Claiborne County MSGenWeb Project - History





taken from

A History of Mississippi by Robert Lowery and William H. McCardle, R. H. Henry & Co., 1891, pgs. 457- 460.



Claiborne County was established January 27, 1802, fifteen years prior to the adoption of the first constitution. It was named in honor of Governor Wm. C. C. Claiborne. Colonel Ralph Humphreys, a soldier of the Revolution, grandfather of the late Governor Benjamin G. Humphreys, after peace was declared was sent to Michilemacenac, a frontier post in the State of Michigan. Before leaving for his destination, he started his wife and Negro slaves from South Carolina to the Territory of Mississippi, and Mrs. Humphreys located on that famous place, the Grind-Stone Ford, on the south fork of Bayou Pierre. She had with her, her only son, George Wilson Humphreys, the father of the late Governor and the grandfather of G. W. Humphreys, now a resident and planter of Claiborne County. Col. Ralph obtained a. twelve months' furlough to visit his family, and rode from his post in Michigan to Grind-Stone Ford on horseback, where he soon afterwards died. His widow married Col. Daniel Burnett, whose father was one of the first settlers of the county. He had emigrated from South Carolina, where he had served in General Francis Marion's command. Col. Daniel Burnett had served in the Territorial Legislature and was a delegate to the Constitutional Convention from Claiborne, as was Walter Leake, Thomas Barnes, and Joshua G. Clarke. Among the early settlers were David, James, John, Samuel, and Jonathan McCaleb, all natives of South Carolina and sons of Captain William McCaleb, an officer in the Revolutionary War. One of the daughters of Samuel McCaleb became the wife of Hon. Solomon W. Dowds, United States Senator from Louisiana. David McCaleb was a member of the Legislative Council under the Territorial gov­ernment, and the father of Hon. Theodore H. McCaleb, for twenty years Judge of the District Court of the United States for the State of Louisiana. Judge McCaleb was a brilliant, scholarly man of fine literary taste. Thomas Farrar, whose sons, Frederic H., Thomas P., and Edgar D., were distinguished lawyers in Louisiana, two of whom became judges in that State. Mr. Farrar was also the grandfather of E. H. Farrar, a prominent lawyer in the city of New Orleans. Gibson and Davenport, merchants, Dr. Daniel Burnett Nailor, William and Parmenas Briscoe, Thomas Freeland, William Young, James H. Maury, father of Mrs. Benjamin G. Humphreys, Stephen D. Carlton, Henry G. Johnson, John Henderson, Thomas Gale, William Sillers, a lawyer and planter, Leonard N. Baldwin, lawyer and planter, Peter A. Van Dorn, father of the distinguished and bril­liant Confederate officer, General Earl Van Dorn, and Mrs. Em­ily Van Dorn Miller, the mother of Hon. T. M. Miller, distin­guished in his profession, and now serving his second term as Attorney-General of the State, William H. Martin, a lawyer who emigrated from Maryland, the father of Hon. Jonathan McMar­tin, a lawyer of high standing, who represented Claiborne for four years in the State Senate, James I. Person, the father of James Person, now a resident of Port Gibson, Dr. Thos. B. Magruder, Dr. Robert Harper, Hon. H. T. Ellett, who represented the county in the State Senate for two terms, a lawyer of distin­guished ability and for a number of years one of the Judges of the Supreme Court of the State; John A. Barnes, B. D. Stockton, Major James S. Mason, a bright and scholarly man, for many :years the editor of the Port Gibson Reveille, John B. Thrasher, an uncle of Hon. Stephen Thrasher, the present State Senator from Claiborne; John L. Torrey, Richard Valentine, Passmore Hoopes, an extensive merchant in Port Gibson and an affable gentleman, the father of Mrs. Dr. Winter of the city of Jackson, Samuel H. Abbey, Robert Hume and Chas. A. Pearson, of the firm of Hume & Pearson, Chas. Shreve, Joseph L. Kennard, Thos. Berry, the father of ex-Chancellor Berry, Amos Whiting, James. and Evan Jeffrey, George Lake, Robert Scott, Nahum Chunn, .Joseph E. Jones, Chas. B. Clarke, Cornelius Herring, the McIntyres, Wm. Dodson, Volney E. Stamps and James Patton, the latter the father-in-law of the late Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Judge E. G. Poyton.


