The Annotated Pickett's History of Alabama

And Incidentally of Georgia and Mississippi, from the Earliest Period

Albert James Pickett

Edited by James P. Pate

Introduction by James P. Pate

Title Details

Pages: 736

Illustrations: 60 b&w images

Trim size data not found for this book.

Formats

Hardcover

Pub Date: 10/01/2018

ISBN: 9-781-5883-8032-6

List Price: $60.00

The Annotated Pickett's History of Alabama

And Incidentally of Georgia and Mississippi, from the Earliest Period

Albert James Pickett

Edited by James P. Pate

Introduction by James P. Pate

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Albert James Pickett's History of Alabama, and Incidentally of Georgia and Mississippi, from the Earliest Period first appeared in Montgomery bookstores in September 1851. The buyers of his two-volume work paid $3 and the demand caused Charleston publisher Walker and James to issue a second and third edition before year's end. William Gilmore Simms, the South's most prolific writer, referred to the publication as "one of the prettiest specimens of book making ever done in America." Newspapers in Alabama and literary journals in New York, Charleston, and New Orleans commended Pickett for his "absolutely enchanting" fresh writing style, for using "great care" throughout his book, and for "his important service to his state." While some reviews questioned his narrative style, his sources, or his focus on facts, others credited Pickett for producing "a very valuable" chronicle for the people of Alabama and urged him to produce a third volume for "rising generations."

Pickett opens volume one with Hernando de Soto's explorations from Florida to Arkansas, encounters with native people, and discovery of the Mississippi River. He shifts from the early chiefdoms of the protohistoric period to the Natchez and smaller tribes in the coastal plain and then to the major Indian nations of the interior into the late eighteenth century. While the struggles of French Louisiana with the Natchez dominate the first volume, Pickett establishes the English presence with the founding of Oglethorpe's Georgia colony and ends with the surrender of the French forts Tombecbé and Toulouse to the British. In volume two, Pickett traces the English push into present-day Alabama and Mississippi and the Revolutionary War era, the Spanish occupation of East and West Florida, the intrigues of Alexander McGillivray and William Bowles, and Georgia's Yazoo land sales. He devotes several chapters to the Mississippi Territory, Aaron Burr, and the Indian unrest that led to the massacre at Fort Mims, the Creek War of 1813-14, and Andrew Jackson's campaigns to destroy the Red Sticks and defeat the British in the Gulf South. Pickett concentrates his final chapters on the emergence of Alabama as a territory and state, including biographical sketches of early state leaders, the state constitutional convention, and Alabama's first governor, William Wyatt Bibb, who died in 1820.

Despite Pickett's failure use his firsthand knowledge to bring his History chronologically beyond 1820, his work continues to be a relevant study of the state's protohistory, colonial, territorial and early foundations. His work and his papers in the state archives are cited by all serious scholars who study Alabama's colonial and territorial eras. While he sought all the available printed primary sources and manuscripts for volume one, his second volume was principally informed by the memoirs, reminiscences, letters, and oral interviews of the participants in the events that shaped the development of Alabama from the pre-Revolutionary era through the 1840s. Although recent literary deconstruction of Pickett and his History has been critical of his motivation and writing, Harper Lee, Alabama's most consequential writer in the twentieth century, asserted in 1983 that he "deserves a place in American literature" and assessed his History as a "unique treasure" that "should be in every high school library" in Alabama. More recently, historian Leah Rawls Atkins declared Pickett to be the writer made the "most historical contribution to Alabama" in the antebellum period. This new edition is the first to provide general readers and scholars with a readily available hardbound, fully indexed, and annotated version of Pickett's History.

Albert James Pickett's two-volume History of Alabama, and Incidentally of Georgia and Mississippi, from the Earliest Period first appeared in September 1851. Demand for the $3 set caused Charleston publisher Walker and James to issue a second and third edition before year's end. William Gilmore Simms, the South's most prolific writer, called it "one of the prettiest specimens of book making ever done in America." Newspapers and literary journals commended Pickett's "absolutely enchanting" fresh style and "his important service to his state."
Volume one covered De Soto's explorations from Florida to Arkansas, encounters with native people, and discovery of the Mississippi River. The narrative shifts from the early chiefdoms of the protohistoric period to the Natchez and smaller tribes in the coastal plain and then to the major Indian nations of the interior into the late eighteenth century. While the struggles of French Louisiana with the Natchez dominate the first volume, Pickett establishes the English presence with the founding of Oglethorpe's Georgia colony and ends with the surrender of the French forts Tombecbé and Toulouse. In volume two, Pickett follows the English into present-day Alabama and Mississippi and the Revolutionary War era, the Spanish occupation of East and West Florida, the intrigues of Alexander McGillivray and William Bowles, and Georgia's Yazoo land sales. He devotes several chapters to the Mississippi Territory, Aaron Burr, and the Indian unrest that led to the massacre at Fort Mims, the Creek War of 1813-14, and Andrew Jackson's campaigns to destroy the Red Sticks and defeat the British. Pickett concentrates his final chapters on the emergence of Alabama as a territory and state, including biographical sketches of early state leaders, the state constitutional convention, and Alabama's first governor, William Wyatt Bibb, who died in 1820.

