Natchez, Adams County, Mississippi 1891 

Untitled 1

Natchez was visited by La Salle and party in 1682, but did not receive its first white settlers until 1698, when Pere Davion, who shortly after located where Port Adams now is,-and Pere St. Cosme, who remained among the Indians at that point and remained until the year 1707 arrived. The latter was killed by the Chittimaches near Donaldsonville, La., while en route to that Indian town. On February 11, 1700, Lemoyne d'Iberville and Lemoyne Bienville, accompanied by Henri de Tonti, who visited them at Biloxi, arrived at Natchez and were welcomed by Pere St. Cosme. The proposition to establish a post there was well received and the name La Ville de Rosalie aux Natchez was bestowed upon the site. The cabin of the chief and the temple of the sun were soon given neighbors in the shape of stately log huts and the foundations of a city were made. In 1716 a fort was constructed at that point, and in 1718 the plantation of M. de la Houssaye, on St. Catherine' s creek, was opened, and a house for the owner erected in the village. The farms of Pellerin and Bellecourt were opened close by in 1819, and in 1820 the great plantation of Hubert was cleared on that creek, the gristmill, the forge, the armory and the machine-shop were erected and equipped, and the Montplaisir tobacco farm, within a half-myriameter, or about three miles of the village, established. No sooner was this settlement made than British intrigue introduced trouble, and the disagreements between the colonists and Indians, leading up to the massacre of 1729, were commenced. The history of this terrible affair is given in the second chapter of the general history of the state. Enough here to state that the French colony at Natchez was exterminated and in turn, the Natchez themselves were blotted off the face of the earth by the French colonial troops and Choctaws in 1732. In 1745 there were eight white males (soldiers), two Negro families, and fifteen Negro slaves at Natchez. In 1751 there were fifty soldiers in garrison there. In 1772 the British ventured in, and their leader, Col. Anthony Hutchins, located lands on St. Catherine's creek. Five years later the British purchased the Natchez district from the Choctaws for a few presents, although they had parceled it out to favorites in 1772, Hutchins being given a large tract, including the White Apple village and twenty-five thousand acres to Amos Ogden. In 1772 Richard and Samuel Swayze of New Jersey purchased nineteen thousand acres from Captain Ogden at twenty cents per acre, and in the fall settled where is now Kingston, in Adams County. Samuel was a Congregational preacher, and as his own and other families who came with them to settle here were members of this society, he had little trouble in organizing the first protestant religious association in the Natchez country, or even in the whole South. In 1780 fears of Indian attack drove those settlers to Natchez post, where Samuel took up lands on the east bank of St. Catherine's bayou. They selected lands on the Homochitto. Four years later (1776) the new town of Natchez boasted of twenty houses, log and frame, located under the bluff. The merchants were James Willing, an American; Captain Bloomart, a British pensioner; Thomas Barber and Hanchett & Newman. The planters in the neighborhood had almost reached that stage of prosperity which the French planters were enjoying when the massacre of 1729 wiped them out. The new British colonists of Natchez were not to be exempt, their unreasonable exhibition of tory proclivities, their professed preference for British rule and the opportunities to aid the British soldiery attracted the attention of the fathers of the republic, and James Willing, who resided among and knew them, was commissioned to win them over to the Revolution or crush their power to help the enemy. How well he succeeded is part of the national history as it is of that of the state. In 1779-80 the Spanish troops drove the British from west Florida and placed Colonel Grand Pre in charge of a small garrison at Natchez. In April, 1782, colonists made a demonstration against the Spanish, and by the use of a forged letter urged the Spanish officer to surrender Fort Panmure (named so by the British in.1764), then the name of the post. The Britishers took possession and sent the garrison under guard to Loftus Hights. Arrived at that point a Spanish force was observed ascending the river. The captors released the captives and fled. The commander of the Spaniards was Major Mulligan, and he, without delay, went in pursuit, came up with the fugitives, killed fourteen, and captured many. The colonists fled in mortal fear, among the first to go being the Hutchins, Dwights, and Lymans, leaders of the opposition; but the Spaniards exercised the greatest moderation and there was little or no loss inflicted upon the miserable sectionalists.

