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Woodlawn Plantation MS

Page history last edited by Andy McMillion 9 years, 2 months ago





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


  • Jefferson Co., MS.  The plantation was about two miles up Aldridge Road from Highway 553 at Traveller's Rest Road.  The plantation house driveway is opposite of where Traveller's Rest Road dead ends into Aldridge Road.   This plantation was seven miles south of Rodney (almost extinct) and two miles north west of Greenville (now extinct).  Greenville was where Aldridge Road dead ends into highway 553.  The Old Natchez Trace, a main road in Antebellum times, ran through Greenville and connected Natchez, MS to Nashville, TN. 
    • See the land on a modern map at:  The Mississippi Department of Transportation website's county highway map for Jefferson County.  The map coordinates for Woodlawn Plantation are:  T9N-R1W, sections 6 and probably 8; and T10N-R1W, sections 49 and 50.  The plantation owner's house was and still is in section 6. 
    • See photos of the land from above at www.google.com,  Go to google's maps.  Then  type "Rodney Mississippi" in the search bar.  Once you locate the area where Traveller's Rest Road (also known as Rodney Road) dead ends into Aldridge Road (also known as Frazier Road), click on the "earth view" to see the plantation house from above.
    • See the original land survey of this land at:  the bureau of land management's general land office records patent search website ( http://www.glorecords.blm.gov/search/ ). 


Date Constructed/ Founded

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


Woodlawn Plantation was most likely founded by David Hunt in 1800.

  • This is the year that David moved to Jefferson County from NJ.  The book The Natchez Court Records, 1767-1805 , by May Wilson McBee, page 513 has the following.
    •  “No. 387.  David Hunt, claimant, 29 Feb. 1804.  Wit:  Theophilus Marble, 1 Oct 1804.  Certif. D-6 issued 4 Sept. 1806.  David Hunt claims preemption right to 260 acres on waters of Cole’s Cr. In Jefferson County, improved cultivated and actually inhabited by him since the Spring of 1800.”
    •  He acquired the title to this land through preemption, which means that he got it free so long as he settled on it and made some improvements, such as building a log cabin.  The land was probably (but not definitely) the beginnings of his Woodlawn Plantation.
  • David Hunt worked as a clerk in his Uncle Abijah's Greenville, Jefferson County, Mississippi general store when he first moved to Mississippi.  Greenville was two miles from Woodlawn Plantation, so it is possible for David to have farmed at the Woodlawn site while working in Greenville.


Another possibility is that Woodlawn was started in about 1811. 

  • David Hunt inherited a large amount of land in the area when his Uncle Abijah died in 1811.  Thus, it's possible that David was homesteading near Greenville on Coles Creek and either inherited some of the Woodlawn land in 1811 or traded for it at about that time. 
    • The "big house" on Woodlawn Plantation has a date of 1813 written in the front porch, which is thought to be either the date the house was started or finished.  It replaced an earlier log home - possibly built by Hunt when he was trying to satisfy the "homesteading" requirements to get a free title to the land.  The 1813 date makes sense because of the inheritance David received in 1811.


Associated Surnames

(List of names associated with this workplace)


Bane, Bellus, Brown, Hall, Hunt, Major


Historical notes

(Historical summary of the workplace.)


  • Size and general description of the plantation and the work done there.
    • Some years after the Civil War when Woodlawn was no longer owned by the David Hunt descendants, it is known to have been 1,500 acres in size.  The date on his house shows that David Hunt had section 6 in 1813 - about 200 acres or so.  A survey map at the Bureau of Land website shows that he bought section 49 in 1817 - about 500 acres.  The Bureau of Land website only shows land purchased from the government; however, Hunt also inherited land in the area when his Uncle died in 1811 and purchased from individuals.  Thus, knowing the exact size and boundaries in any given year is an elusive business.
    • Woodlawn was David's "headquarters" plantation. Cotton and corn were grown and livestock was raised on all of his plantations; however, on Woodlawn a slave training program was instituted to teach the slaves trades to serve the other plantations. Thus, on Woodlawn blacksmith and carpentry work was done, leather was tanned, shoes made, thread spun and cloth was woven. This work was done by the slaves. Consequently, while most of the slaves on Hunt's other plantations were field hands, many slaves on Woodlawn were blacksmiths, carpenters or seamstresses. The WPA slave narratives of Cyrus Bellus and Peter Brown are rare records of slave life on the Hunt plantations.

    • A lot of the land for this plantation was hilly.  In the early days of a plantation like this the trees would have been cut and the stumps allowed to rot while cotton was planted all around them running up and down the hills.  This led to the soil being quickly worn out due to erosion and the intensive farming.  Because the plantation was on high ground that didn't get the rich silt deposits from the Mississippi River floods every few years, it made a good place for David Hunt to live and have his slaves produce shoes, clothes and other goods for the much more flat, fertile plantations he owned in the nearby delta (bottom land in the Mississippi River flood plane).


  • Photo of Woodlawn.

  • Description of the "big house."  It originally had a center hallway running front to back on the first floor with one room on each side of the hallway.  One room was a parlor and the other was the dining room.  Because the dining room did not have a separate door to bring in food from the kitchen out back of the house, food was passed through a dining room window.  On the second floor the house just had one main room - the ballroom - with a smaller room, which was thought to be a coat room.  Later the second floor ball room was divided into three bedrooms. 


