Cowles Mead


Fourth Territorial Secretary of Mississippi

And Third Acting Governor of the Mississippi Territory

June 6, 1806 to January 28, 1807




Portrait of Cowles Mead


Resides at Mississippi Old Capitol Museum in Jackson, MS

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

From Mississippi Territory Papers, 1806-1807.

Mississippi Department of Archives and History

Record Group 2  Agency R169-B14-S1-00105




The territory opened by the ceding of the Choctaw land in 1830 attracted new settlers from North and South Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, and Alabama. This land, excellent for cotton production, could be acquired The territory opened by the ceding of the Choctaw land in 1830 attracted new settlers from North and South Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, and Alabama. This land, excellent for cotton production, could be acquired by homesteading, land patents, or purchase. Some of the settlers were adventurers, seeking quick wealth. With little capital and good fortune, a man could become prominent and wealthy within a decade or two.

Sally Cowles (04/25/1781 – 05/11/1850), lived in Virginia. As a young girl, she was "wooed" by her cousin, Cowles Mead (pronounced "Coals"), whom she loved but refused to marry because of their blood relationship. Mead, unable to remain in Virginia with the knowledge that he couldn’t marry his cousin, moved to Georgia, where he practiced law and became active in Georgia politics.  He was soon elected to the Georgia House of Representatives.  Sally Cowles later married Joseph Vaiden. When their son was born in Charles City County, Virginia, August 21, 1812, she named him Cowles Mead Vaiden, after her cousin, who was famous in his own right.   Cowles Mead Vaiden was the founder of the town of Vaiden, Mississippi.  Sally Cowles Vaiden is buried at Mt. Pleasant Church Cemetery(1) (2), Holdcroft, Charles City County, VA.  She is buried beside her brother, Nathaniel Cowles.  Her husband, Joseph Vaiden, Jr., is not buried in the same cemetery.  He is buried directly across from the site of the old Vaiden House in Holdcroft,  behind the barn, lone grave with an obelisk. 


Sally Cowles Marker:     Photo 1       Photo 2       Photo 3


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 Washington D.C. to receive his seat in the U.S. House, Spalding followed in order to contest the election.  There were three southern counties that had not returned their ballots within the allotted time.  Spalding successfully petitioned to have Mead’s seat vacated by showing that the three late counties were delayed because of a hurricane.  In 1806, Cowles Mead assumed the duties of Territorial Secretary of the Mississippi Territory, after his January 20, 1806 appointment by President Thomas Jefferson. In the absence of Territorial Governor Robert Williams, who spent much of his time in his native state of North Carolina, Mead served a brief tenure as acting Territorial Governor. It was during this tenure that Aaron Burr landed in Bruinsburg on January 10, 1807.


Read the complete story about Aaron Burr in Mississippi HERE. 

Read about Cowles Mead and the Making of Mississippi HERE.

For more information on Thomas Spalding, CLICK HERE.

Thomas Spalding is listed on Findagrave HERE

Contested Election of Cowles Mead -- From: Library of Congress, American State Papers, Senate, 9th Congress, 1st Session – Miscellaneous: Vol. 1, No. 194, Pp. 431, 432, December 18, 1805

Communication to Congress from President Thomas Jefferson Containing Letter From Cowles Mead Concerning the Arrival of Aaron Burr in the Mississippi Territory – February 10, 1807, No. 221 – From: Library of Congress

Communication to Congress from President Thomas Jefferson Containing Letter From Cowles Mead Concerning the Arrest and Surrender of Aaron Burr in the Mississippi Territory – February 19, 1807, No. 223 – From: Library of Congress


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 $10,000, and Mead ordered anyone arrested that appeared hostile toward the Government's views or favorable to Aaron Burr.

Burr was given a trial in Washington, Mississippi, in February, 1807, in which the Grand Jury found him guilty of no crime or misdemeanor. Mead was chastised for making arrests without warrants. Burr was later arrested north of Mobile, and was taken to Richmond, Virginia, where he was acquitted of treason. Mead was later elected to the Territorial Assembly and served in the 1817 Constitutional Convention, but subsequently lost in quests for Congress, Lt. Governor, and Governor. Mead had vast land holdings in Mississippi, including a home at Washington, MS, the town that became State's first Capitol. In the book, Mississippi Newspaper Abstracts, Vol. 3: 1813-1850, P. 133, Betty Couch Wiltshire compiled the following from the May 27, 1844, issue of the Vicksburg Daily Whig: "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." Mead is buried in a private cemetery north of Clinton, MS. Here is the brief NEWSPAPER ANNOUNCEMENT of his death (Source: Jeffersonian. (Kosciusko, Miss.), June 1, 1844.


