A Brief History of Quitman County

Quitman County was named for John A. Quitman,
Governor of Mississippi from 1835-1836, and again from 1850-1851.

QUITMAN, John Anthony (1799-1858) Born in Rhinebeck, N.Y., September 1, 1799. Member of Mississippi state house of representatives, 1826; member of Mississippi state senate, 1835; Governor of Mississippi, 1835-36, 1850-51; state court judge, 1838; U.S. Representative from Mississippi, 1855-58. Died near Natchez, Miss., July 17, 1858, presumably from poison secretly placed in food served at a banquet in Washington, D.C. during the inauguration of President Buchanan. Interment at Natchez City Cemetery, Natchez, Miss.

The story of the first -- or certainly among the first settlers, is interesting. His name was Thomas B. HILL. From whence he came the annalists have not learned. He was a man of great wealth. He brought 100 slaves and used them to clear a great plantation in the heart of the Delta. His plantation lay along the banks of what was then called Moore's Bayou. Even before the man named Hill arrived in this region, a man named MOORE established a home upon the banks of the Coldwater. Moore was a trapper and woodsman, locating here perhaps without legal title to the land. Mr. Hill ousted the old man, but the stream continued to be called Moore's Bayou for many years. It was later renamed Cassidy for Wiley B. CASSIDY, a lumberman.

The affluent pioneer, Thomas B. Hill, built with slave labor a palatial brick home, which was almost a fortress. The walls were made very thick to protect him against uprisings of his slaves in the wilderness, and for protection from the wild and unruly inhabitants who lived on the banks of the Coldwater river, in the heart of the jungle. When Thomas B. Hill died his slaves buried him in an Indian mound, but the location is not known to anyone in Quitman County. He was a man of eccentricities and whims. However, he was a man of great prominence. James L. ALCORN, who was not far away, was his friend and often visited him in his "Castle" on the bank of the Coldwater.

In 1877, when Quitman County was organized, the old brick house was still standing. It was the first courthouse of the county. It was called Belen, instead of Hill's landing. Before a courthouse and jail could be built, Hill died, leaving the property to minor heirs. Since legal title could not be given, Dr. PHIPPS, who owned land nine miles west of Belen, gave land for the location of the county cite. In 1881 the courthouse was moved to this new location, and took the name Belen with it. Thus, Hill's Landing was called "Old Belen". Later at the suggestion of the post office, it was changed to Riverside.

In 1910 Quitman County became dissatisfied with the location of the courthouse, and decided that it should be moved to the now thriving new town of Marks. In 1911 a palatial courthouse was established on the old site of Hill's landing, and the "Baby City of the Delta" was born. The earliest tradition of Quitman County hover over the beautiful courthouse of a young and prosperous county.

From: Notes by Mrs. M. Box Malone and "Old Traditions in a New Land" by Geo, Morland. 

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