JOSEPH CALVITT AND HIS FAMILY IN MISSISSIPPI

J. Calvitt Clarke III

http://users.ju.edu/jclarke/josephcalvitfamily.htm

Draft—In Progress

 

Sadly, best viewed with Microsoft Explorer

 

 

CONTENTS

 

THE CALVIT FAMILY MIGRATES TO TENNESSEE

FIGHTING WITH GEORGE ROGERS CLARK IN THE NORTHWEST CAMPAIGN

THE CALVIT FAMILY DETOURS TO MISSISSIPPI

JOSEPH CALVIT’S FIRST MARRIAGE

THE CALVIT PLANTATIONS AND THEIR POLITICAL ACTIVITIES

MARY DEAN CALVIT HIGDON

JOSEPH’S WIVES AND HIS PARAMOUR

REVOLUTIONARY WAR PENSION

 

 

APPENDICES

 

APPENDIX 1: JOSEPH CALVITS’ SERVICE IN THE OLD NORTHWEST

APPENDIX 2: FREDERICK CALVIT—SCALPING AND A WILL

APPENDIX 3: WILLIAM CALVIT AND TROUBLE WITH WIVES

APPENDIX 4: THOMAS CALVIT: A LAW SUIT AND A WILL

APPENDIX 5: THE CALVIT FAMILY AND SLAVES

APPENDIX 6: LAND AND PROPERTY IN THE CALVIT/HIGDON FAMILIES

APPENDIX 7: PROTEST AGAINST GOVERNOR SARGENT

APPENDIX 8: JOSEPH CALVIT SELLS LAND FOR FORT DEARBORN

APPENDIX 9: THOMAS CALVIT, CALVITSTON, AND AARON BURR

APPENDIX 10: MARY DEAN CALVIT HIGDON’S WILL

APPENDIX 11: JOSEPH CALVIT’S REVOLUTIONARY WAR PENSION AND HIS DISPOSITION OF PROPERTY AFTER HIS DEATH

 

 

THE CALVIT FAMILY MIGRATES TO TENNESSEE

Joseph Calvit was a descendant of French Huguenots, who had first fled to England in 1685 and then immigrated to Manakin, Virginia in 1700.  Later the family moved to western North Carolina, where Joseph was born.  Perhaps a year or two before 1776, he and his brothers moved westward to what is today Washington County in Tennessee near the state’s boundaries with Virginia and North Carolina.  Here, in one of the narrow valleys of the Appalachian Mountains, Huguenots built thirteen stockades along the Watauga River, not far from its junction with the Holston River that flows southwest until it joins the Tennessee River.  The historic “Wilderness Trail” marked by Daniel Boone, winded nearby.[1]

 

Calvit was a member of the Watauga Association, which existed from 1769 to 1777.  In the spring of 1772, men from the thirteen forts gathered and adopted “Articles of Association,” the first written constitution adopted west of the mountains or by a community of American-born freemen.  The document declared absolute religious freedom and based all action on manhood suffrage.  Watauga acted as an independent political community and practiced a more extensive democracy than did the seaboard colonies.  Sometime in 1776, well before August, 112 of these settlers, including Joseph and his brother, Frederick Calvit, signed the Watauga Petition, which asked North Carolina to recognize their government.[2]  After playing his role in helping to set up what would become the State of Tennessee, Joseph left the Holston River.

 

 

FIGHTING WITH GEORGE ROGERS CLARK IN THE NORTHWEST CAMPAIGN

 

 

 

In 1777, the American Revolutionary War intensified along the frontier, and armed by the British, Native Americans raided Kentucky’s settlers.  As a leader of Kentucky’s defense, George Rogers Clark believed that the best way to end these raids was to seize Britain’s outposts north of the Ohio River and to destroy British influence among the Indians.  Authorized by Virginia’s governor, in 1778 Clark and about 175 men crossed the Ohio River and marched to Kaskaskia, taking it on the night of July 4.  The expedition then took Cahokia, Vincennes, and several other villages and forts.  Countering Clark's advance, however, the British reoccupied Vincennes with a small force.  In February 1779, striking out from Kaskaskia, Clark returned to Vincennes in a surprise winter expedition and retook the town.

 

It is unclear exactly how and when Joseph Calvit arrived in the Northwest to join Clark’s forces; he was there as early as July 14, 1779, when the commissary provided Lieutenant Joseph Calvart (Calvit) with three blankets and two shirts[3]—his first mention in the Papers of George Rogers Clark.  Although Calvit was not officially commissioned until June 1, 1780, he was already at this time addressed in the field as a as a lieutenant.  Calvit served in Captain James Shelby's Company at Fort Patrick Henry—the former Fort Sackville at Vincennes.  Calvit also received five small bags, a horse, and one pound of powder and two pounds of lead.  He asked for five pounds of beef for his mess.[4]

 

[5]

 

14201-8-1061[6]

 

In November 1779, George Rogers Clark and his junior officers discussed building a fort and a civilian community on the Mississippi, four or five miles below the mouth of the Ohio.  Such a fort would allow Clark to consolidate his forces, control access to the Ohio River, and grow the food supplies that Virginia could not afford to send.  Clark, 175 soldiers, and an unknown number of civilians arrived on April 19, 1780, at the spot selected for the new settlement near Iron Banks.  Clark named the post Fort Jefferson in honor of Virginia’s governor, Thomas Jefferson.  At least by December 1780, Calvit was there, and while at the fort he and his men consumed large amounts of taffia[7] and other liquor.  The commissary assigned him for his own use or to distribute to his men other goods, such as cloth and thread, twine for fishing line, sugar, tobacco, a brass kettle, coffee, swords, denim jeans, a rifle, and a looking glass.[8]  Calvit did some recruiting[9] and he was appointed to a court of enquiry at Fort Jefferson to investigate allegations Major George Slaughter had made against Captain Edward Worthington.[10]  Calvit also found the time to woo and marry a young woman.[11]

 

Isolated in the remote wilderness, Fort Jefferson, however, proved untenable.  Facing the British and their Chickasaw allies as well as sickness and inadequate supplies, the Americans could not hold the area and had to abandon the fort in June 1781, and Calvit seems to have been there as late as June 6.[12]  In July, Fort Jefferson’s exhausted survivors, including Calvit and his new wife, arrived at General Clark's new stronghold, Fort Nelson, located at Louisville at the Falls of the Ohio.  He was issued ten pounds of sugar on the ninth, forage for his horses on the seventeenth, and by August 15, the couple was receiving rations, including tallow, gun powder, and more alcohol.[13]  Life became more civilized: in October, Calvit and other officers of the Illinois Battalion were to be issued white shirts.[14]  Beyond items for his own use, it appears that Calvit may have sometimes acted something like a quartermaster to his company, sick men, and prisoners at Fort Nelson to distribute necessities such as rum, liquor, wine, whiskey, brandy, a rum case, tobacco, coffee, sugar, beef, corn, flour, salt, tallow, forage for horses, leather, gun powder, lead, flints, a musket, bayonets, bayonet belts, cartridge boxes, cartridge paper, melting ladles, tubes, bullet nippers, shells, steel, nails, swords, and brass kettles.[15]

