.' 
I dismounted and went to the dead man. I found there Mr. Lewis and 
Mr. Bliss. I said to Mr. Lewis: 'Can't you disperse this crowd? Already 
one innocent man has been killed. If you don't I will telegraph to Colum- 
bus and West Point and get men to disperse them.' He said: 'Yes, I 
can disperse them.' He said or did something and the crowd dispersed 
like magic. He had the most complete control over the negroes. I am 
no more afraid of the negroes than I am of you gentlemen. I have been 
raised with them. But if Lewis had said: 'Kill Dr. Brothers,' I would 
have been killed in a twinkling. Senator, if he had said kill Senator 
Pratt, it would have been enough. But if they wanted to borrow a 
horse or a piece of tobacco they would not go to Lewis. They would 
come to me." 

The testimony of Lewis and Bliss conflicted with that of Dr. 
Brothers as to whether Lee was armed. Dr. Brothers referred 
the committee to the testimony on the inquest and asked to have 
the magistrate and the other witnesses summoned. He said its 
record would show that "one freedman only testified that Lee 
had a pistol, and other freedmen and white men testified he did 
not. And that the magistrate threw the one man's testimony 

Circuit Judge Orr, whose court was in session and investigat- 
ing the Artesia riot, testified that he "did not think Lee had fired 
a pistol or was armed." He instructed the sheriff to proceed to 
the scene and make arrests of those guilty of the murder, of 
whom the coroner's jury had returned a verdict against six, 

Ku Klux Klan in Mississippi. McNeilly. 147 

named, and others unknown. The sheriff arrested and jailed 
sixty-four, including Lewis and Bliss. This included witnesses 
as well as those charged with the crime. "The sheriff informed 
me of what he had done," testified Judge Orr, "and I informed 
him he had misconstrued my instructions. At once all but 
eleven were discharged." But this did not save the luckless 
sheriff. Under the partisan cry raised he was summarily re- 
moved by Governor Alcorn and hauled off to Oxford under one 
of G. Wiley Wells' charges of "violating the Enforcement Act." 
The affair created no little excitement in Lowndes and adjoining 
counties white men banded and moved toward Artesia, under 
the reports of danger of massacre of whites. But United States 
troops were hurried to the scene and they returned home. The 
Columbus Index said : 

"All is quiet along the Potomac to-day, though last night we were 
excited by a report that 500 negroes were marching from Aberdeen to 
burn the city and release the prisoners charged with the Artesia murder. 
The negroes are angry and excited while the whites are calm and ready for 
anything that may transpire." 

The excitement did not subside with the conclusion of the 
election. The habit of parading under arms, with beat of drum 
and flying banners, the negroes were loath to lay aside. It was 
doubly dangerous in its tantalizing offensiveness to the whites. 
In Oktibbeha the nuisance became so incessant and intolerable 
that warrants of arrest were issued by a United States commis- 
sioner for the League leaders, and placed in the hands of a dep- 
uty United States marshal to serve. This caused a great up- 
roar. All the Leaguers of the county were gathered to resist 
the arrest. They entered the little town of Starkville in mili- 
tary array. In an attempt to disperse them the carpetbag 
sheriff, a brother of Governor Powers, was badly wounded and 
several negroes were shot. The whites being totally unprepared 
for strife the town was menaced with outrage and sack. During 
the night armed squads rode in from every direction and afforded 

Having refuted the theory that the Ku Klux outrages were the 
product of a political conspiracy, in the sense that this was 
charged by the radicals, it now remains to show their origin. 
Generally speaking the disturbed condition was one of effect 
whose connection with its causes is plainly marked and traced. 

148 Mississippi Historical Society. 

The legislation of 1870, and the scandalous performances of 
Alcorn's corrupt and conscienceless appointees, were the drag- 
on's teeth that sprouted in the "masked assassin." The county 
officials are thus described in the testimony before the congres- 
sional investigating committee, of Attorney-General Morris, who 
was elected on the Alcorn ticket: 

"Sometimes men have been sent into a county with their commissions 
in their pockets, who were never in the county before, knew nothing 
about the people and possibly were not known to anybody residing there. 
The people had a natural contempt for such men. I had a contempt 
for them myself. I thought a mistake had been made in this respect. 
None of these local officers were elected by the people. The Boards of 
Supervisors who levied the county taxes were appointed by the Gov- 
ernor. The Supervisors appointed the school directors. The people had 
nothing to do with the selection of these officers magistrates, constables, 
sheriffs, and all were appointed by the Governor. These officers were 
often regarded as being interlopers who had come among them merely 
to stay as long as they held office. This has been a fruitful source of 

The cause of the disorders in the group of counties in the 
eastern part of the State at this time lie too close to the surface 
of events to permit their perversion. First, there was a com- 
parative failure of the cotton crop in 1870, which added to the 
unrest. The excitement of the Alabama election in August, 
1870, in which the Ku Klux were active in some of the border 
counties, was felt to an extent in the East Mississippi counties. 
Then there came on the time for paying an exorbitant tax; in 
some of these counties amounting to as much as four per cent 
of an extravagant valuation of properties. Under the opera- 
tions of an act of the Legislature of 1870 changing the time for 
collecting taxes, two annual collections fell in that year. By 
far the largest item of taxation was for the school system, newly 

The main immediate precipitant and provocation of the dis- 
orders, it is indisputable, was a school system primarily designed 
for negro education. To this the hostility was general. It is 
quite easy to moralize against such a sentiment as unpatriotic 
and unwise. But was there not a cause, deep rooted in racial 
instinct and training, and fed on bad government? Be this as 
it may, where discontent ripened into lawlessness the nearest 
objects for it to be vented on were school houses and school 
teachers, some of the school houses being burned and a number 

Ku Klux Klan in Mississippi. McNeilly. 149 

of the more obnoxious teachers being ordered out of their coun- 
ties. Some, on refusing to obey the order, were whipped. This 
was outrageous and would have been punished by law had the 
citizens controlled the machinery of law. As to any failure in 
force of public sentiment the historian will not fail to give due 
weight to causes growing out of the demoralization, the laxity, 
of a diseased State. Under the warrant of the testimony taken 
the report of the minority of the full committee, among whom 
were Frank P. Blair, T. F. Bayard, S. S. Cox, Jas. B. Beck, affirm 
that dissatisfaction with the establishment of negro schools, and 
the heavy and arbitrary taxation levied by the county boards, 
under authority of the school law of 1870, was the soil in which 
the Ku Klux seed sprouted. In referring to the school question 
this report says : 

"That is all, or nearly all, there is or ever was of Ku Kluxism in Missis- 
sippi anywhere. There was no politics in it; the fact that all or nearly 
all the white men and taxpayers are Democrats, while all the school mas- 
ters had to be radicals, of course, alone gives it anything like a political 
aspect. It was in fact a struggle, regardless of politics, whether the white 
people in those counties should drive off the men or break up the system 
producing such results." 2 

Location of the cause in the State school law by the minority 
report is corroborated by that of the majority, which reads that 
"in addition, however, to the general characteristics of Ku Klux 
proceedings elsewhere, those in Mississippi are marked by the 
development of most decided hostility to all free schools, and 
especially to free schools for colored children."* 

The committee majority, which never rose above partisan- 
ship, quotes the State school law and asked, was there "any rea- 
sonable pretext for opposition to it?" The law was the least of 
it. Every teacher of a negro school, supported at the expense of 
the white people, was a radical tool and emissary to excite race 
hatred among the negroes. And as to the burthen, the law's 
limitations of annual taxation for school purposes was no crite- 
rion of cost, under the Mississippi custom of issuing warrants. 

The minority committee report thus illustrated the possibili- 
ties of plunder under the State school system: 

2 See Report of Committee, page 378. 
'See Report of Committee, page 73. 

150 Mississippi Historical Society. 

"Take the school house and school teacher's tax as described by Mc- 
Bride, in Chickasaw County, as an illustration. There, he says, about 
two hundred schools were established, and of course two hundred teach- 
ers appointed. Of course several hundred radical schoolmasters had to be 
imported. These learned gentlemen would not put up with ordinary 
buildings which could be erected at cheap rates, but required handsome 
edifices, bells and walnut furniture brought from Cincinnati. These 
edifices cost from $500 to $1,000 each, and the law authorized the em- 
ployment of teachers in Chickasaw at an average of sixty dollars a month. 
If the scheme had been consummated in Chickasaw, which is given as a 
sample, the cost for the year 1871 would have been $100,000 for school 
houses and at least $120,000 for teachers, besides all the expenses neces- 
sary to put the system in operation." 

All over the State the robbery through the school system was 
especially rank. Personal knowledge and memory of the writer 
verifies this as to Washington County The school law which 
the committee majority claimed afforded no "reasonable pre- 
text for the hostility" to it was administered by a school board 
with a Cincinnati mulatto photographer for president, named 
James P. Ball, and his son for clerk. The father was also Presi- 
dent of the Board of Supervisors and the son acting clerk for 
a carpetbag absentee of the Circuit Court. There was not a 
smoother or more rapacious pair of scamps in all the carpetbag 
fraternity. They played the game so boldly that they actually 
shocked the carpetbaggers, who resented a negro's entering the 
field they had pre-empted and his impudence in harvesting its 
choicest fruits without asking their consent. The practices of 
these Washington County school board officials, two years later 
than the East Mississippi investigation, were thus referred to in 
the Greenville Times: 

"In regaling taxpayers last week with a relation of certain doings of 
J. P. Ball's Board of Supervisors, mention of his Board of School Direct- 
ors was omitted. An incident of its meeting was the allowance of a bill 
of stationery to J. P. Ball, Jr., clerk of the school board, of $i ,700. Bohlen 
Lucas, a member of the Board of Supervisors, has called at the Times 
office to state that the $4,477.68 stationery allowance to Circuit Clerk 
J. P. Ball, Jr., was never voted or acted on by the board, and the record 
of allowance was wholly unauthorized. Here is a nice little responsibility 
for the grand jury to decide between Ball, pere, Ball, fils, and Winslow, 
Clerk of the Board of Supervisors. * * * 

* * * On investigation of the records it will appear to the grand 
jury that the jail contractor has been paid $700 for constructing a school 
house at Leota. By examining witnesses it will appear also that no 
school house has been built or commenced. * * * Upon investiga- 
tion of records it will appear that J. P. Ball, Jr., bought of Mrs. H. B. 
Theobald a certain lot for which he paid $200, and promised to pay $500 
more. He then, in consideration of $2,700 cash, paid, conveyed same 
lot in fee simple to the school board of which he is clerk and his father 

Ku Klux Klan in Mississippi. McNeilly. 151 

president. The lot has since been sold for taxes and bought in by Mrs. 
Theobald's agent to protect her vendor's lien of $500." 

Separated from troubles and crimes with which the Klan had 
no real connection, though so charged, the proof is clear that 
what remains of the Ku Klux in Mississippi is almost entirely 
identified with the State public school system. This did not 
grow alone out of the prejudice to negro education and the extrav- 
agant and corrupt use of the school fund. The teachers of these 
schools were as a rule without respectable antecedents and of 
low character. Explaining a charge against himself of "mob- 
bing a school," Colonel Baskerville, of Noxubee County, said: 

' "Complaints were made to me by my negroes that the teacher, a Yankee 
soldier, was not acting right. He was creating jealousies among the 
negroes and had interfered with them and their women. I discovered 
he had a white strumpet quartered among the negroes. I told him I 
would kick him off the plantation if he did not get off. He left and went 
up to General Eggleston (internal revenue collector). What he told 
him I don't know. But that was the truth of the matter." 

Another one of the Noxubee teachers of negro schools was a 
carpetbag preacher named Scott. A young negro boy became 
distrustful of the methods of instruction under which the young 
idea of a dusky maiden, to whom he was partial, was being 
taught to shoot. His jealousy resulted in a note to Scott tell- 
ing him to scoot, and signed with the cabalistic K. K. K. His 
chirography gave the jealous swain away, and he was arrested 
under the Enforcement Act. These are trifling but significant 

The testimony of Mr. James Sykes, a Lowndes County planter, 
sheds light on the rascalities practiced through the school sys- 
tem. A tax of $3,800 a year was levied on the sub-school dis- 
trict in which he resided, and where there were two schools. 
Upon investigation, after having paid his own exorbitant tax, 
he discovered that for an old building which he had built years 
before for his negroes, as a church, the county had been charged 
$360 for rent, stove, repairs, fuel, etc., besides school desks and 
apparatus when no rent had been charged or paid, and the house 
and all in it were exactly as before the war. The other school 
in the district presented an exactly similar case of stealing. 
The only genuine expense was an imported teacher for each, at 
fifty dollars a month for five months in the year. For Lowndes 

152 Mississippi Historical Society. 

County the first budget of assessment, Mr. Sykes testified, was 
$95,000. Seeking to place this in evidence, it was found that 
the record book had been placed out of the way. So great was 
the complaint that the amount was cut in half. It was this 
assessment, as conclusively proved, and the fraudulent prac- 
tices in connection with the schools, that bred the Ku Klux out- 
rages in this county. The Klan notified white as well as black 
teachers to close up their schools, that they would not be paid 
out of the public fund. 

Of Monroe County Col. R. O. Reynolds, a lawyer of promi- 
nence and a citizen of highest probity, testified: 

"In 1871 the free school system was inaugurated in the State. A. P. 
Muggins, County School Superintendent, made an application to the 
Board of Supervisors under an account of some $60,000 for a tax to be 
assessed. He made extravagant contracts for school buildings and his 
contracts for school houses and the pay he allowed school teachers were 
regarded as extravagant. That is what produced dissension and trouble 
in the county. Huggins had agreed to pay $400 each for school house. 
It was estimated by mechanics, examined by a committee of citizens, 
that a school house of the dimensions named could be built for $250. 
Huggins' estimate of furniture for the school rooms was between $3,600 
and $4,000, purchased in Burlington, Vermont. A Burlington paper 
charged that he was getting pay from the county at double the amount 
he paid for it." 

It was for this Colonel Reynolds testified, Huggins was taken 
out and whipped. It was such a wretch who was the chief wit- 
ness before the congressional committee as to Monroe County 
Ku Klux outrages. Many of these were wholly and explicitly 
contradicted by Colonel Reynolds and other witnesses. 

Gen. S. Y. Gholson, another member of the Monroe County 
bar, who had been United States District Judge for twenty-two 
years before the war, testified that the secret organization, the 
K. K. K., of 1866 and 1867, had ceased to exist with the latter 
year, and that the one operating in 1871 had no sort of connec- 
tion with the other. As to the truth of this statement there can 
be no shade of doubt. With all the other credible witnesses he 
made it plain that many crimes charged up to the Ku Klux were 
wholly disconnected from it and personal. While strongly de- 
nouncing the outrages of the latter period, such as the burning 
of school and gin houses, the whippings and assassinations, they 
had their origin, he said, in the abuses of Republican politicians. 

In his testimony the Hon. J. A. Orr, of Columbus, Circuit Judge 
and Republican, testified that he charged the grand jury "elab- 

Ku Klux Klan in Mississippi. McNeilly. 153 

orately upon the State statute against masked men and ma- 
rauders. And that while investigating a case of that kind, two 
men who had been tried and acquitted of robbery, were taken 
out by disguised men and severely chastised. The guilt of one 
of the men was so apparent that I discharged the jury and ordered 
the sheriff to summon another." He said the Ku Klux "was 
condemned by the best citizens of the county, that the organi- 
zation was for political purposes and protection." Being ques- 
tioned closely by Senator Blair, he admitted he would have more 
accurately expressed his meaning and the facts by saying racial 
instead of "political" purposes. He said he "neither knew or 
had heard of employers seeking to control their laborers as to 
voting by threats of discharge or other offensive means." This 
expression was disappointing to the committee, but the witness 
could not be shaken from it. He declared that "all voted freely 
without restraint or fear in the last election." 

Of the lynching of the two Flints, the first in his county, and 
section, Colonel Reynolds said: 

"I know that it created as much horror and disgust among the white 
men as among the blacks, and there was a strong disposition to ferret 
out the offenders." 

Judge H. L. Jarnagan, an universally respected and popular 
citizen of Noxubee, testified, November 8th, that he had not 
"heard of any disguised persons in this county for several 
months." He further said: 

"I have approached several and asked if there was any such thing in 
the neighborhood where they live and they always deny it. My advice 
always has been that we are the men to suppress these things ourselves." 

November 16, 1871, Capt. W. W. Humphreys, a leading citizen 
and lawyer of Columbus, testified as to Lowndes County: 

"I am satisfied all good people would act in suppression of these night 
outrages with concert if they knew where to begin. Action en masse 
is out of their power. But sentiment is against the outrages. They have 
been denounced and in that way sentiment has been, to a great extent, 
successful. The records of the court and the grand jury report a decrease 
in them, and this has been brought about by popular denunciation. I 
do not and never have believed there was any regular organization. I 
think private parties, four or five, of a neighborhood, have whipped a 
negro on account of his political activity, or for stealing. White men 
have been whipped, too, for things they thought the law could not reach " 

154 Mississippi Historical Society. 

The tenor of Governor Powers' testimony is partisan and 
abounds in perversions of fact. But he substantially admitted 
most that is claimed as to the scope and causes of the Ku Klux. 
He said: 

"We have not had much difficulty (in law enforcement) in Mississippi, 
except in the counties of Monroe, Lowndes, Oktibbeha, Noxubee, Kem- 
per, Lauderdale and Winston. Outside of these, with few exceptions, 
there has been no trouble in enforcing the law. Winston is the worst 
of the lot." 

It would have been more fairly accurate to limit the preva- 
lence of this lawlessness to "parts" of these counties. No whole 
county was so infected. 

E. P. Jacobson, United States District Attorney for the 
Southern District of Mississippi, testifying June 21, 1871, said: 

"There was no difficulty in executing the laws of Congress in his dis- 
trict; that there would be great difficulty in enforcing the Ku Klux Act 
through the juries, because of a general inference that it was a hostile 
measure toward the South ; that he was satisfied there was no Ku Klux 
organization in the State." 

And yet the State press and men of influence were held cul- 
pable by E. Wiley Wells because they denied the existence of 
such "organization" in the previous December. 

H. C. Powers, sheriff of Noxubee and a brother of Governor 
Powers, testified: 

"From the time I came into the county and during the time I was 
sheriff, from 1868 until the spring of 1871, we had what I call a very 
peaceful county. Nothing occurred in the nature of violent measures. 
In the spring of 1871, I think it was in April last, there were rumors of 
a band of disguised men traveling around at night in different neighbor- 

Sheriff Chisholm, of Kemper, a bitter "scalawag," testified 
that his county had been quiet and entirely free from murders 
"since the readmission of the State." 

Finis H. Little, a Monroe County carpetbagger, testifying 
July 29, was positive that "the outrages had occurred in the past 
six or eight months." There had been but one outrage by 
masked men before October, 1870." 

The attempted Ku Kluxing of R. W. Flournoy furnished a 
strong and a most significant refutation of the political con- 
spiracy theory. Flournoy is described in the testimony of the 

Ku Klux Klan in Mississippi. McNeilly. 155 

radical attorney-general, Morris, as "the editor of the most vio- 
lent Republican paper in the State." He was an insistent and 
offensive advocate of "equality," and quarrelled furiously with 
Governor Alcorn because he would not order negroes to be ad- 
mitted to the State University. There was not an issue of his 
paper that did not teem with abusive attacks upon the Demo- 
crats, or white people of the State, for not embracing radicalism. 
After the Ku Klux broke up the schools in Pontotoc, his paper, 
called Equal Rights, was devoted to denouncing the Klan. And 
on the night of May 1 2th a band rode into the little town of Pon- 
totoc inquiring for Flournoy's home. Chancellor Pollard was 
in the town, it being court week. What followed is told in his 
evidence : 

"I had been hunting with some friends. We afterwards met at the 
courthouse, four of us, playing a game of euchre. A resident of the 
town came and told us the 'Ku Klux are here.' The party dispersed and 
armed. Flournoy was sent for. * * * Soon after I saw them, not 
less than nor more than twenty, disguised, on horses. I stepped out and 
said: 'Gentlemen, if your mission is one of peace and pleasantry you will 
not be molested. If on the other hand, you are here for bloodshed, in 
the name and by order of the laws of Mississippi, I demand you surrender.' 
Almost instantly a pistol shot was fired from the crowd of disguised men. 
Very soon another pistol shot was fired and I heard a voice from another 
street commanding them to halt. And then another pistol was fired, 
and then the firing became general on both sides. I think there were 
about thirty shots fired in all on both sides. One of the disguised men 
was left in the street wounded, who died about sunrise. A large public 
meeting was held the Saturday after, to frown down Ku Kluxism. 

In his further testimony Chancellor Pollard was asked the 
question, "Had there been any previous Ku Klux demonstrations 
in that county?" He replied, "None that I know of or heard of, 
except this one." 

The chief significance of this fray is that the white men of 
Pontotoc, Democrats, readily and resolutely responded to the 
call of Chancellor Pollard, as a posse to confront and disperse 
the Ku Klux, who were after punishing an odious white super- 
intendent of the public schools. On the information conveyed 
in the dying statement of the wounded Ku Klux a number of 
arrests were made by the United States military, one of them, 
and a ring leader, being a Republican justice of the peace and 
an Alcorn appointee. 

District Attorney Wells contradicted his political conspiracy 
theory in the following: 

156 Mississippi Historical Society. 

"The uniform feeling and sentiment of those people of the Ku Klux 
sympathizers is that this common school system is not to be put in opera- 
tion ; that the colored folks ought to be able to take care of their own 
children; that the people ought not to be taxed to educate them. I 
believe that in many counties many of their raids and whippings have 
been principally aimed at school houses and school teachers, to drive 
away the teachers and break up the schools." 

Cornelius McBride, carpetbag negro school teacher in Chicka- 
saw, and a Ku Klux victim, told the common story as to the 
date when the Ku Klux first appeared in Northeast Mississippi. 
Having disregarded notices to close his school, he was visited, as 
he states, "between 12 and i o'clock on Thursday night of the 
last week in March, 1871." He was severely whipped and made 
to leave. He carried his wrongs to Governor Alcorn, who sent 
him to U. S. District Attorney Wells. With the U. S. Marshal 
and some files of soldiers he overran Chickasaw County in pursuit 
of Ku Klux. He returned to Oxford and served on the grand 
jury. He proved a fluent witness before the committee. But 
he, too, affirmed that "the objection is to the free schools. In 
some counties it is to all, in others to only the colored schools. 
Educating the colored people is the great cause of objection. 
The great opposition to it is because it is 'a darned radical free 
school system.' That is the ay they speak of it." 

The committee's star witness, A. P. Huggins, County Super- 
intendent of Education of Monroe County, a carpetbagger of 
the extreme type and a Ku Klux victim, definitely fixed the 
"first Ku Klux outrage in our section" in the lynching of two 
negroes named Flint. They were killed after being taken from 
jail, where they and their father were held for a murderous 
assault on their landlord. While Huggins dated the affair in 
August, Flint, the father, and other witnesses fixed it definitely 
October 13, 1870. It was a purely personal matter. Huggins 
further testified that "our real tribulations with the Ku Klux 
began in February, 1871." He said: "I never saw a more quiet 
election in the North than that of 1869. * * * There never 
was a more un trammeled vote." At this time Huggins was 
sheriff, also bureau agent, also district internal revenue collector. 
Speaking of the subsequent period he said: "There was more 
excitement about the school tax than any other question." 
The committee majority report testified to the fact that the 
rise of the Ku Klux in Mississippi was in the fall of 1870, when 

Ku Klux Klan in Mississippi. McNeilly. 157 

there was no election pending and no political excitement in 
the State. It reads: "During 1868 (1869?) and the first part of 
1870 comparative peace and security prevailed." The report, 
as already quoted, also testifies to the truth of the claim that the 
school law and its administration was the chief cause of the 

Testimony is just as abundant that the design of the Enforce- 
ment Act and its administration was party effect, and not as 
stated in the President's message asking its adoption, "to effect- 
ually secure life, liberty and property." "A prominent Repub- 
lican" published a communication in the New York Tribune, 
which was approvingly reproduced in the radical organ at Jack- 
son, August i, 1871. It said: 

"The Republicans are confident of carrying . Mississippi. They have 
been greatly encouraged by learning that United States troops are to be 
sent to aid the United States marshal and deputies in making arrests 
under a large number of indictments found." 

How little troops were needed in this campaign is to be read 
in the testimony, November i8th, of Captain Rose, U. S. A., 
commanding the post at Aberdeen, who said: 

"After the middle of May there were' no more reports of disturbances 
except one. In this case a negro charged with murdering a white man 
who had caught him stealing hogs, was taken by disguised men from the 
constables and killed." 

In truth the Ku Klux outrages were completely overshadowed 
by the far graver outrages inflicted in their suppression. The 
law and its execution are thus truthfully and clearly stated in 
the life of L. Q. C. Lamar, by Hon. E. Mayes: 

"In April, 1871, Congress made these offenses punishable in the Fed- 
eral Courts, and authorized the President to suspend the writ of habeas 
corpus when necessary to the preservation of order. Apart from the con- 
stitutionality of the law itself, had these measures been wisely and hu- 
manely employed to suppress the evil it would have been well enough; 
but the tremendous enginery put in operation was managed by the same 
reckless and unscrupulous class of aliens, carpetbaggers and scalawags, 
already described. In many of the judicial districts, instead of using it 
for the maintenance of good order, it was used to rivet still further the 
shackles upon the people by establishing the radicals in power. It was 
distorted into an instrument for gratifying private enmities and grudges. 
It was prostituted into a money making machine by hordes of profligate 
deputy marshals who spied put the land and worked up prosecutions 
yielding enormous costs. Witnesses found out that the heavy per diem 
fees and the large mileage allowed realized pretty sums, and they were not 

1 58 Mississippi Historical Society. 

lacking. It was not an unknown thing for witnesses to be summoned 
to the seat of a court from long distances under subpoenas which held 
them from term to term, even during the vacations; and so they were 
able to draw per diem compensation during the whole period, while at 
the same time hiring out for wages in the usual manner. The courts were 
thronged with poor people who had been dragged from their homes under 
groundless charges, with their women and children along as witnesses on 
expenses; and vacant lots in the court towns were frequently covered 
with the tents which sheltered them. What approval the good people 
of the State would have felt for a proper administration of the law was 
lost in a sense of outrage at beholding a widespread and relentless perse- 
cution, conducted to a great extent by men who were well known to be 
of the most desperate and lawless character under pretense of loyalty to 
the government. No adequate description can be given of the diablerie 
which was carried on by the rulers." 

Having resigned a professorship in the State University the 
year before because of the appointment of a radical tainted 
Board of Trustees, Mr. Lamar was then living in retirement from 
public life in Oxford, where the prosecutions under the Ku Klux 
law were being made. His great heart wrung with anguish at 
the sight of the wrong inflicted upon the people, he wrote in a 
letter to a friend, "We are grievously persecuted under the Ku 
Klux law." 

It was at this time that Horace Greeley made his Southern 
tour, and the historic speech on his return to New York, contain- 
ing the memorable passage: 

"The carpetbaggers are a mournful fact, and I have seen them a 
thieving gang, fellows who crawled down South in the track of our armies 
at a very safe distance in the rear on a sutler's wagon. They now stand 
in the public eye, stealing and plundering, with both arms around the 
negroes, and hands in their rear pockets seeing if they cannot pick a pal- 
try dollar out of them." 

His Southern trip opened Mr. Greeley's eyes to the truth and 
the iniquities of reconstruction. And it was in Mississippi that 
he derived his object-lesson in part, some of his teachers being 
lodged in Vicksburg and Natchez, where he stopped. In an 
address in the latter place he raised a howl of wrath from the 
negroes, who had flocked to hear one of the abolition old guard. 
Among other things he said: 

"It would have been better had the suffrage been bestowed on the 
negroes more gradually. And there should be an educational qualifi- 

At Vicksburg, where he spoke June i, 1871, he said: 

Ku Klux Klan in Mississippi. McNeilly. 159 

"On this classic ground I pledge myself to use my utmost efforts for 
the accomplishment of the highest good of all American people." 

Afterwards, passing through Louisville, he said in a speech, 
"Mississippi is in a deplorable condition." 

Writing home while on a visit to the South, Mrs. Henry Ward 
Beecher bore like testimony to the true cause of Southern "out- 
rages." She said in this letter: 

"I declare to you before God that if the ruling powers will keep carpet- 
baggers away and refrain from sending politicians down here to rekindle 
the fires of dissension for their own base ends, there will be no trouble 
with the Ku Klux." 

More conclusively than all other proof of partisan and fee hunt- 
ing motives and purposes of the Ku Klux law and the prosecu- 
tions under it, is the fact that of all the hundreds of arrests and 
indictments there were no jury convictions, and no claim of 
earning the $5,000 reward offered in Governor Alcorn's procla- 
mation for any arrest and conviction of a Ku Klux. As an illus- 
tration of hundreds of proceedings by the United States com- 
missioners and deputy marshals in their zeal for fees, the case of 
fifteen citizens of Neshoba County is referred to. They were 
arrested and carried to Jackson under a commissioner's warrant 
which charged them with "banding together for the purpose of 
preventing one Sarah Barfield from exercising her rights by civil 
law and for the purpose of breaking up the Federal government." 
The specification to this charge was that in a trial growing out 
of a personal fray between two women, one of them, the daugh- 
ter of a radical local functionary, these "Ku Klux" had sworn 
they would not believe the plaintiff on oath. And that was 
charged to be "breaking up the Federal government." The 
following from the Columbus Index reflects the tactics of the Ku 
Klux histories: 

"The movement of United States troop in the county west of Colum- 
bus is occasioning great anxiety among the people. For an assault upon 
a young negro, who had threatened his life, by a young white man, who 
immediately fled the State, a squad of soldiers has been quartered on 
the people of West Point. A company of soldiers under the infamous 
Huggins raided into Oktibbeha last Monday for the purpose of rearresting 
the Ku Klux prisoners who had been released at Holly Springs under 
bond. Near Starkville they entered the residence of Mr. James Bell, 
intruding into the room of his sick wife, examining the bed, frightening 
and insulting his family, under the pretense of hunting for Mr. Bell, who 
was not at home. The next night they started again to Oktibbeha, 

160 Mississippi Historical Society. 

marching with stealthiness as if going through an enemy's country, 
where any constable can arrest any or all of the bonded prisoners and 
deliver them at any designated place. Here we rind this wretch Huggins, 
an enemy to the people, prowling over the country at night time with a 
band of soldiers at whose hands the people are constantly dreading vio- 
lence. It is enough to drive people to desperation. The State of Mis- 
sissippi can never forgive Governor Alcorn for sanctioning such war upon 
the people of the State, and all in the interest of the Republican party." 

Governor Alcorn's "sanction" and aid was a defensive testi- 
monial of partisan zeal which was called for by the exigencies of 
his strained relations with the Ames carpetbag faction, which 
was bent on his destruction. He was involved in bitter strife 
with the publishers of the party organ, whom he removed, ap- 
pointing those on whose devotion he could rely, to the lucrative 
job. He was assailed by the Pilot, the Ames organ, with the 
accusation of "trying to sell out the party." Opposing the 
endorsement of his administration by the party convention, 
which was called for September ist, it charged: 

"We have the statistics from all over the State which will show how 
fearfully we have been sold out. The numbers of Democrats, old line 
Whigs, and Alcorn men appointed to office are conclusive evidence of 
the treason to Republican principles Alcorn has practiced." 

The Governor met such assaults in two ways. First, the 
mutineers were quelled by removals and threats of removal from 
office. Second, he gave fresh proof of his fidelity "to Republican 
principles," by his Ku Klux proclamation, and by repelling 
approaches toward fusions with Democrats in the white counties. 
The following is from a letter by his private secretary to the cir- 
cuit clerk of Lincoln County, dated August 8, 1871 : 

"Sir, I am directed by the Governor to inform you he is in receipt of 
information that you have received the Democratic nomination for your 
re-election. Regarding as the Governor does, the triumph of the Demo- 
cratic party as imperiling the peace and happiness of the State, and threat- 
ening as it would the return of Mississippi to the government of the 
bayonet, etc. * * * If this report be true the Governor requests that 
you at once forward your resignation." 

The resignation not being received this official was inconti- 
nently removed. 

In his testimony before the congressional sub-committee, 
District Attorney Wells had announced a revival of the activi- 
ties of the Ku Klux organizations; that "the authorities were 
being overpowered in every direction." This was, in fact, his way 

Ku Klux Klan in Mississippi. McNeilly. 161 

of announcing that his deputies were in the field, backed by U. S. 
troops, preparing for his next term of court and crop of fees. It 
was the same old story every local fray or grudge was seized 
upon as a Ku Klux outrage. A white man, Mr. Garrett, a citi- 
zen of Monroe County, was shot and fatally wounded while 
passing through the woods of his farm. He recognized the 
negro who shot him. When arrested this man confessed to the 
crime. He said he had just killed a hog when Mr. Garrett ap- 
peared near him. Thinking he had been detected he fired the 
fatal shot. In fact he had not been seen until then. It was 
proposed by a crowd, white and black, to lynch the murderer. 
After much trouble a Mr. Lagroune and others prevailed against 
this design. Upon a magistrate's warrant he and two other 
men took the negro and started to Aberdeen with him. Under 
a change of mind the mob pursued the party and lynched the 
negro. Whereupon the three men who had tried to save him 
were arrested under the Ku Klux act and carried to Oxford. 

The Macon Beacon of October gth reported the arrest of sev- 
eral citizens, including the editor of the paper, by United States 
Marshal Pierce for "violating the Enforcement Act." The 
specifications were "for tarring and feathering one Dunn, a 
semi-vagrant who had quartered himself on the colored citizens. 
The parties arrested were allowed to give bond for their appear- 
ance at the United States Court." 

The Holly Springs Reporter noted the arrest of two women 
in Tippah County by a deputy U. S. marshal, with a detachment 
of troops, for making Ku Klux suits. They were brought to 
Holly Springs with five negro witnesses. These were specimen 
cases of Wells' Ku Klux. The hunt broadened all over North- 
east Mississippi. The sight of deputy marshals and soldiers 
going forth after and returning with their parties of victims, the 
terrifying stories they told, demoralized the people. At the 
November court the Marshall County grand jury investigated. 
Ku Klux rumors thoroughly for the purpose of allaying negro 
fears of the Klan. It was proved to them and reported to the 
court, presided over by a radical judge, that the reports alarming 
the timid and ignorant were wholly groundless. 

In July, 1871, inspired by partisanship and greed to emulate 
G. Wiley Wells in the Northern District, U. S. District Attorney 

162 Mississippi Historical Society. 

Jacobson of the Southern District opened up a Ku Klux cam- 
paign. He began on Meridian, with the riot for his ground of 
action. The United States Marshal of the district, Shaughnessey, 
had succeeded E. A. Peyton, who had been removed and was 
under indictment for embezzlement. Shaughnessey was sup- 
plied with troops and with two deputy marshals, on the order 
of Wissler and Reed, named Gainey and Esquiral, made over a 
hundred arrests in Lauderdale, Newton and Neshoba. There 
was not even a tracing of Ku Klux disorders in these counties. 
Newton County was in a disordered condition over the crimes 
of its county officers. The clerk of the courts, C. L. Swann, 
was being legally proceeded against for fraudulent practices by 
citizens of the county, upon whom he had retaliated by swear- 
ing out warrants as Ku Klux. The sheriff of the county had 
decamped with the county funds. His deputy and two minor 
county officials were under arrest and appearance bonds for 
preliminary trial. They went to Jackson and returned with 
Deputy Marshal Gainey and a squad of cavalry, who arrested 
the magistrate and twenty-odd citizens under the Ku Klux Act, 
taking them to Jackson, where they were bound over to appear 
before the Federal Court. The Meridian Mercury of August 
8th had the following: 

"We had mention in our Saturday issue that a deputy United States 
Marshal, with a squad of cavalry, was seen leaving town, and predicted 
they were going to make arrests somewhere. We now know that this 
war party invaded Neshoba. They returned here at noon to-day, bringing 
in nine citizens of that county. They are charged with violating the 
Enforcement Act against one Sarah Barfield, old Dr. Tyner's daughter, 
who has before now figured in similar Ku Klux prosecutions. Tyner 
is a Grant man, and this is his way of canvassing Neshoba." 

Court met in Jackson in December, 1871. As at Oxford, the 
grand jury was selected and assorted for indictments, of which 
one hundred and fifty were found. Also, as at Oxford, leading 
and able members of the bar appeared for the defense. After 
much sparring two of the Meridian rioters, one being Deputy 
Sheriff Belk, were selected as test cases. There was dissatis- 
isfaction on the part of Jacobson with the jury and he moved to 
quash the venire. His motion was granted, but not until he 
was forced to admit by Gen. T. J. Wharton that he had con- 
ferred with the marshal, and advised him not to select men 

Ku Klux Klan in Mississippi. McNeilly. 163 

"hostile to the government," that is, Democrats. The court 
was a prolonged one, and while it was in session its purlieus pre- 
sented a rare spectacle. Jacobson was not the adept at the 
trade that Wells was, and instead of resting his prosecutions on 
a few experts, he had hundreds of negro witnesses camped 
around the courthouse and swarming in its halls and area ways. 
There were over 300, and the marshal's fund was exhausted in 
paying them. It was estimated that $20,000 was paid out in 
witness fees. The two test case subjects were convicted by the 
expurgated jury. Their counsel, Gen. T. J. Wharton and Judge 
Potter, urged them to appeal and threw up the case when their 
advice was rejected. It was so plain, however, that the admin- 
istration was behind the prosecution, that the prisoners were 
intimidated into submission. 

Mistaking the opportunity, the Alabama negro, Adam Ken- 
nard, who had been Ku Kluxed at Meridian a year before by 
the white radical Price and a band of negroes, went to Jackson 
to have them indicted. The Meridian Mercury thus tells of 
what followed : 

"What do you think befell Adam Kennard, out at Jackson, where he 
went to help the government put down the Ku Klux? It's so funny! 
Hold your sides, it's coming; they put him in jail. What did they put 
Adam in jail for? I'll tell you. Because it is against the policy of the 
government, in the wild hunt for Ku Klux, to find any black ones. 
Jacobson knows, and has known about this case for months. But Jacob- 
son also knows the wish of his master, and so when Adam comes looking 
for justice he gives him a cell." 

And there Adam lay until court adjourned. 

His Ku Klux activities did not prevent District Attorney 
Wells from taking part in the State canvass. He was one of 
the speakers at a negro meeting in DeSoto, which was thus 
spoken of by the DeSoto Times: 

"Their theme was the denunciation of every white man, woman and 
child in the State. They advised the negroes to demand every right the 
white man enjoyed, and that they dare not be refused because the whole 
power of the government was at their back to enforce their demands." 

District Attorney Jacobson was also busy in campaign services 
as President of the Capital Grant Club. A. P. Huggins, inter- 
nal revenue assessor, county school superintendent and U. S. 
deputy marshal, was candidate for and elected to the" 1 Legis- 
lature from Monroe County. 

164 Mississippi Historical Society. 

President Grant's message to Congress, December, 1871, con- 
tained the long deferred recommendation of a bill of "general 
amnesty," and removal of the political disabilities prescribed in 
the 1 4th amendment It was qualified by the proposition that 
Congress might, in its judgment, "exclude any great criminals 
from the terms of the act." Brought forward limping and 
grudgingly, seven years after the close of the war, grateful ap- 
preciation would have been small had the bill been passed 
promptly. It was on the contrary bitterly opposed by radical 
Senators their leader, Senator Morton, denouncing it as "in- 
human and immoral an admission of the innocence of the 
rebellion." It was saddled with a civil rights amendment 
which delayed passage until the end of the session. When 
finally enacted there was a large class of the most prominent, 
patriotic and popular citizens of the South "excluded as great 
criminals." The commissioner of pensions issued a circular 
arbitrarily overruling the general implication of the act that 
Southern soldiers in previous wars of the United States were 
entitled to pensions. Even had these harsh features been want- 
ing, the tenor and terms of the amnesty would have been com- 
pletely overshadowed and obscured by the dread of continuing 
the Ku Klux law, and the passage of the civil rights bill. At 
this time the persecutions for violations of the former were in 
full blast in Mississippi and South Carolina. In a report of Jan- 
uary 1 3th General Emory, who commanded the troops in the 
Department of the Gulf, stated that he had sent additional troops 
(cavalry) to Mississippi, in response to requests of the United 
States Marshals and District Attorneys, to assist in arresting 
persons charged with violations of the Enforcement Act of 1871. 
He stated that he had investigated affairs in Mississippi, and in 
granting the request for more troops he had been actuated by 
"the principle that prevention was better than military inter- 
vention in civil affairs." And that "the hostility of the people 
was not against the United States government, but the State 
government which is odious beyond expression, and I fear justly 

In his message to the Legislature when it met in January, 
1872, Governor Powers thus opened his discussion of State 
affairs : 

Ku Klux Klan in Mississippi. McNeilly. 165 

"It is a source of gratification to me to be able to inform you that the 
state of the government is peace. Since the adjournment of the last 
Legislature there have been no riots or disturbances which the civil 
authorities have not been able to promptly suppress. The elections in 
November, although preceded by an exciting canvass, was attended by 
no demonstrations of violence, and the will of the people, as expressed at 
the ballot box, has been generally acquiesced in without murmur. The 
armed organization of masked marauders which twelve months ago 
threatened to override law and paralyze industry in a few of the eastern 
counties, through the combined efforts of the good citizens of those sec- 
tions, aided by the officials of the Federal and State governments, have 
been entirely suppressed." 

This was in marked contrast with the Wells testimony, the 
Ku Klux hunt he was carrying on. 

The truthful color of the Mississippi conditions, given by 
Governor Powers and General Emory, did not conform to the 
policy of the administration nor the purposes of the fee hunting 
officers of the Federal Courts. Conformity was, however, soon 
established. March 6th General Emory forwarded a letter to 
the war department from Lieutenant King, aide-de-camp, say- 

"Great lawlessness exists throughout the entire State of Mississippi, 
but it all cannot be ascribed to the Ku Klux organization, as the trial of 
several prominent members of the gang and their confinement in the post 
guard house has done much toward their disbandment. Nevertheless 
there is a bitter, resentful spirit in every portion of the State against the 
Federal Government, and there can be no doubt that when unsupported 
by regular troops the authorities are defied and their lives are threat- 
ened by desperadoes they are constantly called on to arrest." 

United States Marshals Pierce and Shaughnessey and District 
Attorney Wiley Wells are given as authority for these state- 
ments. In a letter of March 8th General Emory says: 

"Last month I went to Jackson to see Governor Powers, who had sent 
me various communications asking for troops. I am perfectly satisfied 
from that visit these representations are well founded, and there is need 
of more cavalry in that State. And acting on the principle that preven- 
tion is better than intervention, I request one more company of cavalry 
to be posted in Mississippi. To avoid all legal complications it has been 
arranged between the Governor and the U. S. Marshal of the Northern 
District, between whom there is the best understanding, that all requi- 
sitions shall be made by civil officers of the United States, and I feel con- 
fident I shall be able by timely use of troops to maintain order without 

As General Emory visited Jackson during court, while the 
spectacle of a great outrage on hundreds of honest and unoffend- 
ing citizens was being displayed, his impressions of the need of 

i66 Mississippi Historical Society. 

troops were natural. Naturally the air was full of the bitter 
and resentful spirit toward the authors and the agents of a 
monstrous wrong. Governor Powers was easily swayed by 
others. What he said to General Emory and the countenance 
he gave to the raids of Wells and Jacobson was not consistent 
with other of his expressions. In a speech in the Senate May 
21, 1872, Governor Alcorn quoted a letter he had from him, 
dated May isth, saying that "the condition of the State was 
peace throughout all her borders." Governor Alcorn also said, 
"all the acts of violence are ascribed to the Ku Klux, but no 
prisoner caught in disguise, I am ready to confess, was punished 
while I was Governor, by the State courts, and none have been 
punished by the Federal Court." 

All through the first half of 1872, until the summer Federal 
Court term was held, the Ku Klux persecutions were kept up, 
to the enrichment of Wells and Jacobson and the other court 
officials. In the Southern District, however, the crop of out- 
rages was small by comparison with the Northern. The field of 
operations was restricted to Lauderdale and Newton Counties. 
The circumstances of these disorders have been narrated. In 
settlement of the prosecutions against them, fifty citizens of the 
two counties plead guilty at the summer, 1872, term of the 
Federal Court. The minimum fine and costs were imposed and 
they were released. The most of the fifty were prosecuted for 
their share in the Meridian riot, which even the partisan con- 
gressional committee did not charge as a violation of the En- 
forcement Act. The travesty of the indictment of one hundred 
and fifty men, in the Jackson court, is in the fact that not one 
of them all suffered a day of imprisonment, the only man so 
punished was the negro Adam Kennard, a bona fide Ku Klux 
victim. In the passage quoted from Mayes' Life of Lamar it is 
shown how the mainspring of fees moved, in unison with the 
Republican party's campaign need of a "Ku Klux conspiracy." 
But for this incentive of greed for fees, the act would have been 
an insignificant one in Mississippi. The local disorders, dis- 
torted into a Ku Klux conspiracy, would have died under the 
frown of public opinion, and the exercise of local authority. 
The Klan would have lacked the sympathy which was forced 
through the repugnance aroused by the Federal inquisition into 

Ku Klux Klan in Mississippi. McNeilly. 167 

local disorders; the persecution of many innocent people for 
the profit of a gang of corrupt officials. 

In his final Ku Klux report to the Attorney-General, District 
Attorney Wells claimed to have secured indictments against 
678 Enforcement Act violators. Of these 230 were "disposed of" 
446 having been convicted. This read well as a campaign 
document, but the impression conveyed was wholly false. 
There were no jury convictions. Indictments which were found 
out by wholesale were satisfied upon pleas of guilty, or nolo 
contenetere, under agreements negotiated outside of court of 
release upon payment of nominal fines, fees and costs. The fee 
of the District Attorney was twenty dollars in each case. After 
a lecture from the court and bond for future good behavior, the 
prisoners were released. Attorneys for the defendants know- 
ing they were playing against loaded dice, that the juries were 
organized to convict, and that suborned witnesses were at hand, 
advised their clients to enter such pleas, regardless of the ques- 
tion of guilt or innocence. Judge A. A. Hill was severely criti- 
cised for allowing such prostitution of the court. While this 
was censurable there was extenuation. In the first place Judge 
Hill was not a man to battle for a cause. But he possessed a 
kindly heart. Throughout the Ku Klux period he sought to 
ameliorate wrongs he was not brave enough to grapple with. 
And by a policy of placation he averted the cruel oppressions 
that were inflicted in the Carolinas, where hundreds of men con- 
victed as Ku Klux suffered in jail, and many served terms in 
Northern penitentiaries. There is no doubt, besides, that had 
Judge Hill arraigned the officers of his court for their corrupt 
and tyrannical practices, he would have been made to give place 
for a worse. As it was upon complaints that Judge Hill lacked 
zeal in the cause Ames sought to have him removed. 

District Attorney Wells was ably assisted in his campaign 
against the Ku Klux by the foreman of the grand jury, Internal 
Revenue Collector Emory. The two had been intimately asso- 
ciated, Wells having been promoted to his position from a clerk- 
ship in Emory's office. A department inspector having reported 
the internal revenue collector short forty or fifty thousand dol- 
lars, he was removed from office. There was an attempt to 
saddle the theft on an absconded subordinate whose escape the 

1 68 Mississippi Historical Society. 

Holly Springs Reporter accused Wells of conniving in. An 
indictment was due Emory at the Ku Klux court term. But 
being needed by the government he was appointed foreman of 
the grand jury instead, and with Wells ran the campaign. 
Abuses of the law multiplied and became more flagrant. With 
the example of their superiors to inspire them the deputy mar- 
shals did business upon their own volition. They obtained 
warrants from United States commissioners equally as rascally 
and irresponsible as themselves, earning mileage and fees for 
batches of citizens arrested on all manner of frivolous charges. 
Their malpractices were too much like killing the goose that 
laid golden eggs for Wells and Jacobson to be tolerated. One 
deputy was indicted upon the affidavit of a victim that he had 
been arrested and released, on payment of a fine of $100, the 
deputy constituting himself judge and jury. To put a stop to 
such usurpations of the prerogatives of the robbers by authority, 
Judge Hill ordered that no warrants should be issued unless 
approved by United States District Attorneys. Unfortunately 
this order was not made until just before the expiration of the 
time limitation of the law. The bill for extending its operations 
passed the Senate, but failed in the House, in spite of the utmost 
efforts of the administration. And with the expiration of the 
Ku Klux law and hunts, disappeared the Ku Klux "outrages." 
But they had served their dual purpose, the enrichment of the 
court officials and the provision of campaign ammunition. 

Garner's Reconstruction in Mississippi contains the following 
perverted view of the Ku Klux in Mississippi: 

"It was not, however, until the readmission of the State to the Union 
that the Ku Klux disturbances became alarming and threatened to sub- 
vert the peace and order of the State. The passing of the freedmen's 
bureau, in 1869, with its officials in every community and the withdrawal 
of a majority of the troops removed a restraint which had to a great 
extent curbed the lawless spirit." 

That there is nothing in the facts to justify the statement that 
"Ku Klux disturbances threatened to subvert the peace and 
order of the State," or that there was any prevalence of lawless- 
ness in the State in 1868 or 1869, in fact not until February, 
1871, a year after "the State's readmission;" quotations from 
the testimony of witnesses before the congressional committee 
proves. Except for a few months immediately after the war, 

Ku Klux Klan in Mississippi. McNeilly. 169 

there was nothing in the action or the attitude of the people of 
the State deserving to be characterized as a "lawless spirit." 
In strict truth the people of the State were too intelligent to 
indulge in or tolerate lawlessness their responsibilities and 
necessities, moreover, compelled the duty of law and order. 
While Governor Alcorn expressed his "apprehension of an 
organized resistance to law," he specifically limited the dis- 
orders; he said that "a class of lawlessness the most violent pro- 
ceeds in a few quarters in the person of the masked assassin." 
Speaking of a tabulated list of murders in a group of twenty 
counties, in which Holmes, which was not in the "masked assas- 
sin" list, led all the rest, he said "the crimes do not represent 
any organized opposition to the law." 

In the excitement of the election of 1867 and 1868, the troops 
were often "a restraint curbing" the turbulence of the negroes 
they were never so regarded by the whites. There was some 
misuse of them while Ames was military Governor. But as a 
rule, if not invariably, the sentiment of the troops, and espec- 
ially the non-commissioned officers and privates, was hostile 
to the negro. Sometimes, particularly in supporting the United 
States deputy marshals in their round-ups of Ku Klux, in 1871, 
they were used as a menace to the whites who were not "lawless." 
But as a rule their presence was acceptable to the whites and 
resented by the radical leaders and the negro masses. 

As to the freedmen's bureau and its influence as "a curb" on 
lawlessness, the institution had faded into innocuous desuetude 
before its formal passing. It was inimical in design and opera- 
tion to the Southern white people. It was created and, as a 
a rule, operated under the theory that all slave owners were 
oppressors and wrongdoers, and that the bureau agents were 
expected to protect the negroes from oppression and wrong. 
Under this theory there was inevitably more stimulation than 
restraint of lawlessness and discontent. Some officials honestly 
sought to deal justly with all and allay distrust and unrest. 
These were the exceptions among the local agents. Memory of 
the writer and the newspaper files of the period sustain the truth 
of the following, from the minority committee's report: 

"Under the workings of the reconstruction and freedmen's bureau acts 
the foundation of social and political order were uprooted and overturned. 

170 Mississippi Historical Society. 

The former slave became the master and the former master became the 
slave, the elector the lawmaker and the ostensible ruler. The agents 
of the freedmen's bureau were, as we have shown before, generally of a 
class of favorites without character or responsibility, and were selected 
as fit instruments to execute the partisan and unconstitutional behests 
of a most unscrupulous head. Thus the negroes were organized into 
secret political societies known as Loyal Leagues, in which they were 
taught that their former owners were their worst enemies, and that to 
act with them politically would certainly result in their re-instatement. 
A regulation of this bureau required all agreements for service between 
whites and blacks to be signed and witnessed and left in the custody of 
the agent. It was a common practice, after a planter or farmer had 
contracted with the freedman for a year, had his crops planted and in 
process of cultivation, that the negro laborer would strike for higher 
wages. Nothing but instructions of the bureau agent could induce them 
to return, and that inducement could only be effected by their employer 
paying to the agent from ten to twenty dollars per head. This sum was 
simply the perquisite of the agent, and when paid the negro always 
returned, though without additional compensation. It was frequently 
the case that the same planter or farmer would have to compensate the 
bureau agent from two to three times during one year, or lose his crop. 
This system of infamous blackmailing produced no little irritation and 
frequently the planter's bankruptcy. The bureau agents had authority 
to order the arrest of and imprisonment of any citizen on the single 
statement of any vicious negro, and if resistance was made to the agent's 
mandate the post commandant was ready to enforce it with a file of 

In some of the Southern States the real Ku Klux outrages 
extended over a wider area and prevailed for a longer period 
than in Mississippi. But in all they were restricted to a com- 
paratively few counties and soon ran their evil and misguided 
course. This any fair reading of the evidence taken proves. 
In no State did the truth in any sense or degree warrant the 
committee's majority conclusion: 

"That all the ills of the Southern condition, the lawlessness, the intimi- 
dation, the violence, the increased expenses, the diminishing resources 
and depressed credit, the keeping put of capital, the lowering of land 
values, are the effects of a conspiracy formed before reconstruction. 
The organizers and managers of the conspiracy, known as the Ku Klux 
Klan, or invisible empire of the South which has produced these effects 
must have anticipated them before they occurred, and understood them 
while they were transpiring. These leaders are men of high intelligence, 
and they must have intended the results they produced. Their purpose 
must have been to close the South against Northern men and capital; 
to hold the freedmen helpless and dependent ; to govern the States and 
finally the country, and thus recover what they valued more than all 
else property in slaves and political power." 

All reason and all proof of circumstance refutes this wickedly 
false perversion of the facts. The calumny has perished, leaving 
nothing but a record of the revolting baseness of reconstruction, 

Ku Klux Klan in Mississippi. McNeilly. 171 

the incredible infamy of a party that was capable of bolstering 
up a failing policy by nourishing the hostility of the powerful 
and prosperous North against the prostrate and impoverished 
South, through such falsehoods. No consideration was given, 
no thought taken, by the radical leaders of the sad state to which 
the war had reduced the Southern people. Their hardships 
and humiliations excited no compunction and prompted no 
justice no conquered country was ever placed so completely 
beyond the pale of fair and generous treatment. The committee 
minority thus stated their view, the true one, of the Southern 
situation : 

"The atrocious measures by which millions of white people have been 
put at the mercy of the semi-barbarous negroes of the South, and the 
vilest white people of the North and South, leaders of the black hordes, 
are now sought to be justified by defaming the people upon whom this 
unspeakable outrage had been committed. * * * While we do not 
deny that bodies of disguised men have, in several of the States of the 
South, been guilty of the most flagrant crimes, crimes which we neither 
seek to palliate nor excuse, we deny that these men have any general 
organization, or any political significance, or that their conduct is en- 
dorsed by any respectable number of the white people in any State ; on 
the contrary, the men and the bands by which such outrages are per- 
petrated are almost universally regarded by the intelligent people as the 
worst enemies of the South, as they furnish the men now in power at 
Washington the only excuse to maintain war upon them, and to continue 
the system of robbery and oppression which they have inaugurated a 
system which is destructive not only of their peace and prosperity, but 
is intended to blacken and malign their characters as men before the 
country and the world. We will show by testimony incontrovertible 
that in no one of the six States of North and South Carolina, Georgia, 
Alabama, Florida and Mississippi, has there at any time existed combi- 
nations of lawless men in one-tenth part of any one of said States. * * 
We dp not fear successful contradiction when we say there never was a 
disguised band in over forty of the 420 counties of these six States, and 
we will show to all men not blinded by prejudice and passion that the 
Ku Klux bill and the proceedings thereunder are the gravest outrage, 
the foulest calumny ever perpetrated or circulated against a helpless 
people by their rulers." 


BY J. A. ORR. 1 

There was a calm in the financial world following the crash 
brought about by what is known as the "flush times of Alabama 
and Mississippi." When one views the ocean after a terrible 
storm one sees here and there bits of wreckage and flotsam, 
marking the unseen graves of those who have perished there. 
So it was in Mississippi after the financial panic of 1837. There 
existed in various localities wrecks of what were magnificent 
structures before this awful financial storm. 

The political year was full of excitement and interest. The 
Democratic convention met at Jackson on the 5th day of July, 
1845, to nominate candidates for the State offices and for four 
Congressmen. As the State had not then been laid off into Con- 
gressional districts, our members of Congress were elected from 
the State at large. The Senatorial pot was also boiling, and 
the canvass had already opened, with Governor McNutt, General 
Foote, General Quitman, Roger Barton, and Gov. Joseph W. 
Matthews as aspirants for that honor. 

For the office of attorney-general there was an array of tal- 
ented young men, who afterward became distinguished, com- 
peting for the nomination. The incumbent was Gen. John D. 
Freeman. Opposing him were Wiley P. Harris, then of Monti- 
cello; Gen. D. C. Glenn, of Holly Springs; Frank Smith, of Can- 
ton, and Gen. W. S. Featherston, of Houston. Harris, Glenn 
and Featherston were each about twenty -five years of age, and 
three candidates for this office rarely ever presented a more 
youthful appearance. It was important for each candidate to 
have a numerous delegation from his own county. This will 
account, perhaps, for the fact that the writer, then only seven- 
teen years of age, was one of the delegates from Chickasaw 
County. He is now (1906) the only surviving member of that 

A biographical sketch of the author of this contribution will be found 
in the Publications of the Mississippi Historical Society, Vol. VIII, p. 187. 


174 Mississippi Historical Society. 

It was before the days of railroads, and buggies and horseback 
were the only modes of conveyance to the seat of government. 
General Featherston and the writer left Houston in a buggy the 
latter part of June, General Featherston taking a circuitous 
route to see as many delegates to the convention as possible 
before their arrival at Jackson. 

The first objective point was Grenada, where the Baptist State 
Convention was in session. One of the three persons making the 
deepest impression upon the writer's mind at that time was the 
Rev. Dr. Parr, whose eloquence thrilled his audience, and whose 
ability and captivating oratory, according to the youthful con- 
ception of the writer, has never in all the after years been sur- 
passed. The other two were General Featherston and Miss Whit- 
field, of Aberdeen, as handsome a couple as ever walked up the 
aisle of the densely crowded church where Doctor Parr preached. 
The General was tall and looked every inch a man, and she was 
a lady of remarkable beauty and was greatly admired. There- 
after their paths in life separated; each married, left families, 
and have perhaps met in the spirit land. 

From Grenada our journey led us to Lexington, Yazoo City 
and Canton, and then to the capital. To properly appreciate a 
narrative of this trip and the strange scenes witnessed along the 
road we must understand what had been the financial condition 
of the country previous to that time. There were banks with 
capital stocks which ran into the millions, and in which the people 
placed infinite trust. They were headed by men whose financial 
integrity was unquestioned; and yet, with all their money and 
strength, they were wrecked in the financial storm. Here is a 
list of these banks, and the careful observer will notice that their 
financial rating is not now surpassed in this great State, with its 
more than two hundred banks, having millions of capital, and 
with its increase of population and its unprecedented growth. 

Names of Banks. Capital Stock. 

Agricultural Bank $4, 212, ooo oo 

Planters Bank 2, ooo, ooo oo 

Commercial and Railroad Bank of Vicksburg 4, ooo, ooo oo 

Grand Gulf Railroad and Banking Company 2, ooo, ooo oo 

West Feliciana Railroad and Banking Company i, ooo, ooo oo 

Commercial Bank of Natchez 3, 100, ooo oo 

Commercial Bank of Manchester 2, ooo, ooo oo 

Commercial Bank of Columbus i, ooo, ooo oo 

A Trip from Houston to Jackson, Miss., in 1845. Orr. 175 

Names of Banks. Capital Stock. 

Commercial Bank of Rodney * 800, ooo oo 

Tombigbee Railroad Company z, ooo, ooo oo 

Mississippi and Alabama Railroad and Banking Com- 
pany 4, ooo, ooo oo 

Bank of Vicksburg 2, ooo, ooo oo 

Bank of Grenada ' i, ooo, ooo oo 

Bank of Lexington 800, ooo oo 

Bank of Port Gibson i , ooo, ooo oo 

Vicksburg Waterworks and Banking Company 500, ooo oo 

Northern Bank of Mississippi 2, ooo, ooo oo 

Hernando Railroad and Banking Company i, ooo, ooo oo 

Mississippi Railroad Company 8, ooo, ooo oo 

Citizens Bank of Madison County i, ooo, ooo oo 

Bank of Mississippi 600, ooo oo 

Mississippi Union Bank 15, 500, ooo oo 

Aberdeen and Pontotoc Banking Company i , ooo, ooo oo 

Benton and Manchester Banking Company i, ooo, ooo oo 

Branches of Agricultural and Planters Banks at Frank- 
lin and Tchula i , ooo, ooo oo 

Total amount of capital $62, 512, ooo oo 

It is a beautiful and fertile country through Holmes, Yazoo 
and Madison Counties, over which we traveled. Many planta- 
tions had been recently opened, and on some of them elegant res- 
idences had been erected. The owners had freely indorsed for 
each other in the banks, and hundreds of thousands of dollars 
had been invested in negroes, brought from Virginia and the 
Carolinas. When the storm broke over the banks the suits were 
so numerous in the courts that some of the lawyers had their 
declarations in assumpsit printed by the quire, leaving blanks 
only for the names of the debtor, creditor and the amounts. In 
each of these counties an immense number of judgments had been 
obtained and the aggregate indebtedness had run into millions. 
A great number of these plantations in 1845 were uncultivated. 
The fences had fallen down, the homes and outhouses were ten- 
antless and bespoke widespread desolation. We learned the 
history of the times from the lawyers at Lexington, Yazoo City 
and Canton. With these General Featherston talked as to his 
candidacy before the coming convention. We were told that 
as a general thing on the evening before abandonment those large 
plantations would present no unusual appearance. The stock 
would be in the stables, properly attended to; the cows would 
be in the cowpen; the hogs would be called and fed; the sheep 
would be herded ; the plantation negroes would be in their proper 
places, and over all the hush of evening and the stillness of night 

176 Mississippi Historical Society. 

would fall. On the morning following the smoke would curl 
from the chimneys, from residence and quarters, the cows would 
be lowing in the pen, the sheep bleating in the fold, the hogs in 
their place; not a wagon gone, not a vehicle missing; the meat 
left in the smokehouse, the poultry raising their usual disturb- 
ance and not a human being, nor horse, nor mule, nor saddle, 
nor bridle on the whole place. Every negro, every horse, every 
mule spirited away in the darkness of the night the negro 
women and children on horses and mules, the men on foot, all, 
all in a double-quick march for Texas, then a foreign govern- 
ment. The first object was to get across the county line, the 
next to cross the Mississippi River, and the next to cross the line 
of the Republic of Texas. All this had to be done before the 
executions could issue and be placed in the hands of the sheriffs 
of the different counties. Family carriages were left motionless 
to avoid creating any suspicion, the white families having taken 
their trips to neighboring towns, where the stage lines would 
convey them to points of safety generally steamboat landings 
on the Mississippi on their way to Texas. Even in the city of 
Columbus there remain on file in the circuit clerk's office printed 
declarations, containing not only the names of the plaintiff's 
banks, but in some cases the names of the defendants. This 
will convey an idea of the immense indebtedness to the banks of 
the country and of the universality of endorsements and personal 
securities. The immovable property was all that the executions 
could reach. After this came hundreds of suits by holders of 
bank notes. 

When we arrived at Jackson the saloons in the city and the 
hotels were crowded with anxious politicians and statesmen and 
their friends. Governor A. G. Brown had no opposition for a 
re-nomination for a second term as governor. The most active 
canvass for any of the State offices was made by the friends of 
the candidates for attorney-general. Wiley P. Harris, Feath- 
erston and Frank Smith were defeated by a coalition between 
the friends of Freeman and Glenn, by which Freeman was re-nom- 
inated for a second term and Glenn came in as the nominee four 
years thereafter and served for eight years in that office with dis- 
tinguished ability. He was a beautiful speaker, elegant, grace- 
ful and eloquent. 

A Trip from Houston to Jackson, Miss., in 1845. Orr. 177 

The most intense feeling was developed in the convention 
between the friends of Jefferson Davis and of Doctor Gwinn. It 
was the policy of the party to preserve harmony by nominating 
candidates with reference to geographical position. The State 
was entitled to four members of Congress, and they were taken 
from the four different sections of the State. In the northwest 
Jacob Thompson had no opposition for re-nomination. Judge 
Stephen Adams, of Monroe, and Col. Geo. H. Young, of Lowndes, 
were the candidates from the northeastern district. They were 
men of different types of character. Young was a man of 
courtly and princely manners, refined, cultivated, hightoned, an 
aristocrat by birth. He was a type of whom we had hundreds 
throughout the South misunderstood and not appreciated by 
the Northern people either before or since the great war of 
secession. A grander, nobler type of citizenship never lived in 
any government or country. They knew that they belonged to 
the master race. Their selfishness and their keen sense of honor 
united to make them brave, discreet and conscientious, and they 
were never surpassed in the qualities by the bravest Roman or 
the noblest Briton. The value of the negro appealed to the sel- 
fishness of the owner for his protection. Healthful food, good 
clothing, prompt medical attention, moderate work were essen- 
tial factors in maintaining his money value to the owner. A 
knowledge of superiority, the right to dominate the will of the 
slave, the power to enforce absolute obedience carried in the 
minds of such men as Geo. H. Young a high sense of moral 
responsibility. It was a very rare thing that a church was 
erected without a gallery for the accommodation of the negroes, 
and in many localities the Sabbath was far better observed than 
it is at the present time by either our white or our black popu- 

Judge Adams was a "self-made" man. He was of humble 
origin and of moderate literary attainments. He was a man of 
integrity, full of energy, had won his way to a circuit judgeship, 
and was emphatically "one of the boys." He was nominated, 
elected, and afterwards sent to the United States Senate. 

Robert W. Roberts, known as the "War Horse of the Piney 
Woods," had no opposition from his section of the State. 

178 Mississippi Historical Society. 

The contest became bitter in the southwestern section. Davis 
and Gwinn were from Warren County, and the fight was between 
two rival factions. Gwinn was a man of fine ability, and had 
previously been much more intimately connected with the pol- 
iticians of the State than Davis. But this had also caused 
Gwinn to make many antagonists. The nomination was not 
made until the second day of the convention. On the night 
before the city of Jackson was placarded with a violent assault 
on Doctor Gwinn, in which, among other things, he was charged 
with having been instrumental in the killing of Doctor Hagan, 
the influential editor of the Vicksburg Sentinel. Vicksburg had 
been a bloody city, and Hagan had many friends throughout 
the State. The contest was close, but Davis was nominated. 

The people of Mississippi, after the adjournment of that con- 
vention, were entertained with political discussions between the 
ablest representatives of the Democratic and Whig parties in 
the State. At the election just preceding the one in 1845 the 
presidential contest between Polk and Clay was earnest and close 
and at the election preceding that the State went for General Har- 
rison, the Whig candidate. Davis canvassed the entire State, 
and established a reputation as an orator inferior to none except 
Prentiss, and that reputation he sustained in the United States 

The people became greatly interested in the memorable con- 
test between McNutt and Foote for the United States Senate. 
They were attendants on the convention in Jackson in July, their 
canvass having already opened. Dense crowds gathered 
wherever they had an appointment to speak. The candidates 
were personal enemies. McNutt would never notice Foote, 
would not divide time with him, and silently treated him with 
profound contempt. He would open his speech at u o'clock 
and speak until 3, gather up his papers and leave without allud- 
ing to Foote in any way or paying the slightest attention to him. 
The rest of the time would be occupied by Foote. The country 
audiences would go home in the dark. 



There is a striking, even if superficial, resemblance between 
the period of National politics from 1836 to 1852 and that from 
1880 to 1896. In both periods there was the rhythmic swing of 
success and failure, and each period was distinguished by the 
prominence of a brilliant defeated candidate. James G. Elaine 
always believed that his course was a repetition of the fatality 
attending Henry Clay, that in 1884, as in 1844, the favorite of 
the party, after missing the nomination when the party was in a 
winning position, had been nominated only to meet defeat. 

After the dissolution of the Federalist party in the time of 
Monroe, factional fights had begun at once between the leaders 
of the Republican party, but there was no formal division of the 
voters into parties until 1832, when the "Jackson men" met a 
determined opposition. It was impossible to defeat the popular 
hero of Chalmette at this election, and his personal and official 
influence largely assisted in putting into office Van Buren. But 
in 1840 a well organized Whig movement carried into office 
Harrison and Tyler. In this, as in all Presidential elections 
before the war, with the exception of 1848, Mississippi obeyed 
the impulse which swept over the whole country. The State 
had not yet become fixed in its political stagnation. 

The causes of this Whig victory are not hard to discover. 
Those prevailing in Mississippi were the ones influencing the 
rest of the country. Van Buren was not personally popular. 
He was considered a master in that brand of partisan cunning 
then known as "New York politics," but now not confined to 
any one section. He had been bitterly opposed in Mississippi 
in 1 836 2 , and had barely carried the State in the election. The 
wild speculative epoch that succeeded the closing of "The 
Bank," and the heroic measures introduced by the "Specie 

'A biographical sketch of the writer of this contribution will be found 
in the Publications of the Mississippi Historical Society, Vol. VIII, p. 81. 

J "Facts in the Political Life of Martin Van Buren," by Amos R. John- 
ston, Clinton, Mississippi; September, 1836. 


i8o Mississippi Historical Society. 

