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
 

COUNTY SEAT


         When the county of Marion was created in 1811 a landing place on Pearl River was selected as the county seat. Because of the presence of a bluff and a family by the href of Lott the place was for a time called Lott's Bluff. The seat of justice was never changed but the href was changed in 1821 from Lott's Bluff to Columbia in memory of the South Carolina town, Columbia, which was near the former home of the settlers. One of the first settlers, John Lott, donated one acre of land to the county to be used as a site for the permanent seat of justice with the understanding that no part of it should ever be used for commercial sites or commercial purposes.

         The town of Columbia was incorporated by a special act of the legislature in 1818 and was the fourth municipality to be chartered after Mississippi was admitted as a state. The first three towns incorporated were Monticello, Natchez, and Liberty. The charters of the first two were dated 1817. Liberty received her charter only nine days before Columbia did. In the same year her charter was granted, 1818, Columbia was surveyed and divided into lots and a map of the town was made by James Philips. The original map as made by Philips is now on record in the Chancery Clerk's office in Marion County.

         By an act of February 7, 1821 Columbia was selected as the temporary capitol of Mississippi and the state legislature of December 1821 and of June 1822 met there. Two governors of the state were interested in legislature meetings at the place; Governor Poindexter closed his term of office and Governor Leake began his administration there. This temporary arrangement of the capitol's location was to last only until a new site and buildings could be supplied for a permanent capitol. The General Assembly or Legislature met in a large two story wooden building about five miles north of Columbia. It is said the building was erected by one of the earlier settlers by the href of Lewis, was later bought and owned by a Mr. Stovall, and later owned by I. M. Fortenberry. The original purpose of a house so large was for the accommodation of guest who visited the community as a health resort. A mineral spring in the vicinity furnished water with a degree of healing power. Parts of this old hotel remained standing until a few years back.

         Older citizens of Marion County think the county has built as many as four different courthouses if not more. It is believed that one was erected just prior to the War Between the States which was possibly the second one in the county. The minutes of the board of supervisors show that a contract was let for a wooden structure in 1891 to cost 20,000. In 1905 the present building, a $65,000 concrete structure was erected. An interesting fact concerning the county courthouse and the county records is that neither has ever been destroyed by fire. It is said that an attempt was made by Union soldiers who came through the county during the War Between the States to burn the building that was in use at that time. The story goes that they started the fire on the inside of one of the offices and believing it would continue to burn closed the door and went on their way. Fortunately the fire died out and the building and records escaped destruction.

         Having no highways of trade except the river Pearl, Columbia was more or less a stagnant town until the railroad reached her limits in 1900. In that year the first bank, the Columbia, was organized with a capital stock of $18,000. The railroad made the shipping of lumber possible and sawmills immediately began to spring up in and near Columbia. The increase in revenue was so rapid until a second bank was organized in 1904 with a capital stock of $25,000. The population of the town increased from 507 in 1900 to a sufficient number in 1910 to be declared a city by Governor E. F. Noel in that year. In 1908 a sanitary sewer system and water works were installed in the city; in 1922 a modern fire pump was installed; in 1927 the postal delivery system was begun and in the same year the White Way lighting system was put in operation. The population at this writing is estimated at 6,000.


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