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Yalobusha County


"Mississippi: comprising sketches of counties, towns, events, institutions…" by Dunbar Rowland
transcribed by Karen Seeman

Coffeeville, one of the two seats of justice of Yalobusha county, was first settled in 1830. It is an incorporated post-town on the I. C. R. R., 15 miles northeast of Grenada. The first board of police for the county, met at Hendersonville, four miles south of Coffeeville, March 27, 1834. Hendersonville aspired to be the county seat, but the location of Coffeeville was nearer the center of the county and was selected for that honor. Says Capt. L. Lake, who lived at Hendersonville in 1834: "Hendersonville then went down and ultimately lost its name, being absorbed in a farm known as 'Oakchickamau,' which was owned by Franklin E. Plummer. The names of this farm and of the county scat, Coffeeville, were later associated together in a stanza of poetry written by one E. Percy, an editor who settled at Coffeeville at an early date. Becoming very much incensed against the citizens of Coffeeville, he moved away, and afterwards wrote the following piece of doggerel:

"Upon a hill near Derden's Mill
There is a place called Coffeeville;
The meanest town I ever saw
Save Plummer's town, 'Oakchickamau.' "

It is needless to say that his was a prejudicial opinion, caused doubtless by disappointed ambition. The same author in describing the origin of the old town says: "In 1834 the first court of Yalobusha county was held at Coffeeville, the newly established county seat. The court was presided over by Judge Matthew Clanton. At that time there was only one mercantile firm (J. and T. H. Jones), in the town. The land upon which the town was afterwards built was owned by D. M. Rayburn and Aurelius McCreless, in one room of whose dwelling the first court was held. This town grew rapidly, absorbing the population of Hendersonville. Yalobusha was then the most northern county in Mississippi, and Coffeeville was on the extreme northern limit of the white settlements in the State." Besancon, describing the place in 1838, says: "Coffeeville, the county seat, is situated in the center of the county. It contains a population of about two hundred inhabitants, and is distant about one hundred and fifty miles from Jackson. Coffeeville is situated on a very broken piece of land, though somewhat picturesque in its appearance, and is generally supposed to be healthy. It has a courthouse and county prison; a church edifice belonging to the Methodist Episcopal denomination. All the buildings are composed of wooden materials, and of quite an ordinary character. There are two hotels or taverns, and five stores in the town. . . . There is a weekly paper published at Grenada and another at Coffeeville.''
The town received its name in honor of General John Coffee, the celebrated Indian fighter, and it was incorporated by the Legislature in 1836. In 1839, the Coffeeville Academy was chartered. The same year its first wooden courthouse was replaced by a brick structure costing $25,000, which has in turn been replaced by the present fine brick structure costing some $25,000.
Coffeeville is now a town of 467 inhabitants according to the last census; and at present (1906) the population is estimated at 600. It has a good bank, three churches, good public schools, a Business Mens League, and it is said to be the best hill-town cotton market in the State for its size; the average annual shipments amounting to 10,000 bales of the staple. A fine Munger system cotton gin plant, having a capacity of 50 bales a day, and a large cotton warehouse are located here. Before the purchase of the Chickasaw lands to the north, Coffeeville was the outpost of white settlements. It attracted many men of talent. Among lawyers such as E. C. Walthall, F. M. Aldridge, D. L. Herron, W. R. Barksdale, E. S. Fisher, R. H. Golladay and Dunbar Rowland lived in the town and practiced at its bar. Also Geo. H. Lester.
James D. Haile, the first white child born in the county, was born at Coffeeville. The first house built in the town was erected by Aurelius McCreless in 1830.
The town is supplied by excellent artesian water from a number of fine wells within its limits.

This page last updated on -- 23 May 2010


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