In 1798, the congress of the United States created into a Territory, called “Mississippi,” the region between 31° and 32° 28′ of north latitude, with the Mississippi river for the western and the Chattahoochee for the eastern boundary. Of this Territory President Adams appointed Winthrop Sargent of Massachusetts the governor. Gov. Sargent repaired to the seat of government, Natchez, on the Mississippi, and assumed authority. In May 1799, a detachment of federal troops relieved the Spanish garrison at Fort St. Stephens, which had been constructed by them twelve or thirteen years before. Below the junction of the Alabama and Tombikbee a defense was erected in July, and christened Fort Stoddart. By proclamation, in June 1800, Gov. Sargent established Washington county, the limits of which comprised all of the territory east of Pearl river as far as the Chattahoochee. The same year congress provided for a legislature for the Territory.

The census of Washington county was taken the first time in 1800, and found to consist of 733 whites, 494 negro slaves, and 23 free negroes. The population of Mobile and Baldwin, not then existing as counties, but under Spanish rule, was probably as large. 1)Unfortunately, the actual district census records were lost for the Territory of Mississippi. I am not presently aware of any type of replacement record that might be available for this period. 1800 United States Census Guide.

The arbitrary conduct of Gov. Sargent caused the people to send up a petition for his removal, and, in 1801, President Jefferson commissioned William C. C. Claiborne of Tennessee to succeed him. The new governor, a native of Virginia, possessed much ability. He removed the capital of the Territory to Washington, a village six miles east of Natchez.

In 1802, (April 24,) the State of Georgia ceded to the federal government all the territory embraced within the limits of the present States of Alabama and Mississippi, north of the parallel 31°, for the sum of $1,250,000. The commissioners on the part of the federal government who concluded this purchase were Messrs. James Madison of Virginia, Albert Gallatin of Pennsylvania, and Levi Lincoln of Massachusetts ; on the part of Georgia, Messrs. James Jackson, Abraham Baldwin, and John Milledge of that State. Thus, after a vexatious controversy, the claim made by that State to this extensive realm was extinguished.

The boundaries of the Territory were now extended northward to the Tennessee line, whereby it was almost trebled in size. Yet the Indian title remained to all of its capacious area, save to a slip of country above and below Natchez, and the one on the Tombikbee.

A second treaty was concluded October 17, 1802, between the federal government and the Choctas, at Fort Confederation, on the Tombikbee. It related principally to the cession made to the British, and was signed by Brig. Gen. James Wilkinson of the federal army, on the part of the government, by Okechummee and Tuskamayabee on the part of the northern district, by Tuskana Hopoyo, Mingo Pooskoos, and Pushmataha on the part of the south-eastern district, and by Mingo Homastubbee, Tuskahoma, Latallahoma, and Mooklahoosapoyee on the part of the western district, of the tribe. 2)The following are the two principal articles of the four adopted at this treaty : ART. I. That the President of the United Slates may,. at his discretion, by a commissioner or commissioners, to be appointed by him, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate of the United States, re-trace, connect, and plainly re-mark the old line of limits established by and between his Britanic majesty and the said Chocta nation, which begins on the left bank of the Chicasaha river, and runs thence in an easterly direction to the right bank of the Tombikbee river, terminating on the same at a bluff well known by the name of Hatchee-tikibee. [The remainder refers to the appointment of two Indians as joint commissioners.] ART. II. The said line, when thus re-marked and re-established, shall form the boundary between the United States and the said Chocta nation in that quarter ; and the said Chocta nation, for and ill consideration of one dollar, to them in hand paid by the said United States, the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged, do hereby release to the said United States, and quit claim forever, to all that tract of land which is included by the before-named line on the north, by the Chicasa river on the west, by the Tombikbee and the Mobile rivers on the east, and by the boundary 0f the United States 0n the south. Silas Dinsmore, federal agent to the. Choctas; Major John Pitchlynn, and others, witnessed this agreement.
Read the full agreement: Treaty With The Choctaw, 1802.

White population still came in slowly to the ‘Bikbee settlement, for the hazards of penetrating the pathless wilderness which lay between it and the States were augmented by the presence of the inhospitable Indians. Immigration was also retarded by the difficulty of getting the produce of the country to market, there being export duties to be paid at Fort Stoddart to the United States, and a tariff at Mobile to be paid to Spain. The character of the population was of the rudest kind, and schools and churches were unknown.

In 1801, Spain ceded Louisiana to France, but retained the Floridas, which extended as far west as the Mississippi, and embraced the strip of country between the coast and the line of 31′ north latitude. The French, in 1803, sold Louisiana to the United States. Robert Williams of North Caroline succeeded Gov. Claiborne in 1805 as governor of the Territory. The same year (July 23) an important purchase was made from the Chicasas. Besides a great body of land in Tennessee, a small district was deeded south of the line of that State. It was in the shape of a triangle, caused by running the line from the ridge “near the main source of Buffalo “river ina direct line to the great Tennessee river near the Chicasa old fields or eastern point of the Chicasa claim on “that river ; thence north[east]wardly to the great ridge “dividing the waters running into the Tennessee . from those running into the Cumberland, so as to include the waters running into Elk river,” &c. This was the first foothold secured in the beautiful valley of the Tennessee. The agreement was concluded ” in the Chicasa country,” and signed by James Robertson of Tennessee and Silas Dinsmore of New Hampshire on the part of the Federal government, and by George and Levi Colbert, Chinabee Mingo, Tishimastubbee, Wm. McGillivray, and four other chiefs, on the part of the Chicasas ; and was witnessed by Reuben Chamberlain, John McKee, John Pitchlynn, and others. The Cherokees, Jan. 7, 1806, deeded their claim and title to the same territory, and to all the lands west of it and north of the Tennessee, except two large tracts. This was done in Washington by DoubleHead, and sixteen other chiefs, Gen. Henry Dearborn, secretary of war, acting for the federal government. 3)Read the complete treaty here: Treaty With The Chickasaw, 1805.

