Copyright © Janice Tracy, Mississippi Memories

Sunday, November 2, 2008

The Diaries of Judge Jason Niles

Much that is known about life in and around Attala County between June 22, 1861 and December 31, 1864, is the result of information contained in a diary kept by Judge Jason Niles. It appears that Judge Niles may have kept this diary to document events and the effect of those events that occurred during the Civil War. But for whatever reason the diary was kept, its pages contain an invaluable and personal account of what real life in Attala County was like during the three and a half year period the diary covers.

Links to excerpts from the diary have appeared on several genealogical websites for over ten years, and I have read through the entries searching for names of my ancestors there. The diary contains a wealth of information about life in Attala County during the three and one half year period it covers, as it was seen through the eyes of one of its most prominent citizens. Entries in the diary detail the travels made by Judge Niles throughout the county, and they contain names and information about his business associates and friends.

The original copy of the diary kept by Judge Niles was given by a family member to the University of Chapel Hill in North Carolina for permanent preservation as part of the university's Southern Historical Collection. A digital copy is available for reading at

Judge Niles died in 1894, just before he was 80 years old. A picture of his grave marker appears today on The Graveyard Rabbit of Attala County blogspot located at

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