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Colonel Randal McGavock: God’s Own Gentleman

Randal McGavock was born in 1826 in Nashville, Tennessee, to a family of wealthy Irish immigrants. At the age of 21, he left Nashville for Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he received his degree from Harvard. In 1858, after returning to Nashville, he was elected mayor and served a one-year term. In 1861, after Tennessee became the tenth state to secede from the Union, he decided to leave office and join the war efforts.

During the Battle of Fort Donelson, his first encounter with the enemy, McGavock was captured and taken to Fort Warren prison, Boston Harbor, where he spent five months. After his exchange, he found himself in Jackson for the re-organization of the 10th Tennessee. During this time, his regiment was assigned to Gregg’s Brigade, a brigade comprised of the 3rd, 10th, 30th, 41st, 50th Tennessee regiments, the 1st Tennessee battalion and the 7th Texas Infantry. The entire brigade numbered some 3,000 men.

In May of 1863, after spending a year in Port Hudson defending the Confederate stronghold on the Mississippi River, Gregg’s Brigade was ordered back to Jackson to block Grant’s advance into Mississippi. May 12, 1863, would be Colonel Randal McGavock’s last day on earth.

Available Soon


Except For You

Except for You-The Love Story of Andrew Jackson and Rachel, is the latest painting by McWilliams. After much research, he depicted the couple on horseback at Springfield Plantation near Natchez, Mississippi, in 1791, at the time of their marriage many years before he became President of the United States.

This painting and story tell only a small portion of the very colorful and exciting life of this couple. The painting along with the story by his wife, Kay, narrated by Bill Ellison and the song, Except for You, written by Ben Peters and sung by Paul Ott, available on CD, tells of the enduring love of two people caught in a world of change and turmoil.

The story also shows that Andrew Jackson was much involved in the history of Mississippi. He owned a trading post on Bayou Pierre, overlooking the Mississippi River and also had a race track there. Jackson owned hundreds of acres in Mississippi and Jackson , the state capitol was named for him. The couple spent some of their happiest times in their log cabin at Bayou Pierre. This painting which is 4 x 5 feet has been unveiled in the State Capitol at Jackson, Mississippi and in the Hermitage in Nashville, Tennessee. Prints are also on display in Washington D.C. Story tag included.

Large Print
Image Size: 31.75 in. x 26 in.
Artist Proof signed: $250.00
Print s/n (#350): $200.00
Print: $100.00

Small Print
Image Size: 23 in. x 19 in.
Print signed: $75.00

Except For You CD: $15.00


The Sinking of the U.S.S. Cairo

The Sinking of the U.S.S. Cairo, December 12, 1862, the first in a series by McWilliams was painted in 1985 and hangs in the National Military Park at Vicksburg, Mississippi. It is also featured on several billboards in Mississippi and Louisiana. It depicts the story of the first gunboat ever sunk by an underwater mine. Lt. Commander Selfridge, Jr. knew the Yazoo River was "mined" but apparently thought his vessel was invincible. The Cairo hit the underwater mine and sank in less than 15 minutes with no loss of lives. If you look closely at the left bottom of the print you will observe a stump from which a cable leads toward the explosion. The Cairo can be seen in various Civil War related shows on the History Channel. Story tag included.

Large Print
Image Size: 31.25 in. x 17.25 in.
Artist Proof s/n: $100.00
Print s/n: SOLD OUT
Print signed: $75.00

Small Print
Image Size: 13.25 in. x 7.75 in.
Print signed: $25.00


Sky Parlor Hill

Vicksburg Mississippi From Sky Parlor Hill – 1863. This view of Vicksburg, Mississippi shows the early days of the siege, with flowers blooming and birds singing. The citizens visited Sky Parlor Hill daily to watch the battle in the distance. There they discussed the folly of the Union Army attempting to conquer Vicksburg. The Old Court House Museum is seen in the distance where McWilliams' live-size portrait of Gen. John C. Pemberton, the defender of Vicksburg, now hangs. The U.S.S.  Cincinnati, crippled by Confederate cannons, burns in the river. The citizens of Vicksburg had no idea at that time the trials and tribulations that awaited them in the weeks to come. This print has been shown many times on the History Channel. Story tag included.

Large Print
Image Size: 31.50 in. x 25.50 in.
Print s/n: SOLD OUT
Artist Proof signed: $100.00
Print signed: $75.00

Small Print
Image Size: 13.25 in. x 7.75 in.


Jefferson Davis, with his dog, Traveler,
at Beauvoir

Jefferson Davis, with his dog, Traveler, at Beauvoir This portrait of Confederate President Jefferson Davis shows Davis seated in the library cottage with his constant companion, his dog, Traveler. This is where Davis wrote The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government. McWilliams lived at Beauvoir during the time he was working on the painting. He had access to Davis' clothes, a lock of his hair, his death mask and his books during this time. He was also allowed to use the cottage library. Davis loved the peace and quiet at Beauvoir as he and Traveler walked the beaches and enjoyed the shade of the great old live oak trees.

