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HISTORY OF FORREST COUNTY

Extracted from Source Material for Mississippi History: Forrest County

WPA State-Wide Historical Research Project, 1937-1938

FORMATION

By the Treaty of Mount Dexter in 1805 the Choctaw Indians ceded to the United States nearly six million acres of territory lying between the Amite and Tombigbee Rivers and roughly north of the thirty-first parallel of latitude. From this area were formed the counties of Wayne (1809), Greene, Marion, Lawrence, Pike, Covington, Perry, Jones (by 1826) Lincoln (1870), Lamar (1904) and Forrest (1906).

The histories of the counties in this ection of Mississippi are unique in that they were years behind those bordering on the Gulf of Mexico and the Mississippi River. As late as 1890 virgin forests of yellow pine timber remained virtually untouched and the rapid change that occurred in other sections did not take hold here until the arrival of the twentieth century. With the dawning of the twentieth century, bringing the lumber mills and other modern industries, this section fast developed into one of the most prosperous of the whole state.

An act of the state legislature approved on April 19, 1906 called for the creation of a new county to be called Forrest County, named for the distinguished Confederate Cavalry leader, General Nathan Bedford Forrest. It was further provided that a special election should be held within the limits of the proposed county on the first Tuesday of May, 1907 to submit the question to the qualified electors. In response to the favorable vote cast that day the Governor issued a proclamation calling for the organization of Forrest County onthe first Monday of January, 1908. Its organization and establishment therefore dates from January 6, 1908. Its area was made to embrace the Second Judicial District of what was then the County of Perry.

COUNTY SEAT

When Perry County was divided into two judicial districts HATTIESBURG was made the seat of justice of the Second District, and renamed thus after Forrest was created out of the Second District. Comparatively speaking, Hattiesburg is a young city. It was in 1880 that Captain W. H. Hardy, the founder of Hattiesburg, renewed his interest in the building of a railroad from Meridian to New Orleans. He first conceived the idea of this project in 1868. Negotiations for money to build the road were in progress when the financial crisis of 1873 occurred and paralyzed, for a time, every enterprise. Captain Hardy reorganized the company, and he was made vice-president and had active supervision of the work of surveys and construction. During one of his trips over the line of survey from Meridian, he visited the camp of engineers, then near Black Creek, in the month of August, 1880, and in returning he stopped at noon to lunch on the north side of Gordon Creek where a large oak and several hickory trees were growing, on the present site of the Forrest Hotel. These trees formed a cool and shady resting place. Lounging there, with a map of Mississippi spread upon the ground, he studied the probable future railroad map of the state.

Being familiar with the history of the great harbor at Ship Island and the forests of virgin pine, he reached the conclusion that the building of the Gulf and Ship Island Railroad was a possibility of the near future. The question in his mind was where it would cross the Northeastern Railroad. Being familiar with the topography of the country, he decided a better line could be had by crossing Black Creek lower down, running thence over into the valley of Leaf River and up Bowie and Okatoma. He took his pencil and traced this line on the map, crossing the Northeastern Railroad where the city of Hattiesburg now stands.

He then and there decided to locate a station here and name it Hattiesburg, in honor of his wife, Hattie Hardy.

Huddled in groups along river banks and extending inland to what is now Main Street, dwellings and first business houses were erected. Entire families came in covered wagons from Jones, Lamar, and other surrounding counties to establish homes here, camping on the roadsides at night, as there were no boarding houses, hotels, or accommodations to care for travelers overnight. However the lack of luxuries did not prevent these campers and travelers of the early days from being merry and enjoying life. They sat around roaring camp fires, cooked their meals, sang, and swapped stories. Travelers coming from Mobile, the trade center, would meet settlers and camp together for the night, each passing on bits of news that they had gleaned in like manner in other camps. The news of most interest included: routes of the best and safest trails through timberlands, what the Mobile markets were handling, location of Choctaw camps, direct routes to nearest ferries, etc.

In the route through this section to Mobile, stockyards were set up, and travelers and traders generally drove there where their teams could receive proper attention. It was not until about 1900 that boarding houses began to accommodate the traveling public in this section.

Regarding the early days of Hattiesburg, Justice T. J. Pittman relates: "I came to Hattiesburg on January 5, 1884, arriving in the late afternoon on the N.O. & N.E. train from Meridian. On getting off the train, I asked a Negro, Old Bill Pickens, where the hotel was. I don’t know why I wanted to know as I had no money. He told me uptown and pointed in the direction I would have to go. After a good, long tramp, my wife, the children and I came to what is the corner of Front and Mobile Street. A small frame building had just been erected; in fact, it was not finished, but Eaton and Collins were opening up a general mercantile store therein. Up the path was Drs. Gillis and Dearman’s ‘Doctor Shop’ about where the Hill building now stands on Front Street. Adjoining that was Joe O’Flinn’s bar-room where he dished out the ‘how-come-you-so’ to the thirsty wayfarer, and was doing a land-office business. Next to that was Ed Anderson, who competed with Joe in distribution of the ‘Oh-be-joyful.’ The only hotel was an unfinished two-story building, managed by a Mrs. Couch. In the early spring, the hotel was bought by William Johnson and his son, W. A. Johnson, who finished it and operated it for several years.

"In the fall of 1884, Dr. John Bertrand opened up a drug store on the lot where the Century Drug Store now stands. His stock of goods consisted of a few bottles of quinine, Jamaica ginger, some pills, and possibly calomel, and a good quantity - not quality - of ‘booze.’ His place soon became a favorite resort for the booze fighters around town."

Modern Hattiesburg occupies a strategic position in relation to South Mississippi. It is virtually the gateway to practically all the southern section of the state. In the same manner that all sections of the state revolve around Jackson, the southern sections revolve around Hattiesburg, with its four railroads, three bus lines, and splendid system of goods roads entering the city from all directions. Such conditions, and the fact that ten Federal Government agencies and a district office of the state Highway Department are located within her limits, make Hattiesburg truly "The Hub City" of the state.

EARLY SETTLEMENTS AND SETTLERS

The MCCALLUM COMMUNITY had its beginning about the year 1808, when Malcolm McCallum, his wife, and little son, Archibald, came from Paulding and settled about eight miles southeast of the present site of Hattiesburg; at the time that was a division of Greene County. In 1809 a son, John, the first white child in that section, was born. Other settlers soon came and settled near Mr. McCallum, and the settlement grew into a community. When Greene County was divided and Perry County was created out of the western division, the McCallum settlement was included in the new county; and in 1906, when Forrest County was created out of the western division of Perry County, McCallum settlement was again in the new county.

During the early years of the United States Government, when land was plentiful and settlers were allowed to check off as much land as they wanted and use it as they saw fit, Malcolm McCallum did that very thing and began raising cattle and sheep. When John McCallum reached manhood, he married Annie Hartfield and remained in the McCallum community. In those days all the land in Perry County was heavily timbered with tall pine, which made clearing for cultivation very difficult. Hence, the occupation of all early residents was cattle and sheep raising. John McCallum owned about four thousand head of cattle and a large number of sheep; the cattle, also the wool from the sheep, were marketed in Mobile. Only enough farming was carried on to supply the amount of food needed for the cattle and for table use by the many slaves owned by McCallum.

John McCallum took a great interest in his community. He founded Enon Presbyterian Church and was largely responsible for Enon High School, an institution of renown during the years just prior to the War between the States. He had the community checked off in blocks for a town and tried to organize a town government. However, his hopes were dashed to pieces when the Gulf and Ship Island Railroad left the community about eight miles to the southeast.

Only one child - a daughter, Margaret - was born to John McCallum and his wife. She later became the wife of Captain Carter and was the mother of Miss Annie and George Carter of Hattiesburg, and John McCallum Carter, of the McCallum community. The latter lived on the old McCallum homestead until his death a short time ago. His children are now (1937) living on the old settlement, which makes the fifth generation of McCallum descendants to live there.

The McCallums were Scotch; Malcolm McCallum and his wife were both born in Scotland, and it is believed by the descendants that they were married before they left Scotland, but it is not a known fact.

The old McCallum home, a log house, was burned about fifteen years ago. The Presbyterian church has also been destroyed by fire. The Enon High School building is no more, and John McCallum himself died in 1875 and was buried on the old McCallum homestead. Miss Annie Carter, a granddaughter of John McCallum, lives in the first brick house ever erected in Hattiesburg, 502 Court Street.

While OLD ENON no longer exists it was once an educational center. Enon High School, organized August 13, 1851, by a small group of pioneer citizens, passed out of existence a few years after the War between the States. George H. Carter, of Hattiesburg, whose grandfather, John McCallum, was one of the pioneers and one of the largest contributors to the school, now owns the land where the former school and the Enon Presbyterian Church stood and has a sketch of the original plan. The minutes of the board of trustees are also in his possession.