Associated Slave Workplaces

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


  1. Plantations/workplaces connected to Woodlawn by David Hunt's family.
    1. David Hunt eventually owned the following 25 plantations, though probably not all at the same time (Harnett T. Kane, "Natchez on the Mississippi," Bonanza Books, NY, p 179).
      1. Tensas Parish, LA - Arcola Plantation 
      2. Tensas Parish, LA - Argyle Plantation 
      3. Belle Ella Plantation - probably in Tensas Parish, LA
      4. Concordia Parish, LA - Hole In The Wall Plantation 
      5. Adams Co., MS - Homewood Plantation 
      6. Adams Co., MS - Lansdowne Plantation
      7. Adams Co., MS - Oakley Grove Plantation
      8. Adams Co., MS - Wilderness Plantation
      9. Fairview Plantation - probably in Claiborne Co, M 
      10. Issaquena Co., MS - Georgiana Plantation
      11. Issaquena Co., MS - Wilderness Plantation - Issaquena MS  
      12. Jefferson Co., MS - Ashland Plantation MS
      13. Jefferson Co., MS - Black Creek Plantation
      14. Jefferson Co., MS - Buena Vista Plantation
      15. Jefferson Co., MS - Calviton Plantation
      16. Jefferson Co., MS - Fatlands Plantation
      17. Jefferson Co., MS - Huntley Plantation
      18. Jefferson Co., MS - Oakwood Plantation
      19. Jefferson Co., MS - Servis Island Plantation
      20. Jefferson Co., MS - Southside Plantation - Jefferson MS
      21. Jefferson Co., MS - Brick Quarters Plantation
      22. Jefferson Co., MS - Waverly Plantation - Jefferson MS
      23. Jefferson Co., MS - Woodlawn Plantation MS
      24. Fatherland Plantation MS
      25. Givin Place Plantation
      26. Oak Burn Plantation
    2. David Hunt's Uncle Abijah owned between three and five general stores (one author lists three stores and another lists five stores) and public cotton gins from Natchez to just north of Port Gibson along the Old Natchez Trace, two or three plantations in the same area and a lot of land all over - in Claiborne, Jefferson and Adams County in Mississippi (part of which was later divided off into Franklin County when it was split off from Adams County) and in Tensas and Concordia Parishes across the Mississippi River in Louisiana.  About sixty slaves were listed in Abijah's will when he died in 1811.  There were many heirs to Abijah's massive estate.  David was the executor.  He appears to have inherited much of his Uncle's land outright as well as Abijah's library books.  It looks like he then continued to run his Uncle's stores and plantations, using the profits to gradually pay off  and buy out the other heirs so that he could keep the stores, plantations, slaves and land for himself.  This practice, his good business skills, and the profitability of cotton at the time is the main way that David Hunt acquired so many plantations and became so rich.  He eventually closed and sold off the general store assets.  What can be pieced together of Abijah's assets are listed below.  It has to be pieced together because the will's inventory leaves out all the land and plantation locations, just listing Abijah's household contents, slaves by name, and the livestock and equipment on the plantations he still owned when he died (probably just two - Huntley Plantation in Jefferson County and a plantation adjoining Port Gibson in Claiborne County).
      1. Adams Co., MS - Abijah owned a lot of land and one general store in Natchez.  He may have owned more at times; however, he did a lot of buying and selling, so it's hard to pin down all the details.  One author lists a second store in nearby Washington and another wrote that he had a plantation in Adams County.  One document shows that he bought and sold Bellevue Plantation, which was later renamed Gloucester.
        1. Hunt Plantation Abijah either owned a 3,645 acre cotton plantation or just that amount of land here and there in Adams County.  There is no slave ownership in Adams County by Abijah in the census to back up his having a plantation in Adams County.  Although David Hunt did eventually have plantations in Adams County, it appears that he got them when he married his last wife - Ann Ferguson (Robert Dunbar's granddaughter - who owned Oakley Grove, and the land that Homewood and Lansdowne were formed on).  He is thought to have sold all of his Uncle's assets in Adams County to consolidate his operations in Jefferson County.
        2. Lot number one of square number three in Natchez with a Hunt and Smith general store (store number one) located on it.
        3. Store number two was located somewhere in Washington, MS, which was just a few miles from Natchez along the Old Natchez Trace.
      2. Jefferson Co., MS 
