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
 

EARLY SETTLEMENTS


       
  Early immigrants in the county found homes near the place now known as COLUMBIA very early in the Nineteenth Century. The banks of Pearl River furnished a convenient landing place there, the soil appeared fertile and the drainage was good, all of which made the place attractive for a settlement. One of the first settlers there was John Lott, who made a donation of land for a seat of justice when the county was first organized. In honor of Mr. Lott the place was first called Lott's Bluff, but when the county was created and hrefs were chosen for it and the county site hrefs were selected in memory of a district and town back in South Carolina. Thus Lott's Bluff became New Columbia and the county seat of Marion County. By the common practice of dropping the adjective, new, from the href, the town became known as Columbia.

         Columbia is one of the thriving towns of South Mississippi; a terminal station on both the Illinois Central and the Fernwood, Columbia and Gulf Railroads, and a station on the Gulf, Mobile and Northern, one time known as the Great Northern. It is a trade center with a large area. By means of both the Illinois Central and the Fernwood, Columbia and Gulf the city has direct correction with the state capitol. The Gulf Mobile and Northern gives it connection with New Orleans and during sawmill days a large tonnage of logs, staves, hardwood, rough and dressed lumber, turpentine and rosin was shipped from Columbia both by rail and water.

         Regardless of the age of the city, and it is one of the oldest in Mississippi, Columbia was of slow growth until after, or about, the turn of the century. Not until after 1900 could the town boast of a bank. An older citizen who came to the county fifty-odd years ago says that in 1890 Columbia was a sand bed with about three stores and two hotels. There was possibly a blacksmith shop where farmers had their tools made and sharpened but there were no sawmills nor railroads and no bridge across Pearl River. The introduction of the railroad and sawmills brought extra money into the county and town and Columbia began to grow in population and expand industrially. In 1900 the branch line of the Gulf and Ship Island Railroad which was built from Maxie across a more western part of the state and intersected the main line again at Mendenhall, Simpson County was opened by to Columbia. In that same year the first large lumber plant, S. A. Jones a& Bros. was established in Columbia and by 1904 a second bank, the Pearl River Bank, was established with a capital of $25,000. The population increased from 507 in 1900 to an estimate two thousand in 1906. In that year the second large lumber plant, the O. C. Pantell Company was established and in 1912 the J. J. White Lumber Company began operation there. These plants all brought in more people, money and encouraged other industries to locate there. The railroads which touched the town made shipping and transportation easier along with industry and prosperity.

         About the turn of the century a civic pride developed and in 1905 a new school building was erected at a cost of $30,000 and a new courthouse was built the same year at a cost of $65,000, both adding much to the appearance of the town.

      When the heavy timber had been removed from the surrounding section, the land was put under cultivation and cotton and other agricultural products were produced in abundance, a fact which re-enforced the industries of Columbia and tended to encourage the location of permanent industrial plants. Ever since the beginning of the depression in 1929 several large industries have located in Columbia. The Kentucky Lumber Company was established in 1930; the Southern Naval Store was located there in 1933; the Dorgan McPhilips Canning plant was built in 1930; the Columbia Knitting Mills in 1932 and the George Westerfield Lumber Company was located there in 1928. Along with these larger industries, smaller ones have been established and the town has, during the thirties, erected a magnificent high school building.

      According to the views of the present sheriff of Marion County, R. R. Hathorn, the town of Columbia owes its growth within the past few years to the organized forces of her citizens and their tenacity of determination to stand together, support and encourage industries within her limits.

      DRAKE SETTLEMENT was another early settlement. Pearl River, because it was navigable, was one of only a few highways of travel back in the early years of the Nineteenth Century and as a consequence many of the first settlements were made along its banks. Drake Settlement was a landing on the river several miles south of Columbia. The nature of the river banks afforded easy landing and loading of commodities and because of this fact many of the first white people in the county settled there. Among those settlers were the RAWLS, FOXWORTHS, and SILAS DRAKE who was responsible for the name of the settlement. These pioneer settlers were all farmers and cattle and slave owners.

