Issaquena Genealogy and History Project: Colonel John Heath Sr. Biography

Biography:  Colonel John Heath Sr.

Source:  Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Mississippi,  Chicago:  The Goodspeed Publishing Company, 1891.

Volume I, pp. 894-95

 It is perhaps only natural that when starting out to fight life’s battles for himself Col. John Heath, Sr., should select planting as his chosen occupation, for he had been trained to the duties of the farm from early boyhood, and was perfectly familiar with all its details. He first began as agent for a planter in Claiborne county , and continued in this business for various men for twenty-six years. In 1859 he came to Issaquena county, Miss., was manager of H.P. Duncan’s plantation until 1864, and the following year was manager for Mr. Bullett, at Egg point, Washington county. In 1866, on account of failing health, he went to Claiborne county for recuperation, and the two years following was agent for Christopher Hampton (brother of Gen. Wade Hampton), on Lake Washington. During the years 1869-71 Mr. He3ath leased Homochitto plantation from H.P. Duncan, and worked that for himself very successfully until 1872. he then purchased two places, both together, consisting of two thousand four hundred acres withal, with one thousand five hundred acres under cultivation, and he is now residing on one of them – Shiloh plantation. Since purchasing, he has made a great many improvements on both, has erected good tenant houses and a fine residence for himself and family. He has never taken a prominent part in politics, but attends strictly to his planting interests, in which he has been unusually successful. He has been a member of the board of supervisors for four years, and also served as justice of the peace for some time. He has been twice married, first in 1852 to Miss Mary M. Stewart, of Copiah county, Miss., and the daughter of Thomas Stewart, a planter of that county. To that union were born seven children, four of whom survive: John W., a planter; Thomas A., a physician and planter; James P., a planter and Nannie E., wife of R.E. Foster, who is also a planter. These children are all residents of Issaquena county. Mrs. Heath, who was a consistent member of the Methodist church, died in 1864. In 1868 Mr. Heath was married to Miss Louisa Taylor, of Washington county, who died in 1874, leaving one daughter, Maggie L (deceased), who became the wife of Rev. A.L. Johnson, minister of the Baptist church. Mrs. Heath was a member of the Methodist church. Colonel Heath has always enjoyed good health, is a well-preserved man, and although sixty-nine years of age, looks hardly a day over fifty. He has ever been industrious and enterprising, and has made all his property since the war. The Colonel was born in Jefferson county, Miss., in 1822, and is the son of Adolph and Julia (Mayers) Heath, both natives of the Keystone state. The parents moved to Natchez, Miss., in 1803, and settled in that city when there were but three houses. They made the trip on a flatboat, with only the assistance of two or three young men.  Mr. Heath remained in Natchez but a short time and then moved to Jefferson county, which was then an almost unbroken wilderness. Indians roamed at will, bears, panthers, and other wild animals abounded, and the few settlers, who were mostly planters and the owners of slaves, experienced all the hardships of pioneer days. When he first settled in the county, Mr. Heath did not own any slaves, but after moving to Claiborne county he purchased a plantation and soon became quite wealthy. His death occurred there in 1853, and his wife died three days later, both of yellow fever, which swept the state that year. Both were members of the Baptist church from the time they were quite young. Of their large family of children eight lived to be grown: Elizabeth (of Claiborne county, is the widow of Thomas Clark), Mary A. (also of that county, is the widow of James Marlar); Sarah A., is the wife of Joseph McVoy, of Louisana, Samuel M. (died leaving a family in Colorado), Abram (died leaving a family in Hazelhurst, Copiah county, Miss.), John, and Adolph (who died, leaving a family in Yazoo City). Mr. Heath never took an active part in politics, but attended strictly to business (planting). He was a soldier of the War of 1812.

Back to the Issaquena Genealogy and History Project

Entire Contents Copyright © 2003, 2004 Bob Franks.
Some of the photographs on this page are courtesy of the Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division