The Free State of Jones

Revisiting the Free State of Jones on its Twentieth Anniversary!

I had a wonderful evening with the Mississippi Museum of History via zoom last night! You can watch my contribution to the “Many Stories” series here!

6 replies »

  1. Hi,I missed the video last night. I clicked on the link in your email, but couldn’t find your video on Facebook. Could you resend the link or more info?

    I’m continuing to look into my Thornton family in Smith County, MS, during the Civil War years. Some of the Thorntons married Valentines, so I’m trying to see if there is a link with the Jones County Valentines.

    Take care,Diane


  2. Diane,

    Did you click on the link I provided, above? The Museum had some glitches getting the video to post, but they fixed them, and I then reposted it. I just checked it, and it worked for me.



  3. Dr. Bynum:

    I am on my second read of a book that I happened upon last Sunday as being published by WW Norton this Tuesday past: “When Evil Lived in Laurel: The ‘White Knights’ and the Murder of Vernon Dahmer.” It is generally set in 1965-1968.

    It must be read against your esteemed history of the Free State of Jones to appreciate the bitter irony when a century later Jones County became “a hotbed for the Klan.”

    I am a 56 year-old ancestor of Newt Knight’s father and read your book twice severalyears back. It is little odd that I only lived in Jones County most of mychildhood because my dad got an accounting position at a large local company in 1973. My parents hale from Natchez.

    I had no idea of the evil that had infested the county until roughly 1968. I recognize many of the surnames and a few parents of classmates. I am still a little shocked.

    I don’t know if you have heard about this book, but the notorious nature of the home of my growing years–thru 1986– that is displayed in your book and Mr. Wilkie’s account of 100 years on, have disturbed and intrigued me. I have read another of his books and find him superb.

    I just had to share this with you.

    Sincerely yours,

    W. Perry Hall

    Liked by 1 person

    • W. Perry Hall,
      I have indeed heard of this book from Jones County native, Cindy DeVall, who also recommended it as a powerful, must-read history about the murder of Vernon Dahmer and the trial that followed. I now have it on Kindle and can’t wait to begin reading it! Thank you for your endorsement of it, and for having read The Free State of Jones as well. I’m sure I’ll have more to say once I’ve read Curtis Wilkie’s book.



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