From staff reports
The Choctaw County Historical and Genealogical Society recently welcomed Ms. Mattie Shells McDaniels as a presenter during the society’s February 27, 2017 meeting.
McDaniels was there to present the some of the history and origins of African-Americans in Choctaw County, as well as detailing a story of the state of race relations in the county during that time.
The following is some of the information McDaniels presented during the meeting.
Descendants of Dr. Robert Brown — New Prospect, Choctaw County, MS
After the settling of the thirteen original colonies in 1783, many settlers began migrating west. In 1830, The Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek was signed and this treaty forced the Choctaw Indians to be relocated to Oklahoma. During this time what was Northwest Winston County is now Choctaw County were our slave ancestors were first brought in Choctaw County. The county boundary change was made in 1874.
Around 1832 the following families from South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee and Virginia, migrated to the old Winston County territory along with their slaves. Some of these families included: the Miller’s, three different sets, Weir’s, Turner’s, Kennedy’s, Potts, Head’s, Woodward’s, Ball’s, Hunt’s, Sharp’s, Cladwell’s, Howard’s, Grigg’s, Thompson’s, Moore’s, Krape’s, Ayers, Hendrix’s, Micou’s, Mayrant’s, Black’s and Mathew’s.
Stephen Miller, Sr., his family and son-in-law, Dr. Robert D. Brown, relocated from Chester County, South Carolina to what was then Winston County around 1832. In 1848, Dr. Brown’s slaves built his family home which still stands on the same property today. When there was not a need for all of the slaves, they would be rented out to the highest bidder. The slaves were partially disciplined by the churches. There were three early churches built in Northwest Winston County at that time. They were Concord Baptist Church, Salem Methodist Church and Beth Salem Presbyterian Church. There is a section in Beth Salem cemetery for black family members.
The slave descendants of Dr. Robert D. Brown gathered in 2007 and had a historical family reunion at the old home place with several dozen family members in attendance. This gathering was featured in the Choctaw County Plaindealer.
References: Choctaw County Historical and Genealogical Society, Choctaw County Plaindealer — August 15, 2007
Descendants of Paul Micou — Choctaw County, MS
Paul Micou was born in 1790 in Essex County, VA. He was married to Mary Lee and they had three children, one son named John B. Micou who married Sarah Brooks. Their union had five children. H John’s wife Sarah died in 1850 in Winston County.
The early records show Rev. John Micou’s second wife was Jane Micou and they had four children. John then married a slave and had three children, and Ruben, Ella and Bettie Micou. John and his slave wife’s children were considered “mulatto”, or mixed.
Ruben Micou married Miller Kennedy and had 10 children, all of which were born in Choctaw County. Elijah, one of the sons of Ruben Micou married Rosanna and had seven children. Joseph Micou, another son of Ruben, and his first wife, Susie Evans had 10 children.
Joseph and his second wife, Melinda Robinson, had seven children. Their fifth child, Lantham Micou, had one daughter, Mamie Lloyd Micou with Sarah as well as another daughter, Jewell Micou with Aloney Price. In later years, Lantham moved to California and married Thelma, which several other children were born.
One of Lantham’s daughters, Mamie, married Earnest Shell and had four children, Sarah, Lawrence, Mattie and Mary.
McDaniels is the great, great, great, great granddaughter of Ruben Micou.
The story of Ruben Micou’s life became famous in 1933 when an article was featured in the Choctaw Plaindealer. Born into slavery, Ruben became freed as a result of the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863. It described how a group of 17 white males took Ruben, then 73 years of age, at gunpoint from his home and savagely killed him.
The account of his brutal death and lack of justice reflected the state of race relations in Mississippi post-slavery.
References: Choctaw County Historical and Genealogical Society, Choctaw Plaindealer — July 14, 1933; July July 21, 1933; August 15, 2007, family members
In addition to her presentation on the first slaves brought into Choctaw County, McDaniels also created a display at the library to celebrate Black History Month.
One of the highlights of the display was the recognition of AES 4th grade Honor Student Javari Carter. Carter’s talented artwork was on display as he is considered an up-and-coming artist.