Circular," had brought on the fearful panic of 1837, and all 
troubles were charged up against the Van Buren administration. 
This characteristic fault of a democracy cannot be severely cen- 
sured when we recall how prone an administration is to take 
credit for all the prosperity that falls in its time. The usual 
official corruption was found among government officers, and 
the popular cry was raised, "Turn the rascals out." This was 
about the only platform adopted by the Whigs, it was anything 
to beat Van Buren, and a party containing such opposing wings 
as those represented by Tyler and Clay could not hope for 
permanent success. The campaign was a spectacular one, 
"disgusting" some of the Whigs said privately, and "log cabins, 
coons, and cider" were the party badge. Dr. Daevenport, the 
author of "Humbuggiana," a satiric poem written in Missis- 
sippi soon after this, speaks of it as the time 

"When Humbug stalk'd, unfetter'd, unrestrained, 
And Coon and Cider joint protectors reigned." 

Even if General Harrison had lived, a reaction must have 
followed this election. The Whigs had, as already noticed, no 
platform except dissatisfaction with Van Buren's administra- 
tion, and when they brought up again the National Bank and 
Internal Improvements, and, in 1842, passed a Tariff Bill that 
did not carry out the purposes of the Compromise Tariff of 1833, 
their new found friends fell away. Among these was Mr. Tyler, 
who had never been an "old line Whig," but who was simply 
one of those who refused to be dominated by the Democratic 
machine. Whether the separation between Tyler and the Whig 
party was caused by his desertion or by the party leaders' 
aggressive policy, it is nevertheless true that this separation was 
fatal to the success of the loosely organized party. As early as 
the fall of 1841 the Whigs lost elections in states which they 
had just carried, among others in Mississippi. In the Congres- 
sional election of 1842 the Whig majority of twenty-five was 
changed to a Democratic majority of sixty-one. 

The main questions on which the issue was fought out in 
1844 were the Tariff and Texas. The latter was the more inter- 
esting, and, in Mississippi, the more important, but in the North 
interest was about equal on the two questions. For instance, 

Presidential Campaign of 1844. Walmsley. 181 

in Pennsylvania, already becoming a manufacturing State, the 
tariff was of so much importance, and the protective sentiment 
had become so strong, that some of Mr. Folk's diplomatic 
utterances were interpreted as being favorable to a high tariff, 
and the local leaders represented him as a "better tariff man 
than Clay." As early as November 17, 1838, John C. Calhoun 
had foreseen this question. In a letter to Armistead Burt,* he 
says: "Revenue, under the compromise, has been regularly 
falling off for some time, while the expenditures have been 
regularly increasing, till we have reached a point where the lat- 
ter greatly exceed the former, with an increasing diminution on 
its part, which must continue till the year 1842. It follows that 
one of three things must speedily take place: the tariff must be 
renewed ; a new debt contracted ; or the expenditures be reduced 
fully one-half, and that without delay. Our policy is clear, to 
adhere to the compromise; keep down the tariff; and prevent 
the creation of another debt." This policy of economy was not 
adopted, and by 1844 a large proportion of the people were 
beginning to wish for a higher tariff. Clay's "American Policy" 
was wonderfully popular with the Whigs, although when first 
proposed, after the War of 1812, Webster said that it was 
European, not American. 

"This favorite American policy, sir, is what America has never tried, 
and this odious foreign policy [low tariff] is what we are told foreign 
states have never pursued." 4 

The Texas question was more complicated. The most obvious 
purpose was the extension of slavery territory, and since 1860 
it is fashionable to speak of it as a "slavery intrigue," following 
the model set by Lowell in his "Biglow Papers," and continued 
so well by such historians as Schouler and Von Hoist. That this 
view is incorrect will be shown later in this paper. No policy 
of annexation has ever failed to command the assent of a major- 
ity of our people, and the more astute of the Democratic leaders 
recognized this in 1844, and followed the guidance of the "foster 
father of Texas," Senator Robert J. Walker, of Mississippi. 
When Van Buren was defeated in 1840, his friends had imitated 
Jackson's friends in 1825, and had at once nominated him for 

'Report Amer. Hist. Ass., 1899, Vol. II. 
4 Goldwin Smith's Polit. Hist. U. S., p. 

p. 186. 

i8a Mississippi Historical Society. 

President in 1844. But Van Buren was opposed to the annexa- 
tion of Texas. Before the time for the conventions, which were 
changed this year from December to spring, both he and Clay 
announced their opposition. This was evidently done to keep 
Texas from being an issue in the campaign, as Van Buren had 
visited Clay at Ashland in May, 1842, and it is thought that the 
two agreed on this policy. 

Mr. Benton, with his unrivalled capability for "seeing ghosts," 
describes how, in order to get Van Buren definitely committed 
against Texas, his enemies, led by Senator Walker, arranged for 
Mr. Hamett, a congressman from Mississippi, to pretend great 
friendship for him and then to interrogate him on the Texas 
subject. 6 Of course, believing as he did, his answer was against 
"immediate annexation," and it is interesting to notice in con- 
nection with this word "immediate" that no man who could 
possibly be a candidate, except the radical Birney, ever dared 
to speak against ultimate annexation. Mr. Claiborne, the Mis- 
sissippi historian, believes that in this, as in other ways, Walker 
did more than any other man to put Polk in the President's 

Van Buren had a majority of votes in the convention which 
met in Baltimore on May 27th, but the annexationists secured 
the adoption of the two-thirds rule, and thus defeated Van 
Buren, who could command only 146 votes out of 266. Plat- 
forms were just coming into favor. In 1844 the Democrats 
adopted their second platform, and the Whigs for the first time 
put out a platform. A platform was also framed for the first 
time by the Liberty party, which had been organized in 1839, 
and had received some seven thousand votes in 1840, but was 
destined in this election to play a deciding part. Its platform 
was very long, and touched on all public questions, with most 
stress on slavery. The platform of the Democrats is called by 
Colonel McClure, in Our Presidents, a "political drag-net." 
A strong plank was inserted calling for the "re-occupation of 
Oregon and the re-annexation of Texas." This and the plank 
on public lands were accompanied by the usual platitudes. The 
Whigs had four planks, three were complimentary to Clay and 
Frelinghuysen the remaining one summed up tersely the prin- 

'Benton's Thirty Years' View, Vol. II, chap. 35. 

Presidential Campaign of 1844. Walmsley. 183 

ciples of the party, a well-regulated currency, a tariff, the dis- 
tribution of the proceeds of sales of public lands, and one term 
for the Presidency. Texas was ignored, but Clay was well 
understood to be flatly opposed to its annexation. 

Every one is familiar with Mr. Clay's fatal facility in writing 
letters and making compromises. His second letter on Texas, 
which was supposed to be intended for the benefit of Southern 
voters, gained him no votes in the South and aroused such bitter 
opposition among the abolitionists of New York that they threw 
away enough votes on Birney, the Liberty candidate, to swing 
the State from the Whig column, where it normally belonged, 
into the Democratic line, and thus elect Polk, who had carried 
Pennsylvania on a tariff proposition, and had naturally carried 
a majority of the southern states on the Texas question. Of 
the nine distinctively southern states at that time (Florida and 
Texas were not admitted till 1845) Polk carried all but North 
Carolina and Tennessee. Of the border states, Kentucky, Clay's 
home, gave him a majority of six thousand less than it had 
given Harrison four years before, while Tennessee, Folk's home, 
gave Clay a majority of about a hundred votes. 

There was then no law requiring an uniform day for the elec- 
tions. All of the states voted in November, but on different 
days. When the time came for Delaware to cast her three votes, 
Clay was already defeated, but one of the hardest-fought battles 
of the campaign was waged over these three votes, which finally 
fell to Clay. The next Congress fixed the day for Presidential 
elections. As in 1840, the winning party felt that they had 
won a signal victory, though a few votes either way would have 
changed the result of both elections. 

The election in Mississippi was not so close, but was stubbornly 
fought. Mississippi, at this date, might be called a Democratic 
State. In common with all the western and southwestern 
states, it was a thorough Jackson State, but, by 1835, signs 
began to appear of differences of opinion, which would have 
kept it, if free from the influence of the slavery question, a normal 
State. In fact it may be said that prior to 1855 politics was in 
as normal a condition in Mississippi as in New York. However, 
the Democrats usually carried the State. In 1835, tne Whig 
candidate, Charles Lynch, was elected governor, though the 

184 Mississippi Historical Society. 

legislature was Democratic. In 1837 the Democratic candidate 
for governor, A. G. McNutt, was elected; but, after a bitter 
fight, the Whigs elected Dr. J. W. King speaker of the lower 
house of the legislature. Within one year, 1837-38, as students 
of State history remember, there were three elections for Con- 
gress, and in the last two the Whig candidates, S. S. Prentiss 
and T. J. Word, were successful. In 1839 all the State offices 
were won by the Democrats, but in 1840 the Whigs carried the 
State for Harrison and Tyler in the Presidential election. After 
1840 no Whig candidates were elected. Thus it will be seen 
that the Whigs had carried each election once, but at different 
dates, and it can be safely said that while the State was Demo- 
cratic, it was not blindly so. 

From 1837 till after the time covered in this work, National 
affairs, in Mississippi, were "sicklied o'er with the pale cast" of 
local politics. Before 1837 there had been the halcyon days of 
the "Flush Times," described in such an inimitable manner by 
Baldwin, the rival of Judge Longstreet as the word-painter of 
the southwest. In addition to the causes which in other states 
produced a carnival of speculation, the Indian lands in Missis- 
sippi had just been opened, marvelous tales had gone north and 
east of the new El Dorado, and "the new era had set in the era 
of the second great experiment of independence: the experi- 
ment, namely, of credit without capital, and enterprise without 
honesty." 6 All prices were high, "money was the only cheap 
thing to be had," lands bought at government prices, $1.25 per 
acre, sold at once at $30 and $40.' Lands near Jackson, which 
to-day, under excellent cultivation, sell at $25, then sold unim- 
proved at $80 and $90. Governor Brown gives an account of 
it which vividly describes the condition: 8 

"Drawers are searched, purses are turned, the cash that jingled about 
the infant's neck is taken off, and fuss and confusion reigns ; money must 
be raised to purchase more lands, that we may grow more rich. In short, 
sir, every dollar that can be raised in the whole country is taken to the 
land office, given for unproductive soil, and as effectually lost to the real 
business of the country as if it had been cast into the sea. * * * The 
real capital of the country being exhausted, the legislatures were impor_ 

6 Baldwin's Flush Times in Ala. and Miss., p. 81. 

''Ibid, p. 84. 

8 Speeches and Writings of Hon. A. G. Brown, p. 32; also Reuben 
Davis's Recollections of Miss, and Mississippians, p. 186; Sparks's 
Memories of Fifty Years, p. 364. 

Presidential Campaign of 1844. Walmsley. 185 

tuned to create more banks, that there might be more money to invest 
in more unproductive lands. These banks without capital had all to gain 
and nothing to lose, their issues were free and unlimited. * * * Every 
man felt rich in the possession of his real estate, upon which he had fixed 
his own price, with a firm resolution to obtain that price or keep the land. 
* * * Holding at very high prices suddenly checked the tide of immi- 
gration, and left the country full of vendors but without purchasers. 

"Meanwhile a system of extravagance is begun and kept up to com- 
mensurate with the fancied wealth of neighbor Humbug. * * * All 
Europe and America are ransacked for viands to load a mahogany table, 
that has driven the old-fashioned cherry and walnut from the dining- 
room of a woodland cottage into the garret of a princely mansion. * * 
Anon a general crash is heard terror and consternation possess the com- 
munity. The importunities for money become greater and still more 
great. The wealthy Mr. Humbug decides to sell a portion of his lands, 
pay his debts, and live independent. He starts out with this honest pur- 
pose ; but what is his surprise to find every one selling and no one buying. 
He returns dispirited, disappointed, disheartened. He is sued, harassed 
with executions, and finally breaks; at this point he turns Whig, curses 
General Jackson, swears that Van Buren is the greatest scoundrel that 
ever lived, and starts to Texas. * * * Such is a brief outline of the 
rise, expansion, and final explosion of the greatest bubble that ever 
floated on the wide ocean of popular folly." 

This long selection is given to make clear the effect which local 
business depression had on affairs later. 

As an illustration of Governor Brown's statement in regard to 
unlimited paper money, on November 30, 1841, there was in the 
State treasury $302,955.95$, of which $302,955.61$ was in 
paper and 34 cents in specie.' 

Under these circumstances the Union Bank was chartered, 
and the State took $5,000,000 of stock in it, issuing bonds for 
the same. When the crash came, and payments fell due on the 
bonds, it was found that they had not been issued in a legal 
manner, and the proposition, as put before the people, whether 
they were willing to be taxed to pay the bonds, divided the 
State sharply. It soon became a political question. 

"The discussion of the question when before the people called out the 
best talents of the State on both sides in politics, the Whigs, as a rule, 
being opposed to repudiation, and the Democrats, as a rule, being in favor 
of it, each following in this State question the line of thought which had 
distinguished the two parties in National politics the Whigs insisting 
upon a liberal construction of the Constitution, and the Democrats upon 
a strict one, and each thus following the traditions of his party. The 
appeal of the one was to the moral sense of the people, whue the other 
was to the legal sense. The Whigs, or bond-payers, were constantly 
begging the question and pleading the spirit of the Constitution, while 
the Democrats, or repudiators, pleaded the letter and prescription of the 
instrument." 10 

*Nine Years of Democratic Rule in Mississippi, p. 219. 
1 "Fulkerson's Early Days in Mississippi, p. 86. 

i86 Mississippi Historical Society. 

The situation was enough to appall even those who were in 
favor of paying the bonds. Prentiss, who was the Whig cham- 
pion, says in a letter to his brother, in Germany, July 16, 1842 1 11 

"You can form no idea of the embarrassment, prostration, and ruin, 
which pervade this country. Such a state of things never was known, 
and could not exist, in Europe. There is no currency at all in this part 
of the country, and property has no representative. The New Orleans 
banks, which heretofore furnished this State with the little money that 
did circulate, have all failed, and now it is utterly impossible to collect 
debts, or to sell property at any price. Nothing can be more gloomy 
than the present position of affairs; and I confess I can see no prospect 
of speedy relief. In every other country on the face of the globe property 
will bring some price, here it will command nothing, and a man may 
starve in possession of a fortune." 

To show how completely in the minds of many this question 
of repudiation had overshadowed all others, we may notice that 
Van Winkle, the author of Nine Years of Democratic Rule in 
Mississippi (1838-1847), a bitter partisan, mentions National 
affairs only once in a book of over three hundred pages, and then 
to give a rather lame reason for the Democrats' adopting the 
repudiation policy, namely, that it was to secure popular favor 
and thus reverse the Whig majority given to Harrison in 1840. 

The movement against foreigners, and especially against 
Roman Catholics, which brought on the violent "no-popery 
riots" in Philadelphia in the early part of the year, had appar- 
ently not penetrated among the people of Mississippi, and did 
not do so till later, in the time of the Know Nothing party. 
It is, however, noticeable that immediately after the "riots" each 
party tried to make use of the "riots" to stir up prejudice against 
the other. The Democratic papers seemed to have better suc- 
cess, as well as more foundation for their policy, and by the 
middle of December some of the Whig papers were coming over 
to the side of the "Native Americans," or "Nativists." For 
instance, the Constitutionalist was established by H. McFarland 
at Vicksburg in February, 1844, as a Whig newspaper, but it 
gradually threw more and more stress on the "anti-foreign" 
movement. In the first issue after the election most of the 
paper is taken up with "Nativist" articles, and it soon became 
an organ for this movement. There is little reason for believing 
that an "anti-foreign" sentiment would have originated in 
Mississippi without nursing. 

ll Memoirs of S. S. Prentiss, Vol. II, p. 218. 

Presidential Campaign of 1844. Walmsky. 187 

Those few in Mississippi who took any interest in National 
affairs as such showed a feeble interest in the tariff. A tariff 
speech made at Watertown, N. Y., by Silas Wright, who had 
refused the nomination for Vice-President with Polk, but had 
afterwards become Democratic candidate for Governor of New 
York, was run for several weeks in three or four Mississippi 
papers, and there were some discussions of the tariff, but all 
in a half-hearted manner. 

The matchless orator, Prentiss, was the only man who cared 
to go into the fundamental questions of public policy. He made 
some plausible and telling arguments to show that a tariff would 
be a greater benefit to the cotton-growing interest than to any 
other. A large part of his time in this campaign was given up 
to the canvass in other states, his best known speech in this 
period being delivered at Nashville, August aist. In one of his 
speeches this year he said: 

"What are mere political measures, what are questions of tariff, bank, 
or internal improvements, in comparison with the questions of our im- 
mediate honor, character, and perpetuity as a virtuous, law-abiding 
nation?" 12 

These fundamental questions, as he presented them this year, 
were the moral and constitutional limitations of popular sov- 
ereignty, as opposed to Jacksonian Democracy, the limitation 
of real freedom itself to those who were fitted to enjoy it, and 
the tendency of a free government to allow all degrees of ability 
freedom to develop and thus bring about great actual inequal- 
ity of condition. These are given somewhat at length to show 
how little of sectional pleading there was in his speeches. This 
doctrine of limiting the rights of the people was strongly criti- 
cized in the Vicksburg Sentinel, May 27, 1844. The editor, in a 
ringing article, showed that this was the very essence of the old 
Federalism, killed in 1816, which taught the inability of the 
majority of the people to do anything, however desirable, and 
that this was another way of expressing Hamilton's dictum of 
"government by the well-born." 

In a distinctively tariff speech made before the "Clay Straight- 
out Club," composed of young mechanics at Vicksburg, Prentiss 
plead for a tariff not only on grounds familiar to us to-day in 

1 ^Memoirs of S. S. Prentiss, Vol. II, p. 302. 

i88 Mississippi Historical Society. 

tariff speeches, but also on the ground that it was a National 
measure and would tend to hold together the Union. In this 
connection it is worth noting that it was in this campaign that 
Jefferson Davis made his entry into National politics. 

Mr. Davis had entered politics the previous year, leading a 
forlorn hope in Warren County as a Democratic candidate for 
the legislature. As he had expected, he failed of election, but 
his canvass attracted attention, and in 1844 he was a delegate 
to the Democratic State Convention held at Jackson, and pre- 
sided over by Mr. Prentiss' great rival, Joseph Holt. This con- 
vention instructed its delegates to support Van Buren as long 
as he had any chance, and, on motion of Mr. Davis, they were 
instructed to support Calhoun as second choice. 13 Mr. Davis 's 
speech in advocacy of this motion made an impression so strong 
that he was unanimously chosen one of the electors from the 
State at large. 

To return to Mr. Prentiss, his speech .at Natchez was the 
greatest speech of which we have any record in this campaign. 
It was considered by the Whigs unanswerable, "a magnificent 
burst of eloquence ; an outpouring of honest Americanism, love 
of the Union, the Nation, the Constitution law, order, society, 
and religion; carrying death and destruction into the ranks of 
Locofocoism, Dorrism, etc." 14 (It was then fashionable among 
the Whigs to link together Repudiation in Mississippi and 
Dorr's Rebellion in Rhode Island, and at least one Democratic 
newspaper of the State spoke of Dorr as an "imprisoned patriot.") 

It was in the course of this speech that Prentiss gave utterance 
to his famous characterization of Polk. After giving a powerful 
eulogy of Mr. Clay as the ideal American statesman, 

"Suddenly he paused, and with a voice as of a trumpet asked, 'Who is 
the opponent of Henry Clay?' His eyes flashed unwonted fire, and you 
saw him falling headlong from his dizzy height, but his very course 
marked the impetus of a destroying angel ; you saw that there was a vial 
of wrath in his hand, a consuming fire in his eye ; he fairly struggled and 
heaved with emotion. The foam dashed from his lips, and he repeated 
in defiant notes, 'Who is the opponent of Mr. Clay?' and then hissed the 
answer, 'A blighted burr that has fallen from the mane of th warhorse 
of the Hermitage.' " 15 

13 Jefferson Davis, by his Wife, p. 182. 
lt Memoirs of S. S. Prentiss, Vol. II, p. 329. 
15 Memoirs of S. S. Prentiss, Vol. II, p. 332 

Presidential Campaign of 1844. Walmsley. 189 

It was in ridicule of this scene that the Yazoo Democrat, of 
November 23d, when the result of the election was certain, came 
out with a flaring headline, "Who is James K. Polk?" 

To understand fully this denunciation, it is necessary to know 
the contemporary feeling in regard to both Polk and Jackson. 
In addition to the feeling that Polk was a mere "nobody" daring 
to run against the immortal "Harry of the West," Prentiss had 
personal reasons for his detestation of Polk. In 1837, when the 
question came up of seating Prentiss and Word in the Twenty- 
fifth Congress, the House divided even, and Polk, who was 
Speaker, cast the deciding vote against the Whig candidates 
on what Prentiss believed to be entirely partisan grounds. 
Prentiss and Word were re-elected, and, when at the end of the 
session the usual vote of thanks to the Speaker was moved, 
Prentiss hotly opposed the word "impartial" in the resolution. 
He never forgot Folk's action in this matter." 

The other part of the reference is to a striking phenomenon. 
No one ever questioned Jackson's decisions and actions. The 
speakers might be Whig or Democrat, but to the present day 
in the Southwest Jackson's words and deeds are a political Bible, 
and, like Holy Writ, subject to partisan interpretation. The 
Whigs at this time often said that Jackson, who was near the 
end of his picturesque life, had been deceived by cunning poli- 
ticians, but Jackson himself, like Washington, was raised above 
criticism. It was a favorite charge against Democrats that they 
were trying to ride into office on Jackson's reputation. An 
instance of this unconscious reverence for Jackson is in Doctor 
Daevenport's "Humbuggiana," describing Proteus' changing 
from Democrat to Whig: 

"Najr, principles, he holds this very hour, 
Which, General Jackson, carried into power." 

Another illustration of this same feeling is the view expressed 
by Benton, that the "Jackson Texas Letter" was a case where 
the honest old hero was worked on by designing men who knew 
that no movement could succeed in the Southwest which was 
not fathered by Jackson. 17 This letter of Jackson was printed 
in all of the Mississippi papers of both parties, and letters from 

18 Shields's Life and Times of S. S. Prentiss, pp. 184, 248. 
l 'Benton's Thirty Years' View, Vol. II, chap. 35. 

i go Mississippi Historical Society. 

Jackson during the campaign were printed in all the Democratic 
papers about fifteen as leading articles. 

Reference has already been made to the current misstatement 
in histories of this period, that the annexation of Texas was a 
"slavery intrigue," sprung upon an unsuspecting people in the 
spring of 1844, when Mr. Tyler sent the Treaty of Annexation 
to the Senate, and that the revolution leading to the independ- 
ence of Texas was a scheme by "slave-holding land purchasers." 
It is well to investigate this more fully. The first movement 
looking toward the recognition of the independence of Texas 
was initiated by the legislature of Connecticut, May 27, 1836, and 
a careful reading of the resolution passed 18 will show that the 
people of the North then believed the revolution to have been 
provoked by Mexican misrule, and to have been fully justified 
in political ethics. 

In the debate in the Senate on the resolution for recognition, 
which was adopted unanimously July i, 1836, Mr. Calhoun 
frankly stated that he regarded the recognition as of great 
importance, inasmuch as it prepared the way for the annexa- 
tion of Texas, and for the preservation of the balance of power 
between the slaveholding and non-slaveholding Commonwealths. 
"After such a statement it is difficult to see how anybody could 
speak of the annexation of Texas as being a slaveholders' secret 
intrigue." On his way home from Congress a year later Mr. 
Webster made a speech in New York in which he declared him- 
self opposed to the proposed annexation inasmuch as it would 
increase the area of slavery. 19 Surely this does not sound like 
a secret intrigue. Mr. Benton, however, says that the letter of 
Gilmer, from Virginia, published in a Baltimore newspaper in 
the winter of 1843, urging annexation, was "a clap of thunder 
in a clear sky." 20 

If anything further were needed to disprove the idea that the 
Treaty proposed to the Senate in 1844 was a recent intrigue, it 
might be found in a copy of the Liberty (Mississippi) Advocate 
(Whig) for December 2, 1843, which, in an article stating that 
the contest in the Democratic party was between Calhoun and 
Van Buren, spoke of Texas annexation as a subject by no means 

18 Burgess' Middle Period, p. 295. 

l *Works of Daniel Webster (author's edition), Vol. I, p. 355. 

z Benton's Thirty Years' View, Vol. II, chap. 35. 

Presidential Campaign of 1844. Walmsley. 191 

new to southern people. In fact a somewhat careful search of 
the files of about thirty Mississippi newspapers from 1836 to 
1845 shows that the subject of annexation was never dropped 
after it was proposed at the time of the battle of San Jacinto. 
No Mississippi Whig paper, which the writer has read, made use 
of the charge of intrigue during the campaign. 

In a non-political fourth of July oration delivered at Natchez 
before the "Natchez Fencibles" by Wm. Mason Giles, Texas is 
linked with the movements in Europe: 

"The revolutionary spirit has gone forth and will go forth; it was felt 
in revolutionary France, and shook the thrones of Europe to the centre 
Poland caught its spirit, and poured out her blood like water, in its sup- 
port South America echoed the strains in shouts of victory Greece was 
renewed with its vivifying power, and it lighted the 'Lone Star' of Texas 
with an undying lustre." 

Another illustration of the Mississippi feeling in regard to 
Texas is that in Governor Brown's inaugural address in 1844, 
on the verge of the Presidential campaign. He speaks at length 
on the subject of Texas, but does not allude to the tariff. 21 

Various Whig papers kept during the whole campaign a 
standing headline from one of Clay's letters, showing that he 
was not unalterably opposed to annexation. It was this feeling 
for annexation that soon put the Whig papers in Mississippi on 
the defensive, and made the gist of their argument tend to prove 
that Clay was as good as Polk and Polk as bad as Clay. This 
was shifting the burden of proof with a vengeance, and was 
another illustration of the Democratic wisdom in not bringing 
forward a candidate with a troublesome record. 

The strong Texas feeling in Mississippi was supposed to have 
affected as pronounced a Whig as Prentiss, and a rumor was 
circulated that he would desert Clay on this account. He found 
it necessary to publish the following letter in the Vicksburg 
Whig, which will not only show the feeling of the Whig party, 
but will also illustrate their unwillingness to commit themselves 
definitely on a future policy for Texas: 32 

" * * * I look upon the Whig cause as far more important than the 
Texas question, and would rather see that cause triumphant, and Mr. Clay 
elected, than to witness the annexation to the United States of all the 

I1 Speeches and Writings of How. A. G. Brown, p. 65. 
* 3 Memoirs of S. S. Prentiss, Vol. II, p. 315. 

192 Mississippi Historical Society. 

territory between here and Patagonia. I believe the question of annexa- 
tion, as now presented, to be a mere party question, brought forward 
expressly to operate on the Presidential election, and that it ought not 
to have the slightest influence upon the course, or action, of any member 
of the Whig party. Indeed the ground taken upon it in this quarter, 
that those who support Mr. Clay are unfavorable to Southern institutions, 
and opposed to Southern interests, is as insulting as it is false, and should 
arouse an honest indignation in the breast of every true Whig. * * * 
"And if I should ever turn Locofoco on the question of the immediate 
annexation of Texas, I will support John Tyler, and not James K. Polk." 

The last clause of this letter refers to a distinction made by 
Prentiss between Democrats and Locofocos. Students of history 
are aware of the origin of the term locofoco in a New York con- 
vention, but as used by Prentiss it meant radical. He spoke of 
locofocoism as lawlessness, and found the distinction of terms 
very convenient at times. In his great Natchez speech in 1844 
he roundly abused the opposition as locofocos, and, when called 
to account by some of his Democratic friends, said that he had 
great respect for simon-pure Democrats, but that it was these 
new radicals that he had to villify. 

Few people aided more in the acquisition of Texas than 
Robert J. Walker, United States Senator from Mississippi from 
1835 to 1845. This was recognized by the people of Texas, and 
he was asked to allow his bust to adorn their capitol. His 
answer shows how the people of the State felt: 

"In my own name and for my poor services I could not accept your 
proposition. It was as a representative of the people of Mississippi that 
I moved and advocated in consonance with my own feeling and judgment 
the recognition of your independence. My name must soon be forgotten 
in connection with this or any other transaction, but be it long remem- 
bered that it was a representative of the State of Mississippi, who, in the 
hour of your deepest gloom and danger, predicted your success, when not 
a voice in Congress had been raised in your behalf." 23 

Some time previous to this, soon after he entered the Senate, 
he said in reference to aiding in the resistance to Mexican forces 
in Texas: 

"Sir, the people of the Mississippi valley could never have permitted 
Santa Anna and his myrmidons to retain the dominion of Texas." 

In the spring of 1844, before the National Convention, the 
people of Mississippi nominated Walker for Vice-President, and 
the people of Carroll County, Kentucky, asked him to express 
his views on the admission of Texas. This called out his famous 

2S Leftwich's "Robert J. Walker," Pub. Miss. Hist. Society, VI, p. 365. 

Presidential Campaign of 1844. Walmsky. 193 

"Texas Letter," which, in a large degree, formed the basis of 
the policy on which Texas was later admitted. 21 It is exceed- 
ingly interesting to note that, though a slaveholder, and one 
whom Claiborne calls an ultra radical southerner, 26 he advocated 
the admission of Texas as a free State, as a safety valve for the 
disposal of negroes, who could then work their way over the 
line into Mexico, where their color would be no bar to their 
success in life. 

The charge was made by Prentiss 2 ' that Walker used two 
editions of his "letter," one for the North, emphasizing his idea 
of a free Texas, and the other for the South, without this em- 
phasis. One of the most dramatic features of the campaign was 
the speech of Prentiss at Rodney. It was in the course of this 
speech that Fulkerson found himself near a devout Methodist 
lady, wife of a leading Democrat of Rodney, who with stream- 
ing eyes and uplifted hands said, "Oh, that he were a preacher!" 
He had copies of Walker's two letters, and after showing their 
alleged inconsistency, dashed them together, calling them "the 
acid and alkali vanishing into frosty nothingness," and then 
suddenly fainted and fell to the floor. 27 

If it is true that Mr. Walker had garbled his Texas letter to 
suit both sections, it did not seem to impress Northern people 
in that way. John Reed, Whig Lieutenant-Governor of Mas- 
sachusetts, wrote to the New York Tribune 2 * denouncing the 
letter of Mr. Walker as a "bold and ingenious appeal to ignorance 
and prejudice, and a slander upon the free negroes;" and con- 
tinued by describing Mr. Walker as the "President-maker, the 
master spirit who dictated and controlled the measures and 
results of the Baltimore convention." 

On the i zth of September, 1844, the citizens of Columbus, 
Mississippi, gave a barbecue in honor of Mr. Walker, and Con- 
gressman Wm. M. Gwin took occasion in his letter to the com- 
mittee of invitation to review briefly "some of the measures for 
the benefit of our State and of the West introduced by Senator 


2B Claiborne, Miss, as a Prov., Ter., and State, Vol I 411 

^Memoirs S. S. Prentiss, Vol. II, 330; Shields's Life and Times of S S 
Prentiss, p. 348. 

"Fulkerson, Early Days in Mississippi, p. 108. 
"N. Y. Tribune, July 6, 1844. 

i.Q4 Mississippi Historical Society. 

Walker, and most of which have become laws, and all of which 
Mr. Clay has strenuously opposed." He continued, "He [Mr. 
Clay] is opposed to us on the subjects of the tariff, of the public 
lands, and the annexation of Texas." The greater part of 
Mr. Gwin's letter is taken up with references to the settlers on 
preempted lands, whom Mr. Clay had opposed and had called a 
"lawless rabble;" and he concluded "that there is not a single 
measure calculated, in my judgment, to promote the welfare of 
the people of Mississippi and the new states of the West, which 
Mr. Clay has not uniformly and zealously opposed, and Colonel 
Polk as warmly and constantly advocated and supported." 

While Mississippi was a thorough slave State, it is evident 
that the people of the State had not advanced as far as Mr. 
Calhoun had by this time, or as Mr. Stephens had by 1861, far 
enough to believe that slavery per se was not only right, but 
was a positive blessing. In 1843 a case was brought before the 
High Court of Errors and Appeals, involving that clause of the 
Constitution of 1832 which forbade the importation of negroes 
as merchandise or for sale after the first day of May, 1833. 
The Supreme Court of the United States had previously decided, 
in a case involving the Mississippi Constitution, that this con- 
stitutional provision, without further legislation, was not an 
effective prohibition. The Mississippi court, in a decision 
handed down by Chief Justice Sharkey, March 29, 1843, held that 
the prohibition was effective. The court went on to say in 
regard to the Convention of 1832 that "its design was evidently 
to protect the people against a supposed evil. A time was fixed 
when this evil should be prohibited." This decision seems to 
have met with general approval, and was reprinted by request 
of the members of the bar. 

Of course abolition was as foreign to the Whigs in Mississippi 
as to the Democrats. It seems strange now to read more than 
once in the Liberty (Mississippi) Advocate the charge that the 
Democrats were trying to bring in Texas as a free State, and 
thus encourage abolition. The Independent Democrat (Canton), 
December 4th, quotes from a New Orleans' letter: 

"Little Jimmy Polk has been placed in the Presidential chair by the 
combination of abolition and foreign votes, with a regular i ystem of 
fraud by the locofoco .party throughout the United States." 

Presidential Campaign of 1844. Walmsley. 195 

There is one reason for believing that the campaign of 1844 
did not arouse the people as other campaigns had done. So far 
as the writer can find, there were no duels fought among the 
leading participants in the canvass, and that in a country and 
time when duels were "plenty as blackberries." The "code of 
honor" was the established manner of settling any difference 
that went far enough to impugn either participant's motives. 
The feeling is well illustrated by an expression of General Foote 
in his Casket of Reminiscences. One gentleman slapped another's 
jaws, "who, unfortunately, at the moment, having lost his pres- 
ence of mind, made no attempt to retaliate." Just before the 
period treated in this article, a large public meeting was held in 
Vicksburg, at which resolutions were adopted upholding the 
practice of duelling, and recommending this method of settling 
disputes among men of honor. 29 Readers of Mark Twain will 
remember how Judge Driscoll felt absolutely disgraced because 
his son had taken a case of assault and battery to court instead 
of settling it as a gentleman. 

But during the campaign a different sentiment sprang up. 
It developed that while Mr. Clay had fought several duels 
Mr. Polk had never fought one. The Democratic papers ac- 
cordingly became very pronounced in their condemnation of 
duelling, and especially condemned Dr. William Winans, an 
eminent Methodist minister, for opening Clay meetings with 
prayer. This newspaper sermonizing is supposed to have done 
something towards arousing the feeling against duelling. 

No other period in the State's history has been so fruitful in 
the organization of newspapers. Among the many organized 
in this year was Harry of the West, established by J. J. Choate, Jr., 
at Grenada, in March. This continued after the election for a 
few years, but, in April, 1846, when it became clear that the 
title no longer represented a living issue, it was sold and became 
a "neutral" paper under the editorship of J. Fred Simmons. 

About the time of this campaign the brilliant and ill-starred 
Col. Alexander McClung established the True Issue, a Whig 
newspaper, at Jackson. It was considered one of the most ably 
edited papers in the Southwest. Colonel McClung's writings on 
the National Bank and the tariff were deservedly famous over 

"Foote, Casket of Reminiscences, p. 186. 

196 Mississippi Historical Society. 

the country. Prentiss is said to have used numerous extracts 
from these editorials in his northern campaign. 30 

Another interesting feature of this campaign is that Gen. 
Henry S. Foote, later the malignant enemy of Jefferson Davis, 
canvassed the State in company with Davis, and was an elector 
on the same ticket with Davis. Foote was the better in com- 
bative argument, but Davis excelled him in methodical and 
eloquent treatment of a subject. Foote is considered to have 
been rather worsted in his encounters with Judge John I. Guion 
and Gen. Alexander Bradford, while Davis established a reputa- 
tion for oratory which was never dimmed thereafter. 81 

The result of the campaign is well known. As in all the other 
states, a few votes would have changed the result. It is con- 
sidered that the canvass of Davis and Foote did more to regain 
Mississippi to the Democrats than any other one cause. Need- 
less to say, Mr. Birney, the Liberty candidate, received no votes 
in Mississippi. Polk had 25,126, Clay 19,206. It is interesting 
to notice that the Yazoo Democrat, established August 10, 1844, 
in its first issue predicted 7,000 majority for Polk in Mississippi. 

Good Whigs believed that all was lost; in Mississippi, as in 
Kentucky, strong men cried like children. Prentiss wrote: 

"I am perfectly disgusted with the result of the election; and almost 
despair of the Republic. Still there is some hope. The Whig party is 
really stronger now than it has been since the time of Washington. We 
have been beaten by the basest frauds and corruption, but the Locofoco 
party contains the elements of its own destruction. My advice is that 
the Whigs fight on manfully, under the same name, and for the same 
principles. If locofocoism cannot be conquered, then the experiment of 
free government has failed. The Whigs embrace three-fourths of the 
intelligence, moral character, and property of the United States and also 
a majority of the qualified votes. These seem to me to be strong elements 
of success." 32 

Not all Whigs took it so seriously. The Liberty Advocate, 
one of the ablest of the Whig papers, had been sanguine of 
Clay's success, but in its first issue after the result was known 
was able to publish the following doggerel: 

"Hark, from the pines 33 a doleful sound, 

Mine ears, attend the cry; 
Ye living Whigs, come view the ground, 
Where all your coons do lie. 

3 "Foote, Casket of Reminiscences, p. 439. 

31 Reuben Davis, Recollections of Mississippi and Mississippians, p. 192. 

s *Memoirs of S. S. Prentiss, Vol. II, p. 339. 

33 Piney woods. 

Presidential Campaign of 1844. Walmsley. 197 

Coonies! this Clay will be your bed, 

In spite of all your braggers ; 
The old, the wise, the reverend heads, 

Have all got the blind staggers." 

This campaign was as much distinguished for its humorous 
verses as the previous one for its log cabins, hard cider, and coons. 
Two samples may be given from the large number found in the 
periodicals of the day. The Oxford Observer, for June 13, 1844, 
has the following: 

"The coon that once through Whiggies' halls, 

The soul of music shed, 
Now crawls as mute on Whiggies' walls, 
As if that coon were dead." 

The Mississippi Free Trader (Natchez) republished an article 
from the Transcript (Providence, R. I.) stating that all the negro 
voters there seven hundred would vote for Clay, and adds: 

"De niggar vote am quite surprising, 
We's all for Clay and Frelinghuysing." 

The Mississippi Democrat (Carrollton) , in its first number, 
December 17, 1844, makes merry over the "carriage already 
built and sent to bring the Whig President-elect to Washington." 

The year 1844 may be considered one of the crucial years in 
our Nation's annals. That year saw, for the only time in our 
history, the annexation of a great territory submitted to the 
free votes of the American people, and while in other states 
besides Mississippi local questions must have influenced the 
decision, yet it was unquestionably the will of the people that 
was carried out when Texas became a part of our dominion in 
1845. I n the train of this came events already foreshadowed. 
In May, 1844, the General Conference of the Methodist Church 
took steps that led to the division of that denomination into 
Northern and Southern branches. Out of the questions con- 
nected with the organization of the lands acquired from Mexico 
came feelings which culminated in the Civil War. Yet there are 
few people to-day who would on sober thought reverse the 
decision of the polls in November, 1844, and no one who would 
wish to repudiate the honorable part played in this campaign 
by the orators and statesmen of Mississippi. 





John Wesley Monette was born of Huguenot parentage at 
Staunton, Va., April 5, 1803.' In his infancy his family settled 
at Chillicothe, Ohio, where he was reared and educated. In his 
eighteenth year he completed the course of study prescribed in 
the Chillicothe Academy, which was then recognized as "the 
first institution of its grade northwest of the Ohio." He showed 
an early fondness for all kinds of literary work. In fact he was 
so much attached to all of his studies that it is impossible to say 
which of them afforded him the greatest pleasure. He was no 
less proficient in literature and the classics than in mathematics 
and the natural sciences. He prized his Iliad and other text- 
books which he used at Chillicothe so highly that they remained 
in his library throughout his life, some of them being used by 
his son at college in 1862. 

In the year 1821 his father, Dr. Samuel Monette, 2 removed to 
the then flourishing town of Washington, the early capital of 
Mississippi, where he engaged in the practice of medicine. He 
also directed the early professional studies of his son, who had 
decided to become a physician. Four years later, March 21, 
1825, John Wesley Monette received his diploma from Transyl- 
vania University, at Lexington, Ky. He immediately returned 
home and resumed the practice of his profession, which he had 
engaged in some time before the completion of his medical course. 

'William Monette, grandfather of the subject of this sketch, married 
a daughter of William Wayland. To them were born two sons, Samuel 
and William. Samuel had seven sons and one daughter. All of the sons 
except John Wesley and James died young. James Monette became a 
planter at Bastrop, La., where he died in 1897 at the age of eighty-eight. 
The daughter of Samuel Monette, Ann Eliza, became the wife of J. W. 
Goodloe of Kentucky. William, the brother of Samuel Monette, settled 
near Greensboro, Ala., where some of his descendants still live. One of 
his sons, James Monette, a planter and merchant, lived in Mobile, Ala. 

2 Among the Monette manuscripts is a volume entitled "Poetical Essays 
on Sundry Important Subjects m Divinity, both Doctrinal and Argu- 
mentative," by Samuel Monette, "Elder in the Methodist E. Church and 
Practicing Physician in the town of Chillicothe." The first poem in this 
book (here called Essay ist) and the only one in the hand-writing of 
Dr. Samuel Monette, contains 632 lines and bears an elaborate title, which 
reads in part as follows: "On Immortality and Fallen State of the World " 
etc. ( Ip9) 

200 Mississippi Historical Society. 

On December 10, 1828, he married Cornelia Jane Newman, 
daughter of George and Charlotte Newman. 3 To this union 
were born ten children, but only four survived childhood Dr. 
George N. Monette, a citizen of New Orleans; A. C. Monette, 
who died in Tallulah, La., where his family now resides; 4 Mrs. 
Anna Monette Brandon, who died in Natchez several years ago, 5 
and Maria Louise Monette., of New Orleans, La. 

Dr. John W. Monette was a student by nature, and, although 
he was actively and successfully engaged in an exacting profes- 
sion, he never lost interest in literary work. He had a large 
and well selected library , composed principally of works on med- 
icine, history, geography, geology and theology. In order to 
gratify his taste for research, he found it necessary to economize 
the spare moments of time which are wasted by many people 
without a thought of their value in the aggregate. To him 
idleness seemed almost a crime. 

His temperament seemed to combine traits that are more or 
less contradictory. He was warm-hearted, courteous and genial, 
yet reserved, austere and exacting. He was not irascible, but 
was strenuous in a just cause. His habits were most exemplary. 
He lived at a time when the use of tobacco and intoxicating 
drinks was widespread, yet he abstained from both. He was 
strictly religious, being for years an officer in the Methodist 
church. His fondness for his home and his strong attachment 
to his large family made his domestic life a source of constant 
pleasure. He enjoyed public debate, and when engaged therein 
drew liberally upon his great fund of information to the pleasure 
and profit of his hearers. He cared little for formal social func- 
tions, and found little time for social intercourse of any kind. 
As he was not fond of any kind of sport, he usually spent his lim- 
ited periods of recreation in his garden or orchard, where he 

3 George Newman was a native of Essex County, Massachusetts. Char- 
lotte Newman was one of nine children of Robert Dunbar, a native of 
Scotland, who came to America about 1770, and of Ann Beaver Dunbar, 
a native of Virginia. One of their granddaughters became the wife of 
Col. J. F. H. Claiborne. 

4 One of A. C. Monette's daughters married a gentleman by the name of 
Johnson, who lives in Seattle, Wash. 

5 Anna Monette became the wife of Dr. Jas. C. Brandon, second son of 
Gerard C. Brandon, one of the governors of Mississippi. She became the 
mother of Gerard Brandon, an attorney at Natchez, and of Hamilton 
Brandon of New Orleans, and of five daughters, Misses Cornelia, Anna, 
Louise, Margaret and Ella Brandon. 

Literary Services of Dr. John W. Monette. Riley. 201 

combined physical exertion with study of the nature of plant 

Dr. Monette was also a man of affairs and touched life at many 
points. He was in turn a trustee of Jefferson College and mayor 
and councilman of the town of Washington. He was a success- 
ful financier, as is shown by the fact that he accumulated large 
property interests and was successfully engaged in cotton cul- 
ture. He cared little for public life, but felt a deep interest in 
the administration of public affairs. 

In 1823, shortly after Dr. Monette began the study of med- 
icine, an epidemic of yellow fever broke out in Natchez and was 
soon conveyed to the town of Washington, which is only six miles 
distant. This afforded the young medical student an excellent 
opportunity to study the disease as it appeared in his father's 
practice. Two years later, soon after his graduation, a more 
fatal epidemic of yellow fever visited Natchez and Washington, 
both towns being well-nigh depopulated. This epidemic 
afforded to Dr. Monette and his life-long friend, Dr. Cartwright, 
their first opportunity to acquire distinction in their profession. 
In referring to their essays" on the subject of yellow fever which 
were written at that time and subsequently, a contributor to 
DeBow's Review says that they "soon placed their reputation 
among the best contributors to the medical literature of the day 
and secured for them both a practice always lucrative, and 
which, it is believed, never waned while they chose to attend 
it." 7 On December 2, 1837, Dr. Monette read before the Jeffer- 
son College and Washington Lyceum an interesting paper, 
entitled "The Epidemic Yellow Fevers of Natchez," in which 
he suggested the use of quarantines in restricting the disease. 
This contribution was published by the Lyceum in its official 
organ, the Southwestern Journal.* A copy of this essay was 
presented to each selectman of the town of Natchez. 8 In refer- 

6 An article by Dr. Monette entitled "Yellow Fever of Washington, 
Mississippi," will be found in the Western Medical and Physical Journal 
(Vol. I, pp. 73-85), published at Cincinnati, beginning with the year 1827. 

'See DeDow's Review, Volume XI, page 93. 

8 See Southwestern Journal, Volume I, Nos. 5, 6, 7, and 10. The sub- 
title of this periodical as given on the cover reads as follows: "A Maga- 
zine of Science, Literature, and Miscellany. Published semi-monthly by 
the Jefferson College and Washington Lyceum." The first issue bears 
the date December 15, 1837. 

"See Mississippi Free Trader, October 21, 1841. 

2O2 Mississippi Historical Society. 

ring to this series of articles by Dr. Monette, the Mississippi 
Free Trader of March 30, 1838, says that had his quarantine 
"theory been known and received before the epidemic of last 
autumn it might have saved hundreds of lives." The return of 
the epidemic in 1839 gave Dr. Monette an opportunity to con- 
tinue his investigations. He shortly afterwards published a 
small volume, entitled Observations on the Epidemic Yellow 
Fevers of Natchez and the Southwest from 1817 to 1839. When 
the next yellow fever epidemic broke out in New Orleans 
in the summer of 1841 Dr. Monette had the pleasure of seeing 
his quarantine theory put to a test. 10 The gratifying result of 
this experiment is forcibly expressed in the following extract 
from the Mississippi Frev Trader of October 21, 1841. 

"The blessing of extraordinary health, which has peculiarly distin- 
guished our beautiful city the past summer and the present autumn, we 
vtnhesitatingly attribute to the enforcing of the quarantine. * * * 
The disease surrounds us -in New Orleans, in the towns on 'the coast,' 
and in our sister city, Vicksburg." 

This article continues with a history of Dr. Monette's services, 
which led to the enforcement of the quarantine. It is claimed 
that this was the first time that an attempt was ever made to 
control the spread of yellow fever by means of quarantine, and 
that to Dr. Monette is due the credit of originating this method 
of restricting the disease. 

The successful result of Dr. Monette's quarantine experiment 
increased the demand for articles from his pen dealing with the 
subject of yellow fever. In the winter of 1842-3 he contributed 
a series of papers on this subject to the Western Journal of Med- 
icine and Surgery, published at Louisville, Ky. The following 
notice of these articles was published in the columns of the Free 

"Any one would be more than compensated for the price of subscrip- 
tion by the very luminous and convincing articles of our fellow-citizen, 

10 The following extract is taken from the Mississippi Free Trader of 
August 26, 1841: "Yellow Fever. The increase of this disease in New 
Orleans and the probability of its becoming an epidemic render it neces- 
sary that our City Council should put the quarantine laws in force at once. 
Every day's delay renders the project less useful. If the experiment is 
to be tried it ought to be done immediately. Although there are many 
who believe that a quarantine can effect nothing, yet we think it ought 
to be tried. It can be productive of no evil, and certainly no means 
should be left untried to guard our city against this dreadful scourge." 

Literary Services of Dr. John W. Monette. Riley. 203 

Dr. John W. Monette, on yellow fever, which are being published in the 

"So far as we are able to judge, the Doctor handles the subject with great 
ability, exhibiting close observation, deep research and discrimination. 
He examines thoroughly the theories and arguments advanced in favor 
of the domestic origin of yellow fever in our seaports and inland towns, 
and shows them, as we think, to be unreasonable and fallacious. The 
article, we perceive, is to be continued in subsequent numbers of the 
Journal. Those who have adopted the repulsive opinion that our pleasant 
plantations on the Mississippi generate this pestilential disease will, * * * 
unprejudiced by the ipse dixit of medical teachers, peruse the clear details 
and convincing arguments contained in these numbers; and we think 
that they will agree that the yellow fever may be excluded from all the 
towns on the Mississippi River, as it was the past season from Natchez. 
We noted some weeks since that Prof. Dickinson of Charleston, S. C., a 
distinguished member of the faculty, and formerly an advocate of the 
domestic origin of yellow fever, had declared his convictions to be 'in 
favor of the views advanced by Dr. Monette.' We are not sufficiently 
informed to set ourselves up as judges in the matter, but we confess that 
all the doubts that we ever entertained on the subject have been removed 
by the strong array of facts and the plain, common-sense arguments and 
deductions of the Doctor." 11 

In 1851 a writer in DeBow's Review says that as a result of 
Dr. Monette's quarantine method Natchez has not had an epi- 
demic of yellow fever since 1839, "while all the villages, above 
and below, small and great, have been several times severely 
scourged by it." ia 

Dr. Monette's other contributions to the science of medicine 
are numerous and interesting. The Western Medical Journal of 
June, 1827, refers to his use of oil of turpentine as an external 
irritant, particularly in the treatment of typhus fever, in lan- 
guage that would lead the reader to suppose that he was a 
pioneer in the use of this now familiar remedy. His other con- 
tributions to medical reviews are too numerous and technical to 
be given in detail in this connection. 

Dr. Monette's earlier literary efforts outside the field of pro- 
fessional contributions seem to have been directed principally 

"Mississippi Free Trader, January 5, 1842. The article from which 
the above extract is taken ends with the definitions of two important ele- 
ments of disease, quoted from Doctor Monette's paper: 

"i. Contagion is a poisonous material, capable of exciting a peculiar 
disease in healthy bodies exposed to its influence, and emanating with that 
capacity or power at all times and under all ordinary circumstances from 
a body laboring under that peculiar disease. 

"2 Infection is some noxious, gaseous matter, capable of exciting cer- 
tain kinds of fever, and not emanating in that form, having the power of 
exciting the disease from some property assumed after it has emanated 
from a diseased body. Such is the infection of yellow fever " 

"DeBow's Review, Vol. XI, p. 93. 

2O4 Mississippi Historical Society. 

to the subject of natural history. As early as 1824 he prepared 
a carefully written "essay" of 201 manuscript pages "on the 
Causes of the Variety of the Complexion and the Form of the 
Human Species." 13 This paper seems to have been prepared 
largely for his own entertainment, with a probable purpose of 
its ultimate publication. It was afterwards rewritten and 
enlarged, the final copy covering 249 manuscript pages of letter- 
size paper. In this essay he attempts to show the primitive 
unity of the human race and to prove that racial differences can 
be accounted for by the influence of environmental conditions. 
He considers man as an independent species and rejects the 
hypothesis of certain philosophers that there is a close analogy 
between man and the simia tribe. He shows the effect of climate 
and natural surroundings on complexion, corporeal development, 
language, hair, etc., and fortifies his contention by citing parallel 
effects upon the lower animals. He also traces the influences 
of "state of society and manner of living," fashion, and of other 
"artificial" conditions upon different races, and compares them 
to analogous influences shown by domestication of animals and 
plants. He admits that there are at rare intervals certain 
"aberrations of nature," regardless of the uniformity of surround- 
ing conditions. 

The writer of this essay shows extensive and accurate infor- 
mation upon the races of the earth and gives evidence of a thor- 
ough study of the authorities available to him. 14 He also shows 

1 3 The writer of this sketch acknowledges with pleasure his obligations 
to Dr. T. P. Bailey and Dr. W. S. Leathers, of the faculty of the Univer- 
sity of Mississippi, for valuable assistance in the treatment of the scientific 
writings of Doctor Monette. 

1 4 In order to give the reader a conception of the contents of Doctor 
Monette's library, a list of the authorities cited by him in this essay is 
here given. It is as follows : Sparks' Life of Ledyard; Goldsmith's Animal 
Nature; Guthrie's Geography; Acerbi's Travels; Lord Kaim's Sketches of 
Man; Malte Brun's Umversal Geography; Edinburgh Encyclopedia; 
Lavoisne's Historical Atlas; Madden's Travels in Turkey, Egypt, Nubia 
and Palestine; Denham and Clapperton's Travels; Doctor Smith's Essay 
on Variety of Human Species; Medical Repository; McKensie's Voyages; 
Dr. James Johnson's Tropical Climate; Buffon's Natural History; Medical 
Inquiries; Rapel's Nubia and Abyssinia; Russell's History of Egypt; Lan- 
der's Travels in Africa; Gillie's History of the World; Brooks' Gazeteer; 
Dwight's Travels in New England; Dwight's History of American Indians; 
Historical Dictionary; Buchanan's Researches in Asia; Smith's Journal of 
Missionary Voyage to the Pacific; Dampier's Voyages; Keat's Account of 
the Pacific Islands; Transactions of the Royal Society of London; Milman's 
History of the Jews; Richerand's Physiology; Bichat's General Anatomy; 
Wilke's History of the South of India; Pan's Medical Dictionary; Nichol- 

Literary Services of Dr. John W. Monette. Riley. 205 

a discriminative grasp of his subject and not a little skill in 
arranging his well-chosen facts to make out his case. Although 
he seems to show that faith in environmental influences so 
strongly held by Herbert Spencer a quarter of a century later, 
he is not at all lacking in appreciation of what Darwin later 
called "spontaneous variations." For instance, one section of 
Dr. Monette's essay bears the heading, "Fortuitous Aberrations 
and Partial Peculiarities." The use he makes of this principle 
in accounting for the existence of the negro race is perhaps more 
interesting than scientific. He suggests that one of the sons of 
Ham was "preternaturally black, with wooly and curled hair, 
and with other negro features." This original "aberration" 
married a woman with similar physical features, which helped 
to accentuate and perpetuate in his offspring the peculiarities 
of his father, until in course of time it produced a distinct racial 
type. It is easy to smile at the author's naivett, but has he 
not in principle followed the Darwinian method of helping out 
natural selection by means of spontaneous variation ? 

Climate is regarded by Dr. Monette as the most potent factor 
in working changes and affecting varieties. He classified the 
peoples of the earth according to climatic zones or belts. In this 
part of his researches he anticipated by more than eighty years 
an important phase of biological study, known as ecology. To 
aid him in the study of the effects of climate on color, he had a 
series of maps prepared which embraced all countries and the 
islands of the sea. Each body of land was colored so as to show 
the exact complexion of its native inhabitants at the beginning 
of its history. We are informed that these maps were intended 
only for private use and not for publication. 16 

The details and facts pertaining to the influence of climate on 
corporeal and mental development, as given by Dr. Monette, 
seem to be sound and convincing. It is evident that tem- 
perament, sensibility, mental development, period of puberty, 

son's Encyclopedia; Darwin's Zoonomia; Acerbi's Travels in Lapland; 
Robertson's History of Charles V; Burns' Obstetrics; Good's Study of Med- 
icine; Rees' Cyclopedia; Good's Variety of Human Species; Paris' Pharma- 
colpgia; Smith's Introduction to Botany; Report of Committee for Consid- 
ering of Slave Trade, 1789; LeMaire's Voyage to Cape Verde, Gambia, and 
Senegal; Haller's Elements of Physiology; Chapman's Medical and Phys- 
ical Journal. 

Review, Vol. XI, p. 96. 

206 Mississippi Historical Society. 

together with corporeal development, are materially affected by 
extrinsic causes. It is clear that many principles published by 
Darwin in 1869, in the widely recognized literary prize of the 
last century, The Origin of Species, were stated by Dr. Monette 
in a hypothetical way thirty-five years earlier. One of these 
writers based his conclusions on deductive and the other on 
inductive reasoning. Darwin's book was the result of twenty 
years of the most painstaking effort, the product of a profound 
study of nature, and the principles which he presented are there- 
fore more definite, convincing and scientific than are those given 
by Dr. Monette. This comparison is here made to show that 
Dr. Monette possessed many profound conceptions of nature 
and her laws and had acquired the power of logical reasoning 
and keen discrimination, as well as the ability to draw accurate 
scientific conclusions. 

Although Dr. Monette shows a reverent regard for the Scrip- 
tures, he is not inclined to accept them as scientific authorities. 
He is glad to find his conclusions corroborated by the ancient 
writer of Genesis, but is not led to his conclusions by an attempt 
to square his facts with Genesis. 

Dr. Monette's view that variations of the human stature 
become obliterated by inter-marriage, unless peculiarities of 
environment accentuate them, is very probably an independent 
statement of a conclusion scientifically arrived at by Galton and 
others during the seventies. His reference to the occasional 
production of "curly -haired" cattle and "frizzled" chickens 
indicate his tendency to reason from his own observation as well 
as from data furnished by others. 

Summing up our estimate of this essay, we may characterize 
it as the work of a keen observer, with scientific spirit and 
method and with philosophic breadth of mind, who might have 
achieved important results through scientific investigation had 
suitable opportunities come to him. His patience, industry, 
logical acumen and open-mindedness are manifest on almost 
every page of this interesting production. An excellent sum- 
mary of this essay is given at the conclusion, beginning on page 
248. It reads as follows : 

"In the preceding pages we have seen the powerful effects of climate 
as produced in a change of complexion from fair to brown and black and 

Literary Services of Dr. John W. Monette. Riley. 207 

vice versa. * * * We have seen also that corporeal development, 
form, constitution and intellectual vigour are modified by climate, and 
that the same or corresponding influences are exerted upon all inferior 
animals and plants. We have seen likewise the extensive influence of art, 
customs and manner of living on both the physical and intellectual natures 
of man ; also the corresponding effects of culture upon animals and plants. 
We have shown how extensive may be the influence of these causes in 
producing diversities among men ; we have further shown the numerous 
fortuitous aberrations of nature in effecting partial peculiarities, which 
may or may not be perpetuated. All those tend forcibly to prove that 
the diversities of the human family are the results of adventitious causes 
operating subsequently to the primitive creation. 

"When we reflect upon the great flexibility of the nature of man and 
the great variety of modifying influences to which he is subject, and to 
which he has been subject for nearly six thousand years, we are sur- 
prised that the diversity is not more extensive than it is that some 
striking monstrosities have not been propagated until a race of monsters 
was produced. The impartial philosopher will be far from carping and 
quibbling at trivial peculiarities when he considers the endless variety of 
adventitious influences to which man is constantly exposed. He sees 
that it is both rational and consistent with the established order of nature, 
and he sees the same confirmed by analogy through the whole of the 
animal and vegetable kingdoms. This he sees, exclusive of the testimony 
of revelation, which declares, in most unequivocal language, to our reason 
as well as to our faith, that the human family are descended from a prim- 
itive unity and identity of origin." 

Another paper belonging to the early period of Dr. Monette's 
literary activity bears the title "Essay on the Improbability of 
Spontaneous Production of Animals and Plants." This contri- 
bution is also found in manuscript form and was probably never 
published. It is a very readable paper, and is decidedly inter- 
esting even at this time when the evidence against spontaneous 
production has become overwhelming. In order to appreciate 
it the reader must bear in mind the fact that when it was written 
the science of biology was not in existence and natural history 
held the field. Dr. Monette's naturalist spirit is, however, as 
valuable, nay necessary, to-day as it was eighty years ago. 
Indeed, fairly educated people of to-day gape in wonder over 
the "spontaneous" origin of plants in a burned-over district, the 
raining down of fish and the like. 

The subject is discussed under the following heads: i, Pre- 
liminary remarks; 2, Analysis of the doctrine; 3, Progressive 
sexuality and generation; 4, A discussion of those forms of life 
whose existence was accounted for by the doctrine of spontaneous 
production; 5, Seeds of cryptogamic plants; 6, The dissemina- 
tion of seeds of phanerogamic plants; 7, The application of 

208 Mississippi Historical Society. 

these principles to explain the appearance of new plants in dif- 
ferent and in many cases isolated places. 

The introduction to the paper shows that the author had an 
accurate conception of the principles and laws underlying and 
governing the various forms of animal and plant life. During 
the early part of the last century the advocates of spontaneous 
generation were enthusiastic and persistent in their belief that 
the lower forms of life owe their origin to equivocal or fortuitous 
generations, but the writer of this paper shows by the following 
statement that he is somewhat in advance of the rank and file 
of his day : 

"Numerous have been the discoveries in the department of natural 
history, and the former vague and hypothetical opinions have given place 
to a more enlightened system, based upon deep research and indubitable 
facts. And that doctrine which attributes the existence of many animals, 
animalcules and plants to equivocal generations or a fortuitous combina- 
tion of particles is fast exploding before the light of reason and the advance 
of science." 

Although Dr. Monette does not argue the question from the 
experimental standpoint, he presents a strong, accurate and 
logical array of facts, based on observation and deduction. The 
paper is written in a popular style, and is, in the light of the time, 
rather a remarkable production. Twenty-five or thirty years 
later Tyndale proved by a series of careful experiments the utter 
fallacy of the doctrine of spontaneous production, but the same 
conclusion had been reached by Dr. Monette from reasoning 
based upon extensive reading, a philosophical insight and accu- 
rate observation. He seems to have been familiar with the lit- 
erature of the subject and shows decided ability in correlating 
facts in support of his position. The writer is at a loss to know 
why Dr. Monette crossed out with pencil marks each and every 
page of this essay. It is a beautiful illustration of the logical 
and scientific attitude of writers of the field-naturalist type 
before the development of experimental science. 

The first number of the Southwestern Journal contains an inter- 
esting essay read by Dr. Monette before the Jefferson College 
and Washington Lyceum on "The Limited Nature of Human 
Research." The following brief extract from this production is 
here given, because it seems to offer a clew to the explanation 
of his remarkable scientific and literary activity : 

Literary Services of Dr. John W. Monette. Riley. 209 

"A knowledge of the laws which regulate matter and spirit, so far as 
man can trace them, is called science, the attainment of which, however 
difficult and abstruse, constitutes one of the greatest intellectual pleasures 
which we can enjoy. The pleasure of discovery is in direct proportion to 
the increased difficulty of investigation. If our minds could seize upon 
principles and hidden facts with that perspicuity which angels may pos- 
sess, constituted as we are, the interest, the desire of knowledge, the nov- 
elty of discovery, the pleasure of gratified curiosity would not be ours. 
The vigorous intellect would sink into satiety and inglorious indolence. 
For the greater the mystery, the more a subject is hedged in with uncer- 
tainty and doubt, where hypothesis upon hypothesis is exhausted in the 
solution, the more attractive is it to the restless genius of man. His 
mind is continually in search of something intricate for its operation, 
something difficult to unravel, for strange as it is his mind seems dis- 
gusted with simplicity in all its forms, and turns to investigate something 
mysterious merely because it is mysterious. 

"But how humiliating to human pride to know that the most splendid 
acquirements made by the most towering genius have only been able to 
ascertain, in part, a few of the operations carried on in the universe! 
When we attempt to pry into the causes of the order and operations of 
nature we perceive beyond what at first appeared causes still other causes 
mystery upon mystery, extending in endless succession, far beyond the 
reach of our limited faculties. In the search man's strongest intellect 
might advance, were it possible, with unabated ardour, through all time, 
and still not have entered the vestibule of the great temple of knowledge. 
How humiliating to our self-pride to know that of us, who probably boast 
of our knowledge of sciences, of arts, or of a few of the languages of this 
babbling earth, not one in a thousand shall ever attain that exalted 
stand, which but few have attained, to know how ignorant we are and 
how unbounded is the field of science beyond our reach." 

Dr. Monette's place in the scientific history of our country 
must of necessity be a humble one. As most of his scientific 
productions were left unpublished, his researches produced little 
influence outside of the circle of his personal acquaintances. 
The striking similarity between his writings and those of Dr. 
John Mitchell, who lived a century earlier in Dr. Monette's 
native State, is interesting. There is no evidence, however, to 
show that Dr. Monette was aware of this fact 18 

Dr. Monette's interest in scientific subjects may have been due 
to some extent to the scientific atmosphere of his native State. 17 

The results of his diligent efforts are pathetic. He seemed to 
be completely enamored of science, but his ideals were so exalted 

1 In 1 743 Doctor Mitchell communicated to the Royal Society an essay 
on "The Causes of Different Colors of People in Different Climates." He 
also wrote a valuable contribution to medical science about the yellow 
fever epidemic of 1 737-1 742. It is thought that these points of similarity 
are not due to any conscious imitation on the part of Doctor Monette, 
since his writings contain no references to those of his predecessor. 

1 7 Between 1 780 and 1 800 Virginia had fourteen members in the American 
Philosophical Society, while Massachusetts, New York and Maryland had 
only six each and the Carolinas eight. 

2io Mississippi Historical Society. 

he could not get his consent to publish many of the treatises 
that he prepared with the greatest care from time to time. Dr. 
Monette, like Dr. W. C. Wells, recognized the theory of natural 
selection long before the publication of Darwin's great work. 18 
Unfortunately for Dr. Monette, while he felt the effects of that 
"thirst for natural sciences" which, in the words of Eaton, the 
pioneer geologist of America, pervaded "the United States like 
the progress of an epidemic," he was deprived of association with 
the scientific men of his day. In order to overcome this misfor- 
tune, he spent money more lavishly than discriminatingly for 
books. Yet the only evidence that remains of his persistent 
efforts to penetrate the secret of nature is the large batch of 
manuscripts, now yellow with age, which are prized by his son 
as a most precious family heritage. Like his great predecessor, 
William Dunbar, 19 the pioneer scientist of the Mississippi Valley, 
his name does not appear in the history of American science, 20 
yet his services entitle him to distinction in the State of his 

As early as 1833 Dr. Monette entered upon his great literary 
undertaking the writing of an elaborate work on the geography 
and history of the Mississippi Valley. His original plan embraced 
only a book on the physical geography of the Mississippi Valley, 
and he spent several years upon this work before deciding to 
enlarge it so as to embrace also the political geography and his- 
tory of this great region. His intimate friend and associate in 
scientific work, Prof. C. G. Forshey, of Jefferson College, tells us 
that in the year 1837 Dr. Monette thought that his physical 
geography was well-nigh ready for the press, and he was then 
rewriting it, inserting some additions and notes, with a view to 
its early publication. Professor Forshey adds: 

"But before he could complete his revision and copy, new information, 
which he was constantly obtaining, required to be inserted in the portions 
already completed. And in this manner the work has been rewritten 
and enlarged several times, as new information required, and so sedu- 
lously anxious was its author to give it the greatest possible perfectness 
that he could never consent to hand it over to the publishers. Meanwhile, 

18 See Origin of Species, 6th ed., pp. XV-XVII. 

19 See Publications of the Mississippi Historical Society, Vol. II. 

2 "See George Brown Goode's The Beginnings of Natural History in 
America and The Beginnings of American Science, published by the Gov- 
ernment Printing Office, Washington, 1901 (House Documents, Vol. 79, 
Pt. II, National Museum Report, 1897, Pt. II). 

Literary Services of Dr. John W. Monette. Riley. an 

he found in his travels and investigations of soil, climate, productions, 
population, settlement, and industry of the valley, that he could not 
easily separate the historical from the physical part of his work. 

"At the instance of some of his friends whose judgment he valued, but 
with some diffidence and hesitation, he undertook, about the year 1841, 
to write the History of the Valley as a separate volume of his work, but 
before it was completed he found his plan would make two large octavo 

In 1845 tne Natchez Free Trader issued a prospectus announc- 
ing that that office would publish a new work by Dr. John W. 
Monette, entitled "The Valley of the Mississippi," in two parts, 
part ist containing "the history of the discovery and settlement 
of the Mississippi Valley (in two volumes octavo, and compris- 
ing not less than 550 pages each"); part 2d containing "the 
physical geography of the Valley of the Mississippi (in two vol- 
umes octavo, comprising not less than 500 pages each)." The 
prospectus announced that the first part (two volumes) would 
be ready for the press by the fall of 1843, and that the second 
part (two volumes) would be completed for the press by the close 
of the next spring. It stated that "both portions can be pub- 
lished in the course of next year if the list of subscribers will 
justify the undertaking." 

