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The Woodville Republican
Woodville, Mississippi
March 23, 1973     The Woodville Republican
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March 23, 1973

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/ ;!7) 6 ::Judge Edward McGehee, Prominent Planter And Philanthropist Of The Past (Editor&apos;s Note: The following i:: ..... : :: paper, written by a Gloster At- ::, .:: tendanee Genter student in 1968, ] won first pl,ce h,onors .that year JUDGE EDWARD McGEHEE t the annual contest sponsored 'by the Mississippi Junior His-  torical Society for the State of "i Mizsissippi. The author was at " tat time iViss Yvonne Day,' : auShte,r of Mr. and Mrs. T. D. Day of Crosby, but since then she has married and is now , :' Mrs. Steve Campbell, of the Darnama Canal Zone.) r r by Yvonne Day ,' ' Gloster Attendance Center ,. Gloster, Mississippi . I would that you could come . with me to my native Wilkinson Coun'ty, Mississippi, and go with me on a visit into he past to Bowling Green, the plantation ' ,home of Judge Edward Mc- .. i ' Gehee, one of the most out- i' standing men in the history of , antebellum Mississippi. Born on November 8, 1786, in Oglethorpe Coun'ty, Georgia, ' ': Ewa,rd McGehee was the ison :!/ of Micajah and Ann Scott Mc- Oehee. When ,he became of age, Edward's father gave him $5,000 nd enough rrmney to buy seven ' laves. In 1808, setting out on .' his own, he went to Wheeling, West Virginia, and there bought /:/ a horse, a flatboat, seven slaves, !'i 'and other ,articles w,hich he ., could resale along the way down ';.', ; the Mississippi River. Upon reaching Fort Adams, in the ,. Mississippi Territory, he tied up .'." ' .and went inland ,finding the /' . land at Thompson s Creek and '/:: . beooming pr,osperous. McGe,hee :::/:. went back to Wilkes County, Georgia, and married 1Vargaret LOuise Cosby. On the hay of g' his twenty-fifth bir.thday he :: : carried his new bride ,across the I:i! ' doorsteps of his neat log ,home. He had brought her many dusty miles .by horseback o his Mis- :i! 'slssippi home. Because of h's .i. ove of books, he also brought a yielded barrels of sugar, jars of sweetmeats, c at sup, pickles, jams, and sauces. Also, there were jellies, rich syrup and do- mestic wines. One also found hams, soaps, lard candles, all that constituted tile abundance of a wealthy home of that day. On the lower floor there were lofty and spacious parlors, din- ing rooms, large halls, and apartments occupied by the daughters, furnis.hed with soft curtains and low chairs, hooks and vases. In the dining apart- ment were lovely furnishings, valuable books, exquisite china and portraits of honored friends --Webster's and Clay's among them. Spacious rooms were filled will articles of taste and beauty. Up the grand stairway were other parlors, bedro,oms, ,and well stocked closets filled with rich silk dresses, cashmeres, delicate ladies' wear, and still others filled with gentlemen's fine clothing and linens. The attic was also .an immense store room of articles of value. Bowling Green was a place of hospitality, aglow with lights, filled .with music, fragrant with flowers, ample and beautiful. teing stimulated by the way Th6 W0000dvflle Re-00ublk-6h, W65dvflle, Mis00[sslpp-1 With the help of Colonel and  Mrs. John S. Lews, he estab- lished the Woodville Female, Academy. In 1849 this academy burned nd was replaced by McGehee with he Edward Mc- Gehee College for Girls. It had formerly been known as the Woodville Female Seminary, but the rmme was changed inr honor of him. The final charter for Negro troops was to save the grand piano from the flames upon ,the request of the ill daughter. In the pages of Stark Young's "So Red the Rose" is described the destruction of this beauti- ful estate. Stark Young was ,also a member of the lrge McGe,hee family. A large frame house was built the school was received in 18I, , . , but as it was needed as a hos-i y twh:s ';d:ceeJUbe;afteertthhes::nr  pital for wounded Confederate . [: ...... ._. - ._ .... l COlumns ,m me om home. There solcuers tact no regular .. ......... sessions until late in 1864. To- des:;onadneCy ufn/:'o: DemWbae day, Woodville Attendance Con-] ' " ter is located on the site of the l 8' 1941. ,ald college I McGehee s legi,slative career .... : ........ i was an hon,orable and useful u ,w,mbgn, ary wonege m Shreveport, Louisiana, he do-Ilie e' absU.oho e ra?.rne:rg iatse_ hated owr $,100,000. Then in s,ibl.e. He declined President 1856, ,to a college in Jackson, Mississippi, he gave $15,00,0 on condition that it not be made known that he was he donor. Judge McGehee became a prominent member of .the Mis- sissippi and 'the VvToodville, Wil- kinson County Colonization So- ciety since he did not really believe in slavery. In fact, he believed in treating the sl,aves kindly and helping them by be- ing :their friend. For instance, Edinboro, the colored blacksmith at Bowling Green would work for the Judge certain days and then would be all,owed several flays each week to make money for ,himself. Had he wanted o, he could easily have bought his freedom a could many others of Bowling Green. On the 29,89t) acres of land there was 825 Zachary Tay]or's offer to ,become Secretary of the United States Treasury because .he preferred a private life away from public glare. Legislative service, Vice-Chan- cellor of Wilkirson County, founder ,of :the Carondelet Street Methodist Church of New Or- leans, founder of Woodville Fe- male Aademy, .afterwards Ed- ward McOehee College, founder .of Bethel Church: one of the founders .of the Centenary Col- lege, owner of the first c, otton factory in Missisippi, ,and being the associate of Samuel B. Morse in constructing the first tele- graph line in Mississippi are only a few of McGehee's many accomplishments. Edward McGehee, the epitome slaves, almost all of whom were of the southern gentleman, had fond of their master, dark .eyes, s.tralght black hair, At Glenburnie Plntati,on, an- I a large frame, ,and was over six other ,of :his. possessions, M:c-I feet tall. He was erect, with Gehee built the first textile milll n'ble appearance ,and always to be erected in the South. It l cnd'ucted himself wi'th dignity. was built and operated by slave He was a charming man with Civil ]gentle voice who was able to labor. Then .dusting the Con-I communicate with people. Ed- War since it was providing federate uniforms, it was burn,ec ward McGehee was civic-minded by the Federals. Iso, the Fed- erals did an estimated $100,000 damage ,to the West Felici, an,a Railroad because of McGehee's support of the Confederacy. About this time, several bat- talions and the Third and had lhe ability to be a leader. He ,was a Christian and a benefactor of mankind, affec-' tionate and sympathetic, modes and brave, Judge McGehee lived to be U. S. ninety-five years old. Until the Miss Mary McGehee stands beside the tombstone of her great- great-grandfather, Judge Edward McGehee, in the family ceme- tery located a short distance south of Woodville on Bowling Green Plantation. J the cotton and corn fields which are near the mahdi, on and thus ,escape ,their pursuers. A few minutes more and a body of negro cavalry, armed to .the teeth, enter the enclosure and surround the dwelling, some of them pushing thel,r way into its apartment. Exert all your powers of conception and de- scription-they canuot exceed the scene which I would now present to you. Friday, Ma00'ch 23, 1973 The apartment of a daughter i'Jr after jar of sweetmeats, ]catsup, pickles, jam and sauces ]to [are pieces, eaten and the jars dashed Rich syrups ,and deli- a: cate jellies.