Archiver > PAGREENE > 2003-11 > 1067920530

From: Brian D Core <>
Subject: [PAGREENE] Minor Family (and others), Interesting Bit of History
Date: Mon, 3 Nov 2003 21:35:30 -0700


I was browsing in the Denver Public Library last week, and came across an
interesting book:

Potter, Dorothy W. 1982. Passports of Southeastern Pioneers 1770-1823.
Baltimore: Gateway Press, Inc.

At first glance, one wouldn't think that this book would have anything to
do with Greene Co., PA. However, people who are familiar with Greene Co.
history know that many of our ancestors derived their existence from
working on the rivers, and some made frequent trips to New Orleans. Since
flatboats can't swim upstream, some actually WALKED back home, while
others used the proceeds from their trade mission to buy a horse for the
return trip. Some Greene Co. people were attracted to the reptiles,
amphibians, mosquitoes, and disease, and actually stayed down there. One
of my relatives, Lot Garrison, worked on the rivers. He moved to Natchez
Territory (now Mississippi, since ca. 1823), got married, and settled
down to farm in Baton Rouge, LA. His neighbors, the Selsor family and
Phillip Sixx, also moved to Natchez. Their cousin, Indian fighter Lewis
Wetzel, allegedly died at Phillip Sixx's house ca. 1804.

I didn't recognize any of my relatives in the above-mentioned book, but I
saw several members of the MINOR family mentioned: Esteban (Stephen),
Theophilus, and William.

Stephen Minor traded extensively on the river, and married into a
well-connected Spanish family. He eventually became the Governor of
Natchez Territory, and was outrageously wealthy. One of Lot Garrison's
descendants was doing research in the archives at Natchez, and found a
drawing of Esteban Minor's estate; it was something to behold. Esteban
was the son of Capt. William Minor, who was the brother of famed Greene
Co. patriot and founder, John Minor. Several of Esteban Minor's siblings
moved to Natchez, including William and Theophilus, who are mentioned in
the document which I will transcribe below. The whole family is discussed
at length in Leckey's "Tenmile Country," if anybody is interested.

>From pages 28-29 of Potter's book, cited above:


May 8, 1790

Enclosed You Lordship will find a report of the people and goods recently
come from North America with two brothers of the adjutant major of this
city, Don Estevan Minor. The last two persons stay to settle in this

May God preserve Your Lordship many years.

Natchez, May 8, 1790.

Carlos de Grand-Pre

(accompanying the foregoing)

Report of the cargo and people which came from Pennsylvania in the
flatboats belonging to Messrs. William and Theophilus Minor which arrived
at this place today.

Owner - William Minor and Theophilus Minor, to settle.

Employees to return.

Timothy Edwards Jacob Trimble
Russell Oliver John Kendrick
Thomas Martin James Woods

Goods - 200 barrels of flour
15 barrels of whiskey
5 barrels of cider
500 pounds of bacon
5 pair mill stones

Natchez, May 5, 1790."

A note to you people who, unlike myself, get to speak English at work -
Don, as in Don Estevan, is a Spanish title of respect (like sir). I use
the more modern spelling of Esteban for Stephen. I thought that it was
interesting to see the names of the crew members, some of whom may have
been transient, perhaps some from across the river in Fayette County. All
seem to have been Scotch-Irish-English. That was a lot of flour! Any one
of our ancestors could have made that Monongahela Rye Whiskey. I wonder
how many barrels of whiskey they had when they started their trip? As for
the cider, I know that apple orchards were important to our ancestors,
and well-tended trees were objects of pride on their farms. My g-g-g-g
grandfather Leonard Garrison's estate sale flyer stated that he had 60 or
more bearing apple trees on his farm. Bacon was an important staple
before we had refrigerators. Who manufactured mill stones in Greene
County? There is no shortage of rock in Greene Co., but it took skilled
craftsmen to work the rock into a workable mill stone. The surfaces were
intricately chiseled with different textures and grooves, depending on
what type of grain was to be milled (typically corn or wheat). There's a
lot to be gleaned from this short document.

Passports were required to travel outside of the United States to the
Natchez Territory, through the Choctaw Indian Nation, or to New Orleans,
which was alternately in French or Spanish control. Americans without
passports were either jailed or deported, probably indelicately in either
case. Goods would have been confiscated. Their was another lengthy court
case in this book involving Esteban Minor, who apparently scrooged some
riverman out of a boatload of goods. I'm not up to typing that one just
yet. Copies of the original documents could probably be obtained from the
archives at Natchez, MS. A lot of these passports are found in military
records at the NARA. This book is out of print. It originally sold for
$37.50, but the generous people at would be glad to sell you
their only copy for $143.00. No, that's not a typo. One hundred and
forty-three smackeroos. I love, but you might want to consider
shopping around before you plunk down that kind of change for a
paperback. In my opinion, the book was exceptionally well researched. If
you'd like a review of the book, you can find it at

Now, for my usual caveat - I'm not related to any of these families, and
can't provide further information about them. Since it is a reference
book and can't be checked out, it wouldn't be practical to do lookups. I
hope this inspires people to keep looking in odd places for their


Brian Core
P. O. Box 1166
Brighton, CO 80601

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