Mississippi GenWeb Project State Logo
US GenWeb Project National Logo


Algoma, a Chickasaw word meaning "God abides", is the name first given to the Algoma community by a Presbyterian preacher named Savage. Settled in the 1830s, the community of Algoma was on an Indian Long Trail, which reached from the Choctaw Village in the South to the Middle Tennessee settlements. The trail is presently followed by Highway 15.

On January 14, 1874, Samuel Weatherall was appointed as first postmaster of Algoma. The post office was located in a corner of the John Holland store. The village was located east of the present town of Algoma on land originally owned by Stephen Daggett, but in 1904 when the Gulf and Chicago Railroad extended its line south from Pontotoc and passed about a mile west of the old village, Algoma was moved to its present location to accommodate the railroad. The major concern of the railroad was the carrying of timber, passengers, and tradesman. The railroad promised life to the town, and the timber helped to sustain it. Algoma had 33 stores, four churches, a two story school, depot, cotton gin, blacksmith shop, grist mill, hotel, drug store that sold patent medicines, park with a boxing ring and tennis courts, and a tie yard that stretched a long distance along the tracks. Growth was attributed to the quantity of available timber in the area and to the H.B. Owens Tie Company. Algoma called itself the CROSSTIE CAPITAL OF THE WORLD!

The town was surveyed into lots and streets and incorporated in 1911 with T.R. Powell as mayor.

On March 13, 1913 a tornado hit Algoma, resulting in high property damage. The following Sunday, the depot burned. It was replaced with a small building. Later the same year, two downtown stores and the post office burned. The Post Office was replaced and is still active at the present. As the timber supply was depleted the area became a farming community. The town gradually declined and R.A. Collins served as the last mayor from 1931-1933. The train depot was taken away around 1959. In 1961 Algoma consisted of two stores, a post office, and three churches Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian and Usher Valley and of course the schools.

Algoma was again reincorporated in 1988 with Lavert McCoy as mayor and is still growing in 2000. It has a volunteer fire department, the same churches, a new post office, a renown restaurant, (owned by a 1961 graduate of Algoma) a new park, a newly organized Historical Society and many new residents. In the past two years the town has celebrated an annual "CROSSTIE FESTIVAL", and as a community service of historical value have recently moved the first school house to the Algoma site beside the gym. Renovations and repairs are in process at this time.  The present mayor is Harry Neal Corder. The alderman are Landis Fair, John Alan Simmons, Noel McWhirter, Brenda Foster, and Marion Wilson. The town clerk is Ann Rickman McDonald.

The most of the following communities have been copied from Hometown Mississippi by James F. Brieger's. There is exception as I have added information where there was not a listing by Mr. Brieger’s.


Located six miles south of Pontotoc, Algoma, an Arabic name meaning God Abides was formed in 1904 on the extension of the C & G Railroad southward. On the Cession of 1832, Stephen Daggett, a brother-in-law of Robert Gordon and wealthy Connecticut trader came to Pontotoc and purchased large land holdings from the Chickasaws. Some years later he sold much of his land to settlers and the vicinity around old Algoma was rapidly settled. The Woods, Cameron and Owen families were among the first purchasers of land from Daggett. A post office and one or more stores were in operation at the old village prior to 1860 and at the time of the railroad construction there were several business establishments in operation. With the coming of the railroad all the business houses were moved to the railroad station which was located one mile to the west. The new town was a prosperous place during the years in which large tracts of timber were being cut and marketed from the flatwoods area west of the village. The H.B. Owen Tie Company was formed and thousands of cross ties were shipped from the railroad station. After the timber had been cut the business of the town declined rapidly and the railroad agency was reduced too only a prepay station.


Forty-two other counties had been organized when Pontotoc County was formed on February 9, 1836, ranking fiftieth in area.One of the first mission ventures for the Indians was set up in this county prior to its formation, by the Presbyterian Synod of South Carolina and it was in this county that the treaty between the Chickasaws and the U.S. Government was made.


