of the Southwest Mississippi Territory
legislature of the State of Georgia be, and are hereby requested to give
by law, to the formation of two States, of the Mississippi Territory."
of the United States, 17 June, 1812
FRANCE - to 1763
For centuries, several Indian tribes
including the Choctaws, Chickasaws, and The Natchez roamed, hunted, and
lived on the land that we now call Southeast Mississippi. White man
did not arrive until 1540 when Hernando DeSoto led his party from Florida,
through Mississippi, and across the Mississippi River into Louisiana.
For a great part of the time until the cession of 1763, most of the Indian
tribes were in a state of warfare with the white intruders.
Several white explorers traveled through
Mississippi, including the Frenchman La Salle, in 1681, who claimed the
land in the name of the King of France. But the first permanent settlement
on the lower Mississippi River was not attempted until 1698 when Ibberville,
the governor of Louisiana, created the settlement named after him.
In 1700, Ibberville sailed up the Mississippi River as far as Natchez,
and mapped out the area today known as Natchez, Adams Co, Mississippi.
However, the settlement was not created until 1716, when Bienville, another
Louisiana governor, built a fortification called Fort Rosalie.
settlement was attacked out in 1729 by the Natchez Indians, in what is
known as the
GREAT BRITAIN - to 1783
In 1763, France relinquished to Great
Britain all her possessions east of the Mississippi River, and to Spain,
all her possessions west of that river, and also the Island of Orleans.
Spain, at the same time, gave up Florida to the British.
SPAIN - to 1812
In 1783, the country north of the 31st
parallel (northern edge of present day Claiborne County, Mississippi,)
was included as part of the United States via the treaty acknowledging
In this Treaty of Peace of 1783, Spain
was permitted to accede, by the British. The British, in making this treaty,
insisted upon the Ohio River as the western boundary of the United States,
but finally yielded the Mississippi River. The accession of Spain
was promised on the condition only that the Americans relinquished all
claims west of the Allegheny mountains, and to the navigation of the river,
promises which were sustained by France. The American negotiators,
however, settled with Great Britain without consulting France. A
secret article in the treaty provided that a line due east from the mouth
of the Yazoos, on the Mississippi, not the 31st parallel, should constitute
the southern boundary of the United States.
Displeased, Spain refused to deliver
the territory between these lines, and continued to claim the land as Florida,
and refused all right of deposit for our commerce at New Orleans, or any
other point in the territory. The area of southeast Mississippi was
not turned over to the United States, by Spain, until forced to in 1797.
Winthrop Sargent became the first governor of the Mississippi Territory,
See Gov. Sargent's
Address to the People of the Mississippi Territory.
THE UNITED STATES - TO 1818 and STATEHOOD
One of the first acts of Gov. Sargent
was to ascertain the conduct of the Spanish with regard to the Indians,
and to determine the numbers and degree of threat the Indians posed.
He directed the agents to confine passports to Indian chiefs, and men of
real consequence among the tribes, wisely thinking that the less the Indians
and whites mixed, the better the prospect of harmony.
In other early acts as governor, Winthrop
Sargent appointed the first Mississippi Militia,
and made certain Judicial appointments.
In 1803, with the expected surrender
of Louisiana by the Spanish to the United States, men of all grades, professions,
and pursuits, flocked to the lower Mississippi with the intention of descending,
at first opportunity, to New Orleans. Many, however, remained in
Natchez became a place of much importance
during those early years. It was a large settlement, consisting chiefly
of small wooden buildings of one story, but with little regard to system
or cleanliness. The area beneath the tall bluff, known as Natchez-Under-The-Hill,
became a favorite habitat to gamblers, thieves, and murderers.
In the outlying areas of the Southwest
Mississippi Territory, thousands of pioneer families arrived, many from
South Carolina, and established churches, schools, and villages.
The Mississippi statehood
convention was held in 1817, in Washington, Adams County, Mississippi.
All The Western States
and Territories, From The Alleghanies to the Pacific, and From the Lakes
to the Gulf, containing their history from the Earliest Times, by John
Warner Barber; Published by Howe's Subscription Book, Cincinnati,
Inc. of the Southern and Western States, Volume III, by J. D. B. DeBow;
Published at the Office of DeBow's Review, New Orleans, LA, 1853
Mississippi, by J.
M. Chilton, appearing in Debow's Review, Volume II, Issue 3;
Published by J. D. B.
DeBow, New Orleans, Sept. 1851
The Territorial Government
of the United States, appearing in The Southern Quarterly Review, Volume
12, Issue 24, Publisher E. H. Britton, Columbia, S.C., Oct., 1847