For some unknown reason Dr. Monette changed his plan, and 
the historical part of his work was published by the Harpers in 
1846. As this pioneer work in the history of the Mississippi Val- 
ley is familiar to historical students, no attempt will be made to 
give an elaborate account of it in this connection. The appear- 
ance of the manuscripts of his history shows that this part of 
his work was done with the greatest care. If further evidence 
of this fact were necessary it could be furnished by his private 
copy of these published volumes, to which the writer of this 
paper has had access. It contains a large number of erasures, 
annotations and corrections, including in many places the addi- 
tion of valuable facts in manuscript notes. On the margins of 
these books are found a large number of entries, as follows: 
"Rewritten," "omitted," "revised," "see manuscript text," etc. 
In each case the carefully prepared manuscript texts are pasted 
in their proper places. These notes, like his other manuscripts, 
bear no evidence of haste or carelessness. His manuscripts show 

212 Mississippi Historical Society. 

that he intended to add three new chapters to this work upon 
the publication of a second edition. 21 

The first volume of this work contains a history of the Missis- 
sippi Valley prior to the acquisition of Louisiana by the United 
States. The second volume, entitled "The United States in 
the Valley of the Mississippi," contains the first comprehensive 
history of the Mississippi Valley as a whole during this period. 
The style of the author is simple and fascinating. His account 
of frontier life is full of interest. One of the most commendable 
features of the entire work is the large number of references to 
sources and authorities. There were few books of value then 
available upon the history of the Mississippi Valley which are not 
referred to in the footnotes of these volumes. The magnitude 
of Dr. Monette's undertaking and the financial outlay necessary 
to its execution will be evident to anyone who will reflect that 
the work was done before there were any great libraries in the 
Mississippi Valley and before there was any system of inter- 
library loan. 

The estimate placed upon this work at the time of its publica- 
tion is shown by the following extract from an article by the editor 
oiDeBow's Review: 

"We commend the volumes of Doctor Monette's * * * to the 
American people as the first effort to furnish a complete history of their 
great western domain and territory, most signally successful, and the 
only work at this time which can in any degree satisfy the desire of infor- 
mation which is everywhere felt." 22 

The same writer also makes the following reference to Monette's 
History : 

"This able work deserves many editions and extensive circulation in 
our country. It is the fruit of years of indefatigable research and toil. 
In its arrangement it is admirable; in its matter and execution nothing 
could be more fruitful and reliable." 23 

Dr. Monette did not live to finish the work on his physical 
geography, which treatise he seemed to think would be his most 
important contribution to knowledge. Judging from his man- 
uscripts, this work was well-nigh completed at the time of his 

2 1 One of these chapters, entitled "The Progress of Navigation and Com- 
merce on the Mississippi River and the Great Lakes, A. D. 1700-1846," 
will be found in the Publications of the Mississippi Historical Society, Vol. 
VII, pp. 479-523. 

12 DeBow's Review, Vol. IV, p. 85. 

23 Ibid., p. 36, footnote. 

Literary Services of Dr. John W. Monette. Riley. 213 

death. Anyone who reads them to-day will join with Professor 
Forshey in saying that Dr. Monette and the public were both 
losers by the failure to publish the physical geography. Pro- 
fessor Forshey's opinion of this part of Dr. Monette's contribu- 
tions to knowledge is expressed as follows : 

"The scope of the work is such as to entitle it to the name of 'Physical 
Geography" in its fullest sense. The height of mountains ; the elevation 
of plains, uplands and alluvians ; the force of torrents, their rate of fall 
and quantity of discharge; the variations of climate, its humidity, 
healthfulness, temperature, and general local meteorology; the natural 
productions of the earth, mineral and vegetable; forest trees, shrubs, 
medicinal plants and waters; agriculture and its variety of products, 
both local and general, and the mode of culture of the several great staple 
productions; the native inhabitants of the Valley, their manners, cus- 
toms, and the antiquity that marked the footsteps of the earlier races of 
men; the animals peculiar to each portion of the Valley, and the effects 
of civilization upon the native races of men and animals; the conquest, 
settlement and advance of states to their present condition of prosperity 
and enlightenment; these and analogous subjects are treated in a most 
elaborate and masterly manner, and when published will be found, we 
think, from personal examination, to form one of the most valuable works 
ever given to the public from an American hand." 24 

In order to place a proper estimate on this work it must be 
studied in the light of the time at which it was written. There 
was then no book which gave an adequate treatment of the phys- 
ical geography of the great valley of the Mississippi. The only 
works that professedly treated this subject were those by Timothy 
Flint and William Darby. The former writer, in his Geography 
of the Mississippi Valley and in his Recollections of Twelve 
Years in the Mississippi Valley gave much interesting infor- 
mation concerning the country, its physical character and the 
manners and customs of the people, but his statistics and facts 
were detailed, according to Dr. Monette, "with such careless 
inaccuracy and such looseness of language that many view it 
more as a kind of geographical romance than as a great work on 
physical geography. Hence the valuable matter contained in 
his works is so enveloped in a mass of loose verbiage, with so little 
order and system, that they can never be standard works of 
reference." 26 Darby's View of the United States treated inci- 
dentally of the Mississippi Valley, and his Louisiana as well 
as his Universal Gazeteer also contained much valuable infor- 

2t DeBow's Review, Vol. XI, p. 93. 

2 'Doctor Monette published an elaborate criticism of Flint's Geography 
of the Mississippi Valley shortly after its appearance from the press. 

214 Mississippi Historical Society. 

mation on this subject, but the matter was without that order 
of arrangement which would render it valuable as a special work 
on the Mississippi Valley. There were also many other works of 
less note which contained sketches of some portions of the Mis- 
sissippi Valley, but none that treated of the whole region in one 
great work. At the time Dr. Monette was engaged on this work 
there was a demand for an elaborate and authentic treatise on 
the geography of the Mississippi Valley, and he intended his 
books, as he said, to be "the nucleus for such an undertaking, 
which may be more extended and enlarged at some future time." 

He was peculiarly adapted for such an undertaking, having 
lived fifteen years in the Ohio region and twenty years in the 
lower valley of the Mississippi. By attentive observation, aided 
by other sources of information within his reach, he had collected, 
arranged and classified during this time much useful and inter- 
esting information relative to the geography of that important 

As he was unable to find any treatise on the subject in which 
the matter and arrangement were such as to meet his views, the 
plan of his work was new and original. 

The following extract from his manuscript preface to the 
Physical Geography will give the reader in Dr. Monette's own 
language the raison d'etre of this work: 

"In the following chapters the author has adopted an arrangement 
which is new, and which, so far as he is aware, has not been heretofore 
adopted. The division of the subject into river regions is one which gives 
the reader a more comprehensive and at the same time a more detailed 
narration of the physical character of any particular section of this great 

"The physical details of important tributaries, as well as of the great 
parent stream, are such as most investigating readers desire to inquire 
into, although in most works upon this subject these points are entirely 
overlooked or are but imperfectly touched. In the latest works no cer- 
tain information is given of such important rivers as the Washita, the 
Tensas, or the St. Francis. In the last gazeteer by Smith such rivers are 
barely named. 

"Mr. Darby, the indefatigable western geographer, in his View of the 
United States, as well as his Universal Gazeteer, has given much of this kind 
of information in the numerous tables which he has prepared and arranged 
upon this subject ; yet in his general description of rivers he is often vague 
and indefinite. Rivers are the great leading outlines of different regions 
and constitute an indispensable portion of the physical geography of any 
region. The sinuosities and reflexions of a river and its actual length 
between its source and termination greatly modify its character and add 
greatly to its advantages for a dense population, hence they are impor- 
tant features and should receive from the geographer a more minute and 
specific detail. 

Literary Services of Dr. John W. Monette. Riley. 215 

"This seems to have escaped the observation of Mr. Darby. He seldom 
gives any definite information relative to the actual length of rivers, and 
confines this part of his narration only to the direct distance from their 
source to their termination. This he calls their 'comparative course,' 
which conveys but a vague idea of some of the rivers and water-courses 
of the Southwest. Some of these in many places are known to meander 
in great circuitous bends from ten to thirty miles, and then return to a 
point within one or two miles of its own channel. Hence the actual length 
of many streams is equal to at least three times their 'comparative course,' 
and writers describing the same will differ almost as widely as the poles 
unless they guard against such discrepancies. In this work we have been 
careful to obtain the actual length of water-courses, following all the 
meanders of the channel. In Mr. Darby's work, as well as in that of Mr. 
Flint, we sometimes have apparent errors in giving the towns on the bank 
of a river with their distance from another town and not by the river chan- 
nel. Smith, in his new gazeteer of 1844, corrects none ot the early errors 
in the lengths of rivers. * * * 

"The elevation of points above the ocean have been greatly overlooked, 
and in most cases exceedingly erroneous statements are made in geograph- 
ical works', if indeed they have deigned to note this fact. Since, however, 
civil engineering has been practically applied to opening canals and con- 
structing railroads, certain data are now obtained by which errors may be 
corrected. On these points the works of Mr. Darby and Mr. Flint have 
many errors, from which the present work is believed to be free. The 
estimate of elevation of low-water mark of the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers 
at various points has been made after much research and labor, and will 
serve as valuable data for ascertaining the elevation of other points. The 
lake elevations also are valuable on this account, and correct the numer- 
ous discrepancies of most geographers on this subject. The discrepancies 
on this subject in most of our works * * * too often occur from a 
careless inaccuracy scarcely excusable in statistical work like Bradford's 
comprehensive atlas. 

"In reference to the physical details of the lower valley of the Missis- 
sippi, they are mostly new and the result of personal observation.* * * 
The author has had many opportunities from time to time for acquiring 
from individuals such information relative to many points treated in this 
work, which could not have been obtained from books or other records, 
because none such existed. 

"The general matter upon the southern portion of the Mississippi River 
is therefore new, and may be deemed an important acquisition to our 
geographical knowledge, not only as to the face of the country, but as to 
its natural productions and its agricultural resources, climate, etc. 

"Another portion of physical geography which we flatter ourselves is 
altogether new is the 'Climate and Seasons of the Delta.' This is a sub- 
ject which has been entirely overlooked by writers upon special geography. 
I flatter myself that on this subject I have collected and arranged facts 
which will be interesting and acceptable to all. 

"In the indigenous growth I have given full and detailed descriptions 
of such plants and trees as were not fully described before. In this way 
I hope I have added something to the general store of knowledge. As to 
exotics cultivated in the South, many of them are deeply interesting in 
their nature and properties, which are almost unknown at the North. 

"As to American monuments and Indian tribes, they will soon become 
extinct, and their existence and their nature and uses, as well as the num- 
ber, names and habitations of the tribes, will soon be only known by 

216 Mississippi Historical Society. 

record In the embalming of them in the imperishable records of history 
we perpetuate their memory." 26 

During the time Dr. Monette was engaged on the preparation 
of his Physical Geography the southern portion of the Valley of 
the Mississippi was attracting thousands of settlers from the 
Atlantic coast and was receiving the attention of the entire 
nation. This fact, combined with others, led to a widespread 
inquiry concerning this interesting and little understood region, 
and doubtless there was then a larger proportion of American 
people studying the geography of the Mississippi Valley than 
ever before. The rapid development of the lower Mississippi is 
referred to by Dr. Monette in his introduction as follows: 

"Twenty-five years ago it was believed that for half a century to come 
the great Mississippi was destined to roll on to the sea in solitary grandeur 
through a thousand miles of deep, unbroken forest, excepting onh' a few 
points which were deemed habitable. Less than a quarter of a century 
has elapsed, and in the whole distance from the mouth of the Ohio down 
to the Balize the dense forest begins rapidly to disappear; cities and vil- 
lages, as if by the power of enchantment, have sprung up from the watery 
waste, which was then supposed to bound the river on either side ; agri- 
culture and commerce flourish: wealth and independence smile upon the 
labor of industry. 


"Even the alluvial region of the Tensas, contiguous to the oldest settle- 
ments of the early French and the more recent Anglo-Saxon, with its 
numerous navigable bayous and fertile alluvians, was unknown as hab- 
itable even fifteen years ago, and much of it was still considered useless 
within the last five years. 

"Ten years ago the Yazoo region on the opposite side, extending from 
the last Chickasaw bluff near Memphis to the Walnut Hills, a distance of 
more than 400 miles by the river, was considered an immense inundated 
region, useless to civilization and consigned as the habitation of the 
native tribes or as the haunts of amphibious monsters and beasts of prey. 
It was the forlorn hope of the State of Mississippi, embracing nearly one- 
fourth of its actual surface and given up to hopeless inundation. Now 
it is the Egypt, the granary of that rich and growing State. The whole 
of it is being rapidly settled, and already one-fourth of the cotton crop 
of that State proceeds from that very region. A few more years will 
make it emphatically the great corn and cotton region of Mississippi. 

"The vast fertile alluvions of Red River above the "raft" have been 
explored only within a few years past, and are now fast becoming the seat 
of a dense and wealthy agricultural population. Many of the river 
courses and reservoir bayoux, which had been discovered manv years 
since, were supposed to meander their solitary courses through deep, 
gloomy lowlands and impenetrable swamps, such as they appeared to 
the early French voyagers and traders 130 years before. The best lands, 

2 fl The contents of Doctor Monette's Physical Geography of the Mississippi 
Valley, as prepared by him, will be found in the appendix to this article 
(see infra, p. 220). 

Literary Services of Dr. John W. Monette. Riley. 217 

lying chiefly on the intervening bayoux and lakes, were entirely unknown 
and were supposed to be deep swamps and useless wastes, doomed by 
nature to be the eternal haunts of the alligator, the bear, the panther, and 
other ferocious beasts of prey. 

"The exploring enthusiasm within a few years past has seized the pioneer 
settlers of the Southwest and has urged them to a restless search after the 
bountiful provision made for them by the hand of an all-wise providence. 
So rapid has been the advance of these discoveries that the catalogue of 
names has been almost exhausted to designate the newly discovered 
bayoux and lakes in this great terra incognita. Upon the margins of all 
these are found bodies of the most fertile and inexhaustible alluvions, 
where vegetation almost changes its ordinary upland characters. 

"It has been said that Mr. Jefferson once remarked that the lower val- 
ley of the Mississippi had been settled one hundred years too soon, and 
that its forming state was not complete. But the lapse of one hundred 
years from the purchase by Mr. Jefferson will see this very lower valley 
the abode of millions of enterprising men engaged in agriculture, com- 
merce and manufactures. 

"Such was the state of information relative to the lower valley thirty 
years ago that Major Stoddart declared 'from the settlements of Pointe 
Coupee on the lower Mississippi to Cape Girardeau above the mouth of 
the Ohio there is no land on the west side which is not overflowed in the 
spring to the distance of eight or ten leagues from the river with from two 
to twelve feet of water, except a small spot near New Madrid, so that in 
the whole extent there is no possibility of forming any considerable set- 
tlement contiguous to the river on that side.' 

"At this time (1842) the very region here designated embraces one-half 
of the cotton region of the States of Louisiana and Arkansas and one- 
fourth of the cotton region of the State of Mississippi, together producing 
annually not less than 300,000 bales of cotton for export, and having an 
active population of at least 200,000 souls profitably engaged in agricul- 
tural pursuits, where labor is rewarded with the comforts and luxuries 
of life in the greatest abundance, and where the prolific soil is inex- 
haustible in supplying all the necessaries for domestic consumption and 

Dr. Monette also wrote, from time to time, anonymous arti- 
cles, humorous or satirical. Among his miscellaneous writings 
may be mentioned a poem of 250 lines on "Friendship." It was 
first written in 1823, and, to use the language of the author, was 
"Inscribed to Hon. A. Covington, the humane, the generous, 
and the good." It was rewritten and enlarged for the Natchez 
Gazette in August, 1825. Among his other poetical efforts are 
an "Ode to July 4th, 1820" and "A Satirical Poem." Among 
his anonymous writings is a number of articles on "Empiricism." 
These were directed principally against the pretensions and 
practices of the "steam doctors," the disciples of Samuel Thomp- 
son, Samuel Wilcox and Horton Howard. 27 Dr. Monette says 

27 A very interesting account of this system of medicine, written by a 
gentleman who amassed a fortune through his "steam practice," is found 
in Vol. VIII of the Publications of the Mississippi Historical Society, pp. 

2i8 Mississippi Historical Society. 

that the general tenor of the teachings of all these men is the 
same, viz., "that all diseases proceed from cold, and are curable 
by capsicum, lobelia, and steaming. The following extract from 
these essays will show a phase of Dr. Monette's literary style not 
found elsewhere in this sketch: 

"How often has the contemptible ignoramus, the mechanic-laborer, 
without study or without talents for the most ordinary occupation, been 
raised on the breath of popular applause to the level of learned and expe- 
rienced physicians. 28 And such, although addicted to base falsehood 
and mean vituperation, and devoid of every principle of honor and moral 
rectitude, yet find means to pursue their destructive course and escape 
the punishment their crimes so justly merit. And it is astonishing to 
perceive with what avidity many ignorant and credulous persons receive 
and propagate unfounded rumor's in support of these deceptive wretches. 
It is among their characteristic traits to blazon forth exaggerated accounts 
of the most trivial diseases and unimportant circumstances in their favor 
as evidence of skill surpassing that of regular physicians in curing invet- 
erate cases which had baffled the skill and experience of the whole regular 
faculty. But if people die in their hands they audaciously assert that 
they were called in too late, that the vital energies of the system were 
destroyed or that, through the monstrous practice of the physician pre- 
viously in attendance, the case was irremediable, or that poison, latent 
in all their bones, destroyed the patient before they could eradicate it 
from their system." 


"The knowledge of those powerful secret vegetable medicines which 
possess this wonderful property of expelling poisons from the system, it 
is affirmed, are known only to those highly favored geniuses who have 
been initiated into the mysteries of the order. Men of talent and medical 
men cannot acquire this knowledge, although they are conversant with 
the articles every day. They assert that in buying a right, or in receiving 
the authority to use, from a regular agent, the secret sign is given, the 
countersign and the grip are communicated, and the happy wight is 
deluded with his own knowledge and consequence. 

"Endued with this powerful sagacity, they commence their peregrina- 
tions and miracles. With this intuition or communicated sagacity they 
detect and cure fractures and dislocations where others could not even 
discern them. They detect and cure cancers, consumption, hydropho- 
bia and dropsies where men of common minds could perceive nothing 
more than a simple abrasion, or some slight disorder from colds, which 
scarcely demanded recourse to medicine. They not only can eradicate 

28 The following humorous extract from Baldwin's Flush Times of Ala- 
bama and Mississippi (p. 89) will give the reader an idea of the evil prac- 
tices which obtained in the country in the "3o's: 

"Men dropped down into their places as from the clouds. Nobody 
knew who or what they were, except as they claimed or as a surface view 
of their characters indicated. Instead of taking to the highway and 
magnanimously calling upon the wayfarer to stand and deliver, or to the 
fashionable larceny of credit without prospect or design of paying, some 
unscrupulous horse-doctor would set up his sign as 'Physician and Sur- 
geon,' and draw his lancet on you or fire at random a box of his pills into 
your bowels, with a vague chance of hitting some disease unknown to 
him, but with a better prospect of killing the patient, whom or whose 
administrator he charged some ten dollars a trial for his marksmanship" 

Literary Services of Dr. John W. Monette. Riley. 219 

these terrific diseases, but they promise to restore the constitution to its 
youthful vigor and health, and even fortify it against any deleterious 
influence except old age. Even old age itself shall make but few and 
tardy steps. All this is swallowed with avidity by the weak, the cred- 
ulous and the ignorant. They shut their eyes and stop their ears until 
the sad catastrophe of death or decrepitude reveals their own temerity. 

"Quackery and empiricism in every age has been essentially the same- 
A quack is a demagogue. He relies for success upon the same kind 
artifices with all other demagogues, whether political or otherwise. He 
flatters the vanity, caresses the weakness and strengthens the prejudices 
of the great mass of people. He is one of the people; he lives for the good 
of the people; he has their welfare nearest his heart; his whole object is 
to protect them from the tyrannv of science, to guard them from placing 
confidence in learned and skillful physicians, who have devoted their 
whole time and talents to the study and improvement of a noble profes- 
sion, and are not of the people, but are combined against the people to 
enslave them while living and inherit their effects when dead. Empir- 
icism has always been the same a compound of libels upon science and 
virtue, of ignorance, effrontery, and falsehood." 

Dr. Monette died in the prime of his life, without reaping the 
full fruits of his years of unremitting toil. A plain slab of marble 
in the family burying ground at his old home, "Sweet Auburn," 
in Washington, Miss., bears the following simple inscription: 




BORN APRIL 5, 1803. 

DIED MARCH i, 1851. 

220 Mississippi Historical Society. 




INTRODUCTION. General survey of the regions of the Mississippi Val- 
ley. Recent explorations of the valley. Physical resources.- Advance 
of population and agricultural enterprise. Extent, limits, area, and ca- 
pacity for a dense population. Resources and advantages for navigation, 
commerce, manufactures, and naval architecture. Diversity of climate 
and agricultural zones. Geological observations and references relative 
to past changes in the surface of this valley. Rafinesque's "Geological 
Annals or Revolutions of Nature:" Six periods i, Period of general 
inundation; 2, Period of emersion of mountains; 3, Period of emersion 
of table-lands; 4, Period of the draining of the limestone sea; 5, Period 
of Noah's flood ; 6, Period of Peleg's flood ; the earth assumes its present 
form. Illustrations of probable subsequent changes, etc. 


Chapter i. The Mississippi River and Principal Tributaries. Magni- 
tude and importance of the Mississippi. Diversity of climates through 
which it flows. Its source in Itasca Lake. Its course thence to Cass 
Lake; thence to Lake Winnepeck; thence to the confluence of Leech 
Lake Fork; thence to Falls of Peckagamau. Its gradual increase of 
volume in the elevated plateaux. Tributaries above the Falls of St. 
Anthony: i, Meadow River; 2, Swan River; 3, Sandy Lake River; 4, 
Pike River; 5, Pine River; 6, DesCorbeaux River; 7, Pine Creek; 8, Sack 
River; 9, Leaf River; 10, Rum River; n, Falls of St. Anthony. Trib- 
utaries below the Falls: i , St. Peters, Lake Pepin ; 2 , St. Croix and sources ; 
3, Santeau or Chippewa; 4, Upper Iowa; 5, Black River; 6, Wisconsin 
River; 7, Turkey River, river scenery from St. Peters to the Wisconsin; 
8, Salt River; 9, Illinois River and tributaries; 10, the Missouri River, 
or great western branch, its magnitude and length, character of the 
Mississippi below the confluence of the Missouri, the "American Bottom;" 
ii, the Merrimac River; 12, the Kaskaskia River; 13, the Ohio River, 
or great eastern branch, its magnitude and length, character of the Missis- 
sippi below the confluence of the Ohio; 14, Obion River; 15, Hatchy 
River; 16, Forked Deer River; 17, Wolf River; 18, St. Francis River; 
19, White River; 20, Arkansas River, its magnitude and length; 21, the 
Kazoo River; 22, Big Black or Chittaloosa; 23, Bayou Pierre; 24, Homo- 
chitto; 25, Red River, its magnitude and length, character of the Missis- 
sippi below the confluence of Red River. Scenery on the lower Missis- 
sippi. Settlements. "Cotton Coast." "Sugar Coast." Great advance 
of population into the Delta since 1810, etc. 

28 pages. 

Chapter 2. Estimates of the Elevation of the Sources of the Mississippi 
and the Average Descent in the Channel. Elevation of Itasca Lake accord- 
ing to Mr. Schoolcraft ; his estimate not entirely correct. Colonel Long's 
estimate of elevation at mouth of the St. Peters. Arguments showing 
that the average descent is not five or six inches per mile below the Falls 
of St. Anthony. Estimates of descent of channel below the Falls of St. 
Anthony. Rock Island Rapids. Des Moines Rapids. Descent in the 
channel below the mouth of the Missouri to the Ohio. Descent in chan- 

Literary Services of Dr. John W. Monette. Riley. 221 

nel for first 600 miles below mouth of Ohio, and thence to the Gulf of 
Mexico. Observations during the extreme low water of 1838. Trans- 
parency of waters below Baton Rouge. River surface at Bayou Manchae 
in low stage but little above tide level. Analysis of descent tn the channel 
from the Balize to mouth of the Missouri: i. To New Orleans; 2, to Don- 
aldsonville; 3, to Bayou Manchae; 4, to Bayou Sara; 5, to Fort Adams; 
6, to Natchez; 7, to Grand Gulf; 8, to Vicksburg; 9, to the mouth of 
the Arkansas; 10, to Memphis; n, to the mouth of the Ohio; 12, to 
Grand Tower; 13, to the mouth of the Missouri. 

Summary. Table of elevations and distances below the mouth of the 
Missouri. Estimates on the Upper Mississippi to the Falls of St. Anthony: 
i, To Des Moines River; 2, to lower Iowa River; 3, to Rock River; 4, to 
Parkhurst; 5, to Wisconsin River; 6, to Chippewa River; 7, to St. 
Croix River; 8, to St. Peters River; 9, to Falls of St. Anthony. Sum- 
mary : Table of elevations and distances from the Missouri to the Falls. 
Table of estimates of the average descent of channel from various points 
to the Gulf of Mexico. Estimates above the Falls of St. Anthony: i, 
Descent from Itasca Lake to Cass Lake; 2, thence to Winnepeck Lake; 
3, Falls of Peckagaman; 4, Sandy Lake River; 5, Pike River; 6, Pine 
River; 7, Des Corbeaux River; 8, Pine Creek; 9, Sack River; 10, to Rum 
River; n, the Falls of St. Anthony. Summary: Table of the descent 
and distances above the "Falls." Total descent of the river channel 
from Itasca Lake to the Balize. Mr. Schookraft's estimates of the eleva- 
tion of Itasca Lake examined. General remarks. Great enterprise of Mr. 
Schoolcraft. His error in estimating Itasca Lake at 1,491 feet above tide. 
Analysis of his route from Lake Superior to the mouth of Sandy Lake 
River. Ocular deductions are often deceptive. Analysis of ascent in 
the St. Louis River. Mr. Schoolcraft's overestimate deduced. Examina- 
tion of his return route through the St. Croix and Bois Brule to Lake 
Superior. Descent in Bois Brule erroneous. 

41 pages. 

Chapter 3. Character of the Rivers and Streams in the Valley of the Mis- 
sissippi; the Currents and Descents in the Channel. General remarks rel- 
ative to the ultimate sources of the Mississippi. Those from the south 
and east of the Ohio are from mountain ranges ; those from the northwest 
are from flat, marshy and elevated plateaux. The upper courses of the 
former are declivous and mountain torrents; the latter at first are deep 
and sluggish in their currents. The tributaries of the upper Mississippi 
on the east and west originate in flat, marshy uplands. The region south 
of the lower Missouri is mountainous and the upper courses of the streams 
are rapid. The lower are otherwise. Character of the rivers and water- 
courses in Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana: They flow with small 
descent of channel through deep strata of soft, friable loam or alluvion, 
destitute of rock, except near their sources north of latitude 34. The 
descent of channel in large rivers is generally overrated. Ocular observa- 
tion leads to this error. Malte Brun's testimony, the Amazon River. 
A very small descent is amply sufficient to produce a current in deep water. 
Illustrated by a ditch. Experiment further illustrated by the bayous 
of Louisiana and other streams. Currents are often reversed in the 
bayous. A current moves in the ratio of descent and volume of water 
multiplied into each other. Impetus is generated. Example of several 
rivers: The Loire in France, Green River of Kentucky, etc. No river is 
navigable for steamboats which has an average descent of ten inches per 
mile for 100 miles. Ripples, bars, and slack-water basins: They accumu- 
late the average descent at particular points, especially in a country of 
tertiary formation. The Ohio River is such. Ripples, sand-bars, and 
falls of the Ohio. Rapids in other streams, when practicable and when 
impracticable. Des Moines Rapids. Rock Island Rapids. -Descent in 

222 Mississippi Historical Society. 

the entire length of the St. Lawrence but little more than the descent in 
the Mississippi or lower Ohio. Descent in the Missouri channel. The 
estimates of the actual descent at any falls is generally overrated when 
from ocular observation. The descent and distances become com- 
mingled and deceive the eye and the judgment. The velocity of water 
extends far beyond the actual descent of a rapid. Low-water is the 
proper time to make ocular estimates. Streams may be gentle in moun- 
tain defiles. The impetus is first imparted by mountain torrents. The 
last 500 miles of the Mississippi has a very moderate descent per mile in 
the bottom of the channel. Facts illustrative of this principle: i, The 
"Yazoo Pass;" 2, the St. Francis River; 3, the Tensas River; 4, large 
bayous; 5, island chutes; 6, influence of floods in accelerating the cur- 
rent over the same channel. 
31 pages. 

Chapter 4. Floods of the Mississippi. Importance of the interests 
involved in the annual floods. Appearance of the lower Mississippi in 
flood. -Extent of its great floods. They are produced by a succession of 
floods from all the great tributaries. The order of succession in the great 
tributary floods: i, The Ohio floods; 2, the upper Mississippi floods; 3, 
the Missouri floods. The comparative influence of each in filling the 
lower reservoir channel. The duration of floods in each great tributary. 
Synoptical table of the high and medium rise of the river at different 
points below the mouth of the Ohio. The rate of progress in a rise ; pro- 
gress of a fall. Mr. Darby's error respecting the movement of the general 
mass of waters. A fall is retarded by the return of afflux waters from the 
low swamps and lakes. The general period of low water. The gradual 
approach of floods in winter. The order in which the great floods advance 
to fill the lower channel. Particular Floods: i, The flood of 1782; the 
flood of 1797; the floods of 1811 and 1815; the floods of 1817 and 1823; 
the flood of 1828, and its extraordinary extent and continuance; the 
floods of 1832 and 1836. Progress of advance and decline of the latter. 
Low-waterof 1837 and 1838. -Flood of 1840 in detail; its gradual advance 
and decline at Natchez, from March to July, inclusive. Extent of flood 
of 1840 compared with others. Effect of the returning swamp-waters 
from the great Yazoo region. Flood of 1841 ; memoranda of its rise at 
Natchez. -Memoranda of floods at Natchez for twenty-five years, i. e., 
from 1817 to 1843. 

54 pages Ms. 


Chapter 5. The Upper Mississippi Region. Extent and boundaries of 
this region. Summit level of the east and western portions. General 
elevation of hills ; of bottoms ; plains. The general face of the country 
below the Falls. Steamboat distances. Prairies, wooded plains, and 
hills. Sterile regions or barrens above the Falls. Climate north of the 
Falls and climate south of the Falls. Bottoms of the upper Mississippi 
south of the Falls. The "American Bottom." 

Tributaries of the upper Mississippi: i, St. Peter's River; 2, St. Croix 
River; 3, Canoe River; 4, Chippewa River; 5, Upper Iowa; 6, the Wis- 
consin and its resources; 7, Turkey River and the country south of it; 
8, Great Makenketa Creek; 9, the Wabasapinacon Creek; 10, Rock 
River; u, Lower Iowa and its region; 12, the Des Moines; 13, Salt 
River; 14, the Illinois River, valley of the Illinois, its river regions, 

Literary Services of Dr. John W. Monette. Riley. 223 

descent of channel, river distances; 15, the Maramee; 16, the Kaskaskia; 
17, Muddy River. 

Mineral Resources. Metals in abundance. Inexhaustible supplies of 
lead, copper, iron, coal. 

Climate and agricultural productions. Resources. Seasons. 

36 pages. 

Chapter 6. The Great Northwestern Lakes and the Lake Regions. The 
Great Lakes. Their situation and extent. Extent of country drained by 
them. Their tributary streams. The lakes individually and their areas. 
Areas drained by each. Their bright waters. Elevation of the adja- 
cent country. Immense depth of the upper lakes. Evidences of geolog- 
ical revolutions. Prolific waters of the lakes. The lake margins. 

1, Lake Superior. Situation and extent. Elevation of surface and its 
depth. Shores on the south side. "Pictured rocks." The shape and 
circuit of Lake Superior. Terrible storms. Straits of St. Mary. 

2, Lake Huron. Its situation and extent; its depth and shores. Ele- 
vation of the adjacent country. Tributary streams. 

3, Lake Michigan. Its situation and extent. Green Bay, elevation, 
depth, and elevation of the surrounding country. Its shores, and the 
sand-hills on the west. Tributaries of Lake Michigan: i, St. Joseph's 
River; 2, Kalamazoo River; 3, Grand River; 4, Maskegon; 5, Monistic; 
6, Milwaky ; 7, Fox River of Green Bay and its tributaries ; 8, Menominic 
River. Peninsula of Michigan. 

4, Lake St. Clair. Its situation and extent. Its low shores. Its chief 
supply from St. Clair River. The Thames River of Canada. Its discharge 
is by Detroit River. 

5, Lake Erie. Its situation and extent, elevation of surface and depth. 
Tributaries: i, Detroit River; 2, River Raisin; 3, Maramee; 4, San- 
dusky; 5, Cuyahoga. Elevation of the summit plains near the eastern 
extremity ; of those near the western extremity. Abrupt descent of the 
highlands towards the lake. Descending terraces to the lake. Moun- 
tainous appearance of the highlands from the lake shore. The lake shores 
and their formation. XJrand River basin. Discharge of Lake Erie 
through the Niagara River. The cataract of Niagara. Niagara Rapids. 
Flint's description of the cataract. 

5, Lake Ontario. Its situation and extent. Elevation of its surface 
and its depth. Tributaries of Lake Ontario: i, Trent River; 2, the Gen- 
essee River; 3, Oswego River, lake region drained by the Oswego; 4, 
Black River. 

Tides of the Lakes. Errors on this subject. The variations of the lake 
surfaces in different years the result of natural causes. These are exces- 
sive rains or snows, continued deficiency of rain and snow. Illustration 
by facts. 

Analysis of Lake Elevations. General remarks. Error of Mr. Gallatin, 
of Darby, of Schoolcraft, of Mitchell, of Bradford. Line elevation 
deduced from canal survey of New York and Welland Canal of up^er 
Canada. Ontario is 232 feet above tide. Erie is 333 feet above Ontario. 
Western portions of surface higher than the eastern. The elevations of 
other lakes deduced from known facts: i, Lake St. Clair; 2, Lake Huron; 
3, Lake Michigan; 4, Lake Superior. Discrepancies of authors relative 
to the elevation of this lake. Summary of the lakes and their respective 

Analysis of the descent in the channel of the St. Lawrence River: i, From 
the ocean to Quebec; 2, to Lake St. Peter; 3, to Montreal; 4, to La 
Chine; 5, to St. Regis; 7, to Ogdensburg; 8, to Kingston; 9, to Sackett's 
Harbor. The general average descent in the whole distance does not 
exceed three-sixteenths inches per mile. Errors of authors relative to 
elevations deduced from Lake Erie as to points on the Ohio and upper 

224 Mississippi Historical Society. 

Chapter 7. The Ohio Region. Extent of this region. Its central res- 
ervoir channel. The valleys and bottoms of the same. Area of the Ohio 
region. The channel of the Ohio excavated by water 400 feet below the 
general level. The hills and bottoms. General elevation of the adjacent 
uplands. Sources of the tributary streams, their character and descent. 
Contrast between the eastern and western tributaries of the Ohio ; pecu- 
liarities of each. The eastern slope, from the Kenhawa north and east of 
the Cumberland Mountains; from the Big Guyandot to the sources of the 
Tennessee; region west of the Cumberland Mountains, from Licking River 
to Cumberland River. General face of the country in western Kentucky 
and Tennessee. The northwestern slope: The regions of the States of Ohio, 
Indiana and Illinois. The summit level south of the lakes and from the 
Illinois to the Allegheny Rivers. Theory relative to the former condition 
of the Ohio valley. Face of the country southeast of the Ohio, from 
western Pennsylvania through western Virgina, Kentucky, and Tennessee. 
Northwest side of the Ohio River. The eastern part of the State of 
Ohio. The plains extending thence to the Illinois River. Character of 
the streams and their valleys. Supposed formation from submarine 
currents. Rounded or water-worn pebble stones. Geological forma- 
tion of the valleys. Forests and plains: Natural state of the forest on 
the southeast and on the northwest sides; wooded bottoms and hills; 
unwooded plains. Forest trees: Such as were found most common on 
the east side ; on the west side ; on the first advance of the white set- 
tlements; different genera enumerated. Soil and agricultural produc- 
tions: Fertile and sterile lands of this region ; grains, grasses, and staple 
products adapted to this region; fruits, culinary vegetables, cotton. 
Mineral resources: Abundant supply; variety and extent i, Coal and 
coal region, its vast extent; 2, Salt, saline springs, Kenhawa salines, 
salines of Abingdon, Va., of the State of Ohio, of Indiana, and of Illinois; 
3, Nitre; 4, Gypsum rock, limestone, marble, millstone rock. Metals: i, 
Iron; 2, Copper. Chalybeates and sulphurous waters. Materials for the 
manufacture of glass and porcelain. Indigenous wild animals: The buf- 
falo, the elk, the deer, and beasts of prey. 

33 pages Ms. 

Chapter 8. The Ohio River and Tributaries. Ohio River formed by 
confluence of the Allegheny and Monongahela. These rivers, respectively : 

1, The Allegheny, its sources and tributaries, Olean Creek, Connewango, 
French Creek, Clarion River, Kiskaminites, the length of the Allegheny ; 

2, the Monongahela, its sources and tributaries. East Fork and West 
Fork, Cheat River, Youghiogheny. The valley of the Monongahela; of 
the Youghioghena. 

The Ohio River: Its channel and current, width and depth in different 
portions. -The "Narrows" and shoals below. The current from Pitts- 
burg to Guyandot, thence to the mouth of Cumberland River. Descent 
in the channel. Discrepant estimates and overestimates. Facts and 
illustrations. -Estimates of actual descent in the channel: i, From Pitts- 
burg to Wheeling; 2, thence to Guyandot; 3, thence to Louisville, bars 
and ripples; 4, thence to Portland; 5, thence to mouth of Cumberland; 
6, thence to mouth of the Ohio. Total descent and average descent from 
Pittsburg to mouth of Ohio. Length of the Ohio, 1,000 miles; various 
estimates. Summary of elevations of low-water mark at various points. 
Erroneous estimates of Darby and others. Floods and freshets of the 
Ohio, their character and extent. Floods of rapid tributaries and their 
duration. The great freshet of 1832, its extraordinary height and dura- 
tion; synopsis of its advance and height at different points. Destruction 
of property and farms. The flood of 1836. 

Tributaries of the Ohio: i, Big Beaver, and other smaller streams; 2, 
the Muskingum; 3, the Little Kenhawa; 4, Hockocking River; 5, Great 

Literary Services of Dr. John W. Monette. Riley. 2*5 

Kenhawa, its character and tributaries, its upper and lower valleys, ele- 
vation of its sources; 6, Raccoon Creek; 7, Guyandot River; 8, Big 
Sandy; 9, Little Sandy; 10, Scioto River, Scioto region and tributaries, 
descent in the channel; n, Brush Creek; 12, Little Miami; 13, Licking 
River; 14, Great Miami, Miami region and tributaries, descent of channel; 
15, Kentucky River, its character, length and channel; 16, Green River, 
its character and tributaries; 17, Salt River; 18, Wabash River, Wabash 
region, the channel and length of the Wabash River, tributaries of the 
Wabash, Salamanie, Mississinnewa, Eel River, Tippecanoe, Vermillion, 
Sugar Creek, Embarrass, White River; 19, Cumberland River, its extent 
and sources, its tributaries; 20, the Tennessee River, its extent, its char- 
acter, and impediments in the channel, the Tennessee Valley, upper trib- 
utaries, the Holston and its branches, the Clinch and its branches. 

Chapter 9. The Missouri Region. Extent and boundaries of the Mis- 
souri region. Elevation of the region drained by the Missouri River. 
General elevation. Black Hills; Oregon Mountains west of them. Char- 
acter of the general surface. Region divided by Missouri River into two 
unequal portions. Area of eastern portion; of western portion. Face of 
country and soil eastern and western portions. Plains in the southwest. 
Great American Desert. Aboriginal inhabitants and animals. Mineral 
resources: Coal, gypsum, porcelain, clay, iron ore, lead, and other metals, 
paints, earths, marble, salines, salt, salt mountain, volcanic products. 
Natural forest growth and vegetable products of southeastern portion. 
Climate: Air peculiarly dry and elastic, well adapted to production of 
culinary vegetables and fruits. Agricultural products in southeastern 
portion and in northern portion. 

Missouri River. Largest tributary of the Mississippi; its impetuous 
character; its general course ; its interval bottoms or valley ; its principal 
sources. Romantic mountain scenery of upper Missouri. -Gates of the 
Rocky Mountains. Character and course from source to Great Falls; 
several pitches of Great Falls; thence to mouth of Yellowstone; thence 
to mouth of Running Water; thence to mouth of the Platte; thence to 
the Kansas ; thence to the Mississippi. Facilities of navigation. Descent 
in channel, estimated from source to its mouth. Elevation of river sur- 
face at different points. The shifting channel of the Missouri. Colour of 
its waters. Period of its floods, from lower tributaries; from, upper 
tributaries. Character of interval and bottom lands. Adjacent up- 
lands. Large tributaries of the Missouri: i, Yellowstone, its character 
and tributaries, smaller tributaries above the Platte, viz., White 
Earth, Little Missouri, Cannonball, Sawarcama, Chienne, Leton, White 
River, Running Water, Jaques, Sioux ; 2, Platte and its branches. Sources 
of the Platte; its channel below junction of the North and South Fork. 
Descent of channel. Length of river. Tributaries of Platte: i, South 
Fork or Nebraska, its length, channel, descent of channel, elevation of 
country at Fort St. Vrain; 2, North Fork, its sources and length, its gen- 
eral course and character, its tributaries, descent of channel, elevation of 
country upon its waters. Sweetwater River and valley. "South Pass," 
its elevation. The "Devil's Gate. "--"Rock Independence." Appear- 
ance of South Pass. Tributaries of North Fork: i, Laramie's Fork. 
The Platte regions. Route to Oregon country traveled by emigrants. 
The general character and elevation. Upland prairies. Short tributaries. 
Vegetable products. Geological formation. Climate. Region of 
storms. 3, The Kansas River, its sources, its great forks or branches; 
Republican Fork, Solomons Fork, Grand Saline, Smokey Fork. Entire 
length of Kansas.- Grand River, tributary of Missouri; Chariton. 4, 
Qsage River; principal sources, length, advantages for navigation ; its 

226 Mississippi Historical Society. 

tributaries, Grand Fork, Grand River, Pomme de terre. General remarks 
on the Missouri tributaries. 5, Gasconade River, its sources, length, and 
navigable extent. Missouri proceeds to its confluence. 

Chapter 10. The White River and St. Francis Region. Situation and 
extent of this region. The eastern or St. Francis division. The western 
or White River division. The unrivaled water communications pre- 

Face of the country: i, In the White River region; its lower portion; 
its upper portion; Schoolcraft's description. 2, The St. Francis region; 
its northern portion of highlands ; the lowland region of bayous and inun- 
dated swamps; "sunken lands." Agricultural resources and congenial 

Seasons and climate: Climate mild in winter, pleasant in summer. 
Forest growth. 

White River and tributaries. Its head streams and its lower channel, 
branches and tributaries; its width and length. Extent of navigable 
channel. Country adjacent to the main river. Descent in the channel. 
Tributaries: i , Big Black River, its sources and branches, Current River, 
Eleven-point River, Spring River; 2, Little Red River and its course; 
3, Cache River. 

St. Francis River and tributaries. Sources and head branches. Its 
channel through the lowlands. Its length. Facilities for navigation and 
commerce. -White Water Creek, its sources, its length, and navigable 
facilities. B ayous. 

Chapter n. The Arkansas Region. This region comparatively un- 
known. Its extent and limits. Upper and lower valley. Surface of 
the lower valley; lowlands; uplands. Limestone strata and formation 
above Little Rock. Uplands east of Little Rock. Uplands west and 
south of Little Rock. General geological features ; Dr. Powell's geological 
exposition. Sandy upland plains and prairies west of Canadian River. 
The general inclined plane. 

Face of country: Diversified by hills and valleys. The Ozark Moun- 
tains. The hilly region near the Cordilleras. Mountain peaks ; James 
Peak; Spanish Peak. Sterile, sandy prairies or American desert; its 
character and drouths. Ozark and Washita Hills. 

Soil. Lowlands ; lower valley ; width ; elevation. Fertile soil on the 
small tributaries west of the State of Arkansas. Character of the alluvial 
soil; of uplands. 

Climate and agricultural resources. Grains and grasses; culinary veg- 
etables and fruits. Storms and heavy rains common in the country west 
of Little Rock. General elevation of lower valley; of upper valley; of 
lowlands; of uplands. The Black Hills of Little Red River. Forest 
growth ; upland growth ; lowland growth ; cane. 

Mineral resources. Minerals, salines, rock formation, saline impreg- 
nations of rivers; the "salt plain;" "salt rock" of the remote west. 

The Arkansas River and principal tributaries. Sources of the Arkan- 
sas. Its course through the American Desert. Its character above the 
Little Arkansas. Changes below the Negraka or Red Fork; thence to 
Grand Saline, the Saline, Strong Saline; thence to the Verdigris, Nesho 
or Grand River, Canadian River, three forks of Canadian, the Poteau; 
thence to the mouth. Other small tributaries. Character of the banks 
and lower channel. Upper channel, entire length, extent of navigation. 
Descent in the channel. Principal obstructions to steam boat navigation. 
Webber's Falls. Average descent of channel compared with the Ohio. 
The spring floods, sudden, short, and irregular. June flood, volume of 
water discharged ; its color. 

26 pages. 

Literary Services of Dr. John W. Monette. Riley. 227 

Chapter 12. The Washita Region. Situation, extent, and boundaries. 
Face of the country. The northern half, from east to west. Regions on 
the sources of the Bayou Mason; Bceuf River, Bayou Barthelemy, and 
Saline River. Regions west of upper Washita on Little Missouri; Fourch 
or Caddo, and upon the Darbone. The alluvial lowlands on upper Wash- 
ita; same below "overflow;" same near Monroe; same south of Monroe ; 
those below mouth of Tensas upon Black River. Black River coast. 

Soil and formation. Alluvial composition and substrata. Colour. 
Former changes; Darby's views. The beautiful upland plains of upper 
and lower Washita. 

The Washita River. Its extreme sources and course through the sand- 
hills. Upper branches from the Washita Hills. Its tributaries below 
the Hot Springs: i, Hot Spring Branch; 2, Caddo Fork; 3, Little Mis- 
souri; 4, the Saline River; 5, the Barthelemy; 6, Bayou Saluter; 7, 
Darbone River; 8, Lachenier; o, Bceuf River; 10, Tensas River; n, Lit- 
tle River; 12, Black River. Entire length of the Washita; navigable 
extent ; depth of channel in different stages of water. Its general width 
from Monroe to its mouth. 

Floods of the Washita. Its mountain freshets fill the lower channel. 
Spring rains. Supplies from the Mississippi. Beauty of the Washita in 
flood. Slack water from Mississippi and Red River. Flood of 1828; its 
extent and duration. Flood of 1836; its extent and duration. Floods 
of 1840 and 1844. Average descent in the channel remarkably small. 
Descent in the water surface when the slack water from the Mississippi 

Tributaries of the Washita: i, Little Missouri; 2, Saline River; 3, 
Bayou Barthelemy, Bayou Bonidee, Bayou Fourche; 4, Bayou Siard; 
5, Darbone River; 6, Lachenier; 7, Bceuf River, Deer Creek, Bayou 
Louis, Lake Louis; 8, Tensas River, Bayou Mason; 9, Little River, its 
tributaries, Catahoola Lake, Bayou Bushley, Saline Bayou. 

Agricultural resources. Natural advantages of soil and climate. 
Southern portion or cotton region ; northern or grain region. 

Forest growths. Peculiar beauty of natural growths. Varieties and 
species enumerated. 

Mineral resources. Salines. Minerals. Geological formation of the 
Hot Spring region. Dr. Powell's exposition of the Hot Spring and Mag- 
net Cove regions. General elevation. 

40 pages. 

Chapter 13. The Red River Region. This is a most important region. 
Extent. Boundaries. General character of the upland formation. Face 
of country on the north and south side of Red River below the northern 
limit of Louisiana; same in that portion west of the State of Arkansas. 
The lowland valley; situation, extent, boundaries, swamps, etc; bayous 
and bayou lands. Upper bayou region ; parallel channels above Natch- 
itoches; Rigolet de Bondein, and intersecting bayous. Lower bayou 
region south of Natchitoches. Elevation of the general surface ; uplands ; 
lowlands; Oppelousas prairies. Soil, climate and agricultural products: 
Character of the alluvial soil. Red River and tributaries: Its great 
length; its source; its width and course to the "great raft;" thence 
through the raft. Description of the raft region. Obstructions to steam- 
boat navigation. Course from the raft to Natchitoches. Duplicate 
channels. Width. Entire length is 1,880 miles. Depth. Descent of 
channel for last 500 miles; also for 500 miles next above. Falls or rapids 
at Alexandria. -Slack water of Mississippi floods extends up 300 miles. 
Floods of Red River, annual and periodical; spring floods, extent and 
height of same; summer floods. Narrow bottoms above the mouth of 
North Little River. The lakes of Red River from the head of the "raft" 

228 Mississippi Historical Society. 

down to Alexandria; character and extent; manner of formation; situa- 
tion in the lower valleys of tributary streams; connecting or outlet 
bayous; replenished by river floods; surface rises with river floods and 
falls with river floods; prairie margins of these lakes; prolific in fish; 
these lakes navigable to steamboats; other lakes abound south and east 
of Alexandria; also others above the "raft." Lakes enumerated: i, 
Lake Bodcan; 2, Lake Bisteneau; 3, Black Lake; 4, Saline Lake; 5, 
Lake Noir; 6, Spanish Lake; 7, Caddo Lake; 8, Soda Lake; 9, Ferry 
Lake, etc. 

Bayous of Red River: i, Bayou Darbone; 2, Bayou Pierre; 3, Bayou 
Rapides; 4, Bayou Robert; 5, Bayou Lamourie; 6, Bayou Dulac; 7, 
Bayou Bceuf; 8, Bayou Crocodile; 9, Cortableau River; 10, Bayou 
Leche, bayous near mouth of Red River; n, Bayou Saline; 12, Brushy 
Bayou; 13, Bayou Rouge; 14, Bayou Avoyelles; 15, Bayou Deglaize; 
16, Bayou Petit Prairie. 

38 pages. 

Chapter 14. The Yazoo Region. Situation and extent. Area.-; Char- 
acter of the country. -Extent and boundaries of the lowland region; of 
the upland region. Elevation of the table-lands. Character of the Tal- 
lahatchy and transverse bayous. The Yazoo River and its intersecting 
bayous. -Principal reservoir bayous. Lakes. Old river channels. 

Agricultural resources. -These are peculiar and great. 

Rivers and bayous: i, The Yazoo River; its sources; its length, width, 
and general character; navigable facilities; 2, the Tallahatchy; its 
extent and character; its tributaries; descent in the channel; general 
character of these streams, width, depth, descent of channel, sluggish cur- 
rents; 3, Coldwater; 4, Yalobusha; 5, Tchula or Little River. Reser- 
voir bayous: i, Bogue Phalia; 2, Deer Creek; 3, Steeles Bayou; 4, Big 
Sunflower; 5, Little Sunflower; 6, False River; 7, the "Yazoo Pass."- 
Proportion of inundated lands and of reclaimable lands. Adaptation of 
this region as a cotton and grain country. Extraordinary facilities for 
navigation. Forest growth. Mineral resources. 

15 pages. 

Chapter 15. The West Florida Region. Extent and situation. 
Southern half of State of Mississippi. Fertility of the western portion. 
Streams watering this region ; streams watering the southern portion. 
Soil and face of country: The western broken and fertile. Forest growth. 
Character of soil and formation of this region. This region first occu- 
pied by Europeans. General elevation: Hills, flats and alluvial bottoms; 
bluff near Walnut Hills ; bluff at Natchez ; hills on St. Catharine ; Coles 
Creek; eastward to Pearl River ; near Fort Adams ; Bayou Sara; Baton 
Rouge; eastward upon the headwaters of Amite River, and south near 
lakes. -Forest growth of the Amite region. Face of country and forest 
growth east of Pearl River ; eastward upon Pascagoula and Tombigby. 
Geological formation: Absence of rock near the Mississippi ; specimen of 
rock and marble discovered on Bayou Pierre; Wells Creek east of Vicks- 
burg; on Coles Creek. Nature of soil, loam, sand strata, gravel strata in 
hills ; Franklin Springs, sand emitted. Agricultural products: Cottonregion ; 
sugar region ; rice ; indigo ; fruit trees ; melons ; roots. Water courses: 
i, Big Black, character of stream, its length, its source and course to 
Rockport, to Valena, to Baety's Bluff, to Amsterdam, to its mouth; face 
of country; forest growth; length of navigable water course; period of 
boating stage; forest growth near mouth; cotton crop of this region 
(pp. 7, 8) ; elevation of source, of alluvion and uplands near its mouth; 2, 
Bayou Pierre, its sources, branches and length; face of country upon its 
waters; forest growth (p. 10); 3, Coles Creek, its length and character; 

Literary Services of Dr. John W. Monette. Riley. 229 

face of country ; soil; Fairchilds Creek ; 4, St. Catharine Creek, its sources 
and length ; face of surface ; fertility of soil ; early settlements ; elevation 
of surface; present settlements; indigenous forest growth; 5, Homo- 
chitto River, its importance; country watered by it; its sources, course 
and principal forks; Wells Creek, Sandy Creek, Second Creek; soil and 
face of country; early settlements; present population (p. 12); forest 
growth of eastern branches ; alluvial lands near its mouth ; navigation of 
lower Homochitto ; inundation of bottoms ; entire length ; 6, Buffalo 
Creek, its sources, course and length; its impetuosity in floods; soil; early 
settlements; 7, Bayou Sara, its source, course, length, soil and early set- 
tlements; its mouth is a harbor and shipping point (p. 15); 8, Thomp- 
sons Creek, its source and course; country watered by it; 9, Amite River, 
its source, its course and tributaries ; its entire length ; country watered ; 
length; the Comite River; 10, Tickfaw, its course and region drained; 
ti, Tanghipahoa, its source and course; 12, Chefunete, its sources and 
course; 13, Pearl River, its sources and course; branches and tributaries, 
Yellowbulcha, Tuscalameta, Yockunhany ; its course thence to its mouth. 
Face of country; soil. Length of Pearl River; its width; its floods; 
bottoms and uplands ; current of stream ; descent in channel ; face of 
country and soil drained by Pearl River. Forest growth. Its tributaries, 
Strong River, Bogue Chitto, Bolo Chitto (p. 24). 14, Qourdan's River, 
its extent, tributaries, and its course; 15, Wolf River, its sources; its 
course; region drained by it; soil and face of country; Bay of St. Louis; 

1 6, Biluxi River, its branches and course; Tchula Cabawfa; Biluxi Bay; 

17, Pascagoula River, its importance and extent; branches; character of 
channel below confluence; entire length. Branches: i, Leaf River, its 
sources, its course and tributaries (p. 28) to confluence of Chickasawhey ; 
length of Leaf River; 2, Chickasaw Bay, sources, course and tributaries; 
entire course. Country watered by Pascagoula and tributaries. Eleva- 
tion. Clear and limpid waters of the Pascagoula. Rich bottoms occur. 

Chapter 16. The Mobile Region. Situation, extent and area. The 
main channel or Mobile trunk; its length; descent of channel ; its floods 
and general character; entire length by either of its great branches. 

Elevation and face of country. The northeast portion rugged and moun- 
tainous. Deep valleys, through which the rivers flow. Elevation of the 
bounding highlands and mountain ranges. The northwestern portion. 
The southern half. Face of country and elevation. -Elevated region on 
the sources of the Tombigby. Prairie region on the west and south. 
Pine regions upon its lower course. 

Soil Region of the Tombigby; Black Warrior. Region of the Ala- 
bama; Cahaba. Rolling uplands and pine forests. 

Forest growth, in the northern highlands ; in southern uplands ; bottoms 
or lowlands ; on the seaboard. 

Mineral resources. Metals, salines, sulphurous and chalybeate waters; 
ock formation. 

Agricultural products. In northern portion, grains, grasses, tobacco, 
etc.; in south portion, cotton, sugar cane, oranges. 

The Delta of Mobile. Its length, breadth, character, limits. Tribu- 
taries of the Mobile River: i, Tombigby, its sources, length and branches; 
floods ; facility for navigation ; area drained by the Tombigby and Black 
Warrior and their branches; difference between the region of the Tom- 
bigby and Alabama. 2, The Alabama River, its two branches, the Coosa 
and Tallapoosa; its length and course; its floods; its alluvions. Tribu- 
taries of the Alabama: Small tributaries on the north and south; the 
Cahaba River, its extent, its lands. 

The Coosa River. Its sources and principal branches, the Etowah and 
Connesauga; its general course to its mouth; its length. "Wetumpka 

230 Mississippi Historical Society. 

Falls." General appearance of Coosa above the falls. Region drained 
by it. The Tallapoosa or east branch, its sources, course, length and 


Chapter 17. General Survey; Speculative Views of the former Condition 
and Probable Changes in the Delta. General survey of the Atlantic coast 
from East Florida and around the northern shore of the Gulf of Mexico to 
the Rio Grande. Features and character of the Delta of the Mississippi; 
its extent ; boundaries ; elevation of the contiguous uplands on the east 
and on the west and northwards to the limestone rock formation above 
the mouth of the Ohio River. Tracing the upland margin on the east 
side up to the Ohio. Formation and character of these uplands. Upland 
margin on the west side from Cape Girardeau to the uplands south of 
Red River. Character and formation of these uplands. Direct distances 
through the Delta to the Balize. The distance traversed by the circui- 
tous channel of the Mississippi. Points at which the river touches the 
base of the bluff uplands, on the east side between the mouth of the Ohio 
and Bayou Iberville. Same only once on the west side. The intervening 
lowlands or delta considered as a level inclined plane. Elevation of the 
upper or northern extremity. Average descent in river channel per mile 
for whole distance. Possible changes which may have been effected in 
this lowland region in the lapse of ages. Possibly once an arm of the sea, 
which may have been gradually filled up. Many physical changes caused 
by the river are indubitable. Liability to river inundation. High allu- 
vions above inundation. They constitute splendid agricultural settle- 
ments, which may be rendered more secure by levees. Vast bodies of 
inundated lands may be reclaimed. Speculations relative to the former 
condition and changes at different epochs. Changes near the mouth of 
the Ohio ; near the mouths of White River and the Arkansas ; near the 
mouth of the Washita and of Red River, and up the valley of Red River ; 
on the Atchafalaya and Teche. Further recession of the ocean and con- 
sequent fluviatile changes. These changes are corroborated by analogy, 
by known changes in other portions of the globe. Some of these known 
changes enumerated: i, In Europe; 2, Asia; 3, Africa; by the action of 
rivers and by the sea; by earthquakes and submarine volcanoes; illus- 
trated by an Arabian allegory. Gradual rise of North America equal to 
the rise of Sweden above the Baltic? On this principle what may have 
been the state of the maratime portion of Louisiana in several centuries? 
Prospective rank of the lower valley in point of agriculture, population, 
commerce, arts, navigation and wealth. 

26 pages Ms. 

Chapter 18. Physical Characters of the Lower Mississippi River. The 
peculiarity of this portion of the river. General aspect when in flood. 
Appearance in low stage. High, abrupt banks. The Mississippi com- 
pared to the Nile of Egypt ; the latter more like Red River or the Missouri ; 
depth compared; width compared; volume of water compared. In all 
these the Mississippi excels; also in the duration of its floods and the 
extent of lands inundated. Turbid quality of the water of the Mississippi ; 
yet it is the best drinking water when settled. Depth of the Mississippi 
below the Ohio. Current in high and in low stages; in medium stage. 
Strongest current ceteris paribus in first 600 miles below the Ohio. Cur- 
rent affected by rising and falling stage. Width of the main thread of 
the current. Width of the channel and width of river surface at different 

Literary Services of Dr. John W. Monette. Riley. 231 

stages. Depth at different points of the upper and lower river. Sedi- 
mentous matters in suspension. Degree of turbidness at different points 
and stages. Errors in estimating amount of sediment in the Missis- 
sippi. The actual amount of sediment as an average does not exceed one 
part in 420 parts of water; same in the Ganges. ^Experiments. Bends, 
their gradual advance. Bends and points alternate. Caving bends. 
Sand-oars, extent, elevation. Absence of gravel. Snags. Sawyers. 
Planters. Driftwood. Island chutes and cut-offs. Efflux bayous and 
outlets in great bends; "Yazoo Pass," Atchafalaya, Iberville, Plaque- 
menes, Lafourche, and other smaller outlets. Last 600 miles of the river 
never frozen or obstructed by ice. Tide in the mouth of the Mississippi 
up to New Orleans. 
28 pages Ms. 

Chapter 19. Physical Changes and Alluvial Formations in the Delta. 
Mr. Darby's error relative to the change of channel in the Mississippi. 
The river is constantly effecting gradual changes in its channel and in 
the adjacent alluvions. Assumption that the Delta has been covered by 
tide. The gradual formation of the ancient or firm alluvion first; next 
the more recent. Supposed gradual extension and changes of the chan- 
nel; also in the lower Arkansas and lower Red River; the Yazoo River. 
These facts are admitted by Mr. Darby. Known changes continually 
being effected in the channel. Islands removed ; others formed. Chan- 
nels deserted and closed, leaving their remains in form of bayous.- The 
great depth of the alluvial formation in the Delta. River deposits during 
floods. Amount of sediment in the water. Amount of earthy matters 
carried to the sea annually. Extent of shoals formed beyond the passes 
of the Mississippi mouths. Amount of driftwood embedded there. 
Gradual advance of the Delta into the sea; ratio is about one mile in 
ten or twelve years. The Delta has reached vast depth of the Gulf, 
beyond which it is almost unfathomable Balize Island hence the 
advance is more slow now than formerly. Gradual increase of elevation 
in low grounds near the mouth. Islands removed and formed. Changes 
of surface effected by earthquakes; those of 1811 and 1812 near New 
Madrid. Effects produced on the upper Delta for nearly 100 miles north 
and south. Evidences of ancient salses. This whole region yet liable to 
these awful changes. Sensible effects in the lower Delta by the earth- 
quake in St. Domingo on the yth of February, 1842. Tumultuary agi- 
tation of waters south of latitude 31. 

Soil and face of the lowlands. -General remarks. Evidences of river 
formations. Raised alluvial lands. Amount of high alluvions com- 
pared with low swamp. Swamp lands divisible into (i) arable swamp, 
(2) sandy high swamp, (3) low wet cypress swamp cypress knees, their 
character (4) low stiff swamp or terre graisse. Character and extent of 
alluvions in the lower Delta. 

38 pages Ms. 

Chapter 20. Old-river Lakes. Peculiar, uniform and curved shape. 
Are certainly deserted portions of the former river channel. Connecting 
bayous. Graded banks. Width; depth; swamp outlets. Surface of 
lakes rise and fall with the river floods. They abound in fish and water- 
fowl. Their shoal extremities. The manner in which these lakes become 
detached. Cut-off bend, how detached; extremities closed. Fine arable 
borders around these lakes. Enchanting residences. Splendid planta- 
tions. Distinguished by distinctive names. Individual lakes: i.Fausse 
Riviere; 2, Red River Lake; 3, Homochitto Lake; 4, Lake Concordia; 
5, Lake St. John; 6, Lake Bruin; 7, Lake St. Joseph; 8, Yazoo Lake; 
9, Lake Providence; 10, Bunch's Lake; n, Grand Lake; 12, Old River 

232 Mississippi Historical Society. 

Lake; 13, Lake Washington; 14, Lake Jackson; 15, Lake Lafayette; 
16, Lake Bolivar; 17, Lake Concord; 18, Moon Lake; 19, Flour Lake; 
20, Beaver Dam Lake; 21, Lost River Lake; 22, Horn Lake; 23, Need- 
ham's Lake; smaller ones not named. 
22 pages Ms. 

Chapter 21. Bayous and Bayou Regions. Origin and meaning of the 
term bayou. Character of watercourses to which it is applied. They 
abound in the Delta. Extent and dimensions of bayous generally. - 
Alluvial margins raised along their banks; called cane lands. Bayous 
serve as fine natural canals. How formed by the river floods. Soil upon 
their margins. Bayou lands comprise the most valuable lands for cotton 
and sugar. Their appearance when in a high state of improvement. 
Width. Depth. Facilities for boating, especially when replenished by 
the river floods. Reservoir bayous. intersecting bayous or feeders. 
The six great bayou regions: 

1, The Tensas region. Source and course of the Tensas. Its length, 
depth and width. Extent of the Tensas region. Its numerous trans- 
verse bayous. Great advantages to be derived from levees. This whole 
region, from Lake Providence to Black River, is being filled with thou- 
sands of emigrants from the State of Mississippi. Bayou Mason forms 
an important portion of this region. Its origin and course. Susceptible 
of steamboat navigation. Lies near the margin of the western uplands. 
Its intersecting or transverse bayous. Transverse bayous of the Tensas 
region: i, Willow Bayou; 2, Walnut Bayou; 3, Roundaway Bayou; 4, 
Bayou Vidal; 5, Bayou Derossit; 6, Clarke's Bayou; 7, Choctaw Bayou! 
8, Van Buren Bayou; 9, Greene's Bayou; 10, Bayou L'Argent; u, 
Bullett's Bayou; 12, Bayou Crocodile. 

2, Atchafalaya region. Extent, origin and course of the Atchafalaya 
Bayou. Rafts or obstructions in the channel. Narrow alluvial borders. 
Liability to inundation. Much of its lands reclaimable by levees. 
Origin of the name. -Transverse bayous: i, Bayou Latinache; 2, Bayou 
Ferdoche; 3, Bayou Grostete; 4, Bayou Maringouin; 5, Bayou Ala- 
bama; 6, Grand River; many smaller bayous and lakes. 

3, The Lafourche region: Origin and course of the Lafourche Bayou. 
Its length, depth and width. The French coast on the upper eighty 
miles of its shores. The character of the lands and soil. But few inter- 
secting bayous. 

4, The Terrebonne region. Extent and situation of this region. Its 
climate adapted to the cultivation of sugar and cotton. These bayous 
formed by remains of former mouths of the Mississippi. Now are nearly 
beyond river inundation. Its elevation but little above tide level.- Tide 
water for many miles up the bayous. Individual bayous: i, Bayou Blue; 
2, Bayou Terrebonne; 3, Bayou Petit Caillou; 4, Bayou Grand Caillou ; 
5, Bayou Delarge; 6, Bayou Black. Sea vessels and steamboats may 
ascend them many miles. The raised alluvial borders and low swamps 
in the rear. Quaking prairies, description and formation of these quaking 
prairies. Salubrious climate. Longevity of the Creoles. Water plants, 
Jussiena grandiflora. Forest growth on these bayous. Live oak, etc. 

32 pages Ms. 

Chapter 22. Levees for Reclaiming the Lowlands. The Mississippi is 
peculiarly adapted for protection of its lowlands by levees. Its slow and 
gradual rise in floods. Never sudden in its rises like the Ohio and other 
upland streams. Principal inundation is from backwater, which escapes 
before the banks are inundated. Probable amount of inundated lands in 
the Delta is equal to 25,000 square miles, or 16,000,000 acres. Average 
depth of inundation. Erroneous estimate by a committee of Congress.- 

Literary Services of Dr. John W. Monette. Riley. 233 

Description of common levees or running embankments. Embankments 
across outlet bayous or sluices. Effects produced in securing the coast 
above New Orleans. The same chain of levees, with partial interruption, 
extend from Plaquemenes 420 miles to Point Chicot. Total river coast 
leveed on both sides is nearly 1,200 miles. Local levees may be advan- 
tageous above the Arkansas. River deposits on bank outside of the levee 
forms a very strong dyke in time. General location of common levees. 
Name, origin and use. Extent of levees in 1810. They are gradually 
extending every year as the settlements advance, and will be greatly 
extended within the present age. In all levee districts the road runs par- 
allel and are sodded with Bermuda grass. The rising of the backwater 
over the arable grounds more dreaded than overflow in front. This to 
be averted by closing the deep outlet sluices. These might be provided 
with suitable locks for boats and the passage of water to or from the river. 
The fallacy of attempting to reduce the river to a straight course. 
Fallacy of the idea that levees cause the channel of the river to rise and 
ultimately accelerate inundation. The reverse is true. Effects of levees 
in reclaiming the Tensas region; illustrated by the flood of 1836 and of 
1840. Breaking of levees in 1840. Principal large outlets closed since 
1836, viz.: Providence Bayou, Willow Bayou outlets, Bruins Bayou, 
Bayou L'Argent, Bullet's Bayou. The effects on the Tensas region. 
28 pages Ms. 


Chapter 23. Climate of the Lower Valley and of the Southwest. Gen- 
eral outline of climate south of latitude 34. Compared with that in the 
region of the Falls of St. Anthony and the northern lakes. The change 
from the climate of New Orleans to that of the upper Mississippi is grad- 
ual and progressive with the latitude. Each degree produces a retarda- 
Ition of spring equal to one week. The climate of the Mississippi Valley, 
agreeably to Mr. Darby, is not so warm as the Atlantic coast in the same 
atitude. Severest cold known in the lower Delta. The face of the coun- 
try and mountains modify the climate. The lower valley is partially 
protected from the northern winds from the great lakes. The Mississippi 
ever frozen south of the Arkansas River, nor is ice seen upon its surface 
outh of Vicksburg, except in the winter of i 768. Northern limit for the 
fig tree; sugar cane. Medium temperature of winters in latitude of 
Natchez. Temperature of summer from Natchez to the Gulf of Mexico 
and in Florida. Period of the first opening of spring from New Orleans 
successively at more Northern points to Pittsburg. Same difference pre- 
sents in the tardy advance of winter. Illustrated by a steamboat voyage 
from Pittsburg to New Orleans. Length of the growing season at Natchez. 
Periods of greatest summer heat. Spring rains. Droughts. Thunder- 
gusts and hailstorms. Equinoxial gales. Forest foliage retained until 
December. Winter rains. -Sleets sufficient to break down forest trees. 
Sensible moisture in the atmosphere. Mean annual amount of rain. 
The common idea of wet seasons not a criterion for the amount of water 
which falls in any given time. The severest drought was in 1841 in the 
lower valley and in 1838 in the Ohio region. Effect of the climate on 
health. Exposure to sun and dews. Deadened timber. Yellow fever. 
30 pages Ms. 