Henry Love was the first known white settler in what is now the town of Pontotoc but little is known of him other than the fact that he was a resident at the time of the 1832 Cession. He is credited with having applied the name Pontetok to Alien's Agency, the residents of which later made up the town of Pontotoc. On the abandonment of the old village and the establishment of the present town, the name, with the spelling changed to Pontotoc was given the newly formed town. The name Pontotoc is a compound of the Chickasaw Ponti and Tokali, which have been translated into three meanings: Weed Prairie; Hanging Grapes; and Battle Where the Cattails Stood. The battle being D'Artaguiette's defeat near old Pontotoc in 1736. The Treaty of 1832 provided for the establishment of a land office for the sale of lands of the Chickasaw. The office was to be established in the center of the area acquired from the Indians but this location happened to be in the flatwoods, twelve miles west of the present town. Water was scarce at this location so the site selected was at a more favorable location in the hills about one mile north of Pontotoc. Pontotoc grew rapidly from the time of its establishment and for many years was a business and social center of the Chickasaw Country. It was a thriving town of perhaps 1,000 people in I860 and was noted for its educational advantages from the time of its formation. The Chickasaw Female College was one of the first colleges for women to be established within the State. From the end of the Carpetbag Regime to the present day the history of Pontotoc has been little different from the neighboring towns. The construction of the old Chicago & Gulf Railroad in 1886 and its extension southward in 1904 gave Pontotoc the advantages of rail communication with the outside world and since that time its growth has been steady.


Ball, located three miles north of Pontotoc was established in 1886 and was known locally as Ball's Crossing. The place was never more than a flag stop on the G M & N Railroad and named for a local landowner. The stop became extinct in 1918.


Buckhorn, four miles southeast of Robbs was settled in 1836 by the Young, Miles and Stuart families. Other early settlers who came at a later date were the Lancaster, Blunt, Petty and Luther families. The community did not grow to any size until 1888 when the C & G Railroad provided a market for timber and since that time most of the land in the community has been cleared for cultivation. The construction of county roads through the community about 1910 brought many new settlers to this site. A post office was established shortly after 1865, remaining in operation until replaced by an R.F.D. Route via Sarepta in 1910. No one seems to know for sure why the place was named Buckhorn.


Located seven miles north of Pontotoc, Cherry Greek was one of the oldest settlements in the county, being formed shortly after the 1832 Cession and named for nearby Cherry Creek. Most of the residents of this community moved to the railroad town of Ecru when train service began there in 1886.


Chesterville was established four miles south of Sherman in 1840 when the Lilly, Dozier, Carruth, Holmes, Wagner, and Wharton families settled here and named the site for Chester, South Carolina. The village grew to be quite large and was incorporated in 1873 but later lost its charter of incorporation.


The first settler to locate in this area, seven miles north of Pontotoc J.M. Owens who settled here in 1881. He was one of the outstanding citizens of the town and played an important role in its settlement. The town grew rapidly with the beginning of train service over the C & G Railroad in 1886 and succeeded the old town of Cherry Creek as the business center of the community. One version of the name origin is that it got its name from the color of the railroad depot; another says that it was named for the color of a nearby clay deposit.


The Endville Community -was settled in the 1850's twelve miles northeast of Pontotoc. D.J. Austin built-the old Oakdale School and the first store was operated by Bob Brazille. James Brandon was the first postmaster and related an account of how the place came to be known as Endville. "The community was for many years known as the Reagh and Brazille Community but on the establishment of a school the school and community became known as Oakdale. In 1901 when a post office was secured the name Oakdale was suggested but was rejected by the Government because of duplication. The department suggested three other names to choose from and among them was the name Endville which was selected."


Located eight miles west of Ecru, Esperanza, also known as the Hurricane Community was settled about 18^0 with Ed Hale, Robert Warren, Ab Snead and Dr. Swofford as pioneer settlers. The name Esperanza is still retained as the voting precinct but the place has acquired the name Hurricane. Visited by a storm some years ago which laid waste to much of the timber, the name Hurricane was first given to the school and has since been applied to the community.


Located four miles north of Pontotoc.


Located ten miles east of Pontotoc, this settlement was first established in 1830 and known as the Brame Settlement. It was given the name Purr's in 1859 for Thomas Purr, a merchant who operated the post office.


