The Free State of Jones

B.T. Collins on John H. Powell, Jones County Delegate to the Mississippi Secession Convention of 1861

The following is a guest-post by B. T. Collins, great-grandson of Jasper Collins, and great-great grandson of John H. Powell. John Hathorne Powell was Jasper’s father-in-law, and also Jones County’s delegate to the Mississippi Convention of 1861, where delegates voted to take the state out of the Union.

One of the people that has probably been overlooked is John H. Powell. The Powells came from Georgia and arrived in Jones County about 1843. The Powells owned a few slaves. John served as postmaster in Ellisville and was Justice of the Peace and later Probate Judge. When Jones County held the election for representatives to the Mississippi Secession Convention John Powell Received 166 votes and Baylis received 89 votes. This is a different figure from that reported in Ethel Knight’s “The Echo Of the Black Horn”. Nevertheless it was sufficient to show that the majority of those who voted were Unionist.
John went to Jackson and on the first vote he voted against secession but subsequently went along with the crowd and voted for secession. When he came home he had been appointed Provost Marshal by General Vandorn and Beal. He wrote to the Governor asking for instructions as to his duties and if he were entitled to any compensation.

The Powells were a religious family and were instrumental in establishing the Indian Springs Baptist Church just west of Laurel. Around the end of the war in October of 1865 they sold out in Jones County and moved to Smith County. Later John and some of his family set out for Alvarado, Texas. They were active in the Alvarado Baptist where he acted as moderator. John and his wife Eliza Spears Powell are both buried in the Alvarado Cemetery.

I have often wondered about the relationship between Jasper and his father-in-law John. It couldn’t have been very cordial but who knows. He was my gr. gr. Grandfather on Gatzy’s side of the family. [note: Gatzy Powell was Jasper Collins’s wife]

Transcribed document of delegate election from Jones County:
The following is a true action of an election began and held on Thursday the 20th day of December A. D. 1860 in Jones County for one delegate to the State Convention to be held at the city of Jackson on the 7th day of January next (1861).
Delegate
John McCormick Baylis rec’d eighty nine votes (to secede) 89 (35%)
John H. Powell, Jr. one hundred & sixty six votes (not to secede) 166 (65%)

The State of Mississippi
Jones County
I, E. M. Devall Sheriff and General Returning Officer of Jones County do certify the above to be a true return of an election held in Jones County on the 20th day of December AD 1860 for one delegate to the State Convention on the 7th day of January next as returned to me by the managers and clerks of said election.

7 replies »

  1. [Note from Vikki, moderator of Renegade South: The following are questions about the John H. Powell line that were posed to Ed Payne by Tim Sumrall. Ed Payne's answers to Tim follow. See also Tim Sumrall's comments listed under the post, "About Renegade South"]

    From Tim Sumrall:

    I’m not a genealogist but have been sniffing around the internet looking for information about my Sumrall ancestors and came across this page:

    http://www.natchezbelle.org/ahgp-ms/jones/powell1.htm

    which indicates that Martha Rushing was a daughter of Samantha Powell and Joel Eli Rushing, and that Samantha was a daughter of John H. Powell and Elizabeth Spears. I began searching for Powell information after reading the information that Shirley provided on that Walters pages that she found Martha and several of her sisters resident with John H. Powell in the 1860 Jones County census (I have not seen those pages). It started me wondering if there was family relationship between Martha and the Powell family. Have you seen this Powell information before? Do you think this could be the Martha Rushing that married first Mr. Walters and second my great-grandfather’s father Jacob Sumrall? I also noted that the first son of Martha and Jacob was named Joel, and the second son (my great grandfather) was named Eli Theodore.

    From Ed Payne:

    Martha Rushing, as you indicate, was the daughter of Samantha Powell Rushing and the grand-daughter of John Hathorne Powell. She married George Warren Walters around the end of 1860. They had two children before George’s death at Camp Douglas, IL in 1865. One of these was my gr-grandfather, Warren Vinson Walters.

    I have done a fair amont of research on Martha, including her second marriage to Jacob Sumrall. Jacob’s lineage is a bit of a puzzle, but there might be an explanation for that. Martha had three children with Jacob before dying in Kaufman Co, TX ca 1875. By 1880 her two children with George Warren Walters had returned to Jones County to live with their grandmother, Sarah Collins Walters Parker.

    One interesting tidbit is that Warren Vinson Walters maintained contact with his half sister Magdalene (Maggie) Sumrall Roundtree. She was listed as a surviving sister in his obituary in 1937.

  2. Ed, I’m glad to find that the information about Martha Rushing was correct. I’d appreciate any information you’d like to share about Martha Rushing and her family, as well as Jacob Sumrall. I had not even heard about John H. Powell until reading this excellent book, much less known that he was the great grandfather of my great grandfather (and yours also, it seems?). I wonder if Jacob’s move to Texas was in anyway connected to John H. Powell’s much earlier move? Kaufman County is about 2 counties east of Johnson County (Alvarado) – Johnson County is adjacent to Dallas County on the southwest, and Kaufman County is adjacent to Dallas County on the east. Anyway, thanks for providing this verification.
    Tim Sumrall

  3. Tim, I hope to post an article on Martha Rushing here on Renegade South before the end of the year. Hope it may provoke some additional people coming forward with information.

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