If you have an opportunity to visit the Mississippi Department of Archives and History in Jackson, you should do so. The facility is top notch with many reference books and materials for the genealogist or researcher, and the staff are extremely friendly, helpful and knowledgeable. Unless you've visited the archives facilities at other states, you don't know just how nice our state archives is. One particularly nice feature that I appreciate is the abundance of wide tables with multiple plugins for laptop hook-ups. The tables are located by the large windows that face north and let in plenty of natural light. Like most departments in the state, the Mississippi archives could use extra funding that would allow them to replace or fix some of the microfilm readers as well as add more microfilm printers, and I'm sure they would like more in their budget to purchase additional books as well. Still, it is a great facility, and I'm proud as a Mississippian to have it.
Back to business. While at the archives, I found an interesting entry in the book "Passports of Southeastern Pioneers 1770-1823" compiled by Dorothy Williams Potter. The early laws of our country required passports for travel into Indian territory. Large portions of both Mississippi and Alabama, indeed Georgia, were still occupied by Indian tribes into the early 1830s and after. To travel from Georgia and South Carolina to the areas of Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee that were already settled by whites, a direct route was impossible unless the traveler went through Indian territory.
From what I learned in the book, passports were issued primarily through federal employees called Indian Agents, but state officials also would issue passports, and apparently some traders issued them illegally as well. The earliest passports were issued to traders or persons who were on a mission to collect a debt or recover stolen property. As settlers flocked to lands opening up further westward, more and more of the people needing passports were emigrants to the new territories. Some people took their chances and traveled illegally without passports, or took a longer route to get where they were going. In 1805, a new treaty with the Indians allowed the federal government to build a road through their territory, and settlers could travel along this road without a passport, but other routes required permission.
Regardless of the reason for the need of a passport, it was supposed to have only been issued to individuals of high character and good conduct. The reason for this is simple: the federal authorities didn't want troublemakers causing mischief, or worse, in Indian territory. Upon submission of an application for a passport, it was good to provide proof of your good character, and the following affidavit did just that.
State of Tennessee
We the undersigned Citizens of the County aforesaid do hereby certifie that we have been acquainted with Anselom [Ancel] Mills about two years and some of us more than that long, and can say that he has always conducted himself as a good honest citizen, and we have never heard any things to the contrary from where he came from in the State of Georgia.
Given under our hands in July 1813.
John Whitaker Wm Dickson, JP
Joseph Whiteaker John Whiteaker, JP
Charles Lucas Wm. Whiteaker, JP
John Loyd Thomas Delaney, Capt.
Benjamin Whitakere Hardy Holeman
This particular entry delighted me when I found it. Here, in one document are three connections.
The most obvious one is Capt. Thomas Delaney, my husband's GGGGG-grandfather, who served in the War of 1812 and was active in the local militias of Lincoln County, Tennessee. Thomas is the ancestor of all Itawamba Dulaney-descendants.
The other obvious surname is Mills. I've researched this Anselom Mills before for a possible connection to my husband's family. In 2002, y-DNA testing revealed an exact match between my husband, whose Mills ancestors were from North Carolina, Hawkins County, Tennessee and Indiana, and another Mills gentleman whose ancestors came from Georgia, Lincoln County, Tennessee and Alabama. By researching Anselom Mills and the rest of the Mills men who settled in early Lincoln and Maury counties of Tennessee, I was hoping to find a clue that would connect, on paper, my husband and this other gentleman. So far, no such luck.
The third name to jump out at me was John Loyd. John was a brother to James Loyd, the father of Isham Loyd, my great-great grandfather. The Loyds moved to Lincoln County, Tennessee from North Carolina. Isham later moved with his mother and siblings to Alabama, and his granddaughter Pearl Cofield Robinson was my grandmother.
Pretty neat, huh?