At the treaty of Mount Dexter, Nov. 16, 1805, the Choctas ceded a large district in southern Mississippi, and extending across from the strip on the Mississippi already ceded to that on the Tombikbee, and across that stream to a point near the present post office ” Chocta Corner,” in the present county of Clarke, Alabama, thence down the comb of the water shed separating the affluence of the two rivers. This was quite an important treaty to the present State of Mississippi. It was signed by Messrs. James Robertson and Silas Dinsmore, on the part of the federal government, and Puckshenubbee, Homastubbee, Pushmataha, great medal mingoes, and twenty chiefs and warriors, on the part of the Choctas ; with John McKee, Wm. Colbert, the Chicasa agent Samuel Mitchell, John Pitchlynn, Louis Laflore, Charles Juzant, and others, as witnesses.

Out of the Chicasa cession, Gov. Williams created the county of Madison by proclamation in 1808. Already the smoke from the cabin of the white had begun to ascend from the valley of the Tennessee, and the echo of his axe in those solitudes heralded the onward tramp of civilization. Baldwin county was established on the west side of the Mobile and Alabama in 1809. The same year David Holmes of Virginia succeeded Gov. Williams. Mobile was yet in the hands of the Spaniards, with whom the more restless settlers maintained a predatory warfare about this time. 4)David Holmes, the fourth and last governor of Mississippi Territory, was a Virginian. He held the office till Alabama and Mississippi were divided, in 1817, and became the first governor of the latter State. He was a member of the federal Senate from 1820 to 1825, and died soon after.

In 1810 the three counties lying within the present State of Alabama-Madison, Washington, and Baldwin-contained a white population of 6422, and a negro population of 2624. A fraction over half of these were in Madison. Immigration was assisted by a military road which the Muscogees allowed the federal government to cut from the Chattahoochee to Mimms’ Ferry, on the Alabama. The three counties sent delegates to the Territorial legislature at Washington, Mississippi.

In October, 1812, the Shawnee chief, Tecumseh, (The parents of Tecumseh, Drake says, were born and bred at Souvanogee, on the Tallapoosa, but removed to northwestern Ohio, where he was born in 1768) came among the Muscogees to incite them to hostilities against the whites. He was the emissary of the British, with whom the federal government was at war. The Spaniards at Pensacola and Mobile had already bred ill-feeling among them against the, whites, and the fiery eloquence of Tecumseh precipitated the conflict. It began by a series of outrages on immigrants and settlers.

Spain being the ally of Britain, the United States were apprehensive that the ports of that power on the Gulf would be used by the British. Accordingly, Gen. Wilkerson moved from New Orleans with a considerable force, and obliged the Spanish garrison of Fort Charlotte, Mobile, to capitulate, April 13, 1813. Thus was the soil of Alabama rescued from European domination.

References   [ + ]

1.Unfortunately, the actual district census records were lost for the Territory of Mississippi. I am not presently aware of any type of replacement record that might be available for this period. 1800 United States Census Guide.
2.The following are the two principal articles of the four adopted at this treaty : ART. I. That the President of the United Slates may,. at his discretion, by a commissioner or commissioners, to be appointed by him, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate of the United States, re-trace, connect, and plainly re-mark the old line of limits established by and between his Britanic majesty and the said Chocta nation, which begins on the left bank of the Chicasaha river, and runs thence in an easterly direction to the right bank of the Tombikbee river, terminating on the same at a bluff well known by the name of Hatchee-tikibee. [The remainder refers to the appointment of two Indians as joint commissioners.] ART. II. The said line, when thus re-marked and re-established, shall form the boundary between the United States and the said Chocta nation in that quarter ; and the said Chocta nation, for and ill consideration of one dollar, to them in hand paid by the said United States, the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged, do hereby release to the said United States, and quit claim forever, to all that tract of land which is included by the before-named line on the north, by the Chicasa river on the west, by the Tombikbee and the Mobile rivers on the east, and by the boundary 0f the United States 0n the south. Silas Dinsmore, federal agent to the. Choctas; Major John Pitchlynn, and others, witnessed this agreement.
Read the full agreement: Treaty With The Choctaw, 1802.
3.Read the complete treaty here: Treaty With The Chickasaw, 1805.
4.David Holmes, the fourth and last governor of Mississippi Territory, was a Virginian. He held the office till Alabama and Mississippi were divided, in 1817, and became the first governor of the latter State. He was a member of the federal Senate from 1820 to 1825, and died soon after.