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Fanning's Illustrated Gazetteer of the United States

State, Territories, Counties, Cities, Towns & Post Offices


Transcribed by Jeana Gallagher and Sandy Stutzman
for the exclusive use of Genealogy Trails

PT is post town; PV is post village; PO is post office, PB is post borough, CH is court house, T is town


One of the United States, situated between 30°10' and 35° north latitude, and 88°10' and 91°35' west longitude from Greenwich; and is bounded north by Tennessee, east by Alabama, south by the Gulf of Mexico and Louisiana, and west by Pearl and Mississippi rivers, the latter of which separates this state from Louisiana and Arkansas, and the former separates it from Louisiana.  It superficial area is 47,157 square miles.

Physical Aspect-- The surface of the southern portions of this state, for 100 miles inland from the Mexican gulf, is even, with occasional hills of moderate elevation, interspersed with prairies, inundated marshes, and cypress swamps.  The soil is generally sandy and gravelly, mingled more or less with clay, and is capable of producing all the crops peculiar to the south.  The central and northern parts of the state are more elevated, and the face of the country agreeably diversified by hills and dales.  The soil is exceedingly fertile, producing abundant crops.

Rivers and Bays-- The principal rivers are; the Mississippi, Pearl, Pascagoula, Yazoo, Tombigbee and the Big Black.  The only bays are, the Pascagoula, Biloxi and St Louis, which lie contiguous to the Mexican gulf.

Climate-- The winters of Mississippi as compared with the winters at the north, may be regarded as mild; but like those of the adjoining states, they vary from each other, and not infrequently are quite severe.  No winter passes without more or less frost, and few, in some parts of the state, without snow.  Neither the sugar cane nor the orange will grow, unprotected, north of latitude 31°.  In general the winters along the Mississippi are two or three degrees colder than in corresponding parallels on the Atlantic.  The summers are usually very hot, subject to long droughts, and not infrequently to excessive and protracted rains.  Like most other southern countries, this state is generally healthy, except in the vicinity of swamps, and sluggish streams, where in summer and autumn, fevers and bilious complaints frequently prevail. 

Productive Resources-- The products of this state are horses, mules, neat cattle, sheep, swine, poultry, wax, wool, lumber, tar, pitch, turpentine, cotton, tobacco, rice, wheat, rye, barley, oats, potatoes and Indian corn.  Cotton is the great staple, little regard being had to other crops

Manufactures--  But little attention is paid in this state to manufactures, beyond supplying some of the more immediate wants of the people.  In 1850 there were 866 manufacturing establishments, whose annual products amounted to $500 and upward.

Railroads-- There are about 200 miles of railroad completed in Mississippi and others are projected.  The Vicksburg, Jackson and Brandon road, 60 miles long, is the most important road as yet built.  Another road, from Natchez to Jackson, the capital of the sate, is in progress. 

Commerce-- Mississippi has no direct foreign commerce, its shipping to foreign countries being made through the ports of neighboring states.

Education-- The principal collegiate institutions of Mississippi are the Oakland college founded in 1830; the Centenary college founded in 1841 and the Mississippi university at Oxford founded in 1846.  There are also about 100 academies and 500 common schools in the state.

Government--The governor is elected by the people for a term of two years, and can not hold office more then four years out of six; and in case of his death, resignation or other inability, it is provided, that the president of the senate shall perform the duties of the governor, until another shall be duly qualified.  The senate is composed of 32 members, elected for four years, half of the number being chosen biennially.  the representatives are elected biennially, on the first Monday in November; the present number is 98, and can not exceed 100 members.  The legislature meets biennially at Jackson, on the first Monday in January.  The judicial power is vested in a high court of errors and appeals, consisting of three judges chosen by the people for six years, one being chosen biennially; in a circuit court, held in each county, the judges chosen by the people for four years; in a superior court of chancery, the chancellor chosen by the people of the whole state for six years; in a court of probate, the judge elected by the people of each county for two years. Every free white male citizen of the United States, 21 years of age, and who has resided in the state one year next preceding the election, and four months in the county, city or town, in which he offers his vote, is deemed a qualified voter.

