In 1834 Virgil Stewart rode from western Tennessee to a territory known as the "Arkansas morass" in pursuit of John Murrell, a thief accused of stealing two slaves. Stewart's adventure led to a sensational trial and a wildly popular published account that would ultimately help trigger widespread violence during the summer of 1835, when five men accused of being professional gamblers were hanged in Vicksburg, nearly a score of others implicated with a gang of supposed slave thieves were executed in plantation districts, and even those who tried to stop the bloodshed found themselves targeted as dangerous and subversive. Using Stewart's story as his point of entry, Joshua D. Rothman details why these events, which engulfed much of central and western Mississippi, came to pass. He also explains how the events revealed the fears, insecurities, and anxieties underpinning the cotton boom that made Mississippi the most seductive and exciting frontier in the Age of Jackson.
- publisherUniversity of Georgia Press
- publisher placeAthens, GA
- restrictionsAll rights reserved
- rightsParts of chapters 5 and 6 were originally published as “The Hazards of the Flush Times: Gambling, Mob Violence, and the Anxieties of America’s Market Revolution” in the Journal of American History 95, no. 3 (2008): 651–77.
© 2012 by the University of Georgia Press
- rights holderUniversity of Georgia Press
- series titleRace in the Atlantic World, 1700–1900