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Lowndes County Mississippi

West Port53 The following sketches of the town of West Port is taken from a "History of Columbus and Lowndes County," by Dr. W. L. Lipscomb, of Columbus, Mississippi, published in the Columbus Commercial, beginning with the issue of January 15, 1901:

"West Port was one mile above Columbus, on the west bank of the Tombigbee River. Just as soon as the Choctaw lands began to produce crops of cotton, there sprang up a village called by the early settlers West Port, and built to accommodate the planters of western Lowndes, and the adjacent countries, in the shipment of their cotton, and in the, reception of their plantation supplies to and from Mobile, Ala. They thus avoided the payment of the ferriage across the river and had good camping grounds for their wagons and teams.

"M. M. Carrington, relative of Col. John W. Burn, Sheriff of Lowndes Co. in 1835, built its first store and warehouse. He was followed by Messrs. Haskins, Brownrigg, Hale and Murdock, Dick Jones, Foster, Alexander, and others. A town was regularly laid off, good residences, fine hotel, stores with large stocks of goods, and immense cotton sheds were erected, with all the appointments of a prospective town. The shipment of cotton reached 30,000 or 40,000 bales annually, but in 1840 a fine bridge was built across the Tombigbee, free to all Lowndes county citizens, which soon divided the storage of cotton and brought thousands of bales to the warehouses of Columbus.

"The great high water in 1847 deluged the town, swept off some of its warehouses, and destroyed much of the sandy bluff on which it was situated. In 1861 the Mobile and Ohio railroad completed its branch to Columbus, and West Port succumbed to the inevitable and is now a desert of white sand on which Daniel Davis (colored) with his blacksmith shop and little farm hard by resides, its only occupant."

Plymouth The following sketch of Plymouth is also taken form Dr. Lipscomb's "History of Columbus and Lowndes County:"

"Seven miles above Columbus on the Tombigbee River, at the mouth of Tibbee creek, was located Old Plymouth. It is claimed by some of the early settlers to have been the camping ground of DeSoto in his passage through Mississippi. Many scraps of old armor and pieces of pottery and war implements of Spanish manufacture were found there, and they claim also that it was a stronghold of defense against the Indians, and a deposit for ammunitions of war and provisions for the use of the army operating in this section of the country. Some claim that it was fortified by Bienville, and that he made it his place of deposit in his operations against the Chickasaws, and not Cotton Gin Port, as it is stated in the history of the State. Remains of the fortifications existed within the knowledge of our oldest settlers, especially that of a large fort inside of the fortifications, built of large cedar logs, two stories in height and perforated with port holes above and below, for the use of firearms by the defendants within. This cedar fort was taken down by the Canfields, who now own Old Plymouth, and was used to build other houses on the plantation, which are still in a good state of preservation. Some believe the fort was built by General Jackson in his operations against the Creeks and was the base of supplies. Until history makes a more satisfactory explanation of the old Spanish relics, stockade fortifications and cedar forts, our Lowndes county traditions are as creditable as any account yet given.

"After the settlement of the Choctaw lands began Old Plymouth became a site of considerable importance on account of its facilities for crossing the river at a shallow ford nearby, and as a place for the storage and shipment of cotton. It was also considered a beautiful spot, with its prodigious growth of large cedars, for the location of the homes of the families of the neighboring settlers. James Prowell, Sr., Orlando Canfield, Sr., John Morgan, Sr., and John Cox, Sr., built residences there. The Irbys, Billingtons, and Mullens erected warehouses and stores. Richard Evans, Esq., and his brother. Dr. Evans, and Mr. L. N. Hatch, also settled there, and in 1836 the town was incorporated, and laid off into squares, and streets, and was the prospective rival of West Port, just below, and of Columbus, across the river. It became a trading point of importance; a great number of bales of cotton was shipped from there, but the place proved so unhealthy and the death rate so great that it was abandoned. The planters moved to their plantations and the merchants and lawyers to Columbus.

"Old Plymouth is now a field cultivated by Mr. Orlando Canfield, and despite the superstition of the Negroes and the application of the New England query, 'Who ate Roger Williams,' grows abundant crops of corn and potatoes."

Extinct Towns| AHGP Mississippi

53. The writer is indebted to the Rev. A. P. Leech and Mr. Gideon D. Harris, of Columbus, Mississippi, for the extracts here given.

Source: The Mississippi Historical Commission Publications, Volume V, Edited by Franklin L. Riley,
Secretary, 1902.


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