The original painting hangs in the new Jefferson Davis Presidential Library at Beauvoir, Biloxi, Mississippi. The dog in the painting has always been a great favorite of the children as they tour Beauvoir. In 1974 Jerry donated a painting to Beauvoir titled, Jefferson Davis with the Battle Flag. It is displayed in the Presidential Library beside the Great Seal of the Confederacy. Story tag included.

Large Print

Image Size: 30.5 in. x 23 in.
Artist Proof signed: $75.00
Print s/n (#350): $50.00

Small Print
Image Size: 17.5 in. x 13 in.
Print signed: $25.00


The Old Grist Mill

The Old Grist Mill - Grand Gulf Military State Park This painting of the Grist Mill, the Water Wheel, the Sacred Heart Catholic Church and the Dog Trot House give viewers and visitors to the Military Park a feeling of life in earlier times. The efforts of Bill Lum is appreciated by those who find satisfaction in saving the past. Mr. Lum was instrumental in assembling the above structures on this site and was also the one responsible for the restoration of many of the historic structures in Port Gibson, Mississippi.

Grand Gulf State Military Park was founded in 1958 for the purpose of preserving two Civil War Batteries, Fort Wade and Fort Cobun, in addition to the Grand Gulf town site. Grand Gulf, Mississippi was named by French settlers who came to the area early in the 1700s. Grand Gulf became a very important shipping center because it was located on the Mississippi River. Today the Mississippi River flows only a few hundred yards from the Military Park. There is only a limited number of these prints left as the majority burned in a fire in Port Gibson, Mississippi. Story tag included.

Large Print
Image Size: 30.25 in. x 23 in.
Artist Proof signed: $150.00
Print s/n: SOLD OUT
Print signed: $100.00

Small Print
Image Size: 7.75 in. x 5.75 in.
Print signed: $10.00


The Camellias of Southern Cedars

This painting by artist Jerry McWilliams was painted for his wife, Kay. The camellia bushes are at least 60 to 70 years old, very large and stand in the front yard of their home, Southern Cedars. The circa 1834 antebellum home was originally known as the Granberry Plantation. The artist, knowing his wife loved the flowers, would pick the camellias, still heavy with dew, early in the morning and bring them to her. She would always arrange them in her mother's antique cranberry rose bowl. Someone who saw the original wanted it as a gift for a relative. The McWilliams not eager to part with the painting finally gave in. The original now hangs in a specially constructed niche in a home in Arizona with the entire room decorated around the painting.

Prints will soon be available. Please contact us.



Lt. Gen. John C. Pemberton -
The Defender of Vicksburg

 Pemberton, a West Point graduate, was cited twice for gallant actions in the Mexican War, married a Virginia belle, resigned his U.S. Army commission and cast his lot with the Confederacy. He had great engineering talent, was rapidly promoted and was transferred to take command of the Dept. of Mississippi and Eastern Louisiana, embracing the stronghold of Vicksburg, providing access to the supplies and manpower of the Trans-Mississippi. Many are contemptuous of Pemberton's military record, but it is a hard fact that he and his generals repeatedly frustrated the efforts of Grant and Sherman. On May 7 President Jefferson Davis sent Gen. Pemberton a telegram emphasizing the importance of holding Vicksburg at all costs. General Joe Johnston arriving in Jackson on May 13, ordered Pemberton to save his army, abandon Vicksburg and join with him against Grant. Pemberton was in a quandary: Should he obey President Davis, his Commander-in-Chief, or his immediate field commander, General Joe Johnston? His torment shows in his eyes in this painting. Pemberton left enough troops at Vicksburg to hold the city against a Union invasion, took most of his army and marched east trying to form a juncture with Johnston. He collided with Grant east of the Edwards Depot, fought and lost the key battle of the Vicksburg

Campaign, the Battle of Champion Hill, one of the most important battles of the war. After that battle Pemberton retired to the Vicksburg fortifications and after a 47-day siege was forced to surrender the city. After being exchanged, Pemberton resigned his commission as a lieutenant general and faithfully fought the remainder of the war as a lieutenant colonel.
James West Thompson, Historian, Jackson, Mississippi.

This painting has been shown many times on the History channel where he was called "the saddest man in Vicksburg". The life-size painting of Pemberton hangs in the Old Courthouse Museum in Vicksburg, Mississippi and illustrated in the book Pemberton - A Biography by Michael B. Ballard.

Prints will soon be available in a limited number. Please contact us.


Jerry McWilliams, Artist
Southern Heritage Productions, Inc.
"Southern Cedars"
1357 Kimbell Road
Terry, Mississippi  39170
e-mail: jerrymcart@yahoo.com

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