        1. Abijah Hunt owned Huntley Plantation in Jefferson County (Plantation number one).  It looks like he probably had about 30 slaves working there when he died.  It was between the town of Greenville, where Abijah lived, and David Hunt's Woodlawn Plantation, which at some point adjoined Huntley.  David Hunt either inherited it or bought it after his Uncle Died.
        2. a couple of lots in the town of Greenville with a Hunt and Smith general store (store number three) located on them.
        3. Abijah lived in Greenville and had three or four slaves working there as house servants. 
        4. 195 acres on Coles Creek with a Hunt and Smith firm public cotton gin (only one I found so far) located on it. The land coordinates for this land is at T9N-R1E, section 31.
        5. 221 acres at T9N-R3E sec 6 and T9N-R3W sec 40
        6. Abijah and partner William Forman owned several sections of land to the immediate east of the town of Fayette - at T9N-R2E, sections 22,29,32, 34 and 35.
        7. T8N-R1W, section 42. This land adjoined Abijah's business partner, William G. Forman's section 27. Section 27 (and probably section 42 as well) later became David Hunt's Oakwood Plantation. 
      3. Claiborne Co., MS - Abijah bought 3,159 acres in Claiborne County in about 1800. What is known of the exact locations of some of Abijah's 3,159 acres of land on the Bayou Pierre is as follows.
          1. Abijah Hunt Bayou Pierre Plantation  (Plantation number two).  This plantation was on the south fork of the Bayou Pierre adjacent to Port Gibson.  1,000 acres at land coordinate T11N-R2E, section 23 & 3. This land was adjacent to the town of Port Gibson (to the south or east of the town). Abijah's slaves had cultivated 600 acres of cotton on this land in 1811 - the year Abijah died.  He appears to have had about 30 slaves there when he died.  David Hunt purchased a plantation in Claiborne County on the Bayou Pierre at about the time he closed and sold his Uncle's stores - around 1817.  Maybe it was this one.  In David's later years, research so far does not indicate that he still owned a plantation in Claiborne County.
          2. About 400 acres at land coordinate T12N-R3E, section 22. This is the land where Abijah had his Hunt and Smith general store (store number four) on the banks of the Bayou Pierre at the Grind Stone Ford. This location was just to the north-east of Port Gibson on the Old Natchez Trace.
          3. 572 acres at land coordinate T12N-R4E, section 29. This land was just to the east of the Grind Stone Ford on the Bayou Pierre.
          4. Abijah sold an approximately 900 acre plantation on the Bayou Pierre in 1808 for $60,000 complete with 61 slaves, a cotton gin and press, and livestock.  This plantation was on the north fork of the Bayou Pierre to the east of the Grind Stone Ford.  It is not the same plantation as the one Abijah still owned adjacent to Port Gibson when he died.
          5. Abijah bought 800 acres on the Big Black River in Claiborne County in 1808 ("Federal Writers Collection," Northwest State University in Louisiana, retrieved 14 Jan 08).  This 800 acres was probably on both sides of the Big Black River. The bulk of the land was on the south side of the River in Claiborne County and was located at T13N-R3E, sections 15, 16, 17, and 18 and also probably section 24. On the north side of the River in Warren County the land probably included T13N-R3E, section 19. The map at the Bureau of Land website shows this land.
          6. Near the above 800 acres on the Big Black River, there is a road named "Hunt Road."  One website shows a historic location of a "Hunt Store" a few miles away from this 800 acres - possibly just over the county line in Hinds County.  This was possibly the location of the fifth "Hunt and Smith" firm store.  One author wrote that Abijah had a store on the Big Black, though nothing has been found so fat to confirm this.  David Hunt's son Dunbar only mentioned three stores - one in Natchez, one in Greenville and one at the Grind Stone Ford - in his sketch of his father David.
      4. Concordia Parish, LA.
        1. Abijah and Partner William Forman bought land at T9N-R10E, section 26. This land adjacent to what become David Hunt's Arcola Plantation which was over the county line in Tensas Parish.
        2. Abijah Hunt's business partner Elijah Smith (the stores, public cotton gins and cotton brokerage were known as the Hunt and Smith Firm) owned land at the site that later became David Hunt's Hole In The Wall Plantation
        3. Abijah bought a few parcels of land right on the Mississippi River below Vidalia.
      5. Tensas Parish, LA.
        1. Abijah bought the land that later became David Hunt's Argyle Plantation and Belle Ella Plantation  