Population-- In 1800 was 8,850; in 1810 was 40,352; in 1820 was 75,448; in 1830 was 136,621; in 1840 was 375,651 and in 1850 was 606,555.  Number of slaves in 1800 was 3,489; in 1810 was 17,088; in 1820 was 32,814; in 1830 was 65,659; in 1840 was 195,211 and in 1850 was 309,898. 

History-- De Soto traversed the Mississippi region in 1542, but made no settlement.  La Salle visited it in 1681, having proceeded down the great valley from the lakes of the north.  In 1698, D'Iberville, who was appointed governor of Louisiana, arrived with a colony, chiefly Canadians, and settled on Ship island.  The next year he built Fort Biloxi, on the eastern side of Biloxi bay, which became the headquarters of the province.  D'Iberville gave the name of Rosalie to the spot now called Natchez.  That settlement was surprised and destroyed by the Natchez Indians, in 1729.  The French were avenged, and destroyed or dispersed the whole tribe.  The northern part of Mississippi was ceded to England by France, in 1763.  The southern portion was ceded to England by Spain, and attached to Florida.  A portion was retroceded to Spain in 1793.  A large portion of the present state was erected into a territory in 1798.  The Alabama territory was separated from it in 1817 and toward the close of the year Mississippi was admitted into the Union.  The first constitution was adopted in 1817 and revised in 1832.

1850 Counties of  Mississippi

County Description Area in sq miles Courts held at Pop in 1850
Adams southwest part on MS & Homochitto rivers 600 Natchez 18,069
Amite southwest part 720 Liberty 9,694
Attala central part, drained by Black & Pearl rivers 729 Kosciusko 10,999
Bolivar on western boundary, on east side of Mississippi river 1,700 Bolivar 2,577
Carroll toward the northwest part, east side of Yazoo river 950 Carrollton 18, 945
Chickasaw northern part 970 Houston 16,368
Choctaw central part 920 Greensborough 11,402
Claiborne western boundary, on east side of Mississippi river & Big Black river on northwest 500 Fort Gibson 14,899
Clarke east boundary, water by Chicksaw river 650 Quitman 5,477
Coahoma western boundary, water by Sunflower river 680 Coahoma Court House 2,724
Copiah southwest part, Pearl river on northeast side 900 Gallatin 11,794
Covington southern part 960 Williamsburg 3,358
De Soto northern boundary 925 Hernando 19,042
Franklin south western part 720 Meadville 5,904
Greene eastern boundary, crossed by Chicksawha river 864 Leakesville 2,018
Hancock southern part, Pearl river on west, Gulf of Mexico on south 1680 Sheildsborough 3,672
Harrison southern boundary, Gulf of Mexico on south, Pearl river on west blank Mississippi City 4,875
Hinds western part, Pearl river on east & Big Black river on west 875 Raymond 25,340
Holmes western part, Big Black river on east, Yazoo river on west 600 Lexington 13,928
Issaquena western boundary, Mississippi river on west & Yazoo river on southeast blank Tallulah 4,478
Itawamba eastern boundary, crossed by Little Tombigbee river 900 Fulton 13,528
Jackson southeast corner, on Gulf of Mexico, crossed by Pascagoula river 1175 Jackson Court House 3,196
Jasper south eastern part 650 Paulding 6,184
Jefferson western boundary, on east side of Mississippi river 630 Fayette 13,193
Jones south eastern part 672 Ellisville 2,164
Kemper east boundary 750 De Kalb 12,517
Lafayette northern part 790 Oxford 14,069
Lauderdale east boundary 700 Marion 8,708
Lawrence southern part, crossed by Pearl river 790 Monticello 6,478
Leake central part 576 Carthage 5,533
Lowndes eastern boundary, crossed by Tombigbee river 324 Columbus 19,544
Madison central part, Big Black river on northwest & Pearl river on southwest 548 Canton 18,173
Marion southern boundary, crossed by Pearl river 1476 Columbia 4,410
Marshall northern boundary 800 Holly Springs 29,689
Monroe eastern boundary, crossed by Little Tombigbee river 650 Athens 21,172
Neshoba eastern part 600 Philadelphia 4,728
Newton toward eastern part 540 Decatur 4,465
Noxubee east boundary 680 Macon 16,299
Oktibbeha eastern part 625 Starkeville 9,171
Panola in north western part, crossed by Tallahatchie river 760 Panola 11,444
Perry southeast part, crossed by Leaf river 1011 Augusta 2,438
Pike south boundary 864 Holmesville 13,309
Pontotoc northeast part 900 Pontotoc 17,112
Rankin central part, Pearl river on northwest 800 Brandon 7,227
Scott central part 576 Hillsborough 3,961
Simpson southern part, Pearl river on west 550 Westville 4,734
Smith toward southeast part 520 Raleigh 4,071
Sun Flower west part, Yazoo river on east, crossed by Sun Flower river blank blank 1,102
Tallahatchee in north western part, crossed by Yazoo river 1188 Charleston 4,643
Tippah on north boundary 1000 Ripley 20,741
Tishomingo in northeast corner, Tennessee river on northeast 1300 Jacinto 15,490
Tunica on western boundary, Mississippi river on west 600 Peyton 1,304
Warren on west boundary, Mississippi river on west, Big Black on southeast, crossed by Yazoo river 600 Vicksburg 18,121
Washington on west boundary, Mississippi river on west, Yazoo river on east 2420 Greenville 8,389
Wayne on east boundary 790 Winchester 2,892
Wilkinson at southwest corner, Mississippi river on west 580 Woodville 16,720
Winston in eastern part 720 Louisville 7,956
Yallabusha toward north part, crossed by Yallabusha river 720 Coffeeville 17,258
Yazoo in western part, Yazoo river on northwest, Big Black river on southeast 650 Benton 14,118

