American History and Genealogy Project

State of Mississippi

414 Page

Mississippi, one of the southern United States, is bounded n. by Tennessee; e. by Alabama; s. by the Gulf of Mexico and Louisiana; and w. by Pearl and Mississippi Rivers, which separate it from the state of Louisiana and Arkansas. It is between 30° 10' and 35° n. lat., and between 80° 30' and 81° 35' w. Ion., and between 8° and 11° 30' w. Ion. from w. It is 339 miles long from, n. to s., and 150 broad from e. to w., containing 45,760 square miles, or 29,286,400 acres. The population in 1816 was 45,929; in 1820, 75,448; in 1830, 136,806; in 1840, 375,651, of which 195,211 were slaves. Of the free population 97,256 were white males; 81,818 do. females; 715 were colored males; 654 do. females. Employed in agriculture, 139,724; in commerce, 1,303; in manufactures and trades, 4,151; navigating the ocean, 33; do. rivers, canals, &c., 100; learned professions 1,506.

This state is divided into 56 counties, which with their population in 1840, and their capitals were as follows:

County, Population, Capital

Northern District Southern District
Attala, 4,303, Kosciusko Adams, 19,434, Natchez
Bolivar, 1,356, Bolivar Amite, 9,511, Liberty
Carroll, 10,481, Carrollton Claiborne, 13,078, Port Gibson
Chickasaw, 2,955, Houston Clarke, 2,986, Quitman
Choctaw, 6,010, Greensboro Copiah, 8,954, Gallatin
Coahoma 1,290, Coahoma C. H. Covington, 2,717, Williamsburg
De Soto, 7,002, Hernando Franklin 4,775, Meadville
Itawamba, 5,375, Fulton Greene, 1,636, Leakeville
Lafayette, 6,531 Oxford Hancock, 3,367, Shieldsborough
Lowndes, 14,513, Columbus Harrison, Mississippi City
Marshall, 17,526, Holly Springs Hinds, 19,098, Raymond
Monroe, 9,250, Athens Holmes, 9,452, Lexington
Noxubee, 9,975, Macon Jackson, 1,965, Jackson C. H.
Octibbeha, 4,276, Starkville Jasper, 3,953, Paulding
Ponola, 4,657, Ponola Jefferson, 11,650, Fayette
Pontotoc, 4,491 Pontotoc Jones, 1,253, Ellisville
Tallahatchie, 2,935, Charleston Kemper 7,663, DeKalb
Tippah, 9,444, Ripley Lauderdale, 5,358, Marion
Tishamingo, 6,631, Jacinto Lawrence, 5,920, Monticello
Tunica, 821, Peyton Leake, 2,162, Cathage
Winston, 4,650, Louisville Madison, 15,530, Canton
Yalabusha, 12,248, Coffeeville Neshoba, 2,437, Philadelphia
... Newton, 2,527, Decatur
... Perry, 1,839, Augusta
... Pike, 6,151, Holmesville
... Rankin, 4,631, Brandon
... Scott, 1,653, Hillsborough
... Simpson, 3,330, Westville
... Smith, 1,961, Raleigh
... Warren, 15,820, Vicksburg
... Washington, 7,287, Princeton
... Wayne, 2,120, Winchester
... Wilkinson, 14, 193, Woodville
,,,  Yazoo 10,430, Benton

The southern part of this state for about 100 miles from the Gulf of Mexico is mostly a sand level pine forest, interspersed with cypress swamps, open prairies, and inundated marshes, and few hills of moderate elevation. This region is generally healthy, and by cultivation production cotton, Indian corn, indigo, sugar, and plums, cherries, peaches, figs, sour oranges, and grapes, you proceed further north, the country becomes more elevated and agreeably diversified, and t soil is a deep rich mold, producing abundantly, cotton, Indian corn, sweet Potatoes, indigo, peach melons, and grapes. The natural growth of timber consists of poplar, hickory, oak, black vain sugar maple, cotton wood, magnolia, lime, and sassafras. The country in the north pan of t state is healthy and productive; and the lands watered by the Yazoo, through its whole course in the n. w., are very fertile. The Mississippi River, with its various windings, borders this state about 700 miles; and its margin consists of inundated swamp, covered with a large growth timber. Back of this, the surface suddenly rises into what are called bluffs; and behind the country is a moderately elevated table land, with a diversified surface. Cotton is the principal production of this state, as it is found to be more profitable than others to which the soil is also w adapted.

