A Brief History of Wilkinson County

By John South Lewis

Publisher Emeritus, Woodville Republican

The Woodville Republican was established in 1824, and has been in the Lewis family for over 100 years.

 Woodville was first settled near the turn of the nineteenth century and was incorporated as a town in 1811. A short time later it was chosen as the county seat of Wilkinson County, which was formed in 1802 in the extreme southwest corner of Mississippi from an old territory originally known as the county of Bourbon, and later as Adams County. Interestingly, the 1990 census figures reveal that the population of the county is virtually the same as it was 160 years before, in 1830.

 The original Natchez Trace may have had its points of origin at Fort Adams on the Mississippi River near Woodville when the commander-in-chief of the United States Army, General James Wilkinson, for whom the county was named, completed a treaty with the Choctaw Indians to open a thoroughfare from Fort Adams northeast in order that supplies and soldiers could be safely moved to the fort located there. It was at Fort Adams that the scene of "The Man Without a Country", by Edward Everett Hale was located

 The Woodville business district, like that of so many old southern towns, is built around a square in the center of which stands the Courthouse, the third structure to be located there. Surrounding this imposing building are many stately live oak trees. Because of its size and age there stands among these one tree in the southwest corner that has the distinction of being a member of the American Society of Live Oaks. It bears the name of "The Jefferson Davis Oak", and stands as a living memorial to the first and only president of the Confederacy whose boyhood home was at Rosemont plantation located a short distance from Woodville.

 Near the southwest corner of the Court Square is located the old Bank of the State of Mississippi, organized 173 years ago. The repudiation of the bonds of the subsequent owner of the building, Planters Bank of the State of Mississippi, more than 150 years ago, caused international controversy and litigation in the Supreme Court of the United States. The building, now owned by the Woodville Civic Club, is being restored for occupancy by that organization.

 Woodvillians are justly proud of their rich heritage of southern culture and traditions, as well as of the many old antebellum homes and gardens within its limits and in the immediate vicinity. It is with pleasure that our people welcome visitors to the community.


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