Associated Free Persons

(Bulletted 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")


  • Plantation-owning families
    • David Hunt (b.1779-d.1861) - original Woodlawn Plantation owner.  An 1820 portrait of Hunt is at the following link.  http://www.tnportraits.org/hunt-david.htm  Hunt started Woodlawn sometime between 1800 and 1813.  David's son Dunbar probably got Woodlawn after his father's death.
      • David Hunt's three wives and the resulting children
        • Margaret Stampley.  The usgenweb website shows an 1800 marriage between a David Hunt and Margaret Stampley in Pickering County (which later became Jefferson County).  The Stampleys were of the same planter social class as the Hunts.  However the main biography of David Hunt, which was written by his son Dunbar, never mentions Margaret.  Could it be there was a marriage between David and Margaret which ended badly and, thus, wasn't mentioned by later biographers?  The 1805 Jefferson County census does not show a wife for David.
        • Mary Ann Calvt.  David Hunt married Mary Ann in 1808.  In 1809 Mary Ann died in childbirth.  The child, a daughter, died at about one year of age.
        • Ann Ferguson (b.1797-d.1874).  David married Ann in 1816.  They had 14 children.  As was common back then, only seven lived past age 21.  Five of these seven married before the Civil War.  David and Ann made sure that each of these five children each got at least one good productive plantation, 100 slaves and a set of silverware from Baltimore, MD when they married.  Most of the five children had more than that.  Since it only took about 100 slaves to be in the very rich planter class back then, all of Hunt's children were among the richest people in the south.  The two of the seven, who married after the Civil War didn't get the gifts of plantations, and silverware when they married.  However, they did get plantations and other investments shortly after they married because that was about the same time that their parents had passed on and the estate was divided up.  Hunt had invested in tens of thousands of acres of raw land in the MS River Delta - maybe for future expansion - and in business real estate in Cincinnati, Ohio as well as rail road stock in case the Civil War wiped him out in the south.  Thus, the children weren't broke after the War.  However, they were no longer rich.  For example, a typical child of Hunt was probably worth from $200 to $300,000 before the Civil War, had a large steady income from the yearly cotton crops, and had overseers and family advisors to run their plantations and manage their investments.  After the War, with the loss in land value and the value of the slaves, a typical Hunt child was probably worth about $30,000 to $50,000 and had almost no income.  They would have needed to personally visit any of their share croppers who were slacking off and brutishly bully them into getting back to work if they expected their plantations to turn a profit without free slave labor.  Because the plantations lost money after the war, it appears that few of them were brutish enough to manage the share croppers this way.  Instead they tried to hang on as long as they could on their opulent estates that took servants to run.  Because they had been the richest of the rich before the war, Hunt's children were mostly all able to stay in their houses until their deaths.  At that time most all of the plantations were sold out of the family.  The exception was Lansdowne, which is still in the Marshall family today.  Though all of David Hunt's children married into rich families, the Marshall family was probably the richest of them all.
          • Mary Ann Hunt (b. 1817) - daughter of David Hunt; wife of James Archer (son of MD Supreme Court Justice Stevenson Archer); wedding gift from David to them was Oakwood Plantation .  James Archer had 98 Jefferson County slaves in 1860.
          • Abijah Hunt (b. 1820) - son of David Hunt; husband of Mary Agnes Walton of Wilton Plantation - Adams MS; gifts from David to them were Calviton Plantation and Argyle Plantation .  Agijah had died well before 1860 and Mary Agnes remarried to Edgar Wood (son of planter James Wood of the Church Hill area of Jefferson County).  Edgar had 88 slaves on Calviton and about 150 on Wilkin Place in 1860.  In 1860 Argyle Plantation had about 100 slaves and was being held in a trust for Abijah and Mary Agnes' children who were then being raised on Calviton.
          • George F. Hunt (b. 1827) - son of David Hunt; husband of Anna Watson whose parents owned Buena Vista Plantation - Claiborne MS (the Watson clan owned several other plantations); gifts from David to them were Huntley Plantation and Georgiana Plantation) .  Hunetley had 59 slaves and Georgiana had about 160 slaves in 1860.
          • Catherine Hunt (b. 1829) - daughter of David Hunt; wife of William S. Balfour who was given Only Plantation by his father William L. Balfour.  The father lived on Homestead Plantation and owned a few other plantations.  The wedding gift from David to them was Homewood Plantation .  Homewood had about 35 slaves and Only had 177 slaves in 1860.
          • Charlotte Hunt (b. 1831) - daughter of David Hunt; wife of George M. Marshall whose parents owned Richmond Plantation and several others (five in total with about 800 slaves); wedding gifts from David to them were Lansdowne Plantation and Arcola Plantation .  Lansdowne had 23 slaves and Arcola had about 100 slaves in 1860.
          • Dunbar Hunt (b. 1840) - son of David Hunt, wife of Leila Lawrence Brent; probably got Wilderness Plantation - Issaquena MS  and Southside Plantation - Jefferson MS  from his parents, estate shortly after his marriage and the Civil War.   
          • Elizabeth Hunt (b. 1843) - daughter of David Hunt; wife of William F. Ogden (son of LA State Supreme Court Justice Abner Nash Ogden); got Hole In The Wall Plantation and Black Creek Plantation from her parents' estate shortly after her marriage and the Civil War.
      • Timeline for David Hunt
        • 1779.  David Hunt was born in Hunterdon County, New Jersey.

        • 1800.  David Hunt knew of his Uncle Abijah's success in the Natchez, MS District.  He moved from NJ to MS to work in his Uncle's general store in Greenville (now extinct), Jefferson County and to profit from slavery.

        • 1800.  A David Hunt married Margaret Stampley in Pickering County (later renamed Jefferson County, MS) according to the USGenWeb website.

        • 1800 - Hunt began homesteading on 260 unclaimed acres of land on Coles Creek near Greenville, MS.  This was probably the beginnings of his Woodlawn Plantation.

          • 1817.  David bought section 49 of T10N-R1W in Jefferson County and possibly some of the surrounding land to expand (or possibly to begin) his Woodlawn Plantation.  If it was an expansion, it took his 216 acres at Woodlawn up to 816 or more acres.  The land survey map has an 1817 date for this land acquisition of Hunt's; however, it often took several years for land owners to get public titles to land they bought in those days due to the cost and trouble involved.  Thus, this land purchase may have been as early as 1812.

        • 1801 - 1802.  Hunt worked as a clerk in his Uncle's Greenville, MS store.  He earned $300 his first year and $500 his second year working in his Uncle's store.  This is what a small cotton farmer in the south with no slaves earned.  However, David probably also earned an additional $300 to $500 per year from the cotton crop he put in on his 216 acres.  According to the early biographers of David, he came to MS with nothing and was somehow buing slaves on his tiny salary.  People didn't know how he could afford to do it.  One possibility is that he was extremely frugal in his first year and was able to buy a couple of slaves.  He got his first 216 acres on Coles Creek for free by homesteading on it.

