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W. P. A. History of Pontotoc County, Mississippi


Old Settlements

REDLAND was the first village in the county, and Desoto pitched camp there in 1540.  On Christmas day, 1540 the first Christian marriage of record on the American continent was solemnized there by a priest in Desoto's expedition. (1)  The following extract from the Jackson Daily News, July 12, 1938, explains more fully this assertion:

"Not only was the first American Pork served in Mississippi, but, on the same occasion, the first recorded Christian marriage was performed.

"This information comes from E. T. Winston, Pontotoc  historian, who adds more details to a story recently carried in the Daily News, concerning the first serving of roast pork in the country.

"In a letter to J. C. Holton, agriculture commissioner, Mr. Winston says that the pork was served to the Indians by Desoto on Christmas Day, 1540, and that roast pork and corn bread were probably served as the wedding feast for Juan Ortez, Desoto's chief lieutenant, and Princess Saowana, daughter of Chief Uceta, of the Florida Seminoles.  The marriage, Mr. Winston believes, was the first Christian marriage in the New World.

"he fixes the date of Desoto's Mississippi encampment as from December 5, 1540, to March 1541, at what is now known as the old Pullman Place, 10 miles southeast of Pontotoc, off State Highway 15, near where Macalust, of the Choctaw Nation, had his village.  (2)

"From Desoto's time until the arrival of Father Stuart, in January, 1821, the villages seem to have been largely inhabited by adventurers and traders.  Levi Johnson, the Abernathy's and the Bechans were early settlers.

"John McIntosh came to Redland about 1750.  As an officer, of Oglethorpe, he was employed on missions connected with the colonies.  He took some Chickasaw Warriors to Georgia with him, and while there he organized the Indian Tribal Government, after the English system.  Malcolm McGee came from New York City at the same time as government interpreter.  Both McIntosh and McGee established homes in the community and became great powers in the Chickasaw nation.  Both are spoken of in Bullen's Journal 1799.

In 1821 Father Stuart arrived in the community of Redland, where he established his home and the Monroe Mission.  Here he remained for a number of years as head of religious and educational training for Indians."(3)

(1) Jackson Daily News, Jackson, Miss., July 12, 1938

(2) Jackson Daily News, Jackson, Miss., July 12, 1938

(3)E. T. Winston, Article, Pontotoc.  Jackson Daily News, July 12, 1938.


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