Mead's namesake, Cowles Mead Vaiden, was educated in Virginia. He moved to Carroll County in 1837 and the same year married Elizabeth Whitfield Herring. They settled east of the present site of Vaiden, on their estate, Prairie Mont, where they later founded the town of Vaiden, Mississippi.


Synopsis of Cowles Mead’s Political Career

Cowles Mead (1776-1844) Born in Virginia, on Friday, October 18, 1776. U.S. Representative from Georgia 4th District, 1805; Secretary of Mississippi Territory, 1806-07; member of Mississippi territorial House of Representatives, 1807; delegate to Mississippi state constitutional convention, 1817; member of Mississippi state senate, 1821; member of Mississippi state house of representatives, 1822-23; candidate for Governor of Mississippi, 1825 (defeated by David Holmes by a vote of 7,746 to 1,499).  After Holmes resigned on July 25, 1826 due to failing health, Lieutenant Governor Gerard Chittoque Brandon assumed the office of Governor.  (Brandon had previously served as Lieutenant Governor from 1824 to 1825, and as Governor from 1825 to 1826, after assuming the Office of Governor due to the 11/17/1825 death in office of Governor Walter Leake.  David Holmes died on 08/20/1832.  Cowles Mead died near Clinton, Hinds County, Miss., on Friday, May 17, 1844, aged 67 years, 6 months and 29 days, and was interred at private/family graveyard.   Here is the brief NEWSPAPER ANNOUNCEMENT of his death (Source: Jeffersonian. (Kosciusko, Miss.), June 1, 1844.Brandon was elected Governor of Mississippi in the August 1827 election, and served until 1832.  Abram M. Scott, elected in 1831, followed Brandon as Governor.


Synopsis of Governor/Lieutenant Governor Position during this time: 

Walter Leake – Governor – 1822-1825 – Died in office on 11/17/1825

Gerard C. Brandon (Lt. Governor under Leake1824-1825) assumed the Office of Governor for the remainder of Leake’s term (1825-1826)

David Holmes – Governor 1826 – Resigned office due to failing health on 07/25/1826 – Holmes had defeated Cowles Mead for Governor by vote of 7,746 to 1,499

Gerard C. Brandon (Lt. Governor under Holmes) assumed Office of Governor for remainder of Holmes’ term (1826-1827)

Gerard C. Brandon – elected Governor in August 1827 election – served until 1832


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.




To view the above information from the book, CLICK HERE.






  The Mead Family History


Used with Permission Courtesy of Duane Curtis Mead - 2017




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.






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

Never Married







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





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





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





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





Charles B. Howell

Beverly R. Grayson

Park Walton





Abner Green

Samuel Brooks





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





Robert Bailey – commissioned Feb, 4, 1815

Thomas Barnes – commissioned Sept. 1, 1809

            Appointed on confirmation – Dec. 26, 1809

            Re-appointed – Feb. 15, 1814





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


Actual Transcript of Temporary Appointment of Thomas H. Williams, Appointment of Cowles Mead, and Reappointment of Thomas H. Williams


For a complete listing of the Executive Branch , CLICK HERE.


Mississippi Territorial Secretary Cowles Mead's Home “Meadvilla

in Washington, Mississippi


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.


Description of Meadvilla from A Gentleman of the Old Natchez Region – Benjamin L.C. Wailes by Charles S. Sydnor


Library of Congress Photo Description # 1 -- Library of Congress Photo Description # 2


Library of Congress Photo 1 -- April 29, 2002 Photo 1 -- April 29, 2002 Photo 1a (right wing is visible in this photo)


Library of Congress Photo 2 -- April 29, 2002 Photo 2


Library of Congress Photo 3 -- April 29, 2002 Photo 3


Library of Congress Photo 4 -- April 29, 2002 Photo 4


Library of Congress Photo 5 -- April 29, 2002 Photo 5


May 03, 2002 Photo of Kitchen (separate from house)


Washington United Methodist ChurchMay 3, 2002


Meadvilla is behind Washington United Methodist Church



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 Jefferson College, via Sue Moore.



Meadvilla Update – 11/21/2018







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 HERE for more on Meadvilla and Benjamin L.C. Wailes pdf


Information in this link Courtesy of Sue Moore.