On March 29, 1798, the Spanish garrison evacuated Natchez, and Captain Gruion installed a garrison of United States troops.

The population of Natchez in 1785 was one thousand five hundred and fifty, and in 1788, two thousand six hundred and seventy-nine; in 1812, one thousand and twenty-one whites, four hundred and fifty-nine slaves, and thirty-one others, numbering one thousand five hundred and eleven; in 1820, one thousand four hundred and forty-eight whites, and seven hundred and thirty-six Negroes; in 1837, three thousand seven hundred and thirty-one; in 1870, nine thousand and fifty-seven; in 1880, seven thousand and fifty-eight; and in 1890, ten thousand one hundred and forty-nine.

An act to incorporate the city of Natchez was passed by the territorial legislature March 10, 1803. The first meeting of the common council was held April 9, 1803, with Samuel Brooks, mayor; Lewis Kerr, recorder; and Samuel Neil, an alderman. Samuel Brooks was mayor a long time; but as the record books were destroyed nothing is certain regarding his immediate successors. The mayors and presidents of the council from 1815 to the present time are named as follows: Edward Turner, 1815; William McComas, 1818; Robert W. Wood, 1855; John Hunter, 1859-63; William Dix, 1866; John W. Weldon, 1869; Robert H. Wood, 1871-4; Henry C. Griffin, 1874-83; I. Lowenberg, 1883-7; William H. Mallery, 1887-9, and W. G. Benbrook, 1889-91.

The first postmaster appointed for Natchez by the United States was Abijah Hunt, commissioned July 1, 1800. This was the first post office established in Mississippi by the United States that at the Chickasaw agency, in charge of James McIntosh, being the second, January 1, 1802, and that at Greenville, established September 10, 1803, with John Shaw master, the third.

Natchez in 1812 was no unimportant place. There was nothing to interfere with the prosperity, save the threatened invasion and subjection of the United States by the British. Marchalk's almanac of that year paints the town in words and figures thus:

"Four tailor shops, three blacksmiths, four saddlers, six carpenters, five cabinetmakers, one coach and sign painter, three hatters, two tinners, four boot and shoemakers, one trunk maker, one bookbinder, one wagon maker, one chair maker, one nail factory, three barbers, four brickyards, one butcher, four bakers, one brush maker, three gold and silver-smiths, one confectioner and distiller, four bricklayers, one horse mill (corn), one plasterer, twelve water carts, eight physicians, seven lawyers, three English schools, one incorporated mechanics' society, one Free Mason lodge, four magistrates, three printing offices, with weekly papers, two porterhouses, six public inns, five warehouses, one reading room and coffee-house, twenty-four drygoods stores, four groceries, two wholesale stores, seventeen catalenes, one commission store, one bank of Mississippi, capital $500,000, managed by thirteen directors, with Stephen Minor president. Under the ' Hill ' were two blacksmith shops, one tavern and thirteen catalenes."

Among the giants of the old Natchez bar were: Wm. B. Griffith; Robert Walker, United States senator from Mississippi, and secretary of the treasury under Polk; Felix and Eli Houston; John A. Quitman, governor of state and member to congress, and a distinguished general in the Mexican war; Thomas B. Reed; George Winchester; John T. McMurrain; S. S. Boyd; William Vannerson, who died in 187], and is spoken of as the Nestor of the Mississippi bar; Alexander Montgomery; G. M. Davis; Grafton Baker; Aylett Baker; Ralph North, ex-circuit judge, and Gen. Wm. T. Martin. Among these might be mentioned Hon. S. S. Prentiss, though he practiced here but a short time.

Church societies of nearly all denominations are represented in Natchez. The Catholic Church dates its foundation here to 1698, when Father John B. Buisson de St. Cosme, Father Davion, and other priests established missions among the Natchez. In 1885 St. Mary's cathedral was dedicated. The erection of this magnificent church edifice was begun in 1841 and completed in 1885 at a total cost of $78,241. St. Mary's cathedral is a handsome Gothic structure of brick, the most graceful building in the state. It has a beautiful and well proportioned spire, one hundred and ninety-six feet high, surmounted with a cross. In this steeple there was placed in 1881, the result of a provision in the will of P. H. McGraw, a fine clock with four large dials, one of which is illuminated. The Protestant churches date to a period early in the eighteenth century; indeed, the Methodists had missionaries or itinerants here in 1799. A Presbyterian church was organized at Pine Ridge February 25, 1807, by Rev. J. Smylie. This church is still in existence, and is the oldest Presbyterian Church in Adams County.

