Extinct Towns of Jefferson County, MS
Published by the Mississippi Historical Society, 1902

     Greenville was by far the largest and most important town on the
Natchez Trace.  It was halfway between Natchez and Port Gibson.  In its
earlier history, it was known by different names:  Pinckneyville,
Orchardsville and Huntly.  In 1805, its name was changed to Greenville in
honor of Gen. Nathaniel Greene.  It was a thriving town when the United
Stats took possession of this territory in 1798.  Upon the creation of
Pickering (now Jefferson) County, Greenville became its first seat of
justice.  The surrounding country was settled by families of wealth and
refinement.  Cato West, David Holmes, Cowles Meade and Gen. Thomas
Hinds all lived within two miles of old Greenville, and the remains of Col.
Cato West and Gen. Hinds now rest in the soil of their respective
plantations close by.  A little farther away, in the same neighborhood, lived
Capt. Bullen, the Harrisons, the Harpers, the Hardens, the Hunts and
other historic families of Mississippi.  Only a few miles to the southwest
was the famous Maryland settlement, where lived the Woodes, the
Donohues, the Paynes and the Bakers.
 At old Greenville, the troops furnished by the Mississippi Territory in the
War of 1812, the Dragoons, commanded by Gen. Hinds, and the infantry
under Col. Ely Kershaw Ross, were given a big barbecue and disbanded
after the Battle of New Orleans.  It was to this place that May and Sutton,
members of the notorious Murrill gang of robbers, brought their leader's
head in order to get a reward that had been offered.  (Some men whom
May and Sutton had robbed and the owners of the horses which they rode
into Greenville, were there attending court when these robbers came for
their reward.  They were promptly arrested, tried and convicted.)
 In 1825, the General Assembly of Mississippi selected a commission to
purchase land upon which a county site was to be laid off.  The place
chosen was to be called 'Fayette' in honor of Gen. Lafayette.  The
commission had authority to select Greenville, but the night before the
election, a mob which favored the removal of a seat of justice to a place
nearer the center of the county, wrecked Greenville's courthouse.  This
sealed the fate of Greenville and settled the question of removal in favor
of the present town of Fayette.  Greenville rapidly declined.  The houses
decayed or were moved away to build new towns.  The old Cable hotel
was, for many years, the only building left to mark the site of this historic
place.  [In 1897] this house was destroyed by fire and now only a
blackened chimney in a cultivated field is all that is left to remind the visitor
of the long-departed glory of old Greenville.


  In the early part of the nineteenth century, George Selser erected an
inn on the old Natchez Trace, six miles from Washington and just inside
the limits of Jefferson County.  The Griffing, the Coleman and the Jones
families settled close by.  The Selser house finally passed into the hands
of John McCollum.  For many years afterwards, the sign 'Intertainment for
Man and Baste'
[sic] swung between the two china trees in front of the
stables.  The house and stables were burnt soon after the War between
the States, and now, the charred remains o the old china trees are the
only relics of old Selsertown.  Near the place is a large Indian mound,
which was explored by a number of literary and scientific gentlemen from
Natchez in 1838.


  Six miles north of Greenville was Shankstown, named for a gentlemen
who had a hotel at this place at an early date.  This town was not laid off
into blocks, though it contained a large number of houses, a store or two,
a cabinetmaker's shop, a blacksmith's shop, etc.


  The next station above Selsertown on the Natchez Trace was
Uniontown, which was situated on the south side of Cole's Creek.  It was a
place of some importance.  Here, early in the century, Jackson Warren
and Thomas Shackleford started a tan yard and a shoe shop.  In writing of
the business enterprises of old Uniontown, the late Col. John A. Watkins,
of New Orleans, said:  'Farley made all the hats, Jake Warner made
shoes, Pintard was cabinetmaker, McMurchy made wagons, plows, etc.  
Greenleaf, about 1797, established a cotton gin factory, it was the first gin
ever used in Mississippi, and was made by a Negro.'  Only one house,
The Mound, belonging to Miss Pauline Chamberlain, now marks the site of
old Uniontown.

Washington, Adams County

  Though Washington can hardly be spoken of as extinct, it now retains
only a fragment of its former greatness - the buildings of Jefferson College
and a few other houses being the only structures left out of the large
number of imposing edifices of former years.
 The following account o Washington as it was in 1805 is taken from John
F. H. Claiborne's 'Mississippi as a Province, Territory and State,'
published in 1880;
 'The town of Washington, six miles east of Natchez, in a rich, elevated
and picturesque country, was then the seat of government.  The land
office, the Surveyor-General's office, the office of the Commissioners of
Claims, the Courts of the United States, were all there.  The high officials
of the Territory made it their residence and many gentlemen of fortune
went there to reside.  The conflicting land titles had drawn a crowd of
lawyers, generally young men of fine attainments and brilliant talents.  The
medical profession was equally well represented, at the head of which was
Dr. Daniel Rawlings, a native of Calvert County, Maryland, a man of high
moral character and exalted patriotism, eminent in his profession and who,
as a vigorous writer and acute reasoner, had no superior and few equals.
 'The immigration from Maryland - chiefly from Calvert, Prince George
and Montgomery Counties - consisted, for the most part, of educated and
wealthy planters:  the Covingtons, Graysons, Chews, Calvits, Wilkinsons,
Freelands, Wailes, Bowies, Magruders, Winstons, Dangerfields and
others from Virginia, who, for a long time, gave tone to the society of the
Territorial capital.
 'It was a gay and fashionable place, every hill in the neighborhood
occupied by some chateau.  The presence of the military had its influence
on society; punctilio and ceremony, parades and public entertainments
were the features of the place.  It was, of course, the haunt of politicians
and office hunters; the center of political intrigue; the point to which all
persons in pursuit of land or occupation first came.  It was famous for its
wine parties and dinners, usually enlivened by one or more duels directly
 'Such was this now deserted and forlorn looking village, during Territorial
organization.  In its forums, there was more oratory, in its salons, more wit
and beauty than we have ever witnessed since - all now mouldering,
neglected and forgotten, in the desolate graveyard of the ancient capital.'

                                               ~   ~   ~

                          Other pages of interest on this topic:

Last Inn on the Natchez Trace:  Mt. Locust (Mound Plantation)
Jefferson College, Washington
                                  Assembly Hall, Washington
                           Old Methodist Church, Washington
               Links to vintage photos of several old Washington
                         homes can be found on the index page

                                                     The link to this page is:

                             My G-Grandfather's Attic - Home
(I'm including a description of the town of Washington,
Adams County, on this page, because many Jefferson
County researchers have an interest in it.   Nancy)