Excerpts from
"A Concise History of the Introduction of Protestantism
into Mississippi and the Southwest"
by John Griffing Jones, 1865
  Richard Curtis, Jr., on whom this excerpt is focused, was the brother of my 4-g-grandmother,
Martha "Phoebe" Curtis Stampley, wife of John Stampley.  They were all pioneers of the early SW
MS Territory.  Richard Curtis, Jr. was the first Baptist minister in the "wide region of the Southwest,
below the Cumberland settlements in Middle Tennessee."  He organized the first church of that faith
in approximately 1786-1788.  His story, and the story of all of those brave settlers on Cole's Creek,
in what would become Jefferson County, MS, is a tale fraught with peril and filled with adventure!
From "A Concise History of the Introduction of Protestantism into Mississippi and the Southwest"

  About the year 1748, there lived in Dinwiddie County, near Petersburg, in Virginia, a newly married couple, of
Welsh descent, by the name of William and Phebe Jones.  Mr. Jones soon after died, leaving a young widow and an
only son by the name of John.  Within a few years after the death of her husband, Mrs. Jones married the man who
will hereafter be known in these sketches as Richard Curtis, Sr., by which marriage they had five sons and three
daughters.  After the marriage of Mrs. Jones to Mr. Curtis, we have no very satisfactory knowledge of the family for
about thirty years.  In the meantime, John Jones, the son of Mrs. Curtis by her first marriage, had grown up to
manhood an on the 28th of June, 1768, had married Miss Anna Brown, daughter of Abraham Brown.  At the breaking
out of the Revolutionary war the family was found in South Carolina, on Great PeeDee River, not far from the mouth
of Black River and about sixty miles from Charleston.  At the Declaration of Independence, John Jones ardently
espoused the cause of the revolutionists, served in three campaigns against the British and Tories, under that
indomitable partisan warrior, Captain, afterward General, Francis Marion, and was in several battles, including the
siege of Charleston.  His stepfather and half-brothers, also, took part in the war.
  By the close of 1779, Mr. Jones and the Messrs. Curtis, including his stepfather and half brothers, had rendered
themselves so obnoxious to their tory neighbors, by their devotion to the Colonial cause, that they found their
situation not only vexatious, but perilous.  In the meantime, several of the leading members of the family had
embraced religion and joined the Baptist Church, among whom were John Jones, William, Benjamin and Richard
Curtis and their wives, John Courtney, who had married Hannah Curtis, and John Stampley, who had married
Phoebe Curtis, daughters of Richard Curtis, Sr.  
[This church was the Welsh Neck Baptist Church, Pee Dee, SC. NB]
Richard Curtis, Jr., was at the time of which we write a licensed preacher.  While the family was constantly
annoyed and imperilled by the horrors of the war at their very doors, their property nearly exhausted, and but little
prospect of better days near at hand; and having heard much said about the salubrious climate, rich lands,
exhaustless range and abundance of game in the far off "Natchez country," and being oppressed in mind, as well as
in their outward circumstances, they determined to seek a peaceful home far to the westward, quite beyond the
vexations and dangers of the bloody war still in progress throughout the United Colonies.  Accordingly, early in the
spring of 1780, they mounted their wives and small children, with their scant supply of clothing, tools and furniture,
on pack-horses, the men traveling on foot, with their hunting apparatus, to kill game by the way, and proceeded
across the country to the Holston River, in the northeastern corner of Tennessee, where they paused during the
summer to build their boats and to raise a crop of corn, preparatory to their desent, by water, to the "Natchez
Country."  When the water had attained a sufficient depth for navigation, toward the close of the year, they, with
other emigrant families, embarked their all of earthly substance on three large and well-built flat boats and
committing themselves to the protection of God, started on their perilous voyage.
 Such were the natural difficulties in the way of navigation in those early times that it was, at best, a hazardous
undertaking to descend the Holston, Tennessee, Ohio and Mississippi Rivers in such water craft as they were then
able to construct; but what made it doubly hazardous was the belligerent stand which the Cherokee Indians had
taken against all emigration through tier country.  They often availed themselves of the narrows, shoals and sudden
turns in the Holston and Tennessee Rivers to attack immigrant boats.  Our voyagers, being fully aware of that fact,
went as well prepared for it as their limited resources would allow, and kept a constant watch for the approach of
their stealthy foe.  We who have, until lately, generally had "peace and truth in our days," think it strange that our
pious forefathers would thus not only peril their own lives, but also the lives of their wives and little ones; but they
had already become inured to the horrors and dangers of war and viewed such adventures very differently from
what we do.
