Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Reverend Newit Vick: "The Founder of Vicksburg"


As it was May 18, 2021

The Rev. Newet Vick Memorial was established in 1984 by Crawford Street United Methodist Church with assistance by the City of Vicksburg, Warren County, and individual citizens.

I recently visited the Newit Vick gravesite and arrived around noon and was greeted with freshly-mowed green grass, a wheat field in the background, and towering magnolia trees, their blossoms scenting the noonday humidity. 

And I felt a sense of awe at standing on hallowed ground.

The granite Memorial stands alone and stone slab markers enclosed within a low brick wall mark the burial sites of Reverend Vick (1766-1819), his wife Elizabeth (1772-1819), and other family members:  their first-born son Hartwell Vick (1792-1833), Theodoria Hartwell Vick (17 months, 17 days old) 1830, Martha Virginia (1831-1836), and the Vicks’ daughter Martha Vick (1800-1851). 

The old stone markers are difficult to read, but I captured pictures of them, and have also included photographs from the “Find-A-Grave” website of  Martha Vick, John Wesley Vick, Hartwell Vick, Eliza Vick Morse, and a photo captioned “Newit Vick,“ which may or may not be accurate. You can click on the images to enlarge them.

Newit and Elizabeth Vick

The inscription reads:  
In life they were united.
In death not divided.
Jesus smiles and says, "Well done,
Good and faithful servants ye.
Enter and receive thy crown,
Reign with me triumphantly.

Newit Vick   [1766-1819]

Elizabeth Vick   [1772-1819]

Hartwell Vick  [1792-1833]

Hartwell Vick Close Up

Daughters of Hartwell Vick
Theodoria [17 months, 17 days, 1830] and Martha Virginia  [1831-1836]

Martha Vick  [1800-1851]

Inscription reads, Blessed are the pure in heart.

Eliza White Vick Morse [1801-1890]
Burial Site Unknown
John Wesley Vick [1806-1888]
Buried in Cedar Hill Cemetery

If you are in the Vicksburg area and would like to visit the Vick Memorial, it is in a rural setting northeast of VicksburgDrive north on Hwy 61 from I-20 1.5 miles to Culkin Road. Exit east on Culkin. About 1.5 miles east is a fork in the road, with Oak Ridge Road on the left. Continue on Oak Ridge about 2.3 miles. 

This marker is on the right side of the road, and the site is on the right, partially hidden by an embankment. The Newit Vick Monument can be seen through the driveway. 

After visiting the gravesite, I wanted to find out more about Newit Vick and his family.  There have been numerous books written about Reverend Vick, but I feel more confident in the accuracy of the writings of Vicksburg’s renowned historian, the late Mr. Gordon Cotton.  In an interview with Mr. Cotton dated February 9, 2008, and published in The Vicksburg Post, entitled “City’s Founder Remembered, but Details on Vick are Few,” Mr. Cotton stated that the details on Vick’s life are somewhat hazy. 

At least three spellings of his first name have been found – Newit, Newitt, and Newett – but no one knows for sure how Reverend Vick spelled his name. However, it is spelled “Newit” on his gravestone, so I prefer to use that spelling.

According to Mr. Cotton, “Newit Vick, who came to the area in either 1812 or 1814, was a visionary who brought culture and Christianity to the city that formally adopted his name in 1825.

“Vick’s connection to the Vicksburg area began when his cousins, the Cook family, urged him to buy land that had been cleared in the ‘open woods’  and was for sale.  Some of that land is now Openwood Plantation subdivision.  In addition, he bought land along the bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River.

Unfortunately, “Vick and his wife, Elizabeth Clark Vick, died in 1819, the year he began his transformation of a new city along the Mississippi River by platting lots and boundaries.  Their deaths, about an hour apart, were blamed on yellow fever or malaria.” Nevertheless, Vick’s son-in-law, John Lane, carried out his plans for the town.

“Although his family fought over the city founder’s will for years, one result was the 1825 donation of the city block where Vick planned to build his home.  That block, in 1860, became home to what is now the Old Court House Museum.”



[Gordon Cotton Article]

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