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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.


Husband Dates of Birth / Death Wife Dates of Birth / Death
Balfour, William 1770-1835 Suggs, Elizabeth Lovett ?
Benoist, Gabriel 1759-1798 Dunbar, Elizabeth  1773-1840 
Bingaman, Adam Lewis 1767-1819 Surget, Charlotte Catharine 1776-1841
Bisland, John  1742-1821 Rucker, Susannah 1767-1835
Boyd, Samuel Stillman 1807-1867 Wilkins, Charlotte Catharine 1813-1898
Brandon, Gerard 1750-1823 Nugent, Dorothy 1759-1816
Conner, William Carmichael 1798-1843 Gustine, Jane Elizabeth 1803-1883
Davis, Alfred Vidal 1826-1899 Surget, Sarah 1835-1865
Dunbar, Robert 1748-1826 Beaver, Ann 1758-1822
Dunbar, William 1750-1810 Clark, Dinah 1769-1821
Hunt, David 1779-1861 Ferguson, Ann Jane 1797-1874
Jenkins, John Carmichael 1809-1855 Dunbar, Annis Field 1820-1855
Koontz, George Washington 1816-1876 Beltzhoover, Mary Roane 1827-1895
Marshall, Levin Rothrock 1800-1870 Chotard, Maria (1st wife)
Ross, Sarah St John Elliott (2nd wife)
Merrill, Ayres Phillips 1826-1883 Surget, Jane 1829-1866
Minor, Stephen 1760-1815 Lintot, Katherine Elizabeth 1770-1844
Payne, James 1801-1853 Wood, Jane Caroline 1807-1887
Shields, William Bayard  1780-1823 Benoist, Victoire 1791-1855
Shields, Wilmer (LCDR) 1817-1879 Ashton, Julia Devereux 1842-1915
Surget, Pierre 1731-1796 Hubbard, Catharine 1749-1811
Walworth, Douglas 1833-1914 Conner, Rebecca 1832-1868
Wilkins, James Campbell 1787-1849 Bingaman, Charlotte Frances 1794-1820
Winchester, Josiah 1814-1887 Sprague, Margaret Graham 1824-1906
Wood, James Gillam (Col) 1770-1845 Allein, Sarah Weems (1st wife)
Young, Martha (2nd wife)


Site Maintenance
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.

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