Fourth Territorial Secretary
And Third Acting Governor of
June 6, 1806 to January 28, 1807
Portrait of Cowles Mead
Sustained water damage from Hurricane Katrina, August 29, 2005
From: Mississippi Dept. of Archives & History; PI/STA M43.4 Box 19, Folder # 4.
Restored Photo (above) .
Signature of Cowles Mead
Salliy Cowles (04/25/1781 – 05/11/1850), lived
Cowles Mead ran for the office of United States Congressman
from Georgia and was elected over his influential opposition, Thomas Spalding.
When Mead went to
Contested Election of Cowles Mead -- From: Library of Congress,
Communication to Congress from President Thomas Jefferson Containing Letter From Cowles Mead
Concerning the Arrival of Aaron Burr in the Mississippi Territory – February
Communication to Congress from President Thomas Jefferson Containing Letter From Cowles Mead
Concerning the Arrest and Surrender of Aaron Burr in the Mississippi Territory
Burr had recently been involved in the now-famous duel in which he killed Alexander Hamilton. When Cowles Mead learned of Burr's presence in the territory, he ordered the militia to establish headquarters
at a nearby plantation. While he was a visitor at the home of a local judge,
Burr learned that his supposed friend, General James Wilkinson, had ordered his arrest. Burr voluntarily surrendered to Mississippi officials in exchange for
a guaranteed trial in the territory, rather than face extradition. Burr was
bound under a bond of $
Burr was given a trial in Washington,
Mississippi, in February,
Mead's namesake, Cowles Mead Vaiden, was educated in
Synopsis of Cowles Mead’s Political Career
Cowles Mead (
Synopsis of Governor/Lieutenant Governor Position during this time:
Walter Leake – Governor –
Gerard C. Brandon (Lt. Governor under Leake
Gerard C. Brandon (Lt. Governor under Holmes) assumed
Office of Governor for remainder of Holmes’ term (
Gerard C. Brandon – elected Governor in August
Mead, Cowles – From: MISSISSIPPI: Comprising Sketches of Counties, Towns, Events, Institutions, and Persons, Arranged in Cyclopedic Form. Planned and Edited by Dunbar Rowland, LL. D., Director, Mississippi Department of Archives and History. Volume II, L-Z. The Reprint Company, Publishers, Spartanburg, South Carolina. 1976. pp.213-214.
Secretary of Mississippi Territory, and acting governor from June 1806 to January 1807, was a Virginian by birth, reared in Georgia, who was a candidate for congress when barely if required age. His election was certified by the governor of Georgia, on partial returns, but when his opponent made a showing to congress that the missing returns were delayed beyond the legal limit by the effects of a hurricane, Mead was unseated, whereupon President Jefferson appointed him secretary of the Mississippi Territory. By virtue of his office he assumed the functions of the Territorial governor, which were rather absolute in governing power, immediately upon his arrival in Mississippi. A state of war, due to Spanish menaces on the Louisiana boundary and at Mobile, and the Aaron Burr expedition, exalted his powers in a high degree. It would naturally be expected that upon the return of Governor Williams from his visit to North Carolina, Mead would not pass into eclipse and become a mere secretary without some pangs, and this was the case. In fact, the governor was compelled to remove him in April 1807, that he should attend the seat of government and perform his duties, or at least permit the governor to have access to the records. Mead thereupon sent a Mr. pope as his deputy, to which the governor demurred that he doubted the authority of the secretary to appoint substitutes, though he was delighted with Mr. Pope personally. McCaleb (“Aaron Burr Conspiracy”), suggests that Mead’s suspicions of Wilkinson had something to do with his retirement. Because of his distrust of the general and confidence in the people, “he was accused of being in sympathy with the conspirators by Wilkinson and Governor Williams of Mississippi, and dismissed from office. Nevertheless, he was beyond question the most efficient official in the West – and therefore could expect no better reward.” Whatever may be the authority for this, it is true that Mead and his friends accused Governor Williams of being in sympathy with Burr, in hope of defeating the governor for reappointment.
