Who do you think should manage Ferriday water?|
Story Archives: Land claims on Lake St. John; low water on Ouachita
- 2013 - 300 articles
- 2012 - 856 articles
- December 2012 - 55 articles
- November 2012 - 87 articles
- October 2012 - 93 articles
- September 2012 - 80 articles
- August 2012 - 109 articles
- July 2012 - 71 articles
- June 2012 - 68 articles
- May 2012 - 72 articles
- May 31st, 2012 (Thursday) - 7 articles
- May 30th, 2012 (Wednesday) - 8 articles
- May 25th, 2012 (Friday) - 1 articles
- May 23rd, 2012 (Wednesday) - 13 articles
- May 17th, 2012 (Thursday) - 6 articles
- May 16th, 2012 (Wednesday) - 9 articles
- May 10th, 2012 (Thursday) - 6 articles
- May 9th, 2012 (Wednesday) - 11 articles
- May 2nd, 2012 (Wednesday) - 10 articles
- May 1st, 2012 (Tuesday) - 1 articles
- April 2012 - 55 articles
- March 2012 - 59 articles
- February 2012 - 66 articles
- January 2012 - 41 articles
- 2011 - 635 articles
- 2010 - 1276 articles
- 2009 - 1591 articles
- 2008 - 1763 articles
|Land claims on Lake St. John; low water on Ouachita|
As William Dunbar surveyed the land where four rivers converge at present Jonesville more than 200 years ago, efforts to settle portions of the vast wilderness were underway.
Dunbar was one of two leaders chosen by President Thomas Jefferson to explore the Ouachita River following the Louisiana Purchase of 1803. During this late fall of 1804, as the expedition's keelboat docked at a Frenchman's ferry landing at the mouth of Little River, Dunbar explored the Indian mounds on the site and noted in his journal that many Mississippians were attempting to settle Spanish land grants on Lake St. John in present day Concordia Parish.
Dunbar wrote that the big lake had lately been "occupied and improved; many similar possessions and improvements have been made since the first news of the cession of Louisiana by the french to the American Government..."
In fact, just months earlier, the first territorial governor of Mississippi arrived on the west side of Lake St. John to begin improvement on his newly-acquired land. Winthrop Sargent -- a native of Massachusetts, Harvard graduate, veteran of George Washington's army during the Revolutionary War -- was appointed by President John Adams as the first governor of Mississippi Territory in 1798 after it was created by Congress.
Sargent's controversial four-year term ended in 1801 when Thomas Jefferson became President and appointed his supporters to office, which included Tennessee Congressman William C.C. Claiborne as the new territorial governor. That same year, with the swing in politics, the territorial capital was moved six miles away from Natchez to the new village of Washington.
During his years as governor, Sargent's secretary was John Steele. The two men were close friends and in late 1803 they were among the first to build cabins, clear land and plant crops along Lake St. John, all part of the process to legitimize their land claims. By now, Claiborne, Sargent's predecessor as Mississippi governor, was governor of the Orleans Territory in Louisiana.
And even though the Ouachita River Expedition had just reached the mouth of the Ouachita, the frantic pace of settlement on Lake St. John would in the years ahead create a tangled web of land claims -- some claims legitimate, many not. In almost every case the questions were: Had the claimant been properly granted property in Concordia by the Spanish? Had improvements been made on the land prior to the transfer of government from Spanish to French to American after the Louisiana Purchase of 1803?
The Spanish District of Concordia had been a geographically massive piece of real estate with the Mississippi serving as its eastern border and the Black and Tensas rivers the western boundary. The Red River was the southern border. Concordia stretched northward to present day Arkansas.
For the full story, subscribe to the The Concordia Sentinel's NEW E-Edition!
|Frank Morris Murder Series|