- saturate ,t,he pave- mont. The dairy is invaded .and the contents ,of the basins are drunk and the basins .are broken into Dagments. The domestic wines meet the same f.ate--the bottles and demi johns which cannot be drunk up or carried off are broken. Nothing escapes them. Hams, soaps, lard, candles, are min:gled in one mess of m,ad waste; or are removed by the 'thieves and the com.racies i,n crime, wlam they find in the Iflantation hOg, foes. This is not all. While the scenes of bold theft are being enacted a part of the 'troop l:.ave set fire to the gin house, with all its valua,ble contents and machij]ery i'n the diabolical ,hope .and belief that Corfed- crate ,soldiers are concealed .there; and the flames are ,al- ready rising over the re,of. But this is only the beginning of t h e s e fraternal proceedings, which are designed to induce the South .to return to the olct Union and to renew the ties of amity which once existed be- tween her and the North. The officers before alluded to consult together and after a few minutes ,the master of the household ees his wife. The resu]t of the conference is told in these word:s, "Ma,ry, our house is ,to be set on fire in 'twenty minutes, we have only that time to save what we can." Once more an attempt is made to reach the sense of compas- sion and cf justice in ,these hard I and turning to them says "Take! men. Madame," is the only reply of .the Major, "I wish you him off, George, take the old to unders.tand that I am ,not scoundrel to the ,Colonel and tell him ,they are co,eking ra- tions for a hundred Rebels he,re acting on my own discretion. . I am only obeying orders." "What have I done," said the this morning." About this time aged father and husband, "that two officers are seen approch-!my family are to be expelled ing from the front gate. The from their home a, nd my houae master of the house is permitted t,o be burned? .... Sir," was the to meet them and enter his own  reply of .this same officer, "you f.r,c,nt dear. ,are losing time; if your family Meantime, the robbers, dis-'are no out in twenty minutes, guised as United States soldiers the house will be burned over are not idle. The large range your heads." ,: small library. ": ' Some twelve years later, after : '. e death of his first wife. he m, arried Ha.r.riet Goodrich ,and '.")butUt .a large frame house ,at Whitestown along Thompson's i.. Creek. Then, us,lug his own :.J:;:'Negro slve., he built a church and employed a preacher. This church yeas known as the Bethel 1Vethodist Church. The preach- ,% or, not being a very punctual i : h ,., person, was given a vatc by ii.. ": McGe,hee to encourage ,him o *" ;':"start his meetings on time. In 182g, foll.wlng the dea,th of his econd wife, he married Mary in which this section of Missis.- Colored Cavalry we're sent to time of his ninetieth birthday, sippi had prospered and the desrtroy the forces o'f Confeder- he rodehOdenh, is s Plaa:ttattiioO:s nd o his cn or p ate Colo'nel Gober who had. es- need fo,r a place to send his S/:ri h NTd produce to market, the promi- ta*blished his command post at had as marnYia u nent land, owner eagerly helped Bowling Green. Since they out- egroes we_ g  ., _ 'Federal so,on won. ,and h s. q )"ltan<a.s mhaget l to push ,the wenty-seven mile numbered the Confederates, the once WaSreanuSea stretch of railroad from Wood- Yankee .Coonel Os,band feared..never oe morgagea.' ville to St.' Francisville t corn- that McGehee's Servants ad After his death on OctoJe.r 1, pIetion. The railroad was given -  ': - f r Goborl1880 Judge Ed,ward McGehee the name. "West Feliciana Rail- prepareu oreaKzast o . . ..... road."Odhe,sanduntiringWaS becau.seeffortOf Me-and andand hiSdestroyingOfficers. Eatingmuch thevaluablefOOd I was ou.rlCtsman n.m a ewn hen,ee_ y-?:r ne ruins or owling powe,rful inventive intellect he furniture, .the NeGro troops gave[_ , . _ _ _ first Amerman railroad to use the McGehees twenty minutes 'oreen" nls grave is mmarect heY a alI marine monumen a s, tandard gauge, to issue and to get their property from the home. Standing under the moss ls surrounded by many her family monuments ,nd a large wrought-iron fence. Upon the print freight tariff, and to adopt cattle pits. It was the fifth rail- road to be built in the United States. The Jdge provided most of the money f,0r the railroad and used part of his slaves to hew the tics and lay the rails. The