      EBENEZER SETTLEMENT about sixteen miles north of Columbia on Holliday's Creek is in the northern part of the county. A Baptist Church was located in the vicinity more than a hundred years ago and was and is still known as Ebenezer. The church is located just across the county line in Jeff Davis County, but many of the early settlers there lived in Marion County.

      WILKSBURG was one of the first post offices in the county, located near Ebenezer. Steve WILKES settled in Ebenezer community near the early part of the Nineteenth Century and established or was instrumental in its establishment, the post office which was named in his honor. He was a slave owner and operated a thriving saloon and a race track.

      CARLEY was another post office that was established near Ebenezer. It was located five or six miles south of the above mentioned place and about ten or twelve miles northeast of Columbia. The post office has long been discontinued and the same community is now referred to as BUNKER HILL, so named because of the high hill on which it is located. A consolidated vocational high school is now located there, also one church, two stores, and a Masonic Lodge. The lodge is recognized as Carley No. 562.

      LENOIR SETTLEMENT was also on the banks of the river Pearl and was located on the site of the present town of MORGANTOWN. The place was so called in honor of one of the first settlers there, William Lenoir who married a Miss Foxworth. Old citizens can remember hearing their elders tell of a large two-story house owned by Mr. Lenoir and in which the community would gather for social functions. Mr. Lenoir owned a large plantation and a great number of slaves. As stated above, the vicinity is now known as Morgantown.

      HOPEWELL SETTLEMENT was one of the oldest known settlements in Marion County and is now known as Hopewell Consolidated School District. It is located on Bogalusa and Columbia Highway once known as the old Covington Road, ten miles south of Foxworth and two miles north of Sandy Hook. It extended about two miles westward and was bounded by Pearl River on the east. Two of the early settlers there about 1800 were DOUGALD M'LAUGHLIN and JOSEPH WARREN. This settlement has grown and is still one of the outstanding communities in Marion County. We find descendants of Sampson Edward Ball, J. M. Foxworth, and Samuel Martin living in the community at the present time.

      WATERHOLE was one of the outstanding communities of Marion County in early days. The place was so named from the early Methodist Church, Waterhole, which the first settlers built as soon as conditions permitted. The church and settlement were in the southwestern part of the county near the Pike County line. The pioneer people who settled there were very pious and had daily worship in their own houses and regular neighborhood services from the first. As early as 1810 we find pioneers began making their homes in this primeval forest near the headquarters of the stream known as Ten Mile Creek and in the vicinity of the Waterhole church.

      Some of the names identified with this early settlement are the Lewis brothers, Uenney and Lemuel, Hobbs Davis? Steve Regan, a Mr. January, Dr. Luke Connerly, and Henry and Fleet Magee who settled in the community and had slaves. All the settlers had plantations and engaged principally in agriculture. Henry and Fleet Magee came to the county prior to 1812 as shown by the presence of their names listed in George Nixon's Sixteenth Regiment from Marion County during the War of 1812.

      FOXWORTH is now a station on both the Fernwood Columbia and Gulf and Mobile Gulf and Northern Railroads. It is three miles west of Columbia and is situated on the west bank of Pearl River. The first settler in the vicinity was Frank A Foxworth and it was in his honor the place was named. Foxworth erected a sawmill, grist mill and cotton gin all operated by water power on the river at this place and the original machinery or parts of it is still in use there. The town now boasts of about ten stores, two sawmills, one gin and two railroads. The growth of the town was due to the sawmills and the coming of the Great Northern Railroad, now the Gulf, Mobile and Northern, in 1908. Foxworth is often referred to as west Columbia.

      WHITE BLUFF is twenty miles northwest of Columbia. It was early a landing place on the river for immigrants and travelers. It is now a station on the Gulf Mobile and Northern Railroad. Its population is about fifty, composed of Days, Bannions, Sauls, Sibleys and Carmichaels. There is a post office at the place and a Baptist church. The place acquired its name from the presence of tall white bluffs there.

