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    Neighboring Counties:
    Clay (North)
    Oktibbeha (west)
    Monroe (north of Clay)
    Noxubee (south)
  • History of Lowndes County

    Source: Rowland, Dunbar, ed. Mississippi, Comprising Sketches of Counties, Towns, Events, Institutions, and Persons, Arranged in Cyclopedic Form, in three volumes. Vol. 2. Atlanta: Southern Historical Publishing Association, 1907. pages 134-137

    Lowndes County was erected January 30, 1830, and was named for William Jones Lowndes, member of Congress for South Carolina. The county has a land surface of 504 square miles. It was originally the southern part of Monroe county and embraced within its area a part of the present county of Clay. The act creating the county defined its boundaries as follows: "All that portion of Monroe county lying south of a line commencing at a point on the State of Alabama, where a line running due east from Robinson's bluff, on the Buttahatchie river, would strike the state line of Alabama; thence from said point, due west to said Robinson's bluff; thence down the said river to its mouth; thence west, to the western boundary line of the county of Monroe, as designated by the act of 1829, extending process into the territory occupied by the Chickasaw and Choctaw tribes of Indians, shall form a new county, etc." December 6, 1831, its limits were extended "to commence on the State line of Alabama, at the house of William Lucas, and to run from thence in a northwest direction, so as to cross the Robertson road, at a place on said Robertson's road, known by the name of Wilson's stand, so as to include said Wilson's stand; and from thence on a direct line from the place of beginning until said line strikes the Natchez trace; and from thence north, along the said county of Lowndes." And again Dec. 23, 1833, it was extended to include "all the territory south of a line, running from the junction of the Buttahatchie river, with the Tombigbee river, to the northeast corner of Oktibbeha county, and east of and between Oktibbeha county and the Tombigbee river, and north of Noxubee county." Finally in 1871, its northern and western limits were modified, when some of its area was taken to form part of the county of Clay (q. v.).

    The first County Court convened at Columbus, April 12, 1830, and consisted of Thomas Sampson, President, and Micajah Brooks, Samuel B. Morgan, Associates. Other county officials the same year were R. D. Haden, County Clerk; Nimrod Davis, Sheriff; John H. Morris, Assessor and Collector; O. P. Brown, County Treasurer, and William L. Moore, County Surveyor.

    Lowndes County has long been known as one of the most prosperous and wealthy sections of the State. As early as 1817, some scattered settlements were made in this region, and in 1818 Dr. Gideon Lincecum built the first house on the present site of Columbus. His autobiography contains the following reference to this incident: "We made preparation to set out (from Tuscaloosa, Ala.) on November 1, 1818. In the afternoon of the twelfth day we reached the Tombigbee river, three miles above where Columbus now stands, and there I made my camp. Father went two hundred yards below and pitched his tent. As soon as I got my house done, I went over the river to see the Choctaws. After the road was made by the government from Nashville to Natchez, which crossed the river where Columbus now stands, I went down there to see what kind of a place it was. I thought it was an eligible town site. I was so fully impressed with this belief, that I went home and rived a thousand boards, put them on a raft and floated them down the river with the intention of building a snug little house on a nice place I had selected. I was not the only person that had noticed the eligibility of that locality, for when I got down to the place, a man named Coldwell was about landing a keel-boat. He was from Tuscaloosa (Ala.) and had a cargo of Indian goods which he calculated on opening on that bluff as soon as he could build a house to put them in. I proposed to sell him my boards and he in turn proposed to see me his goods. After some parleying, I took the goods, hired his boat hands and went to wrok, and in three days had knocked up a pretty good shanty. We soon got the goods into it and commenced opening boxes and taking stock; but the Indians heard of the arrival and flocked in by hundreds. I began selling whiskey and such goods as we had marked, and this prevented us from work in the day time. Having only night time to work on the invoice, it took ten days to get through, but I had sold enough to pay the first installment and Coldwell went home highly pleased. I bartered with the Indians for every kind of produce, consisting of cowhides, deer skins, all kinds of furs, skins, buck horns, cow horns, peas, beans, peanuts, pecans, hickory nuts, honey, beeswax, blowguns, etc. Every article brough cash at 100 per cent, on cost. I made frequent trips to Mobile for sugar, coffee and whiskey, staple articles in the Indian trade, but all my drygoods came from the house of Dallas and Wilcox, Philadelphia."

    That portion of the county lying east of the Tombigbee river is older historically by fourteen years than the western part, as the former came under territorial control by the Choctaw cession of 1816, while the western part was not acquired until the Choctaw cession of 1830. The first white man to reside permanently upon the soil of what is now Lowndes county, was Major John Pitchlyn, (q. v.) the son of an English army officer, who was reared from boyhood among the Choctaws, and was in after life the sworn interpreter of the United States in various treaties and dealings with the Choctaws.

