I am Tom Freeland, a lawyer in Oxford, Mississippi. The picture in the header is my law office. I'm on Twitter as NMissC

Missing Posts: If you have a link to a post that's not here or are looking for posts from Summer of 2010, check this page.


A Mississippi Slave Emancipation Story from 1821 that Caught My Attention

This is from the public and private acts section of Turner’s Mississippi Code of 1823.

Of Lucinda Jcfferson.

By An act to emancipate Lucinda Jefferson, passed November 24, 1821, the said girl Lucinda Jefferson is emancipated, set free from slavery and is invested with all the rights, privileges and immunities of any other free […]

Write Chris in! Write Chris in!

The title is what the crowd was yelling at Chris McDaniel’s non-concession speech last night.

I know that the McDaniel people don’t care about actual facts like the laws in the statute books and are much more likely to listen to… I’m not sure.  The voices in their heads.  And maybe I should keep […]

Michelle Byrom: What kind of representation did she have, Part 4: The Context for Michelle Byrom’s Ineffectiveness Claim

After Michelle Byrom lost her direct appeal, the next stage of her case was handled by the Office of Post-Conviction counsel.  Their job was to investigate possible claims that her conviction or death sentence was improper.  The most important claim they developed was that Byrom’s original lawyers had been ineffective in investigating and trying […]

Chancery Court District websites in Mississippi (plus a request for additions)

I’m assembling useful court information with a goal to having a couple of Mississippi practice pages.  Here’s a list of Chancery Court district sites with information about the court’s calendars, dockets, scheduling, local rules and practices and the like.  A list of Circuit Court district sites is here.

I am trying to put together […]

Mississippi as a territory, and state.

Going through boxes in my mom’s attic, I found a long-lost box from my grandmother’s house.  Pictured above is one of them (click on the image to get a good look).

On the Fifteenth of December, 1817, Augustin Freeland and Elizabeth Magruder obtained a wedding license in Adams County, Mississippi– they lived in […]

I find it pretty depressing…

… that in a list of best barbecue sandwiches in the South in Garden and Gun Magazine, Mississippi is represented by a place that puts two slices of American cheese on a shoulder sandwich.

Of course, the folks who put American cheese on their barbecue sandwich are in Starkville, at Petty’s Barbecue.  Go figure.


States as Hogs, or, Why is Mississippi the Tadpole State?

This 1880s advertising poster has been circulating the internet; Anderson saw it on Lawyers, Guns, and Money.  It’s also in the Library of Congress collection.  While I’d love to have one, I kind of doubt it’s still available for 5 one cent stamps (somewhere on the poster it makes that offer).  Anderson also […]

Mississippi Civil Rights Leader Cleve Donald has died

He was the second black student to graduate from Ole Miss in the 60s.  He got his start as a student in the Jackson Movement led by Medgar Evers. Jerry Mitchell reports:

“Cleve was one of the student leaders,” [Leslie] McLemore said. “The movement gave Cleve the foundation for what he did later in […]

“intended… as a clog upon the franchise:” In 1896, the Mississippi Supreme Court explains how the state disenfranchised blacks

Ratliff v. Beale, 20 So. 865 (1896), the Mississippi Supreme Court case quoted in my last post, is a case of breathtaking honesty.  Not in a good way.  There are two passages which are particularly striking that I want to post here.

The lawsuit seems to have been a set-up.

On the one side, you have J.A.P. Campbell working with the state AG.  Campbell was a congressman during the Confederacy and served for years on the Mississippi Supreme Court; he was considered one of the better justices on the court in the late 19th Century.   On the other side, you have S. S. Calhoon, J. Z. George, and Frank Johnston.  That would be James Zachariah George, who became one of Mississippi’s US Senators at the end of reconstruction, and was as prominent as lawyers and politicians got.   He was at the 1890 constitutional convention and involved in the legal defenses of that constitution.  S.S. Calhoon was the president of the 1890 convention and was within a couple of years on the Mississippi Supreme Court, writing well enough to be quoted over a hundred years later.

The dispute was over the seizure of a piece of furniture by the Hinds County tax collector.


The tax collector (represented by Campbell and the Attorney General) had seized “an article of household furniture,” by law exempt from taxation, to cover payment of a tax due; the property owner, represented by George and Calhoon, sought and obtained a permanent injunction against proceeding against the property.  They appealed on agreed facts.

What was all this legal talent doing in a fight over a chair or the like?  When nothing really was in factual dispute?

Blues Trail Marker free iPhone app

The Mississippi Blues Trail has gone one notch better, with a free iphone app with information about all the markers and where to find them.

There’s a map locating all of them; you can use it to find the markers…

…and to see the information that is contained there. The one below […]