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The free state of Jones : Mississippi's longest civil war /
Victoria E. Bynum.
imprint
Chapel Hill : University of North Carolina Press, c2001.
description
xvi, 316 p. : ill., maps.
ISBN
0807826367 (cloth : alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Chapel Hill : University of North Carolina Press, c2001.
isbn
0807826367 (cloth : alk. paper)
catalogue key
4560472
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
About the Author
Author Affiliation
Victoria E. Bynum is professor of history at Southwest Texas State University in San Marcos
First Chapter
In the days surrounding April 15, 1864, several deadly confrontations erupted on the borders of Jones and Covington Counties, near the Leaf River, as the Knight Company clashed with cavalry led by Col. Robert Lowry. By the time the skirmishes ended, one cavalryman had been killed and ten deserters "summarily executed" by the cavalry. . . .



Growing fears of collaboration between deserter bands and the Union Army . . . influenced Confederate authorities' decision to send Colonel Lowry into the region. Members of the several bands of deserters in the Jones County region apparently had frequent contact with one another and moved back and forth between bands when convenient, On March 29, [Capt.] W. Wirt Thomason reported rumors that "Yankees are frequently among" the Jones County deserters. Nine days later, and only one week before the Lowry raids, Daniel P. Logan warned Provost Marshal Major J.C. Denis that "large numbers" of Jones County deserters "have gone down Pearl River to and near Honey Island where they exist in some force . . . openly boasting of their being in communication with the Yankees."



According to Newt Knight, during this period his company continually sought connections with the Union Army. He recounted how Jasper Collins had traveled without success to Memphis and Vicksburg to seek the company's recruitment into the Union Army. Newt also recalled that "Johnny Rebs busted up the party they sent to swear us in," explaining that a company of Union forces sent to recruit men of the Knight Company was waylaid by Confederate forces at Rocky Creek. After that, he said, "I sent a courier to the federal commander at New Orleans. He sent us 400 rifles. The Confederates captured them." Newt concluded that "we'll all die guerrillas, I reckon. Never could break through the rebels to join the Union Army."

Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2002-04-01:
Bynum's deeply researched and well-written book unravels the historical and sociological significance of the Piney Woods region of southeastern Mississippi, a section that experienced decades of class, cultural, personal, and political antagonisms. During the Civil War, Jones County was a hotbed of Unionism and the site of an inner civil war. In late 1863 and mid-1864 Confederate deserters led by "Captain" Newt Knight, and supported by white women, slaves, and children, battled Confederate cavalry near the Leaf River. Knight's followers, the "Knight Company," seceded metaphorically from Mississippi and the Confederacy, establishing what local lore dubbed the "Free State of Jones." Bynum (history, Southwest Texas State Univ.) examines the interracial relationship between Knight, the grandson of a slaveholder, and Rachel Knight, one of his grandfather's slaves. The intermarriage of their children starting in the 1870s spawned a mixed-race lineage that exists today. In addition to sifting fact from fiction in Civil War-era Mississippi, Bynum penetrates "race" as an idea and explains the broad meaning of skin color classifications longitudinally. Powerful, revisionist, and timely, Bynum's book combines superb history with poignant analysis of historical memory and southern racial mores. For college and university collections. All levels. J. D. Smith North Carolina State University
Reviews
Review Quotes
"Bynum shows how future historians might convincingly knit together the all too-often disparate fields of political, ideological, gender, and racial histories. (Virginia Quarterly Review)"
"Bynum shows how future historians might convincingly knit together the all too-often disparate fields of political, ideological, gender, and racial histories. ( Virginia Quarterly Review )"
"Few communities fought as much of the war on their own terms or generated as distorted yet profound a legacy afterward as did the men and women of this renegade county in Mississippi's Piney Woods. It's a fascinating story. (John C. Inscoe, coauthor ofThe Heart of Confederate Appalachia: Western North Carolina in the Civil War)"
"Few communities fought as much of the war on their own terms or generated as distorted yet profound a legacy afterward as did the men and women of this renegade county in Mississippi's Piney Woods. It's a fascinating story. (John C. Inscoe, coauthor of The Heart of Confederate Appalachia: Western North Carolina in the Civil War )"
"Powerful, revisionist, and timely, Bynum's book combines superb history with poignant analysis of historical memory and southern racial mores. (Choice)"
"Powerful, revisionist, and timely, Bynum's book combines superb history with poignant analysis of historical memory and southern racial mores. ( Choice )"
"The Free State of Jonesis clearly a story that needs to be told, and Bynum has done impressive research to bring it to a modern audience. (Altina L. Waller, University of Connecticut )"
" The Free State of Jones is clearly a story that needs to be told, and Bynum has done impressive research to bring it to a modern audience. (Altina L. Waller, University of Connecticut )"
[This] book should be praised as an original and cogent piece of scholarship on a devilishly complicated and demanding subject. (Washington Times)
[This] book should be praised as an original and cogent piece of scholarship on a devilishly complicated and demanding subject. ( Washington Times )
"Well researched." _ New York Times Book Review
"Well researched." -- New York Times Book Review
"Well researched." --New York Times Book Review
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, April 2002
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Long Description
Between late 1863 and mid-1864, an armed band of Confederate deserters battled Confederate cavalry in the Piney Woods region of Jones County, Mississippi. Calling themselves the Knight Company after their captain, Newton Knight, they set up headquarters in the swamps of the Leaf River, where, legend has it, they declared the Free State of Jones.The story of the Jones County rebellion is well known among Mississippians, and debate over whether the county actually seceded from the state during the war has smoldered for more than a century. Adding further controversy to the legend is the story of Newt Knight's interracial romance with his wartime accomplice, Rachel, a slave. From their relationship there developed a mixed-race community that endured long after the Civil War had ended, and the ambiguous racial identity of their descendants confounded the rules of segregated Mississippi well into the twentieth century.Victoria Bynum traces the origins and legacy of the Jones County uprising from the American Revolution to the modern civil rights movement. In bridging the gap between the legendary and the real Free State of Jones, she shows how the legend--what was told, what was embellished, and what was left out--reveals a great deal about the South's transition from slavery to segregation; the racial, gender, and class politics of the period; and the contingent nature of history and memory.
Main Description
Between late 1863 and mid-1864, an armed band of Confederate deserters battled Confederate cavalry in the Piney Woods region of Jones County, Mississippi. Calling themselves the Knight Company after their captain, Newton Knight, they set up headquarters in the swamps of the Leaf River, where, legend has it, they declared the Free State of Jones. The story of the Jones County rebellion is well known among Mississippians, and debate over whether the county actually seceded from the state during the war has smoldered for more than a century. Adding further controversy to the legend is the story of Newt Knight's interracial romance with his wartime accomplice, Rachel, a slave. From their relationship there developed a mixed-race community that endured long after the Civil War had ended, and the ambiguous racial identity of their descendants confounded the rules of segregated Mississippi well into the twentieth century. Victoria Bynum traces the origins and legacy of the Jones County uprising from the American Revolution to the modern civil rights movement. In bridging the gap between the legendary and the real Free State of Jones, she shows how the legend--what was told, what was embellished, and what was left out--reveals a great deal about the South's transition from slavery to segregation; the racial, gender, and class politics of the period; and the contingent nature of history and memory.
Unpaid Annotation
Piercing through the myths that have shrouded the "Free State of Jones," Victoria Bynum uncovers the fascinating true history of this Mississippi Unionist stronghold, widely believed to have seceded from the Confederacy, and the mixed-race community that evolved there. She shows how the legend--what was told, what was embelished, and what was left out--reveals a great deal about the South's transition from slavery to segregation; the racial, gender, and class politics of the period; and the contingent nature of history and memory.
Table of Contents
Prefacep. xi
Introduction
Sacred Wars: Race and the Ongoing Battle over the Free State of Jonesp. 1
The Origins of Mississippi's Piney Woods People
Jones County's Carolina Connection: Class and Race in Revolutionary Americap. 11
The Quest for Land: Yeoman Republicans on the Southwestern Frontierp. 29
Piney Woods Patriarchs: Class Relations and the Growth of Slaveryp. 47
Antebellum Life on the Leaf River: Gender, Violence, and Religious Strifep. 71
Civil War, Reconstruction, and the Struggle for Power
The Inner Civil War: Birth of the Free State of Jonesp. 93
The Free State Turned Upside Down: Colonel Lowry's Confederate Raid on Jones Countyp. 115
Reconstruction and Redemption: The Politics of Race, Class, and Manhood in Jones Countyp. 131
Defiance and Domination: "White Negroes" in the Piney Woods New Southp. 149
Epilogue: The Free State of Jones Revisited: Davis Knight's Miscegenation Trialp. 177
Appendixes
Selected Descendants of the Knight Familyp. 192
Selected Descendants of the Coleman Familyp. 194
Selected Descendants of the Welborn Familyp. 195
Selected Descendants of the Bynum Familyp. 197
Selected Descendants of the Collins Familyp. 198
Selected Descendants of the Sumrall Familyp. 201
Selected Descendants of the Welch Familyp. 202
Selected Descendants of the Valentine Familyp. 205
The "White Negro" Community, 1880-1920p. 206
Notesp. 209
Bibliographyp. 281
Indexp. 305
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

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