 These emigrants, for the sake of mutual protection, had agreed to float as near each other as they conveniently
could.  The foremost boat contained Richard Curtis, Sr., and his immediate family, including John Jones and family,
and his own sons and daughters with their families.  The second boat contained two brothers by the name of Daniel
and William Ogden and a man by the name of Perkins, with their families, most of whom were Baptists.  We have no
record of the names of those in the third boat.  They seem to have fallen in with the other boats for the sake of
protection in descending to Natchez.  The voyagers in the last-named boat had in some way contracted the smallpox
and to prevent the contagion from spreading to the other boats, they were required to float a few hundred years in
the rear and to occupy a different landing at night.
 After floating unmolested for several days, the hostile savages espied the boats somewhere near the mouth of
Clineh River and fixed on a short bend in the Tennessee River, near the northwestern corner of Georgia, as the
place of attack.  Having to float near the short to keep in the channel, the foremost boat was violently assailed by the
lurking Cherokees.  All hands on board commenced a vigorous and well-directed defense.  that here husband might
be released to use his rifle on the assailants, Mrs. Jones put her eldest son, William, then in his twelfth year, at the
oar, while she held up a thick, poplar stool between him and the bullets; and it was well she did, for it was pierced by
one of the leaden missiles.  After the danger was all over, Mrs. Jones laughingly remarked that "their guns were very
weak, as they did not make a very deep impression on her stool."  Another lady heroically took the steering oar from
her husband that he might ply his rifle on the foe, and, with unfaltering courage, guided the boat until disabled by a
wound in the back.  Hannah Courtney was grazed on the head by a ball and Jonathan Curtis was slightly wounded
on the wrist, but, so far as the writer knows, no life was lost.  While the attention of the assailants was mainly directed
to the first boat, the second floated by the point of attack unharmed.
 The excited and blood-thirsty savages now directed their whole force to the capture of the third and last boat, and
as it was passing through the narrows, they boarded it in full force and massacred all on board, except one lady,
whom they retained as a captive about three years, until, by treaty, she was restored to her friends.  But this was a
dear-bought victory to the Cherokees, for either from the captured lady or the clothing and other articles taken from
the boat, they contracted the smallpox, which passed through their villages like the destroying angel, until multitudes
of them died.  When suffering from the raging fever and thirst occasioned by the terrible epidemic, they sought relief
by lying in the waters of the Tennessee, which only made it the more fatal.  Their descendants have, to this day, a
traditional horror of that terrible pestilence.  It was impossible, from the slow and unwieldy movements of their
flatboats, for those who had escaped to round to and land time enough to afford the captured boat any assistance,
even if they had not been so far outnumbered as to render the attempt worse than fruitless, so, with gratitude to God
for their deliverance, and sadness and lasting sorrow for their lost fellow voyagers, they pursued their dangerous
way until they landed in safety at the mouth of Cole's Creek, about twenty miles above Natchez by land.
 To the eastward and southward of their place of debarkation, they mainly made their first settlements in the
country, within ten or twenty miles of the Mississippi River.  For several years, they had to endure many privations
and hardships incident to a new country, but poorly supplied with even the necessaries of life.  Further to illustrate
the privations and dangers attendant on the early settlement of this country, the writer will be excused for
the following]
 .....Had it not been for the proximity of the stealthy, thieving and murderous Indians,
[the settlers] might have felt
that "the lines had fallen to him in a pleasant place, and that God had given him a goodly heritage."  But this was the
absorbing trouble.  The settlement on the Ogden Grant was breaking up and concentrating around Natchez for
protection.  Already the bands of roving savages had given unmistakable evidence of their intention to depredate on
the Cole's Creek settlements as soon as the prospects for plunder became sufficiently inviting.  In view of the
threatening danger, the settlers were vigilant in their reconnaissances, and had an understanding among
themselves that he who first discovered the probable presence of hostile savages should immediately give the alarm
to his nearest neighbors, and they, in turn, to others, until the whole community should hear of the impending danger.
