"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 XX


The Clinton Riot of 1875

The feeling in Raymond on Sunday morning, Sept. 5, 1875 - after a night of deep sorrow to many, and great anxiety to others - was intense, as well as universal. It was not demonstrative - it was quiet, profound, determined. It could be read in men’s countenances and actions, for words were few. No such cause for excitement had ever before transpired in the history of the town - no such condition of things has arisen since - and, in all human probability, no such condition of things will ever again occur, however eventful may be our career.

Let us briefly and impartially draw a pen picture of the political situation in this town and county at that period.

The Tax Payers’ League had been holding regular meetings in Raymond for several months, exposing the rottenness of Radicalism, the corruption of the carpet baggers, and the incompetency and dishonesty of our county against a continuance of robbery and alien rule. The large county mass meeting of July had been held in the court house lawn, and the determination expressed to submit no longer, without a united, vigorous and determined effort to throw off the living death of Radicalism. The Democratic-Conservative Clubs had been organized in every neighborhood, and were holding their weekly meetings, enlivened with fluttering flags, soul-stirring music and the boom of cannon.

Then came the great Raymond meeting of Aug. 18, 1875, when the whole county turned out in numbers and displayed perfectly overwhelming - and on the same day, a full and complete Dem.-Conservative ticket was nominated, composed of the best material in the country, and the determination expressed by the united voice of the thousands assembled, to elect it.

This was the first time that the taxpayers of the county had exhibited determination to test an election with the carpet-bagger, and the determination swept through the county with a power and effect without a precedent in the county’s history. For the first time the carpet-baggers and their dupes among the colored people beheld the white people of the county and a large number of colored allies determined to contest strength with them at the polls. Greater chagrin was never shown by the carpet-bagger. He trembled seeing the hand-writing on the wall, while the colored men, who continued in carpet-bag counsels, and still permitted themselves to be led against the interests of the true people of the State, stood sullen and defiant, evidently fearing that the day of overthrow was at hand, and that an outraged and plundered people might not forget the great wrongs that had been inflicted upon them.

Why the Great Uneasiness, the Great Sorrow?

But why was every approach to the town guarded by armed citizens on Saturday night, Sept. 4, 1875? - why the great uneasiness, the great sorrow? - and wherefore was it that the bright and beautiful Sabbath morning (Sept. 5, 1875) found Raymond alive with armed men? - the Christian Sabbath forgotten? - the church unopened - the Sunday School deserted? - A word will answer these questions. The “Clinton Riot” had occurred on Saturday, Sept. 4.

A Republican Mass meeting had assembled a half mile from Clinton, at which, it was stated in the Republican papers, Gov. Ames and other high officials of the Republican party would appear and address the people, and men of all opinions were invited to attend. At 12 o’clock, a.m. there were, perhaps, 2500 colored Republicans on the grounds, 25 white Republicans and, perhaps 50 white Democrats and Conservatives. Among the latter was the writer of this, who was drawn to the meeting solely for the purpose of hearing, that he might be able properly to comment upon, the arguments advanced by the very prominent men of the Republican party advertised to be present on the occasion.

The Deaths of Martin Sivley and Frank Thomson

Of the 50 white Democrats and Conservatives present, 20 to 25 were from Raymond, while very nearly all the white Republicans were from Jackson. A difficulty arose on the ground, 100 yards from the speakers’ stand, soon after the speaking commenced, brought on as we verily believe, designedly, by certain prominent colored Republicans, and for the specific purpose of affording an excuse for the assassination of certain white Democrats and Conservatives who were on the ground, and who belonged to Raymond. Six or eight of the Raymond men, and among them those that the said leading colored men desired to punish, were surrounded by an excited crowd of colored men, numbering hundreds, and jostled, insulted and followed. All this was witnessed by the writer of this, and hence we speak what we do know without relying upon the statements of others.

A pistol shot was fired, by whom we do not know, but instantly firing became general by the parties composing the crowd 100 yards from the speakers’ stand. The meeting at the stand was instantly broken up, and the consternation became general, and the danger great, as firing commenced in every part of the field, embracing, perhaps 50 to 60 acres in extent, over which whites and blacks were promiscuously scattered.

Located in the Sively plot of the Odd Fellows' Cemetery is the headstone of Martin Hamilton Sively who was killed in the Clinton Riot.

The white Democrats and Conservative at once comprehended the situation - 2500 against 50 - and the negroes generally armed and phrenzy [sic] - and at once set about to extricate themselves from their perilous situation by moving towards Clinton. They were followed by multitudes of armed negroes; and on the field, or near it, Martin Sivley and Frank Thompson, both of Raymond, were killed; Capt. B. S. White of Raymond, severely beaten and left for dead; Charles Chilton, of Clinton, killed; and some eight or ten Raymond and Clinton men more or less severely wounded.

The transaction produced the wildest excitement, and the news went on the wings of the wind to every part of the county - the representations greatly exaggerating the facts in the case, and really alarming the people. The lifeless bodies of Sivley and Thompson were brought to Raymond at midnight, and at sunrise, Sabbath morning, the young white men of the county - and many of the middle-aged, too - commenced coming into Raymond, in companies, all armed to the teeth, prepared and anxious to punish the assassins in the most summary manner, as well as to meet the threatened assault by the blacks on the town.

The town presented every appearance of a military camp, and there were those, and many of them, who, in their feeling and indignation, could not discriminate, but thought every Republican, black and white, who was at Clinton, should be held to account for the great outrages perpetrated there. By 9 o’clock on that Sunday morning, the situation became somewhat alarming to those who knew all the facts, and were not apprehensive of an attack on the town by the Republicans, as had been threatened at Clinton. There was reason to fear some acts of violence in the midst of the great excitement; and to the work of subduing the passion and calming the feeling of the excited people, strong effort was directed. But exactly how the greatly exasperated multitude could be restrained - could be prevented from retaliation - was the question.

