That edge of Hancock County, Mississippi, which borders Louisiana at the mid-point of the Pearl River, is in many ways now nondescript, quiet and forlorn bereft of whatever culture evolved there over the ages.In truth, very little of what meets the eye is indicative of what came before.As in most undertakings that take five years (maybe more) to complete, there are many to whom credit should be given. 66 Chapter 10: South Mississippi Involvement in War of 1812 – p. Here the British granted land to the officers and soldiers that fought in the Revolutionary War.In this case, they are far too numerous to list, so we must content ourselves with just the major ones. Here, the Americans drew the boundary line separating the new Louisiana Purchase from Spanish territory.As we began this normally expeditious research, we began to encounter family names of national import, like Bienville, Pintado, Jackson and Claiborne.As we attempted the standard deed search, we came face-to-face with the reality of four different methods of land granting and recording: French, British, Spanish, and American.Even the former county seat, Gainesville, can be found only on old maps.
The remains of what by some accounts was the largest sawmill in the world is a few large blocks of concrete, once foundation for nineteenth century mechanisms that even today would be considered imposing structures. Names that once commanded power or reflected wealth, like Claiborne, Pray, Weston and Favre, are known elsewhere today, but now exist along the Pearl only on tombstones in the Logtown and Napoleon cemeteries.It bifurcates around an island at its mouth where the British camped on their way to being defeated by Gen.Andrew Jackson at the Battle of New Orleans in 1815.There is, after all, a certain element of finality to their being, in that, at least for the foreseeable future, they will not, nay cannot, be resurrected.Besides the physical evidence, including shell middens, overgrown streets, an occasional brick or other artifact, there is a wealth of written testimony to the history of the area.And, most fascinating, we discovered a treasure of primary documentation, mostly in the form of family letters.