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2 o'clock when we reached his house.  Gave me a cordial invitation to "light and take dinner," which, being desirous to see as much as possible of life here, I accepted.  Table coarsely and frugally spread, but as he said a very devout and appropriate grace, I ventured to name the subject of religion to him, and he informed me he was a Methodist.  The establishment is exceedingly coarse and rough, yet he owns several tracts of land, two of which he wishes to sell.  He has four hearty looking children.  He is only twenty-nine years old.  I took him for forty.  He supposed I was less than forty; I am forty-eight.  One of his tracts in Madison County, ----- acres, he offers at $5, and a quarter section adjoining he says may be entered at $1.25; for a tract adjoining his residence of 320 acres he asks $17, one-third cash, balance in one and two years.

Arrived at Clinton about 4 o'clock.  Went directly to land office, and entered two and one-eighth sections.  Found here Mr. A. L. Dabney and his relation.  He has determined to settle in Raymond and practice law, but has not yet determined where to settle his lands.  Raymond is the seat of justice for Hinds County.

Jackson, Friday, Nov. 13th, 1835

Not being able to get the maps that I wished at the land office promptly, and finding two gents yesterday evening who were going to Jackson, I determined to ride here to see the place.  Distance from Clinton, 10 miles.  Arrived here about sunset; walked over the place.  This morning my travelling companions, who are a Major Riddle and a Capt. Rhea, of Knoxville, Tennessee, pursued their journey to Madisonville, and I spent a few hours looking about the place, and making enquiries.  Site a bad one.  The Pearl River comes within one-fourth mile of the town, but is not navigable, except for flat boats, or in dugouts; river narrow, shallow and crooked.  A small steamboat has been up this high, but none attempt to run regularly.  The river is now up twenty feet, and the water backs over the low ground to within one or two hundred yards of the town.  A new State house has been commenced, basement only put up, and the work stopt; said to be badly done; architect dismissed.  The probability is it will never be finished.  The situation is a bad one, on sloping ground, overlooked by a tavern not 100 yards off.  The site of the town is swampy, and must be sickly.  A change of parties, which is just taking place, will probably transfer the government to Clinton, or elsewhere.  Clinton is high, dry, and more healthy; I should think in all respects more eligible than Jackson.  Population of Jackson, -----; of Clinton, 1,500.  Found in the county office a young man named John Murdaugh, who is from Williamsburg, a cousin of G. W. Bassett and of J. W. Murdaugh.

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The Diary of William Fairfax Gray, from Virginia to Texas, 1835-1837
Copyright 1997 William P. Clements Center for Southwest Studies
Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas