Description of the Records of Jefferson County, MS
Written in 1902 by Chancery Clerk, Steve D. McNair
Hunston, afterward changed to Greenville, was the county site of Pickering (now Jefferson) County until the year 1825. The old records of this county were kept in Adams County until 1802, then removed to Greenville and, then in 1826, were removed to the present county site, Fayette. The first courthouse built in Jefferson County, at Fayette, was torn down and a new courthouse erected in 1881, which was destroyed by fire the 19th of March, 1901, but, fortunately, none of the record books were destroyed by the fire. The oldest record book in the office of the Chancery Clerk is Book W, commencing on the 31st July, 1790. Among the first deeds recorded is one from Parker Carradine to John J. Carradine, the 9th May, 1798. Another is from William Carney to Arthur Carney, dated 1795. There is, also, a bill of sale dated September 23, 1790. Another document from the Spanish government to John Rankin Wilie, dated in Louisiana, 1792. This deed is recorded in the Spanish language and bears the signature of Don Carlos Trudo, Agrimens Realy particular de la Provincia de la Louisiana. This record book contains many deeds written and recorded in the Spanish, French and English languages, and contains deeds up to 1818. Book A (2), another old book, contains deeds, certificates of marriage, marks and brands, plats of land sold by Spanish and British governments from 1794 to 1804. One deed of record, Deed Book A, dated 1775, begins: 'George the Third, by the grace of God,' etc. The next record dates from 1804 to 1813, and contains conveyances of land recorded in Jefferson County. All these old books were imported from London. The surface of the paper is rough, but the use of the quill made a beautiful record. The ink, plats, penmanship in these old books are as clear and distinct as if done but yesterday. An examination of these old books is very interesting, bringing to memory the names of many who figured in olden days in Mississippi history. The next book, a large, well preserved book, brings the deed of records up to the year 1826, and contains plats of the town of Fayette and Rodney, and also the orginal deed of conveyance of date May 21st, 1825, from Henry Platner to George Robinson, Joseph Parmerlee, Thomas Shelby, Abner Marble and David Willis, commissioners under an act of the General Assembly of the State of Mississippi, laid off as the town of Fayette. The oldest wills recorded in Jefferson County are in Will Book A and are from 1800 to 1830. The county of Jefferson has no courthouse at present, but one under way of construction and, when completed, we shall have one of the best fire proof record rooms in the State. At present, the records are kept on the lower floor of the jail, a brick building, and are guarded at night by a special watchman.