Located fourteen miles south of Pontotoc, Gershorm, a Hebrew word meaning, Land of Exile is also known as the William’s Community. The first settler was Thomas H. William’s of Williamson County, Tennessee who came here soon after the 1832 treaty. About 1840 he bought a vast estate on this site and in 1848 built his home. William’s served as United States Senator from Mississippi and was an unsuccessful candidate for Governor against Albert G. Brown. He was also instrumental in the founding of the University of Mississippi and has been called the Father of the University. For many years the Gershorm Post Office was operated in the William’s home with Thomas William’s' son serving as postmaster. This office was abolished in 1903, then in 1908 the M J & K G Railroad was extended south and a large lumber mill was located here. A station and spur track were built, taking the name Gershorm from the old post office. After a few years the timber ran out and the mill was moved to a new location.


Located twelve miles east of Pontotoc, the Gray Community was settled about 1850 by the Gray and Dozier families. John Gray a wealthy planter and slaveholder was the first settler and the community was named for him. Gray was formerly a coaling station and water tank on the G M & N Railroad with a siding to accommodate the passing of trains.


Located six miles northwest of Pontotoc.


Named for the Hebrew Prophet, the Hosea or Betts Community located in the southeast corner of the county, three miles southeast of Troy was settled soon after the Chickasaw Cession. The first settlers were James and Wiley Betts, wealthy planters and slave owners who settled here in 1834.


Located 10 miles South of Pontotoc on Hwy. # 341


Located about eight miles northeast of Pontotoc, the first settlers of this community arrived in 1850. They were the Pounds, Baggett, Huey and Thompson families. A post office was established about 1866, which was known as Cedar Grove, however the name was never applied to the community. In 1880 another post office was established under the name of Cox but was discontinued in 1890. In 1883 a church was built in the community but a name had not been agreed upon. One day at a meeting held in the church the subject of selecting a name was brought up and one of the members suggested the name Longview for the excellent view of the community afforded from the high location of the church. The name was accepted and since that time the community has been known as Longview.


Located fourteen miles southwest of Pontotoc off Hwy, # 341 on Buckaday Road to Calhoun Corner road left, near and toward the Calhoun County Line.


New Salem, about three miles south of Troy was formerly known as Prudeville when first settled in 1840. At that tine the Prude, Lesley, Brook, Lower and Henderson families bought their home sites from the New York Land Company of Pontotoc.A post office was established in 1887 with W.J. Prude as postmaster. The village probably reached its peek in the 1890's when W.J. Prude opened the first store and D.L. Kennedy built a steam-powered gristmill and cotton gin. The Prudeville Post Office was abolished in 1857 when W.J. Prude store burned which housed the post office. The community then became known as New Salem for the New Salem Presbyterian Church, which was organized in 1842. From 1934 to 1937 the land in the community was bought by the Government and all the buildings were razed for the Natchez Trace Development Project.


Now considered a part of North Pontotoc, North junction was established in 1886 as a spur track of the G M & N Railroad. The spur later was used as a service track for the Eastern Clay Products Company, which was built in 1936.


Located six miles northeast of Pontotoc, the Oak Hill Community was settled by the Milan family of South Carolina in 1830. There was an early post Office in the Community, which was named Nixon, but it was discontinued in 1903.


The Pleasant Grove' or Chiwapa Community, located about six miles southeast of Pontotoc was settled prior to 1840. The old Pontotoc-Cotton Gin Port Road was opened by the Board of Police of Pontotoc County in 1836, which brought a rush of settlers to the community. The first landowners were the Galloway, Royce, Garrett, Simmons, and Carter families. Soon after the Civil War a post office known as Chiwapa for the nearby creek was established with J.D. Simmons as postmaster. The name Chiwapa was taken from the Chickasaw word Chiwaipaiya, meaning A Broad Expanse of Waving Grass. In 1895 this office was moved to the store of J.L. Henderson who served as postmaster. The office was discontinued in 1905 and the place became known as Pleasant Grove for the Pleasant Grove Baptist Church organized in 1843.


Founded about 1736, the extinct town of Plymouth was located seven miles northeast of Pontotoc. In this community was located Chukafalaiyia, (Long House), Capital of Longtown of the Chickasaws during the tine the French were trying to conquer the tribe. The treaty of 1818, or Jackson's Purchase was made in this immediate vicinity, and also the Treaty of Pontotoc, in 1832 when the Chickasaws surrendered the last portion of the lands of their domain. A flourishing normal college was located here in the 1880's but has been extinct for many years.