History of Cowles Mead

Article 1 -- Article 2 -- Map to Cowles Mead's Grave -- Mead Land Holdings
Mead Burial Plot, Clinton, MS -- Cowles Mead’s Grave -- 10/18/1776 - 05/17/1844
Mary Lilly Mead Grave ((2nd Wife) -- 03/10/1797 - 10/27/1834 -- Cowles G. Mead Grave (Son) -- 11/28/1818 - 10/25/1849
Cowles Mead History from Mississippi Department of Archives and History Subject Files (.pdf document )

Newspaper Article About Mead’s Life # 1 from Mississippi Department of Archives Subject Files

Newspaper Article About Mead’s Life # 2 from Mississippi Department of Archives Subject Files

Mirrors of Mississippi newspaper article

Women of the Southern Confederacy Subject File from the Mississippi Department of Archives concerning Mary Overacker Magruder Mead (Cowles’ 3rd Wife)

More of the Article on Women of the Southern Confederacy as Listed Above concerning Mary Overacker Magruder Mead (Cowles’ 3rd Wife)

More Mead History (.pdf document)
Cowles Mead Lineage – First Edition
Cowles Mead Lineage – Second Edition

Future Natchez Trace Exhibit of Cowles Mead's Gravesite -- June 26, 2001

To visit the Cowles Mead family gravesite, take Interstate 20 west toward Vicksburg, Mississippi from Jackson.  About 2 miles west of Clinton, take exit 34 onto the Natchez Trace north.  After traveling approximately 8/10 of a mile, the rest area for the gravesite will be on the right.  This portion of the Natchez Trace is incomplete as of 10/20/2004, but should be opened in 2005. The location is Mile Marker 88.

Photo 1 -- Photo 2

Photo 3 -- Photo 4

Photo 5 -- Photo 6

Photo 7 -- Photo 8

Letter from Hon. Clarence Pierce to U.S. Dept. of Interior about the Cowles Mead Gravesite – Page 1 Page 2


Current Photos of the Gravesite

Photos Courtesy of Linda Chandler Towns

Note: The grave markers were cleaned approx. 09/15/2004.  Click below.

Photo 1       Photo 2       Photo 3

Photo 4       Photo 5

Cowles Mead’s grave marker was made by Gamble & Skates in Vicksburg, MS

Gamble & Skates 1850 newspaper advertisement  Gamble & Skates 1853 newspaper advertisement 1853

UPDATE:  The last remaining segment of the 444-mile Natchez Trace was completed in the spring of 2005.  The official opening ceremony for the 13.5 mile section was conducted on May 21, 2005.  Read about it HERE (.pdf file).

Newspaper Article About Gravesite from Mississippi Department of Archives Subject Files

Another Newspaper Article About Gravesite from Mississippi Department of Archives Subject Files

Cemetery Information (.pdf document) from Mississippi Department of Archives Subject Files

The Location of the Cowles Mead Cemetery is 322102N and 0902029W – Source: USGS Map Search

It is located at Mile Marker 88 on the Natchez Trace.

Update Photo – February 28, 2002


Cowles Mead and Mississippi College

(Excerpts from McLemore’s History of Mississippi College; Clinton, Mississippi)

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. However, this NEWSPAPER ARTICLE shows him as president in 1843 (Source: Ponola [sic] Weekly Register. (Ponola [sic], Miss.), April 5, 1843.


"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.  Here is the brief NEWSPAPER ANNOUNCEMENT of his death (Source: Jeffersonian. (Kosciusko, Miss.), June 1, 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:


The Mississippi Colonization Society was successfully organized in June 1831 at a Natchez meeting.  Almost all socisty’s organizers were either members of the planter elite or evangelicals.  For decades the two groups had eyed one another with suspicion and outright hostility, but the conversion of wealthy planters, the growing wealth of many evangelicals, and the influence exerted by prominent ministers had narrowed the gap between the two.  The society’s president, Stephen Duncan, was a successful planter and physician, president of the Bank of Mississippi, and one of the state’s wealthiest men.  Gerard C. Brandon, the state’s governor, and Cowles Mead, former Secretary of the Mississippi Territory, were also officers, as was Isaac R. Nicholson, Natchez lawyer, speaker of the state house of representatives and later member of the state supreme court.


Source:  Religion in Mississippi by Randy J. Sparks, University Press of Mississippi for the Mississippi Historical Society, Jackson.  Vol II, Ch. 4, P. 99.




Cowles Mead was also president of the Real Estate Banking Company of Hinds County (Clinton, Miss.). SEE HERE for one of the Company’s One Dollar Promissory Notes.




The Greenwood Plantation Home of Cowles Mead – Microsoft Word format