Springfield Plantation, Fayette Mississippi
Thomas Marston Green, Jr. (1758-1813), builder of Springfield, was a member of the first general assembly of the Territory of Mississippi and the second man to represent the territory in the U. S. Congress. He was a son of Colonel Thomas M. Green (1723-1805), who was instrumental in the establishment of the short-lived Bourbon County (which included the Natchez district) by Georgia in 1785. Thomas M. Green, Jr., was a brother of Abner Green, territorial treasurer of Mississippi, and brother-in-law of Cato West, acting governor of the territory, 1803-1805, and a Jefferson County delegate to the state constitutional convention of 1817. Colonel Thomas Hinds, who distinguished himself in the Pensacola and New Orleans campaigns with Jackson and was also active in the territorial period and early statehood of Mississippi, was a son-in-law of Thomas M. Green, Jr. The Springfield estate was retained by members of the Green family until 1850, and in 1914 the house and 533 acres were acquired by James H. Williams.
Local tradition maintains that Andrew Jackson and
Rachel Donelson Robards were married at Springfield in the
summer of 1791. One of the earliest known references to the
event is in The Memories of Fifty Years (1870) by W. H. Sparks,
whose own wife was a daughter of Abner Green: "Jackson came
and married her [Rachel], in the house of Thomas M. Green."
Sparks' relationship to the Green family would seemingly add
credence to his account, but he diminishes his own reliability
by such devices as attributing entire paragraphs of verbatim
conversation to Jackson. In A History of Mississippi by
Robert Lowry and William H. McCardle (1891), the tradition of
the Springfield marriage was restated, as well as elaborated:
General Andrew Jackson was married at the home of the Hon. Thomas Marstori Green, on the northern bank of Coles Creek, in what is now Jefferson County, in the summer of 1791, to Mrs. Rachel Robards.... the ceremony was performed by Colonel Thomas Green, who acted in his capacity of magistrate in and for Bourbon County.
No documentation for the above is given; in actuality, however, Bourbon County was officially abolished in 1788.
In 1937 a great-great-granddaughter of Thomas M. Green,
Jr., Laura Lake Ihrie, wrote that "Jackson and Mrs. Robards were
married in the great big downstairs room at Sprigfield. I have
been told this many times, not only by my mother, but by other
members of the family." The tradition had been questioned as
early as 1910, however, when a letter written by E. R. Jones, a
resident of Jefferson County, appeared in the Publications of the
Mississippi Historical Society for that year:
I never heard that Mrs. Robards was married to General Jackson in the home of Thos. Marston Green until it came out in McCardle's History of Mississippi, such being contrary to tradition.
My father, Rve. Jno. G, Jones, was born in
1804 and resided for many years at Belle
Grove, just across the Natchez Trace from
Mrs. Robard's home, the site of which he
often pointed out to me as our farm was less
than a mile off. He used this language; "I
fear Major McCardle's vanity and his connection
with the Green family has led him
into an error. Mrs. Robards, so the old
people of the time while I was growing up
about Greenville [an extinct settlement
several miles east of Springfield] told me,
owned her own farm, near Greenville, and had
on it a double log house with an open hall,
and here they say she was married to General
Jackson. I am as sure as can be from testimony,
that McCardle is wrong. I will also
say that for many years of my life I was
often with Allen Colier (colored), who was
a body servant of General Thomas Hinds and
was once a slave of Thomas Marston Green,
and went as such to General Hinds, who
married Miss Lamlnda Green. When I informed
him what McCardle's History has said about
Jackson’s being married at Green's house,
his reply was: "Twan't so; Ole Master's
house - the Great House warn't built at that
time - I members it, and Miss Robards don't
have to go over thar to be married, when she
had a good house of her own right by what da
call the Jackson Springs."
The account has a convincing ring to it (especially in view of the interior of Springfield already described), but it obviously raises more questions than it answers.
Despite long and diligent search by Jackson historians, no incontrovertible evidence to support or refute the tradition that the Jackson marriage occurred at Springfield has yet come to light. The role of Springfield Plantation in the political, economic, and cultural history of the Old Southwest is a genuine one, however. The Greens and their connections were one of the most prominent families in the formation of Mississippi as a territory and a state. Thomas M, Green, Jr., in three decades of residence in Jefferson County, was a prototype of the antebellum planter whose fortune was based on the cultivation of extensive land holdings in a single crop, cotton.