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Following LaSalle's trip down the Mississippi River, the Jefferson County area was recognized as being populated by the Natchez Indians. This can be proved by the existing Emerald Mound burial site which is located several miles off the Natchez Trace in present day Jefferson County.

The French built their second settlement at Fort Rosalie (now Natchez) in 1716 and other settlements followed quickly. The growth of the area was slow. Notable land deals like the speculative Mississippi Company's deal led to the financial panic in 1720 known as the bursting of the Mississippi Bubble.

The Natchez Indians grew restless as French settlers began to take over their lands. They attacked Fort Rosalie in 1729 killing many settlers. Following this attack the French retaliated by virtually destroying almost all of the Natchez Indians.

With the signing of the Treaty of Paris in 1763 after the French and Indian War, France ceded its territory east of the Mississippi River except New Orleans. This Mississippi area which included present day Jefferson County became a part of British West Florida and was known as the Natchez District. The northern boundary extended to the mouth of the Yazoo River. This area witnessed a large influx of Anglo-Americans from the Atlantic Seaboard Colonies.

During the American Revolution Spain seized the Natchez District and the remainder of British West Florida. When the American Revolution ended in 1783 Britain transferred the claim to the territory north of the 31 degree latitude to the United States. But, Spain refused to recognize the American claim to West Florida. It was not until 1795 that the Spanish agreed to the 31 degree north boundary. It was not until 1798 that the Spanish actually relinquished control of the Natchez District to the United States. In the meantime, the state of Georgia complicated matters by asserting a claim to the area. Georgia had actually sold land to three companies of eager speculators. Georgia passports were issued to settlers who would travel by land through the Creek Indian territory to the western Mississippi River settlements.

In 1798 the United States Congress created the Mississippi Territory which included all the land between Georgia and the Mississippi River which was located north of the 31 degree latitude and south of a line running due east of the mouth of the Yazoo River. In 1804 this territory was expanded to include the land northward to Tennessee. It 1812 the rest of West Florida was included.

On December 10, 1817 Mississippi was admitted as a state to the United States. The eastern part of the Mississippi Territory became the Alabama Territory.


From Thriving River Port to Struggling Ghost Town

Compiled By Carolyn Jean Adams Switzer

Go to Jefferson County Home Page

Carolyn Switzer

This page last updated Tuesday, 10-Sep-2002 22:33:26 MDT .


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