"Raymond Years Ago"

By George W. Harper

Journalist - Editor - Owner Of Hinds County Gazette 1845-1883

A Series Published in the Hinds County Gazette, 1878-1879

From the Gillespie Collections edited by Pattie Adams Snowball and Rebecca Blackwell Drake


History Home Page

"Raymond Years Ago"

Home Page

Part I

Harper Arrives in Mississippi

Vicksburg & Meridian RR

Businesses in 1844

The Raymond Bar

Early Merchants

Part II

1844 Businesses

Seat of Justice

Cotton Industry

Early Churches

Part III

Establishment of Schools

John B. Peyton

Raymond Area Homes

Medicinal Resorts & Spas

Part IV

The Mexican War

Early Churches

Early Schools

Raymond Female Institute

Raymond Military Institute

McNutt-Foote Debate

Part V

1844 Presidential Election

Local Elections of 1845

Literary Raymond

Raymond Fires

Old Log Jail

Part VI

Death of Jos. Stewart

Murder of Benj. Sims

Duel Ends in Death

Part VII

Raymond & Bolton RR

Harper Elected Mayor

Chaos at Oak Tree Hotel


Great Fire of 1858

Early Area Settlements

  • Amsterdam

  • Yeizer's Store

  • Newtown

  • Meridian Springs

  • Sturgiss Store

  • Dry Grove

  • County Line

Part IX

Rev. Fisk's Biology Class

Fisk Charged with Fraud

Part X

Fleetwood Tragedy

Local Racetracks

Dignitaries Visit Raymond

Winning the Lottery

Fire Company No. 1

Part XI

"Devoted & Valued Friend"

Tribute to Amos Johnson

Part XII

Yellow Fever Strikes Raymond

Doctors Treating Victims

Cooper's Well

Mississippi Springs


Newspaper Entrepreneurs

Yankees Sack Gazette Office

Fate of Editorial Giants

Part XIV

Henry Clay Defeated in 1844

Stray Cats in Raymond

"A Remarkable Occurrence"

Blow That Punky Bell to Hell"

Isom Bldgs Destroyed

Part XV

1851 Gubernatorial Election

Union Ticket Sweeps State

Part XVI

New Raymond Courthouse

Gibbs Building Rebuilt

Hinds Co. Poor House

Schools Struggle

Murder of Addie Owens


War comes to Raymond

The Battle of Raymond

Willie Foote Captured

Make-shift Hospitals

Yankees Occupy Raymond


Raymond Lodge No. 21

Odd-Fellows' Graveyard

Bolls Incarceration

Crimes Blamed on Whisky

Peyton's Willow Tree Prank

Part XIX

Politics in Raymond

Presidential Election 1860

Hinds Co. for Succession

Raymond Fencibles Organized

Churches Reorganize

Part XX

The Clinton Riot of 1875

Why the Great Uneasiness?

Deaths of Sivley & Thomson

"Kill the Raymond Men"

Part XXI

Harrison Election

Political Gatherings

Event at Dupree's Grove

Presidential Election 1876


Governor Ames Impeached

Great Wrongs Investigated

Fight the Devil with Fire


Reconstruction Era

Harper Ends with Poetic Vision

Part XI


Tribute to Amos R. Johnston

"Devoted and Valued Friend"


When we came to Raymond in 1844, Amos R. Johnston was by all odds the most popular and influential man in the county, as well as one of the best and most successful lawyers, not only of Hinds county, but of the State. He came to Mississippi from Tennessee, his native State, as early perhaps as 1829 or ’30. He had graduated at a country printing office, and had, we think, for a brief period, published a paper somewhere near where the town of Paris now stands, having as a partner the afterwards famous Gen. Zollicoffer, who was killed in the battle of Mill Spring, in 1861.

