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Yalobusha County

"Encyclopedia of Mississippi history" Vol. 2
By Dunbar Rowland
Transcribed by Karen Seeman

Yalobusha County was established December 23rd, 1833, and most of its area lies within the territory acquired from the Chocaw Indians in the treaty of Dancing Rabbit, 1830. The original act defined its boundaries as follows: "Beginning on the line between townships 21 and 22, at the point at which the line between 8 and 9 east crosses the line between townships 21 and 22, and running from thence north, with the said line between ranges ft and 9 east, thirty miles; from thence west, to the line between ranges 3 and 4 east; from thence south with said line between ranges 3 and 4 east, to the line between townships 21 and 22, and from thence east to the place of beginning." It was originally a large county, containing an area of 25 townships or 900 square miles, but surrendered part of its territory to Calhoun county in 1852, and a large part of its southern area to Grenada, when that county was created in 1870. It now contains an area of 501 square miles, and is bounded on the north by Panola and Lafayette counties, on the east by Calhoun county, on the south by Grenada county and on the west by Tallahatchie county. The old boundary line between the Choctaw and Chickasaw cessions bisects it from northwest to southeast. Its name "Yalobusha" is an Indian word, meaning "tadpole place", and was suggested by the river of the same name which waters its territory. Emigration was rapid into this region during the 30's and early 40's, from the older states on the east and north and from the older settled parts of Mississippi. By the year 1837, Yalobusha had attained a population of 4,355 whites, and 4,215 slaves; by the year 1840, there were 12,248 people in the county including slaves, and 17,258 in 1850. The first white child born in the county was James D. Haile, recently deceased. Three of the earliest settlements in the county were at Hendersonville, Sardinia and Preston, all of which are now extinct. Hendersonville was four miles south of Coffeeville on the site of an old Indian village. Says Captain Lake, who lived there in 1834, "It was here that Col. T. C. McMacken, the celebrated hotel keeper, in the early history of Mississippi, began his career. The mercantile firms of this town in 1834 were: Martin, Edwards & Co., John H. McKenney, Armour, Lake & Bridges, H. S. & W. Lake, and McCain & Co. The physicians were Thomas Vaughn, Robert Malone, and Murkerson. The following citizens were then living at that place: Thomas B. Ives, Murdock Ray, justice of the peace; Stephen Smith, blacksmith; Alfred McCaslin, blacksmith, and Joshua Weaver, Constable." Beaten by Coffeeville in its efforts to become the county scat, the town rapidly decayed. Sardinia, on the Craig plantation near the Yacona river, one mile north of the present church of Sardinia, was once a place of about 150 people. Here lived in the early days, the Bradfords, Kuykendalls, Bensons, Craigs, Carringtons, Reeds, and Dr. Moore. The town had become dead by 1850, owing to the rivalry of the towns along the railroad.
Preston was located near Scobev, and about fourteen miles north of Grenada. Settled in 1835, it once had about 230 people and was incorporated in 1840. Here lived the Simmons family, the Harpers, Bridgers, Townes, Calhouns, Doctors Sutton, Payne, Neville, and the Rev. Hayward; Duke & Co., and Evans & Co. were mercantile firms. When the station of Garner sprang up on the railroad in 1858, most of Preston's inhabitants moved there, and the Simmons residence is the only reminder left of the old place. A few of the earliest settlers of Yalobusha county, besides those above mentioned, were Wm. W. Mitchell, Green D. Moore, Grief Johnson, Stewart Pipkin, Charles J. F. Wharton, Rev. Wm. A. Bryan, John Lemons, Wm. Metcalf. Dr. W. B. Rowland, Dempsey H. Hicks, William Winter, Robert Edsington. Some of the early County officers were: David Mabray and James H. Barfield, sheriffs; Matthew Clinton and John W. McLeinore, judges of the Probate Court; Davidson M. Rayburn, clerk of the Probate court; Robert C. Malone and Murdoch Ray, county treasurers: Virgil A. Stewart. Thos. E. Ives, Wm. B. Wilbourn, Robert Edsington, Allen Walker, James Minter, George Thompson, and L. R. Stuart were all early members of the legislature for Yalobusha county.
The county seat was located at Coffeeville, March 27, 1834, and the place received its name in honor of General John Coffee. The first county court was held the same year, presided over by Judge Matthew Clinton. It is now a town of about 600 inhabitants, on the line of the Illinois Central R. R., and has a fine brick courthouse, costing about $25,000. The largest town in the county is Water Valley (pop. in 1900, 3,813), situated in the northeastern corner on the line of the Illinois Central R. R. The city is growing at a rapid pace and forms a second circuit and chancery court district for the county. It has an abundance of fine brick and earthenware clay, and a large amount of valuable timber in its immediate neighborhood. It is a manufacturing place of importance, containing railroad machine shops, Yocona cotton factory and Shaw's foundry and Agricultural Implement Works, etc. Oakland, in the extreme western part of the county on the I. C. R. R. is one of its oldest and best towns. It was incorporated in 1848. Its population {Census of 1900) was 209. The Oakland Academy was incorporated in 1841. Tillatoba (pop. 115) and Scobey (pop. 146) are stations on the Memphis division of the I. C R. R. The main line and the Memphis division of the I. C. R. R. provide the county with excellent shipping facilities. The county is well watered by the Yocona and Schoona rivers and their numerous tributary creeks, and numbers of good mill sites are available. The general surface of the region is undulating and hilly, level on the river and creek bottoms. It is on the western edge of the Yellow Loam section of the State, and the soil is a mixture of clay and sand and fairly productive, but very fertile on the bottom lands. The products arc corn, cotton, oats, sorghum, wheat, rye, sweet and Irish potatoes; the various fruits and vegetables, common to this section of the State, are raised both for home consumption and for the northern markets. Pasturage is good throughout the year and the livestock of the region is now valued at more than $500,000. Some lignite or brown coal has been found in the county. There are about 100,000 acres of improved lands and on the balance arc to be found valuable tracts of timber, consisting of the various kinds of oak, hickory, beech, poplar, gum, cypress, etc. Manufactures have attained considerable development, a total of 57 establishments being listed by the last census.
The following statistics, taken from the twelfth United States census for 1900, relate to farms, manufactures and population: Number of farms 2,743, acreage in farms 251,330, acres improved 96, 581, value of the land and improvements, exclusive of buildings $1,218,360, value of buildings $432,380, value of the live stock $521,320, value of products not fed $1,111,704. Number of manufacturing establishments 57, capital invested $325,629, wages paid $179,978, cost of materials $168,420, total value of products $408,346. The population of the county in 1900 was whites 9,284, colored 10,458, total 19,742, increase over the year 1890, 3,113. The total population in 1906 is estimated at 22,500. Artesian water is found in all parts of the county. The total assessed valuation of real and personal property in Yalobusha county in 1905 was $2,430,193 and in 1906 it was $2,613,032, which shows an increase of $182,839 during the year.

This page last updated on -- 23 May 2010


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