Or, Subtitled: Westward Ho As Businesses Falter and New Opportunities Beckon
In my first posting tracking the life of John Wesley Lindsey, son of Dennis Lindsey and Jane Brooks, in Wayne County, Kentucky, and Lawrence County, Alabama, up to 1840, I noted that John had long puzzled me: I could track his life up to the point that he disappears from records of Itawamba and Lee County, Mississippi, around 1870, but after that, I couldn’t follow him. I couldn’t follow him until I realized that he was the J.W. Lindsay who married M.A. Wester in Red River Parish, Louisiana, on 15 December 1878, and that he and Mary Ann Nobles Wester then settled at Marthaville in Natchitoches Parish, where John died in 1903. The families of John’s siblings Mark Jefferson Lindsey, Margaret Lindsey Hunter, and Rebecca Lindsey Kellogg had all settled in Red River Parish, and John had evidently gone out to Louisiana to join them by 1878.
My first posting also stated that John’s first two wives, Margaret S. Gibson and Mary Louisa, a Maupin widow when he married her, had evidently died in Itawamba County prior to 1878. Working intensively on John’s life again for this series of postings had led me to a new discovery that contradicts part of that statement.
It’s true that Margaret Gibson Lindsey died in Itawamba between 1860 and 6 August 1866, when John married Mary Louisa Maupin. But Mary Louisa did not die in Itawamba County, I now conclude. I now find that, after John and Margaret moved their family south from Van Buren, Mississippi, to Mooreville, Mississippi, in the late 1850s, John then begins showing up in the records of Lee County, into which Mooreville fell when Lee was formed in 1866 from Itawamba. It’s evidently at Mooreville that John and wife Mary Louisa lived in Lee County after their marriage in 1866 and up to around 1870.
By 1871, they had moved to Tunica and DeSoto County, Mississippi, where deed records show them for a number of years, stating sometimes that they lived in Tunica and other times that they were in DeSoto. I now find that Mary Louisa was alive in Tunica County until at least 9 March 1874. I assume that she died after that date in that county, at which point, John went to Red River (and then Natchitoches) Parish, Louisiana.
These records help provide a detailed sketch of John’s life from the time he left Lawrence County, Alabama, in late 1839 and went to Van Buren in Itawamba County, Mississippi. Many indicators suggest that John went to that community, which was then a thriving cotton port on the Tombigbee River, to re-establish himself as a merchant-planter in Mississippi after his Lindsey and Gibson business at Oakville, Alabama, failed in the late 1830s. Records also suggest that John did well for himself and his family after moving to Mississippi: he amassed considerable wealth as a merchant-planter in the halcyon days (halcyon for merchants and planters, that is, though not for everyone, and especially not for enslaved people) prior to the Civil War, when the cotton market was high and some people were making lots of money raising cotton with the labor of enslaved people, and marketing that cotton.
When the Civil War came along, all of that prosperity (for some people) came crashing down, and a lot of people then began moving west. In Mississippi, the crash was especially severe. Mississippi had the severest loss of life, proportionately, from the war of any state in the Union, with more than half of young men of marriageable age dying during the war. Since the whole system of cotton-growing and cotton-marketing depended on the labor of enslaved people who had now been freed, the economy of states like Mississippi was further disrupted for that reason.
Those counties in the Mississippi Delta just south of Memphis to which John and Mary Louisa moved around 1870 were the part of the state that still retained some wealth, and money was to be made, in particular, by people with mercantile backgrounds like John, who were taking advantage of a system developed by merchant-planters in which they advanced tools and seed to farmers, who then made mortgages of their property and crops to the merchants advancing items to them for their farming. Both John and his wife Mary Louisa, whose first husband Robert Overton Maupin had been an attorney and who had herself founded an academy to educate young women — she was a businesswoman, in other words — were engaged in such enterprises following the Civil War, and they continued these activities when they moved west.
I ended my first installment about John Wesley Lindsey by noting that he moved his family from Lawrence County, Alabama, to Itawamba County, Mississippi, by 1840. As we noted in that posting, John had begun acquiring land in Itawamba County in 1836 while he was still living in Lawrence County. John married Margaret S. Gibson, daughter of Sylvanus Gibson and Mary Orr, in Lawrence County in March 1836, and his father Dennis Lindsey died in the same county in August 1836.
As I’ve just stated, John’s motivation in settling in Itawamba County by 1840 appears to have been to continue his business as a merchant-planter in that county after his Lawrence County business encountered rocky times during the 1837 crash. As I noted in the previous posting, by March 1839, the firm of Lindsey and Gibson of Oakville, which he had formed with his brother-in-law William A. Gibson, is mentioned in Lawrence County records as a “late” firm: it had ceased business. On 23 January 1841, the Huntsville [Alabama] Democrat announced a trust sale to be held on 22 February in Lawrence County, as a result of a deed of trust made on 19 October 1839 by Richard Puckett and William H. Price. The deed involved pieces of land in Puckett’s hands being sold by Thomas Lile, trustee. Among them was a lot of 6½ acres in Oakville on which John W. Lindsey was residing in October 1839; another was a lot and house in Oakville in which Richard Puckett had resided; another was a piece of land Dennis Lindsey had bought and which may have been in his son John’s possession.
We’ve met Richard Puckett repeatedly in postings in the past. They noted that he was Oakville’s leading merchant, and was ruined along with other merchants of the town in the 1837 economic crash. The 1841 trust sale of the lots on which John W. Lindsey and Richard Puckett had resided indicate to us that both had left Oakville due to the failure of their businesses there. On 4 September 1840, John made a deed of trust of more of his property in Lawrence County to his brother-in-law Sylvanus Gibson, another indicator of the financial distress that precipitated his move to Mississippi. Puckett moved at this point to Memphis, Col. Saunders tells us in his Early Settlers of Alabama.
John Moves to Mississippi
The 1840 federal census confirms that John had moved his family to Itawamba County, Mississippi, by then. It lists him with a household consisting of a male 20-29 (John), a female 15-29 (wife Margaret, who was born in 1820), and a female under 5 (their daughter Mary Jane, born in 1839). Also in the household is an enslaved male aged 10-23.
