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Published: March 23rd 2020
GRINDER HOUSE IN A HOWLING STORMWASHINGTON, MISSISSIPPI
Place is only a few miles north of Hwy 64. It was getting late in the day and I needed a motel so I got off the Trace Parkway on Hwy 64 and was going to stop at the first motel I came to but it was raining so hard I missed the whole next town and finally found a room in Pulaski.
The origins of Mississippi are roughly as confusing as Father’s Day in Nogales is. It started out to be a part of Georgia, back when Georgia extended to the Mississippi River. Back in those days the Colony of Virginia extended clear out to the Pacific Ocean. Settlement in the area was complicated by French and Spanish claims to it. Overland travel was very difficult because no wagon roads existed and it was still considered Indian land. Travel would have been much easier by using the rivers, Daniel Boone pioneered the Wilderness Road into his settlement at Boonesboro in Kentucky and he sought to connect his road to the river system. The Wilderness Road maundered off from Boonesboro down to the Cumberland River in Nashville. The Cumberland River winds its way over to join the Tennessee River, and then the Ohio River, and finally to the Mississippi River. Nashville began as the head of navigation in the river system. A shorter route between Nashville and the Mississippi River followed a buffalo migration trail along a ridgeline that eventually became an Indian trade route. The trade route terminated at would eventually become the port of Natchez. The Territory of Mississippi
As military schools go this one must have been second rate, if Jefferson Davis was the best they could produce.
was first established around the time of the Louisiana Purchase. At that time Spanish Florida still extended all along the Gulf Coast from Florida to New Orleans. Mississippi Territory extended across the southern part of present day Alabama and Mississippi north of the Spanish possessions but it included the Port of Natchez. The capitol of the Territory of Mississippi was established at the community of Washington, a few miles east of Natchez on the improved trade route to Nashville. It became known as the Natchez Trace and was the first publically funded construction job authorized by Congress. It was built by the army. In 1806 Meriwether Lewis committed suicide along the Natchez Trace on his journey from Saint Louis to meet President Jefferson. By 1814 the trace had been improved enough so that General Andy, By God, Jackson used it to move his army back and forth between Nashville and New Orleans to defeat the Bloody British. He used it again to defeat the Creek Nation in the Red Stick War. By then westward settlement along the trace was booming.
Back in Washington that old scoundrel, Aaron Burr, was arrested in 1806 for conspiring to start a war with
MERIWETHER LEWIS MONUMENT ON NATCHEZ TRACE
Lewis survived the whole trip to the Pacific and back, but he was bipolar the whole time and his pal, Clark, kept him grounded. Clark remained in St Louis and Meriwether Lewis went off his nut and committed suicide at Grinder's Stand on the Trace. The monument marks his burial spot.
Spain, and perhaps recover his fortune as the Emperor of Texas. He did acquire a land grant from Spain that was known as the Bastrop Tract and he did recruit a small army of adventurers to inhabit the land, and he did secretly conspire with James Wilkinson, General of the Army, to raise forces for the invasion of Texas. Wilkinson ratted him out though because he was already on the payroll of the Spanish government. Burr was tried twice for his nefarious plans, but it turns that nothing he did was against the law in the Territory of Mississippi and he was acquitted both times. As a third set charges was being prepared against him Aaron scampered off to embark on another plan to start a war with Spain from the area of Mobile. He was arrested again down there and taken under military guard to Richmond Virginia where he faced charges of treason lodged by President Jefferson himself. He beat those charges too because the key piece of evidence against him was a letter he had written seeking support from the British for war with Spain. The document was proven to be written by General Wilkinson himself. Burr was
NATCHEZ UNDER THE HILL
The docks at Natchez were Under the Hill. Every cutthroat on the river spent time there among the most vicious of saloons, gambling hells, and brothels.
guilty as hell, of course, but he was a pretty slippery lawyer himself.
Jefferson College was also established in Washington, Mississippi as a military school. A fellow named Jefferson Davis graduated from there and went off eventually to become Secretary of War during the Buchanan Administration, and the President of the Confederacy.
Mississippi was granted statehood in 1817, after the Red Stick War and after the Spanish and the British both lost possession of Florida. The state capitol was relocated to Jackson.
Natchez became an important cotton market and was perhaps the most wicked place in America until Texas got up and running after the Civil War.
If you ever the chance, avail yourself of the opportunity to drive down the Natchez Trace Parkway. It is a gorgeous drive.
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