|The Tale of the Whisky Barrel|
A few years ago (somewhere around 1999), I first heard this tale (legend). The story was basically about why Louisiana owns the barrier islands out in front if Mississippi. The story I originally got from a state employee that is in a position to know is posted here. It sounded cool, but I had my doubts. Names have been removed.
Ok, the lack of "facts" got me looking. I queries multiple sources (libraries, newspapers, etc), and came up with a few "hits".
The Houston Chronicle, July 22, 1993, Thursday, 2 STAR Edition
These sources basically all have the same story, but no "facts" The Houston Chronicle articles seem to contain the exact content of the Daily Herald article which in turn references the book. Hmmmm....
Ok, every one indicates a lawsuit, dredging and oysters, well, the only place a suit between states would be decided was the Supreme Court, so, here is what I found.
U.S. Supreme Court
Well, all these involve the boundary, and some oyster stuff, and dredging, etc. The only relevant one however seems to be the first one that is hyperlinked above. Basically, it starts it all off and indicates in the text that that boundary line was there since "the treaty made at Paris on the 30th day of April, 1803 [8 Stat. at L. 200], between the United States and France".
In 2004, I was contacted by a gentleman who is from Mississippi, and his family has been there for generations. He has the "Mississippi Version" of the story. The story goes basically that the whole process came about somewhere around 1817 there was a dispute between LA and MS regarding who would own the Honey Island swamp. Apparently no one wanted it due to the lack of use of the land, and the criminals that lurked in the swamp . Somehow, during the time when Columbia was capitol of MS, it was decided to drop a barrel into the Pearl river, at the time, the east Pearl was the main channel. Barrel went down the east Pearl, MS was happy at the time, and the rest is history.
Still researching this part. It basically fits better, because it does coincide with the timeframe of what I found earlier. Still no hard facts however, but I did come across the following passage from the Historical Text Archive.
"From 'Instances of the Use of United States
Armed Forces Abroad, 1798-1945,' Hearing before the Committee on Foreign
Relations and the Committee on Armed Services, 87th Congress, 2nd Session,
Mon., Sept. 17, 1962.
Still no barrel references, more references indicating otherwise.
And I'm still not sure it has to do with the original story about the
barrier islands. This part seams to be more actual "land".
So, until I get something I can verify, I'll stick with my original
assessment. Nice story, just isn't true. Checking the historic
maps, I have a tendency to believe that all that land was once solid (or
very broken marsh) and has eroded over hundreds of years. Check out
the historic maps link to check this for yourself. And please,
if you have other information, send it along to me (email, voice,
snail-mail, etc). I'm not that hard to find if you really want to.
This site was last updated 07/07/04