Spanish records head to Jackson for exhibit

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 5, 2000

A part of Natchez’s past kept in a cabinet at the Adams County Courthouse will soon be shared with the world.

One of about 40 volumes of court records from Natchez’s Spanish period will be on display next year at an exhibit at the Old Capital Museum in Jackson.

&uot;(We) really are fortunate to have keep these records of the Spanish period, which is so significant in the history of our county,&uot; said Adams County Chancery Clerk Tommy O’Beirne, whose office is responsible for keeping court records.

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The exhibit will correspond with the Majesty of Spain&uot;&160;exhibition also taking place in Jackson next year.

As a side to that exhibit, the Adams County volume will recognize Natchez’s own Spanish heritage which lasted from 1779 to 1789, O’Beirne said.

&uot;(The Adams County Spanish volumes) are all records of transfers of property, land grants from the Spanish government (and) transfers of ownership of property,&uot; said O’Beirne, who describes the volumes as priceless &uot;You couldn’t put a price on these books.&uot;

The volumes are all written by hand mostly in Spanish or French on paper that has browned with age.

Transactions documented in the book also include slave sales, last will and testaments and guardianships, O’Beirne said.

The books range in age from 1781 to 1796 and are basically a form of historical recording, he added.

&uot;I think what (the books) really depict is what transpired during the time when the Spanish were in control of Natchez,&uot; O’Beirne said.

The Adams County Board of Supervisors voted this summer to loan a volume of records dating from 1787 to the exhibit.

Museum officials will pick up the volume today and put it on display from April 1 to Sept. 2, with a sign denoted it as being on loan from the Adams County Board of Supervisors.

Even though the books are considered priceless, the museum has signed a $5,000 certificate of insurance agreement for the volume.

And O’Beirne said he expected the museum officials to take good care of the volume and return it as promised.

&uot;They’re a museum. They’re noted for taking care of property,&uot; O’Beirne said.

Prior to his administration, some of the Spanish record books were loaned to various colleges and never returned, O’Beirne added.