In this state there were in 1840, 109,227 horses and mules; 623,197 neat cattle; 128,367 she< 1,001,209 swine; poultry to the value of $369,482. There were produced 196,626 bushels of wheat 1,654 of barley; 668,624 of oats; 11,444 of rye; 13,161,237 of Indian corn; 175,196 pounds wool; 6,835 of wax; 1,630,100 bushels of Potatoes; 83,471 pounds of tobacco; 777,195 of rice 193,401,577 of cotton. The produce of the dairy was valued at $359,585; of the orchard at $14,485; of lumber $192,794; tar, pitch, &c, 2,248 barrels.

The climate is mild, but very variable. The extremes of heat and cold at Natchez, for 1840, were from 26 to 94 of Fahrenheit. The sugar cane and orange tree cannot be cultivated with success of lat. 31°

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The Mississippi River washes the entire western border of this state. The Yazoo is the largest river that has its whole course in the state. It rises in the n. w. part, and after a course of 250 miles, enters the Mississippi. The Pascagoula River, after a course of 250 miles, enters the Gulf of Mexico. At its mouth it widens into a bay, on which stands the town of Pascagoula. It in navigable for a considerable distance for small vessels. The Big Black River, after a course of 200 miles, enters the Mississippi just above Grand Gulf. It has a boat navigation of 50 miles. Pearl River rises in the central part of this state and passes through it to the s., and in its lower part forms the boundary between this state and Louisiana, and enters the Rigolet between lakes Pontchartrain and Borgne. Its navigation is much impeded by shallows, sandbars, and obstructions of timber. Homochitto is a considerable river which enters the Mississippi. Besides these here are a few other small rivers and creeks. A chain of low sandy islands, 6 or 7 miles from the shore, enclose several bays or sounds, the largest of which are Pascagoula Sound and Lake Borgne, which lies partly in Louisiana.

This state has but 60 miles of seacoast, and no harbor for that distance but that of Mississippi City, which does not admit of large vessels. The largest and most commercial place in the state s Natchez, on the e. bank of the Mississippi, situated chiefly on a high bluff, 300 feet above the level of the river, and 300 miles above New Orleans. Vicksburg, 106 miles above Natchez, and 12 miles below the mouth of the Yazoo River, is a growing place and has an extensive trade. The other principal places are, Jackson, on Pearl River; Woodville, 18 miles from the Mississippi, in the s. w. part of the state; Port Gibson, and Grand Gulf, its port on the Mississippi; Columbus, m the Tombigbee; and Pontotoc and Hernando, in the n., and Mississippi City, on the gulf shore.

There were in this state in 1840, 7 commercial and 67 commission houses engaged in foreign trade, with a capital of $673,900; 755 retail drygoods and other stores, employing a capital of $5,004,420; 228 persons engaged in the lumber trade, employing a capital of $132,175; 40 persons employed in internal transportation, and 15 butchers, packers, &c, employing a capital of $4,250. The amount of homemade or family articles was $682,945; there were 53 cotton manufactories, with 318 spindles, employing 81 persons, producing articles to the amount of $1,744, with a capital :f $6,420; hats and caps were produced to the amount of $5,140, employing 13 persons, with a capital of $8,100; 128 tanneries employed 149 persons, and a capital of $70,870; 42 other manufactories of leather, as saddleries, &c., produced articles to the amount of $118,167, and employed a capital of $41,945; 1 pottery, employing 2 persons, produced to the amount of $1,200, with a capital of $200; 4 persons produced drugs and paints to the amount of $3,125, with a capital of $500; 2 persons produced confectionery to the amount of $10,500; 274 persons produced machinery to the amount of $242,225; 693 persons produced bricks and lime to the amount of 273,870, with a capital of $222,745; there were produced 312,084 pounds of soap, 31,957 do. of tallow candles, and 97 do. of spermaceti candles; 132 persons produced carriages and wagons to the amount of $49,693, with a capital of $34,345; 16 flouring mills produced 1,809 barrels of flour, and with other mills employed 923 persons, and manufactured articles to the amount of $486,864, with a capital of $1,219,845; vessels were built to the amount of $13,925; furniture was manufactured by 41 persons, to the amount of $34,450, with a capital of $28,610; 14 distilleries produced 150 gallons, and 2 breweries produced 132 gallons, employing 12 persons, and a capital of $910; 14 stone or brick houses, and 2,247 wooden houses, were built by 2,487 persons, and cost $1,175,513; 28 printing offices, and 1 bindery, 2 daily, 1 semi-weekly, and 28 weekly newspapers, employed 94 persons, and a capital of $83,510. The whole amount of capital employed in manufactures as $1,797,727.