The organization of the Presbyterian Church at Natchez was practically effected in 1817 by the enrollment of eight persons as members. The Rev. Daniel Smith, a clergyman from New England, who had been laboring as a domestic missionary in the community for more than a year, was invited to minister to it as a stated supply; and John Henderson, Joseph Forman, Richard Pearce and William B. Noyes were ordained as its bench of ruling elders. To this body Samuel S. Spencer was added in 1818. Steps had been taken as early as 1810 for the erection of a Presbyterian house of worship, and in 1812 the corner-stone of the building was laid. It was a brick structure, located on the spot where the present church stands. It was dedicated in February, 1815. The engagement with the Rev. Mr. Smith having terminated in 1819, the Rev. William Weir, a native of Ireland, was elected pastor, and on the 31st of March, 1820, was installed by the Mississippi presbytery. This gentleman, therefore, was the first regular pastor of this church. He is remembered by some few aged citizens, and is spoken of as a man of learning, of great purity of character, and eminently zealous in his work. His period of labor, however, was a short one, his death having occurred on the 25th of November, 1822. The square marble tomb which marks the spot of his sepulture may still be found in a neglected lot which belongs to the church in the city cemetery.

The second pastor of the church was the Rev. George Potts, who first visited Natchez as a licentiate of the presbytery of Philadelphia. Having been subsequently ordained by the presbytery, he was installed pastor by the presbytery of Mississippi in December, 1823. The number of communicants at this time was forty-nine. The first donations reported to have been made by this congregation were in the year 1825, -and consisted of $20 to the missionary fund, and $30 to the educational society. In the beginning of 1825 Samuel Postlethwaite was ordained as a ruling elder, a man distinguished for his urbanity as a gentleman and for his integrity as a Christian, and a fine type of that band of merchants who, in the earlier times of Natchez, made their class noble. In 1828, the church edifice originally erected being found inconvenient, the trustees resolved to erect a new one, which work was in the course of the next two years successfully effected. This second building was the original of the one now occupied, a large and handsome brick edifice, and was dedicated on the first Sabbath of January, 1830. The pastorate of Mr. Potts terminated in November, 1835, having continued thirteen years. His removal from Natchez was occasioned by his acceptance of a call from the Duane Street church. New York. He left a communion list of one hundred and thirty-five persons. During his incumbency another addition had been made to the ruling eldership in the person of Dr. Andrew Macrery.

The successor of Mr. Potts was the Rev. Samuel G. Winchester, a native of Baltimore, and previously pastor of a church in Philadelphia. His installation took place on December 24, 1837. The bench of elders having been reduced by deaths and removals to two members, the venerable John Henderson and Dr. Macrery, the congregation elected to that office Thomas Henderson, William Pearce and Franklin Beaumont, who were ordained February 25, 1838. In the year following the church building was repaired, and its means of accommodation enlarged by the introduction of the galleries which are at present standing. About the same time the very neat and commodious parsonage belonging to the church was purchased for the use of the pastor. Mr, Winchester's labors were brought to a close unexpectedly by his death, in August, 1841, while he was absent at the North, whither he had gone as commissioner of the general assembly, which met that year in Philadelphia. He was succeeded by Rev. Joseph B. Stratton, whose pastorate has been a successful one.

The Baptist church was organized in Natchez in January, 1837. Rev. Ashley Vaughn was the first pastor. This society never erected a church and soon after the society became extinct.

The Wall Street Baptist church was organized in 1850, by Rev. T. J. Freeman. A tasty and commodious brick church was erected at once at a cost of about $15,000 and was dedicated April 6, 1851.