I think that a John Lindsey found on the 1840 tax list in Itawamba County is not John Wesley Lindsey, but is a John whose wife was Henrietta Harder — and who is unrelated to John Wesley Lindsey. This John Lindsey appears in various records in Itawamba County in the 1830s and 1840s. John Wesley Lindsey, son of Dennis Lindsey and Jane Brooks, seems to have used his middle name or initial consistently, and records in which he appears almost always list him as John W. or John Wesley Lindsey.
The other John with wife Henrietta Harder is, I think, likely the John Lindsley enumerated on the 1841 Mississippi state census with a household containing four members — though I do note that on the same page on which this man appears, I see members of the Galloway, Hodges, Wren, and Brooks families, all families found in Lawrence County, Alabama, with various connections to the Lindsey family there. This other John Lindsey is also probably the John Lindsey who begins appearing as a justice of the peace in Itawamba records by 1841. In 1844, a J. Lindsey was elected either as a regular or floating member of the state legislature from Itawamba County, according to Julia Grimes.
As I have noted above, there are a number of indicators that when John W. Lindsey moved his family to Itawamba County, they settled in the town of Van Buren, where he launched another mercantile business. As we’ll see in a moment, the 1850 federal census lists him as a merchant. Dunbar Rowland’s 1907 encyclopedia of the state of Mississippi states that John Wesley Lindsey was an early merchant of Van Buren. Rowland describes Van Buren as an old village located on a high bluff on the Tombigbee River. He notes that Winfield Walker, a nephew of General Winfield Scott, had located there in 1838 and was the town’s first merchant. Rowland also states that the town was made redundant when the Mobile and Ohio railroad ran west of it and not directly through it, and it was eventually abandoned. By 1907, the site was under cultivation.
An article in the Itawamba Settlers journal whose author’s name is not given, entitled “In Search of Van Buren Village,” also indicates that Van Buren was eventually abandoned — apparently soon after 1850. According to this source, in 1840, Van Buren was the largest community in the county, with a river landing and considerable cotton trade. It was a prosperous community in this period because of its location on the Tombigbee, attracting business and professional leaders. Van Buren was founded out of Aberdeen in Monroe County, also a community on the Tombigbee important to the local cotton trade, which was mentioned in the previous posting as a place to which John W. Lindsey’s brother-in-law Sylvanus Gibson sent his cotton for marketing. Itawamba County historian Bob Franks indicates that in 1840, Van Buren had over 400 residents. He also states that after Winfield Walker opened his store there in 1838, the following occurred:
The following year W.C. Thomas and Brother also began business there. Soon the place began to prosper because of its location on the Tombigbee River. A Mr. Dines from New York, John W. Lindsey, J.C. Ritchie, H.W. Bates, Elijah B. Harber, Mr. Weaks, E. Moore and R.F. Shannon also began business in the village.
Franklin L. Riley cites Dr. E.C. Bourland who sums up John W. Lindsey’s mercantile career at Van Buren by stating, “Jno. W. Lindsey began business at this place ‘with one hundred dollars and left there with thirty thousand.’”
Before I share the information I have about John W. Lindsey’s years in Itawamaba (and Lee) County, which span 1840-1870, I should note that I have a sizable list of records mentioning him in that county that I have not read. Because John was, as Dr. E.C. Bourland hints, a very successful merchant in Itawamba County, the index to the county deed books is full of records for him, deeding property to others or having property deeded to him. Since I have not yet read many of these records, my research regarding his life in Itawamba County is incomplete. I will append my list of those records at the end of this posting in the hope that they might be useful to other researchers. Maybe the day will arrive when I’ll have more time to go through all Itawamba and Lee deeds mentioning John, and can do a more thorough search.
The first deed I find involving John in Itawamba County is one that long puzzled me. On 12 June 1840, a James and John A.J. Brooks made a trust deed mortgaging property to him in Itawamba County. Because John had a Brooks mother whose uncle was named James Brooks, and that given name runs through this Brooks family, I long assumed that this James and John A.J. Brooks were relatives of John.
But I could not place them anywhere in the Brooks family tree. Further research showed me that the county deed book itself is the source of the confusion here: these two men were not Brooks men, as the deed record states, but their surname was Brook or Brooke. They were father and son. There is no indicator that they were in any way related to the Brooks family of John W. Lindsey’s mother.
James and John A.J. Brook/Brooke appear in various records of Itawamba County and on state and federal censuses, with the surname Brook/Brooke, not Brooks. The 1850 federal census shows James born in Ireland about 1786. His tombstone in Beulah Cemetery at Saltillo, Itawamba County, gives his date of birth as 3 May 1785. His son John A.J. was John Andrew Jackson Brooke, who was born in Tennessee about 1815. This Brooke family lived at Saltillo where the progenitor James is buried.
As noted in the previous posting, John W. Lindsey’s uncle Charles Madison Brooks did move his family to Itawamba County from Lawrence County, Alabama, at the same time John W. Lindsey did so. A note in the loose-papers estate file of John’s grandfather Thomas Brooks shows Charles assigning his brother James R. Brooks his interest in his final share of their father’s estate on 22 June 1842. That document states that Charles was then living in Itawamba County, Mississippi. He had initially been executor of Thomas Brooks’s estate, and when he moved to Mississippi, he relinquished that office to Milton McClanahan.
So there definitely were Brooks relatives of John W. Lindsey living in Itawamba County by 1840. But James and John Andrew Jackson Brooke were not among those relatives; the misspelling of their surname by the county deed book when those two men mortgaged property to John W. Lindsey in June 1840 can lead those researching the Lindsey and Brooks families in this county on a merry chase that turns down a blind alley. A final note about this June 1840 deed: it states that the deed was acknowledged by all three parties at Van Buren on the day the need was made. This is another indicator that John moved directly to Van Buren in late 1839.
For further Itawamba County deeds involving John in the 1840s, see the list below.
John W. Lindsey and his family are enumerated on the 1850 federal census in Itawamba County in district 6. John is 26, a merchant with $250 real value, born in Kentucky. Wife Margaret S. is 30, born in Georgia. In the household are children Mary Jane, 11, born in Alabama, and William O., 7, born in Mississippi, who is attending school. Enumerated in the same district in Itawamba County in 1850 are John’s uncle Charles Brooks and his siblings Thomas Madison Lindsey and Rebecca Frances Lindsey with husband Samuel H. Kellogg. Two houses from John in 1850 is found the household of John R. Wren, another early merchant of Van Buren mentioned in various histories of the community. John W. Lindsey also appears on the 1850 federal schedule of enslaved persons holding an enslaved girl 7 years old.
