The Free State of Jones

Announcement: My upcoming visit to Leiden University

In less than a month I’ll be traveling to Leiden University, Leiden, The Netherlands, to give a presentation on the Free State of Jones. The occasion is Leiden University’s three month lecture series, “The American Civil War after 150 Years: An Unfinished War?”  I’ll deliver my lecture at 5:00 p.m, Tuesday, April 26, at the university, Lipsius, room 003.

I’m excited to take the story of Jones County’s Civil War uprising to an international audience, and also excited that Gregg will accompany me on this journey. Together, we’ll be visiting Amsterdam and London, as well as Leiden, and return home on May 3.

This means there will likely be no new essays posted to Renegade South before the middle of May; nor will I have my laptop with me. All incoming comments will be moderated and posted as soon as possible.


Vikki Bynum, Moderator

16 replies »

  1. This is so wonderful, Vikki. You very much deserve this honor. If Newt and Rachel could only see how far their story from deep in the backwoods of Mississippi has traveled. This could happen as a result of your diligence and historical professionalism.


  2. Congratulations on this invitation! Yes, I am still around and, surprisingly, can’t leave the history gig altogether. I have been doing some independent research on war topics and even had a young man from a Georgia high school contact me for an interview for a school project. Hope all is well and your trip and lecture a success.



  3. Thank you, Greg! It’s great to hear from you again, and, no, it’s NOT surprising to hear you are still doing historical research. Good luck to you!



  4. That’s great that you will be spreading the story of Jones County. I just finished reading your book “The Free State Of Jones” and enjoyed it greatly. My great-grandfather was from Jones County and my grandfather was born there. Wish I knew more about what great grandpa did after he was discharged from the 7th Mississippi Battalion because of a wound at Cornith. Thanks for the great book!


    • It’s really nice to hear from you, John, and thanks for your good words. Perhaps someone, including me, might have some information on your great grandfather if you identified him. If you don’t want to do so on the blog, you could send it to me privately.



  5. Thanks Vikki, for the kind words. My great-grandfather was John Grantham and he and his two brothers, Alexander and Daniel all served in Co. B, 7th Mississippi Battalion. Alexander died in prison at Alton, Ill. but the other two survived the war. John was discharged in Dec. 1863 because of a wound and I assume returned home. I just wonder what he thought of the Newt Knight Army?


  6. John,

    Thanks for the information!

    I checked my records (the Governors Papers) and found John Grantham’s name on a petition to Gov. Wm. Sharkey dated 29 July 1865. That petition was in opposition to the state’s appointment, in the wake of Confederate defeat, of V.A. Collins as judge and T. J. Huff as sheriff. Vinson A. Collins was a staunch Unionist above the age of conscription during the war. All but one of his brothers fought against the Confederacy, three in the Knight company, and three in the Big Thicket, TX, band led by Warren J. Collins. T. J. Huff deserted the Confederate Army and for a time joined the Knight band. So John Grantham did take a stand against the Knight Company here.

    On the other hand, Ed Payne, in his ongoing research into Piney Woods, Ms, men who joined the Union Army, lists a James Grantham from neighboring Perry County as having been mustered into the New Orleans 1st Infantry (Union Army) on 6/29/1864. That Grantham died on March 11, 1865.

    Interesting. Like so many families in this region, including my Bynum ancestors, the Granthams may have included both Confederate and Unionist branches.



  7. Thank you so much for the information! It will help me in my search for more knowledge of my ancestors. He came from the North Carolina/South Carolina area just like the men you described in your book. I am going to try and get some of the books and other information you mentioned in your book to learn more about the Jones County area. I hope to visit there later this year. Thanks again for your time and effort.


  8. John & Vikki:

    To help substantiate that the men I’m researching resided in the Mississippi Piney Woods prior to the war, I’ve done census crosschecks. The James Grantham who enlisted in the 1st New Orleans, as noted, was from Perry Co and died during his term of serve. He seems to have been the James Grantham found on the 1850 & 1860 census, a son of Daniel and Charity Grantham. ( has the 1850 surname mis-transcribed as “Jonathan” but I submitted a correction.)

    The key point is that Daniel Grantham of Perry Co (1810~1859, born NC) appears to have been a brother of William Grantham of Jones Co (1808~1895, born NC). And William was the father of John, Daniel, and Alexander. If so, Union enlistee James was a first cousin of 7th Battn enlistees John, Daniel, and Alexander.

    Ed P.


  9. Congratulations – you have worked many hours gathering so much information – hope you have a wonderful trip. Thanks again for all the history you have shared so freely with all – and especially for “The Free State of Jones”. Great Grandfather Newt would be very proud, I am sure!



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