rail.road office was located in the .old Pet Office building on the op floor. Until the road was bought by the Mississippi Valley Railroad. it was owned and operated by the McGehee pred, his land ,possessions in- creased greatly and he moved from the frame home at Whites- &i;{  'lw'n bo Bowling Green Plana: ., ,tion near Woodvflle. There he built a new frame house. In 1,831, he replaced the fr, ame family. The road did enough .hot, so with .an  elegan bri, ck business to keep it going and structu,re. Bricks were smut to to pay the interest on its debt. !:t ..the site 'by wagon from St. Outstandi,ng from the begin- e.;> '.:' rancisville, Louisian'a. :#!v: *' ning of his cit,zensht,p in Wood-  Bowling Creen, t a 1 1 and ville, McOehee helped establish !}, ately, with large columns at the Woodville .ank for which the frcat, stood amid moss coy- he provided a great deal of k'i! ?' ...... ,red live oaks, sweet olives, and capital. Using. still more of his :i4!i :shrubbery. Nearby .were large money, he ,built the Methodist -,. ,,oton ,and corn fields. There Chureh in W0o2ville and paid .,.::.. :":'W, as .a gin house, a meathouse, the salary of the pastor. He als.o ',.....a; coo ,k,h.ouse and a carriage built .the first Methodist Church ,..hose on the. ground's. A large in New Orleans which is still range of basement storerooms standing today. I I I I : ' ' ' CITY DRUG STORE WELCOMES hung sweet ,olives. and live oak trees, the family watched their palatial home go up in flames. An old letter written by his third wife who was mis'tres of the home ,t the time relates the cruel and obnoxious manner in which the Federal and ,.Negro troops broke in and destroyed tbas lovely dwelling and mis- treated the fine cultured Chris- tian gentleman and his f, amily. That one of his young daugh- ;rs was bed-ridden with tuber- culosis made no difference, what- ever. Neither did it matter to them that he was seventy-eight years of age. They persisted .dragging him from his home and with lack of mercy beat the old gentleman .about ,She .head with .their guns. Mrs. Mc- Gehee begged, the white com- mander .to have mercy on her aged husband ,but only received the s,harp blow of .a trooper's sabre for her answer. The only humane act of t,he All Visitors to the , Woodville Pilgrimage Phone 888-5541 W. H. Catchings, Proprietor & Pharmacist "11 ' II I . I front of the latrge monument is written ,his name and the 'dates of his birth and death, plus the dedication by his affec- tionate children and grandchil- dren. On t,he sides and, back of the monument are written Psalms 37:27, Psalms 12:1-2, Job 19:25, and the words, "His youth was innocent, ,his riper years marked with some act of good- .heSS everyday and watched by eyes that loved him, calm and age faded his last declining y ear ,away, cheerful he gave his being up and went .to share the I-Ioly rest that waits a life well spent." Scenes From Our Life In The South BURNING OF BOWLING GREEN HOUSE By Mrs. M. B. McGehee October 26th, 1864. Pu'blished i the "Army and. Navy Herald" January 5th, 1865. Re'verehd Sir: An opportunity is offered me by which letters can be sent to the North without being sub- jected ,to the inspection of the officials of the free and, happy Government of the United States. I avail myself of this opportunity to send you a chap- ter ,from ,the his'tory of the Southern oo'nfederacy or rther "Scenes fom our life in the South." I ask you, then, to imagine a bright and lovely morning in October .in which a family of six persons an aged father of seventy-eiht years, a mother, hree daughters, and a little grandson, re startled by he awful boom of cannon ,ad the rattle ,of musketry, tearing and clashing among the oaks .and bushes surrounding their home. In a few mutes, fugitives are seen hstening from the scene of unequal conf.Hct where less eh,an a hndred Confederate cavalry meet and contend wi'th more than fifteen ,hundred Federals. Some of these urfar- unates fly to he shelter of on the lower floor and in the of Ua,ement