Pickett's History continues to be a relevant study of the state's protohistory, colonial, territorial, and early foundations. His work and his papers in the state archives are cited by all serious scholars who study Alabama's colonial and territorial eras. While he sought all the available printed primary sources and manuscripts for volume one, his second volume was principally informed by the memoirs, reminiscences, letters, and oral interviews of the participants in the events that shaped the development of Alabama from the pre-Revolutionary era through the 1840s.

This new edition is the first to provide general readers and scholars with a readily available hardbound, fully indexed, and annotated version of Pickett's History.

In his History of Alabama, Albert James Pickett showed an unusual interest, for his time, in the intersections between colonists and the American Indians who inhabited what would become the state of Alabama. Pickett's narrative is a crucial source for nineteenth-century interpretations and understandings of those relations, not only for Alabama, but for the South at large. Additionally, Pickett's History includes some rare primary source material on Alabama's Native people. We now, for the first time, have an annotated version of Pickett's History. Historian James P. Pate offers not only a detailed introduction to the volume, but careful and much-needed annotations that clarify, correct, contextualize, and amplify Pickett's text. This version will supplant all others.

—Robbie Ethridge, professor of anthropology, University of Mississippi, author of Creek Country: The Creek Indians and Their World

This new edition of Albert Pickett's History of Alabama is itself a historic event. Pickett's stories - many based on personal interviews - are now classic. They convey a sense of Alabama life before statehood no other book can match, rich with details. And Jim Pate's excellent annotations help modern readers follow the narrative more easily. In nicely designed side notes, he identifies people and places that may no longer be familiar and also updates us on insights of historians today. We have needed an annotated History for a long time. This new edition fills that need beautifully.

—Edwin Bridges, former director of the Alabama Department of Archives and History, author of Alabama: The Making of An American State

With The Annotated Pickett's History of Alabama, Jim Pate invites modern readers to take a fresh look at a classic by Alabama's first historian, now illuminated by more than a century and a half of scholarship accomplished in Pickett's wake.

—Gregory A. Waselkov, emeritus professor of anthropology at the University of South Alabama, author of A Conquering Spirit: Fort Mims and the Redstick War of 1813-1814

James P. Pate has edited and annotated an important new edition of Albert James Pickett's History of Alabama. This classic, nineteenth-century text receives thoughtful comments and annotations in his careful hands. Pate clearly introduces and contextualizes Pickett's decades-long labor of love. Pickett used Spanish, French, and Native sources to tell the multilingual, diverse, and contested histories of the region. This new edition reminds readers of the long, deep, and fascinating history of the American South.

—Alejandra Dubcovsky, author of Informed Power: Communication in the Early American South

The republication of Pickett's History in a new edition that is updated, annotated, and indexed for the first time is significant and will be a welcome addition to many bookshelves. Thanks to James Pate for reintroducing us to Pickett's sturdy narrative of all that transpired in the centuries before Alabama became a state.

—Peter H. Wood, professor of history, Duke University, co-editor of Powhatan’s Mantle: Indians in the Colonial Southeast

Pickett's History of Alabama, first published in 1851, has remained a primary source for understanding about the early history of Alabama. For decades, libraries shelved their copies in their rare books collections, behind locked doors. With its republication by NewSouth Books - in a handsome fully annotated, indexed, and illustrated edition made possible by Dr. James Pate - the book is given magnificent second life. Everyone should have a copy of this important work, and now can.

—Leah Rawls Atkins, historian, co-author of Alabama: The History of a Deep South State

About the Author/Editor

Albert James Pickett (Author)
ALBERT JAMES PICKETT (1810-1858) was the author of the two-volume History of Alabama, and Incidentally of Georgia and Mississippi, from the Earliest Period, published in the 1850s.

James P. Pate (Editor)
Independent scholar JAMES P. PATE is an emeritus professor of history at the University of West Alabama, where he served as a department chair, dean, and vice president. He also served as a dean at Southeastern Oklahoma State, vice president at Northeastern State University, and campus dean at the University of Mississippi-Tupelo. He is a graduate of Delta State University and earned an MA and PhD from Mississippi State. He has previously edited "When This Evil War is Over": The Correspondence of the Francis Family, 1860-1865, Cherokee Newspapers, 1828-1906, and The Reminiscences of George Strother Gaines. His contributions to research, preservation, and archaeological investigations at the Fort Tombecbé/Fort Confederation complex led to the transfer of the significant eighteenth-century French-British-Spanish site to the University of West Alabama.