Porter J. Myers, tax assessor for Perry County in 1841-42 and a member of the Secession Convention of 1861, was born in 1800 and accompanied his family from South Carolina to Mississippi in 1809-10. Daniel Meyers, Porter J. Meyer’s uncle, came here first and planted a crop of corn and built a house for each of the families. The following year David Meyers came, bringing the women, children, slaves, and livestock.

Daniel Meyers and his brother, David, settled in the section that was later known as the Enon community; Daniel on the west, and David on the east side of the river. With the abundant crop of corn raised by Daniel the previous year, the wild game and fish, and wild fruit - grapes, mayhaws, persimmons, plums, strawberries, and blackberries, gathered by the women and children and used in various ways for the tables - there was no scarcity of food. The cattle brought from their old homes were turned loose in the canebreaks and needed no shelter through the mild winter. A gristmill was soon built, and this, as well as the early sawmill was run by water power. Crude little one-room cabins soon had to be enlarged. Beds were made by driving forked sticks into the dirt floors, across which puncheons were laid, and deer skins stretched and securely tied in place. This, with a huge feather bed on top of a mattress of corn shucks, potato vines, or pine needles, made a good warm bed. Old citizens remember that each family kept a large flock of geese expressly for their feathers, and picking geese and making mattresses were just other tasks for these pioneer mothers.

While the men were occupied with their various labors, the women were performing their tasks with most primitive equipment. The candle, dipped from tallow and prepared by hand, was brought out and lighted for special occasion, while rich pine-knots provided a very good light when the mother’s spinning and weaving prevented her having time for candle making.

At this time most of the land along the Leaf River was covered with "switch cane", not only in all the low places and along river banks, as is now common, but on all level land. It was a problem to clear the land of this cane. It was first cut off during the fall of the year, piled high, and, after standing through the winter, burned; the noise of cane burning sounded like guns firing, for they were quite large. Next the strong, matted cane roots were lifted with a sharp paddle, under which a few grains of corn were thrown. The land, being fertile, produced fine crops of corn with practically no cultivation.

MARS HILL , about ten miles northeast of Hattiesburg, was in the early days called Carlisle’s Mill ; later McDonald’s Mill ; and from 1862 until recently, Morriston . Even though the postoffice has been abolished, the community is often referred to as Morriston. County records show that John Carlisle sold his property to Hugh McDonald in 1853, the original deed being in the possession of Forrest M. Morris of Hattiesburg. After Hugh McDonald’s death his heirs divided his estate.

Hugh Lee, a descendant of Hugh McDonald, states that his father was born in this county in 1831 and served as probate judge and clerk of the county court. His mother was postmaster at Carlisle’s Mill before the War between the States, and a charter member of the Presbyterian church organized at McDonald’s Mill. McDonald, a wealthy slave owner, was one of the first members of the legislature from Perry County.

Mrs. W. M. Reynolds, of Hattiesburg, says that her father, Marion Francis Morris, bought the old water-mill and cotton gin known as McDonald’s Mill in 1862. He rebuilt it, installing a steam sawmill, cotton gin, and gristmill, established the first store, and became the first postmaster. He also donated the land and lumber and helped to build the first schoolhouse, also used as a church. The school was later moved to another location on the Morris estate, rebuilt and enlarged, lumber from the original building being used. It still serves as a church, but the school has been consolidated with the Macedonia School. The name has recently changed from Morriston to Mars Hill, because it is located on a hill.

Marion Francis Morris was on the Board of Supervisors in Old Augusta, Perry County, and it was while he was chairman of the board that Perry County was divided. Morris was a great admirer of Captain N. B. Forrest - having fought under him during the War between the States - and he suggested that the new county be named in his honor.

Vince Reynolds lived in the Morriston community before the Morris family moved there, The McCombs had the finest home in the settlement; it was across Tallahala River from the Morris estate.

Louis Yawn and John Parker were also old settlers. An old Negro woman, Frances Evans, age 102 (1936), who now lives with her granddaughter, Alberta Magee, in Hattiesburg, was Mrs. W. M. Reynolds’ nurse when she was a little child in Morriston.

Four families of Choctaw Indians lived on the Francis Morris place as tenants. Mrs. Reynolds recalls that they were not as industrious as the Negroes and were harder to manage. She attended some of their religious services and baptisms, but she could not understand their language.

