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Located in eastern Mississippi on the Alabama border, Lowndes County was formed in 1830 out of a portion of Monroe County and was named after congressman William Lowndes. Columbus serves as the county seat.
The county seat is Corinth, which was located at the then junction of the Southern, Mobile, and Ohio and Illinois Central railroads. Also the location for the Siege of Corinth, an early campaign of the American Civil War.
In its first census in 1830, Lowndes County had a small population of 2,109 free people and 1,065 slaves. It grew dramatically in the next decade and by 1840 had the state’s sixth-largest population. In 1840 Lowndes had 5,742 free people and a substantial slave majority of 8,771.
By 1860 Lowndes had Mississippi’s fourth-largest population, with 6,895 free persons and 16,730 slaves (71 percent). Lowndes was a prosperous agricultural area. Its farms and plantations grew the third-most corn and fourth-most cotton in Mississippi, and the county ranked twelfth in the value of its livestock. In addition, Lowndes County’s 335 industrial workers ranked fourth in the state. More than a hundred of those men were employed in blacksmithing, brickwork, lumber mill work, and carpentry—all jobs indicative of a growing area.
Columbus was an important site for Civil War leadership, transportation, production, and memory. Confederate generals William Barksdale, William Edwin Baldwin, and Jacob Hunter Sharp all spent considerable time in Lowndes County. As a railroad center, Columbus was the location of the Briarfield Arsenal, one of the major facilities supplying weapons to the Confederacy. Lowndes County was briefly home to the Mississippi legislature, which met in Columbus after Union forces took Jackson. In 1866 three women put flowers on the graves of numerous Confederate and Union soldiers at Columbus’s Friendship Cemetery, and it subsequently became known as the site of the first Decoration Day.
The Industrial Institute and College for the Education of White Girls of the State of Mississippi, the nation’s first public university for women, opened in Columbus in 1884 after years of lobbying efforts led by educators Sallie Eola Reneau, Olivia Valentine Hastings, and Annie Coleman Peyton. Over the following century, changes in the name and mission of the school marked changes in Mississippi education. In 1920 it became the Mississippi State College for Women, reflecting the broad educational and curricular goals of the institution. In 1966 the college accepted its first black students, and in 1974 it became Mississippi University for Women. Eight years later, as a result of Hogan v. Mississippi University for Women, the school admitted its first men.
Numerous creative individuals were born or grew up in Lowndes County. Thomas Williams III was born in 1911 in Columbus, where his grandfather, Walter Dakin, was a minister at the Episcopal Church. After changing his name to Tennessee Williams, he went on to become one of America’s greatest playwrights. Blues musician Big Joe Williams, born in 1903, grew up in the western Lowndes community of Crawford. Folklorist Newbell Niles Puckett, author of Folk Beliefs of the Southern Negro (1926), photographer Marion Gaines, and baseball broadcaster Red Barber grew up in Lowndes County.
In recent years, Columbus has been notable as the home of documentary photographer Birney Imes and for Genesis Press, one of the nation’s leading publishers of books by and about African Americans. In 1988 Columbus became the site of the new Mississippi School of Mathematics and Science, which attracts students from throughout the state.
The county has a total area of 516 square miles, the smallest county in Mississippi, of which 506 square miles is land and 11 square mile (2.1%) is water. The population recorded in the 1830 Federal Census was 3,173. The 2010 census recorded 58,930 residents in the county.
Neighboring counties are Noxubee County (south), Oktibbeha County (west), Clay County (northwest), Monroe County (north), Lamar County, Alabama (northeast), and Pickens County, Alabama (southeast). Communities in the county include Columbus, Artesia, Caledonia, Crawford, New Hope, Bent Oak, Billups, Flint Hill, Forreston, Kolola Springs, Mayhew, McCrary, Penns, Plum Grove, Steens, Trinity, Wells, Whitebury, Woodlawn, Moores Bluff, Nashville, and Plymouth.
Lowndes County MSGHN has many records here on our website. Marriage Records, Cemetery listings, and more. Look at the Lowndes County Data links for a list of available data.
Birth Records - The Mississippi Department of Health maintains records of births after November 1, 1912 on file. This was the year Mississippi began keeping official birth records. You can obtain official copies of birth certificates by mail by using this birth record application on their website. If you just have to order by internet or phone, or use a credit card, you can use VitalCheck, a third party records company recognized by the Mississippi Dept. of Health. Since there are no official birth records before November 1, 1912 for births prior to that date you will need to determine birth information from census records, bible records, baptismal records, cemetery tombstones, etc.
Death Records - The Mississippi Department of Health maintains births recorded after November 1, 1912 on file. This was the year Mississippi began keeping official death records. You can obtain official copies of death certificates by mail by using this death record application on their website. If you just have to order by internet or phone, or use a credit card, you can use VitalCheck, a third party records company recognized by the Mississippi Dept. of Health. Since there are no official death records before November 1, 1912 ...READ MORE
Lowndes County is located in east-central Mississippi along the border with Alabama.
Marriage information is an important part of any family genealogy. These dates may assist you in your Lowndes County, Mississippi research.
For a list of Lowndes County, Mississippi Cemeteries, tombstone photos and more.