On February 1, 1807, he fought a duel on the Louisiana shore with Capt. Robert Sample, of Wilkinson county, and received a wound in the right thigh which lamed him during the remainder of his life. In the following April, he was married to Mary, daughter of Abner Green. Upon his retirement as secretary in the summer of 1807, he began the practice of law and was elected to the house of representatives, where he led the fight on the governor. Aaron Burr in later years called him “a vain man, of very small mind,” and when told that he never tired of relating the event of his capture, said, “I would have supposed the episode to that affair would have restrained him from its narration.” (Sparks, Memories.)
In his History of Texas, (1841), H.S. Foote wrote, preliminary to quoting Mead’s famous war address of 1807: “The gentleman who pronounced it is now eight miles distant from this writer, rejoicing equally in the comforts of an ample fortune, and in the renown of bygone days; and perhaps reciting, at this moment, to some delighted hearer, the wondrous capture of Aaron Burr, the Conspirator.”
J.F.H. Claiborne (p. 276) describes him as a man of such flowery speech that his real ability was obscured. When the regiment of volunteers was organized at Baton Rouge in 1813, he received a commission as colonel, but he gave it up to make a canvass for delegate to Congress; a mistake which caused his defeat by Dr. Lattimore then, and by Christopher Rankin a few years afterward. He was an active member of the constitutional convention of 1817, was a skilled parliamentarian, and speaker in the legislature, 1821-25. His later home, called “Greenwood,” was a mile northwest of Clinton in Hinds county, set in a lawn of fifty acres of Bermuda grass, which, it is said, he introduced into the United States. He was an enthusiastic gardener, and often entertained distinguished guests in a favorite seat under a cedar in the midst of flower beds. The sword of Aaron Burr was one of the treasures of his home until carried to Virginia in 1861 and lost at First Manassas. The home was destroyed in 1863, by the ravages of war.
In an old neglected graveyard, near Clinton, a prostrate shaft bears the inscription: “To the memory of Cowles Mead, whose pure life exemplified the spirit of an honest man. Born, October 18, 1776, died May 17, 1844.” Beside him was buried his wife Mary Lilly, born in 1797, died in 1834, and his son, Cowles G., born in Jefferson county in 1818, died in Yazoo county, 1849.
Mead’s Administration – pp. 214-215, ibid.
Cowles Mead, a Virginian of Georgia, was commissioned as secretary of the Mississippi territory in March, 1806. He arrived at Natchez May 31, and soon after assumed the duties of secretary, and, as Governor Williams was absent, the powers of the governor also. It was a period of great historical interest. On account of the Spanish activity in the Sabine river country, he made an agreement with Governor Claiborne for military operations, in August, and ordered general militia muster. (See Sabine Expedition.) Mead was gratified by the response of the people to his own enthusiastic war spirit.
The troubles with Spanish authorities at Baton Rouge and Mobile were quite as urgent as the Louisiana boundary dispute. (See Florida Acquisition.) Mead wrote to the secretary of war in September, 1806: “It is the general wish and inclination of the people of this Territory to attack the Floridas; should one drop of blood be spilt by the Spaniards on the southern borders of Louisiana it shall be immediately expiated at Baton Rouge; unless I receive counter order from the executive of the United States, with an eye to our predatory neighbors of the north and east, and our internal security. I am disposed to act decisively and promptly; that is, bring all the forces of the Territory into immediate action and circumscribe our enemy in Mobile and Pensacola.” “Sir, can’t the Floridas be taken and then paid for?” he inquired in another letter to Dearborn. Nothing but the solemn injunction of the general government withheld his arm. “I burn to deal back in blows upon the Floridas the insults of Louisiana.” Another muster was ordered in October. The commander of each militia regiment was ordered to form a mounted company to be ready to move at a moment’s notice. This was by the organization of a battalion under Maj. Claiborne, which marched to Natchitoches and back in October. (See Sabine Expedition.) The result was great indignation against Gen Wilkinson, though that wonderful man continued to hold the loyalty of many friends. After this Wilkinson and his confidants were engaged in working up a tremendous excitement regarding the advent of Aaron Burr, in which Mead was effectively employed, though he professed enmity to the general. He has written to the secretary of war September 7: “The people of this Territory are impressed with a conviction in their own minds that General Wilkinson is a Spanish officer. The old inhabitants all know some facts which lead to this opinion and seem astonished when ignorance of his extreme intimacy with several Spanish governors is acknowledged. . . . I do not hesitate to express my fears of the result of a warfare waged by the United States against Spain, and General Wilkinson the commandant. Think not sir, that I am the humble follower of John Randolph. No, I believe the one as much a Julius Caesar as the other a Cataline.” When he had sent the battalion into Louisiana for the Sabine campaign, partly unarmed, because Wilkinson gave strict orders that no arms should be issued from Fort Adams, Mead vowed the people would never go into a war with Spain under the command of Wilkinson. In November Mead was asked by Wilkinson to send a battalion of 300 men to New Orleans, which he refused to do.
