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Will Repair Court House
The Calhoun Monitor
April 16, 1908

The Board of Supervisors are advertising in this issue for bids for a general lot of repairs on the Court House here, and we are glad they are making this move for the preservation of the building.  There is no doubt that the building needs some repairs badly, and yet, there is no reason why, with the repairs made, it should not be good for a long time yet.

This house is a historic old building, having seen quite a lot of exciting scenes and changes during the period of its existence.  Some of the ablest lawyers that the State of Mississippi has ever produced have practiced their profession under its roof.  Among them were: Reuben Davis, Edward Mayes, Hamp Sullivan, Judge J. A. Orr, C. P. Mitchell, Edward Cary Walthall and Isom G. Harris.  Fuller Fox, three times member of Congress was licensed to practice law here in 1876 and made his maiden speech in this old Court House.  Judge W. A. and S. M. Roane began their practice in it.  Judge A. T. Roane held his first court here and Judge I. T. Blount made his debut as a lawyer within its walls.

All of these great men who have held or aspired to office in Mississippi since the construction of this house have addressed Calhoun citizens here, and it has witnessed numerous social, political, and other kind of gatherings, as well as some exciting judicial trials.  Among the later we mention the famous Dock Bishop case, the contested election trial, and later, the Cook trials.  Bishop was, after one of the hardest legal battles ever fought, convicted and was hung July the 3rd, 1886, for the murder of a detective, named Wise.  The Election case was a contest of the general election held in 1889 on the ground that a device of some kind was placed on the “relief” ticket contrary to law, and although this ticket was considerable in the majority, it was thrown out and candidates on the democratic ticket were declared elected.

This old house still contains the records, books, etc. which during the war were, for fear of their being burned by the Yankees, hauled, by J. A. Harrelson, with three yoke of cattle, to a hut on Yalobusha river immediately south of where Calhoun City now stands and kept under the floor for several months.

Below we give a short sketch from the History of Calhoun County by Judge J. S. Ryan who was for more than twenty years Probate Judge here, relative to the building and cost of the Court House:

“On the 8th day of December 1852 the Board accepted the bid of L. Brasher to build a court house of brick for $8,000.00.  This contract was rescinded however, on the 28th of Feb. M. J. McGuire was employed as architect to furnish plans and specifications and superintend the building of a court house at a fee of $500.  Various contracts were from time to time made and abandoned or modified, until 1855 under a contract with John Binning at $7,600; the work was commenced and carried on to completion.  M. J. McGuire architect, A. G. Helms, B. F. Davis and J. S. Ryan, building committee, S. C. Brewer & Son, brick work and plastering, John Binning wood work and Hugh McPhail & Co. tinners.

“On the 7th day of July, 1856, the committee having previously received and approved the work, the Board passed an order directing the Clerk’s and Sheriff’s office to be kept in the Court House.  During the progress of work, changes had been made in the construction of the house by the architect and committee, resulting in changes in the amount of the contract, but it’s deemed safe to say that the aggregate cost of the building did not exceed $8,000.00.

This is an image of the Court House mentioned in the article above. This photo is found in "Calhoun County, A Pictorial History"
which can be purchased from the Calhoun County Historical Society. This courthouse burned in Dec. 1922.
[The story about hiding the Record Books can be found in  "A Night Drive In Calhoun".
Copyright: Rose Diamond for Calhoun MSGenweb
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