Independent minds and shared community: Married women's wills in Amite County, Mississippi, 1840-1919
Payne, Jennifer Marie
Master of Arts
The fifteen married women whose wills were probated in Amite County, Mississippi between 1840 and 1919 were linked by geographical proximity, church affiliation, and similar social status. Their estate papers indicate that after the legal changes of 1839 allowed a married woman in Mississippi to act as a feme sole in regards to her own property, Amite County wives took advantage of the law and acted independently from their husbands. While the antebellum wills concerned slaves and plantation properties, the wills written at the turn of the century distribute commercial properties and personal items. The information provided in these testaments and estate papers give evidence of the social and economic changes experienced by the region and the South during those eight decades.
Sociology; Individual & family studies