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Annotated Pickett’s History of Alabama

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The Annotated Pickett’s History of Alabama: And Incidentally of Georgia and Mississippi, from the Earliest Period

Category: History / United States / South
Format: Trade Cloth, 688 pages
Pub Date: October 2018
Price: $60.00
ISBN: 978-1-58838-032-6
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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.