 In the meantime, the women and children were to be taken immediately to Natchez and placed under the protection
of the small garrison at Fort Rosalie, while the men were to return and punish or drive off the Indians, as
circumstances indicated.  John Jones came near being overtaken in his new home by a band of these lawless
marauders.  Having evidence of the presence of Indians in the neighborhood, and not knowing at what moment they
might make their attack, he requested his wife to take the children and hide among the spurs of the cane-ridges,
near the creek, until he could get the horses ready for their escape to Natchez.  Mrs. Jones, after hastily collecting a
few articles of wearing apparel, took her children and fled to a place of concealment; but moments seemed to her as
hours in her lonely retreat.  "What can keep Mr. Jones so long?  Is it not possible that he is already tomahawked or
captured?" were questions that incessantly revolved in her mind.  She could bear the painful suspense no longer;
she must go near enough to see, and, instructing the older children to take care of the younger and to be quiet, she
ventured to the crest of the ridge and was greatly relieved at seeing her husband in the act of starting.  She turned
hastily back to get the children ready, but in the excitement of the moment, she missed her way, so that it was with
difficulty she found the place of their concealment by the time her husband came up.  They made good their retreat
to Natchez that night, and early next morning, Mr. Jones and John Courtney, his brother-in-law, returned as scouts to
reconnoiter.  When they got near his improvement, they saw that the Indians had broken down a large portion of his
corn, which was just getting into roasting ears, and had killed his only milk cow.  Venturing a little nearer, they saw
them in the act of emptying the feather beds, which had been brought all the way from South Carolina, to avail
themselves of the cases.  Seeing they were too far outnumbered to risk an attack they retreated.
 Mr. Jones immediately abandoned his frontier settlement and removed to Fairchild's Creek, near the Mississippi
River, where he built a watermill and did the grinding for the community many years.  These incidents are given as
specimens of many more that might be recorded, but as their narration is foreign to my main object, they will be
passed over without further detail at the present time.
 It has already been stated that most of the prominent members of this emigrant connection were members of the
Baptist Church before leaving South Carolina and, judging from the unwavering fidelity and zeal which they  
manifested in all their wanderings and privations, their religion was that of the heart.  They were regular in their
family devotions from their first settlement in the country, but the Spanish Government, which only recognized the
Roman Catholic form of worship, and forbid all others, having lately taken under its jurisdiction the Natchez District,
they scarcely knew what to do in regard to public worship.  After mutual consultation, they agreed to meet together in
their private dwellings, at set times, for the purpose of reading and expounding the Scriptures, exhortation and
prayer, hoping in this way to keep the members united and alive to their spiritual interests.  These meetings, which
were found to be so profitable to the members of the Church, soon attracted the attention of the American portion of
the population, many of whom desired to be present and enjoy once more the quickening and hallowing influences of
Protestant worship.  Thus, things went on through a series of years without exciting much open opposition from the
Catholic authorities.  Richard Curtis, Sr., died on November 10, 1784, and by this time, his son Richard had become
quite a preacher.  John Stampley, the brother-in-law of Richard Curtis, Jr., was quite gifted in exhortation, as was,
also, his brother, Jacob Stampley, both of whom afterward became Baptist preachers.  William Curtis, an elder
brother of Richard, was gifted in extemporaneous prayer, as was, also, John Jones and several others.
 By 1790, other American settlements desired to be visited by Mr. Curtis and his lay assistants and their labors were
soon blessed in the manifest awakening and conversion of souls.  Among the first converts was a prominent citizen
by the name of William Hamberlin and a Spaniard, who had married an American lady, by the name of Stephen
DeAlvo, both of whom desired admission into the Church.  This brought up in the minds of these pioneer workmen in
the Lord's vineyard a very difficult question for solution.  "Who could administer the ordinance of baptism according
to the faith and order of the Church?"  Mr. Curtis was only a licentiate, and was not authorized, according to the rules
of the Church, to administer baptism and yet here were persons desiring the ordinance, who exhibited all the usual
evidences of true conversion.   They prudently postponed the matter until they could correspond with the parent
Church in South Carolina, from whose authority they held their letters of church membership.  In the meantime, the
young converts were recognized as candidates for membership in the Church, and were properly cared for and
encouraged in the discharge of all their Christian duties.
 The Church in South Carolina, upon receiving the interesting communication from the Natchez Country,
immediately took the subject under advisement, and returned as their answer, "that there is no law against necessity,
and under the present stress of circumstances, the members ought to assemble and formally appoint one of their
number, be election, to baptize the young converts."  This advice was promptly acted on and Richard Curtis was duly
appointed to administer the ordinance, which he accordingly did, not only in the cases of Hamberlin and DeAlvo, but
in sundry other cases, both of men and women.  To avoid being detected by the Spanish Catholic hierarchy, the
ordinance was, at least on one occasion, administered at night by torch light.  But "a city that is set on a hill cannot
be hid."  The movements and successes of these early Mississippi Baptist became more and more public.