        • 1803.  David got a big promotion from his Uncle.  He was put in charge of the entire Hunt and Smith firm (a cotton brokerage, five general stores, and several public cotton gins).  His new salary was $3,000 per year which allowed him to expand his cotton operation much more quickly.  By 1805 David would have 9 slaves in Jefferson County.  This was many more than the 50% of southerners who had no or only one slave and competed directly with slave labor when they put in their cotton crops.  The slaveless whites often had a lower standard of living than a slave; however, they did have their freedom which probably more than made up for it.

        • In 1808, David married Mary Ann Calvit who lived on Calviton Plantation which adjoined Woodlawn (If he had been married to Margaret Stampley in 1800, that marriage probably ended in some kind of a break-up by 1805).  David moved from his log cabin on Woodlawn to live with the Calvits in their small frame house on Calviton.  Most likely, David had always been away from Woodlawn and Calviton a good deal of the time, because he was busy running the Hunt and Smith firm.  This would have probably entailed both he and his Uncle Abijah constantly riding up and down the 60 miles of the Old Natchez Trace where the five stores and public cotton gins were located.  Mary died about one year after the marriage in childbirth and the child soon died as well.  David possibly stayed on at Calviton, which was right next door to his Woodlawn.  Woodlawn and Calviton were like one big plantation.  By 1810 Thomas Calvit (Mary Ann Calvit's father) had 50 slaves in Jefferson County and David Hunt had 24.

        • In 1811, David's Uncle Abijah died.  Abijah left a huge $500,000 estate which included a large part of the Hunt and Smith firm (a cotton brokerage, five general stores, and probably about five public cotton gins) as well as cotton plantations with slaves (maybe four or five plantations).  David was one of the main beneficiaries.

          • David is thought to have sold most of the land/plantations/slaves he inherited in Adams County to consolidate his cotton operation into Jefferson County.

            • This is probably how David got Huntley Plantation in Jefferson County.

            • This is probably how David got Oakwood Plantation in Jefferson County which was originally owned by William G. Forman and probably by his partner Abijah Hunt as well.

            • This may have been how David got Wilderness Plantation which was in Adams County just south of Oakwood Plantation in Jefferson County.  William G. Forman is shown as the owner on the original land survey.

            • This is probably how David got Hole In The Wall Plantation in Concordia Parish, LA - just across the MS River from the Church Hill area of Jefferson County, MS.  Abijah Hunt's business partner in the Hunt and Smith firm, Elijah Smith, appears on the original land survey map to have owned some of the Hole in the Wall land.

        • 1813.  David was rich enough to replace the log cabin on Woodlawn with a large frame house.  Thus, David surely had moved back to Woodlawn from Calviton by then.

        • 1815.  The original land survey map shows a date of 1815 for David Hunt's ownership of the Black Creek Plantation land in Jefferson County.  An 1836 date of ownership by David Hunt is shown for some adjoining land.

        • 1816.  When David inherited part of Abijah's share of the Hunt and Smith firm in 1811 ( five stores and several public cotton gins), David was already running the firm himself.  There was a financial panic caused at that time by the War of 1812 (to get England to stop interfering with American shipping).  Many firms went bankrupt, and the other heirs to Abijah's part of the firm as well as the other partners in the firm readily sold out to David.  They thought the firm would go broke.  David kept expenses low and Hunt and Smith survived the hard times.  The War of 1812 was over by around 1816.  David closed the firm, sold the assets, and invested the money  from the sale of the Hunt and Smith stores and gins into a Bayou Pierre Plantation just north of Port Gibson in Claiborne County.  David probably sold this plantation sometime before 1860 because he is not listed as a large slaveowner in Claiborne County on the 1860 slave census.

        • 1816.  When David married Ann Ferguson in 1816, she is thought to have come to the marriage with three adjoining plantations - Lansdowne, Homewood Plantation, Wilderness - and later inherited a 1/2 interest in a fourth - Oakley Grove.  All four of these plantations were in Adams County north of Natchez.  She was a grandaughter of Robert Dunbar, the patriarch of the rich country plantation owning Dunbar clan in Adams county, which was just south of Jefferson County where Woodlawn was.  There also was another unrelated "city" Dunbar clan of plantation owners in Adams County.  Lansdowne and Oakley Grove definitely were from Ann's family - the Dunbars.  There is no reason to doubt that Homewood came from her family.  A business partner of David Hunt's Uncle Abijah (William Forman) owned the Wilderness Plantation land on the original land survey - so another possibility is that Wilderness Plantation came to David from his Uncle Abijah's estate (or David bought it from Mr. Forman).

        • 1818.  This is probably when David bought Southside Plantation in Jefferson County.  The original land survey map shows a 22 Jul 1818 date for Hunt's ownership of this land.

        • 1820.  David Hunt was enumerated with 101 slaves in Jefferson County, MS.  At some point Hunt also had slaves in Concordia and Tensas Parishes in LA as well as in Cliaborne, Adams and Issaquena Counties in MS.

        • 1820.  In around 1820 David inherited the entire Calvit estate which included three plantations - Calviton PlantationBrick Quarters and Fatlands Plantation - and probably other smaller property here and there in the area.  This was because Mary Ann Calvit's father had died leaving only one heir - a minor who died before becoming an adult.  David was next in line to the estate.

        • 1830.  David Hunt was enumerated with 251 slaves in Jefferson County, MS.  At some point Hunt also had slaves in Concordia and Tensas Parishes in LA as well as in Claiborne, Adams and Issaquena Counties in MS.

