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May 14 , 2008

The Reminiscences of George Strother Gaines

Pioneer and Stateman of Early Alabama and Mississippi, 1805-1843


This first book-length, annotated edition of Gaines' Reminiscences provides a fascinating glimpse into the early history of the Mississippi-Alabama Territory and antebellum Alabama.

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The two sections of the Reminiscences of George Strother Gaines form one of the most important primary sources on the early history of
Alabama and Mississippi. The Reminiscences cover the years 1805 to 1843, during which time Gaines served as assistant factor and then factor of the Choctaw trading house (1805-18), cashier of Tombeckbee Bank in St. Stephens (1818-22), a merchant in Demopolis (1822-32), and finally a banker and merchant in Mobile (1832-43). In addition, Gaines played a key role in Indian-white relations during the Creek War of 1813-14, served a two-year term in the Alabama Senate (1825-27), led a Choctaw exploring party to the new Choctaw lands in the West following the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek (1830-31), and served as the superintendent for Choctaw removal (1831-32).

Gaines dictated his Reminiscences in 1871 at the age of eighty-seven. Part of the Reminiscences, referred to as the "first series," was originally published in five issues of the Mobile Register in June-July 1872 as "Notes on the Early Days of South Alabama." Nearly a century later, the first series and the previously unpublished second series, "Reminiscences of Early Times in Mississippi Territory," were published in a 1964 issue of the Alabama Historical Quarterly as "Gaines' Reminiscences."

In this first book-length edition of the Reminiscences, James Pate has provided an extensive biographical introduction, notes, illustrations,
maps, and appendixes to aid the general reader and the scholar. The appendixes include additional unpublished primary materials-including interviews conducted by Albert James Pickett in 1847 and 1848 that provide further information about this important early pioneer and statesman.

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