"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



Governor Ames Impeached

Sunday, Sept. 5, 1875, the transactions of which we related in our chapter of two weeks ago, was not the only Sabbath Day in the past on which Raymond was greatly excited on matters growing out of politics.

Governor Adelbert Ames

Ames served as a general in the Union army before being appointed by Congress as provisional governor of Mississippi (1868-1870. During Ames administration riots, instigated by carpetbaggers and black people, took place in Raymond, Clinton and Vicksburg. At the height of the Reconstruction era, Ames was elected by the carpetbaggers to serve a second term (1874-1876). However, due to his reprehensible acts against the state, especially those involving taxes, he was impeached but chose to resign before facing trial.

It was in the canvass of 1875; the excitement was intense, so intense that you could almost see it in the air; and the battle at the ballot-box was almost at hand. Gen. George, chairman of the State Democratic-Conservative executive committee at Jackson, had made some sort of a verbal agreement with Gen. Ames, who was then our carpet-bag Governor, that, in the event that Ames would disband the colored militia that was marching through Hinds county, menacing the people, and require them to give up the public arms, he, (Gen. George,) through the Democratic-Conservative organization, would guarantee the fullest protection to the negroes and the most perfect freedom and exercise of all their rights as freemen and citizens. By this arrangement, Ames was most thoroughly worsted. The colored Radicals looked upon it as a complete back-down by him, and when required to give up their guns, returned to their homes, (such as dared do so,) cursing him and his carpet-bag companions and avowing their determination thenceforth to act with the white people of the country.

Ames soon realized the situation in which he had placed himself and his party, and his great desire at once was to extricate himself - to rescind his covenant - to withdraw his bargain. But it was manifestly to the interest of the whites to hold him to it. It was in the interest of peace, law and order; and that it should stand was a matter of great concern to all who desired the success of the Democratic and Conservative ticket.

The presidents, vice-presidents, and other officers of the Democratic-Conservative Clubs of the county (20 to 25 in number) were then holding private meetings in Raymond once a week; the county executive committee, with C. D. Gillespie at its head, was meeting in solemn council every day. The Raymond Club was holding almost nightly meetings, while the Raymond Brass Band and the Democratic artillery seemed to be on a rampage both day and night.

An informal meeting was held at the Masonic Hall Friday night. It was agreed that every member of the Raymond Club who could possibly leave home should attend the meeting at Utica the next day, to wit, on Saturday, the 30th day of October. The Brass Band had already started for that place; the Club and the artillery were to go early the next morning. The Utica meeting was a very large one. Thousands of people were there; and the arrangements for food for the assembly could not have been improved. It was addressed by several gentlemen. It was a splendid affair.

Governor’s Commission Conducts Investigation

At midnight, Saturday night we got home from Utica, and on rising at a late hour Sunday morning, we were informed that we were wanted at the courthouse - that there was a commission there taking testimony, &c. We hastened to the objective point, and on reaching it found the lawn and building filled with the citizens, all more or less excited and indignant. Inquiring as to what it all meant, we were informed that Ames (seeking cause for breaking the contract with Gen. George, or for another purpose) had complained that great wrongs were going on at Raymond - that a reign of terror existed here - that the colored people needed “regulars” or militia for their protection in the election, which was then but three days off. Gen. George denied it all, but by agreement a commission was sent down Saturday evening to investigate and report to the Governor.

The investigation commenced Sunday morning, as stated, and continued throughout the day, in the presence of very nearly the entire male population. It was the Christian Sabbath - the day set apart for holy rest - but there was no Sabbath for Raymond that day.

The investigation did not amount to much towards the accomplishment of the purpose intended, notwithstanding the testimony was solemnly committed to writing, questions and answers, and duly carried to the Governor. “A protection pass” given to a colored man by Capt. Gillespie, chairman of the Democratic county committee, was submitted among the papers, and was examined into; also, a pass given to another colored man by S. M. Shelton, in his individual capacity; also a letter written by Geo. W. Harper, in reply to a colored man who was in the Clinton riot, who had written to know if he (the colored man) would be permitted to return to Raymond. Harper, in reply, said he did not know, but that he (the colored man) had better stay away until after the election, as there was great excitement, and something disagreeable might possibly happen if he returned.

A charge was also brought against some of the young men of the town for shadowing a visiting colored man, and following him (without speaking a word) from house to house and from street to street, until they followed him outside of the corporation and he trotted off toward Jackson.

Quite a number of witnesses, whites and blacks, Republicans and Democrats, males and females, were examined, and their testimony taken down, and at a late hour in the evening, or very early the next morning, the Commissioners left for Jackson, and the matter died away with the political events which followed closely upon its heels.

We Must Fight the Devil with Fire

It was privately communicated to us at the time, and subsequent events led us to the conclusion that the information was correct, that Gov. Ames had a two fold purpose in view in sending that Commission to Raymond, for that Sabbath Day’s work. He had received all manner of exaggerated accounts of the political situation here, and from those who were anxious to bring about a war of races and general ruin. He thought his accounts were well founded and that they could be established by competent testimony right here on the spot. Had he succeeded, as he expected, the arrangement with Gen. George would have been abrogated. Monday morning, and a company of negro militia would have marched to Raymond at the same instant for the purpose of arresting, and carrying to Jackson for trial, under the general charge of “INTIMIDATION,” the whole county executive committee, all the candidates on the Democratic-Conservative county ticket, and every one connected with the office of the Hinds County Gazette.

That was undoubtedly his programme, and it would have been carried into effect, in letter and spirit, had the report of the Commission been of the character expected and hoped for by Ames and his counselors. The movement, they thought, would strike terror into the hearts of the white Democrats and Conservatives, and produce dismay and fear, while it would arouse and make a valiant Republican of every negro, and bring the last one of them as a fighting politician to the polls on the following Tuesday. Gov. Ames failed in his programme, well appointed as it was, and the telegraph did not flash to every part of the State on Monday that the Democratic-Conservative organization in Hinds was in prison at Jackson guarded by negro militia.


NOTE: That colored man has not yet returned to Raymond. It was never before questioned, we believe, that the people of a community having the right, under the laws, to watch the movements of suspicious persons.

Editors Note

In 1874, when Ames was elected to serve a second term as governor, Harper wrote an editorial stating, “The Hinds County Gazette, through all four long and dreary years of Radical rule in Mississippi, while at all times decidedly anti-Radical, has ever been mild, moderate, and conservative….We are now satisfied, however, that nothing has been, or can be gained by moderation and kindness - in fact, we now think, that moderation and kindness have rather invited new outrages and encouraged the official thieves and rascals to additional atrocities….We must ‘fight the devil with fire.’ The Hinds County Gazette proposes to make it lively for Governor Ames and his thieves during the year 1875.” Harper did just that using pen and ink to expressed his views. The vendetta against the governor worked when he was impeached for crimes against the state. Two years later, in July, 1876, Harper wrote, “By an effort without parallel in the annals of our political history, the Radical thieves have been overthrown and dispersed in Hinds County and the state of Mississippi.”

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

Copyright © 2008  PattieAdams Snowball, James and Rebecca Drake