 

Without having engaged in any significant fighting—and perhaps none at all—on May 3, 1782 Calvit requested that the Commissary Provision Store, issue him three kegs of flour for his family’s use on the way down the river.  George Rogers Clark countersigned the request.[16]  Calvit, however, remained at Fort Nelson for at least three more months,[17] but by August 1782, it appears that he was among a group preparing to leave Fort Nelson by boat.[18]

 

Joseph Calvit left the service in 1782.[19]  In August 1782, all four Calvit brothers filed their Revolutionary War claims in North Carolina, based on date of service.  Thomas had also served as a lieutenant with George Rogers Clark in the Northwest Campaign.  Frederick obviously served the revolutionary cause longer—his two claims totaled almost twice as much as the sum of his brothers’ claims.  Joseph received credit for three years of service.[20]

 

 

tHE CALVIT FAMILY DetourS to Natchez, Mississippi

The Calvits and their neighbors along the Watauga and Holston rivers learned that General Clark expected to secure land grants along the Ohio River for his soldiers, and many of them eventually settled in Kentucky and the southern tier of Ohio’s counties.  At the Falls of the Ohio some years later on July 6, 1791, a meeting of the commissioners for apportioning the lands granted to the Illinois regiment noted that, “Mr. Joseph Calvit produced to the board a deed for his proportion of land in the Illinois Grant, amounting to 2,156 acres, viz.; No. 41, 50, 61, 161, and 156 acres, part of No. 216.  The board having examined the deed, etc., executed the same.”[21]  He had received the standard 2,156 acres allotted to lieutenants, although none of the plots were connected.[22]

 

english852853

[23]

 

Eager for their land, in the autumn and winter of 1781 and 1782, members of several families built flatboats on the banks of the Holston River in Tennessee.  When melted snow and ice flooded the streams, they hoped to float unobstructed down the Holston to the Tennessee River, and into the Ohio.  Once there, they would use long poles to drive the rafts upstream to one of the settlements awaiting them in Kentucky.  They fastened together and floored logs to build the rafts.  In the center, they built small cabins for protection against Indian snipers, and they steered the rafts by sweeps attached at the sternposts.  Late in March 1782, the boatyard teemed with preparations for departure.[24]

 

For mutual protection, twelve families started together down the turbulent Tennessee River.  Among them were Daniel and Mary Dean Calvit Higdon, their son Jeptha, and two of her other sons—and Joseph’s brothers—Frederick and Thomas Calvit, from her first marriage to Antoine (Anthony) Calvet.  With Frederick were his wife and several young children.  The trip was dangerous, especially at the rapids at Muscle Shoals.  On the rafts travelling with the Calvit’s and Higdon’s were the Green, West, Smith, and White families, and their heads became some of the most important men in early Mississippi.[25]

 

The spring thaw, however, was too great on the Ohio River, and the waters swept them downstream to the Mississippi River.  Should they land in the first cove on the west bank of the Mississippi or be swept down to Natchez?  The men voted and the choice was Natchez.  The settlers now made their way down 2000 miles of river flowing past banks occupied by hostile Indians.  And they made good time.  Leaving the Holston region in late March or early April, the twelve families tied up their rafts at the mouth of Cole’s Creek, fifteen miles above Natchez in early May.  The Spanish authorities of West Florida politely received the settlers from Watauga, closely questioned them, and generously accepted them as subjects of the Spanish king to whom they signed oaths of allegiance.[26]

 

How was it that these hardened, frontier veterans of the American Revolutionary War—Protestants descended from Huguenots who had fled Catholic and Royal France—so quickly swore loyalty to another Catholic monarch?  New homes in a sparsely-settled yet bountiful territory must have been hard to resist.  And given the significant support Spain had supplied the American revolutionaries, the oath presumably was not as difficult as more modern sensibilities might assume.

 

It is unclear how and when Joseph and his brother William got to Natchez.  Some have suggested that they went overland by the old Indian trail, the Natchez Trace, after their mother and brothers already had settled in Natchez.[27]  This, at least for Joseph and his wife, makes little sense.  Joseph arrived in Natchez possibly as early as the autumn of 1782 and no later than January 1784.[28]  In any case, he decided not to occupy his land grant in Indiana although he still held title to it in 1791.[29]

 

In any case, the Calvits’ arrival was part of a larger American immigration into Natchez.  In 1776, only seventy-eight families lay scattered in different settlements, and in 1779 there were only four small stores servicing the community.  The Spanish census of 1785, however, showed that the Natchez District had grown to 1,550.[30]

 

After its successful revolution against Great Britain, the United States laid claim to the Natchez District, but the Spanish refused to recognize it.  By the mid-1790s, however, Spain was at war in Europe and did not want to risk a war with the fledgling American republic for fear losing New Orleans.  With Treaty of San Lorenzo of 1795, Spain agreed to give up its claim to Natchez and allowed the Americans to use the Mississippi River and the port of New Orleans without paying taxes.[31]

 

 

JOSEPH CALVIT’S FIRST MARRIAGE

There is little known, much confusion, and significant misinformation on Joseph Calvit’s marriages.  It appears that he married twice, entertained at least one paramour, and had children by all three women.  The confusion stems from two documents summarizing the revolutionary pension request by Joseph Calvit’s descendants.  They incorrectly assume that Joseph married but once:

Joseph R, svc in Illinois regiment of VA troops & left svc 1782; Francis A Dickens, adm/o sol estate, applied for unpaid PN due sol & gtd; inquiry between 1844 & 1850 by Mrs. Martha Clark; inquiry 1850 by I or J Calvert Clark; QLF states sol md Sidney Rundell (?), Iron Banks, settled near Natchez, MS 175, dd 1819 leaving wid Sidney, their ch: John, Thomas, & Martha who md Joshua G Clarke (later Chancellor of state of MS, his w Martha wid in 1830) further sol w possibly Elizabeth Sidney.  R452([32]

The second document reads:

Calvitt, Joseph (A. G. 50,027), Lieut. Clarke’s Ill. Regt., Va. State Troops. M at Iron Banks to Sidney______________, settled near Natchez, Miss., about 1785; d Aug., 1819.  His widow, Sidney, M ______________Rundell.  His children were: John, Thomas, James and Martha, or Patsey, who m Jushua G. Clarke, afterward Chancellor of the State of Miss.  In 1830, she was a widow.[33]

 

In truth, mystery shrouds Joseph’s first wife.  We do not know her name or any facts about her.  An unperson, many, using the documents above, have even assigned her three children, John, James, and Martha, to his second wife, Sidney.  Who was Joseph’s first wife?  When and where did they marry?  And when did she die?  Braving the shadows of limited knowledge, there is a more likely story than what those documents suggest.[34]

 

Early in 1780, George Rogers Clark and his small band soldiers and civilians went to Iron Banks to build Fort Jefferson.  Calvit served at the fort and presumably met his bride there.

