This chapter describes the rise of the postwar business and mercantile class in Natchez. This new breed of merchant-entrepreneurs, which included former Confederate soldiers, Yankee newcomers, and European immigrants, would change the face of Natchez and the New South in the coming years. One common feature of all those who succeeded in the postwar marketplace was that they enjoyed local ties or family relationships to one or more emerging groups in the larger community. Some of the communities were well defined and formed along cultural or religious lines, as in the case of vibrant local communities comprised of immigrant Jewish, Irish, or Italian merchants. Other informal groupings among longtime Americans relied more upon antebellum familial relationships or loose ties engendered by common regional heritage or business connections.
Keywords: Natchez, Confederates, merchants, entrepreneurs, mercantile class