Wednesday, March 28, 2012


Sample of  page from Smith & Wright Ledger

314 N. Seventh Street, Columbus, MS 39701 

Title: Smith & Wright Mercantile Store Ledger

Collection Number: 2008-117 (Change to MS-_______ )
Inclusive Dates: 1841-1845
Creator(s): Unknown
Cubic Feet: .1 cu. ft. 
Extent: 1 item, 6 folders

          The Smith & Wright Mercantile Ledger was used in a store located in Plymouth, Mississippi. This former town was located at the mouth of Tibee Creek and the Tombigbee River, a few miles northwest of Columbus, Mississippi. 

Photograph of Plymouth historical marker
          It is believed that DeSoto camped at the Plymouth area. Another belief is that Bienville worked out of Plymouth against the Choctaw nation, and General Andrew Jackson based his operations against the Creek Indians at Plymouth. 
          This site was an Indian trading post and where John Pitchlyn lived. Pitchlyn was given as a child to the Choctaw Indians when his father died, while on his way to Natchez from South Carolina. As a result, Pitchlyn had much influence with the Indians. 
          “The first settlement of any permanence at what is now known as Plymouth Bluff was established by John Pitchlynn in 1810…. He first appears in records of 1786 when he was appointed U.S. Interpreter for the Choctaw Nation. He served …until Indian removal (1831-33) becoming one of the most influential figures in the Tombigbee River Valley during the late 1700s and early 1800s (Sherman, 2007, p.34). [Section written by Rufus Ward, Jr.] Pitchlynn came with his father in about 1774. He probably moved to the Choctaw Agency, near Macon to become agent”. (Sherman, 2007, p. 35)
          “Pitchlynn’s move to Plymouth Bluff resulted from Spain’s closing the lower Tombigbee River to the shipment of the U.S. military supplies in 1809. The U.S. developed a new supply route that came down the Natchez Trace to the Chickasaw villages, thence overland to the mouth of Tibee Creek and then down the Tombigbee to the trading house at St. Stephens. In 1810, Pitchlynn established his residence and farm at the mouth of Tibee Creek (Sherman, 2007, p. 35).”
          "During the 1830s, the little town of Plymouth grew up at the northern end of Plymouth Bluff at what had been the site of the home of John Pitchlynn.... “Pitchlynn had moved away from his old home on the Bluff during the late 1820s, leaving his residence and farm to his daughter and son-on-law, Rhoda Pitchlynn Howell and Calvin H. Howell. Probably in late 1832, anticipating the boom in settlement that would follow the 1830 Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek, Calvin Howell surveyed land around his home into streets and blocks and began to sell lots in a town that he called “Plymouth,” for which Plymouth Bluff was later named.”
           “The earliest known official reference to “Plymouth” was in April 1833, when it was designated a voting precinct for Lowndes County (p. 44). In May 1833, Howell described the town as “improving, as fast as could be reasonably expected. There are a considerable number of log and frame buildings…. The Steam Boats, have visited us several times this winter. We have one store, and one grocery [a saloon], in town, and a young man by the name of Carver, is teaching school.”
     The west bank of the Tombigbee River was opened to settlement due to the Indian Land Cession [Treaty of Doak’s Stand 1820 and Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek 1830]. Plymouth became important in cotton storage and as a shipping center, since there was a shallow fording place nearby. The town of Plymouth was incorporated in 1836 and later became extinct, largely because of unhealthy conditions of the low-lying land (Brieger, 1980, p. 317).
          “Recent research has revealed that the fort [in Plymouth, Mississippi] actually was constructed by John Pitchlynn in conjunction with the Creek Indian War (1813-1814) a phase of the war of 1812 with England. The fortification site originated with the cedar log home that Pitchlynn constructed when he settled at Plymouth Bluff in 1810." (Sherman, 2007, p. 39) [Chapter written by Jack D. Elliott, Jr.]
          Captain George Smith who was with the Tennessee cavalry militia came with former Choctaw agent, Col. John McKee, to Plymouth, to form Choctaw warriors to fight Creek. This became known as Fort Smith. The Fort was dismantled around 1860 and used for other buildings. Plymouth Bluff is recognized as the only place in MS that had a significant role in the Creek Indian War and the concurrent War of 1812 between the U.S. and England. 
         Plymouth Bluff is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and is included in the National Park Service’s Revolutionary War/War of 1812 Historic Preservation Study (Sherman, 2007, p. 41). A sketch of the fort is in: By the Flow of the Inland River, from a description provided in a letter from H.S. Halbert to W.A. Love in 1915.” (Sherman, 2007, pp. 39-41) The Bibliography includes: Elliott, Jack D., Jr. 2000. The Plymouth fort and the Creek war: a mystery solved. Journal of Mississippi History 62:328-370.
          The collection consists of 457 + pages that were copied from the Smith & Wright Mercantile Ledger, with inclusive dates of 1841-1845. The Ledger was used in a mercantile store in Plymouth, Mississippi. This former town was located at the mouth of Tibee Creek and the Tombigbee River, a few miles northwest of Columbus, MS. 
Sample page from the S & W Ledger
          This collection is arranged in ascending alphabetical order, by names and proper nouns, along with associated page numbers.
          William E. Prout
          No further accruals are expected.
          Open to research
          The first person to examine this collection was Mona K. Vance on                                     .  Donna S. Ballard created the accession record, finding aid, and re-packaged the collection on __________________.
          Lowndes County (Miss.)-History
Brieger, James F. "Plymouth." Hometown Mississippi. 2nd ed. Mississippi, 1980. 317. Print.
Elliott, Jack D., Jr. 2000. The Plymouth fort and the Creek war: a mystery solved. Journal of Mississippi History 62:328-370
Elliott, Jack D., and Mary Ann Wells. Cotton Gin Port: A Frontier Settlement on the Upper Tombigbee. Jackson, MS: Quail Ridge for the Mississippi Historical Society, 2003. Print.
Lipscomb, W.L., and Georgia P. Young. A History of Columbus, Mississippi, During the 19th Century. Birmingham, AL: Press of Dispatch Printing, 1909. Print.
Neville, Bert. Directory of River Packets in the Mobile-Alabama-Warrior-Tombigbee Trades 1818-1932. Selma: Coffee Printing, 1962. Print.
Prout, W.E. A Historical Documentation of Plymouth, Mississippi. Columbus MS: Mississippi State College for Women, 1973. Print.
Rodabough, John, and Helen M. Crawford. Steamboats on the Upper Tombigbee. Hamilton, MS: Tombigbee, 1985. Print.
Sherman, Harry L., and Plymouth Bluff Center and Museum. "A Very Remarkable Bluff": Bernard Romans, 1771. Columbus, MS: Mississippi University for Women, 2007. Print.
Ward, Rufus. Appendix 4. A Directory of the Steamboats on the Upper Tombigbee. "The Tombigbee River Steamboats: Rollodores, Dead Heads, and Side-wheelers. Charlestion, SC: History, 2010. 147-96. Print.

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