MISSISSIPPI TERRITORY (Mississippi and Alabama): The Earliest Everett Arrivals and Researched Family Lines
The Mississippi Territory was created in 1798. At first it was simply a narrow strip of land through what is now south central Alabama and Mississippi. It stretched from the Chattahoochee River at the western boundary of Georgia all the way westward to the Mississippi River. It did not include the coastal areas of Pensacola, Mobile and New Orleans which were in the possession of the Spanish. Most of this land encompassed the territories of the Creeks to the east, the Choctaw to the west, the Chickasaw to the northwest, and a few scattered smaller tribes. Settlers who wished to travel from Georgia through the Creek lands to the west were required to secure a "passport" signed by the Governor. The earliest Everett to receive a passport was a Henry Averitt in 1804 from Washington County, Georgia, but his destination was not identified. In 1810, a Martin Everett from Edgefield District, South Carolina and a Charles Everett, possibly from Putnam County, Georgia, also received passports (See the Potter reference).
By 1800, Washington County was created from the Tombigbee District and encompassed two-thirds of the territory. Adams and Pickering Counties were created from the Natchez District at the far west on the Mississippi River. Most of the earliest settlers to the territory appeared to travel from the North down the Mississippi River. Many came from the Atlantic states through western Virginia and North Carolina. In 1800 86% (7600) of the population of the Mississippi Territory lived in these two counties on the Mississippi River and nearly 40% of the total population at that time were identified as slaves.
The town of St. Stephens, on the west bank of the Tombigbee River, in present day Washington County, Alabama, was established by the Spanish as a fort as early as 1783. This location became the primary destination and stopping-off point for most of the settlers moving from the southeastern states into the central and western Mississippi Territory. Other pioneers arrived from the North down the Tennessee River and near Muscle Shoals to the Tombigbee. Thus, records from this area are significant in tracking our early pioneer ancestors. The Choctaw Trading Post was established there in 1800. It was not until 1805 that the Creek Indians agreed to allow a horse path to be established from the Chattahoochee River to the Alabama River. Two years later Congress authorized the construction of the Federal Road, upon which most of the later settlers traveled, from Athens, Georgia to St. Stephens, and eventually to New Orleans. As early as 1816 a Benjamin Everett, possibly from Maryland, was working at the trading post and in 1817 he was appointed as Assistant Agent. He certainly would have been known to the other Everetts who passed through St. Stephens on their way westward. He married Martha Washington Gaines, the sister of the well known pioneer George Strother Gaines, who was appointed the second agent (factor) for the Choctaw Trading Post (See the Pate reference).
The U.S. Census of 1810 enumerated inhabitants of the territory by county. At that time, the Old Natchez District, lying in the western territory on the Mississippi River, and a portion of the Indian Cession of 1805 had been subdivided into the counties of Adams, Amite, Claiborne, Franklin, Jefferson, Warren, and Wilkinson. Washington County had been established in 1800 to include the former Tombigbee District and that portion of the 1805 cession which was east of the Pearl River, extending into areas of what would become Alabama. Prior to the admission of Mississippi as a state, another census was ordered in 1816. By this time, the additional counties of Greene, Pike, Hancock, Jackson, Lawrence, Marion, Pike, and Wayne had been formed.
The earliest Everetts on record in the counties of the western Mississippi Territory were two William Everetts, probably a father and son, who were identified in the 1805 census of Wilkinson County. A William Averit and a John Avrit were enumerated in the 1810 and 1816 censuses in Amite County. Also in Amite County a Charles Everett married a Cay Rents in 1810 and a James Everett married a Lydia Brown in 1816. A William Everett was identified as having patented 450 acres west of the Pearl River on Buffalo Creek by 1797. We have searched many sources and consulted with archivists in Jackson, but we have been unable to identify the location of Buffalo Creek.