The village of MONROE was situated in Township 5, north, Range 13, west, about eight miles northwest of the present city of Hattiesburg, and a mile from Eatonville. Mrs. Mollie Burkett, who now lives in Hattiesburg, states that her father-in-law, Washington Burkett, purchased lands known as Monroe about the year 1856 and that at the death of Washington Burkett it was deeded to her husband, J. D., by his sisters and brothers. The "Tract Book of Original Entries" shows that the land was obtained in 1818 from the Government by John and Patrick Monroe.

Mrs. Burkett, who was a daughter of William Herrin and a descendant of Stephen Lee, one of the very early settlers of this community, has spent practically all her life in or near Monroe. Providence Church, two or three miles from "Old Monroe," was built by Stephen Lee, and many of his descendants have been members of this, the oldest church in Forrest County. At one time there were several stores and a postoffice at Monroe, but after rural routes were established the old postoffice was abandoned, and very little is left of this old settlement. Several years ago R. L. Vickers purchased the old Burkett home, which was in the heart of the Monroe community, and it is now known as Vickers Plant Farm.

EATONVILLE was named for one of its pioneer settlers, Eton. At one time there were a few stores here, but they are all gone now. The land in the community is possibly the best tract of farming land in Forrest County. Most of the settlers of Eatonville came from the Carolinas and Georgia. A few families owned slaves, and later, as their holdings increased, their homes assumed the dignity of plantations. This fact was an exception rather than the rule, for the average citizen owned a cabin with a few acres of cleared land. Little attempt was made to grow more than enough corn, potatoes and few other products required for the family. Mobile, Alabama, was the chief trading point for this entire region. For many years the annual drives of livestock there, and the return trip with the limited amount of "store goods" needed, were features of pioneer life. Such conditions prevailed until after the War between the States. Other settlers in and around Old Monroe were: O. C. Rhodes, William Jenkins, Elijah Stephen, Everett Lee, Elijah Loveless, and Levi Travis.

RAWLS SPRINGS , a small community north of Hattiesburg, once boasted of several stores and a postoffice. However, the postoffice has been abolished and only one store is now in operation there. Several mineral springs wee early discovered in the section, and a type of health resort was established there. The location of the springs and the fact that the original homesteader of that immediate land was named Rawls, gave the village the name of "Rawls Springs".

Benjamin Rawls was one of the first people to own land in the northwestern section of Forrest County. He located across the Bouie River from the present village of Rawls Springs, but he was an ancestor of the Benjamin Franklin Rawls, who purchased the land in 1890 which contains the mineral springs that gave rise to the community of Rawls Springs.

No doubt, when James Edmonson, a descendant of Lord Edmonson, of Scotland, came to what later became Rawls Springs, over a hundred years ago, he found conditions little different to the manner in which J. F. H. Claiborne described them:

"The unbroken forests abound with game. The red deer troop along by the dozens; for miles the wild turkeys run before you in the road, and the sharp whizzing of the startled partridge is constantly on the ear. But for this panorama of life, the solitude of the ride through this region would be painful.

"The houses on the road stand from ten to twelve miles apart; the cheering mile posts and the gossiping traveler are seldom met with; the armless pines look gaunt and spectral and fall sadly on the soul. At nightfall, when the flowers have faded away, no fireflies gem the road; you hear no tinkling bell; the robber owl flaps by lazily on the wing; fantastic shadows, like trooping apparitions, chase each other into settled gloom; and instead of "watch dog’s cheerful cry" the "wolf’s long howl" comes up from the adjoining reed-brakes and is echoed back by the strolling companion on the neighboring hills."

Soon after Mr. Edmonson came to the county he married Miss Jennie Lott, daughter of Bob Lott, and in 1836 he homesteaded a forty-acre tract of land situated in what is now known as the Rawls Springs community. He cut some of the pines and built a log house and barns, and soon as a little land had been cleared he began to farm. He bought horses, cattle, and sheep and, as the years went by, prospered and purchased other land from the Government. His flocks and herds increased, and he bought slaves to help him carry on his work. Providence, the nearest church, was several miles away, and the children had to go to Old Enon to school. When the sons, Jim and George, grew to manhood they married and settled in the community in which they were born.