Chapter 24. Meteorological Observations and Seasons in the Delta and 
Southwest. Thermometers protected from solar heat indicate only the 
coolest atmosphere temperature instead of the actual temperature to 

234 Mississippi Historical Society. 

which all are exposed. Same occurs with rain-gauge; the humidity of 
any season is not indicated by the amount of water which falls in any 
month, but the time during which it is falling. Three inches of rain falling 
slowly revives vegetable life more than twice that amount suddenly dis- 
charged. Tables of rain: Governor Sargent's for ten years, and others. 
Amount of annual rain in the latitude 39-4o compared with lower val- 
ley. Temperature of lower valley much higher as an annual mean than 
in upper valley, yet not so high as an annual mean as in the same latitude 
on the Atlantic coast. Tables of temperature: Governor Sargent's table 
for ten years at Natchez (mean, monthly and annual) ; table of George 
Davis; of Doctor Lesley and others. Regular advance of vegetation 
indicates the comparative mean temperature of spring. Observations on 
the unfolding of leaves and flowers and the maturing of fruits for five 
years: i, Advance of vegetation in the spring and summer of 1838; 2, 
advance of vegetation in the spring and summer of 1839; 3, advance of 
vegetation in the spring and summer of 1840; 4, advance of vegetation in 
the spring and summer of 1841; 5, advance of vegetation in the spring 
and summer of 1842. Storms and equinoctial gales. Tornadoes. The 
principal storms on record in the lower valley since the first settlement of 
Louisiana are those of 1723, of 1745, of 1762, of 1772, of 1782, of 1794, 
of 1840. An account of the tornado of May 7, 1840, which demolished 
Natchez. Its approach and awful commotion of elements. Destruction 
of life and property. 

Chapter 25. Indigenous Forest Growth; Upland growth; Lowland 
growth. Peculiar dense and verdant foliage of the lower valley, especially 
in the fertile hills and bottoms. The design here is to describe some for- 
est growths which are uncommon in other regions. Catalogue of forest 
trees of South. Special description of upland growths, rich uplands: 

1, Bay tree, magnolia grandiflora, its habitation, appearance, description, 
foliage, flowers, fructification, and dimensions of the tree; 2, Wild peach, 
lamea mundi habitation, qualities, description, and uses; 3, poplar, lyrio- 
dendron tuliptfera, habitation, dimensions, etc. ; 4, black walnut, juglans 
nigra, habitation, dimensions; 5, mulberry, morus nigra, habitation; 6, 
chinq^lapin, fagus pumila, description and dimensions; 7, honey locust, 
gleditschia triacanthos, dimensions ; 8, hickory carya, vel juglans, descrip- 
tion; 9, sweet gum, liquidambar styraciflua; 10, sassafras, laurus sassafras, 
dimensions ; 1 1 , wild cherry, prunus virginiana; 12, papaw, asimina triloba, 
dimensions; 13, holly, ilex opaca, habitation, description, size, foliage, 
inflorescence and fructification; 14, persimon, diospyros virginiana, hab- 
itation, size in the alluvial lands ; 15, buckeye, cesculus pavia, uncommon in 
the lower valley; 16, bow wood, Madura aurantica, description, size, hab- 
itation, fruit, and texture of the wood ; 17, toothache tree, xanthoxylon clava 
Herculis, habitation, description, pungent bark and berries; 18, black 
gum, nvssa sylvatica', 19, cucumber tree. Thin uplands: i, Oaks, quercus, 
dimensions of red oak; 2, dogwood, cornus florida, description, dimensions, 
universal prevalence; 3, redbud, cercis canadensis; 4, crab apple, Pyrus 

' coronaria, habitation, fragrance of its flowers; 5, hawthorn, dimensions; 
6, sumach, rhus glabra, dimensions; 7, elder, sambucus nigra, dimen- 
sions ; 8, beech, fagus ferruginea; 9, pine tree, pinus, habitation, dimensions, 
swamp pines; 10, flowering locust, robinia pseudacacia, habitation, dimen- 
sions, flowers; ii, elms, ulmus; 12, live oak, quercus virens; 13, umbrella 
tree, magnolia macrophylla, habitation, description, dimensions, foliage, 
flowers, inflorescence, fruit, woody texture of the trunk; 14, cabbage 
palm, chamerops palmetto, habitation, description; black jack oak. 

2. Lowland growth; general remarks. Dry swamp and alluvions: i, 
sweet gum, liquidambar styraciflua, universal adaptation, description, size; 

2, pecan, juglans olivaformis, its character, two species and many varieties, 

Literary Services of Dr. John W. Monette. Riley, 235 

analogous to the northern hickory, except in regard to the shell-bark 
pecans, which are bitter; 3, sycamore, platanus occidentalis, its universal 
habits, its dimensions and general appearance ; 4, cottonwood, populus 
deltoides, habitation, its dimensions, rapid growth and durability of the 
wood; 5, oaks, quercus, different varieties of the common; 6, live oak, 
habitation, dimensions of its spreading branches, dimensions of the trunk, 
uses; 7, honey locust, gleditschia pseudacacia. Low wet swamp: i, 
Cypress, cupressus disticha, habitation, description, dimensions, resem- 
blance to the juniper or pine, limbs more lofty and branching; leaves 
deciduous; texture of the wood similar to pine; cypress springs from 
seeds like other trees, not from cypress knees ; description of cypress knees, 
an excrescence from roots of cypress trees; 2, black willow, salix nigra; 

3, persimon, diospyros virginiana, soil and habitation, dimensions, fruit; 

4, ash, fraxinus, habitation and dimensions; 5, water maple, acer negundo, 
habits, dimensions; 6, elms, ulmus aquatica, habits, dimensions, master 
roots; 7, water oaks quercus aquatica; 8, hackberry; 9, swamp hawthorn, 
appearance and dimensions, flowers; 10, swamp dogwood, cornus aquatica', 
appearance, flowers ; 1 1 , box elder. 

Chapter 26. Undergrowth, Vines and Parasites. i, Cane, arundo 
gigantea, habits, indicative of fertile soil and dry lands, dimensions on 
different kinds of soil and climates; description, an evergreen, luxuriant 
pasturage, growing season; cane-brakes; inflorescence, fructification and 
seed; age at which cane seeds and dies unknown; large and small cane 
are only varieties produced by soil and other contingencies ; burning of 
a deadened cane-brake resembles a military engagement with musquetry ; 
2, myrtle bush, myrica cerafera, habitation, berries and wax; 3, sourcroui 
bush. Vines: i, Muscadine, vitis veruccosa, habitation, description, the 
fruit or grape; 2, suplejack, description; 3, trumpet flower, bignonia 'radi- 
cans; 4, morning glory, convolvulus purpurea, habitation, prevalence in 
the South; 5, passion flower, passiflora, character and habits, flower, 
fruit, inflorescence, etc.; yellow jassamine.. Parasitic plants: i, mistle- 
toe, viscum verticillata, abounds in the southern portions of the lower val- 
ley, an evergreen, berries; 2, Spanish moss, tillandsia usneoides, descrip- 
tion of the whole plant, habitation ; is altogether an aerial plant, having 
no vital attachment to the tree; microscopic appearance of the green 
fibre; flowering season; flowers, fructification, seed, with their egrets 
and pappus ; time of germination and growth ; the long tresses are formed 
by several older plants tangled and convoluted ; strong central black fibre, 
like knotted horsehair ; uses. 2 , Lowland undergrowth and vines: i , Cane', 
arundo gigantiea, described fully under upland undergrowth, its dimen- 
sions and character in the low grounds; switch-cane; 2, palmetto, dwarf 
palmetto, a southern plant ; habits, description and dimensions ; evergreen ; 
perennial; blooms and bears fruit annually; 3, poison creeper, rhus radi- 
caus, habits, varieties, size. Water plants: i, Floating plant, insseina 
grandiflora, habits, forms "floating islands" or "quaking prairies" in 
southwestern Louisiana; 2, panacea or Minocca nut plant, nelumbium 
cotophyllum, habits, description of leaves, seed-stalk, flowers; flowering 
season; botanical description of the plant: i, Flower, corrolla, stamens 
and pistil described; stipes or leaf stem; leaf, seed-stalk pericarp and 
nuts ; appearance presented by lakes covered with this plant ; Mr. Eaton's 
mistake; common name. 

Chapter 27. Cultivated Trees and Shrubs. i, Fruit trees: i, The 
peach tree; 2, apple tree; 3, red and yellow plum; 4, blue plum; 5, red 
and black cherry tree; 6, pear tree; 7, orange tree, its climate, supposed 
to be indigenous in east Florida; 8, bearing pomgranate, its climate, 
description of the shrub, blooming season, flowers, fruit, productiveness 

236 Mississippi Historical Society. 

of the shrub, inflorescence and fructification; 9, fig tree, its climate, sev- 
eral varieties, description of the tree, bears fruit without visible flowers, 
wood of the tree, fructification, the leaves; the ripe fruit, its propogation ; 
10, the quince tree. 

2. Ornamental shrubs and flowering plants; lower valley rich in flow- 
ers, and varieties almost innumerable: i, Crape myrtle, a most beautiful 
and delicate flower, description of the shrub, its beautiful appearance 
when in full bloom, its inflorescence, dimensions of the shrub; 2, flou'er- 
ing pomgranate, description of shrub and flower, its climate, its flowering 
season; 3, althea arborea, description of the shrub, of the flower, its flow- 
ering season, easily propagated; 4, flowering almond, description of the 
shrub and flowers; 5, Spanish bayonet or tropical lily, its climate, descrip- 
tion of the plant, its extraordinary appearance, the stalk or culm, the 
leaves, the flowers, period at which it begins to bloom, fruit, flowering 
season; 6, roses of every variety, from February to November; 7, mock 
orange, description of the plant, flowers, blooming season, inflorescence; 
8, Cape jessamine, its climate, description of the shrub, of flowers; 9, 
sensative locust or turkey acacia, description of the tree, leaves, flowering 
season, its climate, delicate flowers, inflorescence; 10, arbor vitce or 
feathered cedar, description of the shrub, flowering season, flowers, fruit; 
n, cedars, cultivated as an ornamental tree; 12, pride of China, its cli- 
mate, its extensive cultivation for shade, its dimensions, description of 
the tree, its foliage, its flowering season, its fruit or berries, narcotic or 
paralyzing properties, rapid growth and easy propagation; 13, catalpa 
tree, flowering season, etc. 


Chapter 28. Animals and Quadrupeds. 

General remarks. 

Class mammalia. Tables of genera and species. 

Special notice of individual species: i, The wolf; 2, the fox, gray and 
red; 3, the panther; 4, the wildcat, the catamount; 5, the otter; 6, the 
weasel; 7, the skunk or polecat; 8, the grizzly bear; 9, common black 
bear; 10, the raccoon; n, the o'ppssum; 12, the beaver; 13, the gopher 
or Louisiana earthrat; 14, Louisiana marmot or prairie dog; 15, the 
squirrel; 16, the deer; 17, the elk; 18, the antelope; 19, the bison or 

Chapter 29. Amphibious Animals or Reptiles. 

Class amphibia. Table of genera and species. 

Special notice of individual species. Lestudo: i, Loggerhead turtle; 2, 
Gouffre; 3, alligator; 4, chameleon; 5, siren; 6, rattlesnake ; 7, colubers 
Avipers; 8, stinging snake; 9, king snake. 

Chapter 30. Birds of Prey and Fowls of the Air. 

Class aves. Table of genera and species. 

Special notice of individual species: i, Turkey buzzard; 2, carrion vul- 
ture; 3, bald eagle; 4, great horned owl; 5, red owl or screech owl; 6, 
Carolina parrot or American parokeet; 7, crows; 8, the blackbird; 9, 
ivory-bill woodpecker; 10, robin-red-breast; n.wild pigeon; 12, wild 
turkey; 13, pheasant; 15, partridge or quail. 

Chapter 31. Water Fowls or Aquatic Birds. 
Tables of genera and species. 

Special notice of individual species: i, Roseate spoonbill; 2, whooping 
crane or sand-hill crane; 3, wild goose; 4, swan; 5, pelican. 

Literary Services of Dr. John W. Monette. Riley. 237 


Chapter 32. Indian Mounds or American Monuments, The ruthless 
destruction of every Mexican record by the Spanish conquerors. The 
pyramids and monuments left are authentic histories in an unknown 
tongue; their builders unknown; their uses known by induction; some 
for mausoleums; some for common burying places. Mounds found gen- 
erally in level alluvial lands and in fertile bottoms. In the lower valley 
the mounds preserve the oblong square pyramidal form; in the Ohio 
region they are round and leonoidal. Their use is deduced from analogy. 
Compared with those noted in ancient history. Durability of earthy 
tumuli. These tumuli preferable as places of interment to those of mod- 
ern times. Some are remains of fortified places. A large work of this 
kind near Washington, Miss.; description; extent. Another on Black 
River in Louisiana. Resemblance of southern tumuli to those of Mexico. 
Mr. Flint's views. Extracts from Atwater's "Antiquities." Works at 
Newark, Ohio. Works at Marietta. Works at Circleville; at Big-Grave 
Creek, Va. Humbolt's views. Resemblance to the Teocallis of Cholula, 
especially those of the lower valley of the Mississippi. 

40 pages Ms. 

Chapter 33. Indian Tribes or Aboriginal Inhabitants. Early history of 
the Iroquois confederacy. Six nations of New York. Indian tribes west 
of the Alleghenies in the year 1755 to 1765. Northern Indians. Iro- 
quois confederacy. Algonquin tribes, their numbers and location. 
Southern Indians; five great southern confederacies, their numbers and 
location. Colonel Croghan's estimate of Northern tribes and their num- 
bers in 1765; numbers somewhat diminished in 1795. Southern Indian 
more numerous. Country occupied by each nation: i, Chickasaws; z, 
Choctaws; 3, Cherokees; 4, Creeks; 5, Seminoles; numbers of each; 
diminished during war of 1812-15. Humane policy of United States 
Government ; removal of tribes to west side of the Mississippi ; numbers 
removed up to December i, 1837; numbers then under stipulations to 
remove; total number removed in 1842. Indigenous tribes on the west 
side of the Mississippi ; names and numbers of the different tribes ; total 
number of Indians on the west side of the Mississippi, including emigrant 
tribes; number of warriors available; their terrible mode of warfare, 
which makes them more formidable than their numbers would seem to 
justify; their vindictive perseverance in hostilities when once excited; 
terror to the frontier settlements. The emigrant tribes becoming civ- 
ilized and adopting civilized usages and customs. Location of the emi- 
grant tribes: i, Choctaws; 2, Chickasaws; 3, Cherokees; 4, Creeks; 5, 
Seminoles; 6, Senecas and Shawanese; 7, Quappaws and Osages; 8, wild 
tribes. Physical and moral characteristics: These uniform in all the tribes ; 
size; form; colour; countenance; hair; fortitude under pain and priva- 
tion ; passions ; moral sense ; dress and costume of the civilized Indians ; 
also of savages; mixture of savage and civilized usages. ^Government 
agencies and their objects. Retrospective view of the aboriginal tribes; 
never as numerous as some have supposed; Bancroft's opinion. Con- 


Among Mississippi's many public servants few have served 
her more unselfishly and faithfully than did Edward C. Walthall. 
It mattered not whether at the bar, on the battle-field, or in the 
senatorial chamber, her best interests ever found in him an 
able and fearless champion. 

On April 4, 1831, in the State of Virginia, "the mother of 
great men," and in the historic city of Richmond, E. C. Walthall 
was born. He was descended from an old and honorable family. 
While a small boy his parents moved with him into the State 
of Mississippi. He was educated at the Academy of St. Thomas, 
Holly Springs, a school which took first rank among the educa- 
tional institutions in Mississippi at that time. At an early age 
he began reading law. In his twentieth year he was admitted 
to the bar and began practicing his profession at Coffee ville, 
Mississippi. His early success as a lawyer was marked, and after 
practicing four years he was elected District Attorney. His 
first election occurred in 1856, and in 1859 he was re-elected to 
the same office, which position he held until the spring of 1861, 
when he resigned to enter the Confederate army. The duties of 
District Attorney were discharged by him in a manner highly 
creditable to himself, pleasing to the law-abiding lovers of jus- 
tice, and with a thoroughness that struck terror into the minds 
of transgressors. 

In 1 86 1 when the civil war broke out he saw his services as a 
successful prosecuting attorney sink into insignificance in com- 
parison with the great usefulness that he might perform in the 

'Alfred William Garner was born at Topisaw, Pike County, Miss., in 
1878. After attending the common schools of the county he entered the 
State Agricultural and Mechanical College at Starkville, from which insti- 
tution he was graduated in r 901. He then taught in the public schools 
of Tylertown and Wesson and was principal of the high school at Mount 
Herman, La., in 1903-04. He was a graduate student in History and 
Political Science at the University of Illinois in 1904-05 and at the Uni- 
versity of Chicago in 1905-06. He held a scholarship in the latter insti- 
tution and received the Master's degree therefrom in 1906. At present 
he holds the chair of History and English in Simmons College, Abilene 
Texas. EDITOR. 


240 Mississippi Historical Society. 

field. Accordingly in the spring of that year he resigned as 
District Attorney and tendered his services, as already stated, 
to the Confederate authorities as First Lieutenant of Company 
H, Fifteenth Mississippi Regiment. His gallantry on the field 
soon led to his rapid promotion. On the I5th of June he was 
elected Lieutenant-Colonel of his regiment. It was while serv- 
ing in this capacity that he participated in the battle of Mill 
Springs, or Fishing Creek, Ky., and for the first time exhibited 
those qualities of coolness, self-possession, courage and resource- 
fulness in the face of confusion and disaster that afterwards 
became so characteristic of his conduct on the battle-field. At 
this battle the commanding general had fallen and the untrained 
soldiers were in a state of the wildest confusion. The whole 
army was saved from great disaster only by Walthall's holding 
his men in line and throwing them in the face of the foe. Not 
long after this Lieutenant-Colonel Walthall was made Colonel 
of the Twenty-ninth Mississippi, and in December, 1862, he 
was made Brigadier-General. At the battle of Chickamauga 
his division took part in the thickest of the fight. It is stated 
that 32% of his command were killed in this engagement. At 
the battle of Missionary Ridge the destruction of the Confed- 
erate army was prevented by Walthall, who, though wounded, 
kept his command, held his men in line and sheltered the de- 
feated Confederate army from the attacks of the Union soldiers 
until they could withdraw in good order. It is said that when 
the army was safe Walthall had to be lifted from his saddle, so 
painful had become his wound. In that fearful battle of Frank- 
lin, Tenn., where it is estimated by some that six thousand 
out of sixteen thousand Confederates went down, Walthall's 
division was in the front rank. At the battle of Nashville the 
Confederates were defeated, and when the question of how the 
capture of the Confederate army could be prevented was being 
seriously considered by the Confederate commanders, Forrest 
said to Hood, "Give me Walthall to command a division of 
infantry and I promise that the army shall retreat in safety." 
The army was saved and how much Walthall contributed to 
this fact is too well known to be repeated here. "Moreau's 
successful retreat through the Black Forest was more glorious 
than the victory of Hohenlinden, so this retreat shed as imper- 

Public Services of E. C. Walthall. Garner. 241 

ishable glory upon Forrest and Walthall as any won by their 
most splendid victories." At the battle of Lookout Mountain 
Walthall held at bay General Hooker's division with such dogged 
tenacity that his conduct was characterized by General Bragg 
as "desperate," and by General Thomas as "stubborn." 

General Walthall took part in all the important battles from 
Missionary Ridge to Atlanta. In June, 1864, he was promoted 
to the rank of Major-General. In the last days of the war his 
men lined up for battle at Bentonville, North Carolina, when 
all hope for the South was gone. He stated that no event in 
his life had ever touched him so much as when he rode down 
the line that day and the familiar cheer burst forth from the 
tattered remnant of his old division, while every one in the divi- 
sion knew that the Confederacy was hopelessly doomed to 

General Walthall was kind to the men who served under him. 
It is said that after the battle of Nashville one cold night he 
wrapped the last blanket that he had around a wounded sol- 
dier, and spent the night himself on the frozen ground without 
any shelter whatever, and from that day on he was never a 
stout man. Gen. Joseph E. Johnston declared that if the Con- 
federate war had lasted two years longer General Walthall 
would have been chosen commander of all the Confederate 

At the close of the war General Walthall returned to Coffee- 
ville, Mississippi, and resuming his law practice remained at 
that place until 1871, when he removed to Grenada. He served 
as a delegate to the Democratic National Conventions of 1868, 
1876, 1880, 1884 and 1896, and was vice-president of the con- 
vention of 1868 and chairman of the Mississippi delegation in 
the other four. 

In 1885, when President Cleveland made Senator Lamar 
Secretary of the Interior in his cabinet, Governor Lowry ap- 
pointed General Walthall as his successor in the United States 
Senate. That this appointment was a popular one is shown 
by the fact that several subsequent Legislatures made the 
same choice. General Walthall was eminentry fitted to succeed 
Lamar. It is very doubtful whether his toga could have passed 
to the shoulders of any other Mississippian who was so well 

242 Mississippi Historical Society. 

qualified to take up and to continue the great work of Senator 
Lamar. There existed between these two men such a "firm 
and true" friendship that it was said to be difficult to tell whether 
Lamar partook most of Walthall or Walthall of Lamar. In 
this friendship Lamar found great inspiration and support. 
In a letter written in 1868 he said to General Walthall: 

"Do you know that but for you I could not keep up? I would have 
given up long ago and never made an effort." 

Senator Walthall took his seat in the United States Senate on 
the 1 2th of March, 1885, in the first session of the Forty -ninth 
Congress. Among the prominent Senators who served with 
him were Hoar of Massacushetts, Cullom of Illinois, Spooner 
of Wisconsin, Vest of Missouri, Gorman of Maryland, Colquitt 
of Georgia, Morgan of Alabama, Allison of Iowa, Teller of Col- 
orado, Bate of Tennessee, Edmunds of Vermont, Cockrell of 
Missouri, George of Mississippi, and Ingalls of Kansas. 

Upon taking his seat Senator Walthall was assigned to the 
Committee on Civil Service and Retrenchment, Education and 
Labor, Manufactures, Military Affairs, and Public Lands. He 
served on the Committee on Military Affairs throughout the 
entire time that he was in the Senate, becoming chairman of it 
during the first session of the Fifty-third Congress. 

During this session Senator Walthall introduced bills to 
transfer Attalla County to the eastern division of the northern 
judicial district; to classify and fix the salaries of registers and 
receivers of United States land offices ; to require the New Or- 
leans, Mobile & Texas Railroad Company to construct and 
maintain a suitable draw in that company's bridge across the 
West Pascagoula River in Mississippi ; to amend an Act for the 
construction of a public building at Oxford, Mississippi; to 
construct a national road to the cemetery at Corinth, Missis- 
sippi ; to authorize the Mississippi & Louisiana Bridge Com- 
pany to construct a bridge at Natchez. He also introduced a 
great number of private bills and presented a number of peti- 
tions praying for legislation on various subjects. 

The first important speech delivered in the Senate by Sen- 
ator Walthall was made May 10, 1886, on Interstate Commerce. 
This speech occupies several pages in the Record, and while Mr. 

Public Services of E. C. Walthall. Garner. 243 

Walthall was opposed to giving the power of fixing rates to a 
commission, he declared himself emphatically in favor of Con- 
gressional supervision and control of the great railroad compa- 
nies doing business among the States. He took the position 
that even though the railroads were not oppressing the people 
in their dealings with them, Congressional control was neces- 
sary from the simple fact that such oppression in the absence of 
legal restraints was possible. He showed that it was utterly 
impossible for the States to control these huge corporations, 
owing to the fact that nearly every railroad of any importance 
was engaged in interstate traffic, which constitutionally belongs 
under the control of Congress. Speaking of the great wealth 
controlled by these railroad companies, and the power and 
influence they exert throughout the country, he said in part: 

"Their lines to-day stretch out 140,000 miles and their ownership is 
estimated to equal one-sixth of the entire possessions of all the people 
living under our government. To this many millions are being added 
yearly by the construction of thousands of miles of new road. It has not 
been many years since all the railroad property in the Union was worth 
less than the amount of this yearly addition. 

"The people pay these companies over $800,000,000 a year for trans- 
portation and the commodities transported run up to fifteen billions a 
year in value. It is estimated that 800,000 men are employed in con- 
structing and operating these railroads. Some of these companies have 
more patronage to bestow than a cabinet officer, and some of their presi- 
dents have been paid larger salaries than the President of the United 
States. Many of them receive and distribute vastly more money per 
annum than passes through the treasury of many of the States of this 

He also made remarks of minor importance during this session 
on the suspension of the public land laws. 

During the second session of the Forty-ninth Congress, which 
met in December, 1886, Senator Walthall was excused from 
serving on the Committee on Manufactures. He was appointed 
conferee on the part of the Senate on 'the disagreement over a 
bill to forfeit the land grants of the New Orleans, Baton Rouge 
& Vicksburg Railroad. He introduced during this session a 
joint bill to have the quarantine station removed from Ship 
Island and offered an amendment to a river and harbor bill. 
He also reported about eighteen bills to the Senate from the 
various committees of which he was a member. 

^Record, Forty-ninth Congress, first session, p. 4307. 

244 Mississippi Historical Society. 

At the beginning of the Fiftieth Congress, which met in De- 
cember, 1887, Senator Walthall was reassigned to his old com- 
mittees with the exception that he was transferred from the 
Committee on Education and Labor to that on the Improve- 
ment of the Mississippi River and its Tributaries. He was also 
appointed at least seven times in the course of this session on 
committees to confer with House committees on disagreements 
over various measures. Likewise he was appointed to attend 
the annual examinations of the cadets at the United States 
Naval Academy at Annapolis, which took place in April, 1888. 
Besides the reintroduction of most of the measures which he 
had placed before the Senate during the previous session, Sen- 
ator Walthall introduced a bill to withdraw the public lands of 
the United States in Mississippi from sale at ordinary private 
entry, and to restrain the disposal thereof under general statutes 
to homestead settlers. This bill was of vital importance to 
the people of Mississippi, since its object was to put a stop to 
the action of the great syndicates in gobbling up the public 
domain as a mere investment with no intention of settling on 
this land and becoming citizens of the State. He offered amend- 
ments to bills on war claims, river and harbors, and to a bill 
forfeiting certain railroad land grants, the latter of which deeply 
concerned the people of Mississippi who had settled along the 
proposed route of the Gulf and Ship Island Railroad. As early 
as 1856 the United States had granted to the State of Missis- 
sippi certain lands to aid in the construction of the Gulf & Ship 
Island Railroad, provided that the road should be completed 
at a fixed time. The time limit for the completion of the road 
had long since expired and many settlers had pre-empted in 
good faith much of this land. While a bill was pending to for- 
feit all land grants to aid in the construction of railroads it was 
so amended as to extend" the grant made to aid in the construc- 
tion of the Gulf & Ship Island Railroad until the road could be 
completed and the land redeemed by the company. Senator 
Walthall was quick to see that if such a bill was allowed to pass 
as it then stood, the settlers on this land would find that the 
Gulf & Ship Island Railroad Company had titles to their homes, 
so he amended the bill to confirm the title of every settler on 
the land who had complied with the pre-emption and homestead 

Public Services of E. C. Walthall. Garner. 245 

During the course of this session Senator Walthall made 
remarks on the Fort Brooks Reservation bill, railroad land 
grants, and the Vicksburg public building, and also participated 
in a short debate on the New Bern Cemetery Road. The most 
important speech made by him during this session, and one of 
the ablest that he ever made in the Senate, was on the Municipal 
Election of Jackson, Mississippi. This speech fills twenty col- 
umns in the Record and is an able exposition of the race ques- 
tion. Briefly stated, the matter got before the Senate in the 
following way: In the municipal ejection of Jackson, Missis- 
sippi, in the year 1887, the Republican candidate for mayor 
was defeated and a Democrat elected in his stead. Some 
Republicans of the State sent a letter to a prominent Republi- 
can Senator in which it was alleged that the negro Republicans 
of Jackson had been deprived of their constitutional right of 
suffrage by fraud and intimidation, and prayed for an investi- 
gation. A committee was appointed to investigate the matter, 
and when they made their report Senator Walthall took the 
floor. He declared that it was a permanent feature of Repub- 
lican policy to bring before the United States Senate from time 
to time the internal affairs of the Southern States. He declared 
that such tactics had been followed both in 1876 and 1884 for 
the purpose of defeating the Democratic party in the Presi- 
dential elections. He asserted that the people of Jackson had 
only put forth a righteous effort to rid themselves of one of the 
most inefficient and corrupt administrations that had ever 
afflicted an American community, and appealed most eloquently 
to his Anglo-Saxon brethren to bear in mind that the only step 
in the evolution of the colored man before he was made a citizen 
was from barbarism to slavery, and to cease the vain effort to 
try to place him above a race whose evolution extends through 
many centuries of experiment, sufferings and trials. He said: 

"I do not believe that there is a Senator here who would not if he lived 
in the State of Mississippi put forth all his powers to avert the horrors of 
black supremacy and save his own people if he could from the calamities 
of such a curse. I do not believe that there is a white community in any 
Northern State who, if in our condition, would tamely and meekly sub- 
mit to a reign of ignorance and venality under which honorable white 
men of intelligence and substance would be excluded from all high places 
of official trust in the State and all the possessions and most sacred interest 

246 Mississippi Historical Society. 

of their race brought under the rule of uneducated, undisciplined and 
irresponsible negroes." 3 

He frankly admitted that there were no few afflictions and 
grievances in the South as a result of the presence in that sec- 
tion of two different races, but he insisted that Federal enact- 
ments would only aggravate the trouble and that their cure 
must be left to the healing effects of time and patience. 

During this session Senator Walthall made a rather elab- 
orate speech in the case of Henry J. Fanz, of Aberdeen. The 
people of Aberdeen had burned Procter, the Secretary of War, 
in effigy for not giving orders to have the flag lowered on the 
date of Jefferson Davis' death. During the performance Fanz 
cut the rope by which the effigy was suspended, for which, as 
he claimed, the citizens assaulted him and treated him in a 
brutal manner. The United States Marshal made a complaint 
to the Attorney-General at Washington, and while a resolution 
was before the Senate calling on the Attorney -General to lay 
the complaint before the Senate, Senator Walthall made his 
speech. He vigorously denied the power of the Senate to call 
for the report. The resolution was defeated through the efforts 
of Senators Walthall and George, who also spoke against it. 

During the second session of the Fiftieth Congress, which 
assembled in December, 1888, Senator Walthall introduced an 
amendment to a bill for the allowance of certain claims for 
stores and supplies taken and used by the United States army. 
He also introduced a resolution instructing the committee on 
the Judiciary to inquire into the propriety of amending the 
existing laws in regard to the jurisdiction of the Circuit Courts 
of the United States. The introduction of a number of bills 
of a private character and the reporting of several bills from the 
different committees on which he served completed his work 
of this session. 

While serving in the Fifty-first Congress, which met in March, 
1889, Senator Walthall was reassigned to his old committees. 
In the first session of this Congress he re-introduced three bills 
which he had previously introduced, together with twenty- 
one private bills, offered an amendment to a bill to forfeit rail- 
road land grants and reported about twenty -eight bills to the 

3 Record, Fiftieth Congress, first session, p. 7982. 

Public Services of E. C. Walthall. Garner. 247 

Senate. He was appointed no less than seven different times 
during the session to confer with committees from the House 
on disagreements. Bills for appropriation for fortifications; 
forfeiture of railroad land grants ; tents for flood sufferers and 
for the purchase of Townsend's library, were all made subjects 
of remarks by him during this session. He also took part in a 
debate on the overflow of the Mississippi, in which he used his 
wit to the discomfiture of his adversary, Senator Stewart. Con- 
cerning the best method of preventing the overflow of the Mis- 
sissippi, Walthall was of course in favor of the levee system, 
while Senator Stewart insisted on the outlet system, that is, that 
the channel at the mouth of the river should be deepened. In 
support of this theory Senator Stewart stated that the mouth of 
the river should be made deeper, that the trouble with every 
stream on earth, that had been examined, was that it builds a 
dam for itself when it widens out in connection with the ocean, 
and thus valleys are formed. He claimed that the Nile had 
built itself out many miles ; a large part of the Mississippi has 
built out for many miles, and the Po has done likewise. In the 
course of his reply Senator Walthall said: 

"I simply want to suggest to the Senator that his question has spread 
out a good deal like the mouth of the Mississippi [laughter]. There are 
shoals in it, and if he would make it a little more pointed and direct I 
should be obliged to him. I would like him to narrow it a little." 4 

During the second session of the Fifty-first Congress, which 
convened in December, 1889, Senator Walthall was placed on a 
select Committee on Indian Depredations. He was also ap- 
pointed with five other members of the Senate to attend the 
funeral ceremonies of -General W. T. Sherman. He was also 
again honored with the appointment to attend the annual exam- 
inations of the cadets of the Military Academy at West Point. 

In the course of the session he spoke on Mississippi suffrage, 
apportionment of Representatives, bridges, and a pension to 
Wilting. His greatest speech of the session, however, was on 
the proposed General Election Law. Senator Walthall, in 
opposing the measure, declared that while it was general in its 
provisions, the South was the objective point at which it was 
directed, and that it encouraged the negro race to contend with 

^Record, Fifty-first Congress, first session, pp. 3919, 3920, 3921. 

248 Mississippi Historical Society. 

the whites for the mastery in politics. He stated that such a 
measure would result in the drawing anew of the partially oblit- 
erated color line in Southern politics, excite the white man's 
apprehension of negro dominion and strengthen his efforts to 
prevent it and revive in the credulous and impulsive negro 
hopes of power that could not be fulfilled. He again acknowl- 
edges that the South has before her a great and difficult prob- 
lem as a result of the presence of the negro. To prove this he 
quotes the following from Senator Hoar, of Massachusetts: 

"I make them [remarks concerning the South] with full knowledge of 
the difficult problem that awaits us, and the problem that especially 
concerns our friends south of Mason and Dixon's line. We will pour 
out our money like water; you may tax us by the millions, or the thou- 
sand millions, if it is needed to give these people intelligence which is 
necessary to fit them to live with you as citizens." 5 

When the Fifty-second Congress convened in December, 
1891, Senator Walthall was, as usual, reassigned to his old com- 
mittees with the exception of the Committee on Indian Depre- 
dations, which had served its purpose and no longer existed. 
He introduced in this Congress a bill to authorize the Legis- 
lature of Mississippi to sell or lease the lands heretofore appro- 
priated to the use of schools within the Chickasaw cessions, and 
to ratify the sales already made. He introduced also a reso- 
lution directing the Committee on Privileges and Elections to 
inquire into and consider whether legislation was not necessary 
to settle questions that have arisen from time to time concern- 
ing the time and manner of holding the elections for United 
States Senators. He reintroduced several bills that had been 
introduced by him on previous occasions, besides seven or 
eight private bills. 

He made remarks during this session on the Chickasaw land 
cessions in Mississippi, on the treaty rights of aliens, and deliv- 
ered a eulogy on the life and character of Preston B. Plumb, 
late Senator from Kansas. It was during this session that Jus- 
tice L. Q. C. Lamar died, and his life and character was also 
made the subject of a speech by General Walthall in the Senate. 

In the Fifty -third Congress, which met March 4, 1893, Sen- 
ator Walthall was appointed to membership on the Committee 

^Record, Fifty-first Congress, second session, p. 367. 

Public Services of E. C. Walthall. Garner. 249 

on the Organization, Conduct and Expenditures of the Executive 
Department. He was made chairman of the Committee on 
Military Affairs, on which committee he had rendered able serv- 
ice ever since his entry into the Senate. The Vice-President 
also appointed him a member of the Board of Directors of the 
Columbia Institute for the Deaf and Dumb. He introduced 
while serving in this Congress a bill to dedicate Chickamauga 
Park. This being the year of the great panic and the "free 
silver craze," it is not at all surprising that the money question 
occupied no little amount of Senator Walthall 's time and atten- 
tion. His first duty along this line consisted in presenting a 
memorial from the Mississippi Legislature praying for the repeal 
of the Sherman silver purchasing clause in the Act of July 14, 
1890. He also had to make the proper disposition of a number 
of private petitions praying for similar action. The greater 
part of his time, however, expended on this subject was no doubt 
consumed in the preparation and delivery of an exhaustive 
speech on silver bullion. He made talks of minor importance 
during this same session on the dedication of the Chickamauga 
Park and on deserted land entries. 

Senator Walthall seems to have entered upon the duties of 
the second session of the Fifty-third Congress in a state of 
broken health. Despite this fact he was active in bringing 
things to pass. He introduced a bill to indemnify Mississippi 
for the failure of a title to a township of land intended to be 
granted to her on her admission into the Union, and a bill to 
regulate enlistments in the army, and a joint bill to relieve the 
employes of the Record and Pension office, who were injured 
in the Ford Theater disaster, from the law restricting the amount 
of sick leave with pay that may be granted by the heads of de- 
partments. Senator Walthall was too conscientious to hold 
an office when he thought that its duties might be better per- 
formed by some one else, accordingly when he thought that 
his feeble state of health was interfering with his duties he deter- 
mined to make room for his successor. So on January 18, 1894, 
the Chair "with serious regret" was called upon to lay before 
the Senate his resignation, to take effect on the 24th day of the 
same month. 

250 Mississippi Historical Society. 

When Senator Walthall resigned he lacked about fourteen 
months of having served out the second term to which he had 
been elected by the Legislature in January, 1888, to a term 
ending March 3, 1895. In 1892 the Legislature had elected 
him to a third term ending March 3, 1901, so his successor in 
1894, Senator McLaurin, served only in the third session of the 
Fifty-third Congress, which met in December, 1894, and ended 
March 3, 1895. At the opening of the Fifty -fourth Congress 
on December 2, 1895, Senator Walthall resumed his seat and 
entered upon the duties of a third term for which he had been 
elected in spite of the fact that he had written a public letter 
refusing to become a candidate. At the opening of this session 
he was assigned to the Committees on Finance, on Geological 
Survey, to a select committee for the establishment of a Univer- 
sity of the United States, and to two other committees on which 
he had already served. Again he was made one of the Direct- 
ors of the Institute for the Deaf and Dumb. In the course of 
this session he introduced bills to amend an Act incorporating 
the Capital Railroad Company, a bill for the equalization of 
land grants for educational purposes, and at least a half dozen 
private bills. He presented eight petitions to the Senate, 
reported fifteen bills from committees of which he was a mem- 
ber, and made brief remarks on a site for the Biloxi Hospital, 
the Capital Railroad Company, and the Indian appropriation 

During the second session of the Fifty -fourth Congress, which 
met December 7, 1896, Senator Walthall was appointed by the 
Vice-President to attend again the annual examinations of the 
cadets at the Military Academy at West Point. 

At the opening of the first session of the Fifty-fifth Congress, 
which convened on March 4, 1897, Senator Walthall was made 
Chairman of the Committee on Revolutionary Claims. He also 
enjoyed the distinction of being one of the members of the com- 
mittee appointed in the Senate to attend the ceremonies on the 
occasion of the presentation of the tomb of General Grant to 
the city of New York. He introduced during this session bills 
to amend an Act restoring to the public domains lands in Mis- 
sissippi and Alabama not needed for naval purposes, to relieve 
the owners of cotton shipped on the steamer Gladiator, and to 

Public Services of E. C. Walthall. Garner. 251 

allow a bridge to be built across Pearl River. He made speeches 
of minor importance on the Pearl River bridge and on increas- 
ing the tariff on soda ash. 

When the second session of the Fifty-fifth Congress opened 
in December, 1897, the remaining part of Senator Walthall's 
senatorial career was but brief, for before this session closed 
death visited the senatorial chamber and claimed him for its 
victim. Before his death, however, he offered an amendment 
to a sundry civil service bill and reintroduced a bill to amend 
the charter of the Capital Railroad Company. He offered a 
motion calling for the report of the supervising surgeon of the 
Marine Hospitals, and one to investigate the question of the 
removal of the quarantine station from Ship Island. He also 
presented to the Senate a memorial from the Legislature of 
Mississippi praying for the United States to intervene in the 
war between Spain and Cuba. He also delivered a eulogy on 
the life and character of Senators I. G. Harris and J. Z. George. 
His last appearance in the Senate is said to have been on the 
7th of April, when he delivered a eulogy on the character and 
services of Senator George. His physicians and friends advised 
him not to venture to the Senate chamber that day, so feeble 
was he, but with death itself almost staring him in the face, 
and with a sense of duty uppermost in his mind, he repaired to 
the Senate, and uttered an able eulogy on the life and character 
of the "Old Commoner." Thus he put a finishing touch to his 
senatorial career, for within two weeks of that time he lay dead 
in his hotel. He died on April 21, 1898, the day that Congress 
fixed as the beginning of the Spanish-American War. 

When Senator Money announced on April 22d the death of 
Senator Walthall a resolution expressing "profound sorrow" 
was adopted, and as a further mark of respect the Senate ad- 
journed. On the following day at 12 o'clock sharp the mem- 
bers of the House, the diplomatic corps, the Justices of the 
Supreme Court and the President of the United States with 
the members of his cabinet assembled with the Senators in the 
Senate chamber and in the presence of the casket that con- 
tained the remains of Mississippi's great soldier and statesman, 
a fervent prayer was offered by the chaplain and the funeral 
rites of the Episcopal Church were performed by several emi- 

252 Mississippi Historical Society. 

nent clergymen. A committee was then appointed to accom- 
pany the remains to their final resting place at Holly Springs, 

On the days set aside for paying tribute to the memory of 
Senator Walthall the following persons spoke in eulogy of his 
life and character: Senators Money, Hawley, Berry, Spooner, 
Gray, Gorman, Cockrell, Bate, Bacon, Pettus, and Representa- 
tives Allen, Spallding, Williams, Henry, Fox, Spight, Boutelle, 
Bartlet, McLain and Myer. 

As a Senator General Walthall ranked high. His wisdom, 
his fairness, his conservatism, his fine courtesy and chivalric 
manners won for him the confidence and respect of even those 
members whose political faith differed from his own. This fact 
is borne out by the testimony of many who served with him. 
Senator Spooner of Wisconsin, his personal friend, in speaking 
of him, said: 

"I never met one in whose personal loyalty I had more implicit trust 
or into whose care I would more willingly commit my honor or my life. 

"Calm, self-contained, thoughtful, always considerate of others, char- 
itable in his judgments, tolerant of differences of opinion, making due 
allowances for the influences of tradition, association, the prejudices of 
environment and all the factors which enter into life, he was a character 
rare in its evenness and perfection. * * * It is no disparagement of 
others to say of him that from the South has come no man who in fuller 
measure answered to the old-time romantic ideal of the best type of 
the Southern gentleman than did Senator Walthall." 

Senator Gray of Delaware, speaking of the great worth of 
Senator Walthall, among other things, said: 

"There is no contribution that Mississippi could have made to the 
nation that could have compared in enduring value to that of the char- 
acter of her great soldier and statesman. * * * And no State in the 
great sisterhood of States can fail to realize the bright hopes of a high 
destiny that breeds such men and builds such character." 

He was always just and impartial in his dealings with matters 
that came before him for settlement. Senator Hawley, who 
served with him almost twelve years on the Committee on Mili- 
tary Affairs, speaks of him in the following terms: 

"His judgment was sound, his temper perfect. Before that committee 
[on Military Affairs] came many cases of erroneous record to be corrected 
cases of injustice, owing to the haste and carelessness or momentary petu- 
lance, new evidence that failed to reach a court martial, etc., almost 
without end. In his treatment of all such matters no stranger coming 
as a casual observer could have discovered on which side of the great 
war he had arraigned himself." 

Public Services of E. C. Walthall. Garner. 253 

Senator George F. Hoar of Massachusetts, who represented 
the highest and best traditions of the Senate, speaks in the 
highest terms of Senator Walthall. In attempting to describe 
the high esteem in which Senator Walthall was held by the great 
Massachusetts Senator, I can do no better than quote him. 
He says: 

"If I were to select the one man of all others with whom I have served 
in the Senate, who seems to me the most perfect example of the quality 
and character of the American Senator, I think it would be Edward C. 
Walthall of Mississippi. I knew him personally very little. I do not 
now remember that I ever saw him except in the Capitol or in the Capitol 
grounds. I had, I dare say, some pleasant talks with him in the Senate 
chamber or the cloak room. But I remember little of them now. He 
rarely took part in debate. He was a very modest man. He left to his 
associates the duty of advocating his and their opinions, unless he was 
absolutely compelled by some special reason to do it himself. When 
he did speak the Senate listened to a man of great ability, eloquence and 
dignity. I once heard him encounter William M. Evarts in debate. 
Evarts made a perpared speech upon a measure which he had in charge. 
Walthall's reply must have been unpremeditated and wholly unexpected 
to him. I think Evarts was in the right and Walthall in the wrong, but 
the Mississippian certainly got the better of the encounter."' 

Personally Senator Walthall was very handsome, dignified 
in bearing, imposing in manner, neat in dress, eloquent in 
speech, patient in opposition and never wounded the feelings of 
an adversary. With the exception of the gifted Lamar Missis- 
sippi never had a representative in the upper House of Con- 
gress who commanded in such a rare degree the admiration and 
respect of all his colleagues or wielded more influence in legis- 
lative matters. This is the uniform testimony of his contem- 

Hoar's Autobiography of Seventy Years, Vol. II, p. 189. 



TO FRANCE, 1794-96. 


The long struggle to secure free navigation of the Mississippi 
River forms a most important incident in the early history of 
the United States. While Spain held Louisiana long diplo- 
matic negotiations took place before any settlement was reached. 
It is not generally known that James Monroe, during his first 
mission to France, 1794-96, extended most important aid in 
securing the treaty, concluded between the United States and 
Spain in 1795, which opened up the Mississippi River. 

While criticising Monroe most severely for his conduct as 
Minister to France, Schouler and other historians of the period 
pass over in silence this efficient work. Much light has recently 
been thrown upon this subject by the Diplomatic Archives of 
the Department of State, and by the voluminous Monroe cor- 
respondence in the Congressional Library. Of these sources only 
a part has been published. Even Monroe's biographers have 
used this great mass of material only sparingly, if at all. This 
paper, based upon these manuscript sources, will undertake to 
show the extent of Monroe's influence upon the negotiations 
with Spain. Before doing so, it is necessary to review the 
general situation previous to his entrance upon the scene. 

'Dr. Beverly W. Bond, Jr., was born in Blacksburg, Va. The Bond 
family is one of the oldest colonial families of Maryland. Its mem- 
bers are well known for their intellectual capacity. The mother of the 
subject of this sketch is a descendant of Col. Zadock Magruder, one of 
the Revolutionary heroes of Maryland. 

Dr. Bond was educated for the most part in private schools. In 1900 
he received the degree of A. B. from Randolph-Macon College, and in 
1901 the degree of A. M. from the same institution. In 1 90 <; he received 
the degree of Ph.D. from the Johns Hopkins University. While a stu- 
dent in the latter institution he received a prize of fifty dollars which was 
offered by the Woman's Auxiliary of the Massachusetts Civil Service Re- 
form Association to the students of the leading colleges and universities 
of the United States for the best essay on some phase of the subject of 
Civil Service Reform. 

Dr. Bond filled creditably the chair of Assistant Professor of History 
in the University of Mississippi during the session of 1905-1906. He 
is now Professor of English and Acting Professor of Economics and Civics 
in the Southwestern Presbyterian University, Clarksville, Tenn. EDITOR. 


256 Mississippi Historical Society. 

The treaty of 1763 by which France ceded Louisiana to Spain 
guaranteed to all British subjects the free navigation of the 
Mississippi River for its entire length. The Peace Treaty of 
1783 confirmed this right to citizens of the United States as 
well as to all British subjects. 2 The Continental Congress in 
1785 appointed John Jay plenipotentiary to Spain to negotiate 
a treaty establishing this right. But the Spanish Premier 
Gardoqui, asserted that England could not give away such n 
privilege, and that, therefore, the claim of American citizens 
to navigate the Mississippi River was ill-founded. 3 An agree- 
ment was made between Jay and Gardoqui that American ves- 
sels should convey goods down the river to a fixed point where 
a magazine was to be established. There Spanish boats would 
meet them to cover the rest of the distance to New Orleans. 
Whether sea-going vessels might convey these products from 
this port was to form the subject of future negotiations. 4 This 
agreement was not confirmed either by the United States or by 
Spain The same fate met a proposed treaty which resigned 
for twenty-five years the right of the United States to free navi- 
gation. A very annoying situation therefore arose. For all 
practical purposes American citizens possessed no rights of 
navigating the Mississippi River through Spanish territory. 

With the growth of the Western country the necessity for free 
navigation greatly increased. Unless produce was carried by 
the difficult routes over the Alleghany Mountains, or by the 
Great Lakes, the Mississippi was the only outlet. Also there 
was great need for some port on the lower Mississippi at which 
American goods might be transferred from the small river craft 
to ocean-going vessels without the payment of special duties. 
By onerous tolls and restrictions placed upon American vessels 
descending the Mississippi, the Spanish governors evinced their 
hostility to the United States. The rapid increase in produc- 
tion made such a condition so intolerable that Kentucky and 
Tennessee even threatened to secede. Spain tried to take 

2 Memoir of Thos. Pinckney, August 10, 1795, American State Papers, 
Vol. I, p. 536. 

3 Jay's Commission, July 21, 1785; Gardoqui to John Jay, May 26, 
1786, American State Papers, Vol. I, pp. 248-49. 

4 Carmichael and Short to Secretary of State, April 18, 1793, American 
State Papers, Vol. I, pp. 248-49. 

Free Navigation of the Mississippi River. Bond. 257 

advantage of the situation in order to stir up rebellion against 
the United States. 

To remedy this situation, January n, 1792, Washington 
nominated Wm. Carmichael and Wm. Short Commissioners to 
negotiate with Spain a treaty for the free navigation of the Mis- 
sissippi by American citizens, and for the use of a Spanish port 
thereon. 5 Upon their arrival they found Gardoqui much dis- 
inclined to meet their propositions. Instead he proposed again 
the unconfirmed agreement he had made with Jay.' As these 
terms were altogether unacceptable, the negotiations greatly 
lagged. As late as January, 1794, two years after the appoint- 
ment of the commissioners, the - Spanish Government still 
evinced an utter indifference to a settlement of the question of 
the navigation of the Mississippi River. 7 

The non-success of the commissioners to Spain produced 
much discontent in the United States. Goaded to fury by the 
little attention which they believed had been paid to their inter- 
ests, the inhabitants of the Western country proposed to assert 
their rights to free navigation by force. In the spring of 1794 
Gen. Geo. Rogers Clarke attempted to form an expedition with 
large detachments from Kentucky and the back country of 
South Carolina which should march south and open the Missis- 
sippi to their vessels. The men engaged for the service were 
promised bounties from the lands in East and West Florida, 
which, it was hoped, would be conquered from the Spaniards. 
The iron works in Kentucky cast cannon for the invasion, 
while citizens of Lexington subscribed to defray the expenses 
of the proposed expedition. 8 The prompt action of the govern- 
ment in calling upon the Governor of Georgia to use the militia of 
that State, if necessary, prevented the realization of these plans. 9 
This incident illustrates the current sentiment of the Western 
country at this time. They were determined to find a natural 

5 American State Papers, Vol. I, p. 137. 

'Carmichael and Short to Secretary of State, April 18, 1793, American 
State Papers, Vol. I, pp. 248-49. 

'Carmichael and Short to Secretary of State, January 7, 1794 Ameri- 
can State Papers, Vol. I, pp. 440-42. 

"Constant Freeman to Secretary of War, May 14, 1794, American State 
Papers, Vol. I, p. 460 

p " * of Georgia - May 

258 Mississippi Historical Society. 

outlet through the channel of the Mississippi River, and, if the 
Federal Government would not secure it for them, they would 
force it for themselves. On the other hand, the commissioners 
seemed to be unable to get any definite assurances from the 
Spanish Government. So, while the American Government 
was exerting itself to restrain the increasing indignation of 
the Western people at the injustice with which they appeared 
to be treated, in Madrid there was a deadlock. Such was the 
situation when, on May 23, 1794, James Monroe received his 
credentials as Minister to France. This appointment marks the 
entrance of a new and forcible element into the Spanish nego- 
tiations. France having become the dominant Continental 
power, it was obvious that she would soon compel Spain to sue 
for peace. If, at the same time, France, as the ally of the United 
States, would bring pressure to bear, the American administra- 
tion believed that Spain might be induced to settle the naviga- 
tion controversy. The instructions to Monroe therefore had 
advised him that France might be instrumental in securing the 
free navigation of the Mississippi River. Especially had it 
been suggested that by contriving to be made the medium in 
the coming negotiations between France and Spain, he might 
obtain the much needed French help. 10 

Upon his arrival in France Monroe became firmly convinced 
of the great danger to the United States in a definite peace 
between France and Spain without provision for the free navi- 
gation of the Mississippi River by American citizens. 1 * He held 
himself ready to take advantage of the slightest pretext to pre- 
sent the Mississippi controversy to the attention of the French 
Government. A favorable opening was soon offered. Two 
letters from Gardoqui, the Spanish Premier, asked Monroe to 
procure for him passports into France that he might take certain 
baths. Monroe rightly concluded that this request was a mere 
blind to open communication between France and Spain. He 
at once submitted the correspondence to the French Govern- 
ment, notifying Gardoqui of his action, and referring him to 
the Committee of Public Safety. 12 

1 Instructions to Monroe, American State Papers, Vol. I, pp. 668-69. 

1 1 Monroe to Secretary of State, November 20, 1794, Monroe's Writings, 
Vol. II, pp. 117-24. 

1 J Monioe to Committee of Public Safety and to Don Diege de Gardoqui, 
November 13, 1794, Monroe's Writings, Vol. II, pp. 109-12 and 127. 

Free Navigation of the Mississippi River. Bond. 259 

This incident afforded Monroe the very opportunity for which 
he had waited in order to press upon the French Government the 
claims of the United States with respect to the Mississippi. In 
observations submitted to the Committee of Public Safety he 
showed the importance of free navigation of the Mississippi to 
a very large section of the United States. As a loan from the 
United States had been officially suggested, he intimated that 
a considerable sum might be obtained provided France would 
give satisfactory assurances to consider American interests in 
negotiating with Spain. 18 Mindful of Monroe's aid in the 
Gardoqui affair, the French Government in reply assured him 
of its full intention to obtain for the United States the free 
navigation of the Mississippi. 14 This response shows that Mon- 
roe had at length obtained a powerful ally for the American 
negotiations with Spain. 

Early in 1795 news of the conclusion of a treaty by Jay with 
Great Britain caused a decidedly chilly demeanor on the part 
of the French Government. The secrecy observed in regard to 
the provisions of the treaty until after its ratification by the 
Senate in the following June increased this coldness. Monroe, 
while endeavoring to avoid any rupture with France, still tried 
to secure French aid for the American negotiations at Madrid. 
In a memorial to the Committee of Public Safety he again rep- 
resented the situation of the Mississippi Valley and the depend- 
ence of a large section of the United States upon free navigation 
as the only feasible means of commercial intercourse. To attain 
this he again asked the aid of France during the negotiations 
with Spain. 15 

The Committee of Public Safety merely acknowledged this 
communication, 1 * but later, Citizen Merlin, in charge of diplomatic 
affairs, promised definitely that the note should receive due 
consideration. He added, most significantly, that French aid 
would largely depend upon the course adopted by the American 
Government toward the Jay treaty, and that between nations, 

1 'Monroe's Writings, Vol. II, pp. 193-200. 

1 4 Monroe to Secretary of State, February 12, 1795, Monroe's Writings, 
Vol. II, pp. 193-200. 

16 Monroe to Committee of Public Safety, January 2?, 170?, Monroe's 
Writings, Vol. II, pp. 182-86. 

l9 Committee of Public Safety to Monroe, February 8, 1795, American 
State Papers, Vol. i, p. 699. 

260 Mississippi Historical Society. 

as between individuals, there should be reciprocity of obliga- 
tion. These last observations, Merlin took care to say, he gave 
merely as a private individual. 17 This covert threat gives the 
keynote to the hesitation of the French Government to aid the 
United States in the Spanish negotiations. Against the feeling 
of distrust engendered by the Jay treaty Monroe was obliged 
continually to struggle. 

A further incident aided Monroe still more in calling upon the 
French Government for aid. So successful had his action in 
the Gardoqui incident proved that in February, 1795, he was 
asked to transmit to Madrid two notes which marked the begin- 
ning of active negotiations between France and Spain. 18 Avail- 
ing himself of this incident, Monroe again, on March 8th, re- 
called to the Committee of Public Safety the demands of the 
United States ; ist, for the free navigation of the Mississippi 
River and the full territorial limits guaranteed by the peace 
treaty of 1783 ; 2d, for the use by American ships of New Orleans 
or of some other equally convenient Spanish port. These 
points he asked them to urge in the course of negotiations with 
Spain. 1 " On handing this note to M. Pelet, of the French Dip- 
lomatic Committee, Monroe's messenger assured him that the 
free navigation of the Mississippi River would be of little real 
benefit unless a port was granted as well. In reply M. Pelet 
declared that France would do all in her power for the interest 
of America in a negotiation with Spain. Later, after being 
assured that no provisions of the Jay treaty should give uneasi- 
ness to the French Government, M. Pelet definitely advised 
Monroe that the French agent at Madrid had been instructed 
to secure the points in controversy for the United States. 20 

This last note of M. Pelet indicates that Monroe had at last 
succeeded in inducing the French Government to take an active 
interest in the American negotiations with Spain. This was 
the last assurance obtained from France on the subject. The 

1 'Merlin to Wilmar Skipwith, Department of State, Dispatch No. 4, 
France, 212. 

1 'Monroe to Committee of Public Safety, February 17, 1795, Monroe's 
Writings, Vol. II, p. 206. 

19 Monroe to Committeeof Public Safety, March 8, 1795, Department of 
State, Despatches No. 4, France, 213. 

20 J. C. Montflorence to Monroe, March 9, 1795, Department of State, 
Despatches No. 4, France, 113-14; Monroe to Secretary of State, March 
9, 1795, Monroe's Writings, Vol. II, pp. 21719. 

Free Navigation of the Mississippi River. Bond. 261 

continued secrecy of the Jay treaty had its effect, and the 
French Government began to evince a marked coolness toward 

Meanwhile Thomas Pinckney had been appointed minister 
plenipotentiary to conclude a treaty with Spain. Shortly after 
his arrival on the continent in the spring of 1795, the changed 
attitude of France was forcibly illustrated. In notifying the 
Committee of Public Safety of Mr. Pinckney's journey through 
France, Monroe offered to send any messages to Spain by him. 21 
No response seems to have been made to this offer. An addi- 
tional incident, while showing the change of Spanish sentiment, 
still further indicated the growing distrust of France for the' 
United States. Also in May, Wm. Short, one of the American 
commissioners at Madrid, wrote that Spain was most anxious 
for a settlement with France. By the desire of the Spanish 
premier he asked that Monroe propose to France open nego- 
tiations with Spain. This last request could not be granted, 
since France refused to accept American mediation. 22 

These two instances plainly showed that no further aid could 
be expected. But French pressure upon Spain had already 
accomplished its object. Upon his arrival Pinckney found that 
a most favorable disposition speedily to conclude a treaty with 
the United States was being manifested. Indeed the Spanish 
Minister, the Duke de la Acudia, declared that the King was 
willing to sacrifice a part of his rights as a testimonial of his 
good will toward the United States. Nor was it difficult to dis- 
cern the cause of this conciliatory attitude, so different from 
that manifested toward Carmichael and Short. At the first 
conference with Pinckney the Duke proposed that, as the Amer- 
ican and the French negotiations were so intimately connected, 
they should proceed together. Though this offer was not 
accepted, Pinckney wrote home that the process of the American 
negotiations could not have been upon a better footing. This 
favorable disposition he ascribed to the work of the French 
commissioners who had very evidently fulfilled the promises to 
Monroe that France would insist upon a settlement by Spain 

21 Monroe to Committee of Public Safety, May 12, 1795, Monroe's Writ- 
ings, Vol. II, pp. 284-5. 

22 William Short to Monroe, May 4, 1795; Monroe to William Short, 
May 30, 1795, Monroe's Writings, Vol. II, pp. 288-92. 

262 Mississippi Historical Society. 

with the United States. As a proof of the influence of Monroe's 
attitude, the Duke de la Acudia informed Pinckney that the 
American minister at Paris opposed any accommodation be- 
tween France and Spain which did not acknowledge the interests 
of the United States by a guarantee of the free navigation of 
the Mississippi. 23 

With the way thus paved Pinckney finally negotiated the 
treaty concluded October 27, 1795, which guaranteed to Ameri- 
can citizens the navigation of the Mississippi and for three years 
the use of New Orleans as a free port for the storage of their 

The importance of Monroe's work in bringing about this final 
adjustment is apparent. Some outside influence must have 
been brought to bear to account for the changed attitude of 
Spain at the outset of Pinckney 's mission. The Spanish min- 
ister's avowal of the close connection between the French and 
the American negotiations, his intimate knowledge of Monroe's 
attitude toward the conclusion of a treaty between France and 
Spain, above all Pinckney 's own testimony, all show that the 
representations of the French commissioners had been largely 
instrumental in the final success of the American negotiations 
in Spain. Apparently the only other reason for this change of 
attitude was Spain's fear that, in case of an even closer treaty 
than that negotiated by Jay between the United States and 
Great Britain, the former, if hostile, might prove most dan- 
gerous to Louisiana. The French aid to the United States was 
due entirely to the persistence of Monroe, who had worked for 
the greater part of the time under the most adverse conditions. 
By his persistent representations of their interests, therefore, 
Monroe had played a most important part in gaining for the 
people of the Western country the free navigation of the Missis- 
sippi River for its entire length, and the use of New Orleans as 
a free port of deposit. 

23 Thos. Pinckney to the Secretary of State, July 10 and 21, 1795, 
American State Papers, Vol. I, pp. 534-35. 



This is the name given to a large section of country in the 
eastern end of Jefferson County, Mississippi. It extends about 
twenty miles from west to east, running over into the present 
county of Lincoln for several miles. Its average width is per- 
haps ten miles from north to south. It embraces the two Pres- 
byterian Churches of Ebenezer and Union and at a later date 
two Methodist Churches, Nebo and Galatia. It has figured in 
civil and church councils for nearly one hundred years. 

In 1805, just after the Louisiana purchase, four men with 
their families came from North Carolina to Tennessee and re- 
mained there for one year, thence by way of the Mississippi 
River they came to Bruinsburg, in Claiborne County. So far 
as can be found out these were the first settlers in the section 
known as the Scotch Settlement. These four persons were 
George Torrey, his son Dongold Torrey, Laughlin Currie and 
Robert Willis. They made two crops in Claiborne County, and 
in 1806 settled in Jefferson County, near the present site of 
Ebenezer Church. They were soon followed by the Gilchrists, 
Galbreaths and Camerons. A few years later all the country 
around Union Church, which is twelve miles east of Ebenezer, 
was filled with Scotch settlers who came mainly from North 
Carolina. Some of them, it is said, spoke the Gaelic language, 
and to this day there is extant in one of our homes a book of 
the Psalms and the Westminster Shorter Catechism in that old 
dialect. These Scotch people were nearly all Presbyterians and 
the history of the settlement is mainly a history of the two 
Presbyterian Churches that were organized at the very begin- 
ning of the period. These two churches were Ebenezer and 
Union Church. Thirty years ago Ebenezer Church was dis- 
solved and the building sold to our Methodist brethren. This 
was caused by the constant removals from the neighborhood 
to cities and towns. The records of the old church are not 
accessible to the writer and therefore details must be omitted 
from this sketch. 


264 Mississippi Historical Society. 

The church was organized in 1811 by Rev. Jacob Ricklaw. 
During all its palmy days its pastor was the Rev. William Mont- 
gomery. It was a church of great wealth and influence. One 
of its members stated not long ago that in the days of its pros- 
perity it represented property worth a million of dollars. This 
is not difficult to believe when we recall the names of some of 
its prominent families. There were the Darden families, includ- 
ing Jesse Darden, Buckner Darden, Samuel Darden and George 
Darden. There were two or three families each of Camerons, 
Curries, Montgomerys and Torreys. There were the families 
of Malcolm Gilchrist, Duncan McArn, J. J. Warren and quite 
a number of others. Now, when we remember that the soil 
was in its virgin state, that these men owned a great many slaves 
and that they were very valuable, we can readily credit the 
statement concerning the wealth of this part of the Scotch set- 
tlement. This section of the county furnished its full share of 
representatives in the State and County government. George 
Torrey was for a long time sheriff of the county. His son, W. D. 
Torrey, and M. M. Currie were at different times members of 
the State Senate, while Daniel H. Cameron represented his 
county in the lower house of the Legislature. The people of 
Ebenezer were refined and cultivated and to them the civil war 
with its results was exceedingly disastrous. When their slave 
property was lost their lands became useless. Their splendid 
carriages, wagons and teams rapidly disappeared. The price of 
cotton was not remunerative, the old men gradually died and 
the young men left the farms, so that the glory of this part of 
the Scotch settlement is mainly in the past. Some of the old 
houses remain and there are good citizens in the community, 
but the Scotch element has passed away. 

Union Church was organized in 1817 by Rev. Joseph Bullen 
before the State was admitted into the Union. The earliest 
settlers came in 1808 and 1810. They were mainly from Rob- 
eson County, North Carolina. The pioneer missionaries sent out 
by the Synod of the Carolinas began preaching here in 1811. 
After several years Rev. Joseph Bullen gathered the Presbyte- 
rian families that had collected from different parts of the coun- 
try and organized them into a church, which has ever since been 
known as Union Church. In process of time a postoffice was 

The Scotch Settlement. Grafton. 265 

established and a village grew up which took the name of Union 
Church and which at one time was incorporated , with its mayor 
and other officers. In 1880 the Union Church High School 
was organized under a liberal charter and has been maintained 
with more or less success for more than twenty years. 

The people in the early days were noted for the simplicity of 
their manners. They were not wealthy, as were their neigh- 
bors of Ebenezer. They were plain, unpretending, honest peo- 
ple. Father Montgomery, who preached so long at Ebenezer, 
was likewise the pastor of Union Church. He served in this 
position from 1820 to 1848 and was a most faithful minister. 
In a marked manner he was punctual in his appointments for 
this long period of twenty-eight years. Owing to the sickness 
and death of his daughter he missed one Sabbath day during 
this period. He was an earnest, self-denying man. On one 
occasion he declined a large salary offered by the people of Pine 
Ridge, preferring to give his life to the Scotch people at Union 
Church. He died in 1848, but his name lives in the memory 
of our oldest people who speak of him with the deepest venera- 

At a later period in the history o* the church his son, Rev. Sam 
Montgomery, filled the pulpit for seven or eight years. He was 
a man of great talent, with unusual power as a public speaker. 
The stories told of his eloquence are remarkable. Thirty years 
ago the writer saw him in the pulpit, and though he was infirm 
in body and in declining years, no one could have helped being 
thrilled by the fascination of his address. In 1883 Rev. J. J. 
Wheat, Professor of Greek in the State University, asked the 
writer, who was on a visit to Oxford, what had become of Sam 
Montgomery. The answer was, "The old man is living about 
among his friends." Said he, "I once heard Sam Montgomery 
preach and for power and impressive ness and command over 
an audience I have never seen him surpassed," or words to that 
effect. Father Montgomery lies buried in the neighborhood 
of Ebenezer. His son went to the Yazoo Delta in 1884 and 
died soon after in the home of his grandson. 

Union Church was supplied several years by Rev. Angus Mc- 
Callum, next by Rev. John H. Smiley, next by Rev. Thomas 
H. Cleland. These three served the church for just a few years 

266 Mississippi Historical Society. 

each. Father McCallum bought a piece of land near the village 
of Union Church and opened up a good, productive farm. He 
was a man of fine judgment, an excellent manager and was very 
thrifty in the conduct of his business. He had a most excellent 
wife and they reared a family of ten sons and daughters, five 
of whom are living to-day. This venerable brother died in 
1885, and with his good wife lies in the graveyard at Union 

Rev. John H. Smiley was from New England and was a man 
of great force of character. He was a rigid Calvinist of the high- 
est type and for many years after his death his strong presenta- 
tion of doctrine remained fresh and green in the memory of the 
people. Rev. Thos. H. Cleland was a mild and gentle man. 
He died not long since in Louisiana. 

Rev. C. W. Grafton became pastor of Union Church in 1873. 
Thirty -two years have passed away and he still abides, going 
out and coming in among the descendants of the ancient Scotch- 

The church has been blessed with a faithful body of Ruling 
Elders and Deacons. During the hundred years now closing 
the following men have served the people as Ruling Elders: 

Angus Patterson, Neil Buie, Jr., John Buie, Sr., Matthew 
Smylie, Charles McDougald, Murdoch McDuffie, John Watson, 
Sr., John Buie, Jr., Archibald Baker, Reuben Lee, Malcolm 
McPherson, Lewis Cato, Sterling Cato, Daniel Grafton Buie, 
Daniel H. Cameron, William B. Alsworth, Samuel Davis McCal- 
lum, Allen Baxter Cato, N. R. C. Watson, David G. Galbreath, 
John A. Smylie, George S. Torrey, Peter Wilkinson, L. A. Cato. 

Here, too, is a list of the Deacons' names: 

Gilbert M. Buie, Daniel N. McLaurin, Isaac N. Buie, Joseph 
Josling Warren, John A. Galbreath, John L. Scott, S. D. McCal- 
lum, E. E. Smiley, Allen B. Cato, Dr. D. C. Warren, A. Schaefer, 
John Lee Scott. 

