Natchez Court and Land Records, 1767-1805

The Natchez Court Records and the Written Evidence of Land Claims offer a detailed view into the legal and territorial history of the Natchez District, which is now part of several Mississippi counties. The Natchez District included Wilkinson, Adams, Jefferson, Claiborne, Warren, Franklin, and Amite counties. Initially, this district was part of the British Province of West Florida, governed from Pensacola. After the Spanish took control in 1779, governance was managed from New Orleans until 1781. Following a brief insurrection, a Commandant was appointed to govern the district locally.

The Spanish regime’s court records, covering the years 1781 to 1798, are comprehensively available. These records document various transactions, arbitrations, and tribunal matters. The records were translated, abstracted, and transcribed by David Turner, the Keeper and Translator of the Spanish Records of the Mississippi Territory, between March 1817 and September 1818. The original documents, written in French, Spanish, and English, are preserved in forty volumes and can be found in the office of the Chancery Clerk of Adams County, Natchez, Mississippi.

When the United States acquired the Natchez District from Spain, it was agreed that all legal land claims would be recognized. To confirm these claims, written proofs of title were required to be submitted to the U.S. Government. These abstracts of title are recorded in seven volumes labeled “A” through “G” and are held in the Department of Interior, Land Division, National Archives in Washington, D.C. An additional volume, “H,” contains a few British land grants. The first few pages of Book “A” provide instructions from the U.S. Government regarding the confirmation of claims, describing different types and requirements for each.

The original files of these claims, numbering 2098, are also available at the National Archives. As of an examination conducted in July-August 1952, some files were missing, particularly 296 of the first 300. Despite these gaps, the remaining files offer detailed information not included in the Written Evidences.

The Natchez Court Records and the Written Evidence of Land Claims are presented in two main sections: the court records from 1781 to 1798, and the written evidence of land claims from 1767 to 1805. Notes and full name index are included at the end of the volume. This comprehensive documentation provides a crucial historical resource for understanding the legal and territorial evolution of the Natchez District during the transition from British to Spanish to American control.

Table of Contents

Natchez Court Records, 1781-1798, p. 1
Written Evidence of Land Claims, 1767-1805, p. 351
Notes, p. 592
Bibliography, p. 602
Index, p. 605

There were two pages in the book that I have pulled from the PDF file so that it is more readable online. These two pages are found below and were a foldout between pages 352 and 353.

Don Cato West land transaction, 1789


McBee, May Wilson, The Natchez court records, 1767-1805, Ann Arbor, Michigan : Edwards Brothers, Inc., 1953.



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