John appears (as J.W. Lindsey) on the 1853 Mississippi state census in Itawamba County with a household comprised of 4 males and 3 females. As indicated above, John’s son William O. (William Oscar) was born in 1843, so he is one of the 4 males listed here. John would be another. I think it’s likely that one of the other males is John’s youngest brother Dennis James Lindsey (1836-1863), who was in Itawamba County by the latter half of the 1860s, per other records, and who married Sarah Jane Barnes there on 13 July 1860. The three females are John’s wife Margaret and daughters Mary Jane and Corilla.
In August 1853, an account of the estate of Levi Galloway in Itawamba County shows the estate paying J.W. Lindsey $117.14. Galloway had died 20 April 1851 in Itawamba County, leaving a considerable estate. He moved to Itawamba County from Lawrence County, Alabama, where he’s found on the 1830 federal census. He was born 3 October 1781 in Oglethorpe County, Georgia.
On 22 August 1853, John confirmed his account (a store account, representing John’s mercantile business) with the estate of Jeremiah Stephenson in Itawamba county. Stephenson had died owing John for goods bought from his store.
By 1854, though it appears John was still residing at Van Buren and doing business there, he had begun branching out with a mercantile business he was sharing with his son-in-law to be, Rice Bronaugh Tate, in Guntown, Mississippi, a community that fell into Lee County when that county was formed in 1866. According to a “Captain Jack” writing in the Tupelo Journal in 1873, in 1854, Rice and Lindsey brought a large stock of goods to Guntown for sale. It’s clear that while doing business now in Guntown, John continued to reside in Van Buren, since he was postmaster there from 31 January 1854 to 22 May 1856. Another mercantile tidbit from this period: on 27 November 1854, the estate of George Shumpert in Itawamba County paid John $45.53 for bale and rope he had sold the estate to put up the decedent’s cotton.
A number of sources indicate that by 1855, John’s younger sister Martha Ann Lindsey (1829-1914) was headmistress of the Female Academy of Richmond, Mississippi, a position she’d give up when she married James Madison Williams at the house of her brother John in Van Buren on 1 February 1856. The 1850 federal census shows Martha and her niece Mary Jane boarding in the household of Robert Overton Maupin in Fulton, Mississippi, where Robert’s wife Mary Louisa was operating Fulton Female Academy, with Martha and Mary Jane attending the school. (As noted previously, the 1850 federal census also shows Mary Jane enumerated at home with her parents and brother a month earlier.)
By 1850, Mary Louisa Maupin had a boarding school at Fulton at which 13 girls were boarded, including Martha and Mary Lindsey. The profile of Fulton in 1850 from which this information is taken states that these girls were from the wealthier planter classes of the county. At some point after 1850, Martha, who seems to have shared her father Dennis Lindsey’s strong commitment to education, took the position of headmistress of the Female Academy of Richmond, a town a few miles southwest of Fulton that is now in Lee County.
In a series entitled “Pen Pictures of Olden Times” published in June and July 1905 in Tupelo Journal, Colonel W.L. Clayton states the following about Martha Ann Lindsey’s tenure at the Female Academy in Richmond:
The Female School at old Richmond was under the control of Miss Martha Lindsey when I went there to school to Martin. Miss Martha was a remarkable woman in many respects. She was firm and determined, yet gentle and loving to her pupils. Strong of purpose, strong in the hearts of her pupils and strong in her hold upon her patrons; apt to teach and loving her profession, it goes without the saying that she made a success of the school, and turned out many young ladies who have been ornaments to society and helpful to the world. But however strong she may have been in many respects, she was not proof against cupid’s arrow, and so, like other women, she was weak enough to be caught in his toils, and on Feb. 1, 1865, she was led to hymen’s altar by James M. Williams at old Van Buren, on the Bigby River, at the home of her brother, John W. Lindsey. I remember the circumstance very well, having attended the marriage, going from Richmond, where the bridegroom lived, amid the snow of winter. It was a surprise wedding and placed on Friday evening to more effectually hide the purpose of the gathering, it being given out as a party gathering for young people for social intercourse, and not even the young ladies who acted as bridesmaids knew of the purpose of the meeting till after they arrived at the place for the marriage.
In a column entitled “These Things I Remember” in Itawamba County Times, Zereda Greene says that when Martha Ann Lindsey headed the Richmond Female Academy, Richmond also had an accompanying male academy attended by the W.L. Clayton who wrote the preceding remembrance of Martha. Greene says that the two academies offered different curricula: while the females were taught needlepoint, philosophy, chemistry, and astronomy, the males learned Latin, Greek, English, and the sciences.
An article entitled “Miss Zereda’s House in Fulton” at Itawamba Historical Society’s web log Itawamba History Review has a photo of the house in which Zereda Greene lived in Fulton from 1901 to 1989, noting that the front portion of the house was built about 1849 by Robert O. and Louisa Maupin. This source states,
Robert was a Fulton attorney and his wife Louisa operated the Fulton Female Academy, a boarding school located near the corner of Main and South Cummings Street, two blocks south of the home. The boarding school taught the young daughters of many planters from southern and western Itawamba County including the Whitesides, Dabbs, Standifer, Crayton and Lindsey families.
On 1 December 1857, John’s business partner Rice Bronaugh Tate married his daughter Mary Jane in Itawamba County, Mississippi. Rice B. Tate was the son of William Rice Tate and Lucy Ann Bronaugh of Virginia, and graduated from Tulane Medical School in New Orleans in 1857.
For more information about John W. Lindsey in Itawamba County in the 1850s, see the list of deeds appended to the end of this posting.
Margaret Dies and John Marries Mary Louisa, Widow of Robert Overton Maupin
By 1860, John had moved his family south to Mooreville, which is now in Lee County and part of the Tupelo metropolitan area. Mooreville is several miles south of Guntown, where John was doing business with Rice Bronaugh Tate by 1854. The move to Mooreville would probably have had much to do with the decline of Van Buren after 1850.