There have been in all three church buildings. The last one 
was erected in 1852, has been repaired two or three times and 
stands to-day upon the old site surrounded with venerable oak 
trees and crowned with blessed memories. During its existence 
many hundreds have been received into its communion. All 
its friends will recognize these leading family names. To begin 

The Scotch Settlement. Grafton. 267 

with, there are twenty-three sets of Mc's enrolled in its sacred 
register of names: 

McArn, McArthur, McBride, McCall, McCallum, McClure, 
McClutchie, McCormick, McCorvey, McDonald, McDougald, 
McDuffie, McEachern, McFater, Mclntyre, McLaurin, McLean, 
McMillen, McMurchie, McNair, McPherson, McQueen, McRea. 

These Mc's would establish the claim to the title of "the 
Scotch settlement" if nothing else did. 

There were six different sets of Buies, whose sons in a few 
years married and formed a large number of Buie families. 

There have been sixteen families of Catos. A few more lead- 
ing family names are as follows : 

Alsworth, Baker, Barnes, Blue, Brown, Buckels, Cameron, 
Clark, Currie, Fairly, Galbreath, Gilchrist, Knapp, Knox, Lee, 
LeGette, Newman, Patterson, Ray, Scott, Smiley, Smylie, 
Smith, Torrey, Warren, Watson, Wilkinson. 

The period between 1820 and 1830 might be called the romance 
days of the Scotch settlement. Everything was young, bright, 
fresh, and full of life and vigor. The country abounded in game 
and the streams in fish. The lowlands and sometimes the hills 
were covered with canebrakes. Farming was an easy matter 
at that day. Burn away the brakes and plant your corn and 
you would be sure of a harvest. Natchez was the market town 
for all the country and Union Church was a point on the high- 
way between the eastern counties and Natchez, and in the fall 
of the year long trains of wagons pulled by teams of heavy 
oxen were strung out a hundred miles from the interior of the 
State to the Mississippi River. It is forty -five miles from Union 
Church to Natchez, and it was a great occasion for a farmer to 
yoke up his oxen and start to market with the whole week before 
him for going and returning. Some of the old Scotch were not 
averse to strong drink, and coming back with a jug of Scotch 
whisky their animal spirits would be stirred on the way and their 
home coming would be loudly advertised. But such an one 
would unfailingly be brought before his brethren in the church 
and he would be certain of a reprimand and would probably be 
excommunicated for a while. The old records of Union Church 
abound in illustrations of the faithful dealings of the elders with 
their brethren. Let a man be overtaken in a fault, such as vio- 

268 Mississippi Historical Society. 

lating the Sabbath day, or taking God's name in vain, or becom- 
ing intoxicated and he was certain of discipline by the church. 
And this faithful attitude of the Ruling Elders doubtless saved 
many an erring brother. 

This period was famous as the camp-meeting period. On 
the slope of the hill where the church has stood so long great 
rows of wooden sheds were built and in the fall of the year the 
people came together. The best preachers of the old Presby- 
tery of Mississippi assembled, and for many days at a time 
morning, evening and midday the voice of prayer and praise 
and preaching was heard. No one can tell the far-reaching 
influence of those sacred gatherings. People would come to 
them from a distance of forty miles and more, would profess 
faith in Christ, then go back home to spread the leaven of gos- 
pel truth and grace. Surely in the coming day when the King 
takes the roll of his people it will be said, "This and that man 
was born there." 

Father Montgomery, Zebulon Butler, Jacob Rickhow, Joseph 
Bullen, James Smylie, and other godly men who were faithful 
heralds in the old Scotch settlement passed away long ago, but 
"they being dead still speak." They live to-day in the monu- 
mental churches which they founded and fed in those early 
days. Many men of very fine talent were born and reared in 
this old heart of the Scotch settlement. 

There was one old Buie family out of which came some won- 
derful men. There was the Rev. Whitfield Buie, who took first 
honors at Oakland College. He was a man of fine intellectual 
power. He studied at Princeton College, but he had scarcely 
begun his earthly ministry when it was closed by death. He 
had a brother, Dr. William E. Buie, who for intellectual ability 
and skill in the medical profession was easily the peer of any 
man in all the land. He was a man of great gentleness and self- 
denial, of chaste speech and behavior, and lived for the good of 
his fellow men. He had calls to lucrative positions in distin- 
guished medical institutions, but he declined them all and gave 
his life to his humble friends of the Scotch settlement. He 
moved with his brother, Newton Buie, to Texas during the 
war, but returned like a pilgrim to the old spot that gave him 
birth and died a man of stainless name and sleeps with his 
fathers in the sacred dust of our Scotland. 

The Scotch Settlement. Grafton. 269 

Rev. William G. Millsaps was also a man of unusual power 
and influence. He studied theology at Danville, became a 
minister in the Methodist Church, and for a long time served his 
people faithfully and effectively. He was the brother of our 
friend Major R. W. Millsaps, of Jackson. 

When the civil war broke out the first company that left 
Jefferson County for the seat of war was the "Charley Clark 
Rifles," from the Scotch settlement around Union Church. It 
was a sad and long-to-be-remembered day when those dear 
young men paraded in the shade of the trees close to the old 
church and received from the hands of Miss Flora Buie a silken 
banner of the Southern Confederacy. Dr. J. J. McLean was 
the first captain of this company and Dr. Rufus Applewhite 
was his successor. Of the 105 men who formed that first com- 
pany there are now just twelve men living. Their names are 
worthy of at least a mention in this short sketch of the old com- 
munity and I gladly put them here on record. They are: 

Dr. Rufus Applewhite, Captain; B. L. Applewhite, C. C. 
Erwin, William Ferguson, Jake Garrett, Joe Garrett, Sam King, 
Winston King, F. Krauss, S. D. McCallum, Tom McNair, Lewis 

Their comrades lie all the way from Sharpsburg in Maryland 
to the Rio Grande. 

The men of those former days were men of great faith and 
prayer. A few old people now living tell many stories of the 
fervency and length of their prayers. They were deeply devoted 
to the Calvinistic interpretation of the Bible and to the tradi- 
tions and memories of the old church of the Covenant, the Pres- 
byterian Church, the church of their love and veneration. Here 
is an instance: 

Mary McDougald was received into the church in her young 
girlhood. Quite young she married a Scotchman named Mc- 
Eachern and moved with him to Carroll County, where they 
formed a new home. She carried with her all her love for the 
church of her fathers. She was earnestly solicited to join a 
church of another denomination which at that time held the 
field in her neighborhood. Said she, "No, I will help you all I 
can. I will sing with you and pray with you, and give money 
to you, but I am a Presbyterian and can never be anything else, 

270 Mississippi Historical Society. 

and when we have a chance we will organize one right here." 
This good mother in Israel died in 1903, leaving behind her 121 
children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and nearly every 
one of whom that has reached mature years is now a member 
of the church in full communion. She lived to see seven white 
Presbyterian churches organized and one colored, all of which 
trace their origin directly to her influence. The life of this good 
woman spans the whole century of the Scotch settlement at 
Union Church. 

Another noted good woman was Aunt Mary Wilkinson. She 
was the daughter of Ruling Elder Matthew Smylie, the brother 
of Rev. James Smylie. She married Daniel M. Wilkinson of fine 
Scotch lineage. She was a true, outspoken member of the 
Presbyterian Church, perfectly loyal to the very last in her love 
for the old settlement at Union Church. With her husband 
she moved to Jackson. She gave one of her daughters to Col. 
J. L. Power, another to John D. McArn, another to Mr. Cad- 
wallader, and she, too, spanning nearly the whole century, 
passed away two or three years since wearing a crown of sweet- 
ness and joy triumphant in the hope of the gospel. Her chil- 
dren and grandchildren and all her friends bless her memory. 

There are many others whose names are found upon our grave- 
stones who had in them the stuff to make them stand in Senate 
halls or wear the crown of martyrs, but like the "many a flower 
that wastes its sweetness on the desert air," they rest sweetly 
in their quiet beds with no sculptured urn or monument to tell 
their story. 

Like Ebenezer, Union Church has suffered immensely by the 
loss of its sons and daughters. During the last thirty years 
more than seventy families have moved away from this com- 
munity. They are found all over the country. Memphis, 
Vicksburg, Port Gibson, Natchez, Jackson, Hazlehurst, Wesson, 
Brookhaven, different parts of Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas 
claim the sons and daughters of our old Scotch settlement. It 
seemed at one time as if the entire settlement was destined to 
share the fate of its twin sister, Ebenezer. But the school and 
the church are wonderful conservators of neighborhood life, 
and these two factors have worked hand in hand to keep alive 
this old community. The school bell still rings and pupils and 

The Scotch Settlement. Graf ton. 271 

teachers meet in the schoolhouse. Sabbath after Sabbath the 
congregations assemble at the old church and sing the old songs 
Arlington, Mear, Rockingham and Uxbridge. The doctrines 
of grace still sound from the pulpit. Girls and boys make love, 
as of old, and evergreens and flowers adorn the marriage altar, 
while again and again the people weep in the house of mourning. 

It might be asked how the neighborhood still lives if its fami- 
lies move away and none move in. The answer is, it grows 
from within. The Scotch settlement is an endogen. John D. 
McArn married Lizzie Wilkinson, and he has twelve children. 
Peter Wilkinson married Mary Paris, and he has ten living 
children. J. E. Lamb married and had thirteen. Clint Fans 
and Jim Currie have ten each. Would not Queen Victoria, 
the model mother of Great Britain, have smiled on these de- 
scendants of the ancient highlanders? Would not the men 
who love large families feel at home at Union Church? So the 
church still lives and has over 200 members on its rolls. 

The settlement is twenty-five miles from Brookhaven on the 
east and twenty-one miles from Fayette on the west. Port 
Gibson is twenty-eight miles north and Meadville twenty miles 
south. The Scotch settlement therefore, with Union Church as 
a nucleus, has been in the center of a wide influence for 100 years. 

They talk of building a railroad from Hattiesburg to Natchez, 
and a route has been surveyed through Union Church. That 
road may be built and we may get more strength. We may 
be opened up better to the commerce and methods of the world, 
but the history of Union Church for these hundred years past 
is beyond the reach of change. It is embalmed in precious 
memories that lie hidden away on old tombstones and in old 
Bibles all over the land. 

With reverent hearts we bid adieu to the past and with cour- 
age born out of that past we hope for the future. 



One of the objections urged by Henry George against private 
ownership of land is the fact that the time and talent of many of 
the greatest men of the world are more or less taken up with 
the study of the intricacies of the law of real property. The 
student of law when he first pores over the dry pages of Black- 
stone, distinguishing the four general classes of estates, then 
subdividing these classes ad infinitum, as he thinks, losing himself 
in this labyrinth of law, fully appreciates the force of Mr. George's 
remark. Indeed, able lawyers have concluded that the full 
comprehension of the English common law of real property, as 
founded upon the doctrines of the feudal system, is beyond 
the power of any one man. But while the feudal tenures are 
the source of the law of real estate of this country, their tech- 
nicalities have been lopped off by enactments, constitutional 
and statutory, until at the present day there is but little, if any, 
trace of them remaining in the American law of real property. 

But while it is true that under our modern jurisprudence 
lands are held "free from the burdens of tenure," yet our law- 
makers have created to the lands familiarly known as the lands 
of the Liquidating Levee Board, titles in some respects more 
complicated than the tenures of olden times. It is not the pur- 
pose of this article to attempt an analysis of these titles, but 
rather to give a brief history of the causes, conditions, develop- 
ment and final perfection of them. 

The historic title of these lands had their beginning in a dual 
system of taxation, which resulted in a double series of tax 
titles, standing in some instances in conflict with each other as 
well as in conflict with all other titles. Tax titles from time 
immemorial have been even in their simplest forms the terror 
of land owners. As every one knows, the levying and collecting 
of a tax upon land are proceedings in rem, and if valid convey 

1 A biographical sketch of the writer of this article will be found in the 
Publications of the Mississippi Historical Society, Vol. VIII, p -507 


274 Mississippi Historical Society. 

the original paramount title. The great trouble has been to 
secure valid proceedings. The common law rule required literal 
and strict compliance with all the tax proceedings as a requisite 
for a tax sale to pass title to land. An able writer gives the fol- 
lowing description of the common law tax title : 

"The deed is not the title itself, nor even evidence of it. Its recitals 
bind no one. It creates no estoppel upon the former owner. No pre- 
sumption arises from the mere production of the deed, that the facts 
upon which it is based had any existence. When it is shown, however, 
that the ministerial officers of the law have performed every duty which 
the law imposed upon them, and everv condition essential to its charac- 
ter, then the deed becomes conclusive evidence of title in the grantee 
according to its extent and purport." 2 

To prove conformity to all these requirements of the law has 
been found almost impossible, in most instances, thus causing 
tax titles to fall into great disrepute, so much so that the Supe- 
rior Court of New Hampshire is said to have declared "that a 
tax collector's deed was prima facie void." 3 This seems to have 
been the law" in Mississippi originally, 4 but before the time that 
our narrative begins statutes had been enacted in this State, 5 
as well as in many other States, which changed the common law 
rule, above stated, so as to shift the burden of proof from the 
purchaser to the former owner, thereby making the tax deed 
prima facie valid instead of prima facie void. These statutes 
have often been questioned, but have been repeatedly upheld. 6 

In view of the general distrust and conceded precariousness of 
tax titles resulting from sales even when made by a single sov- 
ereign, the urgent need for repeated and continued legislation 
and litigation over the tax titles of the lands of the Liquidating 
Levee Board will be evident when it is remembered that these 
lands formerly owed fealty to two or more sovereigns at the 
same time and often forfeited in payment of same. The great 
wonder is that these titles have ever been perfected. Be it said 
to the credit of our courts and legislatures that while continuous 
bodies might have accomplished the difficult task in shorter 
time and with less effort, yet it could not have been done more 

2 Blackwell's Tax Titles, p. 430. 

3 Washburn on Real Property, p. 225. 

4 8 Smedes and Marshall's Reports, p. 197. 

5 Acts of 1843, Chapter i, Sec. 6. 

'36 Miss., p. 692. 

Lands of the Liquidating Levee Board. Wade. 275 

The narrative divides itself into three parts, viz : First, the 
acquisition of titles ; second, the fight for supremacy ; and third, 
the perfection of title. 

The lands of the Liquidating Levee Board are located in and 
embrace the greater part of the Yazoo-Mississippi Delta. This 
fertile region is bounded on the west by the Mississippi River, 
and on the east by the foothills which approach the river near 
Memphis, Tenn., and at Vicksburg, Miss., the northern and 
southern terminal points. The Delta is something more than 
two hunderd miles long, with an irregular width probably aver- 
aging seventy -five or eighty miles. 

At the beginning of the period of the acquisition of titles comes 
the title of the original patentees from the government. All 
these lands were acquired by the United States from the Indian 
tribes of Mississippi, except in a few instances in which the title 
to small bodies was under treaties with the Indian tribes reserved 
to individual Indians. Before the year 1850 individual settlers 
had patented portions of this land direct from the United States, 
but by far the greater body of it was still at that time in the 
United States Government. By what is known as "the Swamp 
and Overflowed Land Act," passed by Congress in September, 
1850 (chapter 84), all of these lands remaining unsold by the 
United States were donated by Congress to the State of Missis- 
sippi for the purpose of public improveemnts. By an Act of 
the Legislature of the State of Mississippi approved March 15, 
1852, entitled "An Act to provide for the construction of a levee 
upon the Mississippi River, for the reclamation of the State and 
school lands and for other purposes," 7 the Secretary of State was 
authorized and required to offer for sale by quarter sections to 
the highest bidder 500,000 acres of land donated to the State of 
Mississippi by the Congress of the United States (Swamp and 
Overflowed Land Act) for the purpose of internal improvements 
at the minimum price of two dollars per acre, in front of the cap- 
itol at Jackson, Miss., the sale to commence at eleven o'clock 
A. M., on the third Monday in November, 1852, and to continue 
from day to day until all of said lands to which the State shall 
then have title shall be offered for sale. By virtue of this Act 
and its several amendments the State sold and patented to pri- 
1832, pp. 33 to 41. 

276 Mississippi Historical Society. 

vate individuals much of these lands, but by no means all of it, 
as there was more land to be sold than there were bidders to buy 
it. By an Act of the Legislature of the State of Mississippi, 
approved March 2, 1854, entitled "An Act to provide for the 
further issue of swamp land scrip, for the purpose of aiding in 
the completion of the levees upon the Mississippi River," the 
Secretary of State was authorized and requested to issue on or 
before the first day of April, 1854, to the Presidents of the Boards 
of Police of the counties of DeSoto, Tunica, Coahoma, Bolivar, 
Washington and Issequena to be used for the purpose of aiding 
in the completion of levees in their respective counties, seven 
hundred and twenty thousand acres of land scrip, in quarter 
sections. This scrip was issued and distributed to the Presi- 
dents of the County Boards of the several counties mentioned, 
according to the provisions of this Act. In some instances 
private individuals bought this scrip from the Boards of Police, 
located claims by virtue of it on certain of these lands, where- 
upon the State patented the lands so located to them. In this 
way it is seen that further lands were vested in private settlers. 
The greater part of the land scrip remained, however, with the 
County Boards undisposed of, and the Secretary of these boards, 
on November 7, 1854, patented the land so left over from the 
State to himself for the levees of his county. 

By virtue of an Act of the Legislature of the State of Missis- 
sippi, approved January 25, 1856, entitled "An Act to confirm 
the titles to certain swamp and overflowed lands located by 
C. I. Field, Levee Treasurer of Bolivar County, and for other 
purposes," 8 Christopher I. Field, as Levee Treasurer, sold by 
warranty deed large tracts of this land to individual purchasers. 
Probably the largest one of these sales was the sale made to 
Daniel Low and E. H. R. Lyman, as trustees of the Mississippi 
Bottom Land Company of New York. This sale, made on 
November 15, 1856, conveyed title to 120,071 acres of land 
lying in the counties of Coahoma, Bolivar, Sunflower, Washing- 
ton, Issaquena, Yazoo, Holmes and Warren. 

It was of the greatest importance to the country that the title 
to these lands should pass out from the government. Subjected 
as they were at that time to frequent inundation, they were of 

s Laws nf 1856, p. 200. 

Lands of the Liquidating Levee Board. Wade. 277 

but little value without levees to protect them. To build 
levees required considerable money, and this money could be 
best raised from these lands. As long as the title to them was 
in the government they bore no income. The levees realized 
first from the sale of the lands and second from an annual tax 
levied on them. In order to produce this income the State 
passed the laws above referred to, by virtue of which the greater 
portion of them passed out from the government to private 
owners, and thus they became revenue-bearing lands. So much 
for the title of the patentees. Let us turn now to the creation 
of the levee boards and the building of levees, where we shall 
soon find a new title to these lands. 

A review of legislation in respect to levees enacted prior to the 
year 1858 discloses the fact that they had been treated by the 
Legislature as entirely a matter for the counties. The word 
district, when used in this connection, in early statutes, means 
subdivision of a county, corresponding probably to what at that 
time was known as the police district, and now known as super- 
visor's district. The matter was purely a local one, no two 
counties nor parts of different counties were united into a levee 
district, and each county was left to create its own districts. 
In the several counties the same general end was sought, viz. : 
the protection of the lands from inundation. But different 
means were frequently employed in the different counties, for 
example, the system of levee taxation varied. These early 
levee laws mark the beginning of our present great levee system ; 
and like the beginning of all such enterprises, as well as the 
beginning of government itself, it was purely local, an experiment 
on the simplest and smallest scale. But with the levee system 
it was soon evident to all that the districts must necessarily be 
made larger so as to include several counties in one district. 
The lower counties of the Delta were at the mercy of the upper 
counties, and however much they may have expended to pro- 
tect their own river front, their efforts were almost useless in 
case of a crevasse farther up the river. Furthermore, the differ- 
ent methods of levee taxation in the different counties caused 
lack of harmony. Probably when the work was needed most, 
there were no funds with which to have it done. There was no 
central representative body, and the local bodies had no author- 

278 Mississippi Historical Society. 

ity without their respective counties. It was soon evident that 
the county was too small a sovereign, and that if it remained 
the unit, an authoritative representative body must be cre- 
ated to supervise the several districts. 

To meet this demand the Legislature, in 1858," organized the 
counties of Tunica, Coahoma, Bolivar, Washington, Issaquena, 
and parts of DeSoto, Panola, Yazoo, Sunflower and Tallahatchie 
into one levee district. The local levee authorities of the coun- 
ties, after June i , 1859, were to be suspended from further author- 
ity to build or repair levees, but they were continued in office for 
the purpose of liquidation until the expiration of three years, at 
which time the general board was to assume their debts remain- 
ing unpaid. 10 It was provided, however, that the Boards of 
Police of Tunica, Coahoma, Washington and Issaquena Coun- 
ties might in their discretion, levy annually, in addition to the 
tax provided for the support of the general levee board, a tax 
not to exceed twenty -five cents per acre, on all lands in their 
respective counties subject to taxation under this act, which 
should constitute special local funds to be used by the county 
authorities for levee purposes as they saw proper." To this 
extent the county levee boards were continued, but the general 
levee board soon eliminated and superseded the county levee 

The general levee board was incorporated by the Act of i8s8 12 
under the style of "The Levee Commissioners," and was com- 
posed of one member from each of the counties of the general 
levee district. A uniform tax of ten cents an acre per annum 
was levied in April from 1859 to 1863, inclusive, on each and 
every acre of land in the district, except lands held by the State, 
and school lands, and Chickasaw school lands, while held in 
trust by the State. Lands in DeSoto and Panola Counties 
outside of the overflowed district, were also excepted from this 
tax. The sheriffs of Tunica, Coahoma, Bolivar, Washington 
and Issaquena Counties were required to pay the taxes collected 
under this Act for the first three years over to the persons then 
by law authorized to receive the same in said counties respect- 

9 Acts 1858, p. 33. 
! Ibid, Sec. 16. 
"Ibid, Sec. 21. 
12 Ibid, p. 33. 

Lands of the Liquidating Levee Board. Wade. 279 

ively, while the sheriffs of the other counties of the district were 
required to pay this tax collected by them over to the treasurer 
of the Levee Commissioners. During these three years the 
levee taxes in these five counties were to be applied to the liqui- 
dation of the debts theretofore incurred by the levee authori- 
ites of such counties respectively, under the local boards of the 
counties. After the lapse of three years this tax from all the 
counties was to be paid by the sheriffs of the counties direct to 
the Treasurer of the Levee Commissioners, in whose hands it 
was to become a consolidated fund. 18 The taxes levied were 
declared to be a lien on the lands, with power in the sheriffs to 
sell the lands for non-payment of such taxes, and with power in 
the Treasurer of the Levee Commissioners to buy them in for 
the said Levee Commissioners. These in brief are the provisions 
for raising income to carry on the building and repairing of 
levees by the Levee Commissioners. But better levees were 
an immediate necessity, and funds from taxation would come 
into their hands at too slow a rate. To obviate this delay the 
Levee Commissioners were authorized to issue levee scrip, pay- 
able not later than January i, 1863, to an amount not to exceed 
a half million dollars, bearing a maximum interest of eight per 
cent. The consolidated fund, from taxes and incomes from the 
sale of those lands, which were still the property of the levee 
board, as well as such lands as were forfeited to the Levee Com- 
missioners for the non-payment of levee taxes was to be used 
for the redemption of this indebtedness. * 4 

The Board of Levee Commissioners was vested by the statute 
creating it with power to sell the land upon which the levee tax 
was due and unpaid, and the treasurer was authorized to buy 
in all such lands in case there was no one bidding the amount 
of the taxes. Considerable land was forfeited to the board for 
non-payment of taxes, in 1860 to Isaac S. Robinson as treasurer, 
and in 1861 to Christopher I. Field as treasurer. These for- 
feited lands were held by the board subject to redemption. 
Private individuals often bought at these sales, acquiring tax 
titles. Thus it will be seen that before the war between the 
States there had begun this double system of tax titles, but the 

18 Ibid, Sec. 2. 
"Ibid, Sec. 14. 

280 Mississippi Historical Society. 

person to whom a tax deed was made in satisfaction of taxes 
due the State had the better title, as no lands subject to a levee 
tax was at that time exempt from State and county taxes. 
Only a small proportion of the land was forfeited in those days 
of prosperity, and in most instances of forfeiture the lands were 
redeemed during the period of limitation, so there seems to 
have been but little if any conflict between holders of adverse 

Under the management of the Levee Commissioners the work 
of building levees took on new life. The Honorable James L. 
Alcorn, afterwards Governor of the State, was president of the 
commission. His reports to the Legislature are full of interest, 
and throw a flood of light on the levee legislation of the period 
from 1858 to i869. 15 As a result of these reports the statute 
approved February 10, 1860, le extended the levee tax until 
April i, 1865, and authorized the Levee Commissioners to sub- 
stitute their scrip for outstanding levee scrip of the several 
counties. This Act further provided for the collection annually 
of the State and county taxes due on lands held by the Levee 
Commissioners . 

By the year 1860 there had been developed an efficient sys- 
tem of levee construction. A considerable amount of levee had 
been built and much more was in process of construction. In a 
short time the Delta would have been protected from the much 
dreaded inundations of the "Father of Waters," and the fertile 
country placed in position to develop its resources. But in 
1 86 1 the war began. It lasted four years and devastated the 
country , leaving the levee system in much worse condition than 
it was in at its beginning. The revenues of the Levee Commis- 
sioners were soon cut off. A number of suspension statutes 
were enacted by the State Legislature. The first of these was 
the Act of August 6, 1861," which suspended the collection of 
the ten cent tax imposed by the statutes of 1858 and 1860 
until the first Monday in April (the beginning of the levee fiscal 
year) next after the termination of the war, and provided that 
such taxes, after the war, should be collected for the same num- 
ber of years they had to run when suspended, those imposed by 

^Mississippi Senate Journal for 1859, Appendix, pp. 366, 393 and 450. 
1K Laws of 1859 and 1860, p. 452. 

1861, Called Session, p. 68. 

Lands of the Liquidating Levee Eoard.^-Wade. 281 

the Act of 1858 to be collected before those imposed by the 
Act of 1860. The Act of December 20, 1861," suspended col- 
lection of all State and county taxes for the current year upon 
any lands owned by the Levee Commissioners or the treasurers 
of any of the County Levee Boards until the meeting of the next 
regular session of the Legislature, unless previously sold or 
redeemed. The Act of January 25, 1862. ' imposed interest upon 
the postponed levee taxes, to be paid when the taxes should be 
collected. By the Act of November 25, 1863 , 20 all Acts or parts 
of Acts authorizing the Boards of Police to collect a levee tax 
were suspended without prejudice to the claims of any one until 
such time as the Legislature may regard proper that the collec- 
tion of the levee taxes may be resumed. After the war the latter 
tax was postponed indefinitely, the Legislature never finding a 
"proper time" to revive it. The taxes provided for by the Act 
of 1858, to be collected for the years 1862 and 1863, and those 
provided by the amendatory Act of 1860, collectible for the 
years 1864 and 1865, were by the suspension Acts revived April 
i, 1865, only to be further suspended until 1868 and iSyi. 21 

The general levee board of 1858, known as the Levee Com- 
missioners, went out of existence with its suspension made at 
the outbreak of the war, the Legislature having suspended it 
during the war and failing to revive it after the end of the war. 
All the foregoing is in its nature preliminary; we come now 
to the Liquidating Levee Board proper. This board was cre- 
ated by an Act passed February i, i86y. 22 It was never in tended 
to build or repair levees, but became a law for the express pur- 
pose of liquidating the outstanding liabilities of the general 
levee board, or Levee Commissioners, incurred by authority of 
the Act of December 2, 1858, and Acts amendatory thereto. 
The war coming on in 1861, the levee board found that its work 
in building levees was suddenly interrupted, and that it was 
heavily in debt. Its debts, direct and indirect, under the Act 
of 1858, and amendments, the interest on which was about fifty 
per cent of their face value, amounted, in 1867, to $1,500,000. 

18 Laws of 1 86 1-2, p. 146. 
"Lajw 1861 2, p. 224. 
-OLawx 1863, p. 138. 
2 * 40 Miss. , 6 1 1 . 
--Acts 1866-7, P- 2 37- 

282 .Mississippi Historical Society. 

These debts were long past due and were a heavy charge upon 
the lands. In fact, much of the land, unprotected by levees and 
exposed to constant and continuous overflows, was not worth 
the charge then upon it. Property was devastated by the 
war and money was extremely scarce. Without some legisla- 
tion these old debts stood a poor show of ever being paid. To 
remedy these conditions and to provide a safer way for the pay- 
ment of this indebtedness the Act of February 13, 1867, was 

This Act provided that the Governor should appoint a board 
of three commissioners, to be styled the Board of Commission- 
ers to liquidate outstanding liabilities. The first meeting of 
this board was to be held on the first Monday in March, 1867, 
when they were to organize by electing a president, secretary 
and treasurer. They were required to pass at the first meeting 
an order requiring all persons who had claims alleged to be due, 
the payment of which was provided for by the Act, to present 
them to the secretary of the board on or before June i, 1867, to 
have them registered ; and all claims not so presented were to be 
excluded from the benefits of the Act. The secretary was to 
register, in books kept for the purpose, each claim presented, 
with the name of the person presenting it, and the person claim- 
ing to be its owner, and to endorse on it the time at which pre- 
sented. The board was required to examine all claims so reg- 
istered by the secretary, and to mark on them their approval or 
disapproval. Only the owners of claims so approved by the 
Board were to be entitled to the benefits of the Act. 

In order that a bondholder might claim the privileges of this 
statute some concessions had to be made on his part. He was 
required to surrender his claim to the board to be cancelled, to 
remit all accrued interest prior to June i, 1867, and to accept 
in lieu thereof the bonds of the Liquidating Levee Board for 
the face value of his claim, less interest. The remission of the 
accrued interest saved the board several hundred thousand dol- 
lars. The bonds of the Liquidating Levee Board, issued in pay- 
ment of these debts of the old levee boards, were payable in 
five equal annual installments, with interest at the rate of five 
per cent per annum from June i, 1867, until paid. The bond- 
holder was required on receiving the bonds to supply the 

Lands of the Liquidating Levee Board. Wade. 283 

stamp required by the United States revenue laws. It may 
be suggested that these conditions required a surrender of about 
one- third or one-half of the amount due, and to that extent 
was confiscation; but it must be remembered that it was op- 
tional with the bondholder whether he would take advantage 
of the statute. In case he saw fit not to accept its terms he 
was left to his original remedy, just as if the statute was not in 
force. No part of the indebtedness was by the terms of the Act 
repudiated, but the bondholders only given an opportunity to 
release their accrued interest in consideration of better securing 
their principal. The creditors of the general levee board, with 
few exceptions, accepted the terms of the statute, surrendered 
their evidences of debt, and took the bonds of the Liquidating 
Levee Board in lieu thereof. The presentation of these bonds 
was suitably provided for, and the treasurer of the board, who 
received the money collected, was with it to pay them, as well 
as salaries and expenses. Two sources of revenue were pro- 
vided. First, a uniform tax of five cents an acre in some coun- 
ties of the district, and of three cents an acre in the others, was 
levied and made payable on the first of May, each year. This 
tax, it was stipulated, should continue until a sufficient sum 
was collected with which to pay off all the debts and liabilities 
contracted or assumed, and all the scrip or evidences of debt 
issued by the Board of Levee Commissioners, organized under 
the Act approved December 2, 1858, and it was declared to be 
a tax in rent upon the lands. In the second place, revenue was 
to be derived from the sale of lands. The statute authorizing 
the board to receive and sell all the property of the Levee Com- 
missioners under the Act of 1858. The tax on land to be levied 
for this board as authorized by the Act, if not paid annually by 
May rst, would be in default, and would subject the land for 
sale for these taxes, whether the owner had personalty or not. 
From the sheriffs of the counties within the district, special 
bonds were required, and the proceedings of sale, forfeiture, and 
redemption were to be the same as those prescribed by the Act 
of 1858. Lands forfeited to the board for taxes and not re- 
deemed could also be sold by the board. All proceeds from all 
sources were to be applied toward liquidating the bonds, and 
the surplus funds were to be used to buy outstanding bonds. 

284 Mississippi Historical Society. 

After the payment of all the bonds, the money, lands and other 
property belonging to the board were to be applied to such 
uses as the Legislature might direct. 

After all demands not presented had become barred by the 
terms of the statute, on May 13, 1871, 2S the legislature extended 
the time for presenting claims until the second Monday in No- 
vember, 1871, provided that the bonds issued for those then 
presented should be designated "new series"; and continued 
the tax, as well for the payment of the new series as the old. 
All unpaid bonds, whether due or not, were made receivable 
for levee taxes due or to become due under said Acts; and the 
Governor was authorized to appoint one commissioner who suc- 
ceeded to the powers, rights, and privileges of the Liquidating 
Levee Board, and was substituted in their stead. 

Such in brief is the statute creating the Liquidating Levee 
Board, probably the most legislated and litigated statute that 
Mississippi has ever known. It furnishes the foundation of 
almost every land title in the Yazoo-Mississippi Delta, and here 
it is well to turn aside for the present from further discussion of 
statutes for a brief notice of the land forfeitures to this mem- 
orable board. 

But few land owners made any attempt to pay the liquidating 
levee tax, and the number of bidders at tax sales was even 
smaller. The second Monday in May each year witnessed only 
formal forfeitures to the Liquidating Levee Board. In some 
counties no sales were made for the first year or two. In Sun- 
flower County, for example, the lands were sold in May, 1870, 
for the delinquent liquidating levee taxes for the years 1867, 
1868, and 1869, more than four hundred sales being made at 
this time, conveying more than nine-tenths of the taxable lands 
of the county to the Liquidating Levee Board. Only about a 
dozen sales were made a year later for the liquidating levee 
taxes for the year 1870, and- as there was no more land in the 
county to be sold there were no more sales for this tax later 
than the year 1871. Printed deed records were provided for 
each county, and by filling into these blank records a description 
of the land conveyed, some names and dates, the evidence is 
perpetuated of the almost universal confiscation to the Liqui- 

23 Lau.'s 1871, p. 57. 

Lands of the Liquidating Levee Board. Wade 285 

dating Levee Board of the lands of the Delta, and upon this 
deed record depends almost all of its present land titles. 

Although it is not the purpose of this article to give a history 
of the several levee boards, it will be necessary in tracing the 
title of the lands of the Liquidating Levee Board to notice 
somewhat these other boards, because of conflicting titles be- 
tween them and the Liquidating Levee Board. The first to 
be noticed in this connection is the levee board of Bolivar, 
Washington and Issequena Counties, commonly called the 
"Ten Cent Levee Board." It has already been seen that the 
general levee board of 1858 (Board of Levee Commissioners) 
was suspended during the war, and that this board was never 
reorganized, but passed out of existence with this suspension. 
Levees for counties bordering on the Mississippi River were an 
absolute necessity, so in the absence of a general levee board, 
the Legislature by an Act passed November 27, i865, 24 incor- 
porated this local board, known as the Ten Cent Levee Board. 
This Act authorized a uniform tax of ten cents per acre upon all 
the lands in said counties (with certain exceptions) payable 
on or before March ist, annually, from 1867 to 1879, inclusive. 
This tax was made a lien on said lands, and in case of failure to 
pay the same, it was provided that the sheriff should, on the 
first Monday in April each year, sell the land in default. If 
the amount due on any tract should not be bid, then the same 
should be struck off and a deed executed to the treasurer of this 
levee board. In accordance with the provisions of this Act, 
large tracts of land in these counties were soon forfeited to the 
treasurer of the Ten Cent Levee Board in payment of default 
taxes due said levee board. These same lands were frequently 
forfeited for non-payment of taxes, either to the State or to the 
Liquidating Levee Board, or to both. One or more of these 
forfeitures often conveyed no title, as all subsequent forfeitures 
either to the State or to the Liquidating Levee Board, after a 
valid forfeiture to the Ten Cent Levee Board, and prior to a 
redemption or purchase from said board, were void and con- 
veyed no title. 26 By Act of April n, 1876, the title of the Ten 
Cent Levee Board was transferred to the State. 28 

2i Laws of 1872, p. 217. 

25 73 \fiss.. 494. 

2S Laws 1876, p. 166, and 69 Miss., p. 541. 

286 Mississippi Historical Society. 

But the Ten Cent Levee Board was authorized to protect only 
a part of the river front, and concentrated all its efforts in levee 
construction for its district only, so there remained a great por- 
tion of the river front still unprotected from overflows. To 
meet this demand the Legislature, by an Act approved March 
17, 1871, 27 incorporated what is known as the "Levee Board of 
the State of Mississippi, District Number One," embracing the 
counties of Tunica, Coahoma, Tallahatchie, Panola and De- 
Soto. Levee District Number One was supplementary to the 
Ten Cent Levee Board, the two embracing different territory, 
and together covering the entire Delta front. The statute cre- 
ating Levee District Number One levied a tax of two per cent 
per annum on the value of every acre of land in said district 
for the period of twelve years. 28 Provisions were also made for 
the collection of this tax, including sale and forfeiture in cases 
of default. Again, the taxes were often not paid, and for want 
of purchasers at tax sales forfeited to this board for taxes. 
These forfeited lands were held by the board chargeable with 
State and county taxes, the collection alone of which was sus- 
pended during the board's holding the land, and also chargeable 
with liquidating levee taxes, accrued and to accrue, which had 
to be paid by the Levee Board of District Number One, there 
being no suspension of collection. 29 

Add to the foregoing list of conflicting titles sales made by tax 
collectors for non-payment of State and county taxes to pur- 
chasers and forfeitures to the State for default taxes, and the 
list of land titles of the Delta is about complete. 

The Liquidating Levee Board enjoyed certain privileges in 
the way of taxation over all other levee boards. Its lands were 
exempt from all taxes State, county and levee. 30 The lands 
of the other levee boards were obliged to pay all State and county 
taxes, and also the tax of the Liquidating Levee Board, while 
lands forfeited either to the State or to the Liquidating Levee 
Board were exempt from all taxes until they were redeemed 
and again became revenue bearing. Most of the land soon 
sank into one of these non-taxable classes. While in theory 

27 Laws 1871, p. 37. 
2 "Ibid, Sec. 8. 
28 77 Miss., p. 68. 
*Acts 1865, Sec. 13. 

Lands of the Liquidating Levee Board. Wade 287 

it was impossible for land to belong to both of these non-taxable 
classes at the same time, yet so complicated was the system of 
tax forfeitures that the State and the Liquidating Levee Board 
often laid claim to the same land at the same time, and no one 
knew which had the better title. 

It may be asked, Why did not the owners of these lands pay 
their taxes, and thus prevent these repeated forfeitures? But 
it must be remembered that the war left the country poverty 
stricken. Besides, the extravagant rule of ignorant negroes 
and ignominious carpetbaggers during the period of reconstruc- 
tion would have bankrupted the richest people on earth. Little 
effort was made by those in authority to bring about better 
industrial conditions, but rather they held the State up with 
high handed extravagance and misrule to bleed her already 
thin and emaciated frame. The rate of taxation was so high 
till lands became more of a burden than a benefit. Often land 
owners could not have sold their lands for enough money to 
pay one year's taxes. Nearly all the lands of the State were 
forfeited, or rather were confiscated, for taxes. When there 
was no longer any re venue -bearing property in the State, our 
Northern exploiters left us, escaping in many instances under 
cover of night with every valuable thing they could lay hands 
on and carry with them. The wonder is not that the lands 
were forfeited, but that they were so quickly redeemed. 

The foregoing briefly disposes of the several sources of titles, 
and we come now to the contest for supremacy, the battle of 
titles. While it would probably be incorrect to say that all 
other land titles made common cause and fought in the same 
army against the title of the Liquidating Levee Board, yet 
each title in its turn battled against the title of the Liquidating 
Levee Board, and as this title must bear the brunt of- the fight, 
it is well here to examine its strong and weak points. 

The Legislature probably did not realize the full force of the 
enactment creating the Liquidating Levee Board. We have 
already seen that this statute was a proposition made on the 
part of the State to the bondholders of the General Board of 
Levee Commissioners granting to them certain privileges upon 
the concession on the part of the bondholders of certain of their 
rights, and that the bondholders generally accepted that propo- 

288 Mississippi Historical Society. 

sition. Once accepted it became a contract completely execui.ed, 
and the courts have held invariably that all subsequent legis- 
lation in material derogation of its terms enacted during the 
life of the contract was unconstitutional and void, being in 
direct conflict with the constitutional provision forbidding the 
impairment of the obligation of contracts. This was the Gi- 
bralta of the title of the Liquidating Levee Board, the strength 
of which will be seen more fully as we proceed. 

What were the weak points in the title of the Liquidating 
Levee Board? What are the weak points in any tax title? 
The failure of the officers to make substantial compliance with 
the law. Sales for liquidating levee taxes were not made upon 
any assessment of the lands. The tax was an acreage tax, 
recurring annually, and imposed by a general law. Neither 
the assessor nor the county board had anything to do with 
this tax, so there is nothing to be feared from irregularities in 
the assessment, equalization or certification of this tax. The 
only objections that could ever be made to these tax sales, 
where the land was liable for the tax, must be based upon one 
or more of the following grounds: (i) That the tax collector 
had not given bond prescribed by the Acts of 1858 and i86i, 31 as 
collector of these taxes ; (2) that the lands were not sold on the 
proper day; (3) that they were not sold at the proper place; 
(4) that they were not sold in the proper legal subdivisions or 
multiples thereof; (5) that they were not sold annually for the 
taxes of single years ; (6) that the officers failed to make proper 
deeds conveying the land to the Liquidating Levee Board; and 
(7) that, as many of these original deeds have been lost, the 
clerk failed to properly file and record these deeds. Probably 
there was not one sale free from all the seven objections above 
enumerated, and against the great majority of the sales the 
most if not all these objections would be well taken. 

The first battle waged against the title of the Liquidating 
Levee Board was waged by those claiming under the original 
government patentees, or in other words, those from whom the 
land was forfeited. Gen. James Z. George led the first charge. 
Certain of his lands had been sold in 1870 by J. E. Johnson, 
tax collector of Sunflower County, to the Liquidating Levee 

3l Laws 1858, p. 33, and Laws 1867, p. 237. 

Lands of the Liquidating Levee Board. Wade 289 

Board for default taxes. On June 21, 1871, General George 
filed his bill in chancery court against W. H. Vasser, Liquidat- 
ing Levee Commissioner, praying that the title of the Liquidat- 
ing Levee Board acquired under the tax sale of 1870 be can- 
celed, and from a decree in his favor, Vasser, Commissioner, 
appealed. The decree in the lower court was sustained. The 
Supreme Court held in this case: (i) That the lands delinquent 
for liquidating levee taxes were required to be sold at a desig- 
nated day in the year, and on no other; (2) and at the place 
appointed, and no other ; (3) that the lands sold for taxes should 
first be offered in lots of forty acres, and (4) that there was no 
authority in the tax collector to sell unless he had given bond 
as levee tax collector.* 2 In other words, the title of the Liqui- 
dating Levee Board was completely routed, and its fatal weak- 
nesses shown up to the public. 

This decision seems to have lulled the taxpayers into peaceful 
repose. The tax collector had been taking for taxes all that 
the taxpayers could make above a bare living. Their lands 
had gone to the Liquidating Levee Board and was exempt 
from all taxes They still occupied these lands, and as the tax 
title was void, could recover their former title whenever they 
so desired ; but why hasten to recover it and pay taxes again ? 
They had found, as they thought, a real benefit in the "dead 
hand" of the Liquidating Levee Board. 

But the taxpayer's repose proved fatal to his title. Further 
litigation was in the very nature of things unavoidable, and the 
holders of the title of the Liquidating Levee Board sprang a 
new weapon of defense. By an Act of the Legislature approved 
February 10, 1860, ss it was, among other things, declared "that 
all sales of lands hereafter made for non-payment of taxes 
due under any law of this State, shall be valid to all intents 
and purposes, said land subject to redemption as provided by 
law, and that no such sale shall be impeached or questioned in 
any manner or for any cause, saving fraud or mistake in the 
assessment or sale of same, and no suit to set aside any title 
acquired under any such sale hereafter to be made, shall be 
brought unless within five years from the date of sale." The 

32 47 Miss., 713. 

3s .\cts 1859-60, Sec. 8, p. 213. 


290 Mississippi Historical Society. 

Supreme Court of the State in construing this Act at different 
times has held: (i) That it is a legitimate exercise of legislative 
power and discretion; 34 (2) that it applied to tax sales for levee 
taxes as well as to sales under the general revenue laws of the 
State; 35 (3) that the failure of the officer to give bond as levee 
tax collector was cured by operation of this law, after a lapse of 
five years from the day of sale ; 36 (4) that the sale was not made 
at the door of the courthouse was likewise cured; 37 (5) also, that 
the land was not offered in the smallest legal subdivisions, but 
was sold as one tract, was cured, 88 and (6) generally, that the 
lapse of time under the operation of this statute cured all defects 
in tax proceedings, except those controlled by constitutional 
provision. 39 To quote the language of the court: "The statute 
existed as part of the revenue laws of the State, and its declara- 
tion was an admonition to those owning property subject to 
taxation, and an assurance to those who should become pur- 
chasers at tax sales, after the lapse of a certain time from the 
sale for taxes, all those requirements imposed by the Legislature 
should be read as directory and not as mandatory laws, and that 
no failure to conform thereto should be held to invalidate the 
title of the purchaser." 4 Again, "the provision as to future 
sales was intended to be, and was, an irrevocable and irre- 
peachable stipulation that after a lapse of the time named, no 
assailment of the title should be made. It was, and was intended 
to be, a part of the contract into which the purchaser would 
enter; an inherent, continuing element of right, secured, run- 
ning with the land, and a perpetual security of the title." 4 * 

Thus was settled this embarrassing condition All the defects 
as pointed out herein, in the title of the Liquidating Levee 
Board, were matters that rested within the legislative will. 
Although a failure in any respect to comply with the directions 
of the law might have avoided the tax sales, if seasonably 
assailed, the lapse of five years from the date of sale, under the 

34 47 Miss. 613. 

35 62 Miss. 433, 66 Miss., 68, and 66 Miss., 522. 

3C f>9 Miss. 384. 

37 66 Miss. 522. 

3 s Ibid. 

39 62 Miss. 433, and 66 Miss., 522. 

4 "67 Miss. 433. 
41 66 Miss. 522. 

Lands of the Liquidating Levee Board. Wade 291 

decisions already referred to, rendered the title of purchasers 
at such tax sales free from attack. 

Thus it appears that so far as the original patentees and their 
privies, the Liquidating Levee Board title was paramount. 
However, some years later, this board met its biggest contest, 
this time in the United States Court. William G. Ford and 
Louis P. Levy, two lawyers of New York City, filed, on Feb- 
ruary 27, 1889, a bill in equity in the Circuit Court of the United 
States for the Southern District of Mississippi claiming title to 
more than two hundred large tracts of land situated in nine 
different counties, and praying that their claim be quieted by 
cancelling the adverse claim of the defendants, in whom was 
vested the Liquidating Levee Board title. The complainants 
were represented by three of Mississippi's ablest lawyers, A. H. 
Whitfield, Edward Mayes and W. V. Sullivan to whom was given 
as a fee a deed to one-fifth interest in the following lands: in 
Leflore County, 9,320 acres; in Tallahatchie County, 15,760 
acres; in Quitman County, 37,700 acres; in Sharkey County, 
36,720 acres; in Bolivar County, 38,840 acres; in Sunflower 
County, 30,600 acres; in Coahoma County, 13,520 acres; in 
Washington County, 16,000 acres; in Yazoo County, 18,440 
acres; in Issaquena County, 16,360 acres; amounting in all to 
235,660 acres. Complainants claimed not only through patents 
from the United States and from the State of Mississippi, but 
claimed also that their lands were exempt from taxation at the 
time that it was sold for taxes, it then being the property of 
the Selma, Marion & Memphis Railroad Company. This com- 
pany, originally known as the Memphis, Holly Springs and 
Mobile Railroad Company, was chartered by an Act of the Legis- 
lature of the State, approved November 23, 1859. 42 Section 19 
of this Act exempted all the property of said company from 
taxation until said railroad company should be completed. 
The war interfering with the construction of the railroad, on 
February 20, 1867," a statute was passed reviving the corpora- 
tion. A further statute was passed July 21, 1870, which pro- 
vided "that said Selma, Marion & Memphis Railroad Company 
is hereby authorized to receive, in the way of subscription to the 

1859, Chap. 14. p. 51. 
1867, Chap. 464, p. 6-55. 
**Laws 1870, Chap. 220, p. 566. 

292 Mississippi Historical Society. 

capital stock of said company, lands lying anywhere within the 
limits of the State of Mississippi." Under the authority of this 
statute these lands were conveyed by the government patentees 
or their privies to the railroad company, which title had passed 
to the complainants. It was contended by complainants that 
these lands were owned by the railroad company and exempt 
from taxation by the Liquidating Levee Board, so that as there 
were no taxes due said board the lands could not forfeit to it 
for taxes. Complainants had still a further title. On March 
1 6, 1872, the Legislature passed an Act to facilitate the con- 
struction of the railroad, which Act provides "that all lands 
which have heretofore been forfeited to the State of Mississippi 
for taxes due and unpaid thereon and which had been sold to 
said Selma, Marion & Memphis Railroad Company by the 
original owners of the same, shall be sold to said railroad com- 
pany by the Auditor of Public Accounts at two cents per acre," 
provided that upon any such lands forfeited to either of the 
levee boards of the State the levee taxes should be paid. 46 These 
lands were conveyed to the railroad company by the auditor 
under the authority of this statute by deed, which recited that 
the land had been "sold to the State of Mississippi for taxes due 
the said State, and that the company had paid into the State 
treasury two cents per acre in full payment of all State and 
county taxes due thereon to the present date." No reference 
was made in these deeds to the levee taxes; no recital of any 
payment of them, or of any adjustment with the levee commis- 
sioners. Complainants contended that the deeds were them- 
selves evidence of a prior payment and discharge of the levee 
taxes, on the theory that such payment was a prerequisite to the 
conveyance by the auditor. The Federal Circuit Court rendered 
a decree dismissing complainant's bill, 46 and complainants ap- 
pealed to the Supreme Court of the United States. This court 
held that the auditor's deed was no evidence of payment of 
levee taxes ; and disposed of the contention that the lands were 
exempt from taxation by affirming the decision of the Missis- 
sippi Supreme Court, (i) that the construction and repair of 
levees are local improvements, and (2) that exemptions from 

45 Loit-5 1872, Chap. 35, Sec. 3, p. 313. 
46 43 Federal Reporter, p. 187. 

Lands of the Liquidating Levee Board. Wade 293 

taxation does not release property from liability from assess- 
ments for local improvements. 47 The decree of the Circuit 
Court was affirmed. 48 

Having seen the complete triumph of the Liquidating Levee 
Board title over the title of the original owners even in the most 
favorable circumstances to them, we now turn to the conflict 
between the title of the Liquidating Levee Board on the one hand 
and the title of the Ten Cent Levee Board or Levee District 
Number One, on the other hand. As the lands in the district 
of the two last mentioned boards were subject to the taxes of 
the Liquidating Levee Board, there was but little, if any, occa- 
sion under the laws then existing, for this conflict. Naturally 
much of these lands forfeited to the Liquidating Levee Board, 
and as they then bore no revenue the levee boards were exceed- 
ingly anxious that some way be devised by which these lands 
could be subjected to taxation by them. The Ten Cent Levee 
Board appealed to the Legislature for relief, and on April 5, 1872, 
was passed a special Act 4 ' entitled "An Act for the relief of the 
Board of Levee Commissioners of the counties of Bolivar, Wash- 
ington and Issaquena, and for other purposes." The preamble 
recites that the lands claimed to be held and owned by the 
commissioners of this, the Ten Cent Levee Board, are beclouded 
by claims thereto by the State, and the Liquidating Levee Board, 
and as it is important that the title held by the Ten Cent Levee 
Board should be quieted, so that the lands may be made avail- 
able in the payment of the debts contracted by this board for 
levee purposes. But the enactment extends the remedy beyond 
the recital of the preamble, so as to include all persons, natural 
and artificial, who have claim to or "interest in the lands." 
This universal remedy as provided by this Act was the filing in 
the Chancery Court by the commissioners of the Ten Cent 
Levee Board a petition "against all persons claiming or having 
any interest, either legal or equitable, in and to said lands," 
praying that said lands be sold for the payment of all taxes in 
arrears thereon, and in case no bid for any tract was sufficient 
to pay all taxes on said tract, it was to be knocked off to the 
Circuit Clerk of the county to be held for the State until a suffi- 

47 47 Miss.. 367 and 713. 

4 '184 V. S. Supreme Court Reports, p. 662. 

i9 I.dws of 1872, p. 217. 

294 Mississippi Historical Society. 

cient amount was offered for it to pay all taxes, when it was to 
be sold. It was the intention of the Act to confirm the title 
through the Chancery Court, providing for publication, trial, 
and sale. The Act provided further that the State, or any person 
or corporation interested therein, should not be made defend- 
ants by name, designation or description. On October 22, 1872, 
in pursuance of this statute this board filed a bill in Chancery 
Court of Bolivar County against "all persons having or claiming 
any interest, either legal or equitable, in and to the lands herein 
described," as defendants, without naming any individual. 
On January 24, 1873, a final decree was entered reciting that no 
cause had been shown why the lands should not be sold for the 
amount of the taxes stated, and much land in the county was 
thereby ordered to be sold by a commissioner on the first day of 
the next regular term of the court. From this decree G. D. 
Brown, who claimed a portion of the land sold, appealed. The 
special statute under which this suit was brought was declared, 
on this appeal, unconstitutional; Judge Simrall assigning seven 
instances wherein it is in contravention of the Constitution, 
amounting in the main to a declaration that the special statute 
was an attempt to deprive persons of their property "without 
due process of law." 50 Thus perished an attempt on the part 
of the Ten Cent Levee Board to release and take from the Liqui- 
dating Levee Board, without consideration, practically all of 
its lands in three of the largest counties of the district. 

The conflict between the Liquidating Levee Board and Levee 
District Number One came to the courts of last resort, both 
State and Federal. A bill was filed in the Chancery Court of 
Coahoma County, September 15, 1890, by one Shotwell and 
others against the Louisville, New Orleans & Texas Railway 
Company, and those claiming under said company, involving 
the title to a large tract of land in said county. Complainants 
were original owners of the lands in controversy and also claimed 
as vendees of Levee District Number One. Defendants claimed 
title through the Liquidating Levee Board and the State. The 
Chancellor found as a matter of fact that the liquidating levee 
taxes had been paid on these lands, or that redemptions had 
been made within the time required by law, and because of this 

5 "50 Miss., 468. 

Lands of the Liquidating Levee Board. Wade 295 

finding the title of the Liquidating Levee Board is not further 
adjudicated in this case." Some few years prior to the forego- 
ing suit Amos Woodruff, trustee, the German Bank of Memphis, 
Tennessee, and others, as owners and holders of a large number 
of bonds, amounting to the principal sum of $350,000, issued 
by the Levee Board of District Number One by virtue of its 
charter, filed suit in the Chancery Court of Hinds County against 
the Auditor of Public Accounts and the State Treasurer, as 
trustees, who by virtue of the Act of 1876* 2 last administered 
the trust funds of said Levee District Number One, and the 
Louisville, New Orleans & Texas Railway Company, the Delta 
and Pine Land Company, and Swan and Burroughs, all of said 
defendants being owners of large bodies of lands claimed both 
by the Liquidating Levee Board and Levee Board District 
Number One, to enforce a trust and lien on certain lands in said 
Levee District Number One. The defendants demurred to the 
bill, among other reasons assigned, upon the ground that the 
act of the levee board in making the bonds payable "in gold 
coin" was ultra vires, and the bond therefore invalid. The 
Chancellor sustained the demurrer solely on the last mentioned 
ground, and the bill was thereupon dismissed. Complainants 
appealed, and the Supreme Court of the State affirmed the 
decree of the Chancellor, &s whereupon an appeal was taken to 
the Supreme Court of the United States, where the decision of 
the State courts was reversed, the court holding that the levee 
bonds in litigation were not null and void because of the recital 
therein of the indebtedness to be "in gold coin." 54 In the 
Supreme Court of Mississippi, where the cause had been remanded 
by the United States Supreme Court for decision on the other 
grounds of demurrer to the bill not considered by either of said 
Supreme Courts, it was held that the right to have collected 
the taxes of Levee District Number One, due said levee district 
after the period of redemption of lands forfeited to the State 
or to the Liquidating Levee Board had expired, is the full extent 
of the rights and interests that the holders of the bonds of said 

51 69 Miss., 541. 
**Laws 1876, p. 174. 
SS 66 Miss., 298. 
"162 U. S. Reft., 291. 

296 Mississippi Historical Society. 

Levee District Number One had in the lands in controversy. 
To quote the language of the court: 

"Sales of land embraced in Levee District Number One, legally made to 
the Liquidating Levee Board for liquidating levee taxes conveyed valid 
title to the Liquidating Levee Board, and while held by the Liquidating 
Levee Board, said lands were not subject to any tax * * *and could 
not be sold therefor." 55 

Thus triumphed the title of the Liquidating Levee Board 
over another adversary. 

There was some further litigation over the conflicting titles 
of the levee boards, more in the nature of collateral attacks, but 
as these are of minor importance, we pass on to the greater 
conflict between the Liquidating Levee Board and the State. 

The legal tax sale that was made first in point of time, as 
between the State and Liquidating Levee Board, conveyed 
title. Frequently forfeitures were made to both the State and 
this board, yet it was never difficult to show which sale was 
made first and so to ascertain which sale conveyed title. The 
Act of 1860, 56 which made a tax title unassailable after five 
years, does not cure a levee tax sale which was void because the 
land being held by the State was not taxable, so not subject to 
sale for taxes. 57 Efforts were sometimes made to prove that a 
first sale made to one or the other was illegal, and by so doing 
the title was established in the one for whom the second sale 
was made. A great number of tax sales were made during the 
war, and the State laid claim to large bodies of land which for- 
feited to the State during the war. When this title in later 
years was attacked it was declared void, the Supreme Court 
holding that "the imposition by the Legislature of the war 
taxes of 1861, in aid of the rebellion, being void, a sale of land 
thereunder was void, and could not be validated by subsequent 
legislation. 58 

But the State did not undertake to fight the Liquidating 
Levee Board on common ground. The Legislature prided itself 
that it was able to manufacture new weapons of warfare, and 
it is with these new weapons that we are primarily concerned 

55 77 Miss., 6S. 

56 .Laws 1851; 6c, p. 213. 

6 '66 Miss., 68. and 68 Miss., 250. 

58 25 So Rep., 865; 51 Miss., 782; 52 Miss., 834; 22 So. Rep., 947. 

Lands of the Liquidating Levee Board. Wade 297 

here. In enacting new laws applicable to the Liquidating 
Levee Board (its charter has been amended by the Legislature 
no less than twenty times) it must not be imagined that the 
Legislature was actuated by animosity, or any other sinister 
motive; to relieve the taxpayers of their heavy burdens by 
placing all lands in the revenue-producing class was the benevo- 
lent motive prompting the Legislature to act. 

Tax titles had become so precarious, purchasers so often 
acquiring no title at tax sales, and losing the purchase money 
actually paid, until people had about quit bidding at tax sales, 
thus virtually making these sales merely a formal forfeiture to 
the sovereign to whom the tax was due. To remedy this con- 
dition of affairs the Legislature enacted a general law guaran- 
teeing to purchasers at tax sales protection from the State and 
county. By this scheme such purchasers should in every 
instance acquire either a good title to the land sold, or in default 
thereof should receive back their money. This law was upheld 
by the Supreme Court, their decision being as broad as the 
statute they construe. "The intention evident was that no 
conceivable case should arise in which the purchaser should 
lose both the land and his money."' This statute, however, 
did not apply to the Liquidating Levee Board. It marks the 
beginning of legislative relief from taxation in this period of 
the State of Mississippi. 

We come next to consider what is known as the Abatement 
Act. This statute, passed March i, 1875, provided that all 
taxes for years preceding the year 1874 be abated, that is, that 
all unpaid taxes for these years, which were at that time delin- 
quent, be abolished. This law was intended to act as a can- 
cellation of all indebtedness due the State and the three levee 
boards for taxes for these years. Large bodies of land were held 
by the State and by the levee boards which could not be sold 
nor taxed. These lands were in a "dead hand," so to speak. 
The State had concluded that the best policy for it to pursue 
was to unfetter these lands by getting them into the hands of 
private owners, and thus throwing them back into the class of 
re venue -producing property. Justice Cooper sums up the rea- 

*'Code 1871, Revenue Chapter, Art. n. 
90 56 Miss., I 

298 Mississippi Historical Society. 

sons for the enactment of this law, and the conditions intended 
that it should remedy, as follows: 

"On the first of March, 1875, the State was, or claimed to be, the owner 
of an immense quantity of lands, which had been sold to it for taxes of 
preceding years. These lands were, as the property of the State, exempt 
from taxation, and a general distrust as to the validity of the sales under 
which they had been acquired deterred persons from purchasing them 
from the State. A considerable portion of them had been purchased by 
the State prior to the year 1861, and in the destruction of the records 
caused by the war all evidence of title as to a large portion of them had 
been lost. Others of them had been acquired under tax sales made dur- 
ing the war, and the taxes for which they had been sold were composed 
in part of levies for the support of the armies of the Confederate States. 
Such sales had been declared void by the courts The proceedings under 
which by far the greater part of them had been sold were invalid, because 
of irregularities in the assessment and sales. The owners of these lands, 
finding them assessed to the State, and thus freed from taxation, and 
knowing that no title could be conferred by sale to purchasers from the 
State, were content to permit the continuance of the shadow which pro- 
tected them from taxation, but did not threaten their possession. The 
evil was not only serious as it existed, but was constantly and rapidly 
increasing. It pressed itself upon the consideration of the Legislature, 
and the result was the passage of the Act approved March i, 1875, com- 
monly known as the Abatement Act." 61 

Again, in a dissenting opinion in another case, this same 
judge used the following language: 

"In this condition of things the Legislature determined to deal with 
them as a separate and independent class, and for this purpose the Act 
under consideration was passed. In my opinion it was intended to sell 
under the provisions of the Act all the lands to which the State at that 
time held or claimed title, as shown by its rolls, regardless' of any fact 
the existence of which would or would not invalidate its title. The State 
abandoned any claim, real or supposed, which it had to taxes for prior 
years. Whether the sales were valid or void, and whether if void they 
were void for one reason or another, whether taxes were really due for 
antecedent years or had all been paid , were by the very terms of the Act 
rendered wholly immaterial. Neither taxes due nor titles arising in the 
past were the subject of consideration. The sole purpose was to sell 
those lands 'held or claimed by the State,' under previous sales for taxes 
for so much only as should be due for the year 1874. Though called an 
abatement act, that was not its chief end or design. Abatement of 
taxes was declared not to benefit the former owner, but to induce the 
public generally to invest in the lands by reducing the price at which 
they might be bought. It is true that the State assumed some taxes to 
be due, but whether any in fact were owing could only be determined by 
investigation of matters in pais, and no investigation of this character 
was provided for or could be made. The fact that no taxes were due 
for years other than 1874 did not, in my opinion, withdraw the lands so 
mistakenly assumed to be delinquent from the operation of the Act. 
The rolls of land held or claimed by the State indicated, in my opinion, 
just what lands were intended to be dealt with, and are the sole and con- 
clusive evidence of what lands were salable under the Act." 82 

61 6o Miss.', 282. 
62 63 Miss., 603. 

Lands of the Liquidating Levee Board. Wade 299 

The foregoing extracts from the opinion of the Supreme 
Court of the State of Mississippi is probably the best statement 
of the conditions necessitating the Abatement Act, its purposes, 
and the general intent of the Legislature in enacting it. As to 
the Act itself, it has been called "a marvel of obscurity, com- 
posed of twenty-five sections, each of which is probably une- 
qualled, save only by its fellows, in prolixity and confusion. " s 
The Supreme Court says that "an examination of this Act has 
impressed us with the conviction that what was the legislative 
will and intention as to the various details of the Act can never 
be known and scarcely approximated." 84 Fortunately the 
adoption of the code provisions as to the sale of the land frees 
that, the most important question, from all doubt. 

It will be seen that while this law was passed as a special reve- 
nue Act, it was not intended to collect delinquent taxes, but to 
get large bodies of land then exempt from taxation into a tax- 
able condition. These lands were subjected by the Act to cer- 
tain taxes for the year 1874, and all tax collectors were required 
to proceed at once to the collection of these taxes. If these 
taxes were not paid on said lands by April i, 1875, the lands 
should then become delinquent, and should be sold on the sec- 
ond Monday in May, 1875, for such taxes. It was probably not 
expected that such taxes would be paid. In short, the Act 
virtually ordered that these lands be listed and sold for the 
taxes of 1874, such sale to vest a perfect title if not redeemed 
within twelve months. In accord with this intention millions 
of acres of land throughout the State were sold on May 10, 1875, 
and a few days immediately following. In some few instances 
small tracts were bought in by private parties, but the great 
body of these lands in default of bidders was forfeited to the 
State. However, the Act was not a failure, because in twelve 
months' time the State's title would become perfected, thus 
enabling the State to convey good title. 

The lands of the Liquidating Levee Board were to be subjected 
to the same abatement of taxes and the same listing and sale as 
State lands; that is to say, all the title of the State or Liquidat- 
ing Levee Board to any land acquired by forfeiture for non- 

63 6o Miss., 289. 

300 Mississippi Historical Society. 

payment of taxes for years prior to the year 1874, was released 
to the former owners as if no forfeiture or sale for taxes had ever 
been made, all previous taxes abated, and the land subjected 
anew as the property of its former owner to the payment of the 
taxes due. It was contended that this Act would work the same 
advantage to the Liquidating Levee Board that it would to the 
State, that the Act was conservative and constitutional. The 
lands of the Liquidating Levee Board were sold under this Act 
on May 10, 1875, along with the State's land, and as directed 
by the Act, in the absence of purchasers, conveyed to the State. 

An Act entitled "An Act to abolish the office of Liquidating 
Levee Commissioner, and to provide for the redemption of lands 
in the Liquidating Levee District, and for other purposes," 
became a law on April n, 1876. 65 By the first section of this 
Act the office of Liquidating Levee Commissioner was abolished ; 
and by the second, third, fourth and fifth sections the books 
pertaining to said office were directed to be deposited with 
the Auditor and Treasurer of the State, and provision made 
for the transferring to said officers all property belonging to 
said levee district and for determining what claims against the 
district should be recognized and discharged by said officers. 
Section 6 provided for the redemption at any time prior to 
November i, 1876, without damages, of the forfeited lands in 
liquidating levee bonds, scrip or surplusage certificates hereto- 
fore issued. Section 7 provided for the sale by the Auditor of 
these forfeited lands after November i, 1876, and before January 
i, 1878, on the same terms as are provided for redemptions in 
Section 6 of the Act. Under these provisions redemptions and 
purchases were made without objection on the part of the 
bondholders, as their bonds and scrip were made receivable for 
State and county as well as levee taxes. 

Section 8 provided that all deeds made by the "Auditor under 
the provisions of this Act shall be prima facie evidence of para- 
mount title, and no suit or action shall be brought in any court 
of this State to vacate or impeach any such deed, or to maintain 
any title or deed antagonistic thereto, unless the same shall be 
brought within one year next after the date of such deed, and 
after the expiration of one year after the date of such Auditor's 

1876, p. 166 

Lands of the Liquidating Levee Board. Wade 301 

deed the same shall be held and deemed by all the courts of this 
State to be conclusive evidence of paramount title, and upon 
which actions of ejectment and all possessory actions may be 
maintained." Section 13 provided that for all lands mentioned 
in this Act not "redeemed or purchased as herein provided for, 
on or before January i, 1878, no further time for redemption 
shall be allowed, and the title thereto shall be vested in the State 
of Mississippi, and no action in law or equity shall be maintained 
in any court of this State, * * * for the recovery of any 
such lands," etc. 

There is no doubt of the legislative will as expressed in this 
Act. It was intended to accomplish what it was feared the 
Abatement Act had not done. That Act was intended to place 
all these lands into hands that would pay revenue on them, but 
in default of bidders all of these lands had all practically for- 
feited to the State. As yet the courts had not passed upon the 
validity of the sales of these lands made under that Act, and the 
Legislature undertook with this Act to perfect the State's title 
to these lands thus acquired. The State's shadow of title 
was to be made the actual title unless attacked within a certain 
time. We are told that: 

"The evident plan and purpose was to permit the owners to redeem 
within a limited time and then to dispose of the land if unredeemed, to 
any purchaser who would accept the title which the State had previously 
acquired, fortified and protected by the operation of the eighth and 
thirteenth sections of the Act." 6 * 

By expiration of time without regard to possession the Legis- 
lature sought to transfer title from the owner and vest it in the 
State absolutely, thus securing to the State the title against all 
the attacks of the owner upon any grounds whatsoever. In 
this respect this Act differed materially from the Abatement 
Act, for it will be remembered that that Act attempted to release 
to the former owner all title of either the State or Liquidating 
Levee Board, and the State proceeded anew to subject the lands 
as the property of these former owners to the payment of the 
taxes due." 

This Act has a twofold operation: (i) it prescribes a short 
period of limitation, after which no suit shall be brought by the 

66 6o Miss., 1038. 