 

There is one source, a deposition collected to secure Joseph Calvit’s Revolutionary War pension, that specifically sheds some light on these issues.  One Margaret Williams—the first French woman in the area to marry an American[35]—on September 25, 1830 testified:

1. Personally knew, well acquainted with Lieut. Joseph Calvit before the end of the Rev. War and for a long time afterward.

2. Joseph Calvit was sometime previous to close of Rev. War commissioned Lieut. Illinois Cavalry, Va. Line and was stationed for a time at Kaskaskia, in or at the Fort.

3. Lieut. Calvit was lawfully married at the Iron Banks on the Mississippi at the home of this deponent; this deponent being present and witnessing ceremony.

4. Joseph Calvit removed with his family sometime after close of Rev. War to the now State of Mississippi and located himself not far from Natchez.  This deponent knew him up to time of his death.

5. This deponent was the wife, and is now the widow, of Capt. John Williams who also served in the Va. Line under Gen. George Rogers Clarke, and she and her husband at an early period moved to Mississippi.  She is now abt. 78 yrs. old.

6. Lieut. Joseph Calvit had born to him by this marriage a dau. Martha and a son John, who are still living and others, who this deponent is informed are dead.

7. That the dau. Martha married Joshua G. Clarke, afterward the Hon. Chancellor of Mississippi, now dead; she is his widow and relict.[36]

8. Lieut. Joseph Calvit remained in Mississippi until time of his death.

Henry Tooley, Notary Public

City of Natchez, Adams Co.

25 Sept. 1830

Margaret x Williams

 mark[37]

 

Because this document appears to be listing facts in chronological order, it would seem that while serving in the Northwest Territory, Calvit met a woman.  He then married her at the home of Margaret Williams at Iron Banks on the Mississippi River in Kentucky.  Unfortunately, Mrs. Williams did not offer a date for the marriage or any information on the bride.  Records show, however, that he and his wife by August 15, 1781 were receiving rations while stationed at the Falls of the Ohio at Louisville, Kentucky.[38]

 

Williams affirmed that Joseph remained in the Ohio River region with his bride and from there went to Mississippi, surely by river.  There are no other records documenting where Joseph Calvit was after his service with Clark, but chronology above suggests that after leaving the service, he must have left downriver with little delay.  Because his entire family ended up in Natchez, there must have been some communication and coordination, but how and when would be pure speculation.

 

Nothing more is known about Joseph’s wife other than that the couple had three children, John, James, and Martha (Patsey).  Presumably all born in Mississippi, their birthdates are unknown, but the youngest, Martha, married in 1807.  Assuming that she was, say, twenty at the time, that would suggest that the three children were all born before 1787.[39]

 

 

THE CALVIT PLANTATIONS AND THE THEIR POLITICAL ACTIVITIES

Armed with Spanish land grants, the Calvit’s started their plantations.  In 1782, Frederick moved his family to a 600-acre grant, east of Washington at “Staunton.”  William moved to a grant on the Homochitto River, Franklin County.  By 1790, three of the brothers were large tobacco growers—Frederick produced 10,100 pounds, William another 10,000 pounds, and Thomas 7,000.  In the end, however, Thomas Calvit, the youngest, became the most prosperous of the four Calvit brothers.  The Calvits’ half brother, Jeptha Higdon, produced 10,000 pounds and their mother Mary another 2000.[40]  When Mississippi’s tobacco industry collapsed in the 1790s, Natchez planters turned to indigo, but it failed to become a lucrative cash crop.  They then turned to cotton.[41]

 

The Spanish also granted land to Joseph Calvit:

Joseph received land: Claim No. 118. (Reg. 12 Jan. 1804.) Sp. grant to Joseph Calvit, 386 arpens[42] in Natchez District on waters of St. Catherine's Cr., 7 miles NE from Fort Panmure, b. by Benj. Belk, Winson Pipes, Daniel Whitaker, Gideon Gibson and Joseph Foster. 12 June 1788.  [No file.].[43]

He also bought additional property, for example, in 1801:

Claim No. 117. (Reg. 12 Jany. 1804.)  Bargain and sale.  7 Aug. 1782.  Isaac Johnson to Nathaniel Tomlinson, 500 arpens on Petit Gulph, land purchased at public auction of confiscated property of the fugitive rebel, John Turner; for $187. Both sign.  Nathaniel Tomlinson to Joseph Calvit, both of Adams County, Miss. Ter., for $1000 in hand, the above 500 acres.  Wit: D. Michie, James Williams.  [No file.][44]

This placed him in Adams County, north of the present-day Jefferson County line and close to where his mother lived.  The old town of Washington was on or near his grant.  As had his brothers, Joseph became a successful planter, landowner, and slaveholder.[45]

 

Spanish censuses documented the Calvit presence: “Present in the Spanish Census of 1784 in the sub-district of Santa Catalina (St. Catherine Creek) are Joseph Calvit, Frederick Calvit, Thomas Calvit and William Calvit. All four Calvit-named individuals had families and were engaged in prosperous farm operations.”  Three years later, the census of 1787 repeated, “Present in the Spanish Census of 1787 in the sub-district of Santa Catalina (St. Catherine Creek) are Joseph Calvit, Frederick Calvit, Thomas Calvit and William Calvit. All four Calvit-named individuals had families and were engaged in prosperous farm operations.”  Then the census of 1792 recognized, “Present in the Spanish Census of 1792 in the sub-district of Santa Catalina (St. Catherine Creek) are John Calvit, Joseph Calvit, Thomas Calvit, William Calvit and 'the widow' Calvit [Frederick's widow].”[46]  Spanish Census of Natchez District, 1792, listing Heads of Family only, shows:

English Spelling                      As Recorded               Location

Calvit, John                             Juan Calvet                 Sandy & Second Creek

Calvit, Joseph                          Jose Calvet                  Santa Catalina

Calvit, The Widow[47]             La Vuida Calvet         Santa Catalina

Calvit, Thomas                        Tomas Calvet              Villa Gayoso

Calvit, William                        Guillermo Calvet         Sandy & Second Creek

Higdon, Maria                         Maria Idgon                Santa Catalina[48]

By 1810, Joseph held twelve slaves and Thomas fifty.[49]

 

The Natchez Court Records frequently mention the Calvit’s and Higdon’s and show their activities and growing importance in Mississippi’s developing plantation economy.  The humdrum exchange of property—land, horses, slaves, and more—made up the fabric of their private and business lives.  The elderly and illiterate Mary Dean Calvit Higdon’s activities deserve special note.  This matriarch must have been a formidable presence.[50]

 

The Calvit family got caught up in one international brouhaha.  Facing financial difficulties, in February 2, 1793, George Rogers Clark offered his services to Edmond-Charles Genêt, the controversial ambassador of revolutionary France.  Western Americans were outraged that the Spanish had denied Americans free access to the Mississippi River, their only easy outlet for long distance commerce.  Clark proposed to Genêt that, with French financial support, he could lead an expedition to drive the Spanish out of the Mississippi Valley.  Genêt appointed Clark "Major General in the Armies of France and Commander-in-chief of the French Revolutionary Legion on the Mississippi River."  Clark began to organize a campaign to seize New Madrid, St. Louis, Natchez, and New Orleans.  In early 1794, however, President Washington issued a proclamation forbidding Americans from violating U.S. neutrality and threatened to dispatch General Anthony Wayne to Fort Massac to stop the expedition.  The French government recalled Genêt and revoked the commissions he had granted to the Americans for the war against Spain.  Clark's planned campaign collapsed.