The introduction of Methodism into Natchez occurred in 1798, and Tobias Gibson, of South Carolina, was the first minister. Their large and handsome church, corner Jefferson and Union streets, is supplemented by Wesley chapel for the benefit of the factory operatives and citizens of the north part of the city, and also a commodious brick structure on Pine Street, occupied by the colored Methodists.

The conception of the English Protestant Episcopal church of Natchez dates back to 1821, and on May 10, 1822, Rev. James Pilmore was installed as the first rector. A church was erected in 1823; alterations and improvements were instituted later, and now they have an elegant house of worship which cost some $35,000.

The Temple B'Nai Israel is a brick house presenting some architectural features and good interior decoration. The one Methodist and two Baptist churches of the Negro societies are commonplace structures.

Of benevolent institutions there are the following: St. Mary's Orphan home, for girls, and D'Evereaux Hall, an orphan asylum for boys, both of them being conducted under the auspices of the Catholic Church. A Protestant orphan home, for boys and girls, is also well sustained.

D'Evereaux Hall, the Catholic home for orphan boys, is possessed of a line property, including many acres of valuable land, thirty-four of which are cultivated by the boys, producing a handsome income. In the midst of this, and surrounded by lawn, grove and flower garden, stands D'Evereaux Hall, a substantial brick structure of two floors, handsome in design and well adapted to the purpose for which it is employed. This institution is under the immediate management of the Christian Brotherhood, and is presided over by Brother Gontran, whose fine executive ability, experience, economic management, energy and devotion to the undertaking, have rendered the establishment partially independent of outside support. This institution was chartered January 25, 1858, by Rt. Rev. Bishop Elder, then bishop of Natchez, and a number of Catholic gentlemen. From limited operations in a small wooden building, the institution has been enlarged until it Las called into requisition a fine and valuable estate. From fifty to sixty orphans form the average charge of the establishment, whose maintenance costs some $4,500 per year. Its income is derived from the following sources: One half proceeds annual orphans' fair, $1,400; proceeds market garden, 11,800; from guardians and friends of orphans, $600; Christmas collections in church, $250; a total of $4,050 per annum. This is the reliable income of the establishment, the difference between this and the expenditure being met by various means. The Hall is a perfect model of domestic economy. The garden, of between thirty- four and thirty-five acres, is worked by the boys, one hour per day being all of this description of labor required from each individual.

St. Mary's orphan asylum has been in existence a great number of years and is under the excellent management of the Sisters of Charity, an order whose glorious services amid the horrors of the battlefield and among the sickening scenes of the dreadful epidemic are indelibly inscribed upon the heart of hearts of the people of the South. This establishment maintains at present sixty-six orphan girls at a yearly cost of about $4,500. The income of the asylum is derived in part from the following: From proceeds annual Catholic fair, $2,000; from bequest late Dr. O'Riley, of Canton, Miss., $250; from Christmas and other collections, $608; total, $2,858.

The needles of the girls assist somewhat toward their maintenance. The receipts from this source, however, consequent on the extensive and increasing employment of the sewing-machine, lessen every year. The asylum occupies a substantial and commodious brick building on the corner of Rankin and Jefferson streets, with vegetable and flower gardens attached, the former of which, worked by the orphans, supplies the table with excellent vegetables the year round. The children are comfortably clothed, receive a good English education, and in all the domestic duties are thoroughly qualified, and so excellently trained they are eagerly sought for adoption and service, and many a girl whose career has started in the chilling shadows of the most distressing auspices has, thanks to the beneficence of St. Mary's, been ushered into a womanhood surrounded with all the comforts and refinement of independence. The house is presided over by Sister Tatiana, who is assisted by a community of sisters and a board of trustees composed of Catholic gentlemen. After looking over the books of both these Catholic orphan asylums it is found that fully one-third of the children for whom they provide are either of Protestant or non-Catholic parentage.