 Meanwhile, the opposition from the Catholic authorities, which had been on the increase for some time now, broke
out into a blaze of persecution, and the little pioneer band of Protestants were peremptorily ordered to "desist from
their heretical psalm-singing, praying and preaching in public or they would be subjected to sundry pains and
penalties."  For a time, Mr. Curtis and his adherents, in and out of Church, thought the American feeling was strong
enough to sustain them and, moreover, believing their cause was the cause of God, and that truth must ultimately
triumph over error, bid their opponents defiance, and even went so far as to have their places of worship guarded by
armed men, while they denounced in no very moderate terms the "image worship" and other unscriptural dogmas
and ceremonies of the Catholic Church.     
 The author does not pretend to say that their zeal was always well tempered with knowledge.  In common parlance,
they were uneducated men, plain, both in language and manners, and, perhaps, they sometimes imprudently
provoked the ire of their enemies.  By the commencement of the year 1795, several circumstances had transpired to
stir up the wrath of the Catholics against this little band of primitive Baptists.  Not only had William Hamberlin and
other prominent citizens joined their Church, but Stephen DeAlvo, a Spaniard and a Catholic by birth and education,
had renounced the faith of his ancestors and gone over to these heretics, as they called the Baptists.  This could not
be endured in silence!  they had the legal authority, as well, as the power to crush out this growing brotherhood of
anti-Catholics, and it must be done!
 Accordingly, the Spanish Commandant at Natchez, Don Manuel Gayoso de Lemos, wrote an expostulatory letter to
Mr. Curtis, urging him to desist from what was considered violative of the laws of the Province and against the peace
and safety of the country.  To this letter, Mr. Curtis replied, with characteristic bluntness and severity, giving him to
understand  that, in the name and strength of God, he was determined to persevere in what he had deliberately
conceived to be his duty.
 His immediate arrest was now ordered and on the 6th of April, 1795, he stood a prisoner before Governor Gayoso.  
At the close of the investigation, he was assured if he did not unequivocally promise to desist from all public
preaching, he would be sent, with several of his adherents, especially Hamberlin and DeAlvo, to work in the silver
mines of Mexico.  Whether the hitherto indomitable spirit of Curtis quailed under the menaces of Gayoso, or whether,
upon a review of the whole matter, he thought it would be more Christian-like to submit to the "powers that be," the
writer is not prepared to decide.  Be this as it may, he did promise to refrain thereafter from what was in open
violation of the laws of the province.  An edict was, also, issued by Gayoso, "that if nine persons were found
worshipping together, except according to the forms of the Catholic Church, they should suffer imprisonment."
 After being discharged, Mr. Curtis felt oppressed in mind, as he thoughtfully and prayerfully returned to his home
on the south fork of Cole's Creek.  "Had he done right in promising not to preach the gospel of peace and salvation
publicly in the Province?  What would become of the membership if their public religious meetings were
discontinued?  Would they not be scattered as sheep without a shepherd?  Had he set them a good example of
fortitude in the face of danger?"  Those and kindred questions which arose, one after another, in his mind were
difficult of solution.  He felt an assurance that he had aimed to do right, and the predominant conviction of his mind
was that he had done the best he could in his circumstances.  His liberty and life were worth something to his family,
to the little Christian brotherhood he had gathered around him and to the future prospects of the Church.  Had he
proved stubborn and refractory before Gayoso, being already a prisoner, he might have been ordered forthwith to
the calaboose preparatory to his being sent to work in the Mexican silver mines.
 His brethren generally approved his course, but thought some arrangement ought to be made to keep up their
religious meetings.  Things now went on quietly for awhile, but the American population had increased by the arrival
of other emigrants and they were becoming more and more clamorous for religious, as well, as civil, liberty.  The
members of the Church had a meeting for consultation, and after patient deliberation, they came to the conclusion
that it was not right to give up their religious meetings entirely.  It was true Mr. Curtis had promised to abstain from
public preaching, but still they might hold meetings, with such as would not betray them, for Christian conference,
prayer and exhortation.  Accordingly, they agreed to  hold their meetings as secretly as possible, and conduct all
their religious exercises in a low tone of voice; and, in order to make things doubly secure, they appointed reliable
men as sentinels on all the roads leading to their places of worship, whose duty it was to come in at any stage of the
meeting and report the appearance of any suspicious persons in the distance, which should be considered the
signal for an informal and immediate dismissal and dispersion.