 

Before that collapse, the Spanish had gotten wind of the threat, and in February 1794 they investigated potentially seditious conversations among Natchez Americans, who had sworn loyalty to the Spanish Crown.  One such chat had taken place in the home of Thomas Calvit.  The Spanish deposed his mother:

At the Fort of Natchez, 6 March 1784, before me Don Pedro Favrot, etc., charged with Civil and Military Command in the Post and District, in the absence of the Governor, appeared Mary Higdon, in pursuance of orders given for the purpose, having been duly sworn, etc. being asked her name, country and condition, to which she replied: Mary Higdon, native of Pennsylvania, and widow of Daniel Higdon.  Q. To make a circumstantial relation of what she told to Robert Stark concerning the report of an enemy coming to attack this province.  A. That, being one day at the house of her son, Thomas Calvit, and sitting at table, Col. Green came in and, seating himself, Calvit enquired of the said Green what news he had heard, to which said Green replied that he had heard at Bayou Pierre from a woman that Gen. Clark had sent word to the inhabitants of the District that his intention was not to rob and murder them, only to make a conquest of the country.  And the said Calvit enquired of Green if this was known to Col. Bruin.  He answered in the affirmative and added that Col. Bruin appeared to be uneasy and apprehensive that the enemy would rob and murder if they came. This the deponent related to Robert Stark the day following, being all she has to say.  She is seventy years old.  The foregoing deposition, being read to her by the interpreters, she acknowledged it to be the same that she made on oath, and not knowing how to write she has made her mark and I have signed with said interpreters and the witnesses assisting.[51]

The family suffered no harm from this incident.

 

As the Calvit’s found their fortunes as Mississippi’s political life advanced.  In 1797, the Americans successfully overthrew the Spanish, and on April 17, 1798, a bill was introduced in Congress to establish the Mississippi Territory.  President John Adams appointed territorial officials, who made up the legislative council, and Winthrop Sargent as governor.[52]  On September 8, 1798, Governor Sargent appointed Joseph Calvit a Captain of Foot in the Lower District of the First Mississippi Militia.  Calvit declined.  The following day, the governor appointed him a Conservator of the Peace.  Until the appointment of federal judges, the Conservators of the Peace were empowered to "suppress all riots and affrays and to take notice of all treasonable or seditious language and commit the authors, unless they shall give security for future good conduct, to answer for their crimes at the first session of a Court of General Quarter Sessions of the peace, which shall be holden in the district where the offence may have been committed."[53]  They examined felonies, committed offenders, and appointed constables.  They also could administer oaths of allegiance, but only until October 30, 1798.[54]

 

Governor Sargent’s tenure was short and unhappy.  In 1799, a group of malcontents sent a representative with their complaints to Philadelphia, then the temporary capital of the United States.  Their representative presented two petitions, one asking for legislation to protect land claims of settlers and the other reciting grievances against Sargent’s administration.  Joseph and Thomas Calvit were among the signers.  These petitions were referred to a committee of the House of Representatives.[55]

 

The Mississippians protested that the governor would never be able to organize the militia; that all the principal officers who held the people’s confidence had resigned their commissions; and that legislation had wantonly abused the Ordinance of 1787 and the Constitution of the United States.  The governor, they said, had also exacted exorbitant fees and taxes, and the people, their yearnings to participate in lawmaking through representatives thwarted, were leaving the region.  Many more were threatening to move to Spanish-controlled territory.  “[W]e do not hesitate to say that the morose, arbitrary contumacy of Governor Sargent are among the primary causes."[56]

 

Responding to the two petitions, in 1800, Congress allowed Mississippians to establish a territorial legislature.  The votes were along party lines with the Republicans voting “yes” and the Federalists “no.”  In 1801, President Thomas Jefferson appointed Charles Cole Claiborne as governor.  Serving from 1801 to 1805, the new governor moved the territorial capital from Natchez to Washington, six miles to the east.  Joseph Calvit donated land for the new capital.[57]

 

After Spain’s cession of Louisiana to France between 1800 and 1802, complications arose with Spain over the right of deposit of American goods at New Orleans, and the want of military equipment in the territory disquieted Governor Claiborne.  He asked the Secretary of War for one thousand rifles, and he recommended constructing a well-equipped and centrally-located military post.  His efforts resulted in the building of Fort Dearborn at Washington, Mississippi.  In July 1802, Joseph Calvit sold forty-three acres of land at fifteen dollars per acre for the fort.[58]

 

The Transcripts of County Archives of Adams County, Minutes of the Quarter Session of the Peace, 1799-1801, often mention Joseph’s service to the community.  For example, “Joseph Calvit served on the Grand Jury, Thursday 6 June 1799, and again February 1801, Joseph Calvit served as juror on the Supreme Court and was foreman on the Grand Jury Monday 4 August 1800.”[59]

 

Joseph’s brother, Thomas, also played an interesting role in Mississippi’s early territorial politics.  He was appointed a Conservator of the Peace for Adams County and a Captain of Horse in 1798, which he declined, and in 1802 he was made a Justice of the Peace.  The first territorial election—controlled by the Jeffersonian Republicans—was held in 1800 and brought him into the Assembly representing the Jefferson District.  In the exciting election of 1802, citizens again elected Thomas to the Assembly.[60]

 

Thomas also played a small role in one notorious affair that struck at the heart of the early American Republic.  Aaron Burr, one of the most controversial figures in the country’s early history, engaged in a complex web of questionable activities and aroused suspicion everywhere he traveled, and his entry into the Mississippi Territory was no exception.  During the fall of 1806 and early into 1807 rumors abounded that Burr was assembling a group to persuade some in the West to separate from the United States and establish their own independent nation with Burr as president.[61]

 

Thomas, long a friend of Burr’s, invited Burr into his home, where Thomas' mother, Mary Calvit Higdon, happened to be present.  Thomas turned to her and said, "Mother, allow me to present my friend Aaron Burr."  Not a reticent woman, she proudly drew herself to her full height and answered, "Were not Colonel Burr a traitor to his country, I would be pleased to meet him.”[62]

 