Johnston was quite a young man when he came to Mississippi. He settled first at Clinton, this county, which was then the chief point of attraction in all this part of the State—the centre, indeed, of fashion, fortune, business, politics, &c. He appeared at Clinton as a newspaper man, and at once entered the field, and at one assumed a prominent position. In a few years, however, Jackson began to grow and Clinton to decline, when Johnston removed to the former city, continuing his labors as an editor. About the year 1839 he removed from Jackson to Raymond, continuing, however, to edit, for some time, a paper at Jackson, while he resided here. That thing could be done satisfactorily in old times, when the newspapers of Mississippi were exclusively devoted to ponderous political articles, but it would hardly work well now, when news items and short local paragraphs are the dishes that the popular mind crave at the hands of the newspaper. Johnston remained a citizen of Raymond form about 1839 until July, 1865—26 years—when he returned to Jackson, where he has since resided.

Judge Johnston was an “original Jackson man” in politics, and such were his politics when he settled at Clinton; but he very soon abandoned the party; and throughout all the changes and upheavels of parties and politicians from 1836 to 1875, he was a thoroughgoing, determined, uncompromising, and most energetic and influential lead of the old Whig party.

As early as 1836 he was elected to the legislature from Hinds county, (but served but a single term,) with Prentiss, Guion, Tompkins, &c., as colleagues. In ’38 or ’39 he was elected Clerk of the Circuit Court of Hinds, and with that event his connection with the press ceased, and he glided from journalism to the bar, although he continued at intervals to write, as a correspondent, for several papers. He filled the office of Clerk of the Circuit Court for one or two terms and in 1845 was elected probate Judge of the county, continuing in the same for, we believe, three terms. He was a member of the State Convention of 1851, and in that heated canvass was one of the strongest men in the State on the union side. He was also a member of the State Convention of 1865, which repealed the ordinance of Secession; and was elected to the State Senate in 1875, by Hinds and Rankin, in the tidal wave that swept the carpet-baggers from power. He was very successful in all his contest for public stations, as he was in the race for fortune and character. On but a single occasion, if we are not mistaken, was he ever defeated before the people, and that was when he was the candidate of the Union Party for the Convention of 1861 which carried Mississippi out of the Union and hastened the civil war and all it woes.

On several occasions between 1850 and 1860 it was the wish of the Whigs to run Judge Johnston for Congress, and on one occasion he was the choice of the party for Governor of the state—but never would he consent to be considered a candidate for a State or Congressional nomination—though he always labored zealously, and expended his means most freely, to advance the interests of those nominated.

Judge Johnston was decidedly one of the most enterprising and public spirited citizens Raymond has ever had. He was always ready for any and every enterprise that promised success, and was always ready to assist those who needed assistance. Earnest and determined in everything he undertook, he was a tower of strength, and ever a faithful ally and friend. He served in the state Senate at the memorable sessions of ’76 and ’77, and to the satisfaction of the Democrats and Conservatives, by whom he was elected; but, on account of bad health, resigned the place in the summer of the last named year; and is now an invalid, under medical treatment.

Judge Johnston and the writer of these lives were personal and political friends throughout all the period from 1844—35 years. In every instance when he was before the people for official position, he received our hearty support, and at any time the Hinds County Gazette would freely and gladly have supported him for Governor, for Congress, for the United States Senate, or for any other position, in preference to any other living man. And it gratifies us now to say, also, that the Hinds County Gazette, and its senior editor, have never had a more devoted and valued friend—under all circumstances, and at all times—than Amos R. Johnston.

We can say in addition, that the people of Raymond and thousands of the old citizens of Hinds county, may well regret the lost health of Amos R. Johnston, for they are thus deprived of the kind offices, the sound counsels, and the clear judgment, of a noble man. And the State, too, we may add, may regret his infirmity, for it loses as true, as pure, as patriotic, as unselfish, and as devoted patriot, as ever lived.


All photographs and illustrations were edited into the series by Pattie Snowball and Rebecca Drake.

Copyright © 2008  PattieAdams Snowball, James and Rebecca Drake