Antebellum and Civil War Mississippi
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Plantation Ledger. "Cotton Book." Locust Grove Plantation [Jefferson County, Mississippi]. 1825-1845.

Internal evidence suggests that the Postlewaite family of Mississippi owned the Locust Grove Plantation named in the ledger. Entering the territory in the early 1800s, Samuel Postlewaite became a successful merchant and planter as well as a founder of the Bank of Mississippi. At his death in 1825, an heir adopted a fairly common accounting practice of the time--recording daily amounts of cotton picked by each named slave. Occasionally, other chores such as "digging potatoes" or weather ("rain...rain...rain") interrupted the harvest of this cash crop. The leather bound volume also contains remedies for ailments as well as a "List of Negroes in Families on Locust Grove Plantation, Jany 1st, 1828," with notations on marriages, births, and deaths.

Broadside. George W. Martin. "Notice. The undersigned, Locating Agent for registering and locating claims under the provisions of the Treaty made with the Choctaw Indians at Dancing Rabbit Creek..." 14 November 1835. 23 x 21 cm.

Starting in 1786, the Choctaw Nation negotiated nine separate treaties with the federal government, culminating in the 1830 Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek. Under its terms, the tribe agreed to relinquish ten and half million acres in return for relocation to Indian Territory. Article 14 of the treaty, however, guaranteed land allotments in Mississippi to Choctaws who wished to remain in the state so long as they registered within six months. The fraudulent tactics of the Indian Agent in charge of this procedure provoked several government investigations over the years. This unique 1835 broadside was directed at Choctaws who might wish to register Mississippi land claims denied them five years earlier.

Sheet Music. Estelle de Lisle. Magnolia: Valise Elegante. Philadelphia: Beck & Lawton, 1859. Title on front cover: Souvenir de Macon. Deux Valses par Estelle De Lisle. Cover illustrated with a tinted lithograph depicting the Calhoun Female Institute at Macon, Mississippi.

The Calhoun Female Institute began as a public school for girls in the early 1850s. By 1858, the director changed the facility to a private operation in order to pursue a loftier curriculum: "the basis and system of Calhoun Institute, as applied to female education, are new; but, as mind knows no sex, it is as suitable in the education of females as males." The  rare, colored illustration on the cover of this antebellum sheet music depicts a dormitory completed in 1858. Three stories high, the building also included an observatory for astronomical research. In 1863, Macon became Mississippi's wartime capitol, and the school's campus served as the seat of government. Special Collections owns the only recorded copy of this sheet music.

Edward Willett. The Vicksburg Spy: Or, Found and Lost. A Story of the Siege and Fall of the Great Rebel Stronghold. New York: The American News Co., Publishers' Agent, 1864.

This rare piece of Union propaganda printed a year after the fall of Vicksburg features an engaging set of characters: the crafty yet warm-hearted former trapper and Union scout, Bill Woodworth; his son Henry, who serves as a Union spy under the alias "Pete Purcell"; and Lieutenant Sollis, the vengeful Confederate soldier from "the best blood of Alabama." Two damsels in distress, Kate and Bessie Sharp, sympathize with the Union and fall in love with two Federal soldiers. After much intrigue and plotting the Confederate villain dies and the Union cause triumphs. Unfortunately, Henry is mortally wounded in his efforts to save his lady love, Kate Sharp. The ending is pure melodrama featuring a tearful reunion between father and son, the hoisting of the "Stars and Stripes" over Vicksburg, and the final passing of Henry while Kate weeps. 

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