        • David had continually done a superior job of managing his cotton plantations.  Most other planters looked at him as the planter to model their operations on.  At one time or another he owned the following 25 plantations:  Arcola, Argyle, Ashland, Belle Ella, Black Creek, Brick Quarters, Buena Vista, Calviton, Fairview, Fatherland, Fatlands, Georgiana, Givin Place, Homewood, Hole-in-the-Wall, Huntley, Lansdowne, Oak Burn, Oakley Grove, Oakwood, Servis Island, Southside, Waverly, Wilderness, and Woodlawn.  He had about 1,100 slaves working on these 25 plantations.  His fortune and slave ownership probably peaked in 1848 at close to two million dollars and about 1,000 slaves.

        • David thus, had become one of only 35 millionaires in the U.S. (possibly the 7th richest).  He and probably his wife and children began to travel to Lexington, KY (which was near several of his relatives, and where there was a large slave market) in the summers to escape the MS heat and yellow fever threat (a deadly disease carried by mosquitoes).  He lived on Woodlawn in the winters, and it has been written that he had various town houses in Natchez.

        • David sold a lot of the land that U.S. President Zachary Taylor's Cypress Grove Plantation (later renamed Buena Vista) in Jefferson County, MS was soon located on to a man who consolidated the land with the land of others and then sold it to President Taylor.  Hunt also sold Ashland and Servis Island Plantations in Jefferson County to David Servis - a former Woodlawn Plantation overseer. 

        • Seven of David's children with Ann Ferguson grew to adulthood and all married.  The five who married before the Civil War were given at least one of the above plantations, 100 slaves and a set of table silver from Baltimore when they married in addition to what their spouses parents gave to the newlyweds.  It took about 100 slaves to be in the elite top richest slave holders in the Natchez area.  Thus, David's children were all in this group who lived in big houses on their plantations and travelled around by carriage.  At the time of the Civil War, David and Ann Hunt and their children and spouses held 1,700 slaves.

        • 1860.  David Hunt was enumerated with 365 slaves in Jefferson County, MS.  He also had 99 slaves in Concordia Parish, LA; about 100 in Tensas Parish, LA; and about 50 slaves in Issaquena County, MS.  By 1860 he had given away 7 or 8 of his plantations and 500 to about 700 of his slaves to his children.

        • David Hunt still lived on Woodlawn when he died in 1861 at the beginning of the Civil War.  His wife Ann stayed on at the plantation until her death a few years later.  The remaining plantations and investments (railroad stock; business real estate in Cincinnati, Ohio; and tens of thousands of acres in the MS delta - rich bottom land along the MS River - north of Jefferson County) that had not already been given to Hunt's children were divided up and dispersed.

      • Dunbar Hunt

        • David's son Dunbar probably got Woodlawn shortly after David died in 1861.

          • Dunbar was valedictorian of his graduating class at Oakland College in Claiborne County, MS.  Then he completed seminary to become a Presbyterian minister - probably in Baltimore, MD.  Dunbar married Leila Lawrece Brent of Baltimore.  They moved to Woodlawn with Dunbar's then widowed mother Ann Ferguson Hunt shortly after the Civil War.

  • Overseers
    • David Servis was one of the overseers at Woodlawn.  David Hunt later sold Ashland Plantation in Jefferson County and probably Servis Island Plantation too to Mr. Servis.  An area in Jefferson County that is adjacent to the historic Ashland Plantation site goes by the name of Services Island.  It makes sense that this is where Servis Island Plantation was and that in addition to Ashland, it was sold to Mr. Servis. 


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")


A possible reason that so little is known about the slaves on the various Hunt clan plantations could be because of when David Hunt died.  He not die until 1861 (about when the slaves were freed) at the start of the Civil War.  Often the only time one gets complete lists of the slaves' names on a plantation is when the owner dies and an inventory is taken for the heirs or new owners.  While it's possible that an inventory will turn up for one of his 25 plantations, it seems most likely at this point that the information about individual slaves will come in one person at a time.


