From 1800 to 1835, the Natchez Trace, an overland trading and postal-rider route, was plagued by outlaws intent on disrupting anything that bespoke of contented settlement and establishing a "Western Pirate Empire." The bloodiest of these outlaws were brothers Micajah ("Big") Harpe and Willy ("Little") Harpe who plundered and murdered settlers as they came across them, willingly killing a man just to take his sack of meal. Joseph Hare was known as "The Dandy of the Wilderness" and his love of finery eventually led to his capture. Samuel Mason, once a distinguished soldier of the Revolution and a respectable citizen, turned bandit and regularly left his signature in his victim's blood. John Murrell, ambitious and visionary, took to slave-stealing in the belief that he could use slaves in an insurrection to disorganize all government and to secure the man-power to established his outlaw state. Interesting reading on a topic covered infrequently in the annals of American history. An every-name index has been added to this new printing.
Robert M. Coates