This section of land five miles southwest of Springville was entered at the federal land office at Pontotoc in 1836 by henry Walker, Wiley White, and J. H. Pearsall. Other settlers coming to the community during the 1840’s were James Herndon, William Vance, William Rayburn, James and E. Herring. The first settler in what became the village proper was M. D. Vance. On November 2, 1853, Vance purchased two acres of land from James Herring and immediately erected a log cabin and store. This store was the first business house in Randolph. Randolph, owing to the distance from a railroad was considered in an isolated location and the community, with the exception of a small area around the town was slow to be settled. It was not until the advent of the C & G. Railroad in 1886, which furnished transportation for timber, that much of the surrounding area was cleared and settled. Randolph was named for John Randolph, the famous Virginia Statesman by the early settlers who were staunch followers of his belief in the importance of State’s rights. Many years ago the village prospered from the sale of moonshine whiskey but today farming is the chief livelihood.


The early history of Redland, twelve miles south of Pontotoc dates back to 1540 when Desoto made his winter camp at the Chickasaw town of Chicaca, on mile to the northeast. More than 200 years later in 1750 John Macintosh came here as a British Emissary to the Chickasaws. On September 12, 1775 he secured a British Grant of 500 acres and this site became known as McIntoshville. The opening of the Natchez Trace in 1808 greatly increased the number of traders and settlers among the Chickasaws. A man name Jack Harris who later operated a whiskey distillery at Redlands is known to have been living on this site in 1816.This land was entered at the Federal Land Office at Pontotoc in 1836 by Thomas R. Cheadle, Thomas H. Williams, Silas McBee and Thomas Stockstille. McBee and Williams made their homes to the east at Gershorm while Cheadle and Stockstille remained at Redland. Exactly when the name was changed to Redland is not certain but it is thought to have been on the establishment of a post office, which is known to have been in operation in 1843. Redland was incorporated in 1856 but lost it charter in 1888. The town probably was at it height in 1870 when the population was listed at 300. As the railroad towns grew Redland declined and in 1900 when the remaining store closed the place was classified as being extinct.


Located two miles east of Pontotoc and named for Ridgeway, Virginia this community had its beginning as a plantation owned by Patrick Henry Fontaine who came here in 1834 as Surveyor General of the Federal Land Office. After Fontaine’s death in 1856 his family gradually sold tracts of the estate to other settlers, retaining the home site until 1892 when it also passed into other hands.


The first settler of this community, about twenty miles southwest of Pontotoc was A. J. Zinn a planter from South Carolina who entered a section of land at the Federal land office at Pontotoc in 1836. A Methodist church and a “pay” school were established at old Robbs prior to 1860, the First Teacher at the school being a northern man named Robbs. This name was given to the school and later to the Community. Upon the opening of a road through the northern part of the community in 1910 an effort was made to move the school to the new road; the later site of New Robbs. The effort was unsucessful but a school was built at the new location and a short time later the Bethel Baptist Church was erected near the new school and the present site of Robbs came into being.


In 1840 Reuben Jones and John Witt settled what is now the Sherman community fourteen miles northeast of Pontotoc, however the town owes its formation and growth to the building of the old K C M & B Railroad. When the operation of trains was begun on the newly built railroad in 1886 a station was established and named Sherman by a resident who had formerly lived in Sherman, Texas. R. P. Kelly built the first home in the spring of 1886. Other citizens and businessmen of the town were John Witt, J.E. Wade, and John Johnson. The Mississippi Normal Institute was founded in 1889 by Professor J.N. Davis and a boarding house was maintained in connection with the institute. The institute flourished for several years with an enrollment of 300 but with the development of the public school system its patronage dwindled and about 1903 it was consolidated with the public school at Sherman.The following excerpt from the Pontotoc Democrat of September 19, 1890 describes the town: "Ninety-four miles from Memphis, 158 miles from Birmingham on the K C M & B Railroad is the thriving little town of Sherman. Her population has almost doubled in the last twelve months. She is surrounded by the best fanning lands in the State. She has 35 dwellings, 6 stores, 2 doctors, no graveyards, a ~40,000 school building and destined to be the Jupiter in the educational world.”


