Wednesday, October 16, 2013

A wonderful find!

The Perry County, Mississippi courthouse burned in 1877 with a near total records loss. Family lore has William Simmons (my 2nd great-granduncle) as Sheriff of Perry County in the 1850s-1860s. I had him as tax assessor on multiple tax rolls, and according to the Chancery Court, the sheriff also acted in the role of tax assessor. However, I have never been able to find anything official with the name William Simmons and sheriff in the same sentence. In the book, Life and Confession of the Noted Outlaw James Copeland, written by J. R. S. Pitts who was Sheriff in 1857, Pitts mentions that the warrant for gang member S. S. Shoemake was obtained by Hon. Wm. Simmons so my William was serving in several roles.

The Perry County Sheriff’s Office was contacted and they didn’t have any sort of list of sheriffs, again citing the records loss of 1877.  I hadn’t thought to contact the Chancery Court for this sort of record until a fellow researcher suggested it.   I called and the clerk found a piece of paper that lists all of the sheriff's of Perry County and their swear in dates.  My William served 5 terms as sheriff. What is even better is that on this piece of paper is the exact location at the Mississippi Department of Archives and History (MDAH) where the original documents are held. WOO HOO!!! Is about all I can say right now. How these records survived I don’t know.   The Chancery court is mailing me a copy of the paper and then I will be able to request copies of the original oaths of office.  It was so funny because the clerk said, “There is something written on the bottom.  It says the source for this information is RG [number] and Box [number]”  I started laughing because I knew that RG stands for Record Group and Box designates the physical box the files are at the state archives.  She didn’t know what it meant but I sure did.

Copyright © 2013 Michele Simmons Lewis

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations! That is a great find and exciting too! No telling how many nuggets of information are located at the Chancery Court and local historical books.