      SANDY HOOK is a station in Marion County on the Mobile Gulf and Northern Railroad about four miles north of the Louisiana line. This place was settled in the early years of the Nineteenth Century by immigrants from South Carolina, one of whom was Reverend John Ford. The ante-bellum home that was built by Reverend Ford was the meeting place of the Pearl River Convention in 1817 and the annual Mississippi Conference in 1818 that has been mentioned elsewhere in this chapter.

A stream which flows nearby the village of Sandy Hook had to be forded in the early days. Along the banks of the stream were great sand beds which when dry, made added weight to the loads and extra teams had to be hitched to a heavy load to pull it across, hence the name, Sandy Hook.

      KENO was one time a post office located about eight miles east of Columbia on the Old Highway # 24. The office was established possible as early as the eighties. In the early parts of the Twentieth Century Mrs. George Bayliss was post mistress there. The post office has long been discontinued and no public building furnishes a gathering place except the Methodist church located there, Bayliss Chapel.

      PICKWICK is a station on the Mobile, Gulf and Northern Railroad about ten or twelve miles south of Columbia. A post office was established there possible about 1880 and in casting about for a name the one above was chosen. The name was chosen in honor of or as a tribute to Mrs. Stephen A. Foxworth who wrote articles for newspapers and periodicals.

      MORRIS is the community often referred to as IMPROVE but which was first named in honor of the Morris families there. The place is about twelve miles north east of Columbia on the Columbia and Sumrall Road. It is still a community center with a consolidated high school, one store, and two cotton gins. A Mason lodge is also located a there and is known as Improve, hence the reason the place is often mentioned by that name. The land in the section is possibly the best for agricultural purposes of any in the county.

      BUFORD was once a post office and community center, and was named in honor of a prominent citizen there, Buford Summers. At one time a store, a sawmill, cotton gin, and school were located there, but that was before the days of consolidated schools and rural routes. The timber has all been cut nearby, good roads and better gins in other vicinities disposed of the cotton gin, and the mail is now delivered from a rural route in Foxworth. A twelve grade school is still maintained there.

      TWIN was once a small sawmill village in the southern part of Marion County and on the Gulf, Mobile, and Northern Railroad. Two sawmills of near equal size and capacity were located there about 1912 or 1915 and people referred to them as the twin mills. In the years that followed, the lone word, Twin, was often used to designate the place and by common practice became known as Twin. The sawmills have long since cut all the available timber and have been moved from the place, taking with them the greater part of the population. There was never any school, post office or church in the vicinity.

      CHERAW is a point on the Gulf, Mobile and Northern Railroad, but was an inland post office, possibly, fifty or more years ago. It is said by the older citizens that the place was named in memory of a place by the same name in one of the Carolinas. At present there are a few business houses, and a post office at the place. The population is possible 150.

      NEWSON is a flag stop on the Gulf, Mobile and Northern Railroad. It was so named because of the presence of a family by the same name that lived nearby. The place was never a community center and came into existence after the Great Northern Railroad, now the Gulf Mobile and Northern was built.

      JAMESTOWN was one time a small village south of Foxworth on the Gulf, Mobile and Northern Railroad. There was once a post office there but now there are no public buildings of any kind and practically nothing to indicate that a village ever stood there. The name Jamestown was chosen in honor of James Regan, a former resident of the place.

      CARMICH is the name of a side swithe on the Illinois Railroad a short distance north of White Bluff. The presence of a family of Carmichaels in the vicinity prompted the name. No business houses, school or church were ever located there.

      SOUER was once a small community on the Gulf, Mobile and Northern Railroad and was named in honor of Colonel Souer of New Orleans. The place was never a community center but a reason for a name was side switch on the railroad.

      CONDRON is the name of a gravel pit east of Foxworth. No public buildings or residences were ever located there.

      SPRING COTTAGE was one of the first post offices ever established in Marion County and was possible a community center one hundred years ago. Some of the first settlers, Rankins, Balls, and Fords settled in the vicinity in the early years of the Nineteenth Century. There was once a post office, store, and school in the vicinity but now no public building except the church is located there.


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