The Protestant orphan asylum dates back to March 12, 1816, when a few ladies of Natchez met together and organized an association for providing a home for the friendless children of the state, the result of which was the establishment of the Protestant orphan asylum, an institution which, through all these years, a period marked with the calamities of plague, bankruptcy, devastations by storm and ravage of war, has offered a roof for the roofless, meat for the hungry and friendship for the friendless. The history of this establishment is a relation of everything pleasant to remember of the former and present genera-tion of amiable Protestant ladies of Natchez, a recital of which, I regret, is not within the province of the present undertaking. The asylum occupies a substantial and roomy building on "Union Street, in the northern outskirts of the city and in the midst of a delightful grove. At present there are some forty inmates, principally female, though the asylum admits children of both sexes, the support of which cost last year $2,559.95. The receipts from various sources, principally from voluntary subscription of the citizens of Natchez, and a donation by the grand lodge of Masons amounted to $3,055. 35, leaving a balance in the treasury of $445. For some time past the citizens of Natchez have experienced a burden in the chief support of this institution, and one too, unfairly imposed upon them, when it is considered that the city furnishes but one-tenth of the children here provided for, while nine tenths are waifs from all quarters of the state. Considering it the duty of the state at large to contribute to the support of the establishment the lady managers a short time ago called in the advice of a committee composed of members of all the Protestant churches and Hebrews, the latter of whom, though they have derived no benefit from the asylum, have both by their purse and influence done much in assisting it. They called in the aid of this committee, as I have stated, to advise as to the most effective means to arouse the Protestants of the state to a sense of their duty in the premises. The result of this was the issuing of an appeal to the churches. Masonic and other bodies, Protestant, Christian and Hebrew, for contributions. The response exceeded expectation.

Harmony lodge No. 33 (now Harmony lodge No. 1), A. F. & A. M. was chartered by the grand lodge of Kentucky in 1801. On August 25, 1818, it was re-chartered by the grand lodge of Mississippi as Harmony No. 1. The first officers were: Seth Lewis, W. M.; James Farrell, S. W.; William Brooks, J. W.; David Lattermer, treasurer; John Girault, secretary; St. James Beauvis, S. D.; Israel E. Trask, J. D.. Joseph Newman, S.; William Mitchell, Tyler. This lodge is now in a flourishing condition, with E. G. De Lap, W. M.

Jackson lodge No. 15 (now Andrew Jackson lodge No. 2), was chartered under the grand lodge of Tennessee, October 8, 1816. This lodge was re-chartered by the grand lodge of Mississippi in 1818. It now has a large membership, and J. Peoples is W. M.

The grand lodge of Mississippi, A. P. & A. M., was organized at Natchez July 27, 1818, when Henry Tooley was elected M. W. grand master.

Lock lodge, A. F. & A. M., No. 52, of Natchez, was chartered by the grand lodge of Mississippi February 9, 1842, with John M. Duffield, W. M. The charter of this lodge was surrendered November 29, 1849, the members joining other lodges in Natchez.

Natchez E. A. chapter No. 1 is in flourishing existence here, with Dr. J. C. French high priest.

Rosalie Commandery No. 5, K. T. of Natchez, is at present presided over by W. G. Benbrook, E. C. The other officers of the commandery are: J. C. French, M. D. , general; J. Peebles, C. G.; E. G. De Lap, prelate; C. T. Chamberlin, S. W.; F. S. Shaw, J. W.; Geo. W. Kuntz, treasurer; John E. Bledsoe, recorder; E. J. Guice, standard-bearer; W. B. Irwin, sword-bearer; C. H. Keirn, warder; C. M, Sawyer, captain-general.

The cornerstone of the old Masonic temple was laid June 25, 1827. It was quite an imposing stone edifice, and was used till 1889, when it was torn down and its site utilized for the erection of a new Masonic temple and opera house now in course of erection. It will be a most imposing structure, five stories in height, built with brick and stone trimmings. The ground plan is 119x60 feet, with a sixteen-foot L architectural design, modern and stately; interior decorations artistic. The building would be a pride to any city.

Mississippi lodge No. 1, Odd Fellows, was established in Natchez in 1836. Marion Ruffner was the first noble grand.

The grand lodge of Odd Fellows was established here in 1838, and Marion Ruffner was the first grand master. Thomas Reed, of Natchez, is now the oldest surviving grand master.

Natchez lodge No. 3, Knights of Pythias, was organized October 7, 1873, with Allison H. Foster past commander.