  • Total number of slaves enumerated as belonging to David Hunt in the various census figures over the years (that have been found so far) with gifts to his children listed as well. 
    • 1805 Census - 9 slaves 
      • Jefferson County - 9 slaves, probably on Woodlawn Place.
    • 1808 Census - 11 slaves 
      • Jefferson County - 11 slaves, probably on Woodlawn Place. 
    • 1810 Census - 24 slaves 
      • Jefferson County - 24 slaves, probably on Woodlawn Plantation.  This is about when Woodlawn reached the 20 slave threshold which took it from farm to plantation status. 
    • 1816 Census - 103 slaves 
      • Jefferson County - 70 slaves, possibly on Woodlawn, Huntley, Oakwood and Black Creek Plantations.  This would have averaged out to about 17 slaves per plantation. 
      • Claiborne County - David hunt had 31 slaves (David Hunt's son Dunbar wrote that David bought a plantation on the Bayou Pierre in Claiborne County with the money he got when he closed the Hunt and Smith stores and gins and sold them.  This probably happenned in around 1816.)
    • 1820 Census - 101 slaves 
      • Jefferson County - 101 slaves.  In 1820 Hunt probably owned the following five Jefferson County Plantations:  Woodlawn, Southside, Black Creek, Huntley and Oakwood.  If these are the correct plantations he owned then, there would be an average of 20 slaves per plantation.
        • 26 male slaves under 13yrs old
        • 17 male slaves 14 to 25yrs old
        • 16 male slaves 26 to 44yrs old
        • 6 male slaves over 45yrs old
        • 16 female slaves under the age of 13 yrs old
        • 11 female slaves 14 to 25yrs old
        • 7 female slaves 26 to 44yrs old
        • 2 female slaves over the age of 45yrs old
      • Adams County - David Hunt is shown with most of his family, but no slaves.
    • 1830 Federal Census - 251 slaves 
      • Jefferson County - 251 slaves.  In 1830 David Hunt probably owned Woodlawn, Fatlands, Southside, Brick Quarters, Black Creek, Calviton, Huntley, Waverly and Oakwood Plantations in Jefferson County.  This comes out to an average of 31 slaves per plantation.  However, it is still unclear if he owned Ashland, Buena Vista and Servis Island Plantations in Jefferson County by 1830.
        • 33 male slaves 0 to 10 years old
        • 55 male slaves 10 to 24 years old
        • 22 male slaves 24 to 36 years old
        • 17 male slaves 36 to 55 years old
        • 3 male slaves 55 to 100 years old
        • 40 female slaves 0 to 10 years old
        • 50 female slaves 10 to 24 years old
        • 20 female slaves 24 to 36 years old
        • 11  female slaves 36 to 55 years old
    • 1836 - Some slaves and Oakwood Plantation were given to David's daughter Mary Ann when she married James Archer.  Early historians wrote that David gave each child at least 100 slaves when they married.  At any rate, the five who married before the Civil War each had roughly between one and two hundred each by the time of the 1860 census.  Mary Ann and James had 98 slaves in Jefferson County, MS in the 1860 census.
    • 1848 - David Hunt's slave ownership probably peaked at around 1,000.
    • 1848 (approximately)
      • Some slaves and Calviton and probably a plantation on Deer Creek in Issaquena County were given to David's son Abijah when he married.  Calviton had 88 slaves by the time of the 1860 census. 
      • About 150 slaves and Huntley and Georgiana Plantations were given to David's son George when he married.  Huntley had 59 slaves and Georgiana had (147 + 13) 160 slaves by the time of the 1860 census.  Possibly the group of 13 in parenthesis had originally been Abijah's; however, Abijah had died by 1860.
    • 1850
      • Federal Slave Schedule
        • Jefferson County, MS.  David Hunt is listed with 378 slaves.
        • Concordia Parish, LA.  Slaves are listed for David Hunt on pages 419 and 421.
      • Some slaves and Homewood Plantation were given to David's daughter Catherine when she married William S. Balfour.  William had 177 slaves on his Issaquena County, MS plantation (named either Only or Olny) by the time of the 1860 census.  William's father, who had died by 1860, had other plantations; but these probably went to William's siblings.  Homewood probably had between 25 and 50 slaves.
    • 1852 - Some slaves and Lansdowne in Adams County MS and Arcola in Tensas Parish, LA were given to David's daughter Charlotte when she married George Marshall.  Lansdowne had 22 slaves and Arcola had 104 slaves by the time of the 1860 census. 
    • 1860 Federal Slave Schedule - 686 slaves 
      • Jefferson County - 386 slaves.
        • Thus, the six Jefferson County plantations Hunt owned in 1860 would have averaged 61 slaves each.  They were:
          • Woodlawn - David Hunt's country residence.
          • Fatlands
          • Southside
          • Brick Quarters
          • Black Creek
          • Waverly
        • By 1860 Hunt had already disposed of six other Jefferson County plantations that he had owned.  They were:
          • Oakwood
          • Calviton
          • Huntley
          • Ashland
          • Servis Island
          • Buena Vista
      • Concordia Parish - 99 slaves on Hole in the Wall Plantation 
      • Tensas Parish - 103 slaves on Argyle Plantation.  Hunt had given Arcola to his daughter Charlotte by 1860.
      • Issaquena County - 98 slaves on a plantation with a still unknown name.  Hunt had given Gerogiana to his son George by 1860.


From the WPA Slave Narratives: Cyrus Bellus, age 73 (Though the narrative doesn't mention Woodlawn by name, this family probably lived on Woodlawn because the mention of tanning vats and making cloth matches up with the description of the slave training program that David Hunt's son Dunbar described on Woodlawn.)

  • Matilda Bellus - wife of Cyrus Bellus I; had a son (Cyrus Bellus II b.1865, he married in 1932, he had no children) who recorded a WPA Slave Narrative; she was a field worker
  • Cyrus Bellus - husband of Matilda Bellus; had a son (Cyrus Bellus II b.1865) who recorded a WPA Slave Narrative, he was a field worker
  • Annie Hall - wife of Stephen Hall; mother of Matilda Hall (Bellus); she spun thread, wove cloth and knitted socks on Woodlawn Plantation which was probably sent to supply all of David Hunt's other plantations.
  • Stephen Hall - husband of Annie Hall; father of Matilda Hall (Bellus)
  • John Major - husband of Dinah Major; father of Cyrus Bellus I
  • Dinah Major - wife of John Major; mother of Cyrus Bellus I


Born in Slavery: Slave Narratives from the Federal Writers' Project, 1936-1938, Arkansas, Peter Brown (Helena, Arkansas), age 86