store-rooms swarm' The work of destruction has wing of the building were first with the black crew, every door already begun. The table was entered. The doo, rs are rudely is burst open and all their laid for breakf,ast, a few s, trokes burst open .with oaths and contents given up to unbounded of the s,abre in willing hands cures, pistols are leveled at the pillage. All thug constitutes the and the glass and china ure iheart of the young lady whO lab.undance of a wealthy home swept from it; the table itself "dared to fasten the door,"is there, all that hoasewif.ey!is overturned and bnoken to against these foul intruders, skill and foreth,ought provide piece,; the overturned table and Sir, I ask you to suppose thisand prepare for a household is table cloth are piled for kin- your daughter; I ask you to see  there, all .are either devoured, dling in the middle of the.,apart- your child in her maiden purity I destroyed or carried off. Bar- menu The axe now resounds standing between her sister, ill rels of sugar are ,broken open through the building while they and in be, and these hideous land the sugar taken away in split up furniture. ,bannister human fiends, who, with foull bags, hats, and handkerchiefs, railings and other combustibles oaths a.nd obscene abuse, are and what cannot be taken is to .add fuel to the fre. The, her life and f,o'rcing strewn like sand upon the floor. I (Co'ntinued on Page 7) their way to the bedside of the invalid. I .ask you to conceive, if you can, 'of the mother's ROSEMONT BOOKSHOP feeling, who hasten,s to the pro- tection of her daughters, and who, while ordering .these rots- ere,ant from .her presence, is' answered by cowardly blows and curses, tto,o vile to be re- membered, but too terrible to be forgotten. Follow the mother from this scene to another part . ...... . :: of the yourself whi,le she hears the shot fired !:: :::::::::::::::::'::'::::: at the ,hall door, 'the door which separate her husband from the wild beasts who .are hunting him. See! The door is opened! They rus, h in, to the hall; ,hear t,hose words "Damned, old scoundrel what rdid you ',shut that old door against us for?" Unarmed, alone, he stands while heavy blows from ,a horseman's ::ij:::i:.:!=::i pistol and from a saSre .fall on that venerable head--venerable ::.:::.::::ii:i:::::::i:i:i with its white;rs venerable ,for every virtue which can dignify marhood. Faint, stag- gern.g .deadly pae, see him dagged by ruffian hands through his own ,door! Look! I His wife interposes her own person between him ,and his foes. Watch the pistol is pointed at her head and hear the oaths .and obscenity with which she is insulted, a negro draws his sabre, bravely fl,ourishea it over her head and threatens her life; but as she looks unfl, in.ehingly at him, 'the coward quails and the cold steel falls in a heavy, but not fatal blow on that bare [] PAPERS OF JEFFERSON DAVIS ............................ $17.$0 head. You are a husband--con- ceive if" possible, of your feel- ORDER FORM ings in witnessing such an out- PLEASE SEND ME POSTPAID ............... COPY (COPIES) OF rage on ,the head of your wife, yourself helpless, un,med, su.r- VOLUME I OF THE PAPERS OF JEFFERSON DAVIS AT $17.50 rounded by men, more cruel, PER COPY. PAYMENT MUST ACCOMPANY ANY ORDER. more brutal than the brute, Where ,are the officers of hese men while these outrage are ,being 10epetrated? One whie NAME ........................................................................................ man on horseback is seen among a crowd of negroes a the door of .the meat house, which is opened, an its contents ds- ADDRESS ............ : ................................................................... tributed. He is appealed to by the wife ,to rescue her husband,' to pro'toot ,herself and daughters from further insult. Does he do CITY ................................ STATE .................... ZIP ................ It? No, Sli , he repels her with ,fierce irvectives only less abu-, .... sve tha]a ,hoe of i menials.