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Surname: Alston

Extreme Perils and Suffering of the Natchez Refugees

During the siege of Pensacola, a series of events, of an interesting and romantic character, began at Natchez, and afterwards ended, with unparalleled sufferings, in the vast Indian wilderness, which extended from thence to the Ogechee River, in the distant province of Georgia. Some citizens of the Natchez district, the most prominent of whom were Philip Alston, Colonel Hutchens, John Alston, Captain Thaddeus Lyman, Thompson Lyman, Jacob Blomont, and Jacob Winfrey, put themselves at the head of a large party of royalists, for the purpose of seizing Fort Panmure, and expelling there from the Spanish troops, who had held it since September, 1780. They had learned that a powerful British fleet was off the Florida coast, whose object was the re-occupation of the country, and, believing that Don Galvez had already been defeated at Pensacola, they resolved immediately to anticipate what they supposed would be the desire of their King. Having assembled a large body of Choctaws, the insurgents assumed a position upon an eminence, above the town of Natchez, in full view of the fort. At night they advanced and planted their artillery so as to bear upon the works; but, when day approached, the Spanish cannonade compelled them to retire. During the succeeding twenty-four hours, the firing continued between the parties. Apr. 29 1781: The commandant sent a flag to Colonel Hutchens, representing the danger of rebellion,...

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Early Incidents in the Mississippi Territory

Napoleon Bonaparte had turned his eagle eye to the rich province of Louisiana, and it was ceded by Spain to France. He contemplated its occupation, with a large army, and probably entertained designs of conquest against portions of the United States; but, becoming deeply involved in wars with the whole of Europe, he reluctantly relinquished these intentions, and ceded Louisiana to the United States for sixty millions of francs. Governor Claiborne, with a large number of emigrants, who had already flocked to Natchez from all parts of the Union for the purpose of occupying Louisiana, sailed down the Mississippi, with Wilkinson and his forces, and took formal possession of the city of New Orleans, in behalf of the United States. He had been appointed the Governor of the Louisiana Territory. He left the people of the Mississippi Territory duly impressed with a deep sense of obligation for his valuable public services. Cato West, the Territorial Secretary, discharged the executive duties until his successor arrived. The distance of Natchez from the Tombigby was so great that Congress authorized the President to appoint an additional Superior Court Judge for the benefit of the people settled upon that river. The Hon. Harry Toulmin was selected. He was born at Taunton, in England, the 7th April 1766, and descended from a learned and respectable family. He became a pastor of the Unitarian church,...

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Hardships of the Early Natchez Emigrants

Taking the reader with us, to the settlements of the distant Natchez region, he will find that emigrants continued to pour in, upon those fertile hills and alluvial bottoms, from all parts of “his majesty’s Atlantic plantations.” Many were the hardships and perils they encountered, in reaching this remote and comparatively uninhabited region. It is believed that the history of one party of these emigrants will enable the reader to understand what kind of hardships and deprivations all the others were forced to undergo. Major General Phineas Lyman, a native of Durham, a graduate of Yale, a distinguished lawyer, and a member of the legislature of the commonwealth of Massachusetts, became commander of the Connecticut forces in 1755. He served with so much distinction, during the Canadian war, that he was invited, by persons high in office, to visit England. He had formed an association composed of his brothers in arms, called the “Military Adventurers,” whose design was, the colonization of a tract of country upon the Mississippi. He sailed to England, as agent for this company, with the sanguine, yet reasonable hope, that the King would make the grant. Arriving there he found, to his astonishment, that land in a wilderness was refused to those who had fought so valiantly for it, and whose contemplated establishment would have formed a barrier against enemies, who might seek to acquire...

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Theodosia Burr, Mrs. Joseph Alston

Theodosia Burr was, as has been said of the daughter of another eminent statesman with whom Aaron Burr was closely identified, “the soul of her father’s soul.” If we would know the better part of a man who was one of the most remarkable characters of his age, we must know Theodosia, through whom, perhaps, his name, which all the subtlety of his soul was bent on immortalizing, may live to a better fame in the centuries to come than has attended it through the years of that in which he lived. Under the inspiration of her presence both...

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