December 2, 1806, Secretary Mead addressed the legislature, at its regular session, and beginning with the words, “Called by fortuitous circumstances to the performance of the executive functions of the Territory,” he bestowed upon them such an oratorical effusion as no general assembly of the Mississippi Territory had yet been permitted to enjoy. At the same time in a confidential recognition of the Burr expedition, which agitated the Territory for several months afterward, and during December kept the militia in expectancy of a call to arms against the filibusters from the North. Mead adjourned the legislature from December 12 to the 19, and gave all his attention to hostile preparations. In his message he said: “I now, gentlemen, bid adieu to my civil character. Tomorrow I assume the military prerogatives of my office and shall leave you at this time with the fullest assurance of your patriotism, and in my revolutions through the Territory I shall expect to find you at your respective posts performing the duties which you may be required to execute in the general defence of our country.” Col. Burr was in the hands of the court and released on bail when Governor Williams returned, late in January, 1807, and resumed the duties of his office.
Meadville – pp. 215-216, ibid.
Meadville, the county seat of Franklin county, is situated at the geographical center of the county on Morgan’s Fork, an affluent of the Homichitto river, and 10 miles east of Roxie, the nearest railroad station. Gloster is the nearest banking town. The town became the seat of justice about 1820, the original county seat having been located located at Franklin, about 2 ½ miles to the west. It was named for Cowles Mead, second Secretary of the Territory. It ships cotton and molasses. The Franklin Advocate, a Democratic weekly, was established here in 1891, and is edited and published by Butler & Co. Population in 1900, 250.
From: The Official and Statistical Register of the State of Mississippi, Centennial Edition. Parts 1 & 2. By: Dunbar Rowland, LL. D. Democrat Printing Company, Madison, Wis. 1917 pp. 40-46.
GOVERNORS OF MISSISSIPPI TERRITORY -- 1798 – 1817
Winthrop Sargent, of Northwest Ohio River.
Appointed on Confirmation, May 7, 1798.
Served from May 7, 1798 to May 25, 1801
Born at Gloucester, Mass. On May 1, 1755
Died in New Orleans, Louisiana on June 3, 1820
Buried at Gloucester
Appointed by President John Adams
William C.C. Claiborne, of Tennessee.
Recess Appointment, May 25, 1801
Appointed on Confirmation, January 26, 1802.
Served from May 25, 1801 to March 1, 1805
Born in Sussex County, VA in 1775
Died Nobember 3, 1817 at age of 42
Buried in Metarie Cemetery, New Orleans, LA
Robert Williams, of North Carolina
Appointed on confirmation, March 1, 1805
Appointed on Confirmation, March 14, 1808
Served from March 1, 1805 to March 7, 1809
Born in Surrey County, North Carolina on July 12, 1773
Died at Ouachita, Louisiana on January 25, 1836
Buried on his plantation near Monroe, Louisiana
David Holmes, of Virginia
Appointed on confirmation, March 7, 1809
Appointed on confirmation, March 31, 1812
Appointed on confirmation, December 10, 1814
Served from March 7, 1809 to October 7, 1817
Also was elected as the first Governor of the state of Mississippi
Served twice as Mississippi’s first Governor (Oct. 10, 1817 to Jan. 5, 1820) and fifth Governor (Jan. 7, 1826 to July 25, 1826)
Born at Mary Ann Furnace, York County, Pennsylvania on March 10, 1770
Died at Jordon’s Sulphur Springs, Winchester, VA on Aug. 20, 1832
Buried at Winchester, VA
TERRITORIAL JUDGES OF MISSISSIPPI -- 1798 – 1817
Daniel Tilton, of New Hampshire -- commissioned on May 7, 1798
Peter Bryan Bruin, of Mississippi -- commissioned on May 7, 1798