302 Mississippi Historical Society. 

owner for the recovery of the property, and (2) it gives to the 
conveyances under the tax sales a conclusive effect as evidence, 
thereby cutting off all inquiry into the existence of defects or 
irregularities, and thus operates as a curative law. Its opera- 
tion is first to divest from the owner the constructive possession 
of his property and to invest it in another, and in favor of the 
possession thus transferred to put in operation a statute of limi- 
tation for its ultimate and complete protection. A complete 
title to land, according to Blackstone, consists of the possession, 
the right of possession, and the right of property. It is evident 
that the effort of this statute is to do indirectly that which may 
not be directly done, namely, to divest title by a mere legis- 
lative decree. 68 

By an Act approved February i, 1877, 69 the annual tax of 
five and three cents per acre, assessed by the Act of 1867, cre- 
ating the Liquidating Levee Board, was reduced to one and one- 
half cents per acre. The outstanding bonds of the Liquidating 
Levee Board were directed to be called in and registered, and 
in lieu thereof new bonds at thirty -three and one-third per cent 
of the amount of the original bonds were directed to be issued, 
and said original bonds were required to be cancelled. 

The above paragraphs give a brief summary of the legislative 
attacks upon the title of the Liquidating Levee Board. It was 
but natural that these new laws should soon bear fruit. Almost 
the immediate result of them was the case of Green vs. Gibbs, 70 
probably the most prominent case in the legislative and judicial 
history of the State. As this case is a final adjudication of 
almost this entire subject, it will be well to look into it some- 
what in detail. 

Early in the year 1877 Joshua Green, the holder of $84,000 of 
the bonds of the Liquidating Levee Board, issued under the 
Acts of 1867 and 1871, filed a bill in the Chancery Court of the 
First District of Hinds County, in behalf of himself and other 
bondholders, against W. H. Gibbs, Auditor of Public Accounts, 
and W. L. Hemingway, State Treasurer, in their capacity as 
ex officio Liquidating Levee Commissioners, and against the 
State of Mississippi, alleging: (i) that the Act of 1867, having 


K *Laws 1877, p. 22. 
70 54 Miss., 592. 

Lands of the Liquidating Levee Board. Wade 303 

been accepted by the holders of claims against the General 
Levee Board of 1858, and the bonds having been issued under 
that Act (Act of 1867) and the one of 1871, there was a contract 
which the State could not, by subsequent legislation, impair; 
(2) that the lands, which had been sold for the non-payment of 
taxes to the Liquidating Levee Board, were held in trust by them 
for the bondholders; (3) that the Abatement Act of 1875, in so 
far as it was intended to deal with those lands, and release back 
taxes, was unconstitutional and void; (4) that the Act of 1876, 
in so far as it imposed restrictions on the redemption of the 
lands, was unconstitutional and void, and (5) that the Act of 
1877 was a direct attempt to repudiate two-thirds of the debt, 
and was void in toto. The bill then prayed: (i) that Gibbs and 
Hemingway, as ex officio Liquidating Levee Commissioners, be 
compelled to discover and set out by section, township and range 
the lands held by them as such commissioners in the several 
counties of the Liquidating Levee District; (2) that the lands 
be decreed to be a trust fund, and sold to pay the complainant 
and such other bondholders as should come in and aid in prose- 
cuting the suit; (3) that the taxes imposed by the Act of 1867 
be collected; (4) for a receiver to make such collection, if neces- 
sary ; -(5) for an injunction, etc. To this bill Gibbs and Heming- 
way demurred on the following grounds: (i) that the Acts 
attacked by the bill were constitutional ; (2) that the Acts under 
which complainants' debt accrued were unconstitutional; (3) 
that the allegations did not warrant the relief prayed; (4) that 
the court had no jurisdiction, and (5) want of equity on the face 
of the bill. This demurrer was overruled by the Chancery 
Court and an appeal was taken to the Supreme Court of the 

On the appeal to the Supreme Court that court held: 72 (i) 
that the Act of 1867 7 3 became a contract between the State and 
the Liquidating Levee Board on the one hand, and the holders 
of the bonds on the other, which neither party could thereafter 
materially modify, without the other's consent; (2) that the 
lands forfeited to the Liquidating Levee Board constituted a 
fund for the redemption of the bonds issued by said Board, 

71 54 Miss., 592. 


"Lou'5 1867, p. 237. 

304 Mississippi Historical Socitey. 

which the Legislature could not divert ; (3) that the Act of 1877 7 4 
repealing the tax and offering bondholders the alternative of 
surrendering their bonds and receiving new ones of one-third of 
their face value, with a less tax to pay them, or not participate 
in the new tax, was unconstitutional, and (4) that the fact that 
the Liquidating Levee Commissioners are vested by the Act 75 
with the power to sell the lands does not divest the Chancery 
Court of its inherent jurisdiction to administer the trust fund 
for the benefit of the cestui que trust on their application, and, 
in selling, the court may appoint the statutory trustee as its 
commissioner, as it may deem most advantageous to all con- 
cerned. The decree of the lower court, overruling the demur- 
rer, was therefore affirmed and the cause remanded for answer. 76 
On September 28, 1877, a decree was rendered in this cause 
by said Chancery Court ordering the defendants, Gibbs and Hem- 
ingway, Auditor and Treasurer, as ex officio Liquidating Levee 
Commissioners and pro hac vice commissioners of said court, to 
permit the former owners of the land included in the schedule, 
exhibited with their answer, to purchase, by way of redeeming 
the same, all of said land shown in said schedule, until December 
i, 1877, after which time the said commissioners, until otherwise 
ordered by the court, should sell and dispose of all the' lands 
undisposed of for such price and sum not less than all the liqui- 
dating levee taxes due and in arrears thereon, as in their discre- 
tion may be to the interest of the parties to the suit, taking in 
payment thereof currency or bonds or evidences of debt, included 
in said proceeding and exhibit in said cause. In pursuance to 
the decrees rendered in this cause W. H. Gibbs (and S. Gwin, 
his successor) as Auditor of Public Accounts, and W. L. Hem- 
ingway, as Treasurer, in their capacity as ex officio Liquidating 
Levee Commissioners and commissioners pro hac vice of said Chan- 
cery Court, in said cause, sold practically all of the lands which 
had formerly been sold to the General Levee Board of 1858 
and the Liquidating Levee Board, which had not formerly been 
disposed of by said boards, and the sales made by them were 
properly confirmed by the Chancery Court. 

7 * Laws of 1877, p. 22. 
16 Laws 1876, p. 166. 
76 54 Miss., 592 

Lands of the Liquidating Levee Board. Wade 305 

Thus it is seen that the liquidating levee title not only held its 
own against repeated attempts on the part of the State Legis- 
lature to impair its strength, but came out with the sanction 
and confirmation of its sales by the Chancery Court, showing 
that equity had been done, adding strength to the liquidating 
levee title. This finishes the battle of the titles, leaving the 
liquidating levee title victor over all its enemies. 

We pass now to the last division of our narrative, namely, 
the perfection of the liquidating levee title. It may seem need- 
less after what has gone before to make any effort toward fur- 
ther perfecting this title ; but when it is remembered that there 
still existed outstanding paper titles, which at any time could 
call this title into question, bring its owner into court and sub- 
ject him to the expense and trouble of a law suit, the wisdom 
of eliminating these adverse claims will be seen. Conflicts of 
title always detract from the salability of land, and thus hinder 
and retard the material development of the country. The 
lands of the Ten Cent Levee Board passed to the State under 
an Act of April n, 1876." By another Act passed the same 
day the State became the successor of the Levee District Num- 
ber One as to its land titles. 78 Thus the State had become the 
adverse claimant of the liquidating levee title both by virtue 
of these Acts as well as by direct forfeitures to the State. So, 
on March 14, 1884, the Legislature passed an Act" directing the 
Auditor of the State to execute a quit claim deed to all pur- 
chasers of lands in the liquidating levee district of any interest 
claimed by the State in any lands which had been sold by the 
Chancery Court under the decree of the case of Green vs. Gibbs, 
upon payment of such levee taxes as had accrued prior to the 
year 1883. If the Legislature could not perfect the title to 
these lands by confiscating the liquidating levee title, it would 
perfect it so far as the State's title was concerned by conveying 
whatever title the State had to the holders of the liquidating 
levee title. The Act of 1884 was intended to accomplish this 
end. The Supreme Court held in construing this statute that 
the Auditor had no authority to convey the title claimed by the 
State, except upon the condition that the grantee had paid the 

77 Laws 1876, p. 166. 
1s Laws 1876, p. 174. 
Laws 1884, p. 182. 

306 Mississippi Historical Society. 

taxes referred to in the Act, and since in many instances it was 
uncertain what amounts were due, the conveyances made under 
the Act was of doubtful validity. 80 To remedy this defect in 
the Act of 1884, the Legislature, on March 2, 1888, passed an 
Act 81 entitled "An Act to quiet and settle the title to certain 
land in the Yazoo Delta which was sold by the commissioners 
of the Chancery Court of the First District of Hinds County, 
in the case of Green and others vs. Hemingway and Gibbs, 
Treasurer and Auditor and ex officio Levee Commissioners." 
The preamble of this Act recites that sales of large bodies of 
lands had been made under the Green vs. Gibbs decree, and that 
by reason of the lapse of time, the destruction of records and the 
loss of original tax collectors' deeds, it had become difficult in 
many instances for the purchasers of said lands to establish 
title of the Liquidating Levee Board; that the development 
and settlement of that portion of the State was much retarded 
by the unsettled condition of land titles, and that the public 
interest would be promoted by legislation which would make 
them secure. 

The first section of this Act of 1888 made the deed executed 
by said commissioners under said decree prima facie evidence 
of the regularity and validity of said Chancery Court proceed- 
ings, and of the authority of said commissioners to sell, and 
prima facie evidence that the land embraced was duly and legally 
sold to the Board of Levee Commissioners up to and including 
the sale of 1874, and that the titles conferred by said deeds were 
to all intents and purposes valid. This section has been passed 
on by the Supreme Court of the State and upheld, the court 
holding, however, that the statute does not relieve a person 
holding under a deed by Gwin and Hemingway, which does not 
show when or by what particular sale the title to the land was 
acquired by the Liquidating Levee Board from proving the par- 
ticular title by which the levee board claimed. 82 

The second section of this Act of 1888 authorized the Auditor 
to execute deeds to purchasers from Gwin and Hemingway, 
commissioners, etc., conveying the State's title to the land pur- 
chased, and was somewhat similar to the Act of 1884, already 

80 67 Miss., 740. 

sl Laws 1888, p. 40. 

82 68 Miss., 779, and 25 So. Rep., 863. 

Lands of the Liquidating Levee Board. Wade 307 

referred to. The third section of this Act made the deed exe- 
cuted by the Auditor, in pursuance to Section 2, prima facie 
evidence of paramount title. The Supreme Court in construing 
these sections have held that the Auditor's deed to purchasers of 
levee lands, though declared to be evidence of paramount title, 
did not operate to absolve such purchaser from pointing out the 
particular title by which the State claimed. 8 * The fourth sec- 
tion prescribed twelve months as the period of limitation in 
which suits might be brought to recover land conveyed by said 
commissioners' deeds or by Auditor's deeds. The fifth section 
was an attempt to validate the sales made to the Liquidating 
Levee Board providing "that all sales of land lying in the dis- 
trict subject to the liquidating levee tax, heretofore made for 
said tax shall be, and are hereby declared to be, valid, * * * 
and shall not be impeached for any cause, except that the tax 
for which said land was sold has been paid." 

It has been seen that it was the purpose of the Legislature 
by the Acts of 1884 and 1888, above referred to, to vest in the 
purchasers and their vendees the title of the State to the land 
sold under the decree in the case of Green vs. Gibbs. To fur- 
ther effectuate this purpose the following laws have been subse- 
quently enacted: Chapter 77, Laws 1894; Chapter 162, Laws 
1896; and Chapter 86, Laws 1902. All of these statutes are of 
the same general tenor, having for their end the quieting and 
perfecting of the titles of the lands in the Yazoo-Mississippi 

What title did the Auditor convey by his deeds? In many 
instances there had been repeated forfeitures of the same land 
to the State. Some of these tax sales to the State were void, 
some were valid. On this point the Supreme Court has held 
that a deed from the Auditor to land acquired by the State at a 
sale for taxes passes to the purchaser such title as the State has ; 
and if, at the time of the execution of the deed, the State holds 
a title acquired at any sale, it passes to the purchaser, notwith- 
standing that the deed may recite that the land was sold to the 
State on a day of sale different from that on which the title was 
really acquired, and when the sale was in fact void and passed 
no title. 84 Again this court, in construing this statute, said: 

84 56 Miss., 371; 55 Miss., 27; 68 Miss., 739, and 73 Miss., 494. 

308 Mississippi Historical Society. 

"The intent of the Legislature was to convey whatever interest 
the State might have in any of the lands, without regard to the 
source from which the claim of title by the State might have 
been derived." 85 

The effect of these remedial Acts and the decisions of the 
Supreme Court construing them is to pass title absolutely into 
those purchasing both from the levee commissioners and from 
the Auditor. If there was any defect in the liquidating levee 
title to any of its lands that was not cured by lapse of time under 
the Act of 1860, then all such land was clearly salable under the 
Abatement Act of 1875. All such lands were in fact actually 
sold under the Abatement Act, and in default of bidders struck 
off to the State. The title to these lands thus acquired by the 
State passed to purchasers by the deeds made by the Auditor 
under the Act of 1888. The Supreme Court has expressly 
ruled upon this point, holding that where lands had forfeited 
both to the State and to the Liquidating Levee Board, it is 
immaterial which of these two has title ; a purchaser from the 
State under the Acts of 1884 and 1888, above referred to, and 
from Green and Hemingway under the Green vs. Gibbs decree, 
divests any title that the former delinquent owner may have 
had, and acquires a perfect title. 86 

Few instances might arise where those under disability claim- 
ing under delinquent owners would not be barred by limitation. 
All questions of infant owners have been closed out by lapse of 
time. If perchance some lunatic was owner of some of these 
lands at the date of the original tax sales, and is yet alive, or 
the right of redemption has been recently cast upon others by 
his death, there would still exist in such cases a valid claim in 
the nature of a right of redemption. But this right would carry 
with it the obligation to pay accumulated taxes, which would 
probably equal the value of the land. Besides, the instances 
in which lunatics were the holders of land must be rare. 

From the foregoing it will be seen that all titles to the lands 
of the Liquidating Levee Board have been concentrated into 
one title, with the single exception of the paper title of the delin- 
quent owners, founded on patents from the government. This 

85 38 So. Rep., 506. 
86 68 Miss., 739. 

Lands of the Liquidating Levee Board. Wade 309 

old title of the delinquent owners, as we have already seen, is 
practically worthless. Its owners are in many instances dead, 
and their descendants will probably never know of it. It has 
seldom of late years been asserted, and invariably repudiated 
by the courts when so asserted. It will be remembered that 
Low and Lyman as trustees of the Mississippi Bottom Land 
Company of New York, were probably the largest of the delin- 
quent holders. Their claim has passed down through the days 
of delinquency even unto the present day. The Greenville 
Land and Trust Company of Greenville, Mississippi, are now 
the owners of this claim. It is sometimes asserted by this com- 
pany, only to be compromised upon the payment of a small 
sum of money, for which the company executes a quit claim 
deed, thus combining in the present owner a complete and per- 
fect paper title. 

During almost the entire period of conflicting land titles the 
Delta country had practically no development, but with the 
perfection of land titles came improvement. These fertile 
lands have constantly grown in demand until they are now 
sought after far and near. Before 1880 there were no railroads. 
The lands were principally wild lands, unimproved and seem- 
ingly unimprovable. In the summer and autumn of 1881 a 
very large quantity of these lands (probably two million acres) 
was bought by the Louisville, New Orleans & Texas Railroad 
Company and by one Eugene C. Gordon. These sales were made 
by the court, acting through its commissioners, in the case of 
Green vs. Gibbs. Soon after this the construction of the rail- 
road from Memphis to New Orleans through the Delta was 
commenced and pushed to an early completion. This proved 
only a beginning of railroad construction in the Delta. The 
work has gone on year by year with accelerated rapidity and 
energy until to-day this territory is a perfect network of rail- 
road lines. 

The title to the large quantity of land bought by Eugene C. 
Gordon, referred to above, soon became entangled. On Novem- 
ber 21, 1881, Gordon sold his land to Byron H. Evers, an En- 
glishman, who in turn sold to several more Englishmen. These 
lands were sold on March n, 1886, at Oxford, Mississippi, under 
a decree of the Federal Court, when Thomas Watson bought 

Mississippi Historical Society. 

them in for a trifle. Watson sold to the Delta and Pine Land 
Company, of which he was an officer and principal stockholder, 
on July 6, 1888. A quit claim deed was also executed a few 
months later by the several Englishmen to the Delta and Pine 
Land Company. Several years later a bill was filed in the 
Federal Court of the United States by these Englishmen pray- 
ing that these several sales be set aside and that the title may 
revest in them. From a decree sustaining a demurrer to their 
bill complainants appealed to the Supreme Court of the United 
States. The following is taken from Justice Brown's statement 
of the facts of this case: 87 

"Plaintiffs who were aliens, British subjects and residents of London, 
set forth that in 1881 or 1882 they, together with one Watson and one 
Baldwin, citizens of Illinois, were associated together in the purchase of 
a large quantity of land in Mississippi, known as the Delta, amounting 
to 500,000 or 600,000 acres, together with certain pine lands amounting 
to about 150,000 acres. That certain differences having arisen as to 
their respective interests, Watson filed a bill in the Chancery Court of 
DeSoto County against Evers, William Marshall, George F. Phillips, M. S. 
Baldwin, et al., which was removed into the Circuit Court of the United 
States, wherein a decree was rendered on October 3, 1885, in favor of 
Watson for the sum of $145,000 which was charged as a lien upon said 
lands, and in the event of the failure of the defendants to pay such sum 
within six months from the date of the decree, the lands were to be sold 
by one McKee, as special commissioner, for the satisfaction of the decree. 
The land was accordingly sold, and most of it bought in by Watson, such 
sale being afterwards confirmed by the court, 'that said decree was a con- 
sent decree, agreed to in a spirit of compromise, and accompanied with 
and based upon certain agreements to be hereinafter explained.' * * * 

"It is further charged that before the sale of the land was had, Watson 
and his agents and representatives conspired with one Burroughs to pre- 
vent them (the plaintiffs) from being present at said sale, and to deter 
them from bidding for the lands, the result of which fraudulent collusion 
was that Watson bought the land at a mere trifle per acre, except about 
162,000 acres, which it was fraudulently agreed that Burroughs and his 
friends should buy at their own figures. That but for such fraudulent 
collusion the Delta lands would have been sold for more than enough 
to satisfy the decree, and would have left, at least, the pine lands to 
plaintiffs in this bill and the other defendants in said suit, after fully 
paying their debt. Instead of this, they succeeded in securing all the 
lands, and still claim a large balance against the defendants in that suit 
as due by the decree; more, in fact, than Watson originally advanced 
for the purchase of the land. The plaintiffs were not aware of and had 
no knowledge of the fraud practiced upon them by Watson until recently, 
and long after the sale had been ratified and confirmed, and that this is 
the first opportunity to bring the matter before the court and ask a res- 
titution of their rights and an equitable redress for the fraud. 

"That the decree was a compromise decree, accompanied by stipula- 
tions, one of which was that the defendants were to have six months in 
which to pay the decree, and that, when they acquiesced and consented 

87 156 U. S. Supreme Court Rep., 529. 

Lands of the Liquidating Levee Board. Wade 311 

to such decree, it was their intention and expectation, and it was so 
understood by all parties, to organize a land company in London and to 
sell the lands referred to in the decree for money enough to pay off said 
indebtedness, and the balance in stock and debentures and working 
capital, within the six months allowed to them by the decree. To accom- 
plish this and to carry out the understanding, a company was organized 
at great expense to plaintiffs, and a satisfactory sale of the lands arranged 
to be made to such company, which would have been perfected and 
Watson's debt paid but for the interference of Watson and his agents, 
who, by circulating false reports affecting the title to the land, prevented 
such company from being floated, and defeated the efforts of the defend- 
ants in such suit in raising money to comply with their agreement to pay 
off such decree. That afterwards a son of Watson, representing his 
father and the Delta and Pine Land Company, visited London, and, 
recognizing the fact that the plaintiffs still had an interest in the lands, 
agreed to organize another English company, certain shares of stock in 
which company they agreed to receive. Th'at plaintiffs, being ignorant 
of the fraud that had been practiced upon them at the time of the sale, 
and relying upon the statements of Watson's son, at his request executed 
quit claim deeds to their interests in such land, Watson stating that he 
wanted such deeds in trust solely for the purpose of facilitating the sale 
of the lands to such company, and promising that such deeds when exe- 
cuted should be deposited by him with Walter Webb & Company, of 
Queen Victoria Street, London, the solicitors of such company. That 
Watson, instead of depositing the deeds with the solicitors, fraudulently 
and in violation of his promise and agreement, sent the deeds to Missis- 
sippi, and caused them to be registered in the several counties in which 
the lands were located. That this was done without the knowledge and 
consent of plaintiffs; that the organization of the company was never 
perfected, negotiations for the sale of the lands had been abandoned. No 
stock was ever issued, plaintiffs never received any consideration for the 
deeds, or their interest in the lands. Such deeds were obtained by fraud 
and false pretenses and promises made by Watson were without considera- 
tion and are void. That plaintiffs are informed that Watson and the 
persons associated with him in the Delta and Pine Land Company have 
sold a large quantity of the lands at a good price, as well as a large amount 
of timber from the lands remaining in their possession, and have realized 
from such sales more than enough to pay the decree and the interest 

The Supreme Court held that "the decree of the court below 
sustaining the demurrer and dismissing the bill was correct, 
and it is therefore affirmed." The effect of this decision was, 
of course, an adjudicated elimination of the Englishmen's title 
to all these lands. 

In November, 1881, Byron H. Evers conveyed an undivided 
one-fourth interest in his lands in Mississippi to M. S. Baldwin 
of the State of Illinois. In October, 1885, Baldwin conveyed 
all his interest in these lands to Leander C. Goodsell, and in 
March, 1893, Goodsell exhibited his bill in the Chancery Court 
of Sunflower County, Mississippi, against the Delta and Pine 
Land Company and others defendants, praying that defend- 

312 Mississippi Historical Society. 

ants' title acquired through the consent decree in the Federal 
Court be annulled and held for naught. The defendants de- 
murred to complainant's bill ; the demurrer was sustained and 
complainant appealed. On this appeal to the Supreme Court 
of Mississippi, the point at issue was the jurisdiction of the Fed- 
eral Court in the former case on removal from the State Court, 
and this court held that it did not appear beyond controversy 
"that on the'record the Federal Court could not have had juris- 
diction, so as to render such decree void," thus disposing of 
Goodsell's claim to these lands. 88 

The Delta and Pine Land Company secured quit claims from 
the State to these lands in 1885, and in 1888, under the curative 
Acts of 1884 and 1885, formerly referred to. By means of these 
several conveyances and adjudications all title to these lands, 
with the exception of the claim of the original delinquent owners, 
was concentrated and perfected in the Delta and Pine Land 
Company . 

The history of the title of the Delta and Pine Land Company 
has been given somewhat at length because this company became 
the owner of by far the greater part of the lands formerly belong- 
ing to the Liquidating Levee Board. The lands of this com- 
pany were at the time of the purchase by them wild lands, and 
while this company has never engaged to any great extent in 
farming or other improvements of their lands, yet, better still, 
they have sold their lands to actual settlers. With the improve- 
ment of the levee in recent years these lands have almost all of 
them become cultivable. Ditches have been dug and the lands 
drained. With the partial disappearance of stagnant lakes and 
bayous, malaria has almost been eliminated, and with the sink- 
ing of artesian wells on almost every plantation, affording an 
abundance of pure and wholesome water, the health conditions 
of the country have greatly improved. The building of rail- 
roads and the growth of towns and cities have brought these 
lands before the public. Their primal forests of valuable tim- 
ber have led to the establishment throughout the Delta of all 
kinds of manufactures of wooden wares. The great fertility of 
the soil, with its almost inexhaustible resources for farming, 
has year by year justified the planters in making constantly 

88 72 Miss., 580. 

Lands of the Liquidating Levee Board. Wade 313 

broadening inroads upon the wild woods, until immense cotton 
plantations of thousands of acres dot almost every section of this 
fertile country. The quantity and quality of cotton produced 
in the Delta probably surpass that of any other region in the 
whole world. Add to these excellencies the stability and per- 
fection of the title to these lands by its latest owners, and the 
constant and increasing demand for these lands will be readily 
understood. The Delta and Pine Land Company has been 
called upon continuously to supply this demand. Thousands 
of acres of these lands have been sold year after year by this 
company to planters, farmers and timbermen. The terms have 
been easy and the price reasonable, varying from six to ten 
dollars per acre. Some of these sales convey small bodies of 
land, the smallest legal subdivision of forty acres in some in- 
stances, thus giving the small farmer with limited means oppor- 
tunity to own and to operate his farm. Again, thousands of 
acres are conveyed by one deed, thus affording the big planters 
and timbermen fine investments. 

The last fifteen years have witnessed marvelous developments 
in this resourceful country, and the present prospects for fur- 
ther growth and development in the future are brighter than 
ever before. No other section of the country has had greater 
difficulties to overcome than the Delta, and by no means the 
least of these difficulties has been the perfection of the titles to 
the lands. Probably no other country ever witnessed such a 
condition of land titles, yet this barrier has been slowly but 
effectually removed. It is exceedingly interesting to recount 
the entanglement of title, and as delightful to see the triumph 
of stability and simplicity of title. The jungles of the Delta's 
luxuriant wild woods seemed hardly less impenetrable, but as 
these wild jungles are every year becoming more and more the 
prolific mother of the fruits of labor, just so have tangled titles 
been converted into those of stability and trust. What the 
strength and industry of the muscle is now doing in turning 
the wildest woods into the most fertile fields, the invention and 
the ingenuity of the legislative mind have already done in the 
perfection of the titles. Both conquests have been and will be 
made, be it said to the credit of our people, as a result of their 
honest toil without the repudiation or even shirking of a single 


The Choctaw word, Oka Noxubee (Oka Nakshobi) means 
stinking water, and was applied by the aborigines to the river 
of that name on account of the bad odor arising from its swampy 
bottoms after summer overflows, and not from the offensive 
smell of decaying bodies of slain enemies cast into it, as claimed 
by some Mississippi historians. 1 

Noxubee River rises in the eastern portions of Choctaw, and 
the western portion of Oktibbeha Counties and flows in a south- 
eastern direction to the Tombigbee, which it enters a few miles 
above Gainesville, Ala. It was wholly within ancient Choctaw 
Territory and was, generally speaking, the dividing line between 
their permanent homes in the pine lands to the south and their 
summer hunting grounds to the north and east of the river, 
embracing the prairies of the present Oktibbeha, Lowndes and 
Noxubee Counties, in which fish and game abounded. 

In their annual hunting excursions and other necessary travels 
all the crossings of this stream became familiar, so that at the 
advent of the white man's wagon all that was necessary in order 
to find a ford was to follow the Indian trails. 

The crossing first in importance, within the historic period at 
least, is in the southern part of Oktibbeha County, very near 
the Noxubee line. It is locally known as the turnpike. This 
place was brought into prominence in 1826 by the opening of 
the Robinson or United States Government road from Colum- 
bus to Jackson. The first owner and occupant of the place was 
Daniel Nail, a half breed Choctaw. In 1832 Grabel Lincecum 
bought his interest, whatever that may have been, for $500, and 
built a bridge, the first perhaps on the river, or in the nation. 
What concessions the Choctaws or the United States Govern- 

1 See Lowrey & McCardle's History of Mississippi, pp. 120-121. The 
Rev. Allen Wright in his Choctaw Dictionary defines Nakshobi "to have 
a peculiar odor, as a sea beach, or the smell of fish." The word is never 
applied by the Choctaws to the odor emanating from dead animal matter, 
as a corpse, or carcass. The old-time Choctaw was usually satisfied with 
the scalp of his antagonist, and never took the trouble and exertion neces- 
sary to pollute his waters with dead bodies. 


3*6 Mississippi Historical Society. 

merit allowed him is not known, but he at least exercised the 
privilege of charging toll. On the organization of Oktibbeha 
County in 1833 an annual appropriation of $500 was made by 
this county for the benefit of its citizens. In 1834 Lincecum sold 
this toll bridge to McKinney Holderness for $1,000, Holderness 
sold it to Richard Watkins for $2,000. Grabel Lincecum and 
Dr. John Watkins bought it from Watkins for $5,000. They 
sold it to Grooch for $20,000. Grooch sold it to Dulaney for 
$30,000. He then sold it to James Stewart for $800. 

These facts and figures are given to indicate in a measure the 
rise and fall of the tide of immigration and traffic from the east 
that was pouring into the newly acquired territory. With such 
a bonanza as a toll bridge on this great thoroughfare it would 
seem that the owner's ambition to make money could be abund- 
antly gratified. But this business venture was destined to have 
its vicissitudes. There were other residents of the new country 
who were not there for pleasure alone. One of the many taverns 
on this thoroughfare was situated a few miles east of the bridge. 
In order to popularize his "stand" with the traveling public 
the proprietor of this house would intimate to the traders in 
horses, hogs and negroes who stopped with him that at certain 
stages of water the river was fordable a short distance below 
the bridge. A hint to such travelers approaching a toll bridge 
was sufficient. But such conduct, causing much loss to the 
bridge interest, soon brought on disputes, lawsuits and bad 
feeling generally. 

One mile and a half east of the bridge, on the Robinson road, 
was the Choctaw Agency, established soon after the treaty of 
Doak's Stand in 1820. Here the Choctaws received a part of 
their annuities from the United States Government prior to the 
Dancing Rabbit Treaty of 1830. This was a prominent place 
and known throughout the nation. In 1827 a National Choc- 
taw Council was held there with Col. Thomas L. McKinney rep- 
resenting the United States Government in regard to ceding 
their lands and emigrating west, but without definite immediate 

Humming Bird, a noted Choctaw chief, was buried there with 
military honors in 1828 by Colonel Ward, the Choctaw agent. 
From 1830 to 1833 it was occupied by Colonel Ward in the 

Historic Localities on Noxubee River. Love. 317 

capacity of agent for the registration of Choctaw families that 
desired to remain as citizens of Mississippi after the treaty of 
Dancing Rabbit. His unenviable reputation as a public official 
is too well known to warrant further mention in this connection. 2 
He was lost to public view with the passing of the Indians but 
the evil effects of his arbitrary acts remained for years after his 

Following the Ward regime the Agency was occupied by sev- 
eral persons successively as a "house of entertainment." Many 
uncanny tales were extant of thefts and robberies committed, 
and even of the sudden disappearance of travelers in this vicinity. 
In the light of the well authenticated fact that John A. Murrel's 
gang of robbers once operated along that road, and the recent 
discovery of human bones in an old long-abandoned well on the 
premises, these traditions are not lacking in verisimilitude. 

An object of historic interest on the same road, last of the 
Agency, is the home of the Choctaw chief, David Folsom. The 
prominence attained by Folsom justifies the following brief 
sketch in this connection: 

From Dr. I. W. Folsom, of Ardmore, Indian Territory, it is 
learned that Rev. Jacob Chapman, of Hexeter, New Hamp- 
shire, whose mother was a Folsom, wrote a complete genealogy 
of the family, commencing in the year 1635. The ancestral 
stock came from Hingham, England, in that year, and landed at 
Hingham, Mass. Subsequently Nathaniel, Daniel and James 
came to the Choctaws and married among them. To-day the 
name is borne by men who are prominent among the physicians , 
lawyers and jurists in the West. Many men of that name were 
in the Confederate army. David Folsom was born at Pigeon 
Roost on the Natchez Trace, January 25, 1791. At the con- 
clusion of the Choctaw Council, held at the prairie home of 
Moshulitubbee in 1811, to consider the war propositions of 
Tecumseh, Folsom, then scarcely twenty years of age, was 
appointed to conduct that eminent war chief across the Tom- 
bigbee and out of the nation. In a fight with a band of Creeks 
near the present site of Memphis, Ala., he dispersed the ma- 
rauders and completed his mission with credit to himself and 
to his warriors. 

2 See Riley's Choctaw Land Claims, in the Publications of the Mississippi 
Historical Society, Vol. VIII. 

3*8 Mississippi Historical Society. 

He was more zealous and successful than any other public 
man of his race in advocating and advancing the cause of edu- 
cation and Christianity. In 1818 he accompanied Rev. Cyrus 
Kingsbury, a missionary, in looking out a site for the May hew 
Mission. In 1825 or 1826 he built a new home on the Robinson 
road. The house was made of hewn logs, two rooms with a hall 
between but in after years a top frame story was added. It is now 
in a good state of preservation and is the oldest house in Oktibbeha 
County. This place was called "Gibeon." As a result of the 
owner's prominence it was visited by many persons of official 
and religious note. Here a Choctaw school was established and 
continued until the coming in 1829 of the Rev. Cyrus Byington, 
of the American Board of Foreign Missions, who organized a 
mission school called "Yakni O Kchaiya," meaning Living 
Land. This was situated about a mile and a half to the west. 
Here Mr. Byington taught and preached during the years 
1829-30-31. The site is known to-day as the "Missionary 
Field." Just across the road from Gibeon was established an 
American village by the name of Folsom, which is now extinct. 
D. Folsom was elected Mingo of the Northeastern district in 
1826. In 1830, in public council, he resigned the chieftainship. 
Soon after this occurred the civil disturbance at the Factory 
near Old Fort Confederation relative to the distribution of the 
annuities. Folsom, with his warriors assembled at the Council 
House on Noxubee River, whence they marched southward and 
united with Greenwood Leflore and his warriors. The united 
force then marched to the Factory and promptly quelled the 
disturbance. It was at this time and place that the noted 
meeting of Folsom and Nittakechi took place, as graphically 
described by Colonel Claiborne. 3 

From some contemporary accounts which were evidently not 
accessible to Colonel Claiborne, but which can be found in the 
Alabama Department of Archives and History, it is certain that 
he is in error as to the year, the locality and the specific cause 
of the discontent of Noshulitubbee and Nittakechi's partisans. 
The sole cause of this civil disturbance was the appropriation 
of the special annuity allowed by the treaty of Doak's Stand 

3 See Claiborne's Mississippi as a Province, Territory, and State, pp. 

Historic Localities on Noxubee River. Love. 319 

to the Mission Schools. The full blood chiefs, while in favor of 
education, had become hostile to these schools on account of 
the religious features which were incorporated in the school cur- 
riculum. Nothing spectacular occurred at the settling of the 
disturbance. The disaffected chiefs simply yielded to the power 
of the stronger party. 

Folsom commanded one of the emigration parties to the west 
and was elected national chief under the ballot system, the first 
to enjoy that distinction. He died at Doaksville, Indian Terri- 
tory, September 24, 1847. 

On the Noxubee River, one mile below the Pike, at a point 
known as "Lin.cecum's old mill," was the crossing place of the 
"Treaty Road." The old ford is still very plain and is doubtless 
a prehistoric site. This road was cut out according to Govern- 
ment contract by a man named Loring, from the Agency to the 
Dancing Rabbit Treaty ground and was used by the United 
States Commissioners, J. H. Eaton, Secretary of War, and other 
officials. It was subsequently used by Choctaw parties that 
rendezvoused at the Agency preparatory to emigrating to the 
West, also by Choctaws in attending councils at the Council 
House, which was situated on the east bank of Noxubee River, 
about a mile below the crossing. This locality is known as 
Council Bluff. The house was contemporaneous with the 
Agency and connected with it by a road. 

Although there were several Indian crossings below Council 
Bluff on the Treaty road, only two of them are worthy of special 
mention. One was the Six Town Trail, which was about 600 
yards above Bugg's Ferry, a point well known on the river. As 
its name implies, this trail led from the Six Towns district of the 
Choctaws into the Chickasaw Nation. Here Tecumseh and his 
Shawnee braves crossed on their noted mission to the Choctaws. 

According to the valuable investigations of Mr. H. S. Halbert, 
Tonti, the heroic explorer, crossed Noxubee here on his route 
from Mobile to the country of the Chickasaws in 1702. Two 
and a half miles above Macon was the crossing of the Big Trading 
Path. The genesis of this path, like that of some other noted 
Indian trails, was in the remote prehistoric past. The first 
historic notice of it is found in Du Pratz's History of Louisiana. 

320 Mississippi Historical Society. 

Adair, in his American Indians, also speaks of it as "The Mobile 

It is interesting to note that in the course of time much of the 
Big Trading Path became part of the Military Road. At this 
crossing was established Starnes' blacksmith shop. Starncs 
was appointed by the Government as a blacksmith to the Choc- 
taws. The crossing came to be known as Starnes' Ferry. It 
is not to the credit of Mississippi that all knowledge is forcvc r 
lost of the exact site of the treaty ground of Mount Dexter, 
which was very near this ferry, but whether on the north or the 
south side of it is not known. 

Just half a mile below this ferry on the north side of the river, 
where once stood a log cabin under the spreading branches of 
a large black oak tree, is the traditional birthplace of Push- 
mataha, the most prominent character in Choctaw history. 
The date of his birth was about 1764. Of his lineage, social 
status and the incidents of his early life nothing is known. He 
first came into prominence as a warrior, but soon rose to the 
position of a leader of war parties, his most noteworthy raids 
being upon the Osages west of the Mississippi. In recognition 
doubtless of these successful exploits he was raised to the posi- 
tion of Mingo of the Six Town, or Okla Hannali district. At 
the National Council in 1811, before which Tecumseh advocated 
his war proposition, Pushmataha was the principal speaker on 
the part of the Choctaws, and to him more than to any other 
person is due the action of the council in banishing the great 
Shawnee chief from the nation on penalty of death should he 
fail to obey promptly. When the Creek war of 1813 broke out 
Pushmataha was the most prominent of the Choctaw chiefs that 
served in the American army. He was commissioned Lieuten- 
ant-Colonel and gained great distinction at the battle of the 
Holy Ground. He was a prominent character of the treaty of 
Doak's Stand in 1820. He died in Washington City December 
24, 1824, while there on public business with a delegation of 
his people. He was buried in the Congressional Cemetery with 
military honors and a monument was erected to his memory 
by his brother chiefs. 

The last noted locality on Noxubee river to be mentioned in 
this connection is on its east bank, about 300 yards above the 

Historic Localities on Noxubee River. Love. 321 

influx of Shuqualak creek. This place is noted as being the 
ball ground of the Creeks and Choctaws, where they played a 
great international game about the year 1792. There were 
fifty champion players from each side and several thousand 
spectators from the two nations. After a long and hard struggle 
the Creeks won. A Choctaw resented the taunts of a Creek and 
from this a general battle ensued between the warriors of the 
two nations, which lasted during the evening and night, with the 
loss of many on both sides. By the intervention of the two 
chiefs hostilities finally ceased, the dead were buried and the 
surviving participants departed in peace. 

The well attested tradition of the battle marks this place as 
one of the most historic spots on Noxubee River, a spot ever to 
be remembered wherein the olden time under the primitive rule 
of redress the red men of Mississippi and the red men of Alabama 
met in deadly strife. Relics of the dead warriors have been 
exhumed from their resting places on the ball ground, thus cor- 
roborating the truthfulness of the old tradition. 






At the mouth of the River Mississippi are a Number of Small 
Islands or Mud Banks, upon one of which to the Northward of 
the three Usual passes into the River the Spaniards have erected 
a small House, as a Station for a Boat, Twelve Soldiers, a pilot 
and Six or Eight Boatsmen, and upon another of them (to the 
Southward of the Said three passes) there is also a Small House, 
formerly a French Station, upon which a flag staff is erected and 
from whence the Spanish Pilot or his Assistant keep a look out 
to Sea for Vessels, these Houses or Stations are respectively 
known by the Appellation of the French (or Old) and the Span- 
ish (or new) Balyc. 

The Northeast pass have nine feet water with a hard Sandy 
bottom, the East, (or middle), pass has Twelve Feet Water with 
a soft Muddy bottom ; and the Southeast pass has Eleven Feet 
Water with a soft Muddy bottom But as the Bars of all these 
passes are perpetually Shifting, it would be very imprudent for 
any Vessel drawing more than Seven feet Water to attempt to 
go in over the same without the Assistance of a Pilot. 

The Current through all these passes is extremely rapid ; set- 
ting when to the Norward of them Very Strong to the Northeast ; 
and when to the Southward of them as strong to Southwest into 
the dangerous Bay of St Bernard. 

About two leagues up the River and on the Eastern side 
thereof is the pass Loutre, which cannot be Navigated by Vessels 
drawing more than Six feet water. 

Opposite this pass an English pilot has Stationed himself in a 
Floating tenement, the Spaniards not suffering him to Settle 

The manuscript from which this anonymous document was copied 
contains the following explanatory note: "Copied from a manuscript 
among the papers of George Chalmers, Secretary of the Board of Trade 
of Great Britain, and found in the Peter Force collection in the Manu- 
script Department of the Library of Congress, at Washington, MS. No. i 
of Mississippi Papers. The original is without date, but was written 
about the year 1773, as shown by internal evidence." EDITOR. 


3 2 4 Mississippi Historical Society. 

himself on either of this part of the River and Keeps a Bermuda 
Built Shallop in which he cruises off the Rivers mouth for Ves- 
sels coming from Sea. 

About two leagues above the pass Loutre on the Opposite of 
the River is the Southwest pass, at present little known and 
totally unus'd by Vessels; though it is apprehended the Bar of 
the same has a great depth of Water as these first described. 

From the pass Loutre to the first Hut ; Six leagues the lands 
on both sides the River are low and Swampy ; without trees and 
absolutely uncultivatiable, the sea here being no where more 
than half a mile from the River, and having frequent Commun- 
ications with it by small Creeks. 

From this Hut to what is Called the First Habitation (three 
Leagues) the lands are likewise chiefly uncultivatiable from 
their too great similarity to the former. 

From this Habitation to the Concession (fourteen Leagues) 
the lower of the Lands is also somewhat similar to these last 
mentioned, and is Consequently very thinly Inhabited and 
badly cultivated; but the upper part of them pretty thickly 
settled by the French and Dutch Inhabitants; few of these 
however have any Negroes; none perhaps more than half a 
dozen ; they go chiefly on the cultivation of Corn and Rice, and 
on Raising Stock, and Poultry, such part whereof as they can 
Spare from the support of their own family's they sell to the 
Vessels trading up and down the River, and by that means 
Supply themselves with some Necessarys and Luxaries. 

From the Concession to the Town of New Orleans, (six Leagues,) 
is a tract very thickly settled on both Sides of the River by 
French Inhabitants, and in the highest State of Cultivation; 
Indigo is their Chief object though are here and there some Saw 
Mills for Makeing Cypruss Lumber ; and those planters may be 
considered in some degree wealthy generally possessing from 
ten to Fifty Slaves which from the amazing fertility of the Soil 
in the produce of Indigo, yield them a very Comfortable (if not 
a genteel) Revenue. 

The town of New Orleans (the Capitol of the Spanish Terri- 
tories on the Banks of the River) is Thirty two leagues from the 
Sea & Beautifully Situated on the Eastern Side thereof, its 
streets are laid out at Right Angles & are Spacious enough, 

Present State of the River Mississippi. 325 

when under the French Government, it was well built & very 
populous; but since it fell into the hands of the Spaniards, has 
been gradually declining, insomuch that it is at this time sup- 
posed to Contain not more than 1 500 Souls. 

The French settlements continue on both sides the River, are 
also in the Highest State of Cultivation. Indigo being likewise 
the Sole object of these planters, some few of whom possess even 
100 Slaves. 

The Dutch [German] settlements join the French ones & 
extends about Six Leagues further up the River through these 
people are not generally possessed of so many Slaves as the 
French, yet they are annually becoming wealthy; being very 
Industrious & like the French going principally on the Cultiva- 
tion of Indigo. 

The Acadians settlement joins the Dutch ones Extending 
about Eight Leagues upwards on both sides of the River, & as 
high up as the Ilberville on the Eastern side thereof; these 
Acadians were Newtral French, once settled on the Bay of Fundy 
in Nova Scotia who Finding they could not procure Lands in 
the Inglish Colonies on Reasonable terms, Emergrated about 
Eight Years ago [1765] to this River & meeting with great 
encouragement from the Spanish Government, sat down on its 
Banks; being allowed in proportion to each Family four or six 
Acres (of 180 feet each) upon the Front of the River & forty 
Acres in Depth from the Same a plantation of Six Acres in 
front Forty in Depth containing about two Hundred square 
Acres, as these people brought no property with them few of 
them have yet been able to purchase any Slaves ; some of them 
however do possess two three or four, but none more than half 
a dozen. 

They have hitherto gone wholly on the Cultivation of Corn 
and the raising of Stock & Poultry, which they Sell to the Ship- 
ping the Lower Plantations & at the Town of New Orleans 
indeed a Considerable part of their time has been hitherto em- 
ployed in clearing their Lands; however upon the whole they 
Justly merit the Characters ot Industrious & useful Settlers; 
probably in a political (if not a Commercial) veiw, will one day 
be the Bulwark of this province. 

326 Mississippi Historical Society. 

From the termination of the Accadian settlement on the 
western side of the River to Point Coupee a Distance of Twelve 
leauges the Country is uninhabited, if you except two or the 
[three] Scattered Hutts. 

Point Coupee one of the oldest settlements on the Banks of 
this River under the Spanish Government is perhaps the most 
beautiful, as well as fertile spot constiguous to the Mississippi 
though the lands have been in constant Cultivation for Forty 
Years past, yet they do not appear to have sufferd the least 
degree of deminution in the Fertility of the Soil. The planters 
here even now sometimes make 100 Ib. of Choice Indigo from 
one Acre and about 75 Ib. may be considered as their Average 
one Negro will plant & attend two acres of Indigo & withal can 
Raise his own provisions the planters generally possess from 20 
to 100 Slaves and some more; last year 50000 pounds of Copper 
Indigo of the best quality (about one Fourth of all the Indigo 
raised on the bank of the River) was made in this Settlement. 
These Lands are bounded by a Cypress swamp lying parallel 
with the River at about a mile distance from it, & that swamp is 
bouned by the great plains of apatachie ( ?) where live a Consid- 
erable number of French Settlers, who raise Mules & Cattle, & 
bring them down annually for sale to Point Coupee. There are 
no settlers higher up on the western side the River. 

Previous to a Description of the English Territory it will be 
Necessary to make the Following general Observation Restrict- 
ing the land From the First Habitation to the Ilberville Vizt 
That the extension of the Settlements backwards on both sides 
of the River is Confined by a Cypress swamp, running parallel 
therewith, so as to give no place more than a Mile and in many 
places not half a mile of plantable Land in depth from the River 
that these Cypress Swamps are bound by the great bay of St 
Bernard and the salt lakes, and ponds communicating there- 
with on the one hand and by the Lakes ponchartrain and Maur- 
pas on the other, and that the Lands immediately on the Banks 
of the River being generally higher than these that lye at some 
distance from it, None of the over Flowing Water of the Mis- 
sissippie ever return into the Channel. 

The River, (or Rather the Creek,) Ilberville, on the Eastern 
side of the Mississippi, bounds part of the Isle of Orleans and 

Present State of the River Mississippi. 327 

forms the Division of the English and Spanish settlements it Run 
into the Amit and is almost dry for Seven months in the year 
being never Navigable even for Canoes except when the Missis- 
sippi is high. 

Here [on the Iberville] is the English Tour (or rather intended 
Town) of Manshac. Thirty Five Leauges from New Orleans, 
where the English Territories on the Banks of the Mississippi 

The First settlement from thence (two Leagues and a half 
from the Iberville) is Mr. David Williame's & from the lower line 
of this Settlement, to the lower Boundary of Mr. Mitchel Tract 
the Lands are Level or Rather low but Sufficiently dry & Firm 
and withal extremely Fertile this Space are Six Settlements. 

From the lower line of Mr. W's tract to the upper boundary of 
Mr. Watts's plantation (two Miles) a level beautiful amazingly 
Fertile, and about a Mile in Depth, runs parallel with the River 
at the extent whereof commences a Gradual rise terminating in 
another level equally beautiful the whole being Covered with 
lofty oaks Magnolia's Cane's &C. This tract is Capable of the 
highest degree of Cultivation either for Health wealth or amuse- 
ment, the upper Level being adorned with several natural 
mounts Commanding very extensive views' of the River (which 
here makes a fine angle) and of the Lands opposite & adjacent. 
Yet there are only two Settlements in this place tho' the whole 
of it is Located. 

From the upper Line of Mr. W's settlement to Mr. Poussets 
plantation (two Leagues) a Cypress Swamp a quarter of a Mile 
in depth runs parallel with & very near to the river, the Settlers 
here living on the high Lands aback of the same, which cut's off 
their Communication with the River for a Considerable part of 
the year in this space are Five Settlements. 

Mr. Poussets is settled on part of Govenour Johnson's 10000 
Acre tract the Land whereof are generally high to the Waters 

From Mr. P's to Mr. Comming's plantation opposite to the 
first Island in the River (three Leagues & 2-4) the front Lands 
are generally overflowed & are Called Devils Swamp within this 
tract Govenour Brown has Located 2000 Acres. 

Between Mr. C's Plantation & Crowns Cliffs (one League) 
where Govenour Brown's has Located another tract of 17000 

328 Mississippi Historical Society. 

acres there are about half a Dozen pretty good Settlements; at 
the upper end of those Cliffs is Thompson's Creek Navigable for 
Batteaux when the River is high & for Canooes when it is low to 
that vast of Country called the plains, lying back of Govenour 
Browns last mentioned tract & Cultivated for Raising & feeding 
Great quantity's of Hogs Cattle &Ct. 

Between this Creek & Mr. Williams Settlement which is very 
beautifull & fertile one nearly opposite another Island in the 
River (a distance of about Twelve Leagues), there are half a 
dozen more good Settlements. 

From Mr. W's plantation to the Natchez Fort (forty five 
Leagues) are only two Settlements of any note on the Bank of 
the River. 

Previous to a description of the Natches Lands it will be good 
to make tho these general Observations Vizt that from Thomp- 
sons Creek to the Natches Fort a Cypress Swamp about half a 
Mile in depth runs parallel with the River and Generally Cut's 
of its Communication with the Several plantations for some part 
of the year and that from the Mainshore to that Fort, the Lands 
aback of all the Settlements are either high & woody (yet very 
Fertile) or Spacious plains, here & there interpossed with forest 
Lakes & ponds abounding with Fish & wild fowl. 

The Natches lake a French Settlement (Seventy Leagues from 
the Main shore, 105 from New Orleans & 140 from the Sea) was 
formily the happy seat of a Tribe of Indians, call'd after that 
name and esteemed the most Warlike on the Continent of 
America, but where totally exterpated by the French. 

Within this district (which takes in a very Large tract of 
Country) are the most fertile, beautiful healthy and varigated 
Lands in this province, or perhaps on the whole Continent of 
America, Wartered by and abundance of Springs & Rivulets 
without Swamps and every where interposed with spacious 
Clearings once old Indians Feilds or French plantations fit imme- 
diate Cultivation. 

This district is Chiefly Located tho' not yet much settled & 
Lots may be purchased here on very moderate terms ; It is also 
proposed to lay out immediately a Township with Lots Contig- 
uous to the same on part of the King's revinue of 10000 Acres 
near the Fort which Lots are to be sold at vendue next Spring 
at Pensacola, or on the spott. 

Present State of the River Mississippi. 329 

It may here be well worth observing that there are many Scat- 
tered English Settlements on the Eastern side of the River as 
high up as the River Yasous, which is about Fifty Leagues above 
the Natchez Fort & 190 from the Sea that the Lands (if possible) 
rather improve (in beauty at Least if not in Fertility) as you 
proceed from the Natchez and that the Mississippi preserves its 
wedth & depth from the Sea to the Yasous being every where 
very spacious and from ten to thirty fathom Deep its Current 
is very Rapid but particularly so when the River is full, which 
Rises Annually at the Natchez Thirty Six feet above it usual 
Height and then its Navigation is also a good deal incommoded 
with floating Logs and Trees. 

Mr. George Gaul's general directions for Sailing from the Pen- 
sacola Bar to the Balyce 

The Bar of Pensacola lies in Lattude of 30" 23 and the New 
Balye in 29"! i The Course by the Compass is about S.W. 42 
Leagues, but it is best to Steer, S. W. J^ W. that you may fall a 
little to the Norward of the Balye; and never stand into less into 
12 fathom Water in the Night time. The Soundings immedi- 
ately of the Balye are very deep there being 20 or 30 fathoms 
with soft Muddy bottom, within a few miles of the Shore. The 
Land about the Balye is very low and marshy, and would be 
very difficult to be known if it was not for the House and flag 
Staff which is a remarcable Object and appears before you can 
well see The land, bring it to bear about S W at two Miles dis- 
tance, or nearer According to the weather, and wait till the 
Pilot comes on board. 

About 7 or 8 Leagues N N W from the Baly'c lies the Island 
of Grand Gosiers, the S point of which is in 29 32 between this 
Island and the Isle are Breton there is very good Anchorage in 
35^ or 4 fathom Water, where you may lie Sheltered from the 
Easterly Winds, to which the Enterance of the Mississippi is 
exposed. If you should find Ocasion to go there you may range 
along the Island of Grand Gosiers in 3 or 4 fathoms about 2 or 3 
Miles of its Shore, where the Soundings are regular, and you will 
Observe a Spit of Breakers running from the SW point about 2 
Miles in lenght. Keep pretty Close to the W extremity of that 
spit, where there is from 5 to 7 fathom Water Luff up round to 
the N E till you get under Shelter of the Island and come to and 

330 Mississippi Historical Society. 

Anchor. It is very Convenient and necessary for those who 
frequent the Mississippi to be well acquainted with this place. 

G G 

A Calculation of the great and Certain increase to be made in 
ten years by the Cultivation of Indigo on the banks of the Mis- 
sissippi supposing a planter to begin with ten working negroes 
that each slave shall make 120 pounds of Indigo annualy that 
the planter shall yearly approprieate Eighty pounds thereof (to 
be sold at one Dollar pr pound) for the purchase of additional 
Negroes at 200 Dollars a Head 

Anno. Negroes on Indigo Negroes 

plantation. Approd. purchased. 

1777 10 800 4 

1778 14 "2 6 
!779 20 1600 8 

1780 28 2240 ii 

1781 39 3120 15 

1782 54 4320 21 

1783 75 6oo 30 

1784 105 8400 42 

1785 147 11760 59 

17 86 206 16480 82 


288 slaves. 
56 Sterling for Each when seasoned 


16128 real property in slaves at the Close of ten 

By the Above Estimate it appears that the planter will at the 
Expiration of the tenth year, be posses'd of 288 Slaves which 
will undoubtedly (be Season'd ones) be worth at least 250 Dol- 
lars or 56 , Sterling one with another and would improve his 
Original property therein of 450 [ ] to that of 16128 Ster- 








His ancestry 337 

His military service 338 

His subsequent life 338 

His character 340 


Natchez, April 13, 1831. To R. R. Gurley 341 

Natchez, July 21, 1831. To R. R. Gurley 345 

Natchez, July 25, 1831. To Isaac Thomas 348 

, October 24, 1831. To Isaac Thomas 353 

Natchez, May 14, 1847. To Isaac R. Wade 356 

Natchez, July 26, 1847. To Isaac R. Wade 358 

Good Hope, near Natchez, '49 or '50. To William Mc- 

Lain 3S 8 


From R. R. Gurley, Washington, D. C., August 30, 1831 361 

From R. R. Gurley, Washington, D. C., January i, 1836 365 
From R. R. Gurley, Washington, D. C., February 13, 

1837 366 

From R. R. Gurley, Washington, D. C., February 2, 

1842 368 

From J. P. Parker, Port Gibson, Miss., July 21, 1842. . 370 
From Montgomery & Boyd, Natchez, Miss., August i, 

1842 37' 

From J. P. Parker, Port Gibson, Miss., August 13, 1842 371 
From C. Whillasay, Washington, D. C., September 29, 

1842 374 

From W. McLain, Washington, D. C., October n, 1842 374 

From W. McLain, Washington, D. C., November 2, 1842 375 

From R. R. Gurley, - , November 29, 1842. . 376 
From Quitman & McMurran, Natchez, Miss., December 

27, 1842 377 

From R. R.- Gurley, Washington, D. C., January 16, 

1843 378 

From Quitman & McMurran, Natchez, Miss., February 

ii, 1843 379 




From J. P. Parker, Woodstock, near Port Gibson, Miss., 
February 21, 1843 379 

From R. R. Gurley, Washington, D. C., February 22, 
1843 380 

From Quitman & McMurran, Jackson, Miss., March 24, 

1843 381 

From W. McLain, New Orleans, April 4, 1843 382 

From W. McLain, New Orleans, La., April 17, 1843. . . 382 

From R. R. Gurley, Washington, D. C., May i, 1843. . 383 

From J. P. Parker, Port Gibson, July 13, 1843 3 8 4 

From J. P. Parker, Port Gibson, Miss., September 2, 

1843 384 

From J. P. Parker, Port Gibson, Miss., September n, 

1843 385 

From R. R. Gurley, Washington, D. C., September 29, 

1843 386 

From R. R. Gurley, Washington, D. C., October 31, 

1843 387 

From Mary I. Parker, Woodstock, near Port Gibson, 

Miss., January i, 1844 388 

From R. R. Gurley, Washington, D. C., January 29, 

1844 388 

From Zebulon Butler, Parmage, , July 8, 1844. . 390 
From J. P. Parker, Woodstock, near Port Gibson, Miss., 

July ii, 1844 392 

From I. T. McMurran, Jackson, Miss., February 6, 1846 393 

From I. T. McMurran, , January 23, 1847. . . 394 

From Noah Fletcher, Washington, D. C., June 7, 1847 . . 395 

From W. McLain, Troy, Ohio, June 12, 1847 395 

From R. S. Finley, St. Louis, Mo., August 5, 1847. . . . 396 
From W. McLain, Washington, D. C., September 18, 

1847 399 

From Hannibal Ross, Since, West Africa, March 26, 1848 400 
From Hector Belton, Sinoe, West Africa, October 12, 

1849 401 

From Jno. A. Watkins, Rodney, Miss., April 12, 1848. . 402 

, September 28, 1842, Agreement by and be- 
tween Quitman & McMurran and John Ker, Atty. 
in fact for A. Col. Society 402 



Port Gibson, Miss., May 12, 1847. From H. T. Ellett 

to Isaac R. Wade 43 

Since, West Africa, - - 23, 1848. From P. Ross to 

. David Ker, Esq 4S 

December 28, 1838. The Weekly Courier and Journal 

(Natchez) 406 

June 13, 1839. Mississippi Free Trader and Natchez 

Weekly Gazette 408 


Will of Capt. Isaac Ross 411 

Test of its legality 412 

Opinions in behalf of the American Colonization So- 
ciety 413 



The editor of these publications has devoted several years to 
collecting materials for a history of the colonizatioh movement 
in Mississippi, and particularly of the work of the Mississippi 
Colonization Society. The results of his efforts have been so 
unsatisfactory that he has decided to print in full, as merely a 
contribution to the subject, the materials he has gathered, 
hoping that some other investigator may be so fortunate as to 
find the necessary information for making a complete history 
of this interesting humanitarian movement in Mississippi. 


The important and unselfish part taken in the colonization 
movement in Mississippi by Dr. John Ker, Vice-President and 
Agent of the American Colonization Society and Vice-President 
and member of the Executive Committee of the Mississippi 
Colonization Society, justifies the insertion of a brief sketch of 
his life in this connection. Although none of the three obitu- 
aries now in the hand of the writer, which were published at 
the time of his death, give even a passing reference to his efforts 
in behalf of colonization, the documents here published justify 
this recognition of his services. 

Judge David Ker, the father of the subject of this sketch and 
the founder of the family in Mississippi, was born of Scotch 
parentage at Down Patrick, North Ireland. 1 He was educated 
at the University of Dublin. He then entered the ministry, 
becoming a member of the Presbytery of Temple Patrick in 
the north of Ireland. In 1789 he emigrated with his wife, 
Mary, to North Carolina. In that year his name appears as a 

'The Kers of Scotland are a very ancient and historic family. They 
lived for the most part along the border. They are frequently mentioned 
in Walter Scott's "Tales of My Grandfather." We are told that "the 
Dukes of Roxburgh and the Marquises of Lothian are younger branches 
of this family." See Goodspeed's Memoirs of Mississippi, Vol. Ill, p. 


33^ Mississippi Historical Society. 

member of the Orange Presbytery of that State. The year 
following he resided in Fayetteville, N. C., where he served in 
the double capacity of minister and teacher in a classical acad- 
emy. He became a member of the first faculty of the Univer- 
sity of North Carolina upon its organization in 1794. Shortly 
thereafter he removed to Lumberton, where he engaged in 
mercantile pursuits and studied law at odd times. In 1800 he 
removed with General Willis, of Lumberton, to a place in Mis- 
sissippi near old Greenville in Jefferson County. 2 Shortly 
thereafter he was appointed clerk of the territorial court. In 
1802 he was given a temporary commission as one of the terri- 
torial judges of the Superior Court of Mississippi. In Decem- 
ber of that year Governor Claiborne wrote to President Mad- 
ison as follows: 

"Mr. Ker's appointment has given much satisfaction to a large majority 
of the citizens. He is a valuable acquisition to the bench." 3 

About a month later he was given a permanent commission, 
very much to the satisfaction of the citizens of the territory. 4 

His abiding interest in the cause of education is shown by the 
fact that he became a member of the first Board of Trustees of 
Jefferson College and attended, on January 3, 1803, the first 
meeting of that body. He was also appointed a member of 
the committee to select a site for the new institution. 6 

He died in 1805, leaving five children, two sons and three 
daughters, to take care of his widow. Mrs. Ker at once began 
teaching in order to support and educate her dependent family. 7 

Dr. John Ker studied medicine several years in Philadelphia. 
Returning to Mississippi at the outbreak of the Creek war, he 

2 Fpr a sketch of this interesting and long since extinct town see Riley's 
"Extinct Towns and Villages of Mississippi" in Publications of the Missis- 
sippi Historical Society, Vol. V, pp. 345347. 

3 Claiborne's Mississippi, p. 238. 

4 See Owen's "Federal Courts, Judges, Attorneys, and Marshals in Mis- 
sissippi, 1798-1898," in Publications of the Mississippi Historical Society, 
Vol. II, p. 151. 

5 See Morrison's "Early History of Jefferson College" in Publications of 
the Mississippi Historical Society, Vol. II, pp. 179-180. 

'Claiborne incorrectly gives the year 1810 as the date of Judge Ker's 

'The sketch here given is based on the following authorities: Clai- 
borne's Mississippi, pp. 141, note, 231, note, and 238; Goodspeed's 
Memoirs, Vol. I, p. 1073, and Vol. II, p. 521 ; Publications of the Missis- 
sippi Historical Society, Vol. II, pp. 148, 149, 151, 179, 180. 

Biographical Sketch of Dr. John Ker. Riley. 339 

became a surgeon of the brigades of Louisiana and Mississippi 
territory volunteers. 8 

During most of the campaigns he shared the privations and 
hardships of his comrades, who at times had neither blankets 
nor tents. This resulted in the permanent impairment of his 
health. His service in the Creek war was rendered conspic- 
uous by the fact that he and Lieutenant Alexander Calvitt were 
sent by General Claiborne to his superior officer, General Flour- 
noy, to urge him to countermand an order issued to the vol- 
unteer forces after the massacre at Fort Mims that they should 
act strictly on the defensive. The mission was successful and 
the volunteers, who had chafed under the restraining order, 
immediately marched into the Creek nation and completely 
crushed the power of the enemy in the bloody battle of the Holy 

At the conclusion of his military service he settled in Natchez, 
where he soon attained prominence in his profession. In the 
course of a few years, however, he voluntarily gave up his prac- 
tice in order to devote his time to his extensive planting inter- 
ests. He became so thoroughly identified with his new occu- 
pation that at the time of his death his pastor, Rev. J. B. Strat- 
ton, said that "he is chiefly remembered now as the industrious, 
benevolent and honorable planter." He represented Adams 
County in the upper House of the Legislature during one term, 
but public life was so distasteful to him that he ever afterwards 
declined all solicitations to offer himself for public office. 

In 1829 he was married to Miss Mary Baker. To them were 
born twelve children. 

In 1830, in the maturity of his age, he became a member of 
the Presbyterian Church in Natchez. Owing to his extreme 
diffidence it was not until the last year of his life that he could 
be induced to accept a church office. His scruples finally gave 
way at the repeated solicitations of his fellow members and he 
was ordained a ruling elder about nine months before his death. 

8 Claibprne's Mississippi, p. 320, note. 

"Details of the battle of the Holy Ground will be found in Halbert and 
Ball's The Creek War, pp. 241-265; Claiborne's Mississippi, chapter 27- 
also in Pickett's History of Alabama, chapter 56. An account of Dr 
Ker's service, as related above, will be found in The Concordia Intelli- 
gencer (Vidalia, La.) of January 12, 1850. 

34 Mississippi Historical Society. 

In the latter part of 1849 Dr. Ker removed with his family to 
his plantation home on Lake Concordia, a few miles from Vidalia, 
La. For years before his removal he had spent so much of his 
time in Louisiana looking after his plantations that he came to 
be looked upon by the citizens of that State as one of their num- 
ber. We are told, however, that "he had been so thoroughly 
identified with Adams County, Miss., by long residence and oth- 
erwise, that an actual change of citizenship for years would not 
have been enough to induce the people of that county to relin- 
quish their claims on him as a citizen of their community." 10 

Scarcely a month had passed after Dr. Ker's removal to Lou- 
isiana when, on January 4, 1850, he died suddenly, surrounded 
by his family, from the effects of a disease of the heart, which 
had several times threatened his life. He was buried in the 
family burial ground on his old and favorite estate, "Linden," in 
Adams County, Miss. The following estimate of his charac- 
ter is taken from an editorial in the Concordia Intelligencer, to 
which reference is made above: 

"While he exacted nothing from any one, his clearly denned and well 
understood course of life commanded the sincere respect of every one who 
had the good fortune to know him. There never was an instance where 
the respect of his fellow citizens has been conceded to an individual with 
more justice. His high character owed nothing but to the purity of the 
native elements from which it was formed. From his earliest years, 
upward and onward through a long life of uniform correctness, his vir- 
tuous deeds have entitled him to the highest place among men. He was 
a man of very marked character and we could wish that the most distin- 
guished civil citizen of Adams County, whose attachment to him was 
widely known and whose counsel he always followed, would sketch that 
character for the benefit of those now about to buckle on the armor of 
manhood. It would do more to point a moral than to adorn a tale. It 
would raise the standard of integrity by elevating the cherished object 
of those aspirations that, aiming to soar high, have no basis save the 
elevating resolution that receives its strength from conscious integrity. 
The life of Dr. Ker, as an honest and honorable man, sketched in its 
veriest detail, would not present a stain to mar the consistency with 
which his early resolution has been sustained. But even this does not 
exhibit the fullness of his character. He was actively good and never was 
found lacking in confidence and courage to do good or to do rightly, 
how threatening soever the consequences might have seemed. The pen 
that might trace his life would be vindicated in these positions at every 
stage of it." 

As a rule obituary notices are not regarded as entirely impar- 
tial. The following extract, however, written by Rev. J. B. 
Stratton, Dr. Ker's lifelong associate and friend, is said to con- 
tain a true estimate of Dr. Ker's character: 

10 Editorial in The Concordia Intelligencer of January 12, 1850. 

Letters of Dr. John Ker. Riley. 341 

"Few men at the end of sixty years can look back over a life as unblem- 
ished, as uniformly distinguished by strict, unbending integrity, hon- 
orable principle, delicate courtesy and simple, childlike truthfulness, as 
was Dr. Ker s. Surrounded with peculiar temptations in early life, he 
steadily pursued the path of virtue. He dared to separate himself from 
the corrupt usages of the day and chose to be singular rather than lose 
his own self-respect. His greatest triumph over himself and the world, 
however, appeared in his religion. * * * He was the 'just man,' 
'the upright man,' 'the righteous man,' 'the good man.' He was 'the 
poor m spirit,' 'the merciful,' 'the peace-maker.' * * * Every 
enterprise that had for its object the promotion of education, religion, 
or the public good in any form was free to lay a claim on his sympathy 
and his means." 

The following extract is taken from the minutes of the Exec- 
utive Committee of the American Colonization Society at their 
meeting on the i6th of March, 1850: 

"The Executive Committee, having heard of the death of John Ker, 
M. D., late of Natchez, Miss., one of the Vice- Presidents of this Society, 
unanimously adopted the following tribute to his memory: 

"It is with sentiments of heartfelt sorrow that we have heard of the 
death of our valued friend and fellow laborer for Africa's welfare, John 
Ker, M. D. We consider his death a bereavement whereby society has 
lost an accomplished gentleman, the cause of benevolence a bright and 
able advocate, and the church an exemplary and noble Christian. His 
devotion to the interests of this society was worthy of all commendation. 
One of its earliest friends and contributors, there was no sacrifice which 
he was not ready to make for it; no labor demanding zeal, talent and 
efficiency which he was not ready to perform. Long should the Ross 
slaves, now freemen in Liberia, cultivate sentiments of the liveliest grati- 
tude to him as the chief instrument of their redemption. And long may 
we cherish an affectionate remembrance of his eminent private and public 
virtues, and his distinguished exertions in the cause of humanity. 

"We tender to his family our warmest sympathy in their deep affliction. 




NATCHEZ. April 13, 1831. 

DEAR SIR I am uncertain whether I ever performed the 
duty of acknowledging the rect. of your favour of December 
last, together with the annual reports of the A. C. S. from the 
6th to the 1 2th inclusive. Recently I am again indebted to 
your kind attention for some copies of the i3th and two copies 

'The letters here reproduced were kindly loaned to the editor of these 
Publications by Miss Mary S. Ker, of Natchez, Miss., daughter of Dr 
John Ker. 

'Indorsed No. i, J. Ker to Mr. Gurley. 

