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Early History of The Town of Pelahatch
Leslie Smith submitted the following information from a pamphlet that was given to her by her grandmother, when their church (The first Baptist Church of Pelahatchie) celebrated the 100th anniversary of Pelahatchie.

The historical roots of Pelahatchie can be traced to the very beginning of Mississippi statehood.  It's very location historically significant, was recognized by the Historical Commission of Mississippi when a marker was placed four miles east of Pelahatchie to designate the boundary between the Choctaw Cessions of 1820 (Doak's Stand) and 1830 ( Dancing Rabbit). With the signing of the treaty at Doak's Stand, the Choctaw Indians ceded to the United States 5,500,000 acres of land in the central and western part of the state, thus opening the door for white settlers to move into this part of Mississippi.  They came from Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee and primarily the Carolinas as part of the Great Westward Movement. Pelahatchie, a Choctaw Indian word, received its name from the creek which surrounded the settlement. During the 1850's settler's from the Carolinas ventured into these lands and established a community at the site of an old Indian Village.  Billy Goforth, a half-Indian, had come into possession of all the lands, which were to be known as Pelahatchie.  Indians, as did pioneers, had a certain way of naming places. Some say the Indians gave the creek a name meaning "crooked", while others say it means"hurricane".  It seems logical the Choctaws would have meant "Crooked Creek" because of the turning and twisting course of the creek.
The area experienced steady growth after the signing of the Doak's Treaty, but narrowly escaped destruction following the fateful march of General Sherman across Mississippi after the fall of Vicksburg. Sherman following the Old Stage Road east of Brandon instead of the railroad, just missed Pelahatchie. After being settled by the Carolina pioneers in the 1850's, Pelahatchie saw the Alabama and Vicksburg (A&V) Railroad come through the settlement in 1858. G. F. Spann soon laid out the tow on a 300- acre plot in 1860. In the early 1870's a school was erected where the Baptist Church now stands. At the end of 1891, Pelahatchie had one of the only three schools in the county. Historical facts note the first Post Office was established in 1868 and three business were erected in 1866, a grocery store by W. A. Preacher, a general mercantile by Col. George W. Brooks and a saloon by Eli McMullan. By 1883, three more businesses had begun. With so much progress, there was a need for a hotel in the area.  The Lessel's built their first hotel near the railroad which runs between Vicksburg and Meridian. Between 1880-1900 a campground was established  complete with a camp house, a Farmers Alliance Shed and stalls for oxen and horse teams. These facilities were used by people coming to town to shop and sell their cotton and other farm crops. The two hundred plus settlers in the little community became aware of the growing need to receive a proclamation from the state to incorporate Pelahatchie and establish a town government. On June 30, 1904 Pelahatchie was placed on the map and reached a population of 943 by 1910.
The surge in the population was due primarily to the location of a sawmill in the town in 1907 by the Lockwood Lumber Company. This company was followed by Gamill Lumber Company and the Pearl River Valley Lumber Company. Tragedy struck however, in 1934 when the latter mill was totally  destroyed by a fire, putting over 1000 persons out of work. The mill was never rebuilt and the population of Pelahatchie declined drastically as a result. The poultry industry was born in Pelahatchie in 1930. In the early days, the Pelahatchie Poultry was among the first to utilize the modern concept  of assembly line poultry processing. The poultry industry, while not able to transform Pelahatchie into a boomtown , served the town and surrounding communities as a stable source of income for many years

Population per 2000 Census, 1,461



 Jane Combs, October 19, 2008   ©2008  All rights reserved
This information may be used by libraries, genealogical societies, and other researchers.  Commercial use of this information is strictly prohibited without prior permission of the owner. If copied, this copyright notice must appear with the information.