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The series contains documents relating to the monitoring of British subjects in the Mississippi Territory during the period when the U.S. was engaged in the War of 1812. A circular dated July 11, 1812, and signed by U.S. Secretary of State James Monroe declared that "all subjects of His Britannic Majesty, residing within the United States, have become alien enemies..." (See document # 5). As such, British subjects were compelled by law to report to their respective territorial secretaries, who in turn reported to the U.S. Department of State. The following information was required in the reporting process: age, length of time in the U.S., family description, place of residence, occupation, and whether or not application for naturalization had been made.
The documents include copies of the pertinent acts and instructions transmitted to and throughout the territories, individual reports of British subjects (many of which include place of birth - Great Britain, Ireland, and Scotland), and returns of county officials reporting in summary to the territorial secretary. Also included are a number of related documents such as accompanying cover letters and communications with the U.S. Secretary of State.
The series consists of population censuses and census abstracts taken of counties in the Mississippi Territory. Generally, the census lists heads of families by name with members of the household cited by age, race (and if black, whether slave or free), and gender. Abstracts of censuses give totals only for age, race and gender. An 1809 territory-wide census abstract for manufacturing establishments and products is included with these records. In this census there are the following column headings for each county: number of looms; yards of cotton, linen, woolen cloth; number of carding machines; number of spinning mills and number of spindles; number of tanneries and leather-tanned products' value; number of distillers; amount of tin and tin products' value. Two miscellaneous items are also part of the series: a cover letter from W. E. Boyd that accompanied an unidentified census, and an 1810 circular with instructions for taking the census. Images of the census documents are arranged by description, date, and page number and were created by FamilySearch onsite at the Mississippi Department of Archives and History in 2011.
The Administration Papers are loose documents related to all aspects of the administration of the Mississippi Territory (1798-1817). The series has been referred to as the correspondence of the territorial governors, including Winthrop Sargent, William C. C. Claiborne, Robert Williams, and David Holmes, but the scope is larger. The papers pertain to the workings of the territorial government (i.e., the duties of the governor, the legislature, the military, and the courts, as well as early county governments and individuals' affairs), and touch upon most of the important themes in the government: Indian relations and lands, adjacent U.S. territories (particularly Louisiana), allegiance to the United States and duty to its service, and safe travel and trade for citizens.
Among these papers are messages to the legislature from the governor; proclamations, circulars, and publications of the governor; Legislative Council proceedings; resolutions and bills; reports of the auditor and treasurer; court papers (affidavits, depositions, and petitions for reconsideration or leniency); reports of county affairs; commissions, appointments, resignations, and oaths; military orders and lists of enrolled men; U.S. government directives; and correspondence. Most of the correspondence is incoming, that is, addressed to the governor. However, there is some outgoing correspondence, particularly regarding appointments and messages to the legislature.
The documents were originally collected into volumes and numbered in somewhat chronological order and are now arranged by size in archival boxes for preservation. There are several undated items that were assigned to the corresponding governor's administration. The document numbering is fairly consistent, with "a," "b," and so forth usually denoting a relationship between items; however, this is not always the case. Skipped document numbers frequently indicate assignment to another state government records series. Images of the papers are arranged in document- and page-number order.
A keyword search for names, dates, descriptions, and document numbers can be done for this series, using the box below. A search for a single word such as "Hutchins" or "1813" will yield more hits. More complicated queries such as "Anthony Hutchins" or "A. Hutchins" will probably have fewer or no results. Searches for partial words may be helpful. For example, searching for "Dinsmo" will show results for "Dinsmore" and "Dinsmoor". Alternate spellings such as "Chaktaw" for "Choctaw" may also provide results.
The collection consists of lists containing names and some signatures of persons acknowledging "allegiance to the United States" and swearing to "support, maintain, and defend the Constitution thereof." The oaths were taken before territorial officials during the term of Winthrop Sargent, first Governor of the Mississippi Territory, 1798-1801.
The series contains records pertaining to the acquisition of passports required for travel in the Mississippi Territory. Sworn statements of identification and purpose were required to obtain a passport which authorized travel beyond Mississippi territorial boundary lines or through Indian territory, or into Mississippi territory from surrounding areas. A few actual passports are included in these records, but generally the collection contains passport affidavits, applications, requests, evidence, and related correspondence. Many of these records relate to efforts to obtain passports for the purpose of transporting slaves from one area to another.
This series consists of documentation of funds collected from taxable property in the Mississippi Territory between 1802 and 1817. A March 1, 1806, act provided for an auditor of public accounts to be appointed by the governor "for the time being." The auditor's duty was to "examine, state, settle and audit all accounts, claims or demands whatsoever against the territory," and included maintaining the tax records. The types of information collected with the taxes vary by county and year. Images of the tax rolls were created by FamilySearch onsite at the Mississippi Department of Archives and History in 2011 and are arranged by description, date, and page number.