By this time logs were being rafted down Leaf River to market, and a sale was found for the cattle and wool. A long schoolhouse--Shady Hill-- was built, and in 1884 Central Baptist Church was built. Mrs. James Edmonson was the first woman in the community to own a cook stove, and it created much excitement among the Negroes.

The "Tract Book of Original Entries" of government lands in Forrest County shows that among others who early claimed lands in the northwest corner of the county where the village of Rawls Springs now stands were: Stephen Lee, in 1816; Eli Moffett, William Binum, Daniel Johnson, Lewis Blackman, and Christopher Collins, in 1817; John and Patrick Monroe, 1818; Thomas Grantham, 1834; William Lott, James Edmonson, Benjamin and John Hood, 1836; Ebenezer Grantham and Tandy K. Martin, 1837.

Three mineral springs, to which people came from every section, are located within the bounds of this village. In later years it was necessary to build a hotel to accommodate the people.

In 1878-9 Angus Reese and his wife, Laura James Fairly, moved from Pascagoula to Perry County and settled along what is now Bouie Street, Hattiesburg, Forrest County. They bought three hundred acres of land owned by the Windhams.

On April 24, 1885, came J. E. Arledge, via ox wagon, into this land of promise. Born in Pineapple, Wilcox County, Alabama, January 5, 1849, he lived there until he was nine years old, when his father moved with his family to Jasper County and established a mercantile business. He placed his young son, John, in a private school at Salem Church, Davisville, where he obtained his early education. In 1872 John married Miss Lucy Stephens and they reared a family of nine children.

When Arledge settled here in the heart of the forest of pines, he availed himself of the opportunity of obtaining three adjoining forty-acre tracts, with an additional forty acres projecting from this mainland, all of which formed the letter "T". In the corner of his estate he build his home on the present site of the Methodist Hospital in Hattiesburg, formerly the King’s Hospital. Mr. Arledge sold his property to the Gulf and Ship Island Railroad for use as a hospital, and the transfer to the present owners was made later.

Acting as his own surveyor, Arledge divided the greater part of this 160 acres of timberland into city lots and made private sales of it. Being a carpenter as well as a landowner, he erected most of the houses which were occupied by the first inhabitants of Hattiesburg. At present time (1936), he and his family reside on a portion of the property which was originally included in the 160 acres. Mr. and Mrs. Arledge are the only two charter members of the Baptist church living in Hattiesburg, and he was one of the first ordained deacons chosen from the organization in 1885; he also has the distinction of serving on the first jury in Hattiesburg. Mr. Arledge died in January, 1937.

Gabriel Burkett, born in 1809 in North Carolina, brought his family to this section of Perry County--now Forrest--in 1842 and settled on the creek which became known as Burkett’s Creek . He purchased a tract of land from Edward Matchett; later homesteaded and purchased other tracts until he owned something over nine hundred acres, three hundred of which his slaves cultivated. This was an unusually large farm for this section at that time, but he made a success of farming, cattle and sheep raising, and later opened up the first general mercantile business in this section.

Guilford A. Burkett, grandson of Gabriel, does not recall the date that his grandfather began to operate this business but he has in his possession an old account book kept by him in 1867. It is interesting to note the high prices paid for the necessities of life during that trying period after the War between the States. For instance, the account of Marion Lee reads as follows: "3 yds. cotton cloth $4.50; 6 yds. shirting $1.56; 3 doz. buttons 30¢; 9 yds. of calico $2.80; 1 bar soap 20¢; 1 plug tobacco 50¢; 5 lbs. flour 50¢; smoothing iron 80¢; 1 bottle painkiller 35¢; 1 spider $2.00; 1 lb. shot 25¢; 1 box caps 20¢; 1 lb. powder 75¢; 2 gallons whiskey $8.00 (sold as ordinary merchandise); 1 curry-comb 40¢; 1 hair net 75¢; 7 lbs. rope $2.45; 1 pair specks 90; 10 lbs. bacon $2.00; 1 set knives and forks $3.20; 1 boiler $1.15; 1 pan 75¢; 1 tongs and shovel $1.00; one coffee mill 85¢; 1 candle stick 50¢; 1 pencil $1.25; 1 lb. ( illegible); 1 slate 50¢; 2 tin cups $1.20; 1 fourth reader $1.00; 1 dictionary $1.00; 1 pair of cards $1.25; 10 lbs. sugar $2.00; 3 yds. domestic 90¢; 1 spool of thread 18¢; 1 bottle of paregoric 30¢; 1 bottle British oil 30¢; 1 pair galluses (suspenders) 50¢; 2 hoes $3.00."

