Page 2of 2
Rowland, Dunbar, ed. Mississippi, Comprising Sketches
of Counties, Towns, Events, Institutions, and Persons, Arranged
in Cyclopedic Form, in three volumes. Vol. 2. Atlanta:
Southern Historical Publishing Association, 1907. pages
section begins near the top of page 569.
to New Orleans. Early in the 19th century two public
roads were opened up, which ran south from Natchez to New
Orleans. One ran by way of Madisonville, La., to the head
of Lake Ponchartrain and thence across the lake by water
to New Orleans, a total distance of 156 miles; the other
followed the river south by way of Baton Rouge and the levee.
Marschalk's Almanac for 1819 gives the stations on the Madisonville
road, together with the distance of each from Natchez as
follows: St. Catharine Creek 4 miles; Second creek 14 miles;
Homochitto river 20 miles; the 31st degree N. Latitude 55
miles; crossing at Amite river 59 miles; Spillers 73 miles;
Court house, St. Helena bridge over the Tickfoha river 88
miles; Springfield on Notalbany creek 98 miles; Ponchatoola
creek 103 miles; Tangipao river 112 miles; Madisonville
127 miles; Mouth of Chifuncte 130 miles; over Lake Ponchartrain,
to Ft. St. John, mouth of Bayou St. John 150 miles; St.
John's Suburb (Fauxburg) 154 miles; New Orleans 156 miles.
The stations and distances on the Baton Rouge and Levee
road were as follows: St. Catharine creek 3 miles; White
Apple Village 12 miles; Homochitto river 18 miles; Ferry
over Buffalo river 29 miles; Woodville 37 miles; Sligo 46
miles; Bayou Sara creek 53 miles; St. Francisville in New
Feliciana, La., 68 miles; Buller's Plains 79 miles; Baton
Rouge 95 miles; New Orleans 219 miles.
Trace. This old road ran from "Colbert's Ferry,"
a few miles below the Mussel Shoals on the Tennessee river,
to St. Stephens on the lower Tombigbee. The Federal Government
had established a large trading house at St. Stephens, to
encourage trade with the Choctaws and other Indians, and
as an offset to the Spanish and French trading posts at
Mobile and Pensacola, which maintained close trade relations
and intercourse with the Choctaws and Creeks. George Strother
Gaines, brother of Gen. E. P. Gaines, held the posts of
U. S. assistant factor and factor at St. Stephens, from
1805-1825. It appears that he experienced constant trouble
with the revenue authorities at Mobile, who exacted duties
and delayed his vessels, so that the Federal authorities
resolved to send supplies down the Ohio and up the Tennessee
river to Colbert's Ferry. Major Gaines, in his Reminiscences
of Early Times in the Mississippi Territory, written for
the Mobile Register, says: "In October, 1810, I received
instructions from the Secretary of War to proceed to the
Chickasaw Nation and endeavor to obtain permission of the
Indians to open a wagon road from Colbert's Ferry to Cotton
Gin Port, on the Tombigbee, and make arrangements to transport
the goods thence to St. Stephens. I set out immediately,
in obedience to my instructions, had an interview with the
leading chiefs of the Chickasaws, who objected to opening
the wagon road, but promised me facilities and safety for
the transportation of goods for the Choctaw trading house,
on pack-horses, at a very moderate expense. Lieut. Gaines,
by order of the War Department, had six or seven years before
this time, surveyed and marked out the road I was instructed
to open." After purchasing his supplies, Mr. Gaines
says: "I then returned on horseback to Colbert's Ferry,
on the Tenn., made arrangements for receiving and 'packing'
the goods to Maj. Pitchlyn, at the mouth of the Octibbeha,
below Cotton Gin Port. I proceeded to Major Pitchlyn's and
with his aid, arranged for transporting the goods down the
Tombigbee to St. Stephens."
trace is thus referred to in the treaty of Chickasaw Council-House,
Sep't. 20, 1816: The Chickasaws relinquish their claim and
title to the lands "east of a line commencing at the
mouth of Caney creek, running up said creek to its source,
then a due south course to the ridge path, or commonly called
Gaines' road, along said road southwestwardly to a point
on the Tombigbee river, well known by the name of Cotton
Gin Port, and down the west bank of the Tombigbee to the
Choctaw boundary." The Huntsville survey, a short time
after, adopted the western boundary of the above Chickasaw
cession, and the road can be readily identified today.