 Thus matters were successfully managed for two or three months, when an additional circumstance, characteristic
of the times, came to light, which greatly enraged the priesthood and Spanish officers.  David Greenleaf, an
accomplished young gentleman from the North, had gained the heart and hand of Miss Phebe Jones, daughter of
John Jones, but such was their sense of the wrongs inflicted on the connection by the Catholic hierarchy, that they
resolved not to be united in marriage by either priest or Spanish officer.  They, moreover, believed that Richard
Curtis, the uncle of Miss Jones, being a preacher of the gospel, was as duly authorized in the sight of God to
solemnize the rites of matrimony as anyone else, and made application to him accordingly.
 He consented, with the understanding that all the preliminaries, including the marriage ceremony, were to be
conducted as quietly as possible and kept a secret as long as was consistent with truth and honor.  But, no one, not
even the parents of Miss Jones, were willing to risk the consequences of having the marriage performed in their
house.  So arrangements were made for Mr. Greenleaf to go, on the 24th of May, 1795, with a few select young
gentlemen, including Jonathan Jones, the father of the writer, to the village of Gayoso, which was situated on a bluff
of the Mississippi River about eighteen miles above Natchez, and procure the license from the proper officer, who
was probably an American, and sympathized with that class of the community.  Then, considerably after nightfall, he
was to be found on the road, two or three miles south of Greenville, going in the direction of Natchez.  In the
meantime, the bridal party, including Mr. Curtis, were to be taking an evening ride in the opposite direction and, lest
some traitorous person might accidentally fall in with either party, they agreed upon a sign and countersign:  the
bridal party giving the sign when they met amid the darkness of night, and the other party returning the countersign,
in case all was well; but, if any suspicious person had fallen in with either party, they were to pass in silence.
 At the appointed time and place, the parties met, and one of the bridal party announced the mysterious word, but
there was no response and they passed without recognition.  The young men could not forego the pleasure of a little
innocent amusement in connection with a wedding, so they had determined to have it at the expense of the bridal
party.  "Who on earth can they be?" inquired one in a suppressed tone.  "It's them," said another, "and something
has happened."  A settled gloom was coming down on that lovely young bride and her party, when the mischievous
young gentlemen wheeled suddenly about and gave the countersign.
 The parties alighted near the residence of William Stampley, on what is still known as "Stampley's Hill," and by
torchlight, under the wide-spread boughs of an ancient oak, the marriage ceremony was duly performed, which was
concluded by an impressive prayer offered up by Mr. Curtis, long talked of by those who were present.  The parties
remounted, the light was extinguished, and each sought concealment in the privacy of home.  Of course, the
marriage was not long kept a secret.  Mr. Greenleaf was a machinist and the young men in his employ soon came to
a knowledge of the fact that he was a married man, and through them it soon became known that Mr. Curtis had
officiated a the hymenial altar.  A numerous, intelligent and pious posterity is the result of that remarkable wedding.
 Mr. Curtis' participation in this affair and the current rumors that he had violated his pledge to desist from preaching
and was actually holding secret meetings with his people, re-aroused the fury of the Catholics, and they determined
to strike a decisive and final blow at the ringleaders of the little Protestant community.  That Mr. Curtis ever violated
his pledge by preaching, in the ordinary acceptation of the term, the writer has no evidence; that he did take part in
the social meetings of the Church is not denied.
 The officers of the Provincial Government, instigated by the priesthood, made diligent inquiry as to the time and
place of holding their meetings for exhortation, prayer and Christian intercourse, and devised plans for the capture
of Messrs. Richard Curtis, William Hamberlin and Stephen DeAlvo.  Orders for their arrest were secretly issued on,
or just previous to, the 23rd of August, 1795.  The 23rd of August was a quiet Sabbath, with all of its holy
associations inviting the devout worshipers to assemble at the house of prayer.  It was the private residence of one
of their number, in what was then and is still known as "Stampley's Settlement," on the south fork of Cole's Creek.
