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Bolivar County, Mississippi
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Website Updates:
18 Jun 2018: Added Gill Biography 24 May 2018: Added Faison Biography 24 May 2018: Added Gibert Biography 14 Apr 2018: Added Ashley Biography 14 Apr 2018: Added Barry Biography 14 Apr 2018: Added Burrus Biography 22 Mar 2018: Added Clark Biography 02 Oct 2017: Updated County History
08 Aug 2013: Added Deen Obituary
23 Aug 2013: Added 1883 Pension List
3 Jul 2013: Gunnison Obituary Added
1 May 2012:
Bonner-Griffith Marriage Announcement Added.
5 Mar 2011:
Crime News story added.
9 Nov 2010:
Armstrong Obituary Added
8 Nov 2009:
Flood story added
8 Nov 2009: created
Cemetery Index


Bolivar County, named for General Simon Bolivar, is located in the northwestern part of the State in the famous Yazoo Delta region. The county has a land surface of 913 square miles. It was erected February 9, 1836, while Charles Lynch was Governor, and the original act defined its limits as follows: "Beginning at the point where the line between twps. 24 and 25 intersects the line between ranges 2 and 3 west, and running thence with the said range line, to the point where the same intersects the line between twps. 21 and 22; thence east with the said twp. lines to the Tallahatchie river; thence down the Tallahatchie and Yazoo rivers, to the point where the old Choctaw boundary line intersects the Yazoo river; thence with the said boundary line to the point where the line between twps. 19 and 20 leaves the same; thence west with the said twp. line to the Mississippi river, to the point where the line between twps. 24 and 25 intersects the same, and thence with the said twp. line to the beginning." February 26, 1842, a part of Coahoma county was added to Bolivar, described as follows:—"Beginning on the Mississippi river at the center of twp. 26 north, of range 7 west; thence east with said line to the line between range 4 and 5 west, and south to said line between townships 24 and 25 north." In 1844, the county of Sunflower was formed out of the territory of Bolivar, and in 1871, the eastern part of Sunflower was taken to form part of the present county of Leflore. (See Sunflower and Leflore.) The original county had a total area of about forty townships or 1,440 square miles, while its present area is about 913 square miles. Coahoma county lies immediately on the north, Sunflower county on the east, Washington county on the south and the Mississippi river forms its western boundary. The county was early settled by an excellent body of pioneers, many of whom were men of brilliant parts, who contributed not only to the upbuilding of the new county, but also took a large share in shaping the affairs of state. Among them were Judge Joseph McGuire, Judge of Probate in 1838, Governor Clarke, Judge Burrus, George Torrey, Miles H. McGehee, John V. Newman, Judge Kingsley, J. P. Brown, Gen. William Vick, Isaac Wilkinson, Dr. Dodd, Colonel Fields, Dr. Marrel Rowland, Judge F. A. Montgomery, Wm. Sackville Cook, Clerk of the Courts, F. Patterson, one of the commissioners appointed to organize the county and Sheriff in 1838; Y. Alexandria, Oren Kinsley, Isaac Hudson, Hiram D. Miller, and Peter William, Members of the Board of Police, 1838; James D. Hallam, W. L. Johnson, James M. Mattock, Peter B. Starke, J. J. B. White, J. P. Brown, John M. Henderson, James B. Smith, and Charles Clarke, all members of the State Legislature for Bolivar county, prior to the Civil War. The story of the final location of the county seat is interesting and will be briefly told. The little old shanty, which was first used for a court house, contained three rooms, the court room, about twenty feet square; the other two, about ten feet square, were used for clerk's room and jury room. This building seems to have been moved up and down the Mississippi river several times before its final location at Judge McGuire's plantation, adjoining the town of Prentiss elsewhere referred to. Its first location was on what was then the Mississippi, but is now Lake Beulah, a few miles below Rosedale. The old place where it stood for several years is still called the old court house field. It failed to attract any settlers and was moved by flatboat down the river to Bolivar Landing. A few years later it was again moved- this time up stream-to its final resting place at Judge McGuire's plantation. While the new court house was building at Prentiss, Judge J. Shall Yerger held one term of court in the old structure. A fine brick court house was built at Prentiss about 1857, and Prentiss remained the seat of justice until its destruction in 1863 by the Federal troops. In 1865 Col. F. A. Montgomery donated land on his Beulah plantation for a county site, and a frame court house was erected there. Finally in 1872 the county seat of justice was located at Floryville, now Rosedale. The first court house there was burned, the second, erected by the insurance company was rejected, and at last the present fine brick structure was erected in 1890, at a cost of over $30,000. Also a substantial jail, at a cost of about $13,500. Rosedale is a place of 1,500 inhabitants and is the most important river town between Memphis and Greenville, an important shipping point for the chief products of the region, cotton and corn, and the center of a large local trade. Gunnison, with 477 inhabitants (Census of 1900), lies a little north of Rosedale, and Cleveland, with 1,200 inhabitants, located on the Yazoo and Mississippi valley railway in the eastern part of the county, are both growing towns. There are a large number of other small towns in the county, among which may be mentioned Beulah, Benoit, Shaw, Shelby, Boyle and Duncan. Few counties in the State have superior transportation facilities, the Mississippi river forming its entire western boundary and two lines of the Yazoo & Mississippi Valley railway extending the entire length of the county, joined at the center by an east and west branch from Rosedale. The Southern railway also enters its border in the extreme southwestern corner and intersects the Yazoo Valley at Lamont. The soil is unsurpassed in fertility and is the result of alluvial deposits by the Mississippi in flood during past ages, before the river had been controlled by levees to prevent overflows. It will produce nearly every variety of crops grown in the United States, including most of the fruits, vegetables and grasses. It is especially famous, however, for its cotton and corn crops and will produce one bale of cotton and from fifty to eighty bushels of corn to the acre. Stock growing is attaining large proportions owing to the fine pasturage the year around, and will increase in importance with the establishment of nearby packing houses to which the stock can be shipped. The county is still heavily timbered and the growth consists chiefly of red and sweet gum, ash, hickory, white oak, pin oak, elm, walnut, cottonwood, poplar, pecan and immense cypress brakes. W. S. Pettis, of Ellisville, discussing the lumber industry of Mississippi, writes, "the cottonwood timber is the only timber which is about exhausted, which was largely exported, and the much despised gum of the Delta section is being substituted for the valuable cottonwood, and it is the only timber in the United States that can be used as a substitute. The gum will be worth $3 to $4 per thousand feet stumpage, within five years." Numerous churches and good schools are scattered throughout the county. Manufactures, which will eventually work up much of the vast amount of raw material the county produces, are being rapidly established.
The United States Census for 1900 gives the following statistics for Bolivar county:—Total number of farms, 5,515, total acreage in farms 246,143, total acres improved 185,746, value of land exclusive of buildings $5,892,190, value of buildings $1,189,260. value of live stock $1,150,902, value of products $3,269,798. The manufacturing data is given as follows:—Total number of establishments 117, capital invested $407,508, wages paid $94,798, cost of materials used $222,075 and value of products $541,987. The total assessed valuation of real and personal property in the county in. 1905 was $4,512,330 and in 1906, it was $5,405,696, which shows an increase during the year of $893,366. The population in 1900 was whites 4,017, colored 31,230, a total population of 35,247 and an increase over 1890 of 5,267. The population in 1906 was estimated at 40,000.

[Source: Encyclopedia of Mississippi History Vo1 1. Pub 1907 by Dunbar Rowland LL.D.]

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Surrounding Counties

Coahoma County

Sunflower County

Washington County

Desha County, Arkansas

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