WilliamMcGuire, C.J., of Virginia – commissioned on June 28, 1798
Seth Lewis, C.J., of Tennessee – commissioned on May 13, 1800
David Ker, of Mississippi -- recess appointment on Nov. 2, 1802; appointed on confirmation on Jan. 25, 1803
Thomas Rodney, of Delaware -- recess appointment on July 12, 1803; Appointed on confirmation on Nov. 18, 1803
Ephraim Kirby, of Connecticut -- commissioned on April 6, 1804
Harry Toumlin, of Kentucky – commissioned on Nov. 22, 1804
Obediah Jones, of Georgia – commissioned on March 3, 1805
George Matthews, Jr., of Georgia – commissioned on July 1, 1805
Walter Leake, of Virginia – commissioned on March 2, 1807
Francis Xanvier Martin, of North Carolina – commissioned on March 7, 1809
Obediah Jones, of Mississippi – commissioned on March 6, 1810
Oliver Fitz, of South Carolina – commissioned on April 18, 1810
David Campbell, of Tennessee – commissioned on March 3, 1811
Josiah Simpson, of New Jersey – commissioned on Feb. 18, 1812
George Poindexter, of Mississippi – commissioned on March 3, 1813
Josiah Simpson, of Mississippi – commissioned on Feb. 9, 1816
Stevenson Archer, of Maryland – commissioned on March 6, 1817
ATTORNEYS-GENERAL OF MISSISSIPPI TERRITORY
Lyman Harding 1799-1803
George Poindexter 1803-1807
Seth Lewis, West District 1807-1808
William B. Shields, West District 1808-1814
Christopher Rankin, West District 1814-1817
Nicolas Perkins, East District 1807-1809
Lemuel Henry, East District 1809-1812
Joseph Carson, East District 1802-1817
Louis Winston, Madison County 1809-1817
SECRETARIES OF MISSISSIPPI TERRITORY -- 1798-1817
John Steele, of Virginia
Appointed on confirmation, May 7, 1798
Acting Governor, April 3, 1801 to November 23, 1801
Cato West, of Mississippi
Appointed on confirmation, March 3, 1803
Acting Governor, October 1, 1804 to May 10, 1805
Thomas H. Williams, of Mississippi
Recess appointment, July 1, 1805
Cowles Mead, of Georgia
Appointed on confirmation, January 21, 1806
Acting Governor, June 6, 1806 to January 28, 1807
Thomas H. Williams, of Virginia
Recess appointment, June 1, 1807
Appointed on confirmation, November 18, 1807
Acting Governor, March 3, 1809 to July 1, 1809
Henry Dangerfield, of Mississippi
Recess appointment, June 30, 1810
Appointed on confirmation, January 10, 1811
Appointed on confirmation, December 10, 1814
Acting Governor, October 6, 1811 to June 15, 1812
Nathaniel A. Ware, of Mississippi
Recess appointment, June 7, 1815
Appointed on confirmation, January 10, 1816
Acting Governor, April, 1815 to May 1816
SPEAKERS OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF MISSISSIPPI TERRITORY -- 1800-1817
Henry Hunter – 1800 to 1803
William Gordon Forman – 1803
William Connor – 1803
Nicholas Perkins – 1803
William Dunbar – 1803
Philander Smith – 1804 to 1805
John Steele – 1805 to 1806
John Ellis – 1806 to 1808
William Snodgrass – November 1809
Ferdinand L. Claiborne – February 1809
Ferdinand L. Claiborne – 1809 to 1810
Thomas Hinds (pro. Tem.) – 1810
Ralph Rogers (pro. Tem.) – 1810
Cowles Mead – 1811 to 1813
Daniel Burnet – 1813 to 1815
Gabriel Moore – 1815 to 1817
AUDITORS OF MISSISSIPPI TERRITORY
Charles B. Howell
Beverly R. Grayson
TREASURERS OF MISSISSIPPI TERRITORY
PRESIDENTS OF THE LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL OF MISSISSIPPI TERRITORY
John Stampley – 1801 to 1802
John Ellis – 1802 to 1807
Joshua Baker – 1807 to 1809
Daniel Burnet – 1809
James Lea – 1809
Alexander Montgomery – 1809
Thomas Barnes – 1809 to 1810
Alexander Montgomery – 1810 to 1812
Thomas Barnes – 1812 to 1815
James Titus – 1816 to 1817
MEMBERS OF THE LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL OF MISSISSIPPI TERRITORY -- 1800-1817
Robert Bailey – commissioned Feb, 4, 1815
Thomas Barnes – commissioned Sept. 1, 1809