Columbus, MS

Seat of justice of Lowndes Co, MS, 141 miles NE of Jackson and  855 miles from Washington, situated at the head of steamboat navigation, on the east bank of Tombigbee river, is an important and growing city.  Like the other flourishing towns of Mississippi, it is an extensive market of cotton, which finds its way from this point down the Tombigbee to Mobile, and thence to various foreign and domestic ports.  The City is well laid out, on an elevation, about 120 feet above the level of the Tombigbee.  An elegant bridge spans this stream and some of the public buildings are beautiful and imposing.

Population in 1840 was 4,000 and in 1850 was 9,611

Jackson, MS

Seat of justice of Hinds Co, and capital of Mississippi, is situated at the head of boat navigation on the west bank of Pearl river.  It is built on a beautiful level ground, half a mile square.  It contains a magnificent state house, governor's house, a penitentiary and other elegant public buildings.  It is connected with Jackson by a railroad 45 miles long.  It lies 1,015 miles southwest of Washington.

Population: in 1840 was 2,126 and in 1850 ____.

Natchez, MS

City, seat of justice of Adams Co, MS, situated on the east bank of the Mississippi river, 292 miles from New Orleans and 1,110 miles from Washington.  Along the river, at the foot of the bluff, which rises 200 feet from the water, there are stores, warehouses, and other buildings, but the more respectable part of the city occupies the top of the elevation, which affords fine sites for residences, and from its heights a beautiful view of the river and its banks.  Broad streets divide pleasant mansions; which indicate the wealth and taste of their owners.  Rich and varied trees lend their charms to the other attractions of the city.  Natchez is the mart of the interior of Mississippi, receiving the vast quantities of cotton and other staples, which are conveyed by numerous steamboats to New Orleans and other towns on the river.  There is a railroad, 30 miles long from Natchez to Malcom.

Population: in 1810 was 1,511; in 1820 was 2,184; in 1830 was 2,789; in 1840 was 4,800 and in 1850 was 14,201.

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