A Kaleidoscope of History
 
A series on the history of Raymond by Rebecca B. Drake,
originally published in the Hinds County Gazette

The Establishment of Raymond as the
Seat of Hinds County
 

Since 1830 Raymond has been an active small town located in the very center of Hinds County. Thanks to the Raymond Gazette - established in 1844 by the owner and editor, George Harper, -- and church records --a great deal of Raymond's earliest history has been recorded and preserved. To read and study about the history of the town is like looking through the lens of a kaleidoscope.

Tourists like to visit Raymond because they associate it with Civil War history .In fact, many colorful stories have been told about General Grant and his Yankee troops as they marched thru Raymond during the final stages of the War. It is a well known fact that Grant made Waverly, one of the oldest homes in Raymond, his headquarters after the Battle of Raymond. It is said that General Grant spared the town of Port Gibson from being burned because "it was too beautiful to burn". From a more realistic viewpoint perhaps Grant spared Port Gibson, as well as Raymond, because there were so many wounded Yankee soldiers in the area. After the Battle of Raymond there was a total of 331 wounded Union soldiers hospitalized in the new Raymond Courthouse, the Episcopal Church, the Oak Tree Hotel and private homes of Raymond.

Raymond's history, as a town, began 34 years before the out-break of the Civil War. Clinton, already a thriving small town, had been serving as the temporary county seat for Hinds County. In 1829, President Andrew Jackson appointed three commissioners, John B. Peyton, John A. Fairchild, and Levi Bankston, to survey and select a site near the center of Hinds County for the location of the permanent county seat. After running an extensive survey these men found the exact center of Hinds County to be approximately five miles from Clinton in an area that is now known as Snake Creek. A stone was placed to mark, the exact spot. However, the land found in this center location was not suitable for the building of a town because it was too low and swampy. It was decided that the town would be located on the first high ridge away from the creek area... "following the narrow dirt road for about two miles from this spot the commission found that the elevation of the land began to rise gradually to a high point overlooking rich fertile fields, pine forest, and bottom lands. This lovely spot was owned by Raymond Roberts of Clinton, who agreed to give one square mile for the new town on the condition that the town be named for him. The commission decided to use the first name, Raymond." (History of Raymond, Beth Ferguson).

The town of Raymond was officially chartered by the legistrature on December 15,1830 and preparations were made for the construction of a courthouse as well as a jail. The kaleidoscope of historical color had just begun. What Raymond did not know -at this early stage of growth -was that some thirty years later the Civil War would reach its "smoldering point" right in their front door .


Historical facts from History of Raymond by Mrs. Hugh Gillespie, Sr., Beth Ferguson and Mrs. Jane Brent.

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