In the absence of the territorial governor, Colonel Cowles Mead assumed responsibility and instructed his militia to establish their headquarters at Thomas’ Calviton Plantation on Cole's Creek.  When Burr’s expedition reached the mouth of Bayou Pierre, near Port Gibson, Mississippi, authorities stopped and questioned him.  On securing an agreement that he and his men would not be molested, Colonel Mead met Burr at Thomas Calvit’s rough, pioneer home at the mouth of Cole’s Creek on January 17, 1807 to negotiate the latter’s unconditional surrender to authorities.  Burr surrendered to authorities and was held prisoner in a log cabin on Calviton Plantation until taken to Washington, then the capital of Mississippi.  Eventually, he stood trial for treason.  Although acquitted, his reputation suffered irreparably.[63]

 

Untarnished by his friendship with Burr, Thomas continued his rise in society and later built a more imposing plantation home.  In 1808, he joined the Fifth General Assembly, which the governor dissolved in 1809.[64]

 

The cause of education engaged the attention of many of Jefferson County’s citizens, including Joseph and Thomas Calvit.  Incorporated by an act of the legislature of the Mississippi Territory on May 13, 1802, Jefferson College became the first institution of learning established under the state’s authority.  On January 3, 1803, trustees, including Thomas Calvit, held their first meeting.  They selected a site in Washington, contracted for suitable buildings, and engaged instructors and staff to confer Bachelor and Master of Arts degrees, free from all denominational control.[65]

 

Several years later, Joseph joined Thomas in another educational venture.  They helped create the Franklin Society of Jefferson County, named after Dr. Benjamin Franklin.  The Society had held its first meeting at Greenville, Mississippi on January 4, 1806 and adopted a constitution.  Joseph and Thomas Calvit were among the original members, and they chose Felix Hughes as principal of their creation, the Franklin Academy.  In his will of April 11, 1821, Thomas stated his wish that his daughter "shall live with the family of Felix Hughes until she be old enough to be sent to boarding school.”[66]  The Franklin Society also founded a school for girls.[67]

 

 

MARY DEAN CALVIT HIGDON

The will of William Dean refers to “My beloved daughter Mary Calvit, widow of Anthony” [Joseph’s father].  Anthony and Mary had married about 1738, and they had four children—Joseph, William, Frederick, and Thomas.  After Anthony’s death, Mary then married Daniel Higdon in North Carolina in 1762, and they had a son, Jeptha, in 1763.  The names of her other children are not known.  Mary Dean Calvit Higdon, the remarkable matriarch of Calvit and Higdon families, at age 60 took the hazardous 2,000-mile journey down the Mississippi River in search of a new frontier home, where she continued to be a force.[68]

 

Although unusual at the time, she spoke for herself in the courts, bought and sold slaves, and took land grants in her own name.  In one Spanish court action, Mary Calvit Higdon assumed the debt of a friend:

Mary Higdon, widow, puts herself in place of Stephen Holstein to pay sum of $735 owing by Stephen Holstein to Don Juan Vaucheret, of this Post, merchant, to pay same in eight days from date and mortgages her whole estate. Said Mary declared she could not write. Ack. before Carlos de Grand Pre.[69]

In another court action she took responsibility for two orphan boys:

Mary Higdon, of the Dist., agreed from motives of charity to take home Theophilus and Isaac Marble, orphans and about 12 years old, to give them and education suitable to their station in life and to keep them until they shall attain the age of 21 years; they are bound to serve me like a mother; at the end of time I am to give each a complete suit of clothes and a horse and saddle.[70]

She made a “deed of gift” February 20, 1796:

Be it known to all to whom these presents will come, that I, Mary Higdon. of this government, do make free, perfect and irrevocable donation and alienation to John and James Calvit, both Sons of Joseph Calvit, my son, resident in this district, of a negro man to me belonging, named Jesse, about 30 years of age, a native of the United States, the said negro man to belong to the said children, John and James Calvit equally, and I Joseph Calvit, being present doth hereby accept this donation in favor of my sons, John and James Calvit, for which I return due thanks to my mother, and my two Sons being minors, I do promise to be careful of the said negro for them.[71]

 

In her will of August 3, 1805 of the County of Jefferson, Mississippi Territory, she recognized her living sons, Thomas and Joseph Calvit and Jeptha Higdon.  She named Thomas and Joseph as executors.  Of the two other brothers, Frederick had died about 1790 and William in 1800.[72]

 

Mary Calvit Higdon died at her home in February 1807.  A Natchez weekly, The Mississippi Messenger, on February 17, 1807, wrote: “Mrs. Mary Higdon, whose death we announced last week, had resided in this Territory 25 years, and had borne during her lifetime 14 children, 65 grandchildren, 70 great grandchildren, 6 great-great-grandchildren.  She lived to see the fifth generation.  All the surviving posterity are living in this Territory.”[73]  Her two-story house between Highway 61 and Jefferson Military College was still standing in 1960.

 

 

THE OTHER TWO WOMEN AND CALVIT’S REVOLUTIONARY WAR PENSION

Presumably after Calvit’s first wife had died and before he married his second wife, Joseph had an affair with a widow, Jane Sissons.  Together on July 28, 1814, they had an illegitimate daughter, Maria Louisa, whom he recognized in his will.  As late as 1850, however, she was still fighting in court for her rightful share of her father’s estate.  Despite Joseph’s wishes, she was never recognized as an heir and she changed her name to Mary L. Sissons.[74]

 

His second marriage was to Sidney "Cidia" Adair on June 29, 1817, most likely in Jefferson County, Mississippi, although some incorrectly suggest it was in an apocryphal Iron Banks, Mississippi.  Younger than Joseph’s children, the eighteen year old was born on April 22, 1799 in Georgia, the daughter of Joseph and Mildred (Milly) Wallace Adair.  The couple had one child, Thomas Morris Calvit, who was born in 1818 in Mississippi and died in 1825 in Rocky Springs, Claiborne County.  Joseph himself died in 1819, a short two years later in Natchez.  Sidney married three more times: first to Vincent Lewis in 1822, then to Amos Rundell in 1825, and finally to Richard Harding.  Surviving all four of her husbands, Sidney died on February 9, 1885 in Rocky Springs and was buried in the Rocky Springs Church Cemetery.

 

Despite Joseph’s petition made in November 1788 for pay and depreciation as a soldier, his accounts were left unsettled.[75]  In 1830, Joseph's wife and his living descendants—Martha (Patsy) Calvit Clarke, her son Joseph Calvitt Clarke, and her brother John Calvit—applied for Joseph’s Revolutionary War Pension.  Joseph Calvitt Clarke became an attorney and represented his mother and young uncle in their efforts to obtain Joseph Calvit's Revolutionary War pension.  Signing the affidavits in witness for Martha, Joseph and John were Ann Taber of Port Gibson, Mississippi; Margaret Williams, the widow of Captain John Williams, who served in the Illinois Campaign along with Joseph Calvit; Thomas Coe, an acquaintance; and Zilpha Calvit Perkins, his niece and daughter of Joseph's brother William.  Interestingly, none of these witnesses mentioned Joseph Calvit’s illegitimate daughter Maria Louisa.[76]

 

 

CONCLUSION

Joseph Calvit had led an adventuresome life.  He helped hew communities out of two rugged and dangerous frontiers—first in Tennessee and then in Mississippi.  He fought Indians and the British to help win security and independence for his family, friends, neighbors, and a new nation.  Joseph played a leadership role with the army and in politics before and after the Revolutionary War.  And more than two hundred years later, five generations of his direct descendants through his daughter, Martha, have continuously remembered him in their names—each eldest son named Joseph Calvitt Clarke.