The 1860 federal census shows John W. Lindsey and his family at Mooreville post office in Itawamba County. This census shows John as 46, a merchant born in Kentucky with $5000 real worth and $76,500 personal worth. Wife Margaret S. is 40, born in Georgia. In the household are children William O., 19, a clerk b. MS, Carrilla, 9, and Dantha D., 7, all born in Mississippi. Carrilla’s name is Corilla in other records, including her marriage record, which is discussed below.
Also living in this household in 1860 are John’s son-in-law Rice B. Tate and wife Mary Jane, who had married 1 December 1857, and John’s brother Dennis James Lindsey and wife Jane, who married 13 July 1860. Rice B. Tate and Dennis Lindsey are both listed as merchants. Rice is 26 and Dennis is 25, both born in Alabama; wives Mary J. and Jane are 22 and 25, with Mary J. born in Alabama and Jane in Mississippi. Rice and Mary Jane’s daughter Mattie B., born in 1859, is also in the household. Also listed with the family of John W. Lindsey on this census are John H. Burrow, another merchant, who is 21 and born in Alabama, and Allen D. Trap, a farm laborer, 23, born in Alabama.
The 1860 federal slave schedule shows John holding eight enslaved people in Itawamba County. Their ages and gender are as follows: a male, 60; a female, 60; a female, 36; a male, 26; and females 21, 15, 15, and 5. The latter three persons are listed as mulatto and the previous enslaved persons as black.
On 30 May 1861, John’s son William Oscar married Mary Elizabeth, daughter of Abner Currin Tatum and Martha Jane Orr in Itawamba County. On 22 January 1862, John sold his son 140 acres in Itawamba County, no doubt to assist him as he began married life and a family. The land was the east part of the northeast ¼ section 25 township 9 range 6 east. The deed speaks of premises on the land, so evidently John was deeding his son both land and a house — and perhaps farm buildings, too. John sold the property to William for $2000.
John’s wife Margaret appears to have died between 4 August 1860, when she is listed in his household on the federal census, and 7 August 1866, when he married a second time. John’s new wife was Mary Louisa Maupin, who was mentioned previously as the headmistress of the Fulton Female Academy that John’s daughter Mary Jane and sister Martha Ann attended. Mary Louisa’s husband Robert Overton Maupin, an attorney in Fulton, died 9 March 1860 in Fulton.
John W. Lindsey and Mary Louisa Maupin (whose maiden surname I have not found) were married by Reverend John Alexander Kimmons, a Presbyterian minister of the Chickasaw Presbytery. Since weddings of the period normally occurred in the bride’s religious community, I think it’s likely Louisa was a Presbyterian. I have found neither a death date nor a place of burial for Margaret Gibson Lindsey. After 1860, I also find no record of the daughter of John and Margaret whose name appears as Dantha D. Lindsey (Diantha is probably the correct spelling) on the 1860 federal census: see supra.
John W. Lindsey appears on the 1866 business and personal property tax roll for Itawamba County as a retail dealer of merchandise in Guntown. This is an indicator that he had transferred his business from Van Buren as that village dried up to Guntown, in the period in which he moved south to Mooreville.
The Lee County Years
On 25 October 1866, John sold his son William another 70 acres of land in what was then Itawamba County, but the land fell into Lee County shortly after the deed was made, since the deed is recorded in the latter county. John sold the land to his son for $1646.40. On 15 November 1866, John sold to his son-in-law Rice B. Tate for $2000 the southwest ¼ of section 34 township 9 range 6 east in Itawamba County. This land also evidently fell into Lee County, since the deed is recorded in that county.
An interesting deed dated 3 September 1866 — a bit less than a month after John W. Lindsey married Mary Louisa Maupin — shows the Itawamba sheriff John V. Thomas selling Mary Louisa (M.L. Lindsey) 100 acres and a dwelling house occupied by C.W. Taylor that John had forfeited on 28 June due to a judgment of debt. Louisa bought the property back for $277.20.
Itawamba and Lee County deed listings of the latter part of the 1860s show Mary Louisa actively doing business under her own name (i.e., M.L. Lindsey) on repeated occasions. As the widow of an attorney who inherited his resources and who had herself owned a business (her female academy), Mary Louisa seems to have had a strong business sense. On 17 January 1867, she bought 160 acres in Itawamba from J.C. Gilstrap for $1100; on 17 October 1867, Martin V. Black mortgaged property in Itawamba to her; on 8 March 1868, F.M. Rhyne and W.C. Gramer mortgaged their cotton crop in Itawamba to Mary Louisa.
In Lee County deeds, a deed of Robert F. Shannon to M.L. Lindsey for a tract of land on 8 February 1867 is recorded, with the deed stating that Shannon lived in Itawamba and she in Lee. On 9 November 1867, Thomas Price made a mortgage to M.L. Lindsey in Lee County, the deed of trust stating that both resided in that county. The deed record shows that on the same day, with J.F. Booth trustee proved the mortgage in front of John W. Lindsey, justice of the peace for Lee County.
In 1868, on 11 March, W.S. Parker, R.H. Parker, E. Parker, and A.M. Parker mortgaged land and livestock in Lee County to M.L. Lindsey. All parties with G.C. Bessonett as trustee proved the mortgage in front of John W. Lindsey, j.p., on the same day. On 19 March, Noel C. Cherry mortgaged property in Lee County to M.L. Lindsey. Both parties with J.B. Booth as trustee proved the deed of trust before John W. Lindsey, j.p., on 11 May 1868. 16 October, William Ware mortgaged property to M.L. Lindsey with Mary Louisa’s step-son William O. Lindsey as trustee. Ware proved the deed of trust in front of W.N. Mitchener, j.p., on 20 October, and M.L. and W.O. Lindsey proved it n front of John W. Lindsey, j.p., the same day.
In 1869, on 10 February, R.J. Jennings, who was indebted to Mary Louisa, mortgaged land to her in Lee County, with John W. Lindsey’s uncle Samuel K. Brooks acting as trustee. On 24 February, John L. Cunningham made a mortgage to M.L. Lindsey with S.A. Brooks as trustee. The three signatories acknowledged the deed of trust on 9 March 1863 before John W. Lindsey, j.p., of Lee County. On 1 March 1869, another mortgage was made in Lee County to Mary Louisa with Samuel K. Brooks as trustee: H.R. Berry, who was indebted to her, mortgaged his mule and cotton crop to Mary Louisa.
