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Browse through the selected stories for a revealing perspective on how rapidly the city of Mobile, the culture and values of the population, were changing in the 1820's

Look Out for Pirates! 

July 13. Look out for pirates !!  

I, Nathan Janett, having lately undertaken to pilot the schr. Farmer's Fancy, belonging to Messrs. Dameron and Williams, merchants of this city, from hence to Pascagoula river, do certify, that in the prosecution of said voyage, on the south end of Dauphin Island I discovered a large topsail schr. mounting upwards of 20 guns, and manned accordingly, which I at first supposed to be a U. S. marine vessel, and that she was probably lying off and on for a pilot-being myself a pilot and well acquainted with this coast, & fearful that the said vessel might be in distress, I determined upon stretching to the westward to ascertain the fact, and after nearing the said vessel, and being convinced that she was not a public armed vessel as I supposed she was, I informed the crew & those on board that I was afraid the said vessel was a pirate. Immediately after this I discovered a brig at anchor, and also a small sloop, near the said schr. all which vessels appeared to be full of men. 

I then distinctly saw the brig lower two of her boats, which were manned directly, and rowed hard to cut me off from the land-one of the boats however returned to the schr. but the other kept up the chase, and having neared us within hailing distance, they accordingly hailed me, first in Spanish then in French, but having no answer given they then hailed me in broken English and said they wanted a pilot. I asked them what was their brig and the other vessels with her; they said they could not tell until they first boarded me. Having prepared myself and everyone on board with such disposable arms as we could find, I told the crew of said boat that if they did not immediately desist I would fire into them; and upon seeing my crew ready to do so, they left me. 

Being now nearly abreast of and close to the three vessels, and thinking it impossible to escape them, I lowered my boat, the vessel moving on slowly at the same time, until I perceived myself out of reach of their guns. Whereupon the schr. armed a large launch and dispatched her after me; and the wind springing up at that moment in my favor, I was able to elude the pursuit by running into Lake Bogue, between Petit Boye and Horne Island, and so proceeded onto the mouth of Pascagoula River. I ought to add that upon my first nearing the said schr. I hoisted my colors, but she showed none until after she had dispatched the launch in support of the small boat, she then showed a jack, but I could not discover what it was. During the whole time that the said vessels were in sight of me, I could discover their boats passing and repassing from one to another. They fired several shots at me while endeavoring to make my escape - and on the next morning I distinctly heard a smart cannonading in the direction of said vessel. 

Mobile Gazette, July 13, 1820

A Public Hanging in Mobile

The following description was printed in the Alexandria Gazette (Alexandria, Virginia) on June 20, 1820. 


Mobile, May 24. … A short time previous to his death, Sayas confessed that he did murder Alvarez, and two other men in Havana, one about 7, and the other about 9, years ago. We have been informed that he declared Gamara was innocent, being ignorant of his design to kill Alvarez. Gamara said that he was innocent. 

About 12 o’clock, the battalion of Mobile militia, commanded by major J.H. Mallory, paraded before the Jail the prisoners being brought out, and the necessary arrangements made, they walked to the gallows with great firmness, where they prayed for some time, aided by the Rev. Vincente Gener, and in a few minutes after were launched into eternity. They appeared penitent. The awful end of these men, who have thus expiated their crimes on the scaffold, must serve as a striking example to prevent the commission of similar offenses. 

Confessions of Victoriano de Sayas 

  1. Victoriano de Sayas, a free mulatto, native of Havana now in the jail of Mobile, State of Alabama, condemned to be hanged for having unjustly taken away the life of Diego Alvarez, do make the following declaration: 

1st. Having murdered a negro by the name of Gamara, near the church called Mercy, about 8 or 9 years ago, about 6 o’clock P.M.

2d. A Catalonian, in front of the Oratory of St. Phillip’s church, (in company with some of my friends) about 7 years ago, between the hours of 6 and 7 o’clock, P.M. of which murder I heard that Zeferino Garcia was condemned to serve in the army. 

These murders were committed in Havana. 

3d. And lastly, That of Diego Alvarez, at his plantation, on Easter Sunday, about half past 3 o’clock P.M. from having excluded me from his house, and for which I have been justly condemned. 

I request the priest of Mobile, Dr. Vincente Gener, to make this public. 

Description of Mobile

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Description of Mobile 1822 part 1.jpg
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Newburyport Herald (Newburyport, MA) March 19, 1822

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Piracy, 1822

insurance and piracy, Philadelphia Inquirer, February 23, 1822.jpg

Philadelphia Inquirer, February 23, 1822

Mobile's First Theater
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Lafayette Portrait.jpg

Lafayette's Visit To Mobile, 1825

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Corner of Government & Jackson Streets

Steamships Accelerate Communication
Between The Gulf Coast Ports

The Steam Packet and U.S. mail boat Columbia, Capt. Leach, from this port, has arrived at Mobile, and was to begin to run between that place and New Orleans in a few days, three times a week. She will carry the mail, and can accommodate 50 passengers in an elegant cabin. The boat is coppered and copper fastened to the bends, 105 feet keel, 131 tons burthen, and has a low pressure engine. 

Boston Traveler, August 14, 1827

Fire of 1827 -- Coming Soon! 

Spring Hill Incorporated
into the City of Mobile

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1827 one dollar and twenty five cents pe
Historic American Buildings Survey E. W.

Vincent-Walsh House on Spring Hill Avenue, constructed in 1827 for Benjamin and Ann Church Vincent, is possibly the oldest extant structure in Mobile.  It is occupied today by the
Mobile Medical Museum 

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