1820: John Pryor McNeill to John Rutherford, Jr.

The signature on this letter appears to be John Pryor McNeill though I could find no records to corroborate his identity or residence in Natchez, Mississippi. [See comment below]

This letter was addressed to John Rutherford, Jr. (1780-1857), the son of John Rutherford, Sr. (1755-1841).  The content concerns a dispute as to the disposition of assets of the Wm Rutherford & Co. — a firm belonging to John, Jr’s brother, William Rutherford, whom we learn has died prior to the date of this letter (1820).

Stampless Letter

Addressed to John Rutherford, Jr., Esq., near Asheville, North Carolina

Natchez, [Mississippi]
June 17th 1820

John Rutherford, Jr., Esq.
Dear Sir,

I wrote you by last mail to which please refer, since when W. Walton has held me to bail for $100,000. He is trying to influence the minds of the people in his favor. States the greatest inconsistencies altho’ they appear plausible to the eyes of those who are neither acquainted with him or myself, & in many instances has influenced my acquaintances. He still remains in prison where I intend that he shall [remain] until we have a settlement. I am determined on a settlement at all hazards and I have thought myself favored to meet an opportunity before I die.

Amongst the papers of your brother William, shipped via Charleston, there is a newspaper printed in Charleston titled The Times by Cox or Cox & Sheppard. The dissolution of partnership of McNeill & Walton is printed in said newspaper, as well as the testimony of Michael Magrath in Charleston as to the signature of William Dalton to the printer of the paper above alluded to for publication. There are many papers amongst those that cannot be done without and court comes on the third Monday in November. Anything relative to our business I wish very much & solicit your attention to the same. You can trust your papers in the care of William Howie or A. N. Burke or Alexander McNeill & to the obtaining those papers solicit your particular & immediate attention as I may be obliged to go Charleston. I wish you to come here as soon as possible. W. Walton will stop at nothing to possess what he has no right to and now is the best time to attend & settle the affairs.

If your brother had been living, he never would have been so presuming. Amongst your brother’s papers is also an assignment of William Walton’s interest in the concern of W. Rutherford & Co. dated in 1816 to me, made in New Orleans. This business will give myself and friends inconceivable trouble, but the sooner its got through the better.

I am your friend, — John B. McNeill

The testimony of Michael Magrath and the newspapers I wish very much. Suppose you authorize A. M. Burke to look for them in Charleston.

I enclose a letter for W. A. Erwin. Will you be so good as to deliver & if convenient receive his answer.


One response to “1820: John Pryor McNeill to John Rutherford, Jr.

  • David Walker

    John Pryor McNeill was born 3 May 1782 in Caswell County, North Carolina and died 10 Sep 1825 in Natchez , Mississippi. He owned at least two plantations, Springfield in Adams County and Elmwood in Claiborne County. He also owned property on Pine Street in Natchez; in Jefferson County, Mississippi; and in Concordia Parish, Louisiana. In the letter reference is made to two of his nephews: A.M Burke (Angus McNeill Burke), the son of his sister, Margaret McNeill Burke, and Alexander McNeill, the son of his brother Angus McNeill.

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