Appointed on confirmation – Dec. 26, 1809
Re-appointed – Feb. 15, 1814
MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF MISSISSIPPI TERRITORY
Name County Session
William D. Baker Adams 1815
Benjamin Baldwin Baldwin (Alabama) 1813
H.J. Balch Jefferson 1811, 1813
Sutton Banks Adams 1800
Allan Barnes Claiborne 1811
Daniel Beasley Jefferson 1809, 1811
John Bond, Jr. Marion, Lawrence 1815
Joseph Bowman Adams 1811
James W. Branham ------- 1807
Gerard Brandon Wilkinson 1815
Theodore Brightwell Washington (Alabama) 1809
Wilborn Briscoe Claiborne 1813, 1815
Samuel Bridges Jefferson 1806, 1807
John Brooks Jefferson 1802, 1803
Ervin Brown ------- 1815
Stephen Bullock ------- 1807
John Burnet Pickering 1802
Daniel Burnet Claiborne 1807, 1813
James Caller Washington (Alabama) 1807, 1811
John Caller Washington (Alabama) 1804
Thomas Calvit Pickering 1800, 1802
Anthony Campbell Adams 1815
Henry Cassells ------- 1808
Bailey E. Chaney Franklin 1809,1813, 1814
George Clark ------- 1807
F.L. Claiborne Adams 1804
Samuel Cook ------- 1807
William Connor Adams 1802
William Crawford Mobile (Alabama), Jackson 1813
Micajah Davis Adams 1807
Abram Defrance Adams 1809
Roger Dixon Jefferson 1802
Henry D. Downs Jefferson 1807
Henry D. Downs Warren 1813, 1815
William Dunbar Adams 1802
Joseph Dunbar Jefferson 1805
John Ellis Adams 1806
Thomas Fitzpatrick Jefferson 1806, 1807
William Gordon Forman ------- 1803
James Foster ------- 1809
John Girault Jefferson 1802
Thomas M. Green Pickering 1800
David Greenleaf Adams 1813
John Hanes Adams 1809
Henry Hanna Amite 1813, 1815
Lyman Harding Adams 1804
Lemuel Henry Washington (Alabama) 1807
Thomas Harris ------- 1807
James Hoggatt Adams 1800, 1802
Philip Hoggatt Adams 1811, 1813
John Hopkins Jefferson 1815
George W. Humphreys Jefferson 1806
Henry Hunter Adams 1800, 1806, 1809
Anthony Hutchins Adams 1800
Joseph P. Kennedy ------- -------
Richard King ------- 1809
Josiah D. Lister Washington (Alabama) 1815
John Lowry Amite 1811
David McCaleb Claiborne 1809
James McCartney Madison 1813
George W. McConnell Franklin 1811
William McGrew Washington (Alabama) 1811
Hugh McVay Madison (Alabama) 1811, 1813, 1815
Cowles Mead Jefferson 1807, 1811
Alexander Montgomery Adams 1806, 1807
Samuel Montgomery Adams 1813
Gabriel Moore Madison (Alabama) 1811, 1813, 1815
George Newman Adams 1815
John Nugent Adams 1809
Thomas Orme ------- 1807
Audly L. Osborne ------- 1809
James Patterson Wayne 1811, 1813
Peter Perkins Madison (Alabama) 1811
Nicholas Perkins Washington 1802
Lewis Perkins Amite 1811
George Poindexter Adams 1806
William Pool ------- 1809
Samuel Postlethwaite Adams 1811
John B. Posey Wilkinson 1813
Christopher Rankin Amite 1813
Ralph Reagan Claiborne 1809, 1813
Joseph Roberts ------- 1809
Harmon Runnels Marion, Hancock 1813
Reuben Saffold Clarke (Alabama) 1813, 1815
Joseph Sessions Adams 1807, 1811, 1813
John Shaw Jefferson 1804
John Shaw Franklin 1815
William B. Shields Adams 1807, 1808, 1813
Philander Smith Adams 1804, 1811
Samuel Smith Washington (Alabama) 1813, 1814
William Snodgrass Jefferson 1806, 1807, 1808, 1809
Theodore Stark Adams 1807
John Steele Adams 1804
Duncan Stewart Wilkinson 1813
Minor Sturgis ------- 1807
Nathan Swayze Adams 1815
John Taylor Adams 1813
James Titus Madison (Alabama) 1812
Berinett Truly Jefferson 1807
Edward Turner Warren 1811
Edward Turner Adams 1815
White Turpin Adams 1809
Edward Ward ------- 1810
Nathaniel A. Ware Adams 1813
Josiah Watts Greene, Wayne 1815
Cato West Pickering 1800, 1802
James C. Wilkins Adams 1815
John B. Willis ------- 1809
Jesse Winborne Amite 1815
William H. Winston Madison 1815
William O. Winston Madison 1810
James Wood Claiborne 1815
For a complete listing of the Executive Branch , CLICK HERE.
