"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 IV


The Mexican War

General Zachary Taylor

When news was received in Raymond, in 1846, that Gen. Taylor’s little army on the Rio Grande was surrounded by the Mexicans, and that it was probable that the 1,500 Americans under Taylor might be cut to pieces by the 20,000 Greasers, a most intense enthusiasm in behalf of the American flag was exhibited. A meeting was immediately held at the old court house, at which Maj. Peyton, presided, and Geo. W. Harper, acted as secretary, and at once a full company of volunteers for twelve months was enrolled, and with all haste it was prepared for the field. R. N. Downing was elected captain, S. A. D. Greaves first Lieutenant, and W. H. Hampton second Lieutenant. The enrollment continued for some days, and when the company reported at Vicksburg there were 110 members - about 25 of whom had to be sent back home, as the U. S. laws allowed the companies to consist of but 85 men each. The company on leaving Raymond for Vicksburg was accompanied by the citizens, (ladies and gentlemen,) almost in a body - the company marching, the citizens on horseback and in conveyances - to Clinton, where a public dinner was given to all in attendance. The company became a part of the 1st Mississippi Regiment, Jeff. Davis, colonel, A. K. McKlung, lieutenant-colonel, and A. B. Bradford, major, and was in all the battles of northern Mexico under Taylor, and covered itself with imperishable renown. Capt. Downing was severely wounded at Monterey, and both there and at Buena Vista many of the men were wounded and others killed. The remnant of the company was welcomed home at the close of the war - after an absence of about a year - with great rejoicing. They were met at Clinton - escorted to Raymond, and everything was free to them for weeks. At the next election, 1847, Capt. Downing was elected sheriff of the county and Lieut. Hampton, probate clerk.

S. B. Thomas, B. F. Edwards and Joshua Stone are the only members of the company that we can now call to mind who are living in this town or vicinity.

Early Churches

As we have before said, there was but one church edifice in Raymond when we came here in 1844 - the Methodist, the Baptist, the Disciples, the Presbyterians, and the Episcopalians had occasional services, however, occupying at various times the Methodist church, the court house, the Female Academy and the Brick Academy.

St. Mark's Episcopal Church, one of the oldest Episcopal churches in Mississippi, was erected 1854-1855.  Eight years later, when the war came to Raymond, the church was converted into a Union hospital and severely damaged as a result of the occupation. Church records state, "After the war there was nothing left except the walls... on the 3rd Sunday after Easter, May 12, 1867, the anniversary of its desolation four years previous, the Church was reopened for the solemn worship of Almighty God."

The Methodist church edifice was erected in 1834. The next church built was the Baptist, under the ministerial services of Dr. R. Warner, about the year 1845. Then came the Episcopal church in 1852 and the Presbyterian in 1870. The original Baptist church was built of brick, and was peculiarly constructed. Soon after the war, in making some changes in the interior arrangements of the building, a pillar was removed, when, without warning to the half dozen persons who were within the walls, the whole building fell with a tremendous crash. Most providentially and mysteriously, no one was killed, but two or three persons - - among them one lady - were injured. In 1869 or ’70 the neat frame building now occupied by that denomination was erected on the site of the old brick edifice.

The lot on which the church stands was a private garden, belonging to Amos R. Johnston, when we came to Raymond in 1844. Judge Johnston donated it, we believe, to the Baptist denomination for church purposes. Where the Presbyterian Church stands, was for many years the site of a large and well appointed livery stable, occupied by A. J. Johnston, whose widow died with fever at Dry Grove in October last. Where the Episcopal church stands, formerly stood the private residence of Thomas Smith, who was one of the earliest settlers of the town, and carried on the shoe-making business until his death, which occurred about 1852. Mr. Smith was one of the marked characters of the town, and left several children. One of his daughters was the wife of W. R. Clark, who died with yellow fever near the town in October, his wife and children dying about the same time near Baldwin’s Ferry.

Early Schools

In 1844 the Brick School House was still standing, on the southwest borders of the town, near what is known as the Odd-Fellows Graveyard. This was among the first building erected in Raymond, and dates back previous to the year 1834; for in that year, according to the late Rev. Thomas Ford, he there organized the First church known to Raymond, (the Methodist,) and first Sunday School. There were several efforts made, from 1844 to 1862, to establish a creditable Male School in this building, but they all failed - the nearest to success being while it belonged to the Masonic Lodge and was under its control. The Lodge, we believe, expended about $1,500 in trying to build up the School, and then through exhaustion let it fall. Capt. J. C. Davis was for sometime the head of the school. The last effort to keep the school afloat was made by Mr. Thompson, a highly educated gentleman from Vicksburg. He carried the school along for some months, but Grant’s army appearing before the town, (May 1863) he abandoned it and left the town. This closed the Brick School House as an educational locality. Some years after the war the building was torn down, or fell down, and now not one brick stands upon another to show where it once stood.

Raymond Female Institute

About the time that the Mississippi Military Institute was removed to Raymond (1848), A. Hannum with several lady assistants, established what was known as the Raymond Female Institute.