[1] J. Calvitt Clarke III, "The 'I' in History: An Historian's Self-Indulgent Foray into Family History: The Calvet's from France to the American Frontier." http://users.ju.edu/jclarke/calvetfamily.htm and Selected Annual Proceedings of the Florida Conference of Historians 13 (Apr. 2006): 46-59; Francis Stuart Harmon, A Good Inheritance (New York: P & D Press, 1960), 161-73.

[2] James Gettys McGready Ramsey, The Annals of Tennessee to the End of The Eighteenth Century: Comprising Its Settlement, The Watauga Association, a Part of North-Carolina, From 1777 to 1784; The State of Franklin, from 1784 to 1798; a Part of North-Carolina, from 1788 to 1790; the Territory of the U. States, South of the Ohio, from 1790 to 1786; the State of Tennessee, from 1796 to 1800 (Charleston: John Russell, 1853), 134-40; Theodore Roosevelt, Stories from the Winning of the West, 1769-1807 (New York: London, G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1920), 116-21; Harmon, Good Inheritance, 173-74; Samuel Cole Williams, Tennessee During the Revolutionary War (Knoxville: The University of Tennessee Press, 1974), 15-23.

[3] Microfilmed George Rogers Clark Papers at the Virginia State Library and Archives and Abstract to the George Rogers Clark Papers. The Illinois Regiment.  Based on the Microfilmed George Rogers Clark Papers At the Virginia State Library and Archives, comp. Richard Eugene Willson (Chicago: The Society, 1998): (Microfilm roll) 2-(frame) 724, July 14, 1779.  Also see Marcus Brumbaugh, "Revolutionary War Records," Mississippi Genealogical Exchange 2 (June 1956): 23.  For records on Joseph Calvit’s service, see Appendix 1: Joseph Calvit’s Service in the Old Northwest at http://users.ju.edu/jclarke/josephcalvitapp1.htm.

[4] Abstract: 3-107-July 16, 1779; 2-1029-Aug. 2, 1779; 3-98-Aug. 4, 1779; 2-1074-Aug. 8, 1779.

[5] Ibid.: 2-1074-Aug. 8, 1779.

[6] Ibid.: 8-1061-Dec. 25, 1781.

[7] Taffia (or tafia), a type of rum made in Haiti from lower grades of molasses, refuse sugar, etc.

[8] Abstract: 5-154-155-Dec. 12, 1780; 8-866-876-December 15, 1780; 8-866-876-Dec. 15, 1780; 5-909-Feb. 2, 1781; 7-1106-1109-Feb. 5, 1781; 5-960-961-Feb. 7, 1781; 6-255-256-Mar. 1, 1781; 6-79-80-Mar. 5, 1781; 6-76-77-Mar. 6, 1781; 6-307-310-Mar. 6, 1781; 6-311-314-March 6, 1781; 6-319-320-March 7, 1781; 6-311-314-Mar. 9, 1781; 6-31-32-Mar. 25, 1781; 6-41-42-Mar. 29, 1781; 6-347-350-Mar. ?, 1781; 6-470-471-April ?, 1781; 6-472-473-Apr. 2, 1781; 6-507-510-Apr. 21, 1781; 6-839-May 2, 1781; 6-987-990-May 3, 1781; 6-833-834-May 4, 1781; 6-794-795-May 5, 1781; 6-816-817-May 10, 1781; 6-827-828-May 14, 1781; 6-811-May 17, 1781; 6-983-986-May 19, 1781; 6-793-May 23, 1781; 6-1117-1118-June 6, 1781.

[9] Ibid.: 2-1050-1053-Aug. 1779.

[10] Ibid.: 6-97-98-Feb. 26, 1781.

[11] See below, section “Joseph’s Wives and His Paramour.”

[12] Abstract: 6-1117-1118-June 6, 1781.

[13] Ibid.: 7-223-224-July 9, 1781; 7-394-397-July 10, 1781; 7-381-383-July 12, 1781; 7-172-173-July 17, 1781; 7-938-941-Aug. 15, 1781; 7-749-750-Aug. 18, 1781; 8-136-140-Sept. 30, 1781.

[14] Ibid.: 8-686-687-Oct. 4, 1781.

[15] Ibid.: 7-287-July 20, 1781; 7-404-405-July 21, 1781; 7-349-350-July 23, 1781; 7-113-114-July 29, 1781; 7-948-949-Aug. 11, 1781; 7-916-917-Aug. 12, 1781; 7-809-811-Aug. 22, 1781; 7-462-465-Aug. 25, 1781; 7-857-858-Aug. 26, 1781; 7-918-919-Aug. 26, 1781; 7-1133-1135-Sept. 5, 1781; 7-1197-1198-Sept. 20, 1781; 7-1235-1236-Sept. 21, 1781; 8-676-679-Oct. 9, 1781; 8-297-300-Oct. 11, 1781; 8-617-618-Oct. 15, 1781; 8-549-550-Oct. 23, 1781; 8-558-559-Oct. 25, 1781; 8-551-552-Oct. 26, 1781; 8-553-555-Oct. 28, 1781; 8-720-721-Nov. 3, 1781; 8-572-Nov. 23?, 1781; 8-863-865-Dec. ?, 1781; 8-1073-1074-Dec. 12, 1781; 8-1071-1072-Dec. 17, 1781; 8-1096-1097-Dec. 17, 1781; 8-1057-1058-Dec. 24, 1781; 8-1180-1181-Dec. 24, 1781; 8-1061-1062-Dec. 25, 1781; 8-1134-Dec. 31, 1781; 8-1135-1136-Dec. 31, 1781; 9-163-166-Jan. 3, 1782; 9-222-223-Jan. 3, 1782; 14920-9-220-221-Jan. 5, 1782; 9-181-182-Jan. 7, 1782; 9-181-182-Jan. 12, 1782; 9-144-145-Jan. 17, 1782; 9-212-215-Jan. 24, 1782; 9-138-141-Jan. 29, 1782; 9-191-194-Jan. 31, 1782; 9-210-211-Jan. 31, 1782; 9-210-211-Jan. 31, 1782; 9-285-286-Feb. 25, 1782; 9-300-301-Feb. 26, 1782; 9-313-315-Feb. 28, 1782; 9-598-599-Mar. 4, 1782; 9-376-380-Mar. 6, 1782; 9-623-624-Mar. 7, 1782; 9-643-644-No Date; 9-625-626-Mar. 19, 1782; 9-610-611-Mar. 20, 1782; 9-412-415-Mar. 20, 1782; 9-402-405-Mar. 29, 1782; 9-604-605-Mar. 29, 1782; 9-424-425-Mar. 31, 1782; 9-567-570-Apr. 6, 1782; 9-575-576-Apr. 11, 1782.