Meadvilla is located behind the Washington United Methodist Church on Highway 61 North in Washington, Mississippi, and was added to the National Register of Historical Places in 1982 as Building Number 82000570. It is described by the National Register as Federal/Greek Revival Style.
Washington United Methodist Church – May 3, 2002
Meadvilla Update – 2007
Meadvilla has finally been bought and is being restored to its former grandeur. More details and photos will be forthcoming. The photo below shows its progress, as of September 2007.
Photo Courtesy of Cheryl Munyer, Director at Historic
MEADVILLA LATER USED AS HOTEL
FROM: Antebellum Natchez, by D. Clayton James. L.S.U. Press, Baton Rouge, LA. 1968. pp. 188-89.
That the Trace carried most if the road traffic is evident from the number of taverns strung along it. The most thriving inns of Natchez before the war of 1812 were those located on the narrow, meandering road to Nashville. They included Connelly’s Tavern, King’s Tavern, and the White Horse Tavern. Most tavern keepers dwelt at the rear of their inns, but George Overaker, who owned the White Horse Tavern, grew wealthy enough to purchase “Hope Farm” as a town house and “Hawthorne” in the countryside nearby. The only sizable inn of territorial Natchez that was not located on the Trace was Michie’s Tavern, which was situated on Main Street. Although affluent enough to be able to buy “Cherokee” mansion, David Michie did not achieve the fine reputation that his father and brothers gained in Virginia as tavern keepers. Possibly the oldest tavern on the south end of the Trace was “Mount Locust,” built about 1780 by British rebel John Blommart and operated later by James Chamberlain. Washington’s principal inn was the Washington Hotel, formerly the home of Cowles Mead which Moses Richardson converted in 1813 into a successful hostelry, advertising it as “the large and commodious house under the sign of the spread eagle.” Some Trace innkeepers as far as a hundred miles to the north advertised in Natchez papers, such as Turner Brashears, who in 1806 announced the opening of his “house of entertainment” in “the Wilderness. . .about 40 miles from William Smith’s at the Indian line
The flourishing inns along the south end of the Trace suffered seriously from the advent of upriver steamboating, and by the 1830’s the most successful and spacious Natchez hotels were those which catered to river travelers. The better inns were clustered in the western section of the upper town, usually one to three blocks from the bluff, so that travelers reaching the top of the landing-road could readily locate them. William Parker’s three-story Mississippi Hotel, according to one authority, offered “probably the best accommodations to be had” in Mississippi in the 1830’s. But the structure was damaged by fire in 1839 and was completely destroyed the next year by a tornado. When the City Hotel was constructed in 1837 on the site of a previous inn that had been gutted by fire, a local journalist boasted that the 120-room building “may vie with the Astor House, New York.”
