Historic site of U.S. Jewish expulsion order may become jail
Jewish Mississippi resident says the house in which Ulysses S. Grant issued order during the Civil War should be made a museum, local media reports.
A resident of Oxford, Mississippi petitioned Lafayette County authorities on Monday to recognize a home owned by the county as an historic landmark for its significance to both Civil War and American Jewish history, and to stop plans to turn it into a jail, the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal reported on Wednesday.
Asher Reese, a Jewish resident of Oxford, who has been researching the property found that the house was the headquarters of Major-General Ulysses S. Grant from December 2-17, 1862 and was the place where he signed the notorious General Order No. 11, which ordered all Jews be expelled from his military district, which at the time included areas of Tennessee, Mississippi, and Kentucky, the only expulsion of Jews in American history.
"The Jews, as a class violating every regulation of trade established by the Treasury Department and also department orders, are hereby expelled from the within twenty-four hours from the receipt of this order," the order read.
The order was in fact enforced and over the following days army officers did order Jewish residents in the area to leave the region. In response to these actions Jewish groups appealed to President Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln revoked the order a few weeks later.
During the 1868 elections campaign, Grant claimed that the order was drafted by one of his officers and he wasn't aware of its contents, though in a letter Grant wrote Christopher Wolcott, the assistant Secretary of War, on the day the order was issued Grant explains why he decided to issue the order.
Reese is hoping to stop plans to turn the house into a jail or offices for the County Sheriff's Office, instead turning the house into a museum commemorating this period in Jewish history, the Daily Journal reported.
The Board of Supervisors President Jeff Busby told Reese that the county would "certainly take your history of the premises into consideration as we move forward,” adding that the plans for the building were several years in the future anyway, the Daily Journal wrote.