THE NORTHEAST CORNER 399 built a great house in town, and furnished it with the finest imported accoutrements of the European aristocracy. Thompson and his young wife became the most popular couple in Washington’s social scene, and he landed in the President’s cabinet before the Civil War. Contrast the case of Thompson with that of Raleigh Duncan. Born in Tennessee, Duncan moved to Alabama in the 1830s and then into northeast Mississippi. Unable to buy land, he probably relied on relations to provide whatever comfort his family enjoyed. A survey of one community in Pontotoc County demonstrated that two thirds of those living in the district were related. In other words, families and relations in the landless class with no advantages often migrated together unlike the well-educated Thompson had done. Raleigh Duncan had a wife and ten children whom he supported as a tenant farmer. By the 1850s, Duncan’s estate consisted solely of a few farm implements and six cows. The majority of the population that poured into northeast Mississippi were yeomen farmers. The planters who established plantations along the bottoms were a decided minority, yet they dominated the political system. The planters, along with the merchants, controlled the cash economy, which relied almost entirely on cotton. This over-reliance on that single crop would later prove to have disastrous consequences. But the effects of the one-crop system would not become evident until later. In the days of first settlement, the immediate problem faced by the counties was how to transport cotton to markets. The Tombigbee offered the most promising solution for growers in the east, but the river was unreliable and unnavigable after April each year due to low water. The federal government built a turnpike from Pontotoc to Memphis and turned it over to landowners along the road. They made it a toll road and others added similar “highways.” Moses Collins, WOODALL MOUNTAIN The highest natural point in Mississippi is at Woodall Mountain near Iuka. The mountain, which stands 806 feet above sea level, is privately owned, but is open to the public. The majority of the population that poured into northeast Mississippi were yeomen farmers. PHOTO BY GREG CAMPBELL