It started with very favorable prospects, and Mr. Hannum purchased the property where Mrs. Ellen Gibbs now resides, and erected the large and commodious school building now there in a dilapidated state. The Institute was a decided success, having more than a hundred pupils, and from 30 - 40 boarding pupils. In 1852 or ’53, however, the patronage fell off, and Mr. Hannum becoming peculiarly involved, he closed the establishment and moved away. Mrs. McLane, who was a sister of Mr. Hannum, was for a time an assistant in the Institute - the same Mrs. McLane who became a Mormon, and fleeing from New Orleans with a Mormon Elder, was overtaken by her husband at Fort Smith, Arkansas, when the injured husband slew the Mormon Elder - and from this, it is said, followed the great massacre by the Mormons at Mountain meadows, and for leading, which Gen. J. D. Lee was recently tried, condemned and hung in the northwest.

Raymond Military Institute

In 1847 Col. Goldsborough, claiming to be from Alabama and a graduate of West Point, opened at Mississippi Springs what was known as “Mississippi Military Institute.” Col. G. was a tall, fine-looking man, had a military bearing, and was an agreeable conversationalist. He received a flattering support from the surrounding counties, and very soon the Institute had over one hundred cadets. Some difficulty occurring between the owners of the property and the Colonel, in 1849 he proposed to the citizens of Raymond that he would remove his Institute to this town if the citizens would furnish him with proper building, he to pay 10 per cent interest on the amount of their cost. A joint stock company was soon formed, with a capital, we believe, of $8,000 or $10,000, for the purpose of establishing the Institute at Raymond. The John A. Fairchild property, (40 acres), about one mile southeast of the town was purchased and at once was erected an immense frame building, with all the conveniences for a Military Institute, with a boarding department, professors’ houses, superintendent’s house, parade ground, &c., and soon the Institute was in successful operation, with a full faculty, and a number of cadets exceeding all expectations.

Col. Goldsborough suddenly started for Alabama or Florida; we do not now remember which, for his family. He overstaid [sic] his time - weeks ran off - and no Col. Goldsborough - nor was he hear from. Creditors became uneasy, and commenced pushing their claims on the Colonel’s personal effects. At length all hope for his return vanished, and the Institute was taken possession of by Messrs. Gibbons and Vernon, two of the faculty, who proposed to run it, but in their hands it immediately went down, in numbers, to a neighborhood school. Col. Goldsborough, it was said, reached Vicksburg about the time Gibbons and Vernon assumed control, and was so discouraged that he returned to Florida, where he was accidentally drowned some years after. In 1850 the Institute was purchased by Prof. Dimitry, of Louisiana, a gentleman of splendid attainments and wide reputation. He had a fine school for a year or two, but the patronage not meeting his expectations, he returned to New Orleans in 1853. Capt. J. C. Davis then tried the school for a time, but abandoned it, perhaps, within a year - when the Mississippi Military Institute died. The property in time passed into the hands of Mr. Geo. W. Gibbs, and a few years ago was destroyed by fire - and there was an end of it.

The building now known as the “old Magnolia House,” was not standing in 1844. In the centre of the lot, however, Isaac Clifton had a small frame building, in which he carried on the cabinet making business. By degrees he added to his shop, on the wings and in front, until he brought the building to the street, and extended it to its present dimensions. He planted around the building numerous orange trees, and named the edifice Orange Grove House. In a year or two, however, a biting and nipping frost came which killed all the orange trees, but left a thrifty magnolia on the south side. The place then took the name of Magnolia House, which name it bears to this day, though the tree is now dead. For some years, the house was occupied as a hotel, but of late years, as the property of Jos. Gray, it has been used for business purposes. Mr. Clifton left Raymond in 1854 a poor man and lived for some time at Crystal Springs and died years ago in one of the counties south of Hinds. He was originally from Tennessee.

1845 Campaign for U.S. Senate: McNutt vs. Foote

Alexander G. McNutt
Mississippi 12th Governor

The first political speech we heard in Raymond was delivered in the old court house in 1845 by Ex-Gov. McNutt. He was then a candidate “before the people” for the United States Senate. He claimed to be the father of the Democratic party of Mississippi - claimed the honor of being the first “Repudiator,” and the man who carried that flag to victory. He was replied to by Gen. H. S. Foote, of the same party, who was also a candidate for Senator, and who we then heard for the first time.

In 1845, Henry Foote defeated former governor, Alexander G. McNutt, for a seat in the U.S. Senate.




Foote’s speech contained lightning, thunder, rain and hail, and such an excoriation we never before listened to. McNutt did not remain in the court house to hear it, but smelt it from the bar room across the street, and treated it as a fine joke. Foote followed McNutt all over the State, and to the surprise of now a few, when the Democratic Legislative caucus was held; Foote beat McNutt for the nomination, which nomination was subsequently confirmed by his election.



Mr. F. A. R. Wharton informs us that we were wrong in placing the postoffice in Professional Row in 1844. He reminds us that there was a small one-story frame building between the Shearer building and Professional Row, (long ago removed,) and that it was in the small frame house that D. Peyton Harrison kept the postoffice.

In our list of merchants in the town in 1844, given in a former number, we accidentally omitted the name of C. Vanderpool. Mr. Vanderpool remained in Raymond until 1854 or ’55, when he removed to Sunflower Landing. If still living, we are not advised as to his place of residence.

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

Copyright © 2008  Pattie Adams Snowball, James and Rebecca Drake