Click on the thumbnail below for more on Meadvilla and Benjamin L.C. Wailes
Information in this link Courtesy of
In 1833 the legislature amended the board of trustees to give the legislature the power of filling vacancies on the board of trustees--hence, Mead would be a logical choice. However, the state no longer gave the college money!! In 1834 the Clinton-Vicksburg Railroad Co was incorporated. There were nine directors, of whom a majority were from Clinton. Cowles Mead was named president of the railroad, and he was to become president of the board of trustees of MC. Apparently he was not on the board in 1836.
"The Presbyterians were the oldest and largest denominational group in Clinton. They had a church house standing on the approximate site of Mississippi College's Alumni Hall. The Presbyterian church included within its membership many of the most prominent citizens of Clinton. Among them were Cowles Mead, Daniel Comfort, G. P. Strong, and Ulysses W. Moffett. ........When the Methodists definitely determined in October, 1841, that Centenary College was to be located in Brandon Springs, and the Mississippi College property was to be returned to the citizens of Clinton, there began a reorganization of the board of trustees that eventually placed the institution under the control of the Presbyterian church. On April 11, 1842, the board consisted of Cowles Mead, President. . . . . .
Mead....were present at the meeting on April 11, 1842, when the board formally adopted a resolution that "the trustees of the Mississippi College tender the college to the Clinton Presbytery to be exclusively under the control of that Presbytery."
.....In February, 1843, Cowles Mead called the board into session. He invited the board to meet in his beautiful home, Greenwood, located on the outskirts of Clinton. Here in this magnificent antebellum mansion Mead, ........., met to review the recent developments in the college's history and to plan for the future.
Mississippi College had been taken over by the "New School" Clinton Presbytery. This Presbytery included the three presbyteries of Clinton, Brandon, and Lexington. The "New School" Presbyterian Church in Clinton was organized by a group of devout members who withdrew from the "Old School" church on July 23, 1842. Among those who were granted letters of dismissal were Cowles Mead, Mary Mead, ......
The appeal of the 'New School" church proved to be very successful. The complete disruption of the "Old School" church became a possibility when the division reduced the membership to 34. The "Old School" church sought to stem the tide by refusing letters of dismissal to those who wished to follow their friends into the "New School" church. The differences between the members was three hotly debated issues:
First --- Doctrine of Original Sin. The "New School" supported the teaching of "impartial, disinterested good-will, love or benevolence to all beings capable of happiness...a benevolent complacency in the moral excellence of all who possess this essential qualification for happiness--The evidence seems to indicate a very small percentage of Presbyterians accepted this viewpoint.
Second --- Rivalry over means of conducting benevolent enterprises. This conflict extended to missionary and educational enterprises. In Mississippi a particularly bitter controversy developed over the support by the Presbyterian church for the Mississippi Colonization Society. This organization supported the return of Negroes to Africa and the establishment of a democratic state there that became known as Liberia.
Third --- A very important cause of the division of the Presbyterian church throughout the United States and in Clinton was the attitude toward slavery. The "Old School" defended slavery as a positive good while the "new School" took a more liberal view of the issue.
The “New School" Presbyterian church enjoyed a dominant position in Clinton from 1843 to 1848. The division between "New School" and the "Old School" for dominance continued through the period of Presbyterian control and was probably the most important factor in causing the failure of the Presbyterians in the management of Mississippi College.
The effect of the division of the Presbyterian church on Mississippi College became evident during the session of 1843-1844. The board of trustees underwent several significant changes. Cowles Mead died on May 22, 1844. He had been a strong and successful leader of the board.
Cowles Mead was active in many areas of politics and community. One is the Mississippi Colonization Society, as follows:
Source: Religion in
From The Southern Star (Gallatin, Miss.), Page unknown:
August 8, 1840 – Died near Clinton, Hinds Co., on the 29th ult., at the residence of Gen. Mead, Miss Sarah B. Mead, aged 29 years.
From the Vicksburg Daily Whig (Vicksburg, Miss.), Page unknown:
May 27, 1844 – Died on the 17th, near Clinton, Miss., of disease of the heart, General Cowles Mead. He was born in Bedford county, Virginia the 18th of October, 1776. In 1806 he came to Mississippi as Secretary of the territory, under the appointment of Mr. Jefferson.
From the Jeffersonian Democrat (Macon, Miss.), Page unknown:
June 1, 1844 -- Died near Clinton, May 17th, General Cowles Mead, aged 88 years. Ed. Note: He was actually 68 years old at the time of his death.