Samuel K. and S.A. Brooks are father and son, both named Samuel. Samuel K. Brooks (1815-1898) was John W. Lindsey’s uncle. He had moved over to Itawamba County from Lawrence County, Alabama, between 1850-1860, and in 1870, his land had fallen into Lee County.
After the 1 March 1869 mortgage in Lee County by H.R. Berry to M.L. Lindsey, I don’t find the couple in Itawamba or Lee records again until 6 November 1871, when they deeded land in Lee County with the deed stating that they were in Tunica County, Mississippi. I’ll discuss that deed in a moment. It appears they left Lee for Tunica County between 1 March 1869 and 6 November 1871. Several transactions in the late 1860s suggest to me that John was putting his affairs in order in Lee County as he prepared to move. On 9 February 1868, for instance, he proved a deed he had made 27 January 1861 to William Bauldin for land that had been in Itawamba at that time, but was in Lee by 1868.
On 13 April 1868, John filed a deed for 152 acres he had bought from the state of Mississippi on 22 November 1860. After John deeded land in Itawamba to Josiah Stevens on 22 January 1867, one of the two subscribing witnesses to that deed, R.F. Shannon, proved it on 15 March 1870, and it was recorded. The fact that John did not prove his own deed, but had one of the witnesses to his land sale do this, suggests to me that he and Mary Louisa had gone to Tunica County by 15 March 1870. I have not found them anywhere on the 1870 federal census.
Note, too, that John had made a deed to B.J. Phipps in Lee County on 1 January 1863, with M.L. Lindsey and W.O. Lindsey signing as witnesses. William O. Lindsey acknowledged the deed on behalf of John in Lee County on 16 November 1869. This is yet another indicator that John and Mary Louisa had moved over to Tunica not long before 1870. Tunica records show that John’s son William would soon follow them to northwest Mississippi.
Move to Tunica County
On 6 November 1871, John W. Lindsey and wife M.L. Lindsey of Tunica County, Mississippi, sold to J.A. Brooke of Lee County for $500 the northwest ¼ of section 33 township 8 range 6 east in Lee County. John and Mary Louisa both signed the deed, and both acknowledged it in DeSoto County on the same day. This deed confirms that John and Mary Louisa had moved to northwest Mississippi by this date.
Tunica County deeds contain further interesting information about John and wife Mary Louisa after their relocation to the Mississippi Delta. By 27 January 1872, John seems to have resumed his mercantile activities in northwest Mississippi: on that date, J.H. Brazeal/Brazill of Tunica County mortgaged to John his cotton and corn crop and farm tools, with the deed of trust stating that John was of DeSoto County. See the map above for a snapshot of where Tunica, DeSoto, and Tate (which was formed from DeSoto) Counties stand in relation to each other.
Tunica deeds of the same period show that John had set up a business with Matthew Anderson Douglas (1830-1877), who appears on the 1870 federal census as a dry goods merchant at Arkabutla in DeSoto County (the town fell into Tate County in 1873). A 9 January 1873 mortgage of James Estes of DeSoto to M.A. Douglass of Estes’s crop shows J.L. Williams proving the document before the county clerk on the 27th (the year is erroneously given as 1872 here), with a statement by Williams that John W. Lindsey was also a witness.
On 8 April 1873, J.W. Motes of Tunica County made a mortgage to Douglass (of Tunica County) and Lindsey (of DeSoto County), with the mortgage noting that Motes was indebted to Lindsey. Witnesses to this document were J.W. Harris and John W. Lindsey’s son William Oscar Lindsey. A 3 December 1873 deed in Lee County shows that by that date William was living in Tate County when he sold J.B. Gladney 70 acres in Lee County. He had apparently abandoned his wife Mary Elizabeth Tatum and their daughter Pearl (born 9 January 1870); Mary Elizabeth was granted a divorce in Lee County on grounds of abandonment on 6 January 1875.
A 14 April 1873 Tunica County mortgage of R.M. Blackman identifies John W. Lindsey and M.A. Douglass as business partners with a firm entitled Lindsey and Douglass. This mortgage has the same J.W. Harris who witnessed the 8 April 1873 mortgage discussed above as trustee. This is one of two mortgages made on the same day between these parties; the second document also mentions the Lindsey and Douglass firm.
Mary Louisa was still living by 9 March 1874, when A.J. Hudson sold her 158 acres in Tunica County on that date, the deed stating that both were of Tunica County. Mary Louisa paid $2300 for the piece of land. I have found no further record of her after that date, and am assuming she died between this date and 15 December 1878, when John married Mary Ann (Nobles), the widow of Daniel Campbell Wester, in Red River Parish, Louisiana — though I have no proof of Mary Louisa’s death, and it’s possible she and John might have divorced, but no records I’ve found indicate she was living after the 1874 date.
While John and Mary Ann were living in Tunica County, his daughter Corilla married Theodore A. Marshall there on 10 February 1872. He was the son of Calvin A. Marshall and Louisa C. Birmingham of Lee County. After marrying, the couple lived up to their deaths at Tupelo in Lee County.
Here is a list of additional Itawamba (and a few Lee) deeds in the 1840s, 1850s, and 1860s involving John W. Lindsey:
- 23 November 1847: Wm. M. Priestley deeded to him in Itawamba (Itawamba DB 9, p. 133).
- 23 November 1847: S.C. Walker deeded to him in Itawamba (ibid., p. 135).
- 4 March 1848: A. James deeded to him in Itawamba (Itawamba DB 7, p. 316).
- 4 February 1850: Benjamin J. and Clarissa Savage deeded to him in Itawamba (Itawamba DB 8, p. 11).
- 16 December 1850: Samuel D. Savage deeded to him in Itawamba (ibid., p. 149).
- 5 October 1852: E.R. Harbour deeded to him in Itawamba (Itawamba DB 9, p. 134).
- 1 November 1852: James A. Hill deeded to him in Itawamba (ibid., p. 635).
- 19 January 1853: John and Margaret deeded to Wm. Stuart in Itawamba (ibid., p. 357).
- 14 May 1853: William Walsworth deeded to him in Itawamba (ibid., p. 462).