The towns in the county are Port Gibson, a handsome place of some 2,000 inhabitants, and noted for its schools, churches, generous hospitality and cultivated people. David Gibson, one of the pioneers of the county, was the owner of the plantation upon which Port Gibson was located. Grand Gulf in an early day was the rival of Port Gibson and came very near being chosen as the county site. It was a live little city, shipped about 40,000 bales of cotton, supported two large hotels, two weekly news­papers, and was a commercial point of very considerable importance. It was, however, subjected to the most trying ordeals. The first and second location caved into the river; the greater portion of the buildings were destroyed by fire three times, the last time by the Federal troops during the war. Subsequently the river made a cut-off just in front of the town, leaving it two miles from the main river. The Louisville, Now Orleans & Texas Railroad became the owners of the short line of railway extend­ing from Grand Gulf to Port Gibson, and not only discontinued it but took up the rails. This left the place isolated and aban­doned, and it may now properly be classed among the memories of bygone days but for its brave struggle against manifold misfortunes and the elements combined, it deserves a place in history. The towns of Rocky Springs, St. Elmo, Hermanville, Carlisle, Tillman, and Martin, with the exception of Rocky Springs, are on the Louisville, New Orleans, and Texas Railroad. Before the days of steamboats, Bayou Pierre at Port Gibson was frequently crowded with flatboats, extending a mile or more along its banks. The planters from neighboring counties purchased their supplies of flour, pork, potatoes, etc., from these boats. The Mississippi river forms the western boundary of the county. Bayou Pierre is navigable as a general thing three or four months in the year by backwater from the Mississippi river. Big Black River divides Claiborne and Warren counties.


The railroads in the county are the Louisville, New Orleans & Texas and the Natchez, Jackson &, Columbus.

There has been established at Port Gibson a cotton factory, which has added to the commerce and population of the town.

There are in the county 114,137 acres of cleared land, the average value of which per acre is 56.48.

Total value of cleared lands in the county, including incorporated towns, is $1,043,276.

The population, as shown by the census of 1890 is Whites, 3,419; colored, 11,095; total, 14,514.

Senators                                       Representatives

1820 Henry D. Downs





Stephen D Carson, Will. Willis




1821 William Willlis





Henry G Johnson, Thomas Freeland




1822 Ralph Regan





Henry G Johnson




1823 Thos. Freeland





Daniel Burnett, Abram Gordon




1825 Thos. Freeland





D. D. Downing




1826 Thos. Freeland





William Briscoe, David Dickson




1827 Daniel Burnett





John Henderson, Joseph Moore




1828 Thos. Freeland





John Henderson, Parmenas Briscoe




1829 Thos. Freeland





P. Briscoe, Thos. Gale




1830 Parmenas Briscoe





S. R. Montgomery, Adam Gordon




1831 Parmenas Briscoe





B. F. Stockton, James H Maury




1833 Adam Gordon





John A Barnes, B F Stockton




1835 Parmenas Briscoe





John A Barnes, B F Stockton









Davis H. Hoopes, Amos Whiting




1837 James H. Maury





Davis H. Hoopes




1838-'39 James H Maury





B. G. Humphreys, Davis H Hoopes




1840-'41 Benj. G. Humphreys





T. B. Magruder, Isaiah Watson




1842-'43 Benj. G. Humphreys





T. G. McIntyre, --------- Briscoe




1844 Parmenas Briscoe





T. G. McIntyre, J. T. Moore




1846 Parmenas Briscoe





H. W. Allen, W. Rossman




1848 Parmenas Briscoe





Richard Valentine




1850-'52 Geo. Torrey





Joseph Regan




1854 Henry T. Ellett





Joseph Regan




1856-' 57 Henry T. Ellett





David S. Patterson




1858-'59 Henry T. Ellett





W. S. Wilson




1860-'61 Henry T. Ellett





W. S. Wilson




1861-'62 Henry T. Ellett





G. W. Humphreys




1865-'66 P. R. Montgomery





Andrew J. Lewis




1870-'71 Green Millsaps





E. H. Stiles, M. T. Newsom




1872-' 73 Green Millsaps





Joseph Smothers




1874-'75 J. J. Smith





J. H. Smothers, Haskin Smith




1876-'77 J. J. Smith





Wm. S. Bean, E. S. Drake




1878 Benjamin King





Wm. S. Bean, John McMartin




1880 Benjamin King





A. J. Lewis, John McMartin




1882 John McMartin





T. B. Magruder, E H Stiles




1884 John McMartin





W. T. Magruder




1886 J. D. Vertner





M. R. Jones




         Stephen Thrasher









1888 Stephen Thrasher





W T Magruder




1890 Stephen Thrasher





E. M. Barber





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