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Oakwood Plantation

Page history last edited by Andy McMillion 10 years, 11 months ago





(County and State where the plantation/workspace was located.  Information to help others locate the plantation is optional.)

Southwestern Jefferson County, Mississippi - fifteen miles from Natchez. At map coordinates T8N-R1W, section 27 and probably also section 42.  The big house on the plantation was probably on or near the Old Natchez Trace, while the back side of the plantation was at or near Farichild Creek (which formed part of the Jefferson/Adams County line). 



Date Constructed/Founded

(Year the plantation/workplace was established and/or built.)

Definitely by 1837.  Most likely since around 1800.


Associated Surnames

(List of names associated with this workplace)

Forman, Hunt, Archer


Historical notes

(Historical summary of the workplace.) 

  • Size and General Description of the work done on Oakwood.
    • Oakwood was a cotton plantation.  Based on maps, the plantation was probably in the range of 600 to 800 acres in size.  Cotton was the cash crop, and corn was grown to feed the people and the livestock.
  • Photo of Oakwood
    • http://jeffersoncountyms.org/  If you see a message saying that the website is expired, it just means the website is down for temporary maintenance.  If this link doesn't immediately show the picture, you may need to search the website at the link to find it.)


Associated Slave Workplaces

(Plantations/workplaces connected to this one via owners' family and/or enslaved persons)

  • Owners' Family Connections to Other Workplaces
    • William G. Forman (owner) had other plantations.  He was partners with Abijah Hunt in near by Huntley Plantation, and probably had other plantations in the area (maybe in Adams County).
    • David Hunt (owner).  From 1801 to his 1861 death, David Hunt built up a complex of plantations in the area.  At his peak in about 1848, Hunt owned about 24 plantations and around 1,100 slaves.  As his children married, the Hunt clan built up to 1,700 slaves and probably around 30 plantations in total. See Woodlawn Plantation MS for the details on this.
    • James Archer and his wife Mary Ann (Hunt) (owners).  In addition to Oakwood, they probably owned Oakwood Tract which was about six miles north up the Old Natchez Trace from Oakwood Plantation.  Oakwood Tract was at T10N-R1E, section 20.  The original land survey of this approximately 500 acre section of land is on-line at the following link:  http://www.glorecords.blm.gov/SurveySearch/Survey_Detail.asp?dmid=73266&Index=1&QryID=11984%2E16&DetailTab=3
    • Arundo Plantation in section 11 and Woodland Plantation - Jefferson MS in section 24 adjoined Oakwood Plantation on it's northern border.  Arundo was owned by Joseph Dunbar (the Uncle of David Hunt's wife Ann.  David and Ann were the owners of Oakwood at one point).  Woodland was owned by Robert Y. Wood of the Wood clan from nearby Church Hill, MS.  Robert's brother Edgar married David Hunt's son Abijah's widow (not the same Abijah as David Hunt's Uncle Abijah).
  • Enslaved Persons Connections to Other Workplaces