Knights of Honor lodge No. 1145, was organized a few years ago and won to its ban-ner a large membership.

The Catholic Knights is a new and widespread order, similar in its plan to the Knights of Honor. Though not a secret order, it is well established here, in St. Martin's branch No. 88, and includes in its membership many of the influential and prominent Catholic citizens.

Ezra lodge No. 134, I. O. B. B., includes in its membership the majority of the Hebrews of Natchez.

St. Joseph's Total Abstinence and Benevolent society and many literary and benevolent associations are doing effective work.

In the thirties, Natchez, Vicksburg and Woodville began railroad building. The first two towns reached out to connect with Jackson, the state capital, the town of Woodville desiring to reach the Mississippi at Bayou Sara. The financial crisis of 1836-40 put a damper upon railroad interests and checked operations in that line almost entirely. After building only thirty-five miles of their road the Natchez Company sold out to parties who, in turn, abandoned the project and disposed of the locomotives, iron, etc. Unfortunate mistake was this, and one that cost the town a large portion of the traffic that had hitherto been her own, but which now went to Vicksburg and Jackson. Again, the New Orleans, Jackson & Great Northern (now the Illinois Central) might have been induced by proper efforts to run their line through Natchez, and much valuable business territory might have thus been saved to her merchants. Yet a third time Natchez slept upon her opportunity and permitted the Louisville, New Orleans & Texas road to pass to the east of her when it was in her power to secure the important connections offered by this great railway.

But, these mistakes aside, Natchez is to-day one of the most promising cities of the South. Always conservative, her merchants are doing business with their own capital and upon a solid financial basis. The railroad to Jackson has been constructed by her own means and its final completion to Columbus is one of the certainties of the near future. Another improvement in this road will be the broadening of the gauge to the standard width. At last awakened to the importance of railroads and finally realizing their great value, the business men of the town are working with energy and perseverance to secure the New Orleans, Natchez & Fort Scott railroad, which will doubtless prove one of the most important rail-ways ever built upon American soil. From present indications the running of this line through Natchez seems a matter of fact.

The Natchez, Jackson & Columbus railroad, or the Little J, as it is called, has done a world of good to the town of Natchez, and its value is appreciated. General Martin, the brainy and energetic president of this line, is indefatigable in his efforts to secure the extension and broadening of his road and its equipment as a first-class highway. A recent visit to New York in the interest of the road was highly satisfactory and the General was able to say to the directory upon his return that the future of the road would be all that could be wished. The management of the Little J road has been exceptionally good. The officers of the company are capable, courteous officials, and take pleasure in consulting the public weal while faithfully performing the duties of their several departments. Major Williams, the general superintendent (a New Orleans gentleman), is an official whose fitness for the important office he holds is a matter of record, while his urbanity is known to all business men, rendering him a general favorite both in railroad and business circles. In l882-3 the growth of the business interests of the city was so great that it became necessary to connect the wharves, the railroad depots and the mills by rail; so the Bluff City railway was organized for the purpose. Right of way was obtained from the city, the track was laid and an incline was constructed from the general level of the town to the water's edge. This railway has proved a valuable institution and more than justifies the expenditure necessary to its construction. The street railway was built in 1885-6 to connect the business part of the city with the ferryboat that plies between the city and Vidalia, La. The city is supplied with an excellent quality of gas from the city gas works, located in the northern part of the town. As the demand for extra supply is created it is promptly met by the company.

The cotton exchange was commenced early in 1886, and on the 20th of May, 1886, a charter was obtained from the legislature. The organization started out under the most auspicious conditions and has been steadily maintained, while daily growing in popular favor. The objects and purposes of the exchange, as set forth in the charter, are the same as those of similar institutions in the cities throughout the country. Cotton has met with a ready sale here at remunerative prices, which have been satisfactory to all parties concerned. There is a large and efficient corps of buyers in the town, who will compare favorably in all respects with those of any town in the South. A large portion of the cotton bought in Natchez has been bought for export. The river or bend cotton is not surpassed by any section on the Mississippi, and has always been in excellent demand at good prices. The sales of staple cotton have also been large at prices equal to the best markets in the South. As a cotton market Natchez has taken a prominent stand and it is confidently predicted by those competent to judge that she will handle about fifty thousand bales per annum.