Although there were a few scattered settlers in or near what is now the Springville Community prior to 1860, Buford Moore built the first home in the immediate vicinity, four miles southwest of Pontotoc in 1867 and a year or so later opened a store in his residence. A post office was established about 1880 with Buford Moore as postmaster. After a great overflow of Mud Creek in 1871 the settlement moved out of the lowlands to the present site of the village. The name Spring Hill was given the village for a large spring which emerged from the foot of the hill on which the village was located. When a post office was granted it was found that his name would be a duplication so the name Springville was selected.


The Thaxton Community is located ten miles northwest of Pontotoc and was formerly known as Buttermilk Springs. Dan Smith was the first settler of Buttermilk Springs when in 1868 he cleared a small tract of land, built a store, a grog shop and a year or so later put in a one-horse cotton gin. Smith later built several houses, selling then to settlers who had purchased land in the bottoms and wanted a higher location for their homes. Smith then sold his holdings to Dr. M.C. Thaxton, a good businessman who developed the place with success. In 1884 a post office was secured with Dr. Thaxton as postmaster, at which time the place became known as Thaxton. In the early days mail was brought by horseback but the service was later rendered by Star Route from Pontotoc.


Located five miles south of Pontotoc and extinct since 1834, this ridge was the site of an ancient Chickasaw village to which fled the remainder of the Natchez nation in an effort to escape the French after the massacre of White Apple Village. This brought about the name Tobas which in Chickasaw means Land the Newcomers. D' Artguiette, leading an army of French Soldiers appeared at the village and demanded the surrender of the Natchez. The Chickasaws refused his demands and a battle followed in which the French were defeated. D'Artguiette and nineteen of his men were captured and later burned at the stake. Among the captives was a little French girl whose life was spared by the Indians and she was adopted into the tribe. She later married a Chickasaw and reared a family, being known as French Nancy to the early white settlers.


Located eight miles northwest of Springville, Toccopola, an Indian name meaning the crossing of the roads, was first an Indian village which was so old that in the annals of the Chickasaw the date is unknown. In 1840 two Carolinians, Tobias and Allison Furr settled here. Tobias Furr built a water mill on the creek and Allison established a store at the crossing of two roads. Other settlers made homes in the area and eventually the Indian name Tok A Pula was corrupted to Toccopola. Immediately following the Civil War, W.B. Gilmer who was forced by a wound received in the war to forsake farming for school teaching, established Toccopola College for boys and girls. This college continued operation until 1907, then Toccopola's future was shattered when the railroad passed it up in preference to Pontotoc. On the campus of the old high school is the site of the grave of Betsy Allen. Betsy, whose real name was Susan was a Chickasaw woman who carried her legal fight for property rights to the Mississippi Supreme Court in 1837. When very young Betsy had been given another Indian as a slave by her mother. This was made under Chickasaw Law in 1829, a year prior to the extension of Mississippi Jurisdiction over the Chickasaw. In 1837 she refused to relinquish her servant to her husband who had been ruined by debt and carrying her case to courts won it on the grounds that she, by her mother and her family were members of the Chickasaw Tribe, that the gift had been completed under Chickasaw law and therefore the court had no right to deprive her of her property gained in 1829. This has been hailed as the first decision in the United States to grant property rights to women.


Toxish (Place of Greatness) was established ten miles southeast of Pontotoc in 1836 when James A. Ware of South Carolina purchased land allotted to the widow of William Colbert. Ware established the Toxish Baptist Church in 1837 as the first Baptist Church in the county. Toxish was noted as an educational center as well as religious and it is said that no crime of major significance was ever committed in the community, nor were any of its citizens ever indicted in any court. Other early settlers included the Stegall, Longest, Peden, Johnson and Harris families.