[16] Ibid.: 9-756-757-May 3, 1782.

[17] Ibid.: 9-767-770-May 3, 1782; 9-832-833-May 3, 1782; 9-748-749-May 4, 1782; 9-1268-1273-July 7, 1782.

[18] Ibid.: 10-20-25-Aug. 20, 1782.

[19] Patrick G. Wardell, comp., Virginia/West Virginia Genealogical Data from Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty Land Warrant Records, Vol. 1: Aaron through Cyrus (Bowie, MD: Heritage Books, 1988), 154.

[20] Gaius Marcus Brumbaugh, Revolutionary War Records. Vol. 1, Virginia: Virginia Army and Navy Forces with Bounty Land Warrants for Virginia Military District of Ohio, and Virginia Military Scrip; From Federal and State Archives (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1967), 92; Harmon, “A Good Inheritance,” 173.  For more on Frederick during the war, see Appendix 2: Frederick Calvit—Scalping and a Will at http://users.ju.edu/jclarke/josephcalvitapp2.htm.

[21] See the “Roll of Officers and Soldiers Who were Allotted Land in Clark’s Grant (Indiana) for Services Under George Rogers Clark, ‘In the Reduction of the British Posts in the Illinois,’ with the Quantity and Descriptive Numbers, of the Land Received by Each,” in William Hayden English, Conquest of the Country Northwest of the River Ohio, 1778-1783 and Life of Gen. George Rogers Clark, Vol. 2 (Indianapolis, IN: The Bowen-Merrill Co., 1895), 840, 1094.

[22] Ibid., 840.

[23] Ibid., 852-53

[24] May Wilson McBee, David Smith, Patriot, Pioneer and Indian Fighter (Kansas City, MO: E. L. Mendenhall, 1959), 20; Harmon, A Good Inheritance, 177.

[25] McBee, David Smith, 22-23; Harmon, Good Inheritance, 176-77.

[26] McBee, David Smith, 22-25; Rowland, History of Mississippi, 1: 302; Harmon, Good Inheritance, 178, 181.  For a history of Natchez, see Dorris Clayton James, AnteBellum Natchez. (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1968) and for a description of slavery of Mississippi and the plantation life these Calvit settlers inhabited, see David J. Libby, Slavery and Frontier Mississippi (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2004), esp. 30-35.  For a romanticized architectural tour of Natchez, see Catharine Van Court, In Old Natchez (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, Doran, 1937).

[27] Harmon, Good Inheritance, 178.  For the marital machinations of Joseph’s brother, William, see Appendix 3: William Calvit and Trouble with Wives at http://users.ju.edu/jclarke/josephcalvitapp3.htm.

[28] Book A, p. 321. n.d., Land Claims, 1767-1805, in Wilson May McBee, comp., The Natchez Court Records, 1767-1805: Abstracts of Early Records (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1979), 364; Latayne Colvett Stanfill, Colvett Family Chronicles: The History of the Colvett Family of Tennessee, 1630-1990 (Glendale, CA: Heirloom Press, 1991), 348-49.

[29] English, Conquest, 1094.

[30] Harmon, Good Inheritance, 181.  For more on the Natchez Trace, see Robert M. Coates, The Outlaw Years: The History of the Land Pirates of the Natchez Trace (New York: The Literary Guild of America 1930).

[31] David G. Sansing and John Ray Skates, Mississippi History through Four Centuries (Jackson, MS: Walthall Publishing Co., 1987), 50-51.

[32] Wardell, Aaron through Cyrus, 154.

[33] Brumbaugh, Revolutionary War Records, 542.

[34] For conclusions similar to mine and using slightly different information, see George Mason Graham Stafford, The Wells Family of Louisiana and Allied Families (Alexandria, LA: Standard Printing Company, 1941), 258-61.

[35] For Margaret’s husband, John Williams, see Patrick G. Wardell, comp., Virginia/West Virginia Genealogical Data from Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty Land Warrant Records, Vol. 6: Ullum through Zumwalt (Bowie, MD: Heritage Books, 1998), 149.

[36] relict: a woman whose husband is dead especially one who has not remarried.

[37] Brumbaugh, "Revolutionary War Records," 23.  Also see Appendix 12: Joseph Calvit’s Revolutionary War Pension and His Disposition of Property After His Death at

http://users.ju.edu/jclarke/josephcalvitapp11.htm.  Contrary to the claims of some, Iron Banks is not in Mississippi but is near present-day Columbus, KY on the Mississippi River.  John Williams had a large holding by military warrant.  Stephen K. Williams, Cases Argued and Decided in the Supreme Court of the United States.  Book 9, Lawyers’ Edition (Rochester, NY: The Lawyers Co-operative Publishing Co., 1883), 61.

[38] Abstract to the George Rogers Clark Papers: 12676- 7-939-942-Aug. 15, 1781, 12447-7-750-751-Aug. 18, 1781

[39] Patsy was a child in 1795 and John and James were still minors.  See Book C, p. 269, May 10, 1795, Natchez Court Records, 1781-1798 in McBee, comp., Natchez Court Records, 113 and Book C, p. 270 and May 2, 1795, Natchez Court Records, 1781-1798 in Ibid., 113.

[40] Stanfill, Colvett Family Chronicles, 276.

William Calvit: Manocos 7,000 pounds; rolled tobacco leaf 3,000 pounds

Thomas Calvet: Manocos 4,000 pounds; rolled tobacco leaf 3,000 pounds

Jeptha Higdon: Manocos 10,000

Mary Higdon: Manocos 2,000

Kinnaird, ed., Problems of Frontier Defense, 308, 310.  For Thomas, his successful plantation and his law suits, see Appendix 4: Thomas Calvit: A Law Suits and a Will at http://users.ju.edu/jclarke/josephcalvitapp4.htm.  The meaning of “Manocos” is unclear.

[41] David F. Sansing, Sim C. Callon, and Carolyn Vance Smith, Natchez: An Illustrated History (Natchez, MS: Plantation Publishing Co., 1992), 58.

[42] A former measure of land in France, varying in different parts of the country.  The arpent of Paris was 4,088 sq. yards or nearly 5/6 of an English acre.

[43] Book A, p. 321. n.d., Land Claims, 1767-1805, in McBee, comp., Natchez Court Records, 364.

[44] Book A, p. 318. n.d., Land Claims, 1767-1805, in Ibid., 364.

