Pike County Mississippi

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Pike County and its Towns



Pike County was formed on December 9, 1815 by an Act of the Territorial General Assembly—two years before Mississippi was admitted to the Union in 1817:


“Beginning on the line of demarcation at the southeast corner of Amite County, running thence east along said line thirty miles; thence a line to run due north to its intersection with the summit of the dividing ridge between the waters of the Bogue Chitto and Pearl Rivers, after the same shall cross the waters of Magee’s Creek; thence along the said ridge until it intersects the southern boundary of Lawrence County; and all that tract of territory formerly a part of Marion County, lying north and west of the lines thus described, shall form a new county to be named Pike (in honor of General Zebulon Pike.)”


Taken from the WPA Source Material for Mississippi History, Pike County, Compiled by WPA State-Wide Historical Research Project,

Susie V. Powell, Supervisor, 1936-38.



“The first county site was Jacksonville, on the east side of Bogue Chitto River.  As the county increased in population, the settlers on the west side of the Bogue Chitto insisted upon an election for the permanent location of the courthouse.  In 1816 an election was held resulting in the moving of the county site to Holmesville, west of the river mentioned.  Afterwards, it was removed to Magnolia.


Since the completion of the Illinois Central Railroad Pike County has increased largely in population, and land has appreciated in value.  The Illinois Central Railroad runs the entire length of the county, north to south, a distance of twenty-five and a half miles.


The towns situated on the line of railroad are Magnolia, the county site, Johnston, Summit, McComb City, Chattawa (sic) and Osyka.  Towns in other portions of the county off the railroad are Walker’s Iron Bridge, Tylertown, China Grove, and Sartinsville.


At McComb City there are shops and round-houses for the southern division of the Illinois Central Railroad, where they employ a large number of operatives in building coaches, locomotives, etc.


Summit is a thrifty and prosperous town, with an intelligent and law-abiding population, and the same may properly be said of Magnolia and McComb City.


The principal streams are Bogue Chitto River, Magee’s, Otoutopasa, Carter’s Leatherwood, Sweetwater, Tangipahoa, Beaver, Clear, Lazy, Pushapata, Varnell, Terry’s, Balachitto, Kirkland’s and Darbone creeks.


Pike County has 69, 094 acres of cleared land; average value per acre being $6.98.  Total value of cleared lands, including  incorporated towns, $912, 509.


The population of this county as shown by the census report of 1890:  Whites, 10,581; colored, 10,672; total 21, 208.”


Taken from:  A History of Mississippi from the Discovery of the Great River by Hernando DeSoto including

the earliest Settlement made by the French under Iberville to The Death of Jefferson Davis.

by Robert Lowery and William H. McCardle, published 1891 by R. H. Henry & Co., Jackson, MS






Chatawa:      Located on the main line of the railroad between Magnolia and Osyka, is famous for St. Mary of the

Pines, the largest Catholic convent in the south at the time.  It now provides a home for retired nuns.


Fernwood:   Founded in 1887 by P. H. Enochs on the main line of the railroad for his sawmill operations. 


Holmesville: Named in honor of Andrew Hunter Holmes, major in the War of 1812 and a brother to

Mississippi Governor David Holmes.  Located near the geographical center of the county

(before a part of the east side of the county was annexed to help make up Walthall County)

on the Bogue Chitto River,  it served as the county seat from 1816-1876.  The original frame

courthouse was destroyed by fire in 1848.  A brick courthouse replaced it, but it also burned

in 1838.


Holmesville became a great resort with many New Orleans residents spending the summer months

there to escape the heat and danger of cholera and yellow fever.


Johnston Station:  Named for James Johnston, the early land owner who gave the railroad the right of way

through his property in 1857.


McComb:     Founded on April 5, 1872, and named for Colonel Henry S. McComb of Wilmington, DE, president

of the New Orleans, Jackson and Great Northern Railroad who located the railroad shops there.




Magee Settlement:  First settled in 1797 and is now named Tylertown and located in Walthall County.   


Magnolia:     Formed when the grading of the New Orleans, Jackson and Great Northern Railroad from New

Orleans reached that point in the county in 1856.  Ansel Prewitt owned the land on which Magnolia

was built.  The county seat was moved from Holmesville to Magnolia in 1876. 


Osyka:         Name taken from an old Native American word meaning eagle.  The town was founded in 1854

when the New Orleans, Jackson and Great Northern Railway was built from New Orleans to that

point.  It served as the railroad terminus for two years until the track was extended north to Magnolia.


Summit:       The highest point in the county at 420’ above sea level.  The railroad was extended south from Jackson

to Summit in December 1856, and it became the largest town in the county until the railroad was extended from Magnolia north to McComb and the railroad shops were built there.