    The following is a list of the pioneer settlers on the east side of the Tombigbee, as compiled by William A. Love, in his interesting sketch of Lowndes county: Settlers in 1817, John Halbert, Silas McBee, Benjamin Hewson; 1818, Thomas Cummings, William Butler, Peter Nail, William H. Craven, Newton Beckwith, John McGowan, Westley Ross, A. Cook, James Brownlee, John Portwood, Thomas Kincaid, Ezekiel Nash, Wm. Weaver, Thomas Cooper, Cincinnatus Cooper, Conrad Hackleman, David Alsop, Spirus Roach, Thomas O. Sampson, Hezekiah Lincecum, Gideon Lincecum; 1819, Robert D. Haden, Ovid P. Brown, Richard Barry, Dr. B. C. Barry, Martin Sims, Bartlet Sims, William Cocke, Thomas Townsend, William L. Moore, Wm. Ellis, Wm. Leech, John Egger.

    In the extreme southwestern part of the county was an old postoffice known as Dailey's Cross Roads for its postmaster John A. Dailey. Another old postoffice that antedated the building of the railways, was Prairie Hill, in the west central part of the county. The early settlements at Plymouth, West Port, Nashville and Moore's Bluff are now all extinct, but were important trading points on the Tombigbee river in the early history of the county. (See sketches of above towns under separate titles.) These early settlers were attracted from the older states by the richness of the county, its contiguity to a fine navigable stream, its mild climate and the fact that the "Military Road," from New Orleans to Nashville, opened by U. S. troops 1817-1820, offered ready means of access to the region. A little later, when the Indian lands were offered for sale, settlers came in rapidly, and as early as 1837, the county had a population of 5,495 whites and 7,362 slaves. Columbus was an incorporated town in 1822 and by 1837 had a population of about 3,500 and was the center of a thriving trade for all the surrounding region. It is the county seat and is a thriving place of 12,000 inhabitants, located on the east bank of the Tombigbee river, at the junction of the Mobile & Ohio, and the Southern railways, giving it excellent shipping connections north, south, east and west. It is an unusually attractive city and the home of much wealth and culture. It is one of the largest manufacturing centers in the northern part of the State, being grouped with Corinth, Biloxi and Scranton by the returns of the last census. Besides its industrial enterprises, it is the seat of one of Mississippi's most noteworthy schools--The Industrial Institute and College. (q. v.) founded in 1884. This Institution possesses a noble group of buildings and has been highly successful in carrying out the purposes of its founder, the industrial and collegiate training of young women. Over 5,000 young women have received its instruction and over 700 are now entered on its roll of attendance. Some of the more important villages in the county are Artesia (pop. 343), Crawford (pop. 389), Caledonia, Mayhews Station, and Penn. The Mobile & Ohio R. R. crosses the county in two directions and the Southern Ry. runs from northeast to southwest until it reaches Columbus, then northwest to Westpoint. The Tombigbee river flows through the county and is navigable to Columbus, and, with its numerous tributaries, gives the county plenty of water advantages. About one-half of the county lies west of the Tombigbee river in the black prairie belt, a gently undulating, rich region, well timbered and producing good crops of cotton, corn, oats, sorghum, wheat, clover, grasses and all kinds of fruits and vegetables. The region east of the Tombigbee is not so rich, the soil being ligh and sandy and somewhat hilly, but capable of making a fine grade of cotton. A good deal of attention is paid to raising live stock and the industry is a profitable one. The live stock of the region was valued at nearly $700,000 in 1900. Churches and excellent schools abound throughout the county and the climate is mild and healthful.

    The following statistics, taken from the twelfth United States census for 1900, will be found instructive and shows the development of the county in agriculture, manufactures and population at that date: Number of farms 3,467, acreage in farms 242,942, acres improved 150,057, value of the land exclusive of the buildings $2,280,260, value of the buildings $703,940, value of live stock $687,598, total value of products not fed to stock $1,486,173.

    Number of manufacturing establishments 103, capital $684,696, wages paid $145,733, cost of materials $404,228, total value of products $806,680.

    The population in 1900 consisted of 7,121 whites, 21,974 colored, a total of 29,095 and an increase of 2,048 over the year 1890. The population in 1906 was estimated at 35,000. Manufacturing has greatly increased in the last five years, there being no less than $300,000 worth of new investments in Columbus alone. Artesian water has been found in various parts of the county. The public highways are improved and maintained by direct taxation. The total assessed valuation of real and personal property in Lowndes county in 1905 was $4,675,390 and in 1906 it was $5,341,632, showing an increase during the year of $666,242.

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