  • Peter Brown (b. Mar. 1, 1852) - recorded a WPA Slave Narrative
  • Jane Brown - wife of William Brown; had a son (Peter Brown); had ten children including three sets of twins (Jonas and Sofa, Peter and Alice, and Isaac and Jacob)
  • William Brown - husband of Jane Brown; had a son named Peter Brown
  • Sofa Bane - grandmother of Peter Brown
  • Peter Bane - grandfather of Peter Brown


From a family account of Elizabeth Hunt's life 

  • Tildie - She had lived on Woodlawn Plantation before the Civil War. She went with David Hunt's daughter Elizabeth to live in New Orleans when Elizabeth married in 1865. They lived in a town house on the corner of Jackson Street and Carondelet Street in the Garden District of New Orleans. Tildie slept in the nursery with the children. At some point in the late 1800's after Elizabeth Hunt had died, her widower had lost enough of the family money that he had to sell the house on Jackson Street.  He briefly rented a house on Carondelet Street before moving the family to Hole In The Wall Plantation in Claiborne County Mississippi. It is thought that Tildie married in New Orleans. Nothing is known after that.


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.)


  • (Bulletted list of primary sources, plantation records from archives, books, microfilm, etc., that you think would help the reader to find his/ her ancestors.)
  • Library archives.
    • The University of Texas at Austin is supposed to have the bulk of the known plantation records for Abijah Hunt, David Hunt (Abijah Hunt's nephew who seems to have gotten the bulk of Abijah Hunt's estate) and George Ferguson Hunt (David Hunt's son who got Abijah Hunt's Huntley Plantation in Jefferson County, MS)
      • The Natchez Trace Collection Supplement has a folder with some of Abijah Hunts papers in Box 4BZ25, lot 7.  The page at the following link tells what is in this folder.  Scroll down the page slightly to see the information.  http://www.lib.utexas.edu/taro/utcah/01227/cah-01227.html
      • The Natchez Trace Small Manuscripts Collection has folders containing some of the papers of Abijah Hunt, David Hunt and George Ferguson Hunt.  This is a link to the index of the collection.  http://www.lib.utexas.edu/taro/utcah/00140/cah-00140.html 
        •  The Abijah and David Hunt folders are in Box 2E562
        • The George Ferguson Hunt folders are in Box 2E1004 and 2E1007. 
      • Email the UT at Austin library here http://www.lib.utexas.edu/taro/contact.html with the collection name and box no. asking approximately what is in the floder you are interested in and how many documents it contains.  They give you three options to get more specific information.
        • Visit the library yourself and get copies of what you want from their collection
        • E-mail them an order with your credit card number to have an entire folder copied and mailed to you.  They will not search out specific papers from a folder to copy and send to you - you must get the entire folder.  With sometimes hundreds of papers in a folder at 25 cents per page plus other charges, it could cost you close to $100 to get the information sent to you.
        • You can hire a "proxy" researcher from their list to go in and sort through the folder(s) you are interested in, who can copy only what you want and mail it to you.  http://www.cah.utexas.edu/services/proxy_researcher.php
    • The public library at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, LA has a collection of papers from the David Hunt family.  The collection has 21 items in it pertaining to David Hunt.  This link tells in general what is in this collection.  http://www.lib.lsu.edu/special/guides/natchez.html 
    • The University of Southern Mississippi in Hattisburg has "The Natchez Trace Research Collection".  It has information pertaining to the Hunt family plantations.
    • The Mississippi State Archives in Jackson has folders for David Hunt and for James Archer (married David Hunt's daughter Mary Ann and got David's Oakwood Plantation).  You can do a search at the following link to get a description of the contents of their folders at:   http://mdah.state.ms.us/
    • The Adams and Jefferson County MS libraries as well as the Concordia and Tensas Parish public libraries probably have information on the Hunts.
  • Books
    • The book, The Natchez Court Records by May Wilson McBee has early records on the Hunts.  It is in most of the bigger libraries.
    • Antebellum Natchez by D. Clayton James.  Doesn't have slave names, just general information on the Hunts and other planters in the Natchez area.
    • Early Settlers of Mississippi by Walter Lowrie shows only land purchases by the early Natchez area planters like Abijah Hunt.
    • Mississippi-Louisiana Border Country:  A History of Rodney, Miss,, St. Joseph, La,, and Environs by Marie T. Logan has only information about the planters like David Hunt (not the slaves) and their plantations in and around Rodney, MS.
    • Several books have photo spreads and information about Lansdowne and Homewood Plantations (belonged to David Hunt's daughters Charlotte and Catherine).  They don't give slave information - just info on the plantation owners and how opulent the houses were for their time.
      • In Old Natchez by Catharine Van Court has - no slave information.
      • Natchez The Houses and History of the Jewl of the Mississippi by Hugh Howard and Roger Straus III - no slave information
      • Under Live Oaks The Last Great Houses of the Old South by Caroline Seebohm and Peter Woloszynski 


Miscellaneous Information

(Any additional information that does not fit under the preset headings)


  • The following website contains narratives by slaves who escaped to freedom. www.docsouth.unc.edu . They can give the reader a most full understanding of what slavery was really like for the slaves. One of the best narratives from the website is: http://www.docsouth.unc.edu/neh/campbell/campbell.html



(Bulletted list of primary references that you used to add information to this page)



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