The names of the customers were as follows: W. Rawls, Levi Reeve, W. Weldy, H. Dearman, Marion Lee, Mrs. Fullingame, Dink Carter, Harry Meyers, W. P. Weldy, T. I. Tiner, Demarias Simmons, S. T. Garraway, Green B. Lee, J. Bennett, L. Reeves, O. O’Neal, Ann Fairley, A. McSwain, W. E. Jones, Sarah Ann Burkett, George Smith, I. L. Bryant, O. H. P. Jones, A. Bennett, M. Gillis, L. Hinton, P. Pouncey, J. Edmunson, B. Jones, W. Burkett, W. H. Anderson, D. Boone, W. Draughn, Sarah Hawthorn, M. McCallum, Mrs. Herring, J. Riggs, W. Patterson, Wm. Evans, A. Graham, Mrs. Kennedy, Mr. Wallace, Wm. Slade, Perry Jones, Wm. Herrington, Mrs. McLemore, H. Hartfield, Thomas Boone, G. Pierce, L. Ford, and G. W. Rawls. All accounts were marked "Paid."

Burkett was not only the first merchant in this vicinity, but he owned and operated the first cotton gin, which was built in 1848 and located on the Camp Shelby road. The old gin was a clumsy affair as compared with gins of this day, but it ginned about two bales of cotton per day when it was in running order.

Gabriel Burkett was a great believer in education and the records show that he and his wife, Elmina Burkett, deeded to the Enon High School Board of Trustees a tract of land containing 38.61 acres of land for the use and profit of the Enon high school. They also donated money and Mr. Burkett was one of the leading spirits in organizing the school. Burkett died in 1882.

William Burkett, a son of Gabriel and a Confederate veteran, was the pioneer of the dairy industry in the city of Hattiesburg. While carrying the mail from Ellisville to Richburg, the employees of the Northern and Northeastern Railroad, being built in this section at that time, often made inquiries in regard to the milk supply, and he began delivering a few jugs of milk. The Northern and Northeastern later built a hotel on what is now Newman Street, about where the coal chute is located, and, with the ever-increasing number of people coming into Hattiesburg, Mr. Burkett had to increase the number of his dairy cattle and finally arranged to supply the entire city of Hattiesburg. He operated the dairy until his death in 1903.

BROOKLYN is one of the largest communities or towns in Forrest County with the exception of Hattiesburg. It is located in the southwestern part of the county on the Illinois Central Railroad, formerly known as the Gulf and Ship Island, but a specific name had to be chosen for it, too, and the origin of it is very interesting:

It is said that back in the early days of this section, or in the early days of the white man’s possession, that a man by the name of Griffin settled in what was then Perry County and brought with him a large number of slaves. The slaves lived in an excluded division of the plantation, and the owner and others would speak of the colored quarters as New York, because of the extra size of it. As long as any colored people lived in that vicinity, it was called New York. When the Gulf and Ship Island Railroad was established and a sufficient number of people moved to the site now known as Brooklyn to justify naming it, someone suggested Brooklyn because of its proximity to New York. When the Government granted permission to establish a postoffice at the place, it was called Brooklyn for the above mentioned reason.

BON HOMME COMMUNITY is located two miles west of Hattiesburg on the road known as Richburg. The town was settled by employees of the Tatum Lumber Company. The village boasts of an elementary school and a church, which are supported largely by W. F. S. Tatum, a philanthropist of Hattiesburg and a principal stockholder in the Tatum Lumber Company. The name of the community is French for Good Man, meaning Mr. Tatum.

W. P. Smith, age eighty-seven (1936), came to Hattiesburg from Jasper County, November 26, 1892. Soon after his arrival he and his wife went to Bon Homme to run a boarding house for a Mr. Tatum but remained there only about six months. He made the first pair of boots ever made in Hattiesburg, as well as the first saddle and harness.

Smith tells of the overflow in 1900 when he had to swim in his backyard on Bushman Street and saw boys swimming about where the First Baptist Church now stands. His chickens flew to the front porch and stayed there until the water subsided. When he came here Gordon Creek was a very narrow stream.

PETAL , the little town just across Leaf River from Hattiesburg, was so called because of its nearness and position in relation to the "Hub City," which is a center to several small towns as well as to the several large towns in the southern part of the state.