Troy, thirteen miles southeast of Pontotoc was settled mainly by people from nearby Southern States. The first of these, Blake Farmer of Alabama came in 1838 and was followed that same year by William Rutledge, grandson of John Rutledge of South Carolina. Other families soon to follow were the Bullard, Carson, Priest, Abernathy, Moseley and Gideon famlies. Among the first social events of the community was the wedding of Joe Bullard. He built a one-room log cabin and invited everyone to the wedding. He reported later that fifteen persons were present which shows how few were living there at the tine. The 1882 Professor H.B. Abernathy and his wife founded the Troy Normal Institute about two miles south of old Troy. This college was a great success and many families moved into the village to patronize the school. This rapid 'growth in population gave rise to several new businesses and Troy was a flourishing little town for several years. In 1888 The Abernathys relinquished control of the college and were succeeded by Professor Ben Bell who continued its operation until his death in 1892. On Professor Bell's death the boarding department of the school was discontinued and many people then moved away causing the town to go into decline.


The extinct town of Victoria, one and one-half mile northwest of Pontotoc as established in 1832 by B.D. Anderson. Victoria entered into the struggle against other nearby towns for the location of the county seat but when the battle was lost in 1836 Victoria became extinct. Colonel Edmundson, a pioneer resident of Victoria constructed the old Pontotoc-Memphis Road for the U.S. Government as a route for the removal of the Chickasaws. Another early citizen, Aaron Roots established a stage line on the Pontotoc-Cotton Gin Port Road which was probably the first stage line to operate in the Chickasaw Nation. Roots died at Victoria in 1838.


The extinct town of Wallfield was located twelve miles south of Pontotoc on the old C & G Railroad. The town was formed in 1906 when the railroad was extended to the southwest. The old village of Elvira, one-mile north flourished during the construction of the railroad but on its completion a station was located on this site the post office and stores at Elvira were moved to Wallfield. By 1913 most of the timber had been cut and the sawmills ceased operations. Then when the Beddingfield Stave Mill moved away nearly all the stores closed. A general store was operated at intervals until 1937 when Wallfield became extinct.


Located eight miles southeast 0£ Pontotoc, the site 0£ '~odland was sett-' led by ~lliam P. Givhan, Abe Hardin, Thomas and Jeremiah Stegall. A school and Presbyterian Church were established about 1850; The church being abolished in 1882. A Baptist Church was then established in the eastern part of the community and named Woodland. A short time later the school was moved near the church and also took the name, Woodland.


Located seven miles southeast of Pontotoc, the Zion Conmiunity was one of the first points in North Mississippi to be inhabited by white people. The date of settlement is placed at about 1799 when Reverend Joseph Bullen visited the community and founded a mission school, leaving his son in charge. It is known however that Three ~ Men, I! Richard Hyde, James Gunn and Christopher Osbourne lived here long before the coming of Bullen. The history of the mission is very dim, from the time of its establishment until The Chickasaw Cession of 1818. The site of the mission was near Chukafal-aiyia, an ancient Chickasaw village and the home of the ruling chief. At the time of the treaty, Topulka was The reigning chief and it was at his cabin that Andrew Jackson and Isaac Shelby negotiated the agreement. Topulka owned most of the land on this site under allotments made by the Treaty of 1832 and old land records show the names of the first purchasers of his land as Watts, Hester, Fuqua, Osbourne, Johnstone and Bryant.

The following is from the WPA History

..Reverend Joseph Bullen was sent out March 26, 1799 as a missionary to the Chickasaw Indians, in the settlement known as ZION; here his son established a school in July of the same year. Across the road stood an Indian Council House. From notes contained in Bullen's diary historians say the site of the school and primitive church is the house of Topulkah, where the treaty of Pontotoc was made. Richard Hyde, one of Blackbeard's men, Christopher Osborne, and James Gunn lived at this time in the Zion Community. A log church and schoolhouse were used by later settlers and a tract of land for a cemetery was given by the Osborne family in 1830. The present Baptist Church site was deeded in 1831 by W. B. Fuqua. A large two story frame structure was erected, the lower floor for church services and the upper as a Masonic lodge. The building was unpainted and blackened with age--hence the name Black Zion.

The casual traveler on the Valley road between Pontotoc and Verona will notice the large cemetery across from Zion church. A close observer who enters this silent city of the dead will read with interest the dates and names engraved on tombs showing it to be one of the oldest in the country.

An appropriate inscription is:

Beneath these rugged trees, these cedars shade,

Where heaves the turf in many a mouldering heap,

Each in his narrow cell forever laid,

The dear forefathers of Zion sleep."

Submitted by: Peggy Aaron Young

MSGenWeb   USGenWeb   Pontotoc County Home Page