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Excerpts From James Campbell's  Diary - 1819

 

MOVING WEST TO MISSISSIPPI TOOK

TIME AND PATIENCE IN 1819

(headline from The Clarion-Ledger/Jackson Daily News Sunday, July 20, 1986, pg 6F, by Carl McIntire Clarion-Ledger Staff Writer)

Many Mississippians can trace their lineage back to hardy pioneers who blazed trails through Indian country and uncharted forests, across untamed rivers.   How hard was this journey? How long did it take? What did it cost? Some of those answers are given in a diary kept by one of those pioneers.

 

James Campbell might not have been the greatest speller in the district, nor the greatest grammarian. He might not have known a whole lot about punctuation, but he has given us one of the best and most complete records of a family's trek from North Carolina to Amite County and on to Natchez.

We are indebted to Jack W Pepper of Jackson, who obtained the diary and other Campbell information from Nina Pepper of Louise, and copied the diary for this column. Pepper and I have added a few words in Parenthesis to help the reader, especially in regard to place names. As Pepper notes, it is interesting to see how many place names have remained the same.

 

Campbell and his companions left Fayetteville, in Cumberland County, NC on April 1, 1819. Campbell, who was born May 21, 1789, wrote that the others in the party were Duncan Steward, Charles Steward, Bythal Haynes, Dugald McLaughlin, Alexander McFatter, Archibald Sellars, Mrs White, Charles McAlester, Daniel McAlester Edward Currie, William Shaw, Mrs Long, Robert Henry, Daniel Cook and James Torie.

 

His account of the trip:
"The first day we left home we got to Mr. Thompson's, six miles above Lumberton, we paid three quarters of a dollar; the second day we got to Cozen (Cousin) Archilbeald's and it rained all day, the third day we got to grand-aunts and it rained all day, the fourth day we started from grand-aunts and we went five miles to the other side of Casheyaway (Cashaway's) ferry and we paid one dollar and a half and we paid two shillings at Cashaways Ferry (on the Peedee River).

 

The fifth day we got to Mr Nickle's and we paid one dollar and the sixth day we got to David Davis's. We paid 13 shilligs and 6D (pence) and then we paid nothing until we got to Columbia. On day seven we got to Mr Rowel's (on the Congeree River) On the eighth day we camped out, the ninth day we got to Augustia (Augusta,GA) The 10th day we got to the Beet water iron works. The 11th day we got to Lewises, the 12th day we got to the Niven McBrides, the 13th day we got Jane Lesley's (Milledgeville, Ga) the 14th day we stayed there and the 15th and 16th days we left Jane Lesley's.

The 17th day we got Mr Stevens' the 18th and 19th we stayed there in Monticillia (Monticello, Ga) The 20th and 21st we started from Monticelah and we got to Mr. Mallets, two dollars and a quarter. On day 22 we got to Flint River and we camped in woods. The 23rd day we camped in the woods, the 24th day we camped in the woods and the 25th day we camped in the woods.

On April 22 we go into the endian (Indian) nation. The 27th day we stayed at Manacks (probably somewhere near where Montgomery, Ala) and the 28th day we camped in the woods.

At this point, beginning the third page of his diary, Campbell apparently made notes about some previous portions of the trip: "The ferry we crossed was Harley, from thence to Cashways, from thence to Macanicvill (Mechanicsville, Ga) from thence to Darlington, from thence to Linches (Lynch's) creek, from thence to Camden, from thence to the water, from thence to the Congeree (River) and Columbia, from thence to Savannah river and Augustia and there we paid four dollars and a quarter. From thence to the Oconia River and Milliagvill and from Millagvill to Monticilla, 40 miles, from Monticilla two miles to Clinton, from Clinton to the garrison 14 miles, from the garrison to the Oakmulgia (River) one mile, from the Oakmulgia to Flint river, 32 miles from Clint river to Catahootchia, 62 miles.

He resumes the day-by-day account on the fourth page: "the 29th day we camped in the woods, the 30th day we camped in the woods, the first day of May we camped in the Alabama Swamp. The second day (of May) we crossed the Alabama (River) about sunrise and we got to the pine flat. The third day of May) we crossed the Bexkby (Tombigbee River) about sunrise and we stayed in Sent Stevens (Fort St. Stephens). The fourth day (of May) we camped in the woods, the fifth day we camped in the woods and the sixth day we camped in the woods and the seventh day we camped in the woods. The eighth day we camped in the woods and the ninthe day we got to the Pearl River and we stayed at Mr Ford's (Rev John Ford's at Sandy Hook, South of Columbia) and the 10th day we went to meeting and we stayed at Ford's . The 11th day we left Ford's and we camped in the woods. The 12 day we crossed Boogcheto (boague Chitto) and the Little Tancipiho (Little Tangipahoa) and we stayed at Henry Goalman's The 13th day we crossed the Amit (Amite River) and we stayed at Henry Simonses and the 14th day we stayed there.

The 15th day we left Simmonses and we stayed at one Smileys. The 16th day we got to Haines and we stayed there and the 17th and 18th day I left there. The 19th day I got to the Natchez"

The final page tells of the mileage. "distance from Lumberton to Harleys Bridge, 25 miles; from harleys Bridge to Cashways ferry, 18 miles from Cashways Ferry to Linches Creek, 34 miles and from Linches Creek toCamden 24 miles and from Camden to Columbia 40 miles...and on and on.

It adds up to 939 miles.

 

In the latter paragraphs he speaks of being at Liberty, Amite and other places in South Mississippi, where he apparently settled after a short visit to Natchez. He noted that he found work early in his stay, receiving something less than $1 a day for labor.

 

Reprinted with permission of the Clarion Ledger, Jackson, MS, all rights reserved.

Found and contributed by Sue B. Moore.

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