A blog about living in Aberdeen, New Jersey.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

A Bit of Monmouth County in Southern Mississippi

Monmouth plantation in 1972 (Wikimedia)
In 1818, John Hankinson and his wife, Frances McCrea, built the 15-acre Monmouth Plantation in Natchez, Mississippi. They named it after their home county in New Jersey. The currrent owners have an excellent history of the early years of Monmouth Plantation at their website. Read more about this southern Mississippi getaway and others in Great Escapes, Bluffs and Bayous, by Sam Smith.

Antebellum Natchez, by D Clayton James, pg 193, says that the Natchez Steamboat Company was founded in 1815 by postmaster John Hankinson and half a dozen other men.

According to Old Natchez, pg 110, John Hankinson was a man of vast wealth, related to the distinguished Schuyler family of New York.  The Hankinsons contracted yellow fever less than a week after helping a dying man on the roadside. They died within hours of each other. The plantation sold in 1826 for $10,000.

The current owners of the plantation say the couple's dramatic death is only local lore. Hankinson actually died from excessive drink prompted by his financial ruin, which included the public auction of his property in 1825. His wife outlived him by ten years. Both are buried in the Monmouth cemetery.

I found several census records for John Hankinson. He is head of household in the 1816 Mississippi Territorial Census, the 1818 Mississippi State Census, and the 1820 Federal Census for Mississippi, all in Adams County, where Natchez is located. Below are the enumerations.
  • 1816 Census - 2 white males over 21, 3 white males under 21, 2 white females over 21, 6 white females under 21, 13 total white persons, 6 total slaves, 19 total inhabitants.
  • 1818 Census - 2 white males over 21, 3 white males under 21, 1 white females over 21, 3 white females under 21, 9 total white persons, 7 total slaves.
  • 1820 Census - 2 males less than 10, 1 male 16-26, 2 males 26-45, 2 females less than 10, 1 female 10-16, 1 female 26-45, 1 foreigner not naturalized, 4 male slaves under 15, 5 male slaves 26-45, 1 female slave less than 15, 2 female slaves 26-45, 5 free whites 26 or older, 10 total whites, 12 total slaves, 22 total inhabitants
A number of genealogies suggest that John Hankinson was born 15 Jun 1783 in Freehold, son of Capt Kenneth Hankinson (24 Jan 1730/31 - 6 Oct 1807) and Eleanor Covenhoven (12 Mar 1737/38 - 19 Jul 1802). The parents are reportedly buried in Old Tennent Cemetery.

The plantation has been a National Historic Landmark since 1988.


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