342 Mississippi Historical Society. 

of the 1 4th and last Report. Ill health and more pressing occu- 
pations must apologize for my silence. Indeed I had anxiously 
hoped by a short delay, to be able to communicate cheering 
information in relation to the great object which We have so 
much at heart. The ways of God are inscrutable ; and on this 
occasion We are called upon to submit to disappointment (at 
the present) in the most sanguine hopes for the success of a 
cause, which I cannot and will not doubt, He will yet ultimately 
and signally bless. Our session has closed without doing any- 
thing in favour of colonization. Pretty early in the session the 
subject was bro't up by referring the Resolutions, which last year 
passed the Senate, to a joint committee of the two houses. 
This course was deemed the most eligible by the mover of the 
subject in the House of Representatives (Mr. Porter) princi- 
pally because it being a new legislature, even the same resolu- 
tions would require to be readopted by the Senate. Mr. Porter 
who was first named on the part of the House upon the com- 
mittee, and I on the part of the Senate, had apparently little 
difficulty in procuring the concurrence of the other members of 
the committee in our views. We were authorized by the com- 
mittee to prepare a Report recommending the adoption of the 
Resolutions and also an appropriation of $5,000 for the purpose 
of promoting the emigration of free persons of colour from 
Louisiana. A report was accordingly prepared, and a Bill to 
accompany it making the proposed appropriation. Unfortu- 
nately several attempts to get the joint committee together 
proved fruitless, and Mr. Porter felt Himself authorized to offer 
the report to the H. of R. without farther loss of time. A 
young Creole member (Mr. Guiann) whose literary vanity had 
unfortunately been stuffed by a ridiculous Act of the Legis- 
lature, took advantage of the circumstance of the Report not 
having been submitted to Him (altho He had distinctly acqui- 
esced in the recommendations it adopted) and stated to the 
House this fact and His desire of making a separate or counter- 
Report. No objection was made to this, and a few days after 
He made His report which was calculated to do all the injury 
He could to the cause, altho He still acquiesced in the meas- 
ures recommended. The journals of the House present a sin- 
gular anomaly in the "adoption" first of the Report of the com- 

Letters of Dr. John Ker. Riley. 343 

mittee, and then of the counter Report of Mr. Guiann. About 
this period the illness of my wife induced me to leave my seat 
in the Senate for a short period, not however until the Report 
had been read and laid on the table. At the time when it was 
read, a French member of the Senate (Mr. Burthe of N. Orleans) 
who had also been on the committee, rose and said that, He con- 
curred fully in the objects of the Society and in the measures 
recommended by the Report, but that He could not concur in 
some of its language which He thought unjust and reproachful 
towards the colored people . [Such] as that they were a "degraded 
caste," etc. etc. Being on the eve of visiting my family the 
Report was (I believe on my motion) laid on the table, with 
the expectation on my part (which I avowed) that it would 
there remain until the H. of R. should act upon the subject, 
before which I hoped to be returned. At the same time I 
endeavored to convince the Senator that the offensive expres- 
sions were intended only to describe the actual condition of 
these people and to ascribe their degredation not to themselves 
but to the laws and the force of public opinion. Confiding that 
the Report would lie upon the table until my return, I came up 
to visit my family. On my way up I was myself attacked with 
the Influenza; but notwithstanding this and that Mrs. Ker 
was still suffering, I hastened back to N. O. lest my absence 
might possibly put our cause in jeopardy. What was my 
astonishment when I found that the day after I left my seat 
Mr. Burthe called up the report with the view (as He professed) 
of putting on the journal some kind of a protest against the 
offensive language, and that it was finally disposed of by a 
unanimous rejection by the members present. As nothing but 
my anxiety to promote this object could have induced me under 
the circumstances to leave home, and as I found myself again 
ill before I had been able to procure lodgings in the city, I 
returned home in the Trout, sick at heart I confess, but not 
despairing of ultimate success. The course which the Senate 
took with the report deterred the friends of the cause from 
bringing the Bill, etc., up in the H. of R. and it was finally con- 
cluded to be wisest to let the subject rest until the next session. 
In the meantime We determined that We would organize a 
State Society auxiliary to the A. C. S. This would have been 

344 Mississippi Historical Society. 

done before I left the city by calling a meeting of the friends of 
the cause, but it was thought most politic to proceed in a differ- 
ent manner, viz. to have a form of Constitution prepared, and 
to procure the signatures of Individuals throughout the State, 
beginning with those influential persons who are known or 
believed to be friendly to the proposed object. In this way I 
think the timid and neutral will be ultimately secured, and 
opposition overawed, when the Society shall actually go into 
operation and come before the publick. A few warm friends 
of the cause in N. O. gave me assurances that they will exert 
themselves in this plan to establish a Society and I have myself 
obtained authority from several influential individuals to use 
their names. 

Before closing this letter (already perhaps too long) I feel 
constrained to resume the subject of the extraordinary rejection 
by the Senate of our report, inasmuch as (strange as it may 
appear) you appear to me to be intimately connected with that 
result. When my health permitted I again returned to N. O. 
and remained until the close of the session. I had ascertained 
that after the report was called up by Mr. Burthe, Major Thomas 
of Rapide (formerly a Rep. in congress from [?] 3 ) in the course 
of the discussion which arose, declared His conviction that the 
object of the Society was to promote or achieve general emanci- 
pation, etc. etc. As this Gentleman had last year concurred 
in the adoption of my Resolutions, and not more than a few 
weeks before had promised me to use His influence with a Gen- 
tleman who was on our Committee in favor of our contemplated 
measures, it was matter of utter amazement with me to learn 
the course He had taken; and indeed I was incredulous of the 
fact of His having avowed such sentiments. I took an oppor- 
tunity of conversing with Him finally, by which I was no longer 
left room for incredulity. In the course of our conversation I 
think I discovered the Key to this extraordinary change. He 
stated to me that some years since (perhaps in 1826) He had 
purchased in Washington city a family of slaves; and that 
whilst He lay confined by illness they were taken clandestinely 
out of His possession, that you offered some very inadequate 

3 See Congres. Biographical Directory, p. 839, for a biographical sketch 
of Philemon Thomas. 

Letters of Dr. John Ker. Riley. 345 

price for them ; that He rejected your offer ; that you concealed 
and harboured them and thereby deprived Him of His property, 
which He has never been able to regain. This is the substance 
of His Statement to me, and I mention it to you frankly because 
I am convinced that (whatever may have been the truth with 
regard to it) this affair has been at the bottom of Major Thomas' 
sudden and extraordinary hostility to the Society. You will 
naturally ask how an affair which happened years ago, could 
now produce an effect which it had previously failed to do? I 
answer, that I think He either did not'.know, or had forgotten, that 
you were the Secretary of the A. C. S. until He saw your name 
on the Reports, etc., which I had put into the hands of Dr. J. A. 
Smith, the President of the Senate, who occupied the same 
room with the Major. In this way His recollection of His loss 
and injury (rec'd as He asserts at your hands) was revived, and 
the Society became participant in the vindictive feelings which 
He had entertained against you which evidently were very 
strong. Whatever may have been the cause however of such 
feelings and sentiments, it would have been rash in the extreme 
to attempt under the existing circumstances to urge measures 
whilst such an allegation was made, as the very discussion of 
that question would be fatal. Strange things come to pass. 
Last year my Resolutions passed the Senate nem. con. Dr. 
Smith I was aware was prejudiced against the Society and told 
me that if He had not ***** * 


NATCHEZ, July 21 1831. 

DEAR SIR I have been induced to delay answering your 
favor of the i6th May, until I could obtain an answer to a letter 
which I tho't proper to write to Major Thomas soon after the 
rec't of yours. I have at length rec'd the expected communi- 
cation from Major Thomas, and lose no time in laying before 
you a part of its purport in His own language. Since the receipt 
of your letter, I regretted that I had not before obtained Major 
Thomas' statement in writing and I thought it still most pru- 

4 Unfortunately the remainder of this letter cannot be found. 

346 Mississippi Historical Society. 

dent to do so. I had before intended to write to Him on the 
subject of the Colonization Society, and I accordingly wrote 
to Him a long letter upon that subject in the course of which 
I introduced your name and the charges which He (Thomas) 
had verbally made to me against you, and requested Him if I 
had misstated them, that He would correct me. His answer, 
as you will see, gives me evidence that this course would have 
been the wisest at first as the statement made to me by the 
Major now, differs considerably from my recollection of the con- 
versation. I must therefore request you to adopt any "reply" 
which you may think proper to make thro' me, to the written 
statement which I shall transcribe from the Major's letter. I 
shall immediately inform Him that I felt it my duty to mention 
His charges to you and that I have now copied them from His 
letter. My duty to myself as well as to you, will justify me in 
this course ; and I cannot think that it is forbidden by the most 
scrupulous sense of Delicacy or propriety. A proper consid- 
eration for myself requires, I think, that I should now keep a 
copy of that part of my correspondence which may relate to 
this subject; and as I made no copy of my former letter to 
you, I will take it as a favor, if you will furnish me with a copy 
of it so far as it relates to the charges of Major Thomas. 

In his letter now before me of the date "July i2th 1831," 
Major Thomas says "The facts in relation to my treatment by 
Mr. Gurley are these I purchased near Washington a negro 
woman and 5 children in 1825, and placed them in Washington 
with some other negroes I had purchased. Whilst there I was 
confined with the fever at Gadsby and during my illness, the 
woman and three of the children were stolen from me. After 
some days this Mr. Gurley came to my sick room, and made 
propositions to buy the woman and children, if I would credit 
for part of the price. I told Him that as the balance of my 
negroes, would start to the south in a few days, that He should 
have them at cost and expense by paying me the money. He 
declined unless I would credit Him for $100 and lose expenses, 
and advised me to take His offer as a half-loaf was better than 
no bread. I thought so, and acceded to His terms, when as 
soon as the sale was written, He told me that He had the negroes 
that I might think He had done wrong to conceal them, but 

Letters of Dr. John Ker. Riley. 347 

that He thought He was serving God in enabling them to work 
out their emancipation, saying that the end justified the means. 
In my sale to Him-. I reserved the oldest son of the woman 
which was then at G. Town with the next oldest also a boy 
the three youngest having been taken off with the mother. I 
gave Mr. G. an order to my agent Mr. Nally, a very respectable 
merchant of this place, 6 then assisting me there to deliver the 
Boy in His possession which He did and whilst taking Him 
Mr. Gurley or His agent continued to steal the oldest Boy and 
one of another family which I have never got altho' they are 
in the District on Curtis' Plantation at Arlington where the 
husband of the mother lived, and who no doubt was G[urley]'s 
Agent in the whole matter." 

You have no doubt been informed particularly, by Mr. Bas- 
com, what has been done in Mississippi in favor of the Coloni- 
zation Society. In Natchez and its immediate vicinity, the 
cause has had for some time a few warm friends; and altho' I 
would not detract a particle of the merit of Mr. B.'s services, 
I am warranted in saying that some of these friends would have 
spontaneously evinced at least as much if not more zeal if He 
had been absent. In other places it is highly probable His 
efforts and eloquence may have been more influentially exer- 
cised. Dr. Duncan, who is the President of the Mississippi] 
State Society recently organized, has informed me, that it has 
been his intention for some time past, to give to the cause $300 
per Annum for five years. As this intention was communicated 
to .me in a private and confidential intercourse, I do not wish it 
to be supposed that I am authorized to make any pledge for 
Him. Nor would I like that it should be publicly spoken of, 
as I know this would not be agreeable to Him. In Him our 
cause has a zealous and an efficient friend, and I earnestly hope, 
He may be spared many years to the benefit of humanity, and 
the solace and happiness of His family and His many true 

In Louisiana, nothing has yet been done which will give any 
promise of what I hope will yet be accomplished. If it were not 

6 This letter contains the following footnote in the handwriting of Dr. 
Ker; "I presume from Alexandria, La., from whence Major Thomas 
wrote to J. K." 

348 Mississippi Historical Society. 

that printing in this country is so expensive, I would endeavor 
to compile a selection, or extracts, from the papers, etc., pub- 
lished by the Society suitable for circulatidn in our latitude, and 
have them printed in french and English. Indeed I think I 
shall endeavor to do something in this way at whatever expense. 
Such a selection might be made and printed at the north at 
comparatively small expense. The regular publications of the 
society, excellent as they are, contain some things which are 
calculated to jar upon the Southern prejudices. Something I 
hope will be accomplished in La. during the next winter, by 
private association (the formation of a State Society) if not by 
legislative authority. I have been prevented principally by 
these hopes, from resigning my seat in the Senate. 

With great respect and best wishes for our cause, etc. etc. 


NATCHEZ, July 25th 1831. 

DEAR SIR I shall take your letter of the iath Inst. as my 
warrant to pursue somewhat farther the subject of my last. In 
doing so I am encouraged, not only by your express permission, 
but by the evidence your letter affords me, that your mind is at 
least open to conviction, if not actually favorable to the cause I 
espouse. I am confirmed in my suspicions that its defeat in 
the Senate last winter, was in part at least attributable to the 
personal feeling which at the moment operated perhaps uncon- 
sciously upon you, to express an opinion, that the real (but con- 
cealed) object of the Society was to effect general emancipation. 
When I first heard of your expressing such a sentiment on the 
floor of the Senate, I confess I was not less astonished than 
grieved. The winter preceding you had united in the passage 
of the house Resolutions which formed the Basis of our Report 
last winter. And you had but recently more than once prom- 
ised me your influence with a particular member of the joint 
committee, in favor of the views I advocated. But when you 
repeated to me your wrongs at the hands of Mr. Gurley my 
astonishment vanished, but not my regret and indeed grief, 

"Copy of original. 

Letters of Dr. John Ker. Riley. 349 

that an object I conceived so important should have been de- 
feated by any cause whatever. It was particularly mortifying 
that its defeat could be traced to the alleged conduct of one of 
the founders and best friends of the A[merican] Colonization] 
Society. This most singular connexion of cause and effect, I 
mentioned to Mr. Gurley in a letter which I had occasion to 
write to Him. And I now think it my duty to the cause and 
to myself to copy to Mr. Gurley the very particular specifica- 
tions of your charges as contained in your last letter to me. In 
doing so, I feel quite assured that your approbation would not 
be withheld if I were to ask it. Nor am I aware of any proper 
objection to this course. If it be possible I would hope that 
you may be convinced of some mistake, and at all events it is 
due to Mr. G[urley] that He should have an opportunity of reply- 
ing to charges which are so well calculated to injure, not only 
Him, but the cause of the Society of which he is the Secretary. 
If the conduct of an individual could produce hostility and 
prejudice against a Society of which he happened to be a mem- 
ber, in the person of an enlightened and talented Senator, 
fatal indeed might we well expect it to be upon the minds of 
the ignorant and illiberal. I rejoice however to perceive, that 
your candor admits "that the Society should not be judged 
by the acts of an unworthy agent," and I feel persuaded that 
your magnanimity will lead you, to do all in your power to 
repair the wrong done to the Society and its cause. I am 
encouraged in this hope by the general tenor of your letter, 
and I feel confident that the more faithfully and thoroughly 
you may examine into the merits of the questions presented, 
the more decided will be your judgment in favor of the plan 
of colonization, and of the proposed means of promoting it. 

You avow your willingness "to see every colored person 
moved from the U. S." and I agree with you in thinking "the 
first introduction of them the greatest curse that was or per- 
haps will be inflicted on the country." How to remedy this 
evil is then the desideratum. You and I, and I think all men 
of sound judgment and sober reflection, will agree, that as to 
the slaves, neither the Society nor our Government can in the 
remotest degree meddle with them But I would premise to 
the views I propose to offer you as to what can be done, by a few 

35 Mississippi Historical Society. 

propositions, neither of which I think can be contested, i. The 
free colored people are more injurious to society than the same 
number of slaves, and their removal would therefore confer a 
greater benefit. 2. The number of free colored people must 
inevitably increase in a progressive ratio, not only by nature, 
but by the practice of emancipation by individual masters 
which nothing will ever be able to stop. 3. We cannot compel 
them to emigrate; but as you justly remark, we can only "pro- 
vide the means and use the language of persuasion." 4th. 
I repeat your proposition "that it is no reason because we can- 
not do all we desire, that we shall not do what we can." 

We then proceed to show what can be done if the pecuniary 
means shall be supplied. 

Already an extensive and fertile region in Africa the land of 
their forefathers but a few generations removed, holds out to 
the free men of colour in the U. S. the tempting allurements, of 
a Home and a country of their own, of freedom, and self govern- 
ment, of a rich reward of industry in plenty and even in wealth. 
It certainly would not be contended that there are not induce- 
ments which ought to decide Him, to abandon the country 
where He has experienced only degradation, and the almost 
necessary consequences, poverty, vice and misery. It is sufficient 
for my argument, that there are among us, many who are willing 
to go, and that the Society is ready to receive and transport 
them, if the means of defraying the expenses shall be furnished. 
All experience I think goes to show at least the great probability , 
that the spirit of emigration will spread, and that for a long 
time the demand for means will only increase with its supply. 
Laws will probably be made in the slave holding states to pre- 
vent emancipation, except on condition of immediate emigra- 
tion to Liberia. Those who have been withheld from eman- 
cipation by the conviction that it would be prejudicial to soci- 
ety to do so, will no doubt gratify their wishes, when this objec- 
tion shall no longer exist. But will this be cause of complaint 
or regret to others? Will it not on the contrary benefit other 
slave holders, rather by removing some examples of loose and 
injuriously indulgent discipline, the effect of mistaken feel- 
ings of Humanity? Will it not have the effect also, of enhanc- 
ing the value of those who may be left? Will not the hands 

Letters of Dr. John Ker. Riley. 351 

of slavery be strengthened as to those who shall remain, except 
from the only ground of hope to the slave, the voluntary act of 
his master? Will it not have the effect of lessening the evils 
of slavery, both with regard to the bond and their masters, by 
creating such a state of things as will enable the latter to relax 
the former unavoidable rigor of discipline? It is manifest to 
every slaveholder that many evils arise from the existence of 
the free colored people amongst the slaves: and it would be 
unnecessary to expatiate upon this point. 

But with you "as a public man, the great difficulty has been 
the question, whether anything could safely be done by the 
Government touching the free part of that miserable popula- 
tion, without in some shape weakening the bonds of slavery 
which I (you) consider no existing power has the right to attack 

So far as I perceive, your doubts do not seem to arise from 
any question of constitutional power in our General Govern- 
ment to act. As this appears to be conceded by you, I shall 
take it for granted. Indeed I scarcely think that an examina- 
tion of that question, could leave a doubt upon the mind of any, 
that they have the power to do all which the friends of coloni- 
zation either hope or desire from them. The question of their 
right to interfere with slavery, is, I trust, unalterably settled by 
the Constitution: and none but mad men would desire them to 
make such an attempt. And I firmly believe that not one 
well informed citizen in 100 in the now slave holding states, 
would desire such an interference. But whilst we would be 
alive to the slightest effort at encroachment upon our rights, 
and upon the constitution, shall we refuse to benefit by the 
exercise of their acknowledged powers in such way as We may 
ourselves point out? What is it that we propose to ask of Con- 
gress? Simply, that they shall provide the means of trans- 
porting to Africa such free persons of colour, as shall from time 
to time be placed at their disposal by the several State Gov- 
ernments; or, if it should be preferred such as shall be offered 
as voluntary emigrants by a State colonization Society. It is 
not proposed that they should do anything except with the 
concurrence of the several State Governments; in other words 
it is only contemplated to ask them to use the navy and revenue 

352 Mississippi Historical Society. 

of the U. S. in execution of the wishes of those Governments. 
I am at a loss to conceive how the General Government could, 
even if they were disposed, trench upon our state rights in this 
respect, except by a gross and violent infringement of the con- 
stitution, which cannot rationally be feared. It is natural, 
and perhaps proper, that we should be jealous of interference 
on this subject; and this jealousy has arisen I know in the 
minds of many good citizens as a formidable obstacle to the 
action of congress upon the subject; but I apprehend no one 
has yet formed a distinct idea or conception, how such interfer- 
ence would be practicable, under colour of assisting the states in 
removing the free Blacks. 

Long as my letter has already become, I would venture to 
trespass upon your patience a little farther: and I shall do so 
with the more confidence, as the remaining argument which I 
shall presume to urge, rests upon the solid foundation of arith- 
metical calculation which cannot deceive. It is asked, what 
can the General Government accomplish by a reasonable appro- 
priation of their means ? Let us see. Actual experience gives 
us as the average cost for the expense of emigration to Liberia 
including support for 6 months, $20 a head. Should the Gen- 
eral Government take the work in hand, even this moderate 
expense would probably be diminished, because the navy 
might be made auxiliary to this object without incurring any 
additional expense to the nation. The whole number of free 
colored population in the U. S. is about 250,000. The annual 
increase is estimated as 6,000. The cost of emigration for this 
number would be $120,000 annually. The immediate transpor- 
tation of the whole free colored population (if this were prac- 
ticable which of course it is not) would cost ($5,000,000) five 
million of Dollars. But suppose from the number already free, 
and from those who will be emancipated, a number of emigrants 
should offer, equal to the annual increase of the whole colored 
population bond and free, (which is estimated at about 50,000). 
The expense of transporting this number would be ($1,000,000) 
one million of Dollars. Would this cost be either burthen- 
some in itself, or disproportionate to the benefit conferred upon 
our country? On the contrary. Who shall presume to estimate 
that benefit if we take into the account the effect it is to have 

Letters of Dr. John Ker. Riley. 353 

upon the future condition of our posterity, by the addition or 
multiplication of Dollars and cents! I forbear the attempt to 
embrace in the estimate, the destiny of those degraded and 
unfortunate people themselves. Who that boasts to be influ- 
enced by the high behests of Humanity, could indulge in this 
contemplation unmoved? But without reference to such con- 
siderations, Who is there who affects patriotism, or even the 
more selfish love of his own children, can find it in his heart to 
contemplate in these relations only, the solemn obligation, pre- 
sented by this discussion, without the deepest interest! Are 
we not awfully responsible for consequences to those who 
come after us, at least so far as the mitigation of evils which we 
cannot but foresee, is within the control of our reasonable exer- 
tions and sacrifices. Shall we fold our arms in lethargic and 
selfish and (may I not add) criminal indifference, whilst we see 
the seeds of incalculable evil to our posterity germinating 
before our eyes without an effort to prevent their development 
and multiplication! Shall we be guilty of closing our eyes to 
the truth, and of being deaf to the voice of duty? God forbid. 
Before I conclude this long and I fear tiresome letter, allow 
me to say that should my zeal in the cause of colonization have 
betrayed me into acts or language offensive to others, I would 
sincerely lament it, and gladly make amends. I am not so 
presumptuous, as to permit the strength of my own opinions, 
or of my convictions of duty, to stamp as erroneous the opin- 
ions of others, or to set to them limitations or Rules of conduct. 

Yours very Respectfully, 



Oct. 24th 1831. 

DEAR SIR I have been disappointed in my expectation of 
receiving a reply to my last letter to you. I trust your silence 
is not attributable to displeasure at anything I have said or 
done in relation to the principal subject of our correspondence. 
I am aware that the position I have assumed is a delicate one, 
but I assure you that my object has been if possible to procure 

'Indorsed: Copy of letter to Major I. Thomas, Alexandria, La., Oct. 
24th, 1831. Not signed. 

354 Mississippi Historical Society. 

such an explanation of the unpleasant affair between Mr. Gurley 
and yourself, as would be agreeable and honorable to both. I 
have received from Mr. Gurley a long letter in reply to the one 
which I advised you I had written to Him, and I cannot but 
hope that you have been misled by circumstances into an 
unjust belief or conviction relative to His conduct in the trans- 
action. This letter if you .desire shall be submitted to your 
perusal when an opportunity presents. In the meantime I 
will state the particulars in which he denies your charges against 
Him. ist. He states that when he visited you at Gadsby's He 
"knew nothing of the woman and children having been stolen 
from Major Thomas, and (continues Mr. G.) am confident that 
he told me, that though the husband had endeavored to conceal 
his wife and children, He, Major Thomas, knew where they 
were. I had myself no idea that it was otherwise." 2. With 
regard to the purchase of the family from you, he admits that 
he made the proposition, and asked credit for $100. And He 
adds "I had borrowed $600 to enable me to pay for the family, and 
this I was ready to pay at the time. I stated to Major T. that 
my sole object was to prevent the distress of separation between 
near relatives, as a reason why He should be moderate in the 
price. I may err in my recollection on this point, but I feel 
quite confident that He told me the $700 the price paid would 
cover cost and expenses." Mr. G. adds the He and others 
believed He paid a high price, and was not aware that you 
thought yourself a loser ; and denies that He used the argument 
that a "half -loaf was better than no bread." 3. Mr. G. denies 
that after "the sale was written He told (you) that He had the 
negroes, that I (you) might think He had done wrong to conceal 
them, but that he thought He was serving God in enabling them 
to work out their emancipation. He denies the fact of having 
concealed them, and entirely disavows the sentiment imputed 
to him saying "the end justified the means." 4th. With 
regard to the older Boy He says that it is true that He "was 
not included in the sale, and I (Mr. G.) was informed that He 
had run away, by Major Thomas." Mr. G. also denies that He 
had "in this affair any Agent. Everything was done by myself, 
and done honestly, fairly, and without disguises." Now it 
appears to me that there is nothing in the statements of Mr. G. 

Letters of Dr. John Ker. Riley. 355 

and yourself, that I cannot reconcile without discredit to either, 
except what you allege Mr. G. to have said to you. On this 
point I have only to hope, that, on reflection, you may be willing 
to distrust the accuracy of your recollection. May not the 
general impression you had of the conduct of Mr. G. have taken 
the place in your memory, of positive and undoubted facts? 
Knowing how treacherous and uncertain my own memory is, 
I can readily conceive such a mistake within possibility. Such 
conduct as you have believed Mr. G. to be guilty of, and such 
sentiments as your memory ascribes to Him, are equally in- 
compatible with the high estimation in which I believe He is 
held when He is best known. He indignantly disclaims the 
one as vile as the other; and He appeals for his defense to his 
general character and conduct and sentiments when known. 
He challenges the evidence against Him. This I presume is 
altogether circumstantial except so far as your recollection goes 
to adduce His own oral admissions. Or it may perhaps have 
been partly derived from persons at Washington whom you 
believed worthy of credence. In any or all of these sources of 
your opinions, is it not possible that you have been deceived? 
It will not be offensive to you I trust to repeat the expression 
of my hope that having, on what you thought grounds, believed 
Mr. G. guilty ; and having this impression fixed upon your mind, 
your memory has been in error with regard to some of the facts, 
and especially as to the language of Mr. Gurley. 

If I shall be able to overcome the obstacles which seem to 
interpose to prevent my going to the called meeting of the 
Legislature, I hope We shall be able to agree on this, and at 
all events upon some important subjects. The colonization 
scheme I confess stands high in my estimation of importance, 
and the recent occurrences in Virginia and N. Carolina, have 
increased if possible my anxiety upon the subject. 

A subject also of great consequence in my opinion, is the 
choice of a successor in the U. S. Senate, to Mr. Livingston. On 
this point I earnestly hope the friends of those principles which 
(I believe) you and I think necessary to the welfare of the 
country in general and of Louisiana in particular, will be able 
to ensure success, by harmony. If We Divide We shall be con- 
quered. Some time ago I saw your name mentioned in the 

356 Mississippi Historical Society. 

papers, [?] I hope the importance of the occasion will produce 
a disposition to yield at least something of personal preferences, 
to the public good. If I shall be a voter on the occasion, these 
views shall at least be the rule of my conduct. Indeed so far 
as I know, I shall have no personal preferences to yield. 

I hope you have been less injured in your crops than We have 
been here. I think the cotton crops hereabouts will fall short 
about half of last year's product. I suppose you are making 
a large cane crop? What will become of Louisiana if the pro- 
tecting duty on sugar is removed ? And yet (strange infatuation 
as it seems to me) I know sugar planters who are Nullifiers! 
Shall anything astonish us hereafter? My heart is sick, my soul 
is grieved, at the folly, and madness and guilt, which threatens 
to overwhelm our happy country. May God, in His unerring 
wisdom and mercy, avert, what human efforts seem striving 
to produce, our degradation and ruin. But I must close. 

Isaac R. Wade Esq.,* 


NATCHEZ May i4th, 1847. 

DEAR SIR I rec'd by Tom this evening your note addressed 
to Mr. McMurran or myself, and enclosing Mr. Ellett's letter to 
you. I immediately saw Mr. McMurran and I believe He will 
address to Mr. Ellett an open letter thro' you and intended for 
your inspection, in reference to the several points involved in 
his comments upon the agreement. It was late this evening 
when I saw Mr. McM[urran] and He was too much exhausted to 
write tonight, but He will do so in the morning if possible 
altho the business of the Court still occupies his attention. As 
to the first point made by Mr. E[llett] that the clause alluded to 
is "not sufficiently definite," He will attempt to make it definite 
according to the intentions we entertained, and which we sup- 
posed to be understood and assented to by you. We merely 
wished to disclaim any intention by our agreement to interfere 

8 Copy of original. 

9 Isaac R. Wade was a descendant of Capt. Isaac Ross. This letter and 
several others which follow relate to the settlement of the Ross estate. 
See in this connection the last heading, "Legal Interpretations," in this 

Letters of Dr. John Ker. Riley. 357 

with or to compromise any rights they might have under the 
will. Mr. McM[urran] concurred with me in opinion that if those 
negroes have any such rights, the A. C. S. could not, if they 
would, compromise them. But we do not see how we could, 
if we would, after this agreement, hold you accountable for 
anything in relation to them. This was not our intention. 
With regard to the question raised by Mr. Ellett "By whom is 
the instrument to be executed" etc. I believe the Power of 
Attorney to me is ample (so believed by Messrs. Quitman & 
McMurran) and any act of mine done in their name would 
bind them. But as Mr. McM[urran] thinks that Document is 
among his papers in Jackson and could not be submitted to 
Mr. E[llett] at present I am willing to add the clause suggested 
by Mr. E[llett.] 

The only remaining point in Mr. E[llett's] letter for our con- 
sideration is, that "it is altogether desirable that the decree that 
is to be entered in the Chancery suit, should be drawn up and 
agreed to now before the compromise is concluded." We should 
greatly prefer that this and everything else in relation to the 
compromise should be definitely settled now. But this is a 
matter for the Professional gentlemen alone to decide, and Mr. 
McMurran thought it impracticable to do it. He will write 
however to Mr. E. and I hope they will agree upon some course 
which will prove safe and satisfactory to all. 

If the compromise is to be consummated at all, I presume it 
is obvious to you, that it should be done without farther delay. 
For months past I have been compelled to arrange all my own 
private business in reference to this proposed compromise and 
have made the claims of my own affairs yield to this affair. 
But I trust it is now to be satisfactorily closed. I shall await 
your reply till Wednesday in the hope that you will name a 
day next week to meet and conclude the business. I will hold 
myself in readiness to go up at that warning. 

Respectfully your obedient servant, 

May 15. 

P. S. I enclose Mr. McMurran's letter and a copy of a clause 
proposed to be substituted for the one in the agreement to 
which objection has been made. This clause you can submit to 

3 $8 Mississippi Historical Society. 

Mr. Ellett when you send the enclosed letter to Him, and your 
reply as early as convenient will oblige us. 


NATCHEZ July 26th, 1847. 
Isaac R. Wade, Esq.: 

DEAR SIR After consultation with Mr. McMurran, and due 
reflection, I have to announce to you our determination, to 
decline the consummation of the compromise which had been 
conditionally arranged. I allude to the oral condition that the 
state of the crop etc., should be found such as we had reason to 
expect. We regret very sincerely that the prospect in this 
respect is so far less promising than when the terms of the 
agreement were arranged, as to compel us to this decision, inas- 
much as there could now be no hope of realizing the necessary 
means to carry into effect the principal object of the compro- 
mise, so far as we are concerned, I mean the removal, during 
the coming winter, of the people to Liberia. Our regret is 
increased by the consideration that the cause of the diminished 
promise of the crop is not to be ascribed to you, but to a 
Providential dispensation. 

Mr. McMurran participates with me in the regret at the fail- 
ure (so far) of our efforts to bring this unfortunate business to 
a close, and if you should shortly be in the neighborhood, it 
might be well for you to call and see Him. A conference with 
Him might lead to some mutually satisfactory result. 
Respectfully your obt. servant, 


TO WM. M LAIN. 1 ' 


Rev. Wm. McLain: 

DEAR SIR Not long since I rec'd a letter from "T. M. White- 
side" who said He was referred by you to me in relation to an 
Agency He wishes to obtain for the Colonization Society for 

10 Copy of original. 

"Indorsed: Dr. John Ker. No date. "Good Hope," about last of 
'49 or first of 1850. 

Letters of Dr. John Ker. Riley. 359 

the States of Louisiana & Mississippi. Having been very much 
engaged in my annual settlement of pecuniary affairs, & in 
removing from my former residence near Natchez to my plan- 
tation on Lake Concordia, I was unable to devote the necessary 
time to enable me to reply to Mr. Whiteside. I handed the 
letter to Mr. Henderson, & retained a memorandum of Mr. 
Whiteside's name. But now when I intended to write to Mr. W. 
I do not find His address or His place of Residence. He wrote 
to me from Washington City. You will oblige me by making this 
apology to Mr. W., as He has a right to expect the common 
courtesy of an answer to his letter. But all the answer I could 
make to Him, is that I had no knowledge of Him whatever & 
that I am somewhat surprised at such a reference to me and 
from yourself. In the first place I am only a single individual 
without any authority from any society except a special agency 
for the A. C. S. in the Ross case, which I would most gladly 
surrender. Our society has been essentially defunct for some 
years. It has for many years existed only in an Ex. Committee of 
which I was a member. From time to time we have endeavored 
to act in cases of necessity, even where we considered our 
authority as lapsed by time, & the decease of the society from 
which we derived any authority. Even the individual zeal of 
the members of the Ex. Com. has been nearly extinguished I 
believe, by various causes, one of which has been the apparent 
disregard on the part of the Ex. Com. of the A. C. Society (or 
of its secretary) of the rights & claims of our society. It is not 
agreeable to me to say this far from it But candor requires 
it at my hand & I shall not shrink from the consequences. 

I have personal ground of complaint, which as the occasion 
seems to demand, I shall briefly mention. For several years I 
had labored to keep alive the interest of one of the chief bene- 
factors of the A. C. Society (if He was not even the Chief here) 
whose zeal I perceived to be greatly diminished. I mean Dr. 
L. Duncan the President of our quondam "Miss. Col. Society," 
and the Chairman of the Ex. Committee. About this time" 
last year I perceived his feelings to have become almost hostile 
to the cause, & I was enabled to trace this change to a Para- 
graph in the "Repository," of which you were the Editor. I 
had seen & regretted the Paragraph I alluded to, but was not 

3^o Mississippi Historical Society. 

aware, at the time, how deeply it had wounded Dr. D.'s feelings, 
altho it was the subject then of some remarks between Him & 
myself. It was only about the ist of Jany., last year, that I was 
fully aware of the state of His feelings. I had intended to call 
your attention to the Paragraph at the time alluded to, but I 
am now uncertain whether I did or not. If I did, I was equally 
unsuccessful in gaining your attention, as I have since been, in 
an attempt made I think about a year ago. My opinion was 
that the Paragraph was not intended to be offensive to Dr. D. 
& I desired not only as one of His friends, but as the friend of 
the cause of Colonization, to remove, if possible, feelings which 
I believed to have been unduly exasperated & to the prejudice 
of the cause, of which we had all been friends. I wrote to you 
on the subject. I had made some search for the obnoxious 
Paragraph, & could not find it. I think it must have been about 
the time of the last shipment of the "Reed emigrants," as I 
believe that was the subject. But I mentioned all this to you 
& asked you to look for it, as I thought you could make such an 
explanation as would at least partially remove the offense it 
had given to Dr. D. But I have never rec'd even an acknowl- 
edgment of the rec't of such a letter. My memory is not very 
clear about some things, but I incline to think that you were 
absent about the time I wrote, but I had supposed even if 
that had been the case, that you w'd have had your attention 
called to this subject by your temporary substitute. I have 
since learned from Dr. D. that the day He read that Paragraph 
in the Repository, He struck from His will a provision He had 
made in behalf of the society, & I have been forced by the state 
of His feelings to avoid any attempt to counsel with Him upon 
the Interests of the society. 

Another point in which I think I have been personally ill- 
treated, was your having left N. Orleans last year at the moment 
you had reason to expect the Ross Emigrants in that city, and 
left upon me the impossibility of meeting all the difficulties 
and responsibilities arising from an abandonment of the ship- 
ment at the moment that they were on board of the steam boat 
on their passage to N. Orleans. I did not think it would have 
been necessary & if not so, not proper, that you sh'd have exposed 
yourself to danger, but I felt and still feel, that I was badly 

Letters to Dr. John Ker. Riley. 361 

treated, that you did not remain long enough in the neighbor- 
hood to hear from me, or that you did not come up to Natchez 
for the purpose of consulting with some of us here, before you 
sh'd abandon these people, or throw them upon others. I felt this 
seriously because Messrs. Campbell & Rich only wrote to me after 
the people reached New Orleans, that they contemplated ship- 
ping them back to me. If a ship had been ready and kept ready 
out of the infected atmosphere I think there could not have 
been as much danger from sending those unfortunate people 
off as from retaining them anywhere in Miss, or Louisiana. I 
think it likely they consider their detention & exposure to the 
cholera as all to be ascribed to me. But greatly as I regret the 
sufferings & death to which they were exposed, I do not see 
how I could have done better for them. I feel conscious that 
I did the best I could for them & my arrangements unfortu- 
nately failed for it was not my arrangement that they sh'd go 
into the city at all. I mean not to throw blame on any one that 
my arrangements failed to keep them out of danger. 
Respectfully your obt. Servt. 




WASHINGTON Aug 3oth 1831. 

DEAR SIR Your favour of the aist of July is thankfully 
acknowledged, and I now hasten, in the first place, to reply to 
the charges made against me by Major Thomas. It occurs to 
me, as on the whole, best to copy the statement of Major Thomas, 
from your letter, numbering the parts of it and remarking upon 
them in their order. 

ist. "The facts in relation to my treatment by Mr. Gurley 
"are these. I purchased near Washington a negro woman and 
"five children in 1825, and placed them in Washington with 
"some other negroes that I had purchased. 

362 Mississippi Historical Society. 

"and. Whilst there I was confined with the fever at Gadsby's, 
"and during my illness the woman and three of the children 
"were stolen from me. 

"3rd. After some days this Mr. Gurley came to my sick room 
"and made propositions to buy the woman and children, if I 
"would credit him for part of the price. I told him that as the 
"balance of my negroes would start to the south in a few days 
"he should have them at cost and expenses by paying me the 

"4th. He declined unless I would credit him for $100 and lose 
"expenses, and advised me to take his offer as a half loaf was 
"better than no bread. I thought so and acceded to his terms. 

"5th. When as soon as the sale was written, he told me that 
"he had the negroes, that I might think he had done wrong to 
"conceal them, but that he thought he was serving God in en- 
"abling them to work out their emancipation, saying that the 
"end justified the means. 

"6th. In my sale to him, I reserved the oldest son of the 
"woman which was then in Georgetown with the next oldest 
"also a boy, the three youngest having been taken off with the 

"yth. I gave Mr. Gurley an order to my Agent Mr. Nally, 
"a very respectable merchant of this place" (suppose to be 
Alexandria, La.) "there assisting me then to deliver the boy 
"in his possession which he did and whilst taking Mr. Gurley 
"or his Agent continued to steal the oldest boy and one of 
"another family which I have never got, altho they are in the 
"District on Curtis' plantation at Arlington where the husband 
"of the mother lived, and who no doubt was Gurley's Agent in 
"the whole matter." 

To the statement No. (i) I make no objection. No. (2) is 
correct as regards the indisposition (not illness when I visited 
him) of Major Thomas at Gadsby's. Of the woman and chil- 
dren having been stolen from Major Thomas I knew nothing, 
and am confident that he told me that though the husband had 
endeavored to conceal his wife and children he, Major Thomas, 
knew where they were. I had myself no idea that it was otherwise. 
No. (3) is correct so far as relates to my proposition to make 
the purchase and|my request that he should give me credit for 

Letters to Dr. John Ker. Riley. 363 

$100. I had borrowed $600 to enable me to pay for the family 
and this I was ready to pay at the time. I stated to Major 
Thomas that my sole object was to prevent the distress of sep- 
aration between near relatives, as a reason, why he should be 
moderate in the price. I may err in my recollection on this 
point, but I feel quite confident, that he told me that $700, the 
price paid, would cover cost and expenses. 

No. (4) What he says of my advising him to take my offer as 
a "half loaf was better than no bread" is untrue. I thought, 
and others thought, that I paid a high price, and I was not 
aware that Major Thomas considered himself a loser. / believe 
but dare not affirm that the family cost Major Thomas but six 
hundred dollars exclusive of expenses, I mean those of them pur- 
chased by me. 

No. (5) has no foundation in truth. 

No. (6) It is true the oldest boy was not included in the sale 
and / was informed that he had been run away, by Major Thomas. 

No. (7) Has no foundation in truth. The only Agent whom 
I saw of Major Thomas was a miserable slave dealer, (this was 
what I was told of him, and there was nothing in his aspect or 
manners to make it questionable) that I was informed, lived 
in Washington, and at whose house on the commons I called when 
I received the family. I gave my note for $100, and it was left 
with this man, to whom I paid the money some sixty or ninety 
days after. In this affair I had no Agent, everything was done 
by myself, and done honestly, fairly, and without disguise. And 
it is due to Mr. Curtis, for me to say, that the boys alluded to, by 
Major Thomas, have never been harboured on his plantation. 
In support of several particulars of my statement I can bring 
the most indisputable evidence. That I borrowed the money 
to purchase this family, that no one here has heard or believed 
that there was anything unfair or wrong on my part in the 
transaction, that the boys were never concealed on Mr. Curtis' 
plantation, and that I am not in the habit of saying that "the 
end justifies the means," I think can be proved by many hun- 
dreds of our citizens. That I did not conceal the family, that 
I did not employ an agent, that I did not steal the boy, that I 
did not advise Major Thomas to take my offer because "half a 
loaf was better than no bread" that in fine / did nothing which 
it was not right and proper that I should do in this transaction, 

364 Mississippi Historical Society. 

I solemnly aver and must rely upon public opinion of my char- 
acter for veracity, for my vindication. If Major Thomas can 
prove his charges let him do it. If not, he has forfeited his 
claims to the character of an honourable man. 

I thank you, very truly, for the kind and generous interest 
you have been pleased to take in this matter not only because 
of its influence on my own reputation, but because, I trust 
something may be done effectually, to prevent the injury which 
seems to have been designed to our humane and Christian cause. 

I am happy to know that several of the most respectable 
citizens in Mississippi, and your own state, approve of our ob- 
ject and are disposed to assist it. A publication such as you 
suggest, would doubtless prove highly useful. I am aware that 
some things are published by us, which may not entirely accord 
with the views of our most remote Southern Friends. You 
will see at once, the great difficulty of pursuing a course in which 
the great body of the wise and benevolent can unite, without 
occasionally giving offence to individuals who would aid our 
plan did it accord altogether with their local feelings. My own 
views of the principles and policy of our Institution are most 
fully stated in the Repository for September 1830, and in an 
article now in the press for the same journal of September 1831. 
We wish, if practicable, to bring all the wise and virtuous in 
our county to unite on some common and unexceptionable ground, 
to soften down all prejudices between the south and the north, 
and to obey at all times the dictates of prudence, as well as of 
humanity and Religion. Our enemies (and I believe we have 
few) are confined almost exclusively to Boston and to Charles- 
ton or rather to South Carolina. Some, doubtless, there are in 
other Southern States. But I hope, at no distant time, it will 
be seen and felt, that to our plan and proceedings no reflecting 
and righteous man can reasonably object. The great question 
in regard to the perpetuity or gradual abolition of slavery, we 
believe, must be decided by the Southern States themselves, yet 
we do hope that our plan will exert a moral influence favourable 
to voluntary emancipation 

with the highest respect 
Dr Sir 

Your obb friend & svt 

Dr. John Ker R. R. GURLEY. 

Letters to Dr. John Ker. Riley. 365 


WASHINGTON January ist 1836. 

DEAR SIR Your favor of the loth ult. was received yesterday 
and read to our Board last evening. Long absence from my 
office must be my apology for having neglected, duly to reply 
to your former obliging communications. Our managers feel 
not less than myself, the most painful regret that the course 
pursued in relation to Mr. Randolph's slaves, should be liable 
to a construction calculated to injure the cause, (which it is their 
sole object to promote) , in the judgment of some of its warmest, 
most liberal, and most distinguished Friends. In truth, such 
have been, for two years past, the pecuniary wants of the Soci- 
ety, as to render it impossible to do many things, which with 
more ample resources it would gladly have accomplished. 
Many of the members of our present Board were not members 
at the time, when the Mississippi Society so generously advanced 
a large sum of money, on the conditions, you specify, to the 
present Institution, and hence the fact was overlooked or for- 
gotten. But you may rest assured that every member of our 
Board is desirous of meeting, promptly, the benevolent inten- 
tions expressed in your letter, and that all are sensible of the 
obligations imposed upon us by the efforts and liberality of our 
Friends in Mississippi. I am requested to transmit to you, Sir, 
the following Resolution, adopted, last evening, unanimously, 
by our Board. 

"Resolved, That Dr. Ker be informed that this Board are 
impressed with the importance of meeting promptly the liberal 
intentions of Mr. Randolph and the benevolent wishes of Dr. 
Ker and the officers of the Mississippi Colonization Society in 
regard to the slaves about to be liberated by Mr. Randolph and 
other slaves destined, with them, to become free citizens of 
Liberia that they have already requested the late agent R. S. 
Finley, Esq., to make arrangements for the early departure of 
such expedition, relying upon the already tried and distinguished 

1 'Indorsed: Revd. R. R. Gurley, Secy, of the A. C. Society, Jany. ist, 
1836. A. L. S. 

366 Mississippi Historical Society. 

liberality of the Friends of African Colonization in Mississippi 
and the other Southwestern States." 

I shall communicate this Resolution to Mr. Finley and trust 
he will undertake to fit out the expedition. We suppose he is 
at Natchez. Should he decline the agency, our managers, would 
be under special obligations, if you would appoint and employ 
a suitable person to collect the emigrants, go with them to New 
Orleans, and attend to their embarkation. Alexander Mayben 
Esq., and Wm. W. Caldwell, Esq., of New Orleans are warm 
friends of the Society and would cheerfully afford their good 
counsel, and render any kind offices in the case. Mr. Finley 
will I trust undertake the business. He is familiar with all 
the necessary details. Should he be unable to act, he can give 
important advice, to any individual you may be pleased to select 
for the Agency. We shall write to the Kentucky and Tennessee 
Colonization Societies and urge them to co-operate with our 
Friends in Mississippi in supplying means and equipments for 
this expedition. Sensible as we are of our obligation to your 
Society, and our engagements, we would find it impossible at 
this moment to return the entire loan made to us some years 
ago. We suggest that the number to be sent in this expedition 
shall not exceed one hundred. We shall supply whatever may 
be the deficiency in your funds ; but hope it will not be great. 
Hoping soon to hear of your success, I pray you, Sir, to accept 
of every assurance of respect and regards, 


Dr. Ker. 



Feby. i3th, 1837. 

MY DEAR SIR Your esteemed favours of the i2th of Jany, 
and of the 23rd of the same month are before me, the first two 
having arrived, during my absence, for a month, in Virginia, 
and the last, this morning. It is but two days since my return 
to my office. Until I read your letter, I was ignorant of the 
extent of your bereavement. And is your lovely daughter too, 
gone to the invisible world! She was a sweet & beautiful 

Letters to Dr. John Ker. Riley. 367 

girl with everything to bind to her a Parent's heart. I recollect 
her, as though it was but yesterday, since her quiet grace and 
charming modesty awoke my admiration. I sympathize deeply 
with yourself and Mrs. Ker in this severe affliction. My Dear 
wife and myself have suffered repeatedly by the loss of Precious 
children. One out of five alone survives, a dear boy of the age 
of six years. My daughter Julia, a year old, died suddenly of 
croup a month ago, and while I was absent. This is the third 
child that has died and been interred during my absence from 
my family. All these sweet, departed ones have been taken 
from us before they were two years old. My Dear wife and 
myself, desire to feel in these trying bereavements that God is 
(as you well express it) "merciful and only good," and to submit 
to His Providence with the spirit that neither despises the 
chastening nor faints under the rebuke. 

I have received the paper kindly transmitted by yourself, also 
a copy from Mr. Henderson, containing your proceedings in 
regard to African Colonization. 

The whole subject of the Relations between the Parent and 
Auxiliary Societies was considered at our late annual meeting 
and a Report presented by a Committee comprising several 
members of congress, was finally adopted and directed (after 
revision by the Committee) to be published. We have long 
waited for a copy that we might publish it in connection with 
the Annual Report of the Society. I hope soon to be able to 
send you a copy. It proposes that the colonies, planted by 
Different State Societies should be united under a Federal Gov. 
and deriving its authority from the Parent Society and sanc- 
tioned by the People in the Colonies, that officers and superin- 
tendents of colonies planted by particular State Societies, shall 
be appointed by said Societies and that such societies shall 
regulate the affairs of their particular settlements in accordance 
with the general Laws of Liberia. 

This Report proposes that the Parent Society may send 
agents and seek funds in any part of the United States, and that 
such State Societies as shall establish colonies on the coast of 
Africa shall pay over to the parent Society ten per cent on the 
amount of their collections. These are some of the main feat- 
ures. The Report is long and contains many details. I respect- 

368 Mississippi Historical Society. 

fully suggest whether it may not be best to postpone any action 
in regard to relations between the societies, until you receive it. 

The unsettled relations between the Parent Society and the 
auxiliary Societies of N. York and Pennsylvania has occasioned 
much difficulty and to this perhaps may be traced the peculiar 
character of the Report of the Committee. Although I could 
not altogether approve it, it was clear that something must be 
done. The societies of N. York and Pennsylvania proposed at 
first, to assume each $4,000 of the Society's debt provided nothing 
in future should be paid by them to this Institution. It was 
judged best however to continue the obligation of a payment 
of ten per cent on their collections to the Parent Society in lieu 
of the assumption of a portion of the debt. 

I am gratified to know that our esteemed friend Mr. Finley 
is engaged by your Society to urge forward the claims of the 
cause. I hope you will find efficient co-operation in the Louisiana 
Society. It would be a great point to secure aid from the Legis- 
latures of Mississippi and Louisiana. There is a fair prospect 
of appropriations from Virginia and Pennsylvania. 

I am happy to hear of the marriage of my niece to Mr. Pearce. 
He is a gentleman of worth and piety. Please remember me 
to our Friends with whom I had the pleasure of an acquaintance 
and especially to Mrs. Ker and your venerated mother, with all 
respect and esteem. 

Very faithfully and truly your friend etc. 


P. S. Our Treasurer informs me that at the commencement 
of 1836 the debt of the Society was $40,000 including $25,000 
in stock paying 6 per cent interest and to be redeemed in the 
course of 12 years. 


WASHINGTON February 2d 1842. 

MY DEAR SIR We are anxious in regard to the interests of 

colonization in your region, and shall rejoice to know, that the 

'"Indorsed: Revd. R. R. Gurley, Sec. A. C. S., Feb. 2, 1842. A. L. S. 

Letters to Dr. John Ker. Riley. 369 

difficulties apprehended in regard to the slaves of Capt. Ross 
and Mrs. Reed are vanishing away. 

As I am engaging anew, in the affairs of the Society, I can 
hardly speak of its condition, except as presented in the Annual 
Report of our Committee, but I see that we are urged to make 
strenuous exertions to sustain the cause, in a time of great finan- 
cial distress to the country. 

It will be, of great importance, that the Friends of the cause 
in Mississippi and Louisiana should continue their most generous 
efforts in our behalf, and we venture to solicit your good coun- 
sels, and those of your board, in reference to the employment 
of a suitable Agent for your section of the Country. It would 
seem desirable that such an agent, should share in the confidence, 
and act in co-operation both with the Louisiana and Mississippi 
Societies. Who shall be selected and who can be secured for 
this agency? Mr. Finley has recently been here, and mentions 
Mr. Chase as a gentleman well qualified to advance the cause. 
The Rev. Mr. Winans would doubtless exert a great and efficient 
influence if he could be obtained. You know our Friend Mr. 
Finley, and I should be happy to learn, whether his efforts in 
the cause would probably be desirable and efficient in the South- 

May I suggest, that Mr. J. A. Maybin is one of the truest 
Friends of Colonization in New Orleans, and perhaps you may 
judge it expedient to correspond with him in regard to a perma- 
nent agent for Mississippi and Louisiana. 

If the present depressed state of the finances of the country 
continues, we must apply ourselves with great earnestness to 
sustain the cause, and never have we found the societies of Mis- 
sissippi and Louisiana fail us in an exigency. Can we expect 
much from these resources this year? 

Pray let me be affectionately remembered to your good Soci- 
ety, and believe me, faithfully, Yours 

Dr. John Ker. R. R. GURLEY. 

P. S. If you can conveniently send me a copy of the proceed- 
ings of your Committee in relation to the charges brought by 
Mr. Cregson against Mr. Finley who died in Africa, I shall be 
obliged to you. Mr. Robt. Finley has mentioned them to our 
Committee and some of the members wish to see them. 

370 Mississippi Historical Society. 


PORT GIBSON July 2ist, 1842. 
Dr. John Ker: 

DEAR SIR I received your favour of the nth instant some 
days ago. I declined answering, till I could see and converse 
with John B. Coleman Esq. on the subject and have thought it 
best he should write to you, his views of the present relation of a 
majority of the Executors of the Estate of Isaac Ross, dec[ease]d. 
His communication is forwarded by the same mail as this. 

I have no doubt of the correctness of his legal statement and 
that all the Executors except Mr. Wade are debarred from any 
participation in the management and controll of the Personal 
Estate. That tinder the decision of the Supreme Court, that 
the Title and controll of that portion of the Estate is vested in 
the Colonization Society and the only difficulty is the want of 

As regards the Real Estate, it is under the joint controll of all 
the Executors, and my present views are to procure a concur- 
rence of a majority of them, to offer the Estate, under the direc- 
tion of the will, for sale about the ist of January next. 

The Executors have incurred some small liabilities which 
with the commissions allowed by the Probate Court to the Exec- 
utors Mr. Wade refuses to pay. The Balance, for which the 
Estate may sell, I wish to place under the controll of the Col[o- 
nizatio]n Society, to do with as they may think best, always 
however with the will before me deterinmed if possible to execute 
its spirit. 

I can only pledge myself to perform my duties as Executor, 
and cannot promise to obey the instructions of any counsel, 
where in my estimation, such counsel or instructions, conflict 
with my convictions of duty as Executor. Nor can I consent 
under any circumstances, to accept in any capacity, (personal or 
Fiduciary) any form of obligation for the payment of the bal- 
ance of those fees. 

If the attorney, that may be selected by the colonization 
society, will notify me of his instructions] for me to execute any 
duty, I am authorized to do by the will, he may command me. 

14 Indorsed: Dr. J. P. Parker, July 26 [sic.], 1842. 

Letters to Dr. John Ker. Riley. 371 

And in the event of the failure of the society engaging the 
services of their former counsel, I would think very favorably 
of the employment of Quitman & McMurran. 
Very Respectfully 

Your Friend and obedient servant 



NATCHEZ, Aug. ist 1842. 

DEAR SIR We have a letter from Mr. Prentiss expressing a 
concurrence of opinion with us on the subject of the power of 
Ross' Ex[ecutors] to act and a willingness to accept their obliga- 
tion as executors, to pay our demand against the Colonization 
Society out of the funds of the Estate. 

He also says he will join us in undertaking to procure the 
necessary decree of the proper court to compel the action of 
all the executors in executing the commands of the will and 
names $10,000 as a conditional fee to be paid us when the decree 

is made. 

Respectfully yours 



PORT GIBSON August i3th, 1842 
Dr. John Ker: 

DEAR SIR Your favour of the zoth inst has just come to 
hand. I am somewhat surprised that letters written by J. B. 
Coleman & myself of date July 25 in reply to your former com- 
munication have not come to hand. 

In Mr. Coleman's letter of that date he says to you "when Mr. 
McLean, the agent of the Colonization Society was here Dr. 
Parker and myself had an interview with him, at which I gave 
it as my opinion and that opinion remains unchanged, that Dr. 
Ogden, Dr. Parker and myself are divested of all controll over 
the Personal Estate of Capt Ross. Art 65 chapter 31, page 
403, of Howard and Hutchinsons' statue of Miss, provides in 
effect, that where there are several Executors any one or more 

372 Mississippi Historical Society. 

of them, in the neglect of the rest, may return an inventory, and 
that those neglecting shall have no further power over the per- 
sonal Estate, unless within two months after the return, they, 
assign [sic] a sufficient and satisfactory excuse to the Court. And 
that the Executor making the return, shall thereafter have the 
whole administration of the Personal Estate. 

The Inventory of Captain Ross' Estate was sighned [sic] and 
returned only by Mr. Wade. This I apprehend constitutes Mr. 
Wade alone, in effect Executor, so far as the property embraced 
in the Inventory are [sic] concerned, and precludes any inter- 
ference on the part of the other Executors. He says further, 
"I could not consent to join in any proceedings intended to 
operate upon the personal Estate," unless satisfied that the 
views and interpretations of the law above cited are incorrect 
and further, "that the contest for possession and disposition of 
the Personal Estate must be between Mr. Wade and the Colo- 
nization Society." 

The above are extracts of Mr. Coleman's views, and if he is not 
in error as to our position, as regards the Personal Estate of 
Captain Ross, I cannot see any use that can be made of those 
of those Executors who failed to sighn [sic] and qualify to the 
Inventory in any subsequent proceedings, where the personal 
Estate only is concerned. 

I am authorized by Mr. Coleman to say he will join with the 
Executors in performing any duty which he is satisfied devolves 
upon him as executor. He and myself are equally unwilling to 
come under any form of obligation to pay the obligations of the 
Colonization] Society, and will not under any circumstances 
accept the Bill or order of the Colonization Society or its agent 
to pay any sum of money. 

Mr. C[oleman] and myself have no great objections to the em- 
ployment of Messrs. Prentiss and Montgomery and Boyd and 
would be willing to act under their counsel so far as we are of 
opinion we should do so, and on your failure to engage their 
services would be fully as well pleased with the employment 
of Messrs. Quitman and McMurran with the distinct under- 
standing that as Executors we entertain no obligation on our 
part to pay the contracts of the Agent of the Colonization Society. 
But will when the Estate comes into our possession pay over 

Letters to Dr. John Ker. Riley. 373 

the proceeds when the will requires us to do and the Society 
when having the controll of the money can meet its own obliga- 

The whole difficulty as regards the payment of Fees depending 
on the contingency of the Estate passing into the possession of 
the Colonization] Society, I think should be satisfactory to the 
counsel that may be employed. 

As regards the Real Estate, I am willing at any time to con- 
cur with the other Executors in making sale of it when any rea- 
sonable prospect, of the Execution of the will as regards the 
Slaves is presented. 

I concur with you in the importance, of carrying out the great 
and material object of the will, (the colonization of the Slaves) 
and to effect that object would be willing to sacrifice the residue 
of the Estate, receiving [?] the necessary outfit and support for 
a year, implements, etc., but cannot conceive such a sacrifice 
to be necessary and would particularly object to be sacrificed at 
the altar of Montgomery and Boyd. I cannot but think that 
Messrs. Quitman and McMurran will attend to the case for a 
smaller contingent Fee than that proposed by Judge Montgom- 
ery, and am of opinion that they would perform the duties as 
well or better. 

As regards the assets and liabilities of the Estate I cannot 
speak positively. The settlement made by Mr. Wade in 1840 
left a balance of about $12,000 in his hands. The crop of 1841 
was about 700 Bales out of which the current expenses and the 
judgment of $9,500 to Montgomery and Boyd was to be paid, 
leaving I would suppose a residue of $7 or $8,000 more in the 
hands of Mr. Wade. The Estate owes nothing except part 
commissions to Dr. Ogden and whole commissions to myself 
amounting to about $3,000 as far as I know or believe. My 
impressions are that there is about 5,000 acres of land in a body 
around prospect Hill and a small tract in this county of little 
value, constituting the Real Estate. The Personal Estate, 
excepting the negroes is of little value. There were 5 or 6 
negroes directed by the will to be sold. I am told 2 of the 
number have died. 

In conclusion I can assure you of the full and cordial co-opera- 
tion of Mr. Coleman and myself in executing the objects of the 

374 Mississippi Historical Society. 

will so far as we are justified in doing by our connections of 
Law and duty. 

With great Respect 

Yr. Friend & ob. Servt., 



WASHINGTON 2$ih Sept 1842. 

DEAR SIR Permit me in the absence of the Corresponding 
Secretary Mr. Umley to acknowledge the receipt of Your let- 
ters dated the i4th and i6th inst. in relation to the proposed 
agreement made with Messrs Boyd and Prentiss Att. in rela- 
tion to the Estate left to the American Colonization Society by 
the Will of the late Capt. Ross 

A meeting of the Executive Committee will be immediately 
called, and the letters submitted for their Consideration 

The decision together with the Copy of the Charter of the 
Society with other information desired will be immediately for- 
warded to you. 

Mr. Gurley is now in Boston but is expected in a few weeks. 


In behalf of the A. C. S. 
To John Ker Esq Natchez. 


WASHINGTON CITY nth Oct., '42. 

DEAR SIR I have just returned from New York. I found 
your two letters to Mrs. Gurley, which last evening I laid before 
the Executive] Committee. They are glad to learn that You 
have been able to secure council to manage the case of Capt. 
Ross' will and they will afford you all the aid in their power. 

1 indorsed: Revd. W. McLain (Col. Society) Oct. nth 1842. 

Letters to Dr. John Ker. Riley. 375 

I herewith inclose you a copy of the Act of incorporation, duly 
certified, etc. And I also inclose a copy of a resolution passed 
by the Com[mittee] on the 23 of July, which you may have re- 
ceived before, and which was passed by the Com[mittee] to meet 
the very case which you present in regard to the necessity of 
the Com[mittee] formally accepting the trust of the will. The 
Committee took the advice of Mr. Key and General Jones, two 
of the best lawyers here in regard to at this late period formally 
adopting a resolution accepting the trust, and their opinion was 
that the fact that the Society] has been prosecuting the suit and 
showing itself anxious to carry out the provisions of the will, 
was to be regarded as their acceptance of the trust and that a 
bill might be filed, alledging these facts ; while they feared that 
a formal resolution now accepting the trust might be prejudicial 
to their past transaction in the case, if not to their present pros- 

A part of the Committee are out of town at present, and the 
others were unwilling to pass the resolution accepting the trust, 
without a full meeting. They therefore directed me to lay these 
facts before you, and after you have consulted thereon with 
your lawyers, should they and yourself think the formal reso- 
lution necessary, you will be good enough to let the Com[mittee] 
know and it can be passed in time to reach you before the suit 
comes before the court, and all your previous proceedings can 
be gone on with as if you had the resolution. 

The Committee feel under great obligations to you for your 
attention to this difficult case, and trust you will reap an abund- 
ant reward in the satisfaction of seeing the will executed accord- 
ing to the intentions of him who made it. 

I have the honor to be Yours truly, 

W. McLxiN. 

John Ker, M. D. 


WASHINGTON CITY, 2 Nov. 1842. 

DEAR SIR Yours of the 17 inst. is rec'd and the agreement 
between yourself and Messrs. Quitman & McMurran has been 
'"Indorsed: Secy of the A. C. S., Novr ad 1842. 

376 Mississippi Historical Society. 

submitted to the Ex[ecutive] Committee, and they have adopted 
the following resolutions. 

"Resolved, That we approve of the agreement made and entered 
into between John Ker M. D. agent and attorney in fact of the 
A. C. S. and Messrs. Quitman & McMurran in relation to the 
will of the late Capt. Rooss [sic] of Mississippi,] but that in making 
this approval we do not admit one declaration in said agreement 
and contained in these words in, 'the sum of $10,000 which the 
Society have agreed to pay Messrs. Montgomery & Boyd, and 
S. S. Prentiss, Esq.' but on the contrary we affirm that we have 
never absolutely agreed to pay them that sum, but have con- 
sented and do hereby consent that when the said will shall be 
fully and legally carried into effect, according to the above 
named agreement, they shall be entitled to receive the said sum 
of $10,000 out of the proceeds of the estate of the said Capt. 
Ross: and we still hold that the A. C. S. is not otherwise held or 
bound to pay them said sum of money or any part thereof." 

You my dear sir will see the necessity for the last part of the 
above resolution. For as the assertion in the agreement now 
stands Messrs. M. & B. might plead that the Soc[iety] had ac- 
knowldged their claims and agreed to pay it absolutely. 

We shall be glad to hear from you the earliest information in 
regard to the prospect of Mrs. Read's negroes being ready to 
go out this winter. Mr. Gurley is yet in N[ew] England. 

Yours very truly, 

John Ker M. D. W. McLAiN. 


Nov 2 Qth 1842. 

MY DEAR SIR I thank you for your favor of the loth inst 
to which our committee have given their most earnest attention 
& the following Resolution, expressive of their views, I am 
requested to transmit: 

"Resolved, That this committee greatly desire to meet the 
views of Dr. Duncan in regard to the people of the late Mrs. 
Read, & also to fulfill our obligations to the Mississippi Society, 
& although much depressed for want of adequate means to 

17 A. L. S. Indorsed: Rev. R. R. Gurley, Sec. A. C. S. Novr. agth, 1842. 

Letters to Dr. John Ker. Riley. 377 

prosecute their enterprise, yet relying upon their friends, & a 
good Providence, they will charter a vessel at an expense equal 
to the amount of $2,500, provided Dr. Duncan furnish the sup- 
plies for these people & that the committee will assume any 
further necessary expense to secure a vessel capable of convey- 
ing all the people of Mrs. Read should Dr. Duncan desire it, in 
anticipation of a reimbursement for any additional expense out 
of the lands of Mrs. Read's estate." 

We think it will not be convenient for us to have a vessel at 
N Orleans before the ist of January. We rely upon yourself 
& Dr. Duncan to do what you can, to aid our endeavors in this 
case, as it is extremely difficult to raise funds in the miserable 
pecuniary condition of the county. If it is possible to raise 
funds without too great a sacrifice by the sale of a part of the 
estate, it is most desirable. The $2,500 advanced by Dr. 
Duncan we suppose was advanced to your Society, & that you 
desire us to return this amount out of the funds your Society 
has, in former times, advanced to us. Is this a correct under- 
standing of the matter ? It will be most economical to send the 
whole company in one & the same vessel, if Dr. Duncan can 
make the necessary arrangements for that end. Will not your 
Society make some effort through Mr. Winans, Mr. Drake, Mr. 
Finley to increase its resources, though I suppose the affairs of 
your section of County are anything but prosperous. 

We are infinitely obliged to you for your management of the 
Ross case, & I have great confidence that you will have the sat- 
isfaction to consider that you have been occupied not only in a 
just cause, but in one of the greatest Humanity & beneficence. 
We are very sensible of the arduous & trying duties you have 
so nobly undertaken, but we doubt not you will be encouraged 
& sustained, & that your reward will be great. 
Most respectfully & faithfully, 
Your friend, 

Dr. John Ker. R. R. GURLEY. 


NATCHEZ, December 27, 1842. 

DEAR SIR We enclose two notices for the appointment of 
Receiver in the case of the Colonization Society vs. Wade et al. 

378 Mississippi Historical Society. 

They are to be served on Dr. Parker and Mr. Coleman. The 
service on Wade and Ogden we have attended to. The best 
way of service will be to forward them by some safe opportu- 
nity or by special message to the sheriff of Claiborne, let him 
execute and return them to Court forthwith, enclosed to our 
address at Jackson. 

It is of great importance that these should be promptly 
served and returned, for if we now fail we shall be obliged to go 
over the same ground again and perhaps be compelled to make 
a special visit to Jackson. 

We are pretty well persuaded that under our contract our 
compensation will be but small, and we desire to secure what 
is left if any of the present crop. 

We have also incurred some small expenses for copies, which 
at your convenience please refund. 

Since the injunction has been served we have no information 
from the plan. It may be important to know whether it has 
been respected. 

Very respectfully, etc., 



WASHINGTON, January i6th, 1843. 

MY DEAR SIR On the 28th of November, I had the honor to 
communicate a Resolution of our committee expressive of their 
willingness to send a vessel to receive the slaves left by Mrs. 
Read, and we have been looking with some anxiety to learn very 
fully 'the views of yourself and Dr. Duncan on the subject. We 
will, whenever you wish, send a vessel to New Orleans, and we 
shall be obliged to you to favor us with your arrangements. 

We hope you are prospering in all your efforts (so nobly under- 
taken) in the Ross case. I enclose a copy of my former letter. 
Very respectfully 

and truly your friend, 

Dr. John Ker. 

Letters to Dr. John Ker. Riley. 379 


NATCHEZ, Feby. n, 1843. 

DEAR SIR In order to avoid any possible contingent respon- 
sibility on your part or that of the society in relation to the 
injunction upon the sale of the cotton of the Prospect Hill 
plantation, during the pending of the proceedings in chancery, 
we suggested to Mr. Ellett the counsel of Wade, that we would 
with your consent agree to remove the injunction on the cotton 
if Wade would give bond and security to account for it. Mr. 
Wade is now in and proposes giving such bond. We would 
advise for several reasons that the proposition be accepted. 
We can, however, only take it, with your consent. You will 
oblige us by advising us whether you will consent to this course 
on the part of the Society. 

Very respectfully, 


Dr. J. Ker. 


WOODSTOCK, Feby. 2ist, 1843. 
Dr. John Ker: 

DEAR SIR Your favor per Mr. Spencer came duly to hand 
and would have been immediately replied to but that I expected 
to pass Natchez on my way to New Orleans in a few days after 
its receipt. 