J. Leftwich, in writing of this old road, says: "It
will be observed that this trace road leaves the Tombigbee
river on an elevated plateau and follows the 'divide' through
to the Tennessee, thus avoiding water courses. . . . From
Cotton Gin Port this raod ran nearly due west about ten
miles to a kind of tavern kept by Major Levi Colbert, a
Chickasaw chief. There the road forked, one branch leading
northeast (northwest?) to Pontotoc, whence it intercepted
the Natchez Trace running to Natchez and New Orleans. The
other branch turned southeast through the prairie, running
not far from Muldon and West Point to Waverly, in Clay county.
There is a strong probability that DeSoto in 1540 followed
this same path through the prairie. Gaines' Trace is still
a public road and we are told that Col. J. B. Prewett, of
Monroe county, traveled over it in 1824, with his father."
Military Road. In accordance with an act of Congress
passed April 27th, 1816, a thoroughfare known as Jackson's
Military Road was built through Mississippi. It extended
from Madisonville, Louisiana to a point twenty-one miles
north of the Mussel Shoals. The work, which was done under
the direction of the War Department occupied a period of
over two years. June 1817, to January, 1820." (Riley's
History of Mississippi.)
Acts. By act of the General Assembly, December 5, 1809,
"John Hanes, Benjamin S. Smott and James Caller be,
and they are hereby appointed commissioners to employ a
fit person to open a road from Pearl river, where the present
Choctaw boundary line across the same, the nearest and best
way to the Chickasawhay river, so as to intersect the same
at, or near the lower end of the Higawana Reserve, and they
are hereby empowered to contract with said person, for the
payment of such sum as may appear reasonable, for the performance
of said work, to be paid out of the Territorial treasury,
after the fulfillment of said contract: Provided, nevertheless,
That the sum to be expended for making and opening said
road, shall not exceed three hundred dollars."
act of Dec. 18, 1811, sec. 31, "The old road leading
by or near St. Albans to the Walnut Hills, as laid out by
the Spanish government, be and the same is hereby declared
a public road, and shall be used and worked upon accordingly,
until altered by order of court, or as hereinafter directed."
act of Dec. 12, 1812, sec. 1, the following rates and tolls
for ferriages across the river Homochitto, where any public
road may cross the same were established: "For every
wheel carriage twelve and one-half cents per wheel; for
every man and horse, twelve and one-half cents; for every
foot passenger, six and one-quarter cents; for each and
every head of horses or horned cattle, more than one, four
cents; if but one, six and one-quarter cents; and for each
and every head of hogs, sheep, etc. the sum of two cents.
act of January 6, 1814, Harry Toulmin, Burrel Pitman, Eugena
Chastang, James Taylor, Lewis Blackman, William Patton,
George Evans, and William Powe shall be, and they are hereby
appointed commissioners to lay out and establish a road
from the town of Mobile to M'Cray's ferry on the Buckatanny."
November, 1816, Micajah Davis, Daniel M'Gahay, Daniel Williams,
Jr., Nathan Swazey and Janathan Thompson were appointed
commissioners to lay out, open, and keep in repair, a road
thirty feet wide, from the city of Natchez to the Louisiana
line, following the general direction of a line from Natchez
to the river Amite, just below the mouth of Beaver creek.
Road. In 1823 a road was marked from Huntsville, Ala.,
by way of Columbus to Doak's stand, on the Robinson road.
As this terminus of the new road was thirty-five miles from
Jackson, and the nearest point on the Robinson road was
the Choctaw agency house, ten miles north of the capital,
Governor Leake sought to have the Columbus road changed,
but it remained for some years the only line of communication
between the capital and the populous and prosperous Tombigbee
country in northeast Mississippi.
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