"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 XII



Yellow Fever Strikes Raymond and Cooper’s Well

From the earliest period Raymond has been remarkable for good health. When the Asiatic cholera, in 1832, prevailed so fearfully along the Mississippi river and throughout the country, there was we believe but a single death from that disease in Raymond and that was in the person of the builder of the old court house. It was not until 1855 that a case of yellow fever occurred in the town, notwithstanding it had often prevailed most alarmingly at New Orleans, Natchez, Vicksburg, Jackson, &c. In 1853, ’54, ’55 the fever prevailed at New Orleans and along the river, and each year it worked its way to a greater or less extent into the interior, but not until 1855 did Raymond have a case of its own production.

Cooper’s Well was at the time overrun with visitors, composed chiefly of refugees from the stricken localities. There was no such thing as a quarantine, and the intercourse between the Well and the fever towns and cities, and, between Raymond and the Well, was unrestricted, in fact as free as air. Considerable sickness prevailed and some deaths occurred in Raymond before it was authoritatively announced that it was yellow fever, although a stampede had taken place at the Well many days before, and a number of the refugees from there had found, as they supposed, a place of safe refuge in Raymond.

Doctors who Treated Yellow Fever Victims

It was not until about the 29th of September that a stampede took place from Raymond. The following medical men were then here and in active practice: Dr. Latimer, Dr. Dupree, Dr. Payne, Dr. Patton, Dr. Baird, Dr. Watson, and, we believe, Dr. A. B. Brown. Dr. Payne visited the Well every day after the sickness was pronounced fever, until he was himself taken. He had a very severe case, and died in a few days. A killing frost appeared the 26th of October, but some deaths afterwards occurred, among them that of Dr. Watson. There were 9 or 10 deaths during the epidemic and possibly 20 to 30 cases in all in Raymond. Every case, we believe, received ample attention, both from the citizens and the physicians, and everyone who died received a decent and Christian burial. That Raymond should have entirely escaped fever during the late wide-spread epidemic - and the nearness of its approach - was quite miraculous; but may be ascribed, perhaps, to the healthy locality, the good sanitary condition, the timely and efficient quarantine, and the blessing of Providence. Perhaps the unhealthiest season in the history of Raymond was the summer of 1844. There was then a great deal of sickness in the town and vicinity, and a number of deaths. It was sort of bilious fever, and was caused, as was thought at the time, by the opening up of new lands, work which about that time was going on quite extensively, leaving a vast amount of decaying vegetable matter.

Cooper’s Well Before the War

We happened to be present at Cooper’s Well on three important occasions, when a great many people were there. One was the first day of May, 1851. Gen. H. S. Foote, then U. S. Senator, and the duly nominated candidate of the Union party for Governor against the then Governor, Gen. Quitman, was
there. Gen. John D. Freeman was also there, and was the nominee of the Union party of the district for Congress. Both gentlemen addressed a large assembly of the people on the issues of that very spirited canvass, and a personal difficulty on the spot was at one moment imminent between Gen. Freeman and friends on the one side, and some of the supporters of Gov. Quitman on the other. An indiscreet word or action would perhaps have brought about a very serious state of affairs.

In the afternoon of the same day, the then new and spacious ball-room was thrown open for the first time. It was the largest room for social purposes in the State. A hundred persons could dance on the floor at a time, and yet leave ample room for promenaders, conversationalists, &c. In this room, during the afternoon of the same day, in the presence of hundreds of ladies and gentlemen, the ceremony of crowning a May Queen was performed quite elegantly. J. S. Byne, afterwards Mayor of Vicksburg, made the speech, and crowned the Queen, (whom he a year or two afterwards married.) At night, the most splendid ball in the history of the Well came off. It was estimated that there were over 500 ladies and gentlemen present in the ball room. We remember that it was a very cold night; that fire was necessary for comport and that there were many more persons there than could be accommodated with rooms, and that many ladies and gentlemen promenaded about after the ball “broke up,” endeavoring to keep warm, until day appeared and arrangements could be made for their comfort.

Another important occasion at the Well was the Convention of the Direct Traders with Europe. It occurred in 1853. Gov. McRae presided, and numberless prominent Southern men were in attendance. We were to have in a few months, a direct line of steamers running between New Orleans and Holland, and cotton was to be carried at half the rates then charged by the Yankee sailors, and money was to be advanced by the Hollanders to the cotton producers, in any amount, at 3 and 4 per cent, per annum. The plan was beautiful - but something was lacking - and all broke down.

The third memorable occasion was when a review of all the “Home Guards of the county” was ordered to take place at the Well in the summer of 1861. There were about 2,000 military men at the Well that day, embracing (in full uniform) boys from 12 years of age, to grey haired men of 60 years. It was a high day. An equal quantity of patriotism possibly never before covered an equal area of territory. “Home Guards” were then an invaluable institution, and the fighting being in Virginia, they smelt, at Cooper’s Well, the battle afar off. After a grand parade, the 2,000 military organized a meeting for the transaction of business - with J. B. Ross, as Chairman, and Geo. W. Harper, secretary. Speeches were made, but if any business was transacted it had entirely passed from our memory.

Mississippi Springs

That Mississippi Springs was, in former years, deemed a point of interest as well as importance, it is only necessary to mention certain facts. At the session of the Legislature of 1838 three distinct companies were honored with Acts of Incorporation, all having domicile at the Springs, viz: 1. The Mississippi Springs Library Company; 2. The Mississippi Springs Banking Company; and 3. The Mississippi Springs and Clinton Railroad Company. These companies all promised wonderful results, and it was predicted, that while as a Watering Place the Springs would eventually rival Saratoga, that a town would also grow up that would rival some of the commercial centers of that day. But, we never heard of the purchase or gift of a book for the library; nor was a spade ever struck in the earth in behalf of the railroad; the bank, however, did, we believe, make a limited issue of notes that have never been redeemed.

Between 1844 and 1861, several determined efforts, by different gentlemen, were made to save the place from decay, but they were all unavailing. The stream was never large enough to run two health restoring mills in the county, and the Wells possessing the better mineral water - for invalids - it captured the invalids and also the pleasure-seekers, and the Springs - fine as were the buildings, and delightful as is the location - have gone to decay and ruin, and today present but a dreary waste as compared with their grandeur a third of a century ago, when the buildings and adjacent grounds, throughout all the summer months, were crowded with the youth, beauty, chivalry and statesmanship of Mississippi and the adjacent States.




Mr. W. W. Cockerham, of the Terry neighborhood, calls our attention to the fact that we located Newtown “about half way between Raymond and Terry,” whereas the town stood but three miles west of Terry. He also reminds us that the original Sturgiss Store stood two miles from the present Dry Grove, a fact that had escaped our memory - but, if we remember rightly, the present Dry Grove was known as Sturgiss Store for some time after the store and postoffice were removed there and after Mr. Sturgiss had removed from the county.


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

Copyright © 2008  PattieAdams Snowball, James and Rebecca Drake