The answer of the Executors of Isaac Ross deceased, was 
delayed on account of the absence from Port Gibson of J. B. 
Coleman, and all the lawyers at Jackson and from the fact that 
service had not been made on Dr. O. and Mr. Coleman. Indeed, 
the time allowed after the service was too short to have been 
executed before the i8th of January. The first information I 
had on the subject was about the ist and to procure the copies, 
etc., even if all the parties could have been called together 
without any delay was insufficient in notice and Mr. Coleman 
informs me that our answers if a Court [?] would not have availed 
as the "party of the other part" have demurred to the Bill, 
and to the Jurisdiction of the Court, which questions must be 
decided before the merits of the Bill can be tested. 

380 Mississippi Historical Society. 

As to the letter of Mr. McMurran, it did not come to hand 
till ten days after its date, and did not, I thought, require any 
reply, as it was merely a statement of the views of the counsel 
of the Society in relation to the liability of Dr. O. Mr. C. and 

I have forwarded to Messrs. Qfuitman] and McMurran the 
joint answer of the Executors except Mr. Wade, and have sug- 
gested that, if it is not full enough, they may intimate such fur- 
ther answers as may be thought necessary by them, and if in 
accordance with our views of facts, we can incorporate them in 

our answer. 

In haste very Respectfully 

yr. ob., J. P. PARKER. 

P. S. I cannot think of any person who will answer for a 
Receiver, but will continue to have that object in view. And 
if a suitable person presents, I will address you on the subject. 


J. P. P. 



WASHINGTON, Feby. 22nd, 1843. 

MY DEAR SIR I have your obliging favor of the 3rd, also 
one from Dr. Duncan on the same subject. Our committee 
have directed the immediate charter of a vessel, which will be 
prepared to sail from New Orleans by the ist of April. Dr. 
Duncan has generously indicated a disposition to advance some 
fifteen hundred dollars for providing supplies, and we hope to 
take some freight for the government from Norfolk, which will 
somewhat lessen our expense. Freights are high, and we must 
make every effort to meet the necessary expense of this expedi- 

Our committee desire me to suggest to you, sir, and also to 
Mr. Maybin of N[ew] Orleans the importance of some agent 
being selected and recommended to promote the cause and secure 
contributions in Mississippi and Louisiana. If you could secure 
the effort of a suitable person for a few weeks only, I should 

Letters to Dr. John Ker. Riley. 381 

hope valuable assistance might be obtained towards securing 
means for this expedition. Could Mr. Chase, or Mr. Winans or 
Mr. Finley, or Mr. Russel be persuaded to make an earnest 
effort to increase the resources of the Society ? May I beg your 
earnest attention to the subject of a permanent and efficient 
agency in the States of Mississippi and Louisiana? 

I hope your noble and generous endeavors to see justice vin- 
dicated in the case of the people liberated by the will of the 
late Capt[ain] Ross will prove entirely successful. It is of the 
greatest importance to Humanity. My best respects to your 
good family. 

I am ever, my dear sir, 

Yours with perfect Respect, 


Dr. John Ker. 


JACKSON, March 24, 1843. 
Dr. John Ker: 

DEAR SIR After reflecting upon the proper course to be pur- 
sued in the matter of Mrs. Ross' petition, we concluded upon 
applying to the Chancellor for an injunction to stop proceed- 
ings in the Probate Court and bring up the whole controversy 
here. We have obtained an injunction and now enclose the 
writ to you, to be forwarded to Jefferson county. This will 
supersede the necessity of your being personally there on next 

The writ should be immediately forwarded to the sheriff of 
Jefferson county and served by him on Mrs. Ross and General 
Charles Clark, her attorney. If service can be had of this 
process before next Monday, there will be no necessity for 
attendance there. We advise sending a special messenger to 
place the writs of injunction and subpoena in the hands of the 

The answer of Wade has not yet come in. 
Very respectfully 

Your friends, etc., 


P. S. We also write to Mr. Hewitt that he may advise you 
if any difficulty occurs in the matter. 

382 Mississippi Historical Society. 


NEW ORLEANS, 4 April, 1843. 

MY DEAR SIR I have just reached here and make the speediest 
arrangements that I can for the sailing of the Expedition. I 
have written Dr. Duncan a line & trust that the people will be 
ready as soon as we want them. Cannot we have an important 
meeting in Natchez on the occasion of their departure? We 
are intending to have one or two in this City and shall be happy 
if Mr. Winnons & Mr. Finley can both attend. Our friends in 
Mis City seem in very good spirits. 

With sentiments of respect, 
Yours truly, 

W. McLAiN. 
John Ker, M. D. 


NEW ORLEANS, 17 April, 1843. 

DEAR SIR Yours of n inst. did not reach me till to day. I 
shall be governed entirely by your opinion in regard to the 
expediency of attempting to raise funds in Natchez at the present 
time. Indeed I believe / have never refused to take the council 
of yourself and our other good friends in your place. 

In regard to the articles in the Repository, I can only say, I 
protested against their publication with all my might, alleging 
the very things which you mention in your letter. But I was 
not the Editor of that Paper, and I failed to prevent their pub- 

If in any of my movements I have done what is injudicious 
or wrong, I will be obliged to you to mention it to me and I will 
endeavor to do better in time to come. I hope, my dear Sir, 
that you will banish all thoughts of giving up the agency which 
you have so generously accepted. I know the sacrifices which 
you have to make in carrying it forward, but I trust you will 
meet a sufficient reward in the consciousness of having done 
a great and important good. I know of no individual who can 
fill your place. I most deeply regret what any should have done 
at Washington to have increased the difficulties and embar- 
rassments with which you are surrounded. 

Letters to Dr. John Ker. Riky. 383 

Dr. Duncan informed me that there were about twenty men 
in Natchez who would probably go at this time if provision 
could be made for them. I wrote him that we were much 
pressed for means, and should like to have some aid in sending 
them. But as you think no money can be raised in Natchez, 
and the people are as worthy as they have been represented to 
me and desire to go, we will take them, and trust to the wise 
Ruler of all things to enable us to meet the expense. I am dis- 
posed to make this offer because it is important they should go 
at this time, as we intend to give new energy to the Settlement 
at Greenville, and also at Blue Bane. We shall immediately 
erect for the U. S. Government a house there for recaptured 
Africans and make a part of the agency for recaptured Africans 
centered there. I shall send out a large supply of goods for the 
purpose of trade, in order to conciliate the natives in the region 
and to make Sirson harbor a place of importance in view of the 
natives trading along the coast. If the subjects in Natchez con- 
clude to go, I should like to know it as soon as possible. If I 
can I want to visit Natchez this week. 
Yours truly, 

W. McLAiN. 

John Ker, M. D. 


WASHINGTON, May ist, 1843. 

MY DEAR SIR Our friend Mr. McLain has forwarded to me 
your letter addressed to him on the nth of April, and I am 
pained to observe that you disapprove of the brief notice, in 
the March number of the Repository, of the contemplated expe- 
dition from New Orleans. The sole object of the notice was to 
secure contributions at this time, when we urgently need them. 
I had thought that after the appearance of your letter, some 
months ago (a most bold, just, and able one) there was some 
relief from the extreme sensitiveness, which seems to prevail 
in Mississippi, on this whole business, and that with the Law 
and all good men with us, the purposes of justice and benevo- 
lence might be executed. I certainly intended to utter the 
truth, and with all respect and decorum, in the notice to which 
you refer, and I should not have penned it had I thought it 

384 Mississippi Historical Society. 

possible it might disturb your proceedings, or wound the feelings 
of Mr. Duncan. I now see and regret that I did not duly appre- 
ciate the nice peculiarities and difficulties of the case. I beg 
you to explain this to Mr. Duncan, to whom I had thoughts of 
writing. It is no easy matter to steer our vessel with so many 
opposing elements from the north and the south. I pray God 
Almighty to sustain, and aid you in all your generous and 
Christian efforts. 

Very faithfully and truly yours, 
Dr. John Ker. R. R. GURLEY. 


PORT GIBSON, July i3th, 1843. 
Dr. John Ker: 

DEAR SIR I met with Mr. John S. Chambliss to day, and in 
conversation with him learned that for a fair compensation he 
would accept of the situation of Receiver under the appoint- 
ment of the chancellor of this state, of the Estate of Isaac Ross 
dec[eased.] Mr. C[hambliss] lives near the Estate, is a prosperous 
responsible Planter, has honorably met all his obligations as 
far as I am informed, and if appointed is better calculated to 
further the interest of the society (colonization) and to protect 
the Estate against any and all the malign influence of the van- 
dals now in possession and their Friends than any Person within 
my knowledge. 

He is wealthy, and I believe out of debt, but would not prob- 
ably be willing to give a Bond with security. He will require 
$1,500 per annum for his services as Receiver and general super- 
intendent, and I have no doubt but by his management more 
than double that sum would be saved. 
Very Respectfully 
Your Friend, 



PORT GIBSON, Sept. 2nd, 1843. 
Doctor John Ker: 

DEAR SIR Your favor of the 3oth ult. came to hand this 
moment. I have delayed a reply to yours of , expecting to 

Letters to Dr. John Ker. Riley. 385 

see Mr. Chambliss. In which I have so far failed. He has been 
very ill, and as far as I can learn has not been in town for a 
month or more. 

I have no doubt but He would be willing to give his Bond for 
$20,000 for the faithful performance of the trust, which I would 
suppose would be satisfactory. But if security should be re- 
quired on the Bond and he should decline on account of asking 
security for so large an amount, I will, in consequence of my 
confidence in him, and for the additional and more important 
reason with me of wresting the property from the hands of the 
present possessor, and placing it in a position that the American 
Colonization] Society can command it, join him as security on 
the Bond. 

I do not think any security necessary to ensure Chambliss' 
responsibility and would prefer not to have anything to do 
with it if I can be excused. 

Chambliss is out of Debt, has a large and productive Estate, 
and is not involved as endorser or security so far as I know, or 

His name is John S. Chambliss. 

I am much pleased to hear of the health of connexions and 
Friends in y[ou]r vicinage. There has been considerable sickness 
in this place and neighbourhood. My Family have been so 
fortunate as to escape all dangerous diseases. 
Very Respectfully yours, 

I will write to Gen. Q. today. 


PORT GIBSON, n Sept., 1843. 

DEAR SIR I wrote you some days ago in reply to yours. 

I have learned from the negroes on the Prospect Hill Plan- 
tation that Mr. Wade is sending off the cotton marked "P. W. 
H." to Rodney. I get the information from those negroes in 
whom I have entire confidence. They brought me a piece of 

lowell on which was marked with a Brand the above, 

386 Mississippi Historical Society. 

My name must not be known as conveying the above infor- 
mation. The facts I presume can be had by application at 
Rodney, to the merchant who receives the cotton. The teams 
of the Plantation are well known there. 

We are in moderate Health. Hope you and your family may 
escape the disease of the season. 

Respectfully yours, 



WASHINGTON, Sept. aQth, 1843. 

MY DEAR SIR It is some time since we have had the pleasure 
of hearing from you, and I have felt not a little concerned about 
the establishment of an agency in Mississippi and Louisiana. 

Remote as we are from you, it is not easy for us to secure the 
services of a Gentleman, well acquainted with the sentiments 
and views of the public in your region, and we should be grati- 
fied if your society could select some individual who would be 
acceptable to Mississippi and Louisiana and promise to advance 
the cause and increase its resources. 

We hope you have no difficulty, at least, none insurmountable 
in the management of the Ross estate. If you secure the lib- 
erty of those people, and means of settling them in Africa, you 
will deserve a statue of gold. I know how much the cause is 
indebted to your exertions, and how greatly you appreciate its 
importance, and I fervently pray that a good Providence may 
enable you to carry through effectually measures for the libera- 
tion and welfare of the large company of human beings, who 
cannot be left in their present state without a violation of all 
law, Human and divine. 

The Repository contains all important intelligence from 
Liberia. You perceive how necessary that our Colonial Terri- 
tory should be enlarged. It is certainly time that the subject 
was brought distinctly before the Legislatures of the States and 
of Congress. But human nature is slow to do good. My prin- 
cipal trust is Almighty Providence. Pray offer to every mem- 
ber of your excellent family the assurance of my highest respect 

and regard and accept for yourself the same. 

Dr. John Ker. 

Letters to Dr. John Ker. Riley. 387 


WASHINGTON, Oct. 3ist, 1843. 

MY DEAR SIR I am sorry to have said anything in my letter 
of the 2Qth of last month, which should have given you pain, 
or occasion to the reproof which you have felt it your duty to 
administer. Admiring the candid & Christian fidelity evinced 
by you in the case, I am so unfortunate as to differ from you in 
regard to the justice of the rebuke, as I still consider you justly 
entitled to the consideration & honour from your fellow men, 
which I thought proper to indicate in my last, although I admit 
that the best of men is without merit before God, I am not 
aware that expression of public or private approbation to emi- 
nent benevolence or resolution in the cause of humanity are 
prohibited or condemned in the Holy scriptures. I have feared 
that you might be discouraged in your arduous labors, & thought 
it right to let you know the honest opinion I for one, entertain 
of their value. However, I will not argue the question whether 
I think too highly of you or you too humbly of yourself, for I do 
not imagine that either of us is in special danger of injurious 
error in the case. Whether I am right or wrong, in thus defend- 
ing myself, I pray you to consider that I deem your efforts for 
the benefit of the people of Capt. Ross of unspeakable impor- 
tance, not simply as involving the liberty of these people them- 
selves & their posterity for all future time, but as connected 
with the precedent, which the decision of the case must estab- 
lish. It is a cause so solemn & weighty that I hope you will be 
willing to sacrifice for the purpose of sustaining it, & securing 
its success, any private interests, & even if need be, life itself. 
It is honor & usefulness enough for any man, to be the instru- 
ment of such great & lasting beneficence, a* we may anticipate 
from the prosperous settlement of these people in the free & 
Christian Commonwealth of Liberia. I must crave pardon for 
this frankness, which you will pardon, I doubt not, since you 
have set me so good an example. 

Very faithfully & truly, 

Your friend, 
Dr. John Ker. R. R. GURLEY. 

P. S. I shall send you, at an early day, Mr. Kennedy's Report, 
with a great number of colonization documents published by 

388 Mississippi Historical Society. 

order of Congress. Can you not recommend an efficient agent 
for your State? We need help from your Society. 


WOODSTOCK, January ist, 1844. 
Dr. Jno. Ker: 

DEAR SIR You will be surprised at receiving a letter from 
me, but Dr. Parker is absent at his plantation, and it's uncer- 
tain when he will return, and my sympathies have been enlisted 
by one of the poor negroes from "Prospect Hill," who has fled 
without the knowledge of I. Wade to inform Dr. Parker, who 
they think is their friend, that Wade has sent a family (this 
boy's sister and her husband) to his sister Mrs. Richardson, at 
Oakland College; the boy says Wade says they all belong to 
him, and that he intends sending a large number of the younger 
and more valuable ones to his plantation on "Tensaw," La. The 
poor creature wished to know if they should run off, but they 
have no one to protect them, and are of course very miserable. 
Knowing the interest you have taken in them, I take the liberty 
of advising you of his intentions, as it may be in your power to 
frustrate them, which I sincerely hope may be the case. Of 
course you will not mention my interference in this matter. 

Wishing you success, I am very truly your friend, 


The boy says he intends sending them very soon. 


WASHINGTON, January 29th, 1844. 

MY DEAR SIR As I well know your long continued and ardent 
attachment to the cause of African Colonization, I beg leave to 
state briefly the cause of my recent resignation as Secretary of 
that Society. 

If you have seen my little work "Mission to England," you 
are not unacquainted with the efforts made by some few individ- 
uals, three and four years ago, against my office and myself. 
After the publication of that work, in the face of its statements 

Letters to Dr. John Ker. Riley. 389 

which have never been questioned, I was re-elected not only 
to the Secretaryship but to a place on the Executive Committee. 
Things have proceeded harmoniously, and nothing occurred of 
a painful nature between myself and the other Gentlemen of 
the Committee, although most of them were brought into their 
places by Judge Wilkeson. Some few persons of the Pennsyl- 
vania and New York Societies have continued dissatisfied, and 
on various occasions and in various ways expressed a desire for 
a change in my relations. Elliot Cresson has been particularly 
active. They came to our annual meeting determined, if pos- 
sible, to effect their object. They first endeavored, in the 
Board of Directors, to abolish the office of Secretary on the 
alleged ground of the necessity for retrenchment, and next to 
elect as Secretary another individual. They were unable to 
abolish the office or prevent my election. But by a singular 
maneuver they placed me in a situation where I felt it my duty 
to resign. The facts were these. The Secretary had in all 
periods of the Society been a member of the Executive Com- 
mittee. The efforts of J[udge] Wilkeson to exclude me from the 
Committee were well known, and the course I had in consequence 
taken. In going into the election of officers the Committee was 
first nominated, and without the name of the Secretary on the 
list, because, as the nominating Committee stated, it was not 
known who the Secretary would be. The list nominated for 
the Executive Committee was then laid upon the table in order 
to elect the Secretary, it being understood (certainly by all my 
friends) that when elected he would be placed upon said Com- 
mittee. Some of my friends, immediately after my election, 
were called away, not doubting that the whole matter was 
adjusted, not imagining that advantage would be taken of their 
absence. The New York and Pennsylvania delegates finding 
themselves in an accidental majority, pressed the question on 
the Executive Committee as first nominated and carried it so 
as to exclude my name from the Committee. 

I have thought proper to state these facts, that you may 
understand the case, and not because I regard the matter of 
much consequence, as it respects myself merely. So far as just 
principle, as honor, confidence, courtesy are concerned it is not 
of small consequence to the character of the Institution. The 

390 Mississippi Historical Society. 

movement was one against the strength and influence of the 
Institution, inasmuch as it was designed to utterly abolish or 
greatly abridge an office which has from the origin of the Society 
been connected with its correspondence, publishing, and all its 
most important proceedings. I shall do what I can for the 
cause. I hope the integrity of the Society may be preserved, 
and its character retrieved. It is of great importance that your 
Society and that of Louisiana should be represented the next 
year. I hope your efforts in the Ross case will be effected. 
My best regards to your whole family, and believe me ever 

Most faithfully yours, 

Dr. John Ker. 


To Dr. Ker, Lincoln: 

MY DEAR FRIEND Your kind communication was duly 
received and considered. I had an opportunity of seeing Mr. 
Chambliss and meeting with two of the leading negroes. I 
waved your precautionary measures and talked with them upon 
the subject. I found they understood the whole business and 
though I said no more than to inform [them] that Mr. C[hambliss] 
would go there clothed with the authority of the State and it 
would be to their interest to obey him implicitly, they at once 
expressed great gladness to be rid of their present Master, as 
they could not be trusted, etc. They also gave me satisfactory 
proof of a determination to resist or at least to make a show of 
it. Several had been there armed one day and on the 4th of 
July the owner was to have a Barbecue for his companions in 
arms. I have heard from other sources that Mr. Wade has 
expressed his determination to resist, but I heard so much of that 
in our case, that I give little credit to it. The Lord reigns and 
will work allright. Dr. Parker and wife returned on yesterday 
in improved health after a pleasant journey through the North. 
He says the River will not run but a little more though it will 
be kept at its present height for some time. Miss Jane Murowih 
whom he expected to return with him, has gone to an uncle's 
in Pa. Mr. Murowih left on Friday last. We are missing more 
than is usual of our citizens this summer, as Northern traveling 

Letters to Dr. John Ker. Riley. 391 

is coming again into vogue. Your venerable mother's old pupil 
and friend, Mrs. Magruder (Betsy Hamerylen) was called away 
from us quite suddenly by death on the sth inst. She was a 
good woman and had been a consistent Christian for 20 years. 
The health of our Town is very good. Dr. Morehead is the only 
adult we have lost since January. The whooping cough pre- 
vails and 3 infants have died of that complaint. There have 
been several sudden deaths in the County recently and among 
them Mrs. Spencer in her 8ist year. 

The College has been a little disturbed by sickness but I hear 
this morning all are convalescent. I am sorry you are to be 
without a Pastor this summer. I wish I had as indulgent a 
people in my charge. I am sorry I can't help you; I must stay 
at home till Presbytery, as I will then be absent two Sabbaths. 
Our young ladies please to say to Miss Sarah are now with us 
again in good health and will be happy indeed to have another 
visit from her. All our family join in love to yours. I shall try 
to remember you and hope we shall often meet at the mercy-seat 
in our affectionate remembrances. 

Most sincerely yours, 

Parmage, July Sth, 1844. 

P. S. Since writing I have seen Mr. Chambliss and say he is 
informed by Dr. Achison, a friend of Mr. Wade, that opposition 
will be made and he is sure he cannot go there with safety. 
There are several armed men on the place and Wade keeps him- 
self away and so that Chambliss can't demand the place of him. 
He has sent to the sheriff of Jefferson Co. & he refuses to act, or 
at least so Mr. C. understands him. You can not expect Mr. 
Chambliss to expose his life, and though I don't believe there 
is danger, yet he thinks there is. I should suppose the Law- 
yers' court would take the matter in hand, as not only justice 
requires, but the safety and the reputation of the State demand 
it. I am sure Mr. C[hambliss] will do nothing more, and indeed 
I don't see that he can. He feels uneasy about it as he hears 
they are displeased and they may interrupt his peace at all 

Sad times indeed, what can save our country, unless the Lord 
in his infinite mercy intervenes. 

392 Mississippi Historical Society. 


WOODSTOCK, July nth, 1844. 
Dr. John Ker: 

, - DEAR SIR Mr. John S. Chambliss requests me to say to you, and 
this [sic] you to Messrs. Quitman & McMurran, that he has been 
deterred from making a formal demand for the peacible posses- 
sion of the Estate of Isaac Ross, deceased, by the threats made 
by the Friends of Isaac Wade, who are stationed at Prospect 
Hill, that they will shoot any person who may make an attempt 
to execute that portion of the Decree of the Court of chancery, 
requiring a demand of possession, and further that Isaac Wade 
is reported to be absent from Prospect Hill, and as Mr. Cham- 
bliss believes will evade a personal demand of possession. 

The feelings of the people of Jefferson County and of this 
county in the vicinage of Prospect Hill, are favourable to the 
pretensions of the Heirs, which, taken in connexion with threats 
of violence, renders it difficult for Mr. C[hambliss] to procure 
persons who will accompany him, and testify to the facts of 
demand of possession. How can this difficulty be obviated? 
asks Mr. Chambliss, and suggests that Judge Quitman with a 
Friend from Natchez shall join him, and they will take the legal 
steps to carry out the decree of the Chancellor or make an appli- 
cation to the Chancellor to change the Phraseology of the decree, 
and require the Sheriff to place the Receiver in possession. It 
is important that something be done early else Chambliss will 
resighn his trust. 

From the violent hostility of the family to me on account of 
my actings and feelings in relation to the management of the 
Estate by Isaac Wade, I am determined not to appear person- 
ally in the matter unless forced by some overt act of the Family 
to do so. 

I arrived at Home on the 6th and had the great gratification 
of finding my Family and Friends in this neighbourhood in the 
enjoyment of good health, which blessing I trust has been ex- 
tended to you and your Family. 

I found the Miss. River had fallen at the mouth of Ohio 4 
inches with a rise between there and Memphis, which would 
perhaps raise the River at the latter place an inch or two, my 

Letters to Dr. John Ker. Riley. 393 

Plantation slightly injured, the river falling at and below the 
mouth of Arkansas. The country below the Arkansas to Point 
Chicot almost entirely, and destructively deluged, and occa- 
sional plantations Chicot amounting to perhaps one-half the 
number of all, as low down as Millikens Bend, which was safe 
when I passed but beginning to suffer some from back water. 
Unless there are large rains at the sources of the Rivers there 
will be little or no increase of water above Natchez. 

The land about the mouth of the River St. Francis had 
Banks, and I would say from their appearance were dry, the 
effect probably of the Horse shoe cut off. 

I would rather have a cotton plantation there than anywhere 
within 100 miles from and below the mouth of the Arkansas. 
Very Respectfully Your Friend 



JACKSON, Febry. 6, 1846. 
Dr. Jno. Ker: 

DEAR SIR There is some question in regard to the former 
appeal which you executed, as it was made payable to Isaac 
R. Wade instead of the judge of Probate. I wish you to execute 
the enclosed one as agent and as surety. I have put in pencil 
the names and seals, and enclose it to me by mail, if you have not 
a direct opportunity otherwise, as the mail is quite regular from 
Natchez here. 

Briscoeism is under full discussion in the house. Guion's bill 
to repeal the conservative portion of the law would fail, and the 
Briscoites have become so sensible of this that this evening it 
was moved to amend Guion's bill so as to enact thus the whole 
Briscoe law be repealed. It is said that many will vote for the 
repeal of the whole law, who would not vote for a repeal of 
Guian's amendments to the law as it now stands. I hope, 
however, that it will not now be repealed, as the [?] have been 
enjoined and paralyzed for the last two years, and the repeal 
would give rise to renewed and more extended litigations as to 
the legal consequences of the repeal on those institutions, whose 

"Indorsed: I. T. McMurran, Esq., Feb. 6, 1846. Conceming^'the 
Wade suit. 

3Q4 Mississippi Historical Society. 

charters have been forfeited under this law. There has as yet 
been no discussion on this new move, which would authorize a 
mere spectator to determine with any certainty the result. 

The Colonization Society case in the High Court has not been 
reached, and from the discussion of [?] cases, etc., the progress 

of business is slow indeed. 

I. T. McMuRRAN. 

DEAR SIR Mr. Wade called yesterday and handed me the 
enclosed memorandum, which I had furnished him previously, 
as I mentioned to you. He seemed to dwell on the point that 
he could yield possession of nothing until everything was finally 
closed, etc. He said but little on the subject, stated that he 
was going over the river to his place and would call again on 
about Tuesday and see me more fully. 

I send you the memorandum I placed in his hands, that you 
may see whether it differs from your views or not. Please take 
care of it, as I have no copy. 

Yours truly, 

I. T. McMuRRAN, 

Dr. John Ker. January 23, 1847. 


"Mr. Wade to give up to Dr. Ker, Agent of the Society the 
negroes in his possession, contained in the schedule annexed to 
His answers, also the personal property mentioned in the Sched- 
ule, on the plantation, including last year's crop of corn, also 
the tract of Land in Claiborne County, to be disposed of for the 
benefit of the Society. Mr. Wade to settle any existing debt 
against the estate, including the legacy of $2,000 to Mr. Rich- 
ardson, etc., if the lot of negroes elect not to remain with him, 
Mr. Wade to take the Prospect Hill Plantation of land in satis- 
faction of any balance claimed by Him as Executor and in full 
of all demands. Title to be made to Him in such mode as His 
counsel and the counsel of the Society shall deem most effectual 

1 * Indorsed : I. T. McMurran, Esq., Jany. 23d, 1847. Enclosing memo- 
randum of propositions for compromise with Wade, 

Letters to Dr. John Ker. Riley. 395 

to Him. But the Society to have use of the Plantation this 
year free of charge, while this arrangement is being carried out 
in its details. 

This agreement to be subject to the satisfaction of the Society 
as soon as their action can be had, and they heard from. The 
Chancery suit to remain pending until the arrangement con- 
summated in its details, which is to be done in the course of 
this year." 


WASHINGTON CITY, June yth, 1847. 

DEAR SIR I hasten to inform you that your favor of the jist 
ult., relative to the proposed compromise with Mr. Wade was 
duly received, and I have forwarded it to Mr. McLain, who is 
now in Ohio, and I have no doubt he will favor you with an 
early answer. 

Yours very respectfully, 

Doct. John Ker, 

Natchez, Miss. 

FROM w. M'LAIN.*" 

TROY, 0., 12 June, 1847. 

MY DEAR SIR Yours of the 31 ult. has just reached me here, 
where I am attending to a will case for the Society, which has 
been rather difficult to manage, but not so bad as the one which 
has claimed so large a share of your attention. 

I am much surprised at the state of things which you found 
at Prospect and which you have described. It is sad indeed. 
It appears to me, however, that you have acted perfectly right 
in the premises; and I approve entirely of what you have done. 
As to the point touching which you ask our opinion, viz., whether 
the Society would furnish the teams necessary to make the crop, 
I must say, though I do it reluctantly, that we cannot consent to 
do it. The risk is too great; the result, too uncertain. The 

"Indorsed: W. McLain, Secy. A. C. S., June i2th, 1847. 

396 Mississippi Historical Society. 

horses now on the place may die. Those we should put there 
might die. There is no limiting the disease. Of course there 
is no telling what it would cost us. We, like you, are most 
anxious to have the matter finally settled, and the intentions of 
the Testator carried out. But we must not sacrifice everything 
and place ourselves in a situation where the people be thrown 
upon our hands, with no means to send them to Liberia. There- 
fore, unless Mr. Wade will furnish everything necessary to raise 
the crop, as you proposed, I cannot see how anything can be 
effected. Unless, when you return, you and the Lawyers, see- 
ing better the actual state of things than we possibly can, at 
this distance, should be willing to assume the responsibility of 
making the crop to the best advantage by furnishing whatever 
may be necessary thereto, then at the end of the year pay all 
expenses first, and then divide the remainder equally between 
the three parties, as you proposed under the former arrange- 
ment. If they (the Lawyers) are not willing to run this risk and 
share this expense with the Soc. I do not see any other way than 
to let the law take its course, and us abide our time. 

I shall be glad to hear from you again as soon as you have 
anything to communicate. I expect to reach Washington again 
by the isth of July. 

I hope you found your sons better than you anticipated and 
that all are now well with you. Please excuse this fancy paper. 
It is the only sheet I can lay my hands on just now, and I have 
not time to go for another before the mail closes. 
Yours most respectfully, 

W. McLAiN. 

John Ker, M. D. 

ST. Louis, 5 August, 1847. 

MY DEAR FRIEND Your favor of ult. came to hand during 
my absence attending a colonization convention at Springfield. I 
thank you for the information and suggestions contained in it. 
Your suggestion of raising money for the specific purpose of sus- 
taining the expense incurred in an effort to compel General Wade 

2 Indorsed : Reed. R. S. Finley, of St. Louis. Reed., 1847. 
Ansd. same day. 

Letters to Dr. John Ker. Riley. 397 

to execute Mr. Hind['s] will, meets my views exactly. Brother 
Butler, who left here on Monday last made the same suggestion, 
and will probably write to you on the subject. With regard to 
the amount necessary to be raised I will give you the best data 
I can, on which to base a calculation. The exact amount can- 
not be foretold. First in regard to my own compensation. I 
should think it reasonable that I should receive at the same rate 
of compensation as is allowed me by the Missouri and Illinois 
Colonization Societies, viz., $1,500 per year and travelling 
expenses. It requires the whole of that sum to enable me to 
live in a plain way in this city. I would spend as much time in 
Mississippi as would be consistent with a faithful discharge of 
my duty. It increases the expense of my family to make fre- 
quent or long absences from home. It is also a serious incon- 
venience to me and to them, and it also deranges my plans in 
relation to my agency here and of my family. I expect no 
profit, nay, I am prepared to encounter loss in the fulfillment of 
the sacred trust confided to me. And your own experience in 
a similar case will lead you easily to believe that I do not antici- 
pate "a new trip of pleasure" in visiting your State on this 

In regard to my past labors I have to say that I was absent 
from home on this business two months and one-half last spring. 
My travelling expenses were about $50. I have received that 
amount from Bro. B., as stated in a former letter, leaving me 
without any compensation for my time. The proposition from 
your Committee was that I should receive at the rate of $i ,000 
per year provided I raised at least the amount of my salary. 
But as I have already said, I collected nothing beyond my trav- 
elling expenses. It may be therefore, that I have no claim for 
compensation as I collected no money. If you should view 
the matter in this light I do not insist upon receiving anything. 
I would, however, suggest that I bestowed more than a month 
of hard labor in my agency besides the time (say two weeks) lost 
in going and returning. I visited the Mississippi Presbytery 
and addressed them and obtained the promise of several of 
them to take up collections for the Society. Whatever col- 
lections may have been taken up in consequence of my efforts 
may fairly be set down as the fruits of my agency. At Oak- 

398 Mississippi Historical Society. 

land College I made a laborious and faithful effort, and at 
Vicksburg. Of my efforts at Natchez I say nothing. It is 
abundantly mortifying to me that the expectations of your 
Committee as well as my own expectations were disappointed 
in my not raising at least the amount of my salary. But while 
I suffer both mortification and inconvenience from my ill suc- 
cess, I am at the same time conscious of having been both dili- 
gent and faithful. 

There are many delays and perplexities connected with my 
trusteeship of Mr. Hind's will. But I endeavor "to strengthen 
myself in the Lord." I believe it His cause and I dare not 
abandon it Your suggestion in regard to the character of the 
lawyers to be employed are entirely correct and shall be or 
rather have been attended to. Geo. S. Yerger is our Leading 
Atty. He is a man of piety and seems to enter with ardor into 
the business from a "higher feeling than that of pecuniary inter- 
est." He is already employed in a case of immense importance 
now pending in the Supreme Court of your State in which more 
than a hundred slaves and money to send them to Liberia and 
settle them there, were left by the will of Mr. Hooe of Virginia. 
The slaves were in Mississippi. Yerger expects to succeed on 
the ground that the slaves being personal property are to be dis- 
posed of according to the laws of the state in which the owner 
had his domicil, and not according to the Law of the State where 
the property happens to be. This is a well settled principle of 
international law in all civilized governments, at least in Amer- 
ica, England, France, and Germany. Let us quit ourselves like 
men in the defence of these Wills. We owe it to ourselves, to 
our country, and to our God to do so. I hope you have been 
successful in getting possession of Captain Ross' Estate. I 
have not been informed as to what was done at your meeting 
in June. I am sorry your meeting in July failed. But, my 
dear friend, keep a good heart. Go on in the strength of your 
Redeemer and in due time we shall reap if we faint not. 
Your Brother in Christ Jesus, 


P. S. Our Assistant counsel is Mr. Watson, a worthy member 
of Bro. Baker's church at Holly Springs. When written to on 
the subject, He replied that General Wane had told him that 

Letters to Dr. John Ker. Riley. 399 

he wished to employ him in case of a suit against him, but that 
he would rather help us than assist General W. in perpetrating 
such a fraud on the estate of Mr. Hind. 
Dr. John Ker. 


WASHINGTON CITY, 18 Sept., 1847. 

MY DEAR SIR I embrace the first moment since my return 
to acknowledge the receipt of your esteemed favor of the 4 ult. 
And I cannot but wonder at the most singular occurrence of 
incidents touching the adjustment of that estate. I am almost 
ready to believe that Providence has been frowning upon our 
efforts to compromise, as if it would be giving up great and funda- 
mental principles and yielding to unjust usurpations. At 
any rate it is [?] astonishing that on the very eve of the 
final adjustment of two compromises, they should both have 
been frustrated by manifestly Providential displeasures. 

I approve entirely of your course in the matter. And should 
any new plan be proposed, you understand fully our views in 
reference to any compromise, and we have full confidence that 
you will act judiciously, so that you will be prepared to act in 
the premises. We could not take the slaves and send them at 
the close of this year, without some means, with them. 

If Mr. Wade fulfills his professions to you to tender the nett 
proceeds of the present [?] and the slaves to the Soc. 
at the end of this year, it will become a serious question what 
we shall do with them. ' If the lawyers would take $5,000 each, 
i. e., $10,000 in all, and we could take the slaves and have the 
use of the place and horses, etc., for another year, we could 
work through. In view of [?] probable case, might it not 
be well for you to get if possible from Montgomery, Boyd & 
Prentiss a written pledge to take $5,000 provided the Soc. can 
between this and say i Feb., 1848, enter into any agreement 
with Wade to get possession of the negroes? If they will do 
that, it will leave the way open for us to do the best we can in 
any state of affairs which may arise. 

4oo Mississippi Historical Society. 

I understand Mr. Raily has some $10,000 or $15,000 which 
can be appropriated to Colonization purposes. Could he be 
induced, provided we get the slaves and nothing else, to give 
say $5,000 to aid in sending them to strengthen and enlarge 
Greenville ? 

With best regards to your family I remain 

Yours very truly, 

W. McLAiN. 
John Ker, M. D., 


GREENVILLE Since March 26th 1848. 
Dr. John Ker: 

SIR I embrace this opportunity by Capt. Carlton by drop- 
ping you a few lines to inform you that I am at my journey's end 
safe, all seem to enjoy good health so far, except my son Winson, 
who was sick during the whole passage. 

You will please inform Celia to bring her children up the fear 
of the Lord, as he is greatly to be praised for having spared me 
to arrive on the shores of Africa safe, and give my respects to 
all the rest of our people; also give my respects to Mr. Isaac 
Wade & all his family. Mr. John Congo told me before I left 
that I could get my daughter Charlotte any time, and I hope 
you will obtain her from him and send her out in the next expe- 
dition, if you please, and should he demand payment for her 
please send me an answer by first oppty. And tell my children 
when they start to come to bring all & everything they can 
because everything is needed in Africa. I have not as yet had 
an opportunity of taking a view of the country, but so far as I 
have seen I like it much. 

Uncle Necter Belton wishes you to give his respects to Mr. 
Isaac Wade & all his family. Jane Ross, and tell Mr. Wade to 
send him something, and my son Charles is not dead, he is still 

Letters to Dr. John Ker. Riley. 401 

Having nothing more of any consequence to say I conclude, 
hoping you will use all the energy to send our people to Africa. 

I remain 

Your obbt. Servt., 


P. S. I would like to hear from my son Thomas, because a 
few days before I left he was sick, also my son John and all my 
Granddaughters & their parents, &c., &c. 



GREENVILLE SINCE, October i2th, '49. 

RESPECTED SIR As an opportunity occurs by the Liberia 
"Packet" I embrace it by writing you these few lines to inform 
you that I'm still spared & alive, hope they may find you and 
your family enjoying good health. 

Jeff is well and haughty, and is on his farm trying by the 
assistance of the Almighty to make a living, and his children 
are also well, and expresses their thankfulness to you, for your 
kind & affectionate influence & contrivance of his being in 
Africa with them, where they have labored long under fearful 
apprehensions of ever meeting him in this life. Of the last of 
our people (i. e.) the Ross Set that came out here twenty-five 
have died from the effects of the Cholera taken in New Orleans 
on their way out here. 

You will please write me by first opportunity how all the 
remaining Ross people are. Old man Hannibald is well & 
family and wishes to know from, if you have done anything for 
his daughter Cecelia. 

Now, my dear sir, knowing you were always kindly & friendly 
disposed towards me, even when Capt. Ross were alive, and I 
now am old & helpless, can't work, let me intrude upon you, 
notwithstanding past events. Simply by begging you to send me 
a little Soap, Rappa Snuff & any old clothes that you may judge 
to be of service to the old man in Africa, and a razor. A number 
of the last emigrants that is our people died on their passage 
out here, among whom were as follows: James Cole, Grace 
Julia (in N. Orleans). 

402 Mississippi Historical Society. 

This settlement (Greenville Since) is rapidly improving & 
increasing in population, &c., and have been upon the continual 
increase ever since I have been here, and I believe the Spirit & 
necessity of Education have been awaken considerable. 

Now, dear Sir, I hope & trust by the very first opportunity to 

hear from you and let me hear from all of our people there. 

Having more of interest to communicate I conclude, praying 

that the Lord may continue to add his blessings towards you. 

Yours very Respectfully, 


P. S. Old man Scipio & Sampson is dead. 


RODNEY, April 12, 1848. 
Dr. John Ker: 

DEAR SIR I am in receipt of your favor of the 8th. 

The pork sold at Prospect Hill plantation was bought by me 
for Mess, and was so marked on the head, but as it proved to be 
a different article, a deduction must be made. For Mess I 
charged $10, and as the article sent out must have been Rump 
pork, as you say it was neither Prime nor Mess, I will deduct $2 
per barrel, which I hope will be satisfactory. The % will be 
found on the 3 page, and if convenient, you can send me a 
check on New Orleans for the money. 

I have forwarded the letter to Rev. Z. Butler. No cotton 
goods have been received for the plantation. Probably they 
may be up this morning. Very respectfully, 

Your obedient servant, 




Quitman and McMurran engage as the counsel of the American 
Colonization Society to institute and conduct to a final decision 

Z2 Indorsed: Agreement by and between Quitman and McMurran and 
John Ker, Atty. in fact for the A. Col. Society. 

Miscellaneous Letters and Papers. Riley. 403 

on behalf of said Society, all necessary equitable or legal pro- 
ceedings in the Courts of Justice of this state, for the execution 
of the will and codicils of the late Isaac Ross, of Jefferson County, 
in this state in relation to his negro slaves and the residuary 
legacies or proceeds ensuing from the sales of his estate be- 
queathed to said Society, as contained in said will and codicils, 
the Society to furnish the copies of papers that may be required 
at their expense. 

In consideration of which professional] services, said Coloniza- 
tion Society agree to pay to Quitman and McMurran a sum of 
money equivalent to one-half of the whole amount of money 
and proceeds of property, which may be recovered and received 
by said Society under said will and codicils, when the same shall 
be realized by them, after the Society shall have deducted, from 
the whole amount realized, the expenses incurred for copies of 
papers or court costs and not otherwise reimbursed, and the 
sum of ten thousand dollars which the Society have agreed to pay 
Messrs. Montgomery and Boyd and S. S. Prentiss, Esqr. 

Quitman and McMurran pledge themselves to the Society 
that they will use their best exertions to aid the Society to fully 
execute any final decision for the removal of the negro slaves to 
Africa, in fulfillment of such decision. 

It is also understood as a part of this agreement that, in the 
event of such final decision not being had and the negroes deliv- 
ered to said Society or their agent for removal by the month of 
January, 1844, Quitman and McMurran are not to receive any 
portion or equivalent of any portion of the proceeds of any crop 
or crops subsequent to that of the year 1843, if any shall be 

September 28, 1842. 

JOHN KER, Attorney in fact 
for the American Colonization Society. 


PORT GIBSON, May i2th, 1847. 
7. R. Wade, Esq.: 

DEAR SIR I have given to the agreement you sent me by 
Mr. Stampley such consideration, as the shortness of time will 

404 Mississippi Historical Society. 

allow. It appears to me that the clause on page 5th commenc- 
ing "It is distinctly understood," and going on to exclude from 
the terms of the agreement the negroes heretofore sold, and the 
five since sold on Execution, is not sufficiently definite. There 
ought to be a clause agreeing on the part of the Society not to 
attempt to hold you accountable for them by any legal proceed- 
ings whatever. As it now stands, it seems to me that they 
might make difficulty by contending in the chancery suit, that 
you are accountable for them. I do not think they could succeed 
in such a thing. But the agreement is not definite on that point. 
I see no objection to any other part of the Document, but I 
confess I would have preferred to have had more time to con- 
sider it. 

One question is important, and the document furnishes no 
solution of it. By whom is the instrument to be executed? 
The Society can only be bound by its corporate seal (which I pre- 
sume is not here) unless they have authorized their agent to 
bind them in some other form. If they have not done so, then 
Dr. Ker ought to bind himself individually, that all the terms 
and stipulations of the agreement on the part of the Society 
shall be faithfully fulfilled. I have the most entire confidence 
in Mr. McMurran and Dr. Ker, but as the performance of the 
agreement is to commence on your part by a delivery of the 
property], you ought to have a legal security against some respon- 
sible person for a nonfulfillment of its stipulations. A clause 
something like this may be added. 

"In consideration of the mutual stipulations and conditions 
in the foregoing agreement contained the undersigned Isaac R. 
Wade of the one part, and John Ker, acting as agent for the 
American Colonization Society of the other part, hereby obligate 
and bind themselves individually to the performance of the said 
agreement in every particular." 

I observe a condition that you are to pay me $250. It is 
proper I should say that the account has been due since January 
ist 1841, and I shall expect to be paid 8 per cent interest on it 
from that time. 

I think it altogether desirable that the decree that is to be 
entered in the Chancery suit, should be drawn up and agreed to 

Miscellaneous Letters and Papers. Riley. 405 

now, before the compromise is concluded. It might save diffi- 
culty and misunderstanding hereafter. 

Yours truly, 


In the settlement of your accounts as Executor it will be well 
not to forget that you owe me $100 for going to Fayette in Sept. 
1845, to attend to the settlement of your accounts. 



David Kerr, Esq.: 

VERY DR. SIR We have at length, after a voyage of about 
70 day arrived safe at our new home in this our adopted land, 
"Our father home." Our voyage, as you will perceive, was long, 
but very pleasant, for our good Captain done all in his power 
to make us comfortable & happy. We landed last night & have 
slept on shore one night, & so far as we can judge from what we 
have yet seen, we feel quite sure that we shall be satisfied & 
happy as far as the country is concerned. But this is a new 
country where we shall, as a matter of course have to meet with 
many & fear very trying difficulties, these, by the assistance of 
God's grace, we do not fear, what gives us the most unpleasant 
feelings is, the manner we have been sent out to this country. 
We were told for the last three years that the avails of our hard 
labor was to be appropriated to our support in Africa, or to help 
us to establish ourselves in this country, but we find ourselves 
here without any means to help ourselves after we get through 
the fever. We hope you will be pleased to write us & explain 
this matter to us, so we may be satisfied as the disposition of 
the effects of our three years labor. 

We shall be glad to receive by the earliest opportunity the 
guns & ammunition you promised us at N. O. We shall be 
glad to receive also a supply of nails to build our houses, as we 
have none & no means to get them, they are hard to obtain 
here & come high. 

406 Mississippi Historical Society. 

Mrs. P. Ross sends her best respects to Mrs. Wade. Also 
you will please accept from us our sincere & grateful respects. 

Yours &c., 

P. Ross, 

P. S. Remember us kindly to our colored friends, & tell them 
when they come out to this country to bring everything for 
housekeeping, farming & carpending, &c., that they have or 
can get, they will need them, for they cannot be got here. 
Mrs. Carter sends her best respects to Mrs. Wade. 

hand this letter to Mr. Wade after you have read it. 


Only two newspaper accounts of meetings of the Mississippi 
Colonization Society have been found. The State press seems 
to have been lukewarm on the subject of colonization. One of 
the Natchez papers refers to a complete history of the Society, 
which appeared in the Southwestern Journal, No. 2, published 
by the Jefferson College and Washington Lyceum, but it is 
doubtful whether there is a copy of this number of the Journal 
in existence. 


NATCHEZ, Miss., Dec. 12, 1838. 

The annual meeting of the Mississippi Colonization Society 
was held in the Presbyterian Church at n o'clock, A. M. 

The president not being present, Dr. John Ker, vice-president, 
presided, and at his request the Revd. S. G. Winchester opened 
the meeting with prayer. 

The annual Report of the Executive Committee was then 
read, and on the motion of the Revd. S. G. Winchester it was 
resolved that the report be accepted and printed, under the 
direction of the Executive Committee. 

Newspaper Accounts of Meetings. Riley. 407 

On motion of Alexander C. Henderson: 
Resolved, That the thanks of this society be given to the exec- 
utive committee for the faithful and efficient manner in which 
they have conducted the business of the Society during the past 

On motion of John Hutchins, Esq. : 

Resolved, That the society for colonizing with their own con- 
sent on the coast of Africa the free people of color of this State 
is entitled to an honorable rank among the benevolent institu- 
tions of our country and our age; and the success which has 
recently attended the exertions of its friends should encourage 
them to persevere. 

The Rev. S. G. Winchester, from the committee appointed at 
the last annual meeting for that purpose, reported a revised 
constitution, which, after some amendment, was adopted, as 
hereunto annexed. 

The meeting then proceeded to elect officers for the ensuing 
year, and the following persons were duly elected, viz.: 

Stephen Duncan, Esq., President. 

David Hunt, James Railey, Thos. Freeland, Cowles Mead, J. R. 
Nicholson, Rev. W. Winans, Rev. D. C. Page, E. McGehee, Rev. 
Z. Butler, Rev. J. Chamberlain, John Ker, Levin Wailes, vice- 

Rev. B. M. Drake, John Henderson, Alex. C. Henderson, 
James G. Carson, William Harris, J. Beaumont, Revd. S. G. 
Winchester, William St. John Elliott, William C. Conner, William 
Dunbar, Rev. B. Chase, and William Disland, Managers. 

Thos. Henderson, Secretary. 

Franklin Beaumont, Treasurer. 

S. Duncan, John Ker, B. M. Drake, Thos. Henderson, and F. 
Beaumont, Executive Committee. 

On motion: 

Resolved, That the secretary be directed to furnish copies of 
the proceedings of the meeting to the editors of the city papers 
for publication. 

And the meeting adjourned. 

JOHN KER, Vice-President. 
THOS. HENDERSON, Secretary. 

408 Mississippi Historical Society. 


ART. i. This society shall be called the Mississippi Coloniza- 
tion Society. 

2. The object to which its attention is to be exclusively 
directed is the colonization (with their own consent) of the free 
people of color residing in Mississippi. 

3. Every person subscribing to this constitution and paying 
annually any sum to the Society, shall be a member thereof, and 
any person paying at any one time $100 shall be a member for 

The officers of the society shall be a president, twelve vice- 
presidents, a secretary, a treasurer, and twelve managers, who 
shall be elected by the society at their annual meeting, and con- 
tinue to discharge their respective duties until others are 

5. Out of the number of officers provided for in the preceding 
article, an executive committee of five shall be elected by the 
society, at each annual meeting, to transact the business of the 
society in the intervals between the meetings of the board of 

6. No amendments or alterations shall be made to this con- 
stitution except at a regular annual meeting, and with the con- 
currence of two-thirds of the members present. 


13, I839- 

At a meeting of the Mississippi State Colonization Society 
held this day in the Methodist Church, the Rev. William 
Winans (the president being absent), the senior vice-president, 
was called to the chair and Thomas McDonald (the secretary 
being absent) was appointed secretary. 

The meeting having been opened by prayer and its object 
stated, the president called on the Rev. Mr. Gurley, secretary 
and general agent of the American Colonization Society, to 
address the society, who, after having read the constitution of 
the American Colonization Society, gave a lucid exposition of 
the objects, condition, discouragements andjprospects of the 

Newspaper Accounts of Meetings. Riley. 409 

society of which he is agent, and concluded by an eloquent appeal 
to the judgment, patriotism and benevolence of the friends of 
the cause. 

After which resolutions touching the relations hereafter to 
exist between this society and the American Colonization Society 
were offered by Dr. John Ker, and were under discussion when 
the society adjourned to meet tomorrow morning at 10 o'clock 
in this church. 

Friday morning, June 7. The society met according to 
adjournment, the Rev. William Winans in the chair, and after 
being opened by prayer, the resolutions under discussion yes- 
terday were called up, and after a free and full discussion and 
some amendments, they, together with the preamble, were 

They are in the following words, to wit: 

WHEREAS, This society cannot consistently with the existing 
constitution, adopt any change therein, except at the annual 
meeting; and, 

WHEREAS, We believe it of the greatest importance to pre- 
serve union among the friends of a cause and to adopt the most 
effectual measures to prevent confliction of view, or collision in 
action, this society deem it proper to express their sentiments 
in the following resolutions, viz.: 

1. Resolved, That this society consider the American Colo- 
nization Society as in every way entitled to our respect and ven- 
eration as a parent institution and that in any separate action 
on our part we have never contemplated or designed an entirely 
independent position. 

2. Resolved, That we highly approve of the design of our 
friends of the cause of colonization to establish bonds of union 
and harmony of action both here and in Africa; and that to 
this end we recommend to the next annual meeting of this 
society the adoption of the recently amended constitution of 
the American Colonization Society, and the adaptation of our 
constitution to said constitution, provided the following propo- 
sitions or articles be considered as compatible therewith, and as 
such shall be approved by the parent society, viz.: 

First the Mississippi State Colonization Society reserves to 
itself the right of appointing its own agent for their colony 

410 Mississippi Historical Society. 

founded in Africa, and to clothe him with such authority and 
power as may be necessary to the fulfillment of these duties, 
provided such authority and power be not inconsistent with the 
code of laws and form of government adopted by the American 
Colonization Society for Liberia; and secondly, of having its 
territory extended to not less than 35 miles of continuous sea- 

After which a motion was made by Mr. Forshey to appoint 
a committee of three to draft a new constitution in conformity 
with the constitution of the American Colonization Society and 
to report the same to the next annual meeting of this society for 
adoption. The chairman appointed Dr. John Ker, Rev. B. M. 
Drake and Rev. S. G. Winchester, said committee. 

The following resolutions were then offered by Rev. S. G. 
Winchester, to wit: 

1 . Resolved, That this society being impressed with the magni- 
tude and benevolence of the scheme of the American Colonization 
Society in its relations both to United States and to Africa, and 
deem this scheme worthy of generous and persevering support 
to the citizens of this State. 

2. Resolved, That the scheme of African Colonization com- 
mends itself to our good judgment and regards as adapted to 
unite the friends of benevolence and religion throughout the 
whole country in endeavors entirely unexceptionable to confer 
on Africa the blessings of knowledge, civilization and Christianity. 

3. Resolved, That, in the judgment of this society, the people 
of the Southern States of this Union are, beyond any other 
people, entrusted by providence with the means of conferring 
on Africa the above mentioned blessings; and as a Christian, 
benevolent and patriotic people, they are urged by the most 
weighty considerations to assist the free colored population of 
this country in founding and extending republican and Christian 
commonwealths on her shore. 

4. Resolved, That the plan of securing for this cause through- 
out the Union, 20,000 subscriptions of $10 each annually for ten 
years, is entirely approved by this society, and is earnestly rec- 
ommended to the consideration of our fellow citizens of this 

Legal Interpretations. Riley. 411 

5. Resolved, That in reliance on divine providence and in hope 
of the co-operation of the citizens of this State, this society will 
attempt, as soon as possible, the organization of a colonization 
society in each county of the State, auxiliary to this society. 

6. Resolved, That the executive committee of this society be 
authorized to employ a suitable agent, and to take such other 
steps as may be necessary to carry into effect the fifth resolution. 

The following resolution was offered by Rev. B. M. Drake: 
Resolved, That the proceedings of this meeting be published in 
all papers in Mississippi, and such other papers as the secretary 
may think proper. 

The meeting then adjourned. 

Great harmony and good feeling prevailed. 

THOMAS MCDONALD, Secretary pro tern. 
Natchez, June 7, 1839. 


Capt. Isaac Ross, a wealthy citizen of Jefferson County, 
shared with many other prominent citizens of this State in a 
desire to reduce the slave population. In order to prevent the 
dangers which would be presented by a large free negro popula- 
tion, a law had been passed which forbade the manumission of 
slaves except for "some meritorious act for the benefit of the 
owner, or some distinguished service for the benefit of the 
State," and then only by special Act of the Legislature. Capt. 
Ross at the time of his death, January igih, 1837, owned about 
one hundred and sixty negroes and other personal property, the 
whole of which was appraised at $103,665. His will bore the 
date of August 26, 1834. To this was appended four codicils. 
The said will and codicils provided that after the decease of 
the testator, his slaves, with the exception of a few particularly 
mentioned, should be called together and such of them as desired 
to go to Africa, the provisions of the will being first fully explained 
to them, should be sent there under the directions and superin- 
tendence of the American Colonization Society; that such of 
them as did not desire to go to Africa, with the residue of his 
estate, should be sold, and after the payment of certain legacies 

412 Mississippi Historical Society. 

and all necessary expenses, the proceeds should be paid to the 
American Colonization Society, to be appropriated first to pay- 
ing the expenses of transporting his slaves to Africa, and sec- 
ondly to their support and maintenance when there. It is fur- 
ther provided that the proceeds of the sale of such parts of his 
estate as were to be disposed of in that way should form a fund, 
so invested that it would bring not less than six per cent per 
annum, which interest was to be applied by the American Colo- 
nization Society "to the establishment and support of one 
single seminary or institution of learning in Liberia," and that 
this support should be continued to the said institutiou for one 
hundred years after his decease, at which time it should be given 
to any government then existing in Liberia to be appropriated 
"in the same manner to the support and continuance of the 
same institution." In case, however, there should be no gov- 
ernment in Liberia at the expiration of one hundred years this 
fund should be given to the State of Mississippi for "the estab- 
lishment or support of some one institution of learning in the 

Capt. Ross having died in January, 1836, his heirs and those 
of his daughter, Mrs. Reed, who also died in 1838, filed bills in 
chancery to set aside the principal devises and bequests in the 
will and to enjoin the executors from proceeding further to 
execute the same, on the ground that such devises were illegal 
and void. There was a demurrer to both bills and, the suits 
being dismissed, an appeal was taken to the High Court of 
Errors and Appeals. The cases were submitted together in 
December, 1840. It was claimed in the bill that "all the pro- 
visions and trusts in relation to the transportation of the slaves 
of the testator to the coast of Africa, are in violation of the 
policy of the State of Mississippi, on the subject of domestic 
slavery ; in fraud of the statute prohibiting manumission except 
on certain conditions, and consequently illegal and void." It 
was also claimed that the provisions of the will for the support 
and maintenance of slaves in Africa and for the establishment in 
Liberia of a seminary of learning were illegal and void because 
the bequest was in trust for an illegal purpose and was contrary 
to the policy of the State of Mississippi; also because that 
Society had no capacity by its charter to take for such a 

Legal Interpretations. Riley. 413 

It was further agreed that "the freedom of the slaves as well 
as the authority of the American Colonization Society to trans- 
port them to Liberia" was made "to depend on the election of 
the slaves themselves, to be held on the plantation of the tes- 
tator," and that inasmuch as the slaves had "no power to 
emancipate themselves by their own election, and thereby to 
authorize the American Colonization Society to transport them 
to Liberia," these provisions of the will were not only deroga- 
tory to the rights of the heirs but in contravention of the whole 
policy and laws of the State on the subject of domestic slavery. 

The opinion of the court upheld the will, deciding that the 
question at issue was "not whether the testator had the ability 
to manumit his slaves without the consent of the Legislature, but 
whether he possessed the power to send them to Africa, there to 
remain free." The concluding sentences of the decision call 
attention to the fact that though the law "might seem to pro- 
hibit emancipation out of as well as within the State by a citizen, 
yet such construction would be manifestly contrary to the 
spirit of the law." It further stated: 

" 'The evil was the increase of free negroes by emancipation. The re- 
moval of slaves belonging to citizens of the State, and their emancipa- 
tion in parts beyond her territorial limits was no injury to her.' 'It 
will not be denied,' say the court, in continuation, 'that the owner might 
have removed his slaves from this State at any moment and for any pur- 
pose he pleased.' And it is laid down as a general rule, to which there 
is no exception, unless by express statutory provision, 'that the owner of 
property may, by his will, direct his executors to dispose of it in any way 
which he could.' " tt 

In the meantime the executors had agreed that Isaac R. 
Wade, grandson of the testator, should superintend the plan- 
tation and negroes belonging to the estate, purchase the supplies, 
etc., "and for his services they agreed that he should be allowed 
the sum of fifteen hundred dollars per annum, if the probate 
court should approve of the same, and the business of the estate 
was accordingly conducted by Wade, the executors meeting 
occasionally, and directing Wade how the business should be 
carried on." 

In 1842 the American Colonization Society filed a bill in the 
Superior Court of Chancery against the executors to compel the 

2 'This case is reported in full in 5 Howard, pp. 305-362. 

414 Mississippi Historical Society. 

execution of the trust and to carry out the provisions of the will, 
claiming that "no legal or equitable obstacle had existed for two 
years to prevent the execution of the trusts of the will," that 
they had "always been ready and willing to accept and appro- 
priate faithfully the proceeds of the real and personal estate as 
provided for in the will, the object of the Society by their char- 
ter being in accordance with the provisions of the will and in 
furtherance thereof." They also charged that the slaves who 
were entitled to a choice of being sent to Africa under the will 
desired to be sent there and had always so desired to be sent and 
the complainants had "ever been willing to take charge of them 
for that purpose." The defendants in the suit filed a demurrer 
"setting up, among other things, a want of jurisdiction," which 
being disallowed they appealed therefrom to the High Court of 
Errors and Appeal, claiming that "the case related to a matter 
purely of administration and cognizable only in the probate 
court." The High Court of Errors and Appeals held that "the 
full measure of relief could only be obtained in a court of equity, 
and therefore the court of chancery had jusisdiction." In the 
meantime, June, 1844, the Chancellor had ordered "that John 
S. Chambliss be appointed receiver of the property * * * 
and the defendants, as executors of said estate, were required 
to deliver said property to said receiver." 24 

In 1842 the Legislature of the State passed an act allowing 
twelve months for the removal of slaves that had been lib- 
erated, and declaring the bequests of freedom void if they be 
not so removed. 25 One of the executors, Isaac R. Wade, de- 
tained the slaves in the State against their will, and against the 
will of his co-executors, until the twelve months allowed by the 
act had expired. Before the expiration of the twelve months, 
however, the Society "after using every means in its power to 
comply with the requisitions of the act, without suit, filed a 
bill, as is related above, to compel the executors to execute the 
trusts created by the will. It was held "that the acts of the 
executor constituted such a fraud, that neither he nor any one 
claiming by virtue of his acts acquired any right; that the 
fraud of the executor placed him beyond the pale of the act of 
1842, and that act did not therefore apply to the case." 

24 This case is reported in 7 Smedes and Marshall, pp. 613-698. 
26 See Hutchinson's Mississippi Code, p. 539. 


During the four years, 1822, 23, 24 and 25, I resided in the 
Chahta country; I became acquainted with the chiefs of the 
three districts, into which the nation was divided, and quite a 
number of their leaders, headmen and warriors. 

At that time Mushulatubi, Apushimataha and Apukshinubi, 
were the chiefs of the three districts which had been established 
long before my acquaintance with that noble people commenced. 
Each district was subdivided, with but little system, into Iksas, or 
kindred clans, and each of these Iksas had its leader. All the 
men seemed to be warriors, and they had their captains and 
generals, which titles they had learned from the white people, 
for whom they always professed, and indeed manifested, the 
greatest friendship. I remember now, though the time has 
long past, with feelings of unfeigned gratitude the many kind- 
nesses bestowed on me and my little family in 1818 and 1819, 
while we were in their neighborhood, before the country began 

'"The Autobiography of Gideon Lincecum" will be found in Volume 
VIII of the Publications of the Mississippi Historical Society, pp. 443-519. 
This contribution is particularly valuable because of the insight which 
it gives into pioneer life. The same volume also contains another con- 
tribution from the pen of Dr. Lincecum entitled "Choctaw Traditions; 
about Their Settlement in Mississippi and the Origin of Their Mounds." 
Through the kindness of his daughter, Mrs. S. L. Doren, of Hempstead, 
Texas, this further contribution from Dr. Lincecum is published for the 
first time. As is shown by internal evidence his "Life of Apushimataha" 
was written in the year 1861. Since that time the manuscript has been 
carefully preserved and is now in well-nigh perfect condition. 

The editor of these publications takes pleasure in reproducing in this 
connection a brief newspaper sketch by Dr. Lincecum, which was pub- 
lished in The Galveston and Dallas News several years ago, the exact date 
being now unknown. This sketch is as follows: 

I have always regretted that when the opportunity did exist I had not 
made myself more familiar with the habits, manners, customs and tradi- 
tions of the Choctaw Indians, who, at the time of my birth, owned and 
occupied more than half of the lands in the territory of Mississippi. From 
my earliest recollection down to 1837-8, when they were removed by the 
Government to lands set apart for them in what is known as the Reserva- 
tion, I was brought into intimate relations with them, and contracted a 
friendship for many individuals which long survived their exodus. They 
were firm in their attachments, strong in their prejudices and slow to for- 
get or forgive an injury. They would not voluntarily submit to any 
restraint which would deprive them of entire freedom of action. And 

4i 6 Mississippi Historical Society. 

to fill up with other white people. Some of them would visit us 
almost every day and seemed quite proud that the white people 
were about to become their neighbors. Until I had raised a 
crop of corn we procured all our provisions from our Chahta 
neighbors, on very good terms. I did not then understand their 
language, but their negroes whom they had purchased from the 
white people did, and we used them for interpreters in our busi- 
ness transactions. It affords me pleasure now, after the lapse 
of near half a century, to recall in memory the many happy days 
and hours I spent in the days of my young manhood in friendly 
intercourse with that innocent and unsophisticated people. We 
met often, hunted together, fished together, swam together, 
and they were positively, and I have no hesitation in declaring 
it here, the most truthful, most reliable and best people I have 
ever dwelt with. 

While we resided in their country my wife had a very severe 
spell of fever, that confined her to her bed for several weeks. 
During her sickness the good, kind-hearted Chahta women 
would come often, bringing with them their nicely prepared 
tampulo water for her to drink, and remaining by the sick bed 

this sentiment pervaded all ages and conditions of life. The Indian, 
during several months in the year, made the forest his home, and here, 
protected by barks, usually taken from the gum and poplar, he dressed 
the skin of the deer killed in the chase, extracted oil from the fat of the 
bear, and prepared choice portions of the bear and the deer, either for 
market or to supply his family with food. 

Their knowledge of the stars and of woodcraft was developed to an 
extraordinary degree, and if they made no progress in the arts and the 
sciences, they could travel for hundreds of miles with unerring precision, 
having no other guide than the sun and the stars or some peculiarity in 
the appearance of the trees, as they faced the north or the south. Many 
of them understood our language, but they spoke it rarely, and not then 
from choice. On returning from a hunting excursion, they were fond of 
relating their adventures ; the perils they had encountered and the num- 
ber of bear and deer they had killed. No interruption occurred, nor was 
any question asked during the recital, but when the speaker came to a 
pause and sufficient time had been given for the collection of such little 
fragments as had been overlooked or forgotten in the recital, then, and 
not till then, did the conversation become general. They were good 
talkers and patient listeners, and in this latter trait they might have been 
imitated with advantage by those who affected a higher order of intel- 
lectual culture. But they are fast passing away under the mismanage- 
ment of the Government, which has too frequently employed as its agents 
men who looked more to their own interests than they did to the wards 
of the nation. 

Like the white man the Indian had his superstitions, but he had no 
written history. Some of his traditions carry us back to ancient Greece, 

Life of Apushimataha. -Lincecum. 417 

for hours at a time, would manifest the deep sympathy they 
felt, by groaning for the afflicted one, all the time of their pro- 
tracted visit. 

The time is long gone, and I may never have the pleasure 
of meeting with any of that most excellent race of people 
again. But so long as the life pendulum swings in this old time 
shattered bosom I shall remember their many kindnesses to 
me and mine, with sentiments of kindest affection and deepest 
gratitude, and my prayers for their elevation and progress as 
a people among the enlightened nations of the earth shall not 

I might here record many incidents of thrilling interest that 
occurred during the time of my familiarity with this noble tribe 
of aboriginal Americans, but as I set out in this little appendix 
to note a few facts that came under my observation in regard 
to the history of their war chiefs and a few of their conspicuous 
headmen, I must forbear saying more on the minor subjects. 

The chiefs of the three districts were elected every four years. 
All the time I was acquainted with the political action of the 
nation by re-election the same man held the office of chief. 
Their elections were conducted viva voce, or rather by acclama- 

if not the cradle the school of that mythology whose influence is still 
observable, not only among the heathen, but in the habits and literature 
of the most enlightened nations. We all know that the gods of the 
ancients were as numerous as the stars which shine above us, and that 
in the van of them stood Jupiter Olympus, who, for a god, assumed 
many strange and, we might add, very undignified characters, and was 
subject to all the passions and many of the infirmities of humanity. He 
deserves to be immortal. But for him Troy would not have been de- 
stroyed ; Achilles would have had no cause of quarrel with Agamemnon ; 
Homer would not have written the Iliad, nor Virgil the Aeneid, and the 
fame of Pope and Dryden would have been partially eclipsed as trans- 

Jupiter was a god of power and gave birth, in a very extraordinary 
manner, to the impersonation of the highest order of intellect. With a 
blow of his brazen hatchet, Vulcan cleft the head of Jupiter and Minerva 
leaped forth in panoply. This is a beautiful allegory, but it is not as 
grand in its conception as that of the birth of Pushmataha (Son of Thun- 
der), who had neither father nor mother, but directed by the Great Spirit 
a thunderbolt struck a giant oak, and Pushmataha leaped forth, a young 
warrior, armed and painted, to go on the warpath. To this day many 
of the Choctaws adhere to this legend, and though he died in 1824 they 
still believe that he was only called away by the Great Spirit for consul- 
tation, and that when plans for the future prosperity of their country are 
fully matured he will return and again teach them the arts of peace, or, 
if necessary, lead them successfully against their enemies. 


Mississippi Historical Society. 

tion, and managed by the people, the candidates having no hand 
in it, or any knowledge of who the candidates were, until the 
name of the chief elect was proclaimed by runners among the 

Mushulatubi was the principal chief, and he held that title 
many years, until the Chahtas were removed west of the Mis- 
sissippi; where he died. He was a handsome man, about six 
feet in height and quite corpulent. He possessed a lively, cheer- 
ful disposition, and as all fat men, was good-natured and would 
get drunk. He was not much of an orator, and to remedy that 
deficiency he had selected an orator to speak for him. His 
name was Aiahokatubi, and, except Apushimataha, he could 
deliver himself more gracefully and with more ease than any 
man I ever heard address an audience. 

Mushuslatubi was a frequent visitor at my house, while I 
resided in the nation, for it was in his district I had my house, 
and but eighteen miles from his residence. He was good com- 
pany, full of agreeable anecdote and witty, inoffensive repartee, 
until he became too much intoxicated. Then he was nothing 
but a drunken Indian. 

Mushulatubi was not very wealthy. Having but a moderate 
stock of cows and horses and five or six negroes. He was, how- 

During the Creek war of 1813-14 Pushmataha .... joined General 
Jackson with a large number of his warriors and fought with distinction in 
all the battles of that eventful period Talladega, Holy Ground and Pen- 
sacola and accompanied General Jackson to New Orleans, where, with- 
out being a participant, he witnessed the battle of January 8, 1815. He 
was a proud man and, holding the commi