The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 43, July 1939 - April, 1940 Page: 124
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Southwestern IHistorical Quarterly
Spanish and English contributions and a remaking by the Ameri-
cans. When the United States gained physical possession in 1798,
this region had about 7,500 people, white and slave, with the
former predominating. It had most of the frontier characteristics;
but with the coming of an export crop-cotton-it began to take
on a remarkable growth. Plantations sprang up and wealth accumu-
lated to the extent that some planters became millionaires, and at
least one was reputed to be worth ten millions. Soon came sur-
veyors, printers, teachers, preachers and writers, who gave to this
background of expanding wealth an impetus to make it blossom
forth in schools, churches, athenaeums, a college, an agricultural
society, and scientific and historical activities.
Eschewing the Federalism foisted upon it by its first governor,
appointed by John Adams, it remained, nevertheless, too aristo-
cratic for the incoming frontiersmen who settled to the eastward
and supplanted the Indians. The Natchez region lost its political
importance when Mississippi became a state, and, giving allegiance
to the Whigs with the rise of that party, it receded further politi-
cally in the contest with Mississippi's dominant Democracy.
Into this region came Levin Wailes in 1807, from Georgia, where
he had lived only a few years since his removal from Maryland.
His son, Benjamin, at that time ten years old, is the subject of
Professor Sydnor's volume. Becoming a planter and a Whig to
the core and remaining one even after the party had disappeared,
Wailes became in a sense an epitome of this region, of its growth,
its old age, and of its decline. Through purchase and inheritance,
he became the owner of much land, and as a planter he passed
through the same cycle of other planters-of continually hiring
overseers and never finding a satisfactory one, of planting and
harvesting cotton, and of the thousand worries that went with
Wailes, like many of his contemporaries, was more than merely
an agriculturist. He was much interested in natural history, in
fossils and Indian mounds, and especially in living turtles. He
was somewhat of a scientist. He helped to make the first state
geological survey, and he collected specimens for the Smithsonian
Institution and for Louis Agassiz. He was an intellectualist, who
read books, who had attended Jefferson College in the little village
of Washington, near Natchez, where he chose to live his life, and
who had as a trustee for years held that college near his heart.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 43, July 1939 - April, 1940, periodical, 1940; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101111/m1/132/: accessed August 19, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.