There are three colleges in this state. Jefferson College, at Washington, 6 miles E. of Natchez, as founded in 1802, and has been liberally endowed; Oakland College, at Oakland, was founded 1831, and is a flourishing institution; Mississippi College, at Clinton, was founded in 1830. In these institutions there were in 1840, about 250 students. There were in the state 71 academies, with 2,553 students; and 382 primary and common schools, with 8,236 scholars. There were 8,360 white persons over 20 years of age who could neither read nor write.

The Methodists and Baptists are the most numerous religious denominations in this state. In 35, the Methodists had 53 travelling preachers, and 9,707 communicants; the Baptists had 84 churches, 34 ministers, and 3,199 communicants; the Episcopalians had 4 ministers; the Presbyterians of different descriptions had 32 churches, and 26 ministers.

In the beginning of 1840, there were 38 banks and branches in this state, with an aggregate capitol of $30,379,403, and a circulation of $15,171,639. At the close of 1840, the state debt amounted to $12,400,000.

The constitution of this state was formed in 1817. The governor is elected by the people, for years, on the first Monday of August. A lieutenant-governor is chosen at the same time for the ne period, who is president of the senate; and, in case of the death, resignation, or absence of the governor, his duties devolve on the lieutenant-governor. The senators are elected for three years, one third of the number being chosen annually. They cannot be less than one fourth, nor more than one third of the whole number of the representatives. The representatives are elected annually on the first Monday in August, in the ratio of one to every 3,000 white inhabitants. Each county, however, is entitled to one, though the number of its inhabitants should not equal that number. The general assembly meets annually at Jackson, on the first Monday of November. Every free white male citizen of the United States, of 21 years of age, who has resided in the state one year next preceding the election, and 6 months in the county, city, or town in which lie offers to vote, and is enrolled in the militia, unless exempt from military duty, or has paid a state or county tax, enjoys the right of suffrage. The judges of the Supreme Court are appointed by the general assembly, and hold their offices during good behavior, or until they are 65 years of age.

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The following works of internal improvement have been undertaken. West Feliciana railroad extends from St. Francisville, in Louisiana, on the Mississippi, 273 miles, to Woodville, in Mississippi, and cost $500,000. Vicksburgh and Clinton railroad extends from Vicksburgh, 45 miles, to Jackson, the capital of the state, with a branch to Raymond, 6½ miles. The New Orleans and Nashville railroad will extend through this state. The Mississippi railroad, to extend from Natchez, 112 miles to Jackson, is finished to Malcom, a distance of 40 miles. The Jackson and Brandon railroad is 14 miles long, and connects these places. The Grand Gulf and Port Gibson railroad is 7½ mile long, connecting the two places. Several other railroads are proposed, which are those from Natchez to Woodville, 41 miles; from Manchester to Benton, 14 miles; from Princeton to Dee Creek, 20 miles; from Brandon to Mobile, and from Columbus to Aberdeen.

In 1716, the French formed a settlement where the city of Natchez now stands, and laid claim to the country as belonging to Louisiana. This colony was afterward destroyed by the Indians in the vicinity. In 1763, the country was ceded to the British. North of the 31st degree of n. lat this territory was within the chartered limits of Georgia. In 1795, the legislature of Georgia sold 22,000,000 acres of land in this state, called the Yazoo purchase, to 4 companies, for $500,000, who subsequently sold it at an advanced price to various persons, mostly in the eastern and middle states. The next year the legislature declared the sale unconstitutional, and ordered the record of it to be burned, without refunding the money. The part of this state south of lat. 31° n. belonged to Florida, and was purchased with it by the United States, of Spain, in 1821. In 1798 this state together with Alabama were constituted a territory under the name of the Mississippi Territory, and continued under tins government until 1817, when this state formed a constitution and was admitted to the Union.

Table of Contents

Source: A Complete Descriptive And Statistical Gazetteer Of The United States Of America, By Daniel Haskel, A. M and J. Calvin Smith, Published By Sherman & Smith, 1843

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