The earliest Everett in the eastern Mississippi Territory appears to have been a William Everett. He is identified as early as 1795 on a registered brand document and he first bought land on the Tombigbee River from a British claim in 1804. His wife was identified as Elizabeth Everett. A John Everett is identified in the Trading Post receipts in 1804. John Fagan Everett, the grandson of the Tyrrell County, North Carolina Nathaniel Everett (1707-1782). His father was John Everett (1743-1820) [see our North Carolina page] was identified as the Assistant Quarter Master General at the Choctaw Trading Post in 1814 and he bought land in St. Stephens in 1815. He was also serving as a Justice of the Peace in 1816. He and a James Everett appear in the 1816 census. By 1821 John Fagan and his wife, Sarah Hand Everett had sold their land to their son, Enoch Everett, and moved to Mobile to serve as a Justice of the Peace. As we mentioned above, Benjamin Everett appeared on the staff of the Choctaw (St. Stephens) Trading Post in 1816. Our own ancestors, Thomas and Penelope (Rogers) Everett arrived in Lawrence County (Mississippi) by 1816. They purchased land from the St. Stephens Land Office in 1818 and lived there until moving, for unknown reasons, to Hinds County (Mississippi) in 1830.
Other appearing in the Trading Post records include:
William Everett, Jr. 1810
Mary Everett 1810 Census
James Everett 1811
Larkin Everett 1811
Joseph Everett 1811
George Everett 1812
Frederick Everett 1813
A Thomas T. Everett appeared in the 1820 census in Jackson County, just west of Mobile.
Mississippi became a state in 1817. By 1820, more Everetts had arrived and the census records revealed three geographically distinct family groups which resided in Amite County, Lawrence County, and Jackson County.
When Mississippi became a state in 1817, the remaining land to the east became Alabama Territory. It became the state of Alabama in 1819. Many of the early Everett settlers in this area of West Central Alabama arrived while it was still a territory. Most appear to have been descendents of the family of John and Sarah Fagan Everett family that we traced from Eastern North Carolina into Effingham/Bulloch, Georgia by 1785.
Most prominent was Johnís son, Enoch, and his wife Margaret (Bird) Everett who arrived around 1815-1817. Many of their children migrated to Wayne County, Mississippi. Enochís older brother and his wife, Jehu Winott Everett and Mary Jones Everett moved to Alabama in 1825. It is believed that many of their children remained in the Washington County, Alabama area (though this has not been supported by DNA data) and some of the next generation moved to Clarke County, Mississippi (See the Register and Lewis references).
The DNA Project Data
The data from our DNA Project provides specific DNA profiles of descendants of early progenitors in certain geographical locations. The DNA volunteers and/or their family member researchers have provided the data on their family lines. In some cases, based on the paper research, there are disagreements as to whom was the earliest progenitor and how the family lines are connected.
For Mississippi we have DNA profiles on the following family lines:
Thomas and Penelope Everett Lawrence/Hinds Counties, arrived 1816 from GA/NC
Thomas T. Everett/Henry Jackson Everett Jones County, arrived from Old Augusta,
(We have been unable to locate descendants of the early Everett settlers in Amite County)
For Alabama we have DNA profiles on the following family lines:
Benjamin Everitt, Jr. Washington County, arrived 1814 from Tennessee/Maryland
(See Edward Elton Everett reference)
Jehu Winott Everett Washington County, arrived 1825 from Georgia
Joseph Joel Blassenger Everett Washington County, arrived from Pulaski County,
[The large group of Everetts who reside or were born in the area of St. Stephens (Washington County, Alabama) have identified their family line to the brothers, Jehu and Ennoch Everett, who migrated from Bulloch County, GA. However, DNA data has not supported this link and we are waiting for additional DNA results to clarify this.]
Edward Elton Everitt, The Everitt Orchard, 1977.
Ted Evan Lewis, The Family of Bridger and Rachel Barry Jones of Bulloch County, Georgia and Some Affiliated Families. Baltimore: Gateway Press, 1999.
James P. Pate (Ed.), The Reminiscences of George Strother Gaines: Pioneer and Statesman of Early Alabama and Mississippi, 1805-1843, Tuscaloosa, AL: University of Alabama Press, 1998.
Dorothy Williams Potter, Passports Of Southeastern Pioneers 1770-1823, Baltimore: Gateway Press, 1982.
Alvaretta Kenan Register, Everett/Everitt Family: A Genealogical History. Statesboro, Georgia, 1987