From the Mississippi Messenger (Natchez, Miss.), Vol. III, Number 136, Page 3, Col. 2.
Tuesday, April 7, 1807 -- Married on Thursday evening last [04/02/1807], by the Hon. Thomas Rodney, the Honorable Cowles Mead, Secretary of this Territory, to the amiable Miss Mary Green, daughter of Abner Green, Esquire.
From The Raymond Times (Raymond, Miss.), Page unknown:
July 31, 1840 -- Died of consumption on 29th, near Clinton, at residence of her uncle, Gen. Cowles Mead, Miss Sarah B. Mead, aged 29 years and 9 months.
From The Natchez (Natchez, Miss.), Page unknown:
May 17, 1833 – Died in Natchez, May 11, Edward Mead, aged 25 years, of cholera.
From the Port Gibson Herald (Port Gibson, Miss.), Page unknown:
March 27, 1845 – James R. Mead died at the residence of George Lake, Esq., on Sunday, the 9th.
From States Rights & Democratic Union (Yazoo City, Miss.), Page unknown:
October 2, 1839 – Died in this city, on Tuesday the 23rd Sept., Emanuel Mead, in the 55th year of his age – an honest and respectable man – and formerly a resident of Fredricksburg, Virginia.
Other Assorted Information on Cowles Mead
Rev. Matthew Mead – b. 1629 (England); d. 1699(England) (2nd Great-Grandfather to Cowles Mead) photo
Meadville - Established in 1809 two miles west of its present site and was known as Franklin at that time. In 1809 a committee was appointed to purchase land for the county seat for the new county of Franklin which had been formed from Adams County. The Committee was made up of John Spivars, Richard Coleman, Dougal McLaughlin, Stephen Middleton and Samuel Ratcliff. The county seat was moved to the new town of Meadville in 1820 and the town was incorporated in 1860. Meadville was named for Cowles Mead, fourth Secretary of the Mississippi Territory. Mississippi Congressman Dan C. McGeehee was a native of Meadville.
MEADVILLE, "the county seat of Franklin County, is situated at the geographical center of the county on Morgan's Fork, an affluent of the Homochitto River and 10 miles east of Roxie, the nearest railroad station. Gloster is the nearest banking town. The town became the seat of justice about 1820, the original county seat having been located at Franklin about 2 1/2 miles to the west. It was named for Cowles Mead, second Secretary of the Territory. It ships cotton and molasses. The Franklin Advocate, a Democratic Weekly, was established here in 1891, and is edited and published by Butler & Co. Population in 1900, 250." From Mississippi Vol. 2 L-Z by Dunbar Rowland, 1907, page 215.
[Ed. Note: Cowles Mead was actually the fourth Secretary of the Territory. Preceding Mead were: John Steele (1798-1801), Cato West (1803-1805), and Thomas Hill Williams (1805). Following Mead were: Thomas H Williams (1807-1809), Henry Dangerfield (1810-1814), and Nathaniel A. Ware (1815-1816).]
From the Congressional Biography
MEAD, Cowles, 1776-1844
MEAD, Cowles, a Representative from Georgia; born in Virginia October 18, 1776; moved to Georgia at an early age; received an English education; studied law; was admitted to the bar and practiced; presented credentials as a Member-elect to the Ninth Congress and served from March 4, 1805, to December 24, 1805, when he was succeeded by Thomas Spalding, who contested his election; appointed secretary of Mississippi Territory by President Jefferson in March 1806 and served until 1807; Acting Governor from June 1806 to January 1807 during the absence of Gov. Robert Williams; resumed the practice of law; member of the Mississippi house of representatives in 1807; unsuccessful candidate for election in 1812 to the Thirteenth Congress; delegate to the first constitutional convention of Mississippi in 1817; unsuccessful candidate for election in 1818 to the Sixteenth Congress; served in the State senate in 1821; again a member of the State house of representatives in 1822 and 1823; unsuccessful candidate for election as Governor of Mississippi in 1825; died on his plantation, “Greenwood,” near Clinton, Jefferson County, Miss., May 17, 1844; interment on his estate. [Ed. Note: Clinton, MS is in Hinds County].
Mead, Cowles (1776-1844)