Lamar County, Mississippi Genealogy and History

 

Pamela J. Gibbs County Coordinator

Lori Thornton,  State Coordinator
Deb Haines
, Assistant State Coordinator


 

Marion County W. P. A. History

 

CHAPTER I
FORMATION
 

INTERESTING FACTS CONCERNING THE COUNTY

 

         Pearl River and Jackson's Military Road determined to a large extent the locations of the earliest

 settlements in Marion County. It is true that the county was organized before Jackson cut the historical road in 1814 but only a few settlers had founded homes in the county before that time. After the road was opened, easier access was obtained to the interior sections, and many of the first settlers found more desirable locations along its sides. During the War Between the States those settlements thus located suffered more or less from the Union forces when they invaded the state because of the easy accessibility made possible by the road. E. R. Ford of Hub tells how a band of Union troops stripped the John Ford place of 4,500 bushels of corn, 2,400 bushels of sweet potatoes, 2,000 gallons of syrup, seventeen head of horses and mules, and twenty-four head of hogs. After taking all of the foodstuff the soldiers set fire to all the buildings, dwellings, barns, and slave quarters, forcing the occupants to flee to neighbor houses for shelter.

         Interesting stories concerning Jackson and his men while they were crossing the county are handed down to the present generation. It seems that the army stopped for a couple of weeks in the county on its way to New Orleans. The time was given to crossing Pearl River and perhaps for a few days of rest before assuming their journey again. The army marched down the river across from the Reverend John Ford place near Sandy Hook to cross. Jackson, feeling the need of domestic comforts, asked Reverend Ford for permission to spend time in his home while his army camped near by. The story goes that Jackson was in the habit of using more or less profanity in his speech, a fact Mr. Ford was aware of. Upon asking permission to be admitted to the home as a guest the general was told by the minister that he would take him in on one condition and that was he must refrain from his swear words while a guest there. Jackson agreed and did not violate his promise while in the home.

         Another interesting fact handed down concerning Jackson's army in the county is that a stump now standing in the little stream of Sweetwater, and in a perfect state of preservation, is in the exact place where Jackson's men forded the stream and still bears the marks of their axes. Near this same ford a human skeleton was dug up and buttons from a United States soldier's uniform were found with the skeleton, a mute testimony that the army was really in that vicinity.

         Pearl River crosses the county in a diagonal direction, entering the county from the northwest corner near the community of Hathorn and flowing toward the southeast corner leaving the county a few miles from the village of Sandy Hook. The county seat, Columbia, is located on the east bank of the river very nearly half way between the northern and southern boundary. The oldest settlements of the county are located near the banks of the stream either on the east or west side. The Gulf, Mobile, and Northern Railroad follows it across the entire county on the west side, and the Illinois Central follows it along its eastern bank for a distance in the north central section. The river furnishes opportunity for fishing and rowing sports in the late spring and summer but it is a source of uneasiness and cause of anxiety in the early spring because of the likelihood of overflows. The river was once used as the chief highway of travel and supplies were brought to the early settlers by means of small stream boats. Logs were rafted and floated down to the coast for many years after the railroads were built through the county.

         In 1908 the Great Northern Railroad was constructed through Marion County. It enters the county near White Bluff on the west side of Pearl River, follows the stream across the county and crosses the southern boundary line near Sandy Hook. This road connects the county with the state capitol and the Gulf of Mexico. Points on this line are Sandy Hook, Cheraw, Jamestown, Foxworth, Columbia, Morgantown, and White Bluff.

         The Fernwood, Columbia and Gulf is another railroad which has a terminal station at Columbia. This road was constructed in 1920 and extends from Fernwood, Mississippi to Columbia, a distance of forty-four miles. The original intentions of the company was to extend the line to Mobile on the Gulf of Mexico, but due to some reason the road has never been completed. The points on this railroad are Columbia, Foxworth, Neb, Hamage, Sunbax, and Kokomo.

         The first railroad to cross the county was a branch line of the Gulf and Ship Island, which extended from Maxie in the southern part of the state to Mendenhall in Simpson County. The construction of the line was begun at Maxie and progressed northward reaching Columbia in September, 1900. A Y was built there and trains were operated between Columbia and Maxie until the road was completed in 1906. This road gave the county connections with the state capitol and the gulf through another section of the country. It entered the county near the village of Pinebur and crossed to Columbia in a northwestern direction, turned more northward and left the county near Hathorn, lying wholly on the east side of Pearl River.

         In 1925 the Illinois Central Railroad system bought over the Gulf & Ship Island System and the href was changed accordingly. Since the timber and forest products are no longer plentiful the road is not used so much. During the last few years the rails between Columbia and Maxie have been taken up and Columbia is the terminal of the line extending from Mendenhall. The points are Columbia, Expose, Goss, and Hathorn on the northern end and the points that were on the southern end were Nason, Pinebur, and Hub.

         The county sear of the county, Columbia, was one time the temporary capitol of the state; one noted convention, the famous Pearl River Convention, and the fourth annual Mississippi Conference was held at the ante-bellum home of Reverend John Ford.


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