- 17 June 1853: R.L. Wren deeded to him in Itawamba (ibid., p. 572).
- 10 July 1853: R.S. and Sarah Wren deeded to him in Itawamba (ibid., p. 559).
- 11 August 1853: Samuel Burdine deeded to him in Itawamba (Itawamba DB 16, p. 219).
- 3 April 1854: Benjamin R. Thompson deeded to him in Itawamba (Itawamba DB 10, p. 371).
- 25 June 1854: John deeded to W.D. Clifton in Itawamba (ibid., p. 441).
- 14 July 1854: H.W. Rhyne and J.C. Gilstrap deeded to him in Itawamba (Itawamba DB 11, p. 298).
- 9 August 1854: John deeded to Thomas H. Booth in Itawamba (ibid., p. 90).
- 9 August 1854: S.D. Stegall and P.G. Thomas deeded to him in Itawamba (ibid., p. 95).
- 13 September 1854: B.F. Toomer deeded to him in Itawamba (Itawamba DB 10, p. 577).
- 16 September 1854: John S. Sullivan deeded to him in Itawamba (Itawamba DB 11, p. 91).
- 27 October 1854: John Clayton deeded to him in Itawamba (Itawamba DB 10, p. 578).
- 20 November 1854: Hayes Baudri deeded to him in Itawamba (Itawamba DB 11, p. 274).
- 7 December 1854: W.S.C. Walker deeded to him in Itawamba (ibid., p. 97).
- 5 February 1855: John E. Gibson deeded to him in Itawamba (Itawamba DB 15, p. 73).
- 8 August 1855: James McKinney deeded to him in Itawamba (Itawamba DB 11, p. 417).
- 7 September 1855: James T. Burdine deeded to him in Itawamba (ibid., p. 504).
- 21 December 1855: John Hughes deeded to him in Itawamba (ibid., p. 589).
- 17 January 1856: John deeded to R.F. Shannon in Itawamba (ibid., p. 503).
- 13 March 1856: John and J. Gilstrap deeded to David A.Brooks in Itawamba (ibid., p. 592). (David is a son of John’s uncle Charles Madison Brooks and wife Deniah Cornelius.)
- 7 June 1856: Jacob Fry deeded to him in Itawamba (Itawamba DB 12, p. 276).
- 7 June 1856: G.B. Neighbors deeded to him in Itawamba (ibid., p. 277).
- 7 June 1856: Thomas A. Pledger deeded to him in Itawamba (ibid., p. 278).
- 2 September 1856: William C. Clayton deeded to him in Itawamba (ibid., p. 351).
- 25 October 1856: John deeded to W.J. Smith in Itawamba (ibid., p. 441).
- 9 December 1856: John Hughes deeded to him in Itawamba (ibid., p. 317).
- 24 December 1856: C.C. Clayton deeded to him in Itawamba (ibid., p. 422).
- 1 January 1857: C.H. Robinson deeded to him in Itawamba (ibid., p. 450).
- 16 January 1857: Mary J. Lucus et al. deeded to him in Itawamba (ibid., p. 541).
- 7 February 1857: E.P. Dickson deeded to him in Itawamba (Itawamba DB 13, p. 556).
- 18 February 1857: Jacob Fry deeded to him in Itawamba (Itawamba DB 12, p. 566).
- 26 March 1857: Michael Harris deeded to him in Itawamba (Itawamba DB 13, p. 213).
- 29 March 1857: James Rogers deeded to him in Itawamba (ibid., p. 174).
- 17 May 1857: W.D. Ford deeded to him in Itawamba (Itawamba DB 15, p. 54).
- 17 May 1857: Thomas J. Grissom deeded to him in Itawamba (ibid., p. 56).
- 15 June 1857: M.F. Whitehead deeded to him in Itawamba (Itawamba DB 13, p. 168).
- 17 June 1857: John C. Thorn deeded to him in Itawamba (ibid., p. 169).
- 17 June 1857: William Patton deeded to him in Itawamba (ibid., p. 170).
- 6 July 1857: John deeded to William Burrow in Itawamba (Itawamba DB 15, p. 514).
- 30 August 1857: Jesse A. Sewel deeded to him in Itawamba (Itawamba DB 13, p. 215).
- 17 October 1857: John Kennedy deeded to him in Itawamba (Itawamba DB 12, p. 397).
- 6 January 1858: B.J. Savage deeded to him in Itawamba (Itawamba DB 13, p. 546).
- 25 January 1858: Joshua Clayton deeded to him in Itawamba (Itawamba DB 15, p. 76).
- 25 January 1858: T.L. Shipley deeded to him in Itawamba (ibid., p. 77).
- 13 February 1858: William Watson deeded to him in Itawamba (ibid., p. 157).
- 1 March 1858: Risoon and Jonathan Wall deeded to him in Itawamba (ibid., p. 384).
- 16 May 1858: Stephen W. Young deeded to him in Itawamba (ibid., p. 186).
- 16 May 1858: Stephen W. Young has another deed to him in Itawamba (ibid., p. 225).
- 17 May 1858: John Hughes deeded to him in Itawamba (ibid., p. 155).
- 28 May 1858: P.B. Fowler deeded to him in Itawamba (ibid., p. 156).
- 10 June 1858: Thomas G. Price deeded to him in Itawamba (ibid., p. 223).
- 10 June 1858: W.C. Jones deeded to him in Itawamba (ibid., p. 224).
- 19 June 1858: John Hobbs deeded to him in Itawamba (ibid., p. 231).
- 6 July 1858: John deeded to Henry Shumpert in Itawamba (ibid., p. 248).
- 22 November 1858: William Priddy deeded to him in Itawamba (ibid., p. 342).
- 24 December 1858: L.N. Davis deeded to him in Itawamba (ibid., p. 310).
- 1 January 1859: James M. Smith deeded to him in Itawamba (Itawamba DB 13, p. 540).
- 4 January 1859: Benjamin J. Savage deeded to him in Itawamba (ibid., p. 539).
- 7 February 1859: Thomas Deaton deeded to him in Itawamba (Itawamba DB 15, p. 386).
- 20 February 1859: E.M. Durall deeded to him in Itawamba (ibid., p. 391).
- 22 February 1859: S. Underwood deeded to him in Itawamba (ibid., p. 383).
