"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 XXI


Presidential Election of William Henry Harrison

A way back in the year 1840 - during that unprecedented and memorable canvass which placed the good old Gen. Harrison in the Presidency - immense meetings of the people were held in Raymond. Raymond was then a much larger and more prosperous town than it is now, and, it is well to remember, too, that Hinds county then had a larger white population than it has today. There were then many small farmers in the county - men who were afterwards bought out by the large cotton planters, and sent forward towards the frontier to clear new lands and open up new farms, again to be bought by that class whose hearts ached to own all the land in sight. We are told, furthermore, that during that campaign the Harrison men erected a log cabin on Port Gibson street, that they decorated it with coon-skins, &c., and that there they held daily and nightly meetings. All this, however, transpired before our time, and we cannot with safety detail what then occurred.

In 1840, during the presidential election, William Henry Harrison was portrayed by a Baltimore newspaper as a shallow-minded man, content to sit “in his Log Cabin” with a pension and “a barrel of Hard Cider.” The smear attempt backfired and Harrison, using the log cabin and frontiersman image to his advantage, was elected the 9th president of the United States. Harrison died in office less than a month after his inauguration.


Political Gatherings at Alston Springs

In 1850, 1851, 1855, and 1860, we witnessed very large political gatherings in Raymond, held in the interest of the old Whig, Democratic, Union, American and Southern Rights parties. They assembled, as a general rule at what was then known as Alston’s Springs, where was a beautiful grove, convenient and ample barbeque grounds, and excellent water privileges. Judge Sharkey, Jefferson Davis, H. S. Foote, W. A. Lake, P. W. Tompkins, A. G. Brown, A. R. Johnston, Fulton Anderson, and other equally well known and influential Mississippi statesmen, often thundered their eloquence there to very large and enthusiastic audiences.

Alston Springs was located east of the Odd Fellows' Cemetery on a large portion of land directly across from Phoenix Hall. Today the road sign COOPER’S WELL marks the approximate vicinity of the historic site.

And there too were often gathered vast numbers of the beautiful women of Hinds, as much interested as their fathers, husbands, brothers, and lovers, in the political questions at issue - and there too was often displayed as magnificent barbeques and as inviting and substantial basket dinners, as any country ever afforded. Those were grand old times. And although party feeling often ran high - often stepped over sound judgment and propriety - and every man stood firm to his party and its teachings, regardless of mere personal considerations - such was  the manhood and true nobility of the people, that blackguards and blackguardism [rude and unscrupulous people] was always regarded as disgraceful, and the best of personal feeling always prevailed. It was all a mere difference of opinion - and freedom of opinion was tolerated. The knife and the pistol were seldom seen then. Indeed, there were men in those days - they were gentlemen.

Triumphant Event Held August 18, 1875

August 18, 1875, witnessed a tremendous outpouring of the people, with all the pomp and circumstance of a triumphant march. The most vitally important contest in the State’s history was in hand. Carpet-bagism, imbecility and rank dishonesty, were to be overthrown, or Mississippi’s sun was to set in midnight’s ruin. It was by all odds the largest, grandest and most earnest meeting that had ever assembled in Hinds county. Fully 5,000 people, it was estimated, were that day on the grounds in Dr. Dupree’s Grove, with cannon, brass bands, flags, banners, and all the enthusiasm possible for men to manifest. It was a day of triumph for the Democratic-Conservative party, and placed upon our banners the word Victory in letters of living light. Geo. W. Harper presided over the meeting, and it was addressed, in burning words, by C. E. Hooker, R. V. Booth, and others.

Presidential Election of 1876

But the grandest, mightiest, and most overwhelming assembly of the people in the history of the town and county, if not of this part of the State, was preserved for the 18th of August, 1876. Gov. A. G. Brown acted as president, with the Presidents of the 25 Clubs of the county acting as Vice Presidents, and the Secretaries of the same acting as Secretaries. E. Barksdale, C. E. Hooker and others, were the speakers. It was held at Dupree’s Grove, and the estimate was that there were 10,000 people present. It was a meeting of the people to express an opinion on the Presidential nominations and the great crimes committed by Grant and the Republican party. Resolutions were offered fully endorsing Tilden and Hendricks and the Democratic Platform - properly arraigning Grant and his diabolical administration - and pledging Hinds county to give 3,000 majority against Hayes and Radicalism. The resolutions were adopted by a vote akin to thunder, and not a voice was uttered in opposition.

There were in 1876, at the time this meeting was held, 25 active Democratic-Conservative Clubs in the county, scattered over an area of nearly 1,000 square miles. Every Club had its one or more pieces of artillery, and its flags, banners, standards and other articles of display. It was understood, that the Clubs in a body should attend this meeting - that every Club should fire a salute at sunrise - that each Club should form in order, and march to Raymond, the centre of the country, by the most direct route, discharging its artillery at short intervals - that the artillery should be the signal, and that the processions from all the points of the compass, (north, south, east and west,) should enter the town firing and with flags flying, at the same time.

The day was most auspicious and here in the centre of the county, at or before sunrise, we distinctly heard the thrilling signal of preparation from every part of this county, with its 1,000 square miles of territory. Away off to the north, the south, the east and the west, the discharge of artillery was rapid and constant - while here, at the centre, a roar was kept up equaled perhaps only by an artillery duel in a regular engagement. We could distinctly trace the movements of the vast columns, and with accuracy calculate their distances; and as they approached the town, the roar was so constant, that it was really deafening. The thousands reached the village at about 12 o’clock, m., and such a display was never before, and most likely will never again be afforded in this part of the State.

The cannon were all put in position on the public square, and continued to thunder throughout the day. The brass bands were marched to the Grove, where they performed good service. The flags, banners, &c., were also taken to the Grove. Gov. Brown presided with great dignity on the occasion - the assembly was addressed most eloquently and grandly - the dinner was nearly sufficient for the immense draft made upon it, and the day passed off most gloriously.

When election day came, Raymond gave 584 votes for Tilden, and 91 for Hayes; and the county 4519 for Tilden, and 1468 for Hayes. And to this wonderful result the display on the 18th of August was the principal factor.

Samuel J. Tilden
Democrat, New York

Rutherford B. Hayes
Republican, Ohio

Both Rutherford B. Hayes, the Republican candidate, and Samuel L. Tilden, the Democratic candidate, were moderate reformers, and the election was very close. Tilden led in the popular vote, but the count from four states, which represented a total of 20 votes in the Electoral College, was disputed. No precedent had yet been set for dealing with contested votes, and tenacious partisanship during Reconstruction intensified the matter. Congress eventually, in January 1877, set up a special electoral commission with an equal number of Democrats and Republicans to decide the disputed votes. The tiebreaker member swayed to the Republican side, and the commission awarded all disputed votes to Hayes, who won the election with 185 electoral votes to Tilden's 184. To appease the South, the Hayes administration agreed to withdraw Federal troops from the Southern states - an act which ended the Reconstruction era and led to the healing of a nation.

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

Copyright © 2008  PattieAdams Snowball, James and Rebecca Drake