Walt's Look Around: Washington & Lincoln's Mississippi connectio - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Walt's Look Around: Washington & Lincoln's Mississippi connections

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JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Some people might think George Washington and Abraham Lincoln were worlds away from our state.

But actually both were very interested in it.

One had even been here.

And we have souvenirs from both of them here.


This is going to have to be pretty quick to get all of this in.

But George Washington and Abraham Lincoln both had close ties with our state.

Both associated with the Mississippi River.

Take Washington, after acquiring British West Florida from Spain (which is a long story in itself) Washington wanted to know what he had gotten.

So he sent surveyor Andrew Ellicott to the western-most city of the acquisition to plot by latitude and longitude exactly where in earth is was.

That city was Natchez.

One reminder of his visit here is the house on Ellicott's.

He never lived in this house.

But the house was built on the hill in Natchez where Ellicott camped and raised the first American Flag in the old West Florida Territory.

But probably the most notable is this, the marking of the 31st parallel.

That was the dividing line between the United State's territory and what was still owned by Spain in Washington's day.

But we still have that line today.

It's at the bottom of that hill.

It's the state line between Mississippi and Louisiana south of Woodville.

Oh, and there is a letter signed by George Washington on display in the Grand Gulf Park museum near Port Gibson.

Lincoln's association with Mississippi started with the river, too.

And with Vicksburg.

But not like you think.

Not with the Civil War.

But way back when Lincoln was in his early 20's and took a flatboat load of produce from Indiana to sell at New Orleans. One of the stops Lincoln made was Vicksburg.

A comment attributed to either him or one of his companions was something to the effect of, when they finally got to Vicksburg for the first time in days there was wine, women and song, of which they could afford none!


One more Lincoln memorabilia in Mississippi is in an unlikely place, the Oaks Museum on north Jefferson Street in Jackson.

When the Colonial Dames acquired the home in the 1960's there was no furniture.

So they put out an appeal for other Dames around the country who had surplus pieces to donate.

One piece they got was this horsehair couch from Springfield, Illinois.

It came from Billy Herndon's old law office, and it was a hand-me-down to him.

He got it when his former law partner went to Congress.

That law partner? Abraham Lincoln.


Lincoln's couch and Washington's 31st parallel and an old letter.

At least three ways the President's of President's Day are remembered here in Mississippi.

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