Prudent, thoughtful and calm men gave the matter instant attention, and very soon it was agreed that order must be preserved and that no violence should occur.

Announcement was speedily made, and the people assembled on the public square for deliberation, military, citizens and all. S. M. Shelton, Esq., after briefly alluding to the situation, and counseling peace, forbearance, and order, moved that a meeting, to remain in session throughout the day, be immediately organized, and that Geo. W. Harper act as President. The motion was unanimously adopted. Mr. Shelton then moved that the military be subject to orders from the meeting through its President - that no violence or indignity be offered to any man, white or black - but that suspected men or others might be arrested, and any persons present might be requested to state their views or position with reference to the difficulties of the hour. And further, upon motion, the military in the town were placed under command of Capt. N. B. Smith, now Supervisor from the Raymond District, who at once proceeded to organize a company.

The Sheriff and his deputies, it was stated, were not in town; or within reach - having left the scene of the riot at Clinton, and possibly with others, taken refuge at Jackson. The meeting, in all its arrangements and appointments, was a peace establishment - and very soon became sufficiently strong for the preservation of the peace, as well as for the protection of every one. The meeting was nominally in session throughout the day, and to its efforts may be attributed the fact, perhaps, that better order was never preserved, considering the number of excited people, and that not an instance of personal violence of any sort occurred. No man killed or beaten - not a pistol shot fired during the day.

Reports were rife throughout the county on Sunday and Monday that the really guilty men, nearly all of whom had fled from Clinton to Jackson, were organizing there and intended marching on Raymond. This kept up the excitement throughout Sunday night and Monday; and on Tuesday morning the town was still full of men - the roads and approaches still guarded by armed pickets - and every thing still at fever heat. But, in the meantime, Gen. George, chairman of the Democratic and Conservative State Executive Committee at Jackson, had been communicated with freely on the situation.

He gave assurances that the colored refugees at Jackson, numbering 300 - 400 would not be permitted to leave the city in a body or with hostile intentions; and that it was important, in the interest of peace as well as for the success of the Democratic-Conservative ticket in the county, that all excitement growing out of the Riot should immediately cease to the end that the affair might be calmly and legally investigated at once.

On the receipt of this information a handbill was immediately issued, signed by 10 - 15 well known citizens, calling upon the people to repair to their homes and lay aside their arms, and advising all colored men who had not participated in the outrages perpetrated at Clinton, to return to their homes and pursue their usual avocations, as they would be fully protected. With the issuance of this handbill, the camps were instantly broken up; the crowds of men dispersed, and by sun-down the town and county (except, perhaps at Clinton and Jackson,) was quiet. And not a colored man had been killed, or beaten, otherwise harshly treated, in Raymond, notwithstanding many of the colored people of the town and vicinity were on the field of the Riot, and were known to have gone there armed and threatening.

"Kill the Raymond Men"

The Raymond Democrats and Conservatives were unquestionably, most savagely treated at Clinton, but all now admit, we believe, that they acted with great prudence and wonderful forbearance on that Sunday and Monday in September. True, they heard infuriated blacks crying aloud to their fellows on the bloody field, “Go for the Raymond boys!” “Kill the Raymond men!” and they had seen their comrades cold in death, but magnanimously they would not harm those who had been duped and made parties to great crimes when the leaders had escaped and were then under the protection of the Radical State authorities.

We are handed the following as a complete list of the white men of Raymond who were on the ground at Clinton when the affair occurred: Martin Sivley, (killed), Frank Thompson, (killed), B. S. White, (stabbed, beaten and left on the field for dead,) Frank Robertson, (knocked down,) W. T. Aisquith (shot), Ramsey Wharton (shot,) Jessie Wharton, (knocked down,) W. C. Wells, (shot in the finger,) George W. Harper, W. T. Ratliff, M. Ward, S. D. Harper, R. J. Miller, Baker Sivley, A. H. Sivley, Vink Waddill, H. T. T. Dupree, Wm. Sims, A. V. Shearer, John Roberts, Frank Williams, W. A. Bracey and H. A. Huntley.


Editor's Note: Harper wrote of the Clinton Riot in the Hinds County Gazette in September 1875, soon after the event occurred:

"The two Raymond gentlemen murdered at the Clinton Republican meeting were brought to Raymond Saturday night. Mr. Thompson was the son of Rev. Mr. Thompson, preacher in charge of the Methodist Church in this town. He was educated at Oxford, in this State, where he married and leaves a widow and two children. He was a lawyer of some prominence and recently carried through successfully in the lower courts some important land suits. He is cut off in the morning of his career as a man and a lawyer, and great is the regret felt for him and his aged parents in their affliction. Mr. Thompson was buried Monday morning.

The body of Martin Sivley remained at the residence of Mr. O. V. Shearer until Sunday evening, when he was buried. Mr. Sivley was a brother-in-law of Capt. P. W. Shearer, was a connection of the several highly respectable families of that name in this part of the country, was raised in this vicinity, and was a young man of great kindness and goodness of heart, and much respected by all who knew him. He was a member of the artillery company recently formed in Raymond, and his companions manifested their respect for him by shooting volley over his grave. The same was performed over the grave of Mr. Thompson.

Both of the gentlemen were very ardent Democrats, but little thought when they started to Clinton that morning that they were to be returned at midnight cold in death, sacrifices to the thirst of the Radical party."


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

Copyright © 2008  PattieAdams Snowball, James and Rebecca Drake