[45] Stanfill, Colvett Family Chronicles, 348-49.  On Aug. 22, 1809, the travel writer, Fortescue Cuming, took the advice of a shoemaker he had met and stayed at the home of James Norris rather than with Joseph Calvit.  See Early Western Travels, 1748-1846: A Series of Annotated Reprints of Some of the Best and Rarest Contemporary Volumes of Travel, Descriptive of the Aborigines and Social and Economic conditions in the Middle and Far West, During the Period of Early American Settlement, Reuben Gold Thwaites, ed. Vol. 4: Cuming’s Tour to the Western Country (1807-1809) (Cleveland, OH: The Arthur H. Clark Col, 1904), 314, reprint of Fortescue Cuming, Sketches of a Tour to the Western Country Through the States of Ohio and Kentucky; A Voyage Down the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, and a Trip Through the Mississippi Territory, and Part of West Florida. Commenced at Philadelphia in the Winter of 1807, and Concluded in 1809 (Pittsburg: Cramer, Spear & Highbaum, 1810), 288.

[46] See http://genforum.genealogy.com/calvit/messages/35.html.

[47] i.e., Frederick’s widow.

[48] Norman E. Gillis, Early Inhabitants of the Natchez District (Baton Rouge, LA: Self Published, 1963), 14, 15 19.

[49] Ibid., 34.

[50] See Appendix 5: The Calvit Family and Slaves at http://users.ju.edu/jclarke/josephcalvitapp5.htm and Appendix 6: Land and Property in the Calvit/Higdon Families at http://users.ju.edu/jclarke/josephcalvitapp6.htm.

[51] Book G, p. 181, n.d., Natchez Court Records in McBee, comp., Natchez Court Records, 327-31.

[52] Sansing and Skates, Mississippi History, 53.

[53] Stanfill, Colvett Family, 350.

[54] J. M. Chilton, “Mississippi,” De Bow’s Review of the Southern and Western States. Devoted to Commerce, Agriculture, Manufactures, Internal Improvements, Statistics, General Literature, & C, J. D. B. De Bow. ed., New Series, Vol. IV: From July, 1851, to January, 1852 (New-Orleans: Office, 22 Exchange Place, 1851), 245-51, esp. 249; Stanfill, Colvett Family, 349-50; Dunbar Rowland, The Mississippi Territorial Archives, 1798-1803: Executive Journals of Governor Winthrop Sargent and Governor William Charles Cole Claiborne (Nashville, TN: Brandon Printing Co., 1905), 1: 40, 478, 480-81, 550, 582-83; Dunbar Rowland, The Official and Statistical Register of the State of Mississippi, 1908 (Nashville, TN: Brandon Printing Co., 1908), 13; Rowland, History of Mississippi, 1: 353-55.

[55] See Appendix 7: Protest Against Governor Sargent at http://users.ju.edu/jclarke/josephcalvitapp7.htm.

[56] Dunbar Rowland, Encyclopedia of Mississippi History: Comprising Sketches of Counties, Towns, Events, Institutions and Persons, 2 vols. (Madison, WI: Selwyn A. Brant, 1907), 1: 483-84, quote 484.

[57] John Francis Hamtramck Claiborne, Mississippi as a Province, Territory and State: With Biographical Notices of Eminent Citizens. Vol. 1 (Jackson, MS: Power & Barksdale, Publishers and Printers, 1880), 209-18.

[58] Dunbar Rowland, ed., Official Letter Books of W. C. C. Claiborne, 1801-1816, Vol. 1 (Jackson MS: State Department of Archives and History, 1917), 3.  For the exchange of letters revolving around the creation of Fort Dearborn, see Appendix 8: Joseph Calvit Sells Land for Fort Dearborn at http://users.ju.edu/jclarke/josephcalvitapp8.htm.  Also see Rowland, History of Mississippi, 389 and Rowland, Encyclopedia, 1: 729.

[59] Stanfill, Colvett Family, 349; Stafford. Wells Family, 258-61.

[60] Rowland, History of Mississippi, 1: 370, 373, 475; Rowland, Official and Statistical Register, 5, 8, 11, 172, 174; Rowland, Encyclopedia, 1: 968.

[61] Stanfill, Colvett Family, 378-79; Rowland, History of Mississippi, 1: 419-25.

[62] Marie T. Logan, Mississippi-Louisiana Border Country: A History of Rodney, Miss., St. Joseph, La., and Environs (Baton Rouge: Claitor’s Publishing Division, 1970), 21; Stanfill, Colvett Family, 380.

[63] J. R. Taylor, “Aaron Burr: An Interesting Account of his Stay in the Territory of Mississippi,” Times-Democrat, Feb. 24, 1901; Stanfill, Colvett Family, 380-81; Stafford, Wells Family, 276-88; Rowland, Encyclopedia, 1: 336, 337.  For more on Thomas and Burr, see Claiborne, Mississippi, 280-81 and Appendix 9: Thomas Calvit, Calvitston, and Aaron Burr at http://users.ju.edu/jclarke/josephcalvitapp9.htm.

[64] Rowland, History of Mississippi, 475.

[65] Rowland, Encyclopedia, 960.  Although originally conceived as a college, for most of its history the school was actually a college-preparatory and military school known as Jefferson Military College.  It held its last classes in 1964.  The historic campus was added to the National Register of Historic Places on Aug. 25, 1970, and designated a Mississippi Landmark in 1985.

[66] Mary Louise Flowers Hendrix, Mississippi Court Records from the Files of the High Court of Errors and Appeals, 1799-1859 (Greenville, SC: Southern Historical Press, 1999), 278.

[67] Dunbar, Encyclopedia, 1: 742-743, 960, 967.

[68] See Appendix 10: Mary Dean Calvit Higdon’s Will at http://users.ju.edu/jclarke/josephcalvitapp10.htm.

[69] Book D, p. 30. Jan. 5, 1787, Natchez Court Records, 1781-1798 in McBee, comp., Natchez Court Records, 139; Stanfill, Colvett Family, 322.

[70] Book D, p. 115. Sept. 19, 1792, Natchez Court Records, 1781-1798 in McBee, comp., 150; Stanfill, Colvett Family, 322.

[71] Stafford, Wells Family, pp. 258-61.  Also see Book C, p. 375. Feb. 20, 1796, Natchez Court Records, 1781-1798 in McBee, comp., Natchez Court Records, 121.

[72] J. Estelle Stewart King, comp., Mississippi Court Records, 1799-1835 (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1969), 9.

[73] Harmon, Good Inheritance, 168; Stanfill, Colvett Family, 321-22.

[74] Hendrix, Mississippi Court Records, 206.  Jane Sisson was born on Apr. 3, 1778 and died at age 78 on May 16, 1856 at Rocky Springs, Mississippi.

[75] Saturday, Nov. 22, 1788, Journal of the House of Delegates of the Commonwealth of Virginia; Begun and Holden in the City of Richmond, In the County of Henrico, On Monday, the Sixteenth Day of October in the Year of Our Lord One Thousand Seven Hundred and Eighty-Six (Richmond: Thomas W. White, 1828).

[76] Brumbaugh, "Revolutionary War Records," 22-24; Stanfill, Colvett Family, 353-54.  See Appendix 11: Joseph Calvit’s Revolutionary War Pension and His Disposition of Property After His Death at http://users.ju.edu/jclarke/josephcalvitapp11.htm.