 The pickets had been properly posted on all the roads, and the little persecuted fraternity of Baptists were, in
subdued tones, conducting their worship, when the sentinel on the Natchez road came in hurriedly and announced
the appearance of five men, which he took to be a Spanish officer and his posse.  The religious exercises closed
immediately and Messrs. Curtis, Hamberlin and DeAlvo hastened to a neighboring thicket to conceal themselves,
knowing that they were peculiarly obnoxious to the hierarchy at Natchez.  The other adjusted themselves with
apparent carelessness about the house and yard, when the unwelcome visitors rode up and, with characteristic
self-importance, inquired, "What are you all doing here?"  They replied, "We are not harming anybody; we always
suspend our secular avocations on the Sabbath and, either rest at home, or spend our time in such intercourse with
each other as suits us."
  "We wish to see Dick Curtis, Bill Hamberlin and Steve DeAlvo, either one, or all of them; where are they to be found
this morning?" authoritatively inquired this embodiment of Papal intolerance.  To which an evasive answer was given,
such as, "We don't exactly know, somewhere in the neighborhood, we suppose."  The officer then announced the
fact that he had come with orders from Governor Gayoso to arrest those three rebels, preparatory to their being
sent to work in the silver mines in Mexico for the remainder of their lives and, if any man should be found aiding and
abetting either their concealment or escape, he should suffer the like penalty.
 After further expressing his determination to capture them at any expense of time and labor, he set out immediately
with his posse on a diligent search for the fugitives, and, in the language of the venerable Mrs. Elizabeth Armstrong,
who still survives, considerably in advance of eighty years old, and who well recollects the search for Curtis and his
two companions, "For a number of days, they reminded me of children playing hide and seek, such was the activity
and minuteness of the search."
 It now became the settled conviction of the most reliable men in the community that it was worse than useless for
Mr. Curtis and his two faithful adherents, Hamberlin and DeAlvo, to think of breasting that storm any further, that
their only safety was in a precipitate flight from the country and, consequently, from all that was dear to them on
earth.  "But whither shall they fly?" was the next question and the ready answer was, "To South Carolina, the former
home of Mr. Curtis."  The horrors of the Revolutionary War had long since passed away, the reign of "peace and
truth" had been re-established on the Great Peedee; here they could support themselves by the labor of their own
hands and, while among congenial associates, they could enjoy their Christian privileges, with none to molest or
make them afraid.  Accordingly, as soon as suitable horses could be procured, amidst the tears of wives and
children and weeping relatives, they clandestinely left the settlement, with the understanding that they were to
conceal themselves at the house of a friend on Little Bayou Pierre, near where Port Gibson now stands, until they
could be supplied with suitable provision in clothes, food and money, for their journey through the wilderness to
South Carolina.


        NEXT PAGE: "The Escape" & "Exile in South Carolina"               HOME
   Richard Curtis, Jr. was born in Onslow County, North Carolina, in 1755.  By 1766, his family had
moved to the Cheraws District of Craven County, South Carolina, just south of the Pee Dee River.   
Richard Curtis, Sr., was of Welsh descent and it's believed they moved to this mostly Welsh
community to be near friends or family members who'd started the Welsh Neck Baptist Church.
   At the beginning of the Revolutionary War, Richard Curtis, Sr. two of his sons and his step-son,
John Jones, all ardent Patriots, joined Capt. Francis Marion, the "Swamp Fox," and served under his
command until 1779, engaging in at least three major campaigns of that struggle.  During the war,
the Curtis family and other Patriot families, lost their homes and belongings to several Tory raids.  
After the war was over, feelings were still running high in the community, many of the Welsh
citizens having remained loyal to the British.  When it became apparent that prospects weren't
promising for living peacefully among their neighbors and that, indeed, their property and even their
lives were in peril, they started making plans to move to the newly opening Natchez Territory.
   In the autumn of 1780, the Curtis, Courtney, Stampley, Ogden and Perkins families packed what
remained of their belongings and took the first steps of their long and dangerous journey to a new
life in the "far Western Country."
   It's been so exciting to learn about the lives of my Curtis and Stampley ancestors and their
contributions to the history of Mississippi.  As well as my Baldridge ancestors, who were
instrumental in founding many Methodist Churches in SW Mississippi  (
my mother surely wouldn't
want me to forget those Methodist Churches!)  
I'm happy to be able to share the following
excerpt.....and I'm proud to dedicate it to the memory of the stalwart settlers of Cole's Creek.