- 23 February 1859: Thompson Bolomin deeded to him in Itawamba (ibid., p. 389).
- 2 March 1859: O.H. Whitehead deeded to him in Itawamba (ibid., p. 388).
- 4 March 1859: R.M. Clayton deeded to him in Itawamba (ibid., p. 432).
- 8 May 1859: Duncan Clark deeded to him in Itawamba (ibid., p. 529).
- 25 May 1859: John E. Gibson deeded to him in Itawamba (ibid., p. 471).
- 22 June 1859: John deeded to J.M. Scaggs in Itawamba (ibid., p. 490).
- 23 June 1859: Samuel Bass deeded to him in Itawamba (ibid., p. 529).
- 24 June 1859: William Mills deeded to him in Itawamba (ibid., p. 489).
- 24 June 1859: John deeded to N.J. Skaggs in Itawamba (ibid., p. 490). (On 22 June, N.J. Skaggs had deeded to Rice B. Tate, John’s son-in-law-to-be.)
- 13 July 1859: Thomas J. Gibson deeded to him in Itawamba (ibid., p. 107).
- 25 July 1859: John W. Clifton deeded to him in Itawamba (ibid., p. 528).
- 25 July 1859: Daniel Sisk deeded to him in Itawamba (ibid., p. 38).
- 6 August 1859: George S. Gains deeded to him in Itawamba (ibid., p. 539).
- 6 September 1859: Moses Paine deeded to him in Itawamba (ibid., p. 582).
- 8 October 1859: H.W. Savage deeded to him in Itawamba (ibid., p. 105).
- 28 December 1859: David Meriwether deeded to him in Itawamba (ibid., p. 441).
- 10 January 1860: John deeded to P.B. Fowler in Itawamba (ibid., p. 508).
- 12 January 1860: John deeded to Sophia Gibson in Itawamba (Itawamba DB 16, p. 24).
- 19 March 1860: John Watson deeded to him in Itawamba (ibid., p. 127).
- 18 April 1860: Armstrong Robertson deeded to him in Itawamba (ibid., p. 124).
- 19 April 1860: Wm. Wilson and wife deeded to him in Itawamba (ibid., p. 128).
- 27 August 1860: Jacob Fry and wife deeded to him in Itawamba (ibid., p. 381).
- 6 November 1860: John deeded to James A. Livingston in Itawamba (ibid., p. 513).
- 10 November 1860: John McDonald deeded to him in Itawamba (ibid., p. 256).
- 26 November 1860: C.H. Robinson deeded to him in Itawamba (ibid., p. 382).
- 9 February 1861: John deeded to D.W.P. Wallace in Itawamba (ibid., p. 626).
- 16 February 1861: Joh deeded to Phillips and Smith in Itawamba (ibid., p. 384).
- 6 April 1861: John deeded to Taylor and Phillips in Itawamba (ibid., p. 511).
- 15 July 1861: John deeded to J.W. Braziel in Itawamba (Itawamba DB 17, p. 71).
- 6 August 1861: John deeded to O.J. Bryant in Itawamba (ibid., p. 3).
- 6 August 1861: John deeded to Thomas A. Melton in Itawamba (ibid., p. 5).
- 16 August 1861: John deeded to John Sheffield in Itawamba (ibid., p. 69).
- 30 September 1861: John deeded to E. Gardner in Itawamba (ibid., p. 42).
- 7 January 1862: John deeded to A.J. Pearce in Itawamba (Itawamba DB 18, p. 123).
- 8 December 1862: John deeded to Lewis Garner in Itawamba (Itawamba DB 17, p. 82).
- 6 (or 8?) January 1864: John deeded to Eli Middlebrooks in Itawamba (ibid., p. 347).
- 11 January 1864: John deeded to James Moody in Itawamba (ibid., p. 359).
- 1 April 1866: Henry Stediam deeded to John in Itawamba (Itawamba DB 15, p. 384).
- 20 September 1866: W.C. Clayton deeded to John in Lee (Lee DB 1, 251).
- 7 October 1866: John deeded to R.S. Gillentine in Itawamba (Itawamba DB 18, p. 539).
- 21 November 1866: John deeded to A.D. White in Itawamba (ibid., p. 127).
- 4 December 1866: John deeded to J.H. Pyron in Itawamba (ibid., p. 124).
- 6 December 1866: John deeded to F. Stuart of Mobile a tract of land for $1800 in Lee (Lee DB 4, p. 474).
- 7 January 1867: John deeded to J.V. Griffin in Itawamba (Itawamba DB 18, p. 126).
- 7 January 1867: John deeded to R.F. Shannon in Itawamba (ibid., p. 128).
- 10 January 1867: John deeded to Edwin Wilder in Itawamba (ibid., p. 159).
- 3 July 1867: the estate of John T. Mullins in Itawamba names John as a creditor.
- 1 November 1867: John deeded two pieces of land to John Payne, in Lee, acknowledging the deed on the 11th (Lee DB 6, p. 61).
 “Trust Sale,” Huntsville Democrat, p. 4, col. 4.
 Lawrence County, Alabama, Deed Bk. 2, p. 359.
 1840 federal census, Itawamba County, Mississippi, p. 147.
 Julia Rayburn Grimes, “A History of Itawamba: The Early Years,” Itawamba Settlers 4,1 (March 1984), p. 5. This John Lindsey is also perhaps the John Lindsey who made a deed to Cally Scoggs in Itawamba on 20 June 1840, though that deed is signed by John along with a Nancy Lindsey who appears to be his wife — see Itawamba County, Mississippi, Deed Bk 2, p. 351.
 Dunbar Rowland, Mississippi: Comprising Sketches of Counties, Towns, Events, Institutions, and Persons, Arranged in Cyclopedic Form, vol. 1 (Atlanta: Southern Historical Publ. Assoc., 1907), pp. 946-948.
 Ibid., vol. 2, p. 888.
 “In Search of Van Buren Village,” Itawamba Settlers 3,4 (1983), p. 197.
 Bob Franks, “Van Buren: Itawamba County’s Old River Port Town Revisited,” at Itawamba History Review, the web log of Itawamba Historical Society. See also Mona Robinson Mills, Itawamba County (Charleston, SC: Arcadia, 2013), p. 8.
