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More on the Jones County, MS. Myth

Newt Knight and the "Free State of Jones" myth carries with it the history of how that area of Mississippi was pro-Union. As part of this story Jones County sent a representative to the secession convention to vote no on the article of secession and when he voted "yes", against the peoples will, the people of Jones county burned him in effigy in protest.

Below is the 1860 election results by county in the State of Mississippi.

Jasper County- 361 Bell, 712 Breckinridge, 18 Douglas
Jones County- 96 Bell, 264 Breckinridge, 0 Douglas
Greene County- 45 Bell, 250 Breckinridge, 0 Douglas
Simpson County- 136 Bell, 370 Breckinridge, 3 Douglas
Smith County- 234 Bell, 517 Breckinridge, 5 Douglas
Wayne County- 110 Bell, 180 Breckinridge, 0 Douglas
Perry County- 105 Bell, 201 Breckinridge, 6 Douglas
*Copiah County- 538 Bell, 1052 Breckinridge, 14 Douglas
*Harrison County- 88 Bell, 460 Breckinridge, 0 Douglas
*Jackson County- 25 Bell, 316 Breckinridge, 17 Douglas
*Clark County- 343 Bell, 904 Breckinridge, 76 Douglas
Marion County- 35 Bell, 298 Breckinridge, 2 Douglas
*Lawrence County- 146 Bell, 840 Breckinridge, 5 Douglas
*Pike County- 221 Bell, 831 Breckinridge, 0 Douglas
Covington County, 106 Bell, 391 Breckinridge, 8 Douglas
Perry County, 105 Bell, 201 Breckinridge, 6 Douglas

Total All Counties*

Bell................. 2,694
Breckinridge..... 7,789
Douglas........... 160

Total of the Heart of the Pineywoods


What is very interesting is that Jones County, only voted for the Union party by only 26% of the total vote. Jasper County, reported to be the hotbed of the Unionist movement, voted for it by only 33%. Greene County, another "hotbed" for Unionist, just 15% for the Union party. I am beginning to doubt the whole story found in all the Newt Knight histories of the secession convention representative from Jones county being against secession. Although my method is not full-proof, it does poke some holes in this myth.

Below is past post that shows on record the lack of Union support in the Pineywoods of Mississippi.


In order for Southerners to win a claim from the Southern Claims Commission after the war, that person had to present proof that they...

-were loyal to the United States during the Civil War
-had supplies officially taken by or furnished to the U.S. Army in the war (or vast amounts of property, i.e. cotton)

In the following Pineywoods Counties of Mississippi, home to the deserters and "unionist" written about in recently published "history" works about Newt Knight and the "Free State of Jones" we have the following...

Jasper County- 2 filed claimants- John M. Cole and Samuel Lindsey
Jones County- 1 filed claimant- Martha C. Caker
Greene County- 1 filed claimant- Norman McLeod
Simpson County- 1 filed claimant- William Hays
Smith County- 1 filed claimant- Hugh Devaney
Wayne County- 2 filed claimants- Seaborn J. Brown and Thomas Landrum
Perry County- 0
Lincoln County*- 11 claimants- Allbritton, Buie, Chandler, Coffey, Gill, Hackelton, McLenden, Martin, Perkins, Stern, Turner
Copiah County*- 11 claimants- Cocke, Coleman, Gordon, Harper, Harvey, Henington, Hyland, McEwee, Mitchell, Morrow, Mortimer
Harrison County*- 3 claimants- Bourgeois, Moran, Poitevent
Jackson County*- 7 claimants- Boudreau, Davis, Dees, Dodson, Mavinovich, Pol, Pons
Clark County*- 50 claimants- 1 disallowed -(names upon request)
Marion County- 15 claimants- Brakfield, Carley, Fenn, Ford, Fortinberry, Foxworth, Graham, Lane, Lowe, McKinzey, Morris, Ponder Rankin, Regan, Willoughby
Lawrence County- 0
Pike- 0
Covington County- 0
Perry County - 0

*I included counties on the fringe of the Pineywoods; Lincoln, Copiah, Harrison, Jackson, and Clark. None of the surnames mentioned were well known deserters. To give a reference, Warren County, Mississippi, home to the siege of Vicksburg, had over 350 claimants. Many counties had hundreds of claimants. So the explanation of why so little was claimed in the heart of the Pineywoods would be the lack of military action is these counties; although, there were raids into this area in 1863, 1864 and 1865 from Union forces--no property was molested, or, loyality to the United States was harder to prove by these people. I kind of think it was the latter, being that I know how much my people like to take advantage of any monies being given away by the Federal Government.

Lincoln did not exist during the Civil War, it was made up from Lawrence and Pike counties.
David Upton

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More on the Jones County, MS. Myth
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