xt79057cv89r https://exploreuk.uky.edu/dips/xt79057cv89r/data/mets.xml Pearl River County, Mississippi Mississippi Historical Records Survey 1938 Prepared by The Historical Records Survey, Division of Women's and Professional Projects, Works Progress Administration; Includes index; v, 127 leaves, 28 cm; UK holds archival copy for ASERL Collaborative Federal Depository Program libraries; Call number Y 3.W 89/2:43 M69i/no.55 books English Jackson, Mississippi: The Survey This digital resource may be freely searched and displayed in accordance with U. S. copyright laws. Mississippi Works Progress Administration Publications Inventory of the County Archives of Mississippi, Number 55 Pearl River County (Poplarville) text Inventory of the County Archives of Mississippi, Number 55 Pearl River County (Poplarville) 1938 1938 2015 true xt79057cv89r section xt79057cv89r ui V   ‘   \\! {Q   Ii  A   l   i   UNIVERSITY OF KENTUCIIV    
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  Jackson, Mississippi
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ff The Historical Records Survey
Mr Luther H. Evans, National Director _
i§» C. C. Fisher, State Director
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F, Ellen S. Woodward, Assistant Administrator
$ Ethel Payne, State Director
t Harry L. Hopkins, Administrator
F Roland B. Wall, Deputy Administrator in Charge
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The lnygntgry_gf County Archives gf_Mississipoi is one of a number of
` libliogrnphies of historical materials prepared throughout the United States
by workers on the Historical Records Survey of the works Progress Administra- l
tion. The publication herewith presented, an inventory of the archives of
Pearl River County, is number 55 of the Mississippi series.
The Historical Records Survey was undertaken in the winter of 1935-56
for the purpose of providing useful employment to needy unemployed historians,
. lawyers, teachers, and research and clerical workers. In carrying out this
objective, the project was organized to compile inventories of historical
materials, particularly the unpublished government documents and records
which are basic in the administration of local government, and which provide
invaluable data for students of political, economic, and social history. The
archival guide herewith presented is intended to meet the requirements of
day—togday administration by the officials of the county, and also the needs
of lawyers, business men and other citizens who require facts from the public
records for the proper conduct of their affairs. The volume is so designed
that it can be used by the historian in his research in unprinted sources in
the same way he uses the library card catalog for printed sources.
The inventories produced by the Historical Records Survey attempt to
do more than give merely a list of records — they attempt further to sketch
in the historical background of the county or other unit of government, and
to describe precisely and in detail the organization and functions of the
government agencies whose records they list. The county, town, and other
local inventories for the entire country will, when completed, constitute
an encyclopedia of local government as well as a bibliography of local
The successful conclusion of the work of the Historical Records Sur-
vey, even in a single county, would not be possible without the support of
public officials, the historical and legal specialists, and many other groups
in the community, Their cooperation is gratefully acknowledged.
The Survey was organized and has been directed by Luther H. Evans, and
‘%€ operates as a nation—wide project in the Division of Women's and Professional
Projects, of which Mrs. Ellen S. Woodward, Assistant Administrator, is in
charge .
· Harry L. Hopkins

Work on the Historical Records Survey began in Mississippi in February
1956 as part of the program of the Federal Writers' Projects. In November
1956 the Mississippi Survey became a separate unit of Federal Project No. l
with W. B. Haynie as state director. Mr. Haynie headed the Survey until
“ July 15, 1957, at which time C. C. Fisher, editor-in—chief, was made state
J ` director.
To attain its general objective the Survey in Mississippi has examined,
thoroughly and carefully, records kept by state, county, and municipal gov-
ernments. In addition, preliminary lists of historical manuscripts, maps,
and early imprints in private and unofficial collections have been prepared.
Much has been accomplished in locating and inventorying the records of all
¢ churches in all counties. In completing this particular task the Survey
‘ · will include the records of defunct churches if it is possible to locate
°‘ ¤ thenu ‘
‘ The Historical Records Survey has given valuable assistance to the Mis-
i ` sissippi Department of Archives and History. Through a project initiated by .
the Survey, more than 9OO volumes of loose newspapers have been sorted, ar-
ranged by date of publication and bound. Bulky old case records of the supe-
rior court of chancery, the high court of errors and appeals, and of the su-
preme court have been put in order, labelled, indexed, and made readily ac-
cessible for the first time. _The Survey is preparing to make a complete in-
* " ventory of all records, books, papers, and other historical materials collec-
_ ted by the department since its organization in 1902.
"` A project, sponsored by the secretary of state, and designed to arrange,
T index, and rebind the records of all offices or bureaus of state government,
¥ has been put into operation. This work is highly important in that it will
at the same time determine the amount of space and equipment needed to house
properly the surplus state records, provide a safe depository in Jackson for
future accumulation of records, and protect the invaluable historical manu-
-‘. ‘ scripts, private collections and records now scattered throughout the state,
~ * In this connection the Survey has been collaborating with state officials ·
? and with the director of the Department of Archives and History in pre-
paring a feasible plan to present to the legislature. It has been suggested
that the state convert the old Capitol into an archives building or make use
of one or more of the abandoned asylum buildings in North Jackson.
— In Mississippi the Survey has stressed the completion of a stcte-wide
examination of county records with the view to preserving them, making them
more accessible, and disclosing their intrinsic value in the development of
Mississippi as a Territory and a state.
At first skeptical or antagonistic, county officials have come to re-
alize the worth of the Survey. ln many counties it was necessary for Sur-
vey field workers to sort, rearrange, and put the records in their proper
places before the actual inventorying could be started. As work progressed
the need for the complete reorganization of records in these counties be-
came so apparent that locally-sponsored projects were organized to index,