 Franklin L. Riley, “Extinct Towns and Villages of Mississippi,” in Report of the Mississippi Historical Commission: Publications of the Mississippi Historical Society, ed. Franklin L. Riley, vol. 5 (Oxford: Mississippi Hist. Soc., 1902), p. 341.
 Itawamba County, Mississippi, Deed Bk. 2, p. 357.
 See loose-papers estate file of Thomas Brooks (died 1838), Morgan County, Alabama.
 1850 federal census, Itawamba County, Mississippi, p. 348 (dwelling 826, family 838; 7 October).
 1853 Mississippi state census, Itawamba County, p. 30, line 4.
 Itawamba County, Mississippi, Probate Bk. 6, p. 1.
 Itawamba Settlers 12,4 (winter 1992) reproduces the 1873 Tupelo Journal article by “Captain Jack” entitled “An Early Description of Guntown, Mississippi.” See p. 215 of this article for the reference to Rice and Lindsey.
 See Itawamba Settlers 16,2 (summer 1994), p. 75.
 Itawamba County, Mississippi, Marriage Bk. 4, p. 185.
 1850 federal census, Itawamba County, Mississippi, district 7, Fulton (p. 438, dwelling and family 24; 23 November).
 See “A Village Profile…Fulton: 1850,” in Itawamba Settlers 4,1 (March 1984), p. 46.
 Clayton’s article is reproduced by Martha Bone, “Remembering the Old Itawamba County,” in Itawamba Settlers 13,1 (spring 1993). P. 14 contains information about Martha A. Lindsey. See also David A. Webb’s transcription of this article at his website for Richmond, Mississippi.
 Zereda Greene, “These Things I Remember” Itawamba County Times, 27 January 1966.
 Itawamba County, Mississippi, Marriage Bk. 5, p. 107.
 The New Orleans Times-Picayune, 21 March 1857, p. 1, col. 3, has a list of graduates of Tulane Medical School, class of 1857, including Rice B. Tate. Catalogue from 1834 to 1872 of the Professors, Other Instructors, and Alumni: With an Historical Sketch of the Medical College, (from Its Origin in 1834 to 1847), and of Its Successor, the Med. Dept. of the University of Louisiana (from Its Establishment in 1847 to 1872) (New Orleans: Bronze Pen, 1871), shows him as an alumnus of Tulane Medical School who graduated in 1857 and was a doctor in Tupelo in 1871.
Historical Sketch of the Medical Department of the University of Louisiana (New Orleans: Bulletin Book and Job), p. 16, shows him as an 1857 graduate of University of Louisiana Medical Department.
 1860 federal census, Itawamba County, Mississippi, Mooreville post office, p. 65 (dwelling and family 421; 4 August).
 The census entry appears to give William’s age as 29, but the 2 is smudged and appears to have been corrected to 1, which would be more accurate.
 1860 federal slave schedule, Itawamba County, Mississippi, p. 461, line 6, 22 June.
 Itawamba County, Mississippi, Marriage Bk. 5, p. 132.
 Itawamba County, Mississippi, Deed Bk. 17, p. 65.
 Itawamba County, Mississippi, Marriage Bk. 7, p. 13.
 A loose-papers estate file for Robert O. Maupin is in Monroe County, Mississippi. It contains a document in which E.G. Thomas, W.J.A. Estes, and E.L. Clifton testify that Robert O. Maupin was living in Monroe County at the time of his death but died 9 March 1850 in Fulton at the house of Mrs. J.F. Clifton. As he was dying, he made a nuncupative will naming his wife Mrs. M.L. Maupin his executrix and primary heir. Robert O. Maupin was born about 1815 in Albemarle County, Virginia, son of Robert Overton Maupin and Mary McGehee. He was at the University of Virginia in 1835 when a faculty minutes for 15 December show him accused of having lost a game of cards at Miller’s tavern in Charlottesville to a Mr. Harrison, and then having taken some of the winnings unfairly —so he was expelled from the university. See also “A Concise History of Early Itawamba County” at Online Digital Archives of the Itawamba Historical Society, which states that by 1850, Fulton was a “bustling village” with five attorneys, one of whom was Robert O. Maupin. This source also states that Robert’s wife Louisa operated the Fulton Female Academy at the present-day corner of Beene and North Cummings.
 See Sessional Records of New Hope Presbyterian Church, Biggersville, Miss., vol. 1, transcribed and annotated by Rev. r. Milton Winter (priv. publ., 2008), p. 18, n. 2.
 Lee County, Mississippi, Deed Bk. 1, p. 250.
 Ibid., p. 46.
 Itawamba County, Mississippi, Deed Bk. 18, pp. 129-130.
 Ibid., p. 171.
 Ibid., p. 255.
 Ibid., p. 530.
 Lee County, Mississippi, Deed Bk. 1, p. 249.
 Ibid., pp. 571-2.
 Ibid., pp. 570-1.
 Ibid., p. 569.
 Ibid., Bk. 3, p. 171.
 Ibid., Bk. 2, p. 381.
 Ibid., p. 396.
 Ibid., p. 383.
 Ibid., p. 17.
 Itawamba County, Mississippi, Deed Bk. 18, p. 536.
 Ibid., p. 548.
 Lee County, Mississippi, Deed Bk. 3, p. 637.
 Ibid., Deed Bk. 8, p. 495.
 Tunica County, Mississippi, Deed Bk. H, pp. 596-7.
 1870 federal census, DeSoto County, Mississippi, Arkabutla post office, p. 370B (dwelling and family 95; 28 June).
 Tunica County, Mississippi, Deed Bk. J, pp. 1-2.
 Ibid., pp. 2-4.
 Lee County, Mississippi, Deed Bk. 9, p. 375.
 Dana Halbach stated in a posting to the new-defunct online Lindsey forum at Genforum on 19 March 2007, stating that she had a copy of the 6 January 1875 divorce decree sent her by Jack Harris. In a posting to the same forum on 2 August 2011, Jack Harris also states that Mary Elizabeth was granted a divorce on 6 January 1875 on grounds of abandonment.
 Tunica County, Mississippi, Deed Bk. J, pp. 4-7.
 Ibid., pp. 7-10.
 Ibid., Bk. F, p. 783.
 Tunica County, Mississippi, Marriage Bk. B, p. 119.