A new cotton compress was erected in 1886 at a cost of about 175,000. With improved machinery and in the hands of live, go-ahead business men, this important adjunct to the business of the town has proved a valuable factor in the increase of trade. Perhaps no single institution of the city speaks more unerringly of her future.

No city of its size in the Southwest has built as many manufacturing establishments as Natchez. The first of these was the Natchez cotton mills, a factory occupying a space of fifty feet front by a depth running the entire square, three stories high and fitted with the most improved machinery for the manufacture of cotton in the various grades of yarn, bat-ting, cloth, etc. This mill employs over three hundred looms, ten thousand spindles and three hundred people, whose wages aggregate about $4,000 monthly. Between three and four thousand bales of cotton are consumed annually in producing the sheeting, shirting, drills and brown cottons that the factory turns out.

Another important institution of the kind is the Rosalie mills, the products of which are similar to the other, and the capacity of which is almost as great. Both of these mills are being operated profitably, and find markets for all the goods they can manufacture.

Two cottonseed oilmills, the Carpenter-Dickens company (Lee oil works) and the Adams manufacturing company, are engaged in the manufacture of cottonseed oil, cake, meal, cot-ton batting and fertilizers. These companies employ a number of operatives and are import-ant institutions of the town. They were under the control of the Oil Trust Company, as are most of the similar institutions in the South. An iron and brass foundry meets an important demand in this direction and employs skilled workmen. The work executed at these foundries is said to be very superior, while the charges are very reasonable. The ice factory, public cotton gins and lumber mills are all large industrial concerns.

The press of the city has played an important part in the whole drama of progress. The Daily Democrat and The Banner have always inculcated the opinions and ideas of progressists.

In the northern portion of the city is the National cemetery, under the sod of which are interred the remains of the Federal dead who fell in the conflicts in which they were engaged on the soil of Mississippi and Louisiana, as well as those who died in the service at the various hospitals and upon the tented fields. The number of graves in this beautiful cemetery is very large. From a central mound, all carpeted with greensward, a tall flagstaff rises heavenward. This spot, sacred to the memory of the Union soldiers, is one of the loveliest in the state, which abounds in attractive locations. The National cemetery is justly a favorite resort for equestrians and drivers in equipages.

The City cemetery is likewise a most attractive spot of this unusually attractive city on the bluff. Massive structures of marble and granite commemorate the virtues of many of the honored dead of the town, while the graves of others are traced by less pretentious tombs and slabs all combining to indicate in one solemnly beautiful segregation, within the city of the living, this sacred and honored city of the dead.

The churches, public buildings and residences of Natchez point out the spirit of the Renaissance, which took possession of her people long before it dawned on the inhabitants of the North Atlantic states. The Doric and Ionic orders, with entablatures in Greek and Roman form, prevail here. The Gothic cathedral speaks of thirteenth century glories and the colonial style is not wanting in the architectural panorama. The streets of Natchez are well drained and kept clean. The residences in the city and throughout its suburbs are many of them palatial. The drives about the town are among the most delightful to be found in the county. Fragrant blossoms greet the senses at every turn, while in many gar-dens is seen a wealth of floral productions that is simply intoxicating. Natchez is especially noted for its picturesque landscapes, its luxurious homes and its delightful climate. Here the Northerner may find health and comfort in the winter months, and almost perfect freedom from the severity and harsh frigidity of his ice-clad home. The grand old hill selected first by the Roman missioners and secondly by the French officer, Bienville, commands a view of the Mississippi. While wanting in the primitive grandeur of 1698, it has raised up a beautiful civilization which breathes harmony around and renders it what Maryland was in early years. It is a typical Southern city, where much of the old manners and social forms still obtain and one where the educated citizen of the Republic finds much to admire and little to condemn.

 

 

Back to: Mississippi Counties, Cities and Towns, 1891

Source: Biographical and Historical Memories of Mississippi, Goodspeed Publishing Company, 1891

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