Poindexter kills Hunt in 1811 duel: Was it a fair fight?
by Stanley Nelson - posted Wednesday, November 14th, 2012 @ 12:52 pm
In 1811, 58-year-old Abijah Hunt, possibly the richest man in Mississippi Territory, was killed in a duel. The man who killed him was George Poindexter, age 32, a lawyer and politician, who would live another 43 years.
Hunt first came to Natchez around 1800 and received the first government contract to deliver mail between Nashville and Natchez. A native of New Jersey, he had a head for business and a knack for making good investments. He had made a bundle as a sutler to the Army in Cincinnati and came to Natchez flush with cash.
He brought property -- lots of it -- built and operated cotton gins just as cotton was beginning to dominant the economy. He also operated general stores -- which were the Walmart's of the day -- with establishments in Natchez, Washington, the old town of Greenville in Jefferson County, Port Gibson and along the Big Black. He also was a cotton planter and owned plantations in Adams (3,645 acres), Jefferson and Claiborne counties and Concordia and Tensas parishes. He grew cotton, ginned cotton and brokered cotton, making money every step of the way, and was one of the founding investors in the Bank of Mississippi in 1809.
Hunt, like the first governor of the Mississippi Territory, Winthrop Sargent, was a member of the Federalist Party, which landed him squarely on the opposite side of George Poindexter, a Congressman and the former Attorney General. Hunt had publicly criticized Poindexter, who was bi-polar and a binge drinker. Quick tempered, Poindexter often clashed with adversaries and often challenged others to duels.
When Hunt criticized him, Poindexter challenged Hunt and the quick moving affair ended up on the dueling grounds of Concordia on the plantation known as Palo Alto, located about a mile north of the Post of Concord (Vidalia) and owned by Stephen Minor of Natchez.