Post Offices, 1860
Post Offices and Postmasters in Marshall County in 1860
By William S. Parks
In conjunction with an interest in the Confederate postal history of Holly Springs and Marshall County, Mississippi, I have compiled a list of post offices and postmasters for the county in 1860. The U. S. Post Office Department records indicate that 20 post offices were operating in Marshall County at that time. After the secession of Mississippi from the Union, the post offices continued to operate in the Independent State of Mississippi from January 9 to February 3, 1861, and as a Confederate State from February 4 to May 31, 1861. The Confederates States Post Office Department assumed operation of the postal system on June 1, 1861. Most former U. S. postmasters were continued in the service of the Confederacy.
The post offices and postmasters were taken from the National Archives Record of Appointment of Postmasters, 1832-Sept. 30, 1871 (Microfilm roll 68 - Mississippi). These records give the names of post offices, when they were established (and discontinued), and the appointment dates of the postmasters.
Many locations of post offices were taken from the Post Office Department Report of Site Locations, 1837-1950 (Microfilm roll 312 - Mississippi). Unfortunately, site locations for Marshall County post offices postdate the War For Southern Independence - the first record was dated 1867. Locations of some earlier post offices were estimated from various sources, including E. W. Hilgard's 1860 geologic map of Mississippi. When the township and range were known, I have estimated the section location for some early post offices as indicated by the question marks. The section, township, and range for the Cold Water post office is that of the Coldwater Baptist Church and Cemetery.
Age and occupation of the postmasters were taken from the U. S. 1860 census schedules. I was not able to find Harris Jernigan, Thomas B.Webber, William Boyd, or Thomas N. Guntharp. William Boyd (1798-1876) is buried in the Mt. Carmel (Associate Reformed Presbyterian Cemetery) located in Section 32, Township 1 South, Range 4 West, which is about 2½ miles southeast of the Coldwater Baptist Church. He was about 62 years old in 1860 and probably was the postmaster at the Cold Water post office, wherever it was located. Thomas N. Guntharp (1821-1906) is buried in the Hudsonville Presbyterian Cemetery, and Thomas N. Webber has a marker in Hill Crest Cemetery at Holly Springs.
Ages of the postmasters shown by the U. S. 1860 census ranged from 23 to 70-years old. Elias S. Brackin and Drayton M. Davis were the only persons who gave their occupation as "Post Master." Five were listed as merchants and five as farmers (or planter). Other occupations included Agent Depot MCRR (Mississippi Central Railroad), physician, millwright, and mechanic. Based on the post office locations given in the census, James M. McFadden (listed as farmer) must have operated McFadden's Store at Moody.
Many of the postmasters were too old for military service at the beginning of the war. However, the rolls of the 17th Mississippi Regiment indicate that W. H. Bailey (age 39 in 1860) was mustered into service as a private in The Home Guards, and Thomas Webber as a private in The Jefferson Davis Rifles. Oliver F. Eddins (age 23 in 1860) was mustered into State service as 2nd Lieutenant of Company A, Walker Reserves, at Byhalia in early May 1861. He later served as 1st Lieutenant of Company A in the 1st Mississippi Infantry Regiment. E. M. Fewell, (age 35 in 1860) first served in State service as 1st Sergeant in the 3rd Mississippi Infantry Regiment, and later as 1st Lieutenant of Company A (later K) of the 3rd Mississippi Cavalry. Cemetery records for Hill Crest Cemetery show that Thomas A. Webber also served as Major of the 2nd Kentucky Regiment.
How many of the 20 Marshall County post offices operated during the war is not known. From the collections of Confederate Stamp Alliance members and auction catalogs, I have recorded covers (envelopes with postal markings and postage) postmarked during the war from Byhalia, Chulahoma, Holly Springs, and North Mount Pleasant. Covers with Holly Springs postmarks range in date from January 9, 1861, to December 31, 1862. A soldier's cover was postmarked at Chulahoma on October 17, 1861, and was endorsed by A. V. Connor, Company F, 11th Mississippi Regiment. A cover was postmarked at North Mount Pleasant on April 8, 1862.
William H. Crittenden was appointed U.S postmaster at Holly Springs on January 7, 1861, two days before Mississippi seceded from the Union (he had been postmaster by a previous appointment from May 26, 1853, to February 17, 1854). After Mississippi joined the Confederacy, Crittenden continued in service as postmaster at Holly Springs. His appointments were confirmed by the Confederate Senate on July 29, 1861, and April 19,1862. I am trying to find information as to the fate of Postmaster Crittenden after Holly Springs was occupied by Federal troops on November 13, 1862. He survived the war inasmuch as W. H. Crittenden was listed in the U.S. 1870 census living with his father-in-law, James Harper, at Chulahoma.
This article is primarily about postal history. However, it contains the basic data sought by genealogists - names, dates, and places. Any help in refining the locations of the post offices will be greatly appreciated. In addition, if one of these postmasters is your ancestor, any family lore related to the operation of his post office during the War For Southern Independence will be greatly appreciated. Please email information to William S. Parks at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Brieger, James F., Hometown, Mississippi: Town Square Books, Inc. Jackson, Mississippi, 1980.
Gallagher, John S., and Alan H. Patera, Mississippi Post Offices: The Depot, Lake Grove, Oregon, 1996.
Hamilton, William B., Holly Springs to the Year 1878: Written in 1931 as a thesis for a M. A. degree in history from the University of Mississippi; published by The Marshall County Historical Society, Holly Springs, Mississippi, 1984.
Howell, H. Grady, For Dixie Land I'll Take My Stand, Volume I, A-F: Chickasaw Bayou Press, Madison, Mississippi, 1998.
Mitchell, Bobby, Cemeteries of Marshall County, Mississippi: Old Timer Press, Ripley, Mississippi, 1983.
Oakley, Bruce C. Jr., A Postal History of Mississippi, Stampless Period, 1799-1860: Magnolia Publishers, Baldwyn, Mississippi, 1969.
Copyright © 1999-2006 William S. Parks. All rights reserved.
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