MCLAURIN, a small town and postoffice on the Illinois Central Railroad, was son named in honor of Governor McLaurin, who was in office at the time the railroad was built.

CARNES , a community and postoffice in the south-central part of the county, was once known as Helena and is probably now as often spoken of as Helena as it is Carnes. A Mr. Alexander once owned and operated a sawmill in this vicinity, and, in referring to his place of business, he called it Helena in honor of his daughter, whose name was Helen. However, when a petition was circulated to establish a postoffice in the community, it was learned that a postoffice by the name of Helena was already in existence in the state, which made it necessary to select another name. The greater part of the property in the vicinity was owned by a man by the name of Carnes, hence the name of the town. The voting precinct is now and has been known from the beginning of its existence as Helena.

RAGLAN COMMUNITY is located in the eastern part of the county. Some lakes are also near this place which bear the same name. The name was chosen honor of a pioneer settler by that name, who once owned the tracts of land containing the lakes and other land nearby.

BARRONVILLE COMMUNITY lies east of Petal. A few years back, J. O. Barron, of the Barron Motor Company, bought up a section of cut over land and divided it up into lots of several acres each. E erected nice size, well-built block houses on each division of the land and has offered the homes for sale. Many of the places have been sold, and the section appears to be thriving. The community is named in honor of Mr. Barron.

CARTERVILLE : Several years ago a colony of people came into Forrest County from Alabama and began to make settlements west of Hattiesburg. The land was checked off and homes were built. The place has so grown until it is now large enough to support two churches.

SHEEPLOW , a rural colored section in Forrest County, acquired its name years ago when large herds of sheep roved the pine forests of the county. The animals, without any apparent reason, would collect at night and herd together at the place, and people gradually began to refer to it as "Sheep Low".

PISTOL RIDGE is a section of Forrest County which embraces the present community of Carnes. It is said that the notorious Copeland Clan once had headquarters in the vicinity. The dense forest and sparsely settled section afforded shelter and protection to the various members. For the same reason others, whose deeds my not always be above reproach, have frequented the place, and the name "Pistol Ridge" is still used in referring to that section.

FRUITLAND or FRUITLAND PARK : The combination of several favorable conditions--mild climate, suitable soil, and low-priced cleared land-- encouraged many people to engage in fruit growing in the cut-over sections of Forrest County. John A. Nicholson came to the county, bought numerous acres of land down in the extreme southeastern corner of Forrest County, and set hundreds of acres in pecans, peaches and pears. Because of the large orchards, his place became known as Fruitland Park. Since the beginning of the fruit interest in that vicinity, a postoffice has been established on Mr. Nicholson’s place, and the name Fruitland was given it.

MAXIE , a little town on the Illinois Central Gulf Railroad, formerly the Gulf and Ship Island, came into existence as a result of the location of a sawmill owned by the Chancellor Lumber Company. The place now consists of one store, a depot, and a few residences.

BONHOMIE JUNCTION : The place where the Bonhomie and Hattiesburg Southern Railroad connects with the Southern railway system, about three miles southwest of Hattiesburg, is known as Bonhomie Junction.

CHANCELLOR is a small settlement made up of the employees of the Chancellor Lumber Company. The settlement or village is about three and one-half miles southeast of Hattiesburg, on the Illinois Central Railroad.

CURRIE : During the time E. J. Currie was serving Forrest County as county superintendent of education, a little village just north of Brooklyn became known as Currie. About 1916, the Forrest County Agricultural High School was located at this place, which was also during the time Mr. Currie was in office. The place is still known as Currie, and the agricultural school is still in operation there, being one of the few agricultural schools left in the state today.

DANTZLER is the name of a camp-site owned by the Young Men’s Christian Association, about eighteen miles southwest of Hattiesburg. The tract of land, which contains about forty-six acres, was deeded to the above mentioned organization by the Dantzler Lumber Company, who operated sawmills in adjoining counties several years ago. The camp was named Dantzler in honor of the donors.

DRAGON was once a loading yard where logs were loaded on flat cars by means of teams. There is no longer a platform for loading logs, and no one lives in the vicinity except a few farmers. The place, which is still referred to as Dragon, is five miles northeast of Hattiesburg on the Southern Railroad.

DREYFUS was one time a logging camp for the Dreyfus Lumber Company. When the timber was gone and there were no more logs to be handled, the employees were forced to move to other sections to find employment. There is now no residence at the place, but in giving directions and locations, the place is still referred to as Dreyfus.

