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Vicksburg: Town and Country

Vicksburg: Town and Country

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Vicksburg: Town and Country

170 página
57 minutos
Sep 18, 2012


Though best known for the forty-seven-day siege many think sealed the fate of the Confederacy, Vicksburg, Mississippi boasts several claims to fame. Located near the site of the first European settlement in the state, Vicksburg is also the first place in America where Coca-Cola was bottled and home to such historic figures as Jefferson Davis and Madam C.J. Walker. Within these pages, Vicksburg and its environs are explored and celebrated through the eyes of late-nineteenth- and twentieth-century photographers. From downtown street scenes to pastoral rural landscapes, Vicksburg: Town and Country is a compilation of photographs from 1870 to the present day. Coupled with informative captions,
each image is a slice of history and a unique treasure for anyone seeking to understand the past. Born of the river, Vicksburg is a modern, bustling port and the scene of the best-marked battlefield
in the world, the Vicksburg National Military Park. From soldiers to scientists, merchants to educators, a colorful cast of characters has shaped the history of Vicksburg. City dwellers and rural residents alike are a part of this fascinating visual journey.
Sep 18, 2012

Sobre el autor

Gordon Cotton is a seventh-generation Mississippian who has penned over a dozen books on local history, including the companion to this volume, Images of America: Vicksburg. A former history teacher and newspaper reporter, Cotton has served as the director and curator of the Old Court House Museum-Eva W. Davis Memorial in Vicksburg for twenty-five years.

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Vicksburg - Gordon Cotton



Mention Vicksburg and most people know where it is. Oh, there are other Vicksburgs—in Michigan and Colorado and Arizona and perhaps elsewhere—but Vicksburg on the Mississippi in the Deep South is the one folks think of when they hear the name. That is because of the date our city kept with destiny during the Late Unpleasantness back in 1863, when a 47-day siege basically sealed the fate of the South’s attempt at independence.

Before there was a city here there was a county, and before then, for many centuries, Native Americans lived in these hills. They hunted and fished the valleys and streams long before men who spoke French or Spanish or English took turns governing the area.

It was such a short time ago—1809 to be exact—that Warren County was formed from a wilderness outpost that had been in the Old Natchez District, later becoming part of Jefferson County, then for a while the northern portion of Claiborne. Men in the Territorial Legislature designated the land between three rivers to be named for Joseph Warren, a dentist from Boston who had earned a place in history the hard way: he was the first casualty in the American Revolution.

There had been settlements here for generations, but Warrenton was the first to be planned with streets and lots and incorporated and designated the seat of government before Newet Vick came along and started a new town a few miles upriver. Other attempts had been made; Bay and Turnbull had contemplated the idea, and the Cooks had owned much of the land, but the city was to be Vicksburgh (yes, originally with an h), not Bayburg or Turnbullville or Cook City.

Over the years additional efforts were made to establish settlements. The new town of Hankinson on the lower Big Black in 1821 never got beyond real estate ads. A few years later plans were drawn for Cardiff, on the Yazoo, but the streets never materialized from the draftsman’s drawing on a courthouse deed.

In the late 1800s Vicksburg did have some competition when a new housing development, built next door to the city and dubbed Speed’s Addition, officially became Fostoria, complete with all the trappings of a municipality including a mayor and aldermen and a city hall. It lasted only a few years before becoming a part of Vicksburg.

The physical, geographic shape of the county was made by the Yazoo, Big Black, and Mississippi Rivers, which formed its boundaries, but the rolling waters also influenced the character of the area and of the citizens. Vicksburg was born of the river, and it was the Mississippi that determined its growth and development, the diversity of people who settled it, and the culture that emerged and made it unusual and unique.

We are still at the mercy of the rivers. With upstream rains and melting snows the waters rise, bulging beyond the banks, sometimes covering part of our civilization before a crest is reached. At other seasons, in times of drought, falling waters reveal and expose bits of our past.

Vicksburg’s story has been well documented by diaries and letters and over a hundred newspapers that reported history as it was being made. By 1850, when photography was only about a decade old,

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