362 A BICENTENNIAL HISTORY OF MISSISSIPPI Noxubee, the ratio was three to one. By 1860, eight of the region’s counties had black majority populations, a demographic that persists in the area to the present day. Colonel George HamptonYoung, owner of Waverly Mansion, exemplified the region’s privileged newcomers who became prominent cotton planters.Young, born in Georgia in 1799, obtained a degree from the University of Georgia and practiced law. He came west in the early 1830s and purchased thousands of acres of former Chickasaw lands in present-day Clay and Monroe counties. In 1841, he settled on a parcel along the Tombigbee and took up residence in a simple log-constructed dogtrot house. The entrepreneurialYoung found success there. With the help of slaves, he planted cotton and oversaw the ferry that crossed the river near his home. He became a commission merchant and opened a cotton gin, as well as a sawmill and gristmills. Finally, in the 1850s he built his grand home, Waverly Mansion, which still stands today and is open to the public. Before the coming of the railroads and the Civil War, Waverly was the center of a thriving agricultural and commercial complex along the river. Its success earnedYoung sufficient wealth, power, and political influence to run for governor of the state in 1859. Not all newcomers to the Clay Hills were as successful asYoung. Many other southerners arrived in the region with more limited economic means, fewer advantages, and few or no slaves. These humbler sorts often found themselves pushed to the less desirable clay soils and rolling hills of the central section of this region where they cleared small farms, built simple dogtrot houses, and lived modest lives on what would remain a mostly sparsely populated agricultural frontier. Although they grew cotton, most of these settlers found corn, various vegetable crops, and ranching were better suited to these less fertile soils. Then, too, there was also the more limited ownership of the state’s primary labor resource, slaves, as evidenced by white majorities that prevailed in Attala, Calhoun, Choctaw, and Winston counties on the eve of the Civil War. These pioneers were committed Methodists, Baptists, and to a lesser extent, Presbyterians, whose religious lives were shaped by the various revivals that had swept the South since the mid-eighteenth century. They brought evangelical Protestantism to the region in a major way. Those who arrived without strong denominational ties were converted quickly thanks to the efforts of various Baptist, Methodist, and eventually Presbyterian organizations in Mississippi. Protestantism, of course, was not wholly new to the region. There had been Protestant missions to the Native Americans since the 1810s, but the Protestantism embraced by these newcomers was different. Unlike missionaries like Kingsbury who used education as a vehicle to convert his native pupils, or the region’s emerging planter elite who, like others of their kind, often preferred the more sedate rituals of the Episcopal Church (there were Episcopal parishes in Columbus, Aberdeen, and Okolona), these newcomers favored a more intense evangelicalism aimed at achieving individual salvation. It was expressed through boisterous revivals and camp meetings led by persuasive preachers. In the rural Clay Hills, this evangelical Protestantism became a bedrock of the community as evidenced by the number of churches that appeared so quickly. In Choctaw County, there was no Baptist church in 1830. Just four years later, the Choctaw Baptist Association had thirty-four member churches, eighteen ministers, and 1,000 members, a dramatic rate of growth. As Mississippi and the Clay Hills grew to have black majorities, these Protestant churches worked hard to present and defend a view of society that subordinated both African Americans and women. Then, of course, there were the 100,000 slaves who populated these counties. They were the region’s majority population by 1860. Labor of various sorts defined slaves’ daily experiences. In the Clay Hills, slaves bore the brunt of clearing and preparing this newly opened frontier for planting. They also constructed houses and quarters, and erected barns, warehouses, and other outbuildings. Most then spent their lives in the fields. But that was not true for all, because slave work experiences varied considerably. As 84-year-old former slave Wayne Holliday recalled, there were plenty of African Americans who “never worked in de fiel’or lived in de Quarters.” His father, for example, was “one of de best carpenters in de country,” and his mother was a cook. As a child during the 1850s, Pet Franks recalled how he had “worked right ’roun’white folks mos’all (of) my days,” including only some work in the fields. And Rose Holman spent her early years in Choctaw County “toatin’ water an’pickin’up chips.” Slaves also worked for themselves. As Franks described, most slaves spent Saturdays working their own “patches” of ground, “where they could plant what ever dey wanted to.” Money they earned went to purchasing “pretties” (consumer goods) that came upriver from Mobile. Clay Hills slaves also laid the groundwork for the vibrant African American culture that exists in the region to this day. Family life was one of its building blocks. Although slave marriages were not sanctioned under state law, men Clay Hills slaves also laid the groundwork for the vibrant African American culture that exists in the region to this day.