Associated Free Persons

  • (Bulleted list of free persons:  plantation-owning family, overseers, etc. Example: "John Doe (b.1841-d.1885) - owner; inherited Doe Plantation from his father Joe Doe")
  • William Forman (Abijah Hunt's business partner) was probably the original owner of the bulk of the land that made up Oakwood - T8N-R1W, section 27.  He was probably the first to develop a plantation on this land.
  • Abijah Hunt (d. 1811) David Hunt's Uncle and benefactor; business partner of William Forman; was the original owner of what was maybe a small part of the land for Oakwood Plantation - T8N-R1W, section 42.
  • David and Ann (Ferguson) Hunt (d. 1861); David was Abijah Hunt's nephew;  David and his wife Ann (Ferguson) Hunt  gave this plantation to their daughter Mary Ann when she married James Archer in 1836.
    • David Hunt somehow obtained the plantation from William G. Forman.  Mr. Forman had been a business partner of David Hunt's Uncle Abijah Hunt., who died in 1811.  David Hunt took over much of his Uncle's business interests after his death.  David was one of the richest gentleman planters in the south (gentlemen planters hired others to run their plantations and work the slaves).  He only had a residence on one of his plantations - Woodlawn Plantation MS - and would have hired someone to manage Oakwood for him.  Hunt was in the group known as "nabobs."  It was a term for the very largest slaveholders in the Natchez District who owned numbers of slaves such as 500 - or in Hunt's case it was about 1,100. 
  • Mary Ann and James Archer - owned this land until after the Civil War.  It was probably sold out of the family at Mary Ann and James' death.  Mary Ann and James had six sons and eight daughters. Four sons and three daughters grew to maturity.
    • The following link is to the 1860 Jefferson County Census image showing the James Archer family.  A transcription of the family names follows.  http://www.usgwarchives.org/ms/jefferson/census/1860/0593.gif 
      • James Archer - age 48 - planter - $85,000 in real estate, $125,000 in personal property (includes the value of his 98 slaves) - born in Maryland 3 Dec 1811 to MD Supreme Court Justice Stevenson Archer and Pamela Barney Hays.
      • Mary Ann (Hunt) Archer - age 48 - born in Mississippi
        • The children of James and Mary Ann
          • Stephenson Archer - age 21 - $800 in personal property
          • James Archer - 16
          • Ann H. Archer - 16
          • Alice Archer - 14
          • Olivia Archer - 9
          • Abijah H. Archer - 7
          • Geroge F. Archer - 6
          • Andrew Archer - 4
          • John Archer - 2
        • Other people listed with the Archers - probably lived on Oakwood
          • Peter Ashby - 26 - born in Mississippi
          • E.D. Finney - 33 - born in Maryland
          • Sarah Hardham - 21 - born in New Jersey
          • Hannah C. Vanberber - born in Maryland
          • Lucretia Vanberber - born in Mississippi
    • James and Mary Ann's life on Oakwood  
      • In 1836 David and his wife Ann Hunt gave Oakwood to their oldest daughter Mary Ann when she married James Archer.  Mary Ann's parents also gave her a set of table silver from Baltimore and about 100 slaves for her other wedding gifts.
      • James was from Maryland.  He was a lawyer (Yale graduate) son of Maryland Supreme State Supreme Court Justice Stephenson Archer (Princeton Graduate).
        • "John Archer, America’s first medical graduate, was the father of Stevenson Archer (1786-1848). His son, James Archer (1811-1898), married in 1836, Mary Ann Hunt, daughter of David Hunt of Natchez. James Archer’s son, John George Archer, Sr., married Priscilla W. Finlay and had four children: Dr. John George Archer, Jr., Bettie Finlay Archer, James Hunt Archer (died in infancy) and George Ferguson Archer, who married Marian McTyeire."  The previous quote came from a description of some documents at the MS State Archives website (retrieved on July 26, 2009).
        • Probably the Archers gave James and Mary Ann the money to build and furnish their "big house" on Oakwood Plantation and possibly the money to buy what was known as the "Oakwood Tract" listed below in associated workplaces.
      • The Archers moved to Oakwood in 1837.  They ran a school on the plantation from 1840 to 1860 for the children from Church Hill and Selzertown.  James apparently opposed MS succession from the Union, but fought for the Confederacy once the Civil War broke out.  After the War he had only his house and land left and had to again run a school on his plantation - probably this time it was more of a financial necessity than it had been before the War when he had 98 slaves in Jefferson County working for him.  Mary Ann's parents had a lot of rail road stock and real estate investments in Cincinnati, Ohio (the north) that were used by the Hunt clan to restart production (buy mules, seed and farm implements lost during the war) on the plantations after the War using share croppers for the labor.  Thus, Mary Ann and James probably ran Oakwood with share croppers on a limited basis after the War.  The plantations apparently weren't all that profitable after the War, as most of Mary Ann's siblings had to sell the plantations out of the family at about the time of their death.  So... probably Oakwood had to be sold out of the family when Mary Ann and James died.
      • In the 1870 census, James' real estate was only worth $24,400 and his personal property was worth $8,000.  This was down from $85,000 and $125,000 before the Civil War in 1860.
      • Mary Ann's brother Dunbar wrote that she and James were buried in the Oakwood Plantation garden.  A recent visitor to the plantation could not determine where the garden had been located, or where the graves were.  An on-line message board stated that the Archers were buried at Calviton Cemetery (on Calviton Plantation - another of David Hunt's Jefferson County Plantations) where Mary Ann's Parents - David and Ann Hunt - are buried.


Associated Enslaved Persons

  • (Bulletted list of enslaved persons. You can add several seperate lists with subheadings like "1850 - 1860: Slaves listed in the Doe Family Bible"


  According to the 1860 slave census

  •  James Archer owned 98 slaves in Jefferson Co.  They were probably on Oakwood Plantation and Oakwood Tract (six miles up the Old Natchez Trace from Oakwood).

Research Leads and Plantation Records

(Bulletted list of primary sources, plantation records from archives, books, microfilm, etc., that you think would help the reader to find his/ her ancestors.)


  • The Mississippi State Archives in Jackson has the "Archer - Finlay - Moore" file that contains land records and other info about James Archer.  It is still unclear if it mentions the slaves.
    • The Mississippi State Archives in Jackson has an 1853 photo of the Oakwood School graduating class that includes 15 young male students and one male professor (probably James Archer).
  • See the "Research Leads and Plantation Records" section on the Woodlawn Plantation MS plantation page.

Miscellaneous Information

  • (Any additional information that does not fit under the preset headings)
  • The following website contains narratives by slaves who escaped to freedom - some from Mississippi. www.docsouth.unc.edu . They can give the reader a most full understanding of what slavery was really like for a slave. One of the best narratives from the website is: http://www.docsouth.unc.edu/neh/campbell/campbell.html .  


Users Researching This Workplace

  • (Put your name or a link to your personal profile page here)
  • Andy McMillion .  I welcome corrections.  I hope that the way that the information is presented makes it easy for you to mix your research with mine as bulleted lists to this webpage.


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