Welcome to Antebellum Natchez Families
About The Site
If you are a descendant of one of the families who were among the early settlers of the Natchez, Mississippi, area we hope you will want to participate in our website!
The site includes photographs, portraits, family trees and historical information about some of these families. And we would love to add any information you would be willing to share.
Because of security and privacy concerns, much of the information can be accessed only by obtaining a password. Just contact Surget Sanders to inquire.
Everyone who obtains a password can download any of our documents, get contact information for living descendants and view announcements.
Miss Ellen Shields
The inspiration for the Antebellum Natchez Families Web site is Miss Ellen Shields (born 25 Jan 1841 at “The Highlands”, home of her grandparents Eliza Dunbar and Francis Surget, and died 08 Feb 1924 in New Orleans). She is the daughter of Catharine Surget (1817-1888) and Gabriel Benoist Shields (1812-1881), whose home was “Montebello” in Natchez, Adams County, Mississippi.
In 1903, Ellen compiled a family history and gave a handwritten copy to each of her three brothers: Francis Surget Shields (1846-1922); James Surget Shields (1847-1909); and Wilmer H. Shields (1849-1919).
Several years ago, Grace McKittrick MacNeil (“Miss Grace”) had Miss Ellen’s work transcribed, but the quality was very poor (it was the pre-PC era), so it was later retyped on a word processor.
The retyped version circulated among several cousins who in turn provided corrections to Miss Ellen’s “assumptions”. From that point, we began to receive photos and biographical sketches of the families Miss Ellen wrote about – Shields, Surget, Dunbar (Rbt of “Oakley Grove” and Wm of “The Forest”), Benoist, Bayard, etc. – plus many other interrelated Natchez families.
As a result of interest in all the family information flying about, the Shields family organized a gathering in Natchez in February 2006, attended by about 100 Shields descendants (including spouses and children).
Following that event we have received and “computerized” an enormous amount of information, and continue to do so.
Because of the value of the information and the many requests for “copies” of various documents, we decided a Web site would be the best way to provide a permanent repository of family information that could be easily accessed by all interested descendants of the early settlers of the Natchez area.
The “expanded” version of “Miss Ellen Shields’s Family Records” (Category 1) along with Miss Ellen’s Diary (Category 3) constitute the original components of the site, which is basically an “online filing cabinet” of family history to which corrections and additions are added several times a year.
Who Are The Early Settlers?
Early settlers of the Natchez, Mississippi region were of diverse origins, making their pilgrimage in a variety of ways – individually on horseback or groups of family and friends in wagon trains – and by various routes – by land or by rivers on flat boats converging with the Mississippi River – ultimately arriving in the Mississippi Territory where they found freedom, opportunity, available land for development and a growing population.
Instinctively, newcomers were drawn to the settlement on the bluffs known as Natchez, but the development of plantations caused the population to expand into the countryside where homes were built and families established, on both the Mississippi side and the Louisiana side of the River.
In this setting, because of gregariousness and travel limitations, neighbors inevitably interacted socially often resulting in intermarriage, which compounding in time, gave rise to convoluted family connections.
This Web site entitled “Antebellum Natchez Families” is designed with the objective of clarifying the relationships in these connections and how they came to be.
Following is a list of the patriarchs and matriarchs of some of these antebellum families. Additional families will be added as we receive information from their descendants.
||Dates of Birth / Death
||Dates of Birth / Death
||Suggs, Elizabeth Lovett
|Bingaman, Adam Lewis
||Surget, Charlotte Catharine
|Boyd, Samuel Stillman
||Wilkins, Charlotte Catharine
|Conner, William Carmichael
||Gustine, Jane Elizabeth
|Davis, Alfred Vidal
||Ferguson, Ann Jane
|Jenkins, John Carmichael
||Dunbar, Annis Field
|Koontz, George Washington
||Beltzhoover, Mary Roane
|Marshall, Levin Rothrock
||Chotard, Maria (1st wife)
Ross, Sarah St John Elliott (2nd wife)
|Merrill, Ayres Phillips
||Lintot, Katherine Elizabeth
||Wood, Jane Caroline
|Shields, William Bayard
|Shields, Wilmer (LCDR)
||Ashton, Julia Devereux
|Wilkins, James Campbell
||Bingaman, Charlotte Frances
||Sprague, Margaret Graham
|Wood, James Gillam (Col)
||Allein, Sarah Weems (1st wife)
Young, Martha (2nd wife)
The site is maintained through voluntary contributions. The annual cost is about $1,200 ($400 for hosting and bandwidth plus around $150 for each batch of changes and additions to the site). If you would like to make a contribution, please contact Surget Sanders. At the end of each fiscal year, an annual financial report will be posted in Category 43, Website financial report. Any excess funds will be transferred to help maintain several private family cemeteries in the Natchez area.