y . transcribe, restore, rebind, and set in order the confused, jumbled mass
_: ` of county archives. The Survey, because of its limited quota, has not been
_T_ able to complete this extra work with its own workers. However, it assisted
_'M‘ gladly in making all preliminary arrangements and in preparing project pro-
 h posals. It furnished technical supervision and gave its utmost cooperation
to county officials in the systematizing of their records.
N A further indication of the established value of the Survey is the fact
_ that 18 chancery clerks in as many counties have requested the Survey to set
yd up projects to provide the counties with sectional indexes to all land con-
f veyances and other instruments touching or concerninc the title to lands in
A the counties. By law it is mandatory that each county have such an index but
" for one reason or another l9 counties either do not have them or the indexes
t they have need copying or restoring.
The Survey plans to publish the Inventory 2f_the_Qounty Archiyes_of
I hgssissippi in 82 units, one for each county in the state. Each unit will S
S be numbered separately from l to 32, its number depending on the relative
4 position of the county in an alphabetical list of all counties. The inven-
tories of the state archives, of manuscript collections, of church records,
‘·r of early imprints, and of municipal and other local records will be nub-
~ lished separately.
° By assemblying and preparing concise, detailed inventories of, and
guides to, the archives of all counties, the Survey in each instance, will
make available an instrument which will: display for comparison the records
V: system of the B2 counties of the state, the study of which may lead to the
` adoption of a simplified, standardized method of keeping records which will
A eliminate unnecessary and overlapping records; give a comprehensive medium
°— which will familiarize the general public with history as it is shown by
* the records, and arouse interest in it; and help office holders to a better
f_ understanding of the exact scope of their office records and show them the _
~d record work of their predecessors.
`· Although every effort has been made to attain absolute accuracy in this
inventory, The Survey cannot assure the user that this decree of perfection
H has been realized. Because of the many and varied systems of record keeping
in use, the same records may have been given different names in different
counties and what may seem an error is in reality only an evidence of the gen-
eral non-uniformity existent throughout the S2 counties of the state.
The survey of the records of Pearl River County was started on February
26, 1956, and was finished September l, l956. Mrs. Marearet Scott Payley,
_ Historical Records Survey field worker, completed the work unaided by other
t paid workers. Nc advisory committee was formed, but all county officials
- gave valuable assistance and were helpful. Especially so were H. K. Rouse,
` veteran chancery clerk; Homer Hoody, sheriff and tax collector; Miss Ida

  J **7*
·· T} Newsomm, deputy chancery clerk; Harvey S. Stewart, former sheriff and tax
·'_ 5 collector; and Leopold Locke, county prosecuting attorney. Ellis Mitchell,
»,‘ » ‘ Nolas Ladner, W. J. Fronea, E. H. Stevens, and Pate Lumpkin, all members of
'· the board of supervisors; Ray Fornes, superintendent of education; L. T.
Simpson, circuit clerk, and J. D. Smith, tax assessor gave the Survey sup-
port and encouragement. The Survey was well received in Pearl River County,
A the county officers were more than willing to give information to the worker,
I and they showed their interest in many ways at all times.
H This inventory of the records of Pearl River County was prepared by the
editorial staff in the state office of the Historical Records Survey in Jack-
sou, Mississippi.
V Stete Director
The Historical Records Survey
W . if Jackson, Mississippi,
g March 7, l9B8.

   - lv-
A. Pearl River County and its Records System
C Page
l. Historical Sketch of Pearl River County ......................... B
2. Governmental Organization and Records System ....... . ........... B
Chart of County Government .................................... IQA `
5. Housing, Care, and Accessibility of Records ..................... l7
4. List of Abbreviations, Symbols, and Explanatory Notes ........... 2l
P. County Offices and their Records
I. Board of Supervisors ........................................... . 25
Proceedings. Allowances. Claims. Warrants and
Disbursements. Bonds. l6th Section Records. Reports.
I I II. Recorder ........................................................ S5
Abstracts. Deeds. Deed Records. Homesteads. Leases.
Tax Sales and Redemptions. Corporations. Maps and Plats:
County; Township; School District; Municipal. Miscellaneous
III. Clerk of the Chancery Court ..................................... 