We are back on the road again. It is a beautiful day and we are heading north on the scenic Natchez Trace. We have just departed from Grindstone Ford and Mangum Mound, and are taking in the beauty of the southern portion of this magnificent byway.
At milepost 61.0 we enter the lower boundary of the Choctaw Indians' original nation. This area is steeped in the early history of the Southern U.S.. The National Park Service gives some details of this area.
"A line of trees here has been a boundary for 200 years. It was established in 1765 and marked the eastern limits of the old Natchez District. This boundary ran from a point 12 miles east of Vicksburg, southward to the 31st parallel.
First surveyed in 1778, it was reaffirmed by Spain in 1793, and by the United States in 1801. Since 1820, it has served as the boundary between Hinds and Claiborne Counties Mississippi.
Red Bluff Stand - "John Gregg at the lower Choctaw line respectfully informs the public and travelers particularly that he keeps constantly on hand a large and general supply of groceries, ground coffee ready to put up, sugar biscuits, teas, cheese, dried beef or bacon, and every other article necessary for the accommodation of travelers going through the nation, on very reasonable terms. He is also prepared to shoe horses on the very shortest notice." Established in 1802, this hostelry on the Indian boundary was for several years the last place a northbound traveler could get provisions."
Traveling further north, we arrive at the Dean Stand Site at milepost 73.5. It is here that William Dean and his wife, Margaret, built a lodge for travelers in 1823. They offered food and lodging to a diverse group of people, including traders, boatmen, preachers, and any others that had money and needed food and lodging. One of the most famous people to spend the night here was General U.S. Grant. He stayed here after winning the Battle of Raymond.
At milepost 78.3, we see a marker that identifies this area as being a strategic area, both to the North and South in the Civil War. A marker here reads, "Battle of Raymond." It was near here on May 12, 1863, that 10,000 soldiers from Ulysses S. Grant's Union army encountered 3,000 Confederate soldiers near Raymond. When the battle was over, more than 1,000 wounded soldiers from both sides were taken to the local courthouse and a church, where there were cared for.
We might as well spend the night here at Dean's Stand, and rest up for our next leg of the journey, north on the Natchez Trace. But while you are resting, check out the video and slideshow in this article.
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