Welcome to The Museum of the Mississippi Delta. Since our museum is about so much more than cotton, our Board of Directors made the decision to change our name from 'Cottonlandia Museum' to 'The Museum of the Mississippi Delta'! Mississippi artwork combines with history - local, military, and agricultural - along with an immense collection of Native American artifacts to create a museum that has something for everyone to enjoy. This is where your discovery of the Delta begins.

Museum researching the life of Greenwood Leflore

Monday, July 11, 2016

Greenwood Leflore has long been a controversial figure in Mississippi history.

On one hand, he was a successful entrepreneur taking after his father, Louis LeFleur — or LeFlau as is in some records — who taught him how to run a business. Louis managed an inn along the Natchez Trace at French Camp and was also, along with his brother, Michael, resident traders with the Choctaw Indians in the late 18th century. On the other hand, his was held in disdain for signing the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek in 1830 that removed the Choctaws to Oklahoma, or so the story goes.

What most people don’t realize, unless they have read the treaty, is that it was signed by 172 chiefs, headmen and warriors, including Chief Mushulatubbee and Chief Nitaketchie. So why has Greenwood Leflore been singled out even by historians as a traitor, even a scoundrel? Was it for economic gains? Not everyone believes that to be the case.

These and many other questions are being considered in research currently underway on the life of Greenwood Leflore. I, along with my summer intern, Sarah Fortenberry, are in the process of locating as much information in the state of Mississippi as possible, and we could use your help. Knowing there are still descendants still around, we are looking for additional information. Because his stately mansion, Malmaison, burned to the ground in 1942, there could have been information that would have helped historians but unfortunately was destroyed. We are still hoping to find original letters in the possession of descendants.

The information will be used in an exhibition opening in 2017 as the Museum of the Mississippi Delta’s contribution to the bicentennial of Mississippi’s statehood. Greenwood Leflore married his first wife on Dec. 4, 1817, and returned to Mississippi from Tennessee around that time. Six days later, Mississippi officially became the 20th state in the union. The exhibition will attempt to unravel some of the misconceptions about him and his family.

An unpublished manuscript in the museum’s library provides a detailed genealogy compiled by Ralph McBride, great­great grandson of Louis LeFlau, Greenwood’s father. Ralph and his wife, Alberta, researched diocesan records in Mobile, Alabama and discovered the birth, death and marriage records of the LeFlaus. And, as it turns out, Louis LeFlau was not French­Canadian as many authors believe, but was born in Mobile Territory on Oct. 6, 1742, the son of Jean Baptiste and Jeanne Boissinot LeFlau.

We are excited about this project and have written a grant for funding of the exhibition. We look forward to bringing you more information along the way and planning for the bicentennial of Mississippi’s statehood. Please contact Cheryl Thornhill with additional information or sources you have at director@museumofthemississippidelta.com or by phone at 453­0925.

View more at GWCommonwealth.com

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