Historic Structures

Springfield Plantation, Fayette Mississippi

Date added: August 9, 2021 Categories: Mississippi House Plantations & Farms

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.