A vicinity in Forrest County, known as EPPS , was once a community that hummed and vibrated with life. J. P. Carter set up a sawmill there about forty years ago, but in 1898 sold his mill to J. F. Wilder, who operated the mill as the J. F. Wilder Lumber Company for several years and employed approximately three hundred hands. Most of the employees moved their families near the mill, thus forming a small town with sufficient population to support a school, church, and postoffice.

The name of EPPS was given the postoffice by Mr. Wilder, but why he chose that particular name no one seems to know. When the timber that was available to the mill was cut and there was no longer work for the sawmill hands, they began to move from the community. The migrations was so complete until there is not a sufficient number of people to maintain either church or school, and the postoffice was discontinued many years ago. Mr. Wilder moved with his family to Hattiesburg in 1910, where he lived until his death in 1923.

HARVEY , a small town just across the Leaf River from the suburbs of Hattiesburg, is southeast from Petal and almost due east from Hattiesburg, is southeast from Petal and almost due east from Hattiesburg. The community supports two or three small stores and filling stations. The land in that vicinity was once owned by Harvey Chappell, and in his honor the place is called Harvey.

HICKORY GROVE is a rural community west of Rawls Springs. A Church located in the vicinity furnishes a reason for a name, and the number of hickory trees nearby suggested the name--Hickory Grove.

MEYERS is a community southwest of Hattiesburg near the site of old Enon School. The community was so named because of the presence of several Meyers families.

RIVERSIDE is the name of a small community which is a short distance west of the Hattiesburg city park--Lakeview. Only a few families live in the vicinity now, but a large store was once operated there. The name Riverside was suggested because of the nearness of the Bouie River.

PALMER is a Negro community four miles south of Hattiesburg. There is a vocational training school for Negroes in this locality and two or three small places of business which are all owned and operated by colored people.

MAMMOTH SPRINGS is the name of a large mineral spring which is found a few miles east of Rawls Springs. At one time a large hotel and several cottages were built near the spring for the accommodation of people who wished to visit the place because of the medicinal value of the water. About 1910 the place was astir with life, but the hotel and all the cottages were destroyed by fire a few years afterwards and were never rebuilt. Now, 1938, here is only one residence neat the spring, but the huge spring which gives the place its name is still there.

MAYBANK is a community on the Illinois Central Railroad north of Rawls Springs, where a flag station is located. The place is so called in honor of Mr. Maybank, who lives in the community.

BOUIE was one time a flag station on the Gulf and Ship Island Railroad, now Illinois Central, but the families that once lived nearby have moved away, and there is nothing remaining that can be called a village.

We find in Forrest County today (1938) names and descendants of some of the very first white settlers of the county--or the part of Perry that is now Forrest County--who contributed largely in shaping the affairs of the county. Some of these names are G. W. Rawls, Levi Reeves, W. Weldy, T.I. Tiner, Demarles Simmons, S. T. Fullingame, Dink Carter, Harry Myers, S. T. Garraway, Green Lee, J. Bennett, H. Hartfield, George Smith, L. Reeves, O. O’Neal, O. H. P. Jones, W. H. Anderson, D. Boone, W. Draughn, J. Riggs, Daniel Grantham, G. Pierce, Ebenezer Grantham, David Collins, L. Ford, Benjamin Rawls, Tank K. Martin, Gillis, Thomas Grantham, Benjamin and John Hood, Ebenezer Granberry, William Lott, McCallums, Chappells, Carters, Edmonsons, McKinnis, Burketts, Morris, Moffetts, Lotts, Kennedys, Camps, Lees, Fairleys, Stevens, Overstreets, Bayliss, Mixons, McLeods, and Travis.

According to the historical edition of the Forrest County News, June 3, 1937, the following are some of the communities ranging from railroad flag stops to a thriving city, that now dot Forrest County. Postoffices are: Fruitland, Brooklyn, Hattiesburg, McLaurin, Maxie, and Petal. Other communities are Bonhomie Junction, Bouie, Carnes, Chancellor, Currie, Dantzler, Dragon, Drayfus, Epps, Harvey, Hickory Grove, McCallum, Mammoth Springs, Maybank, Meyers, Palmer, Ragland, Rawls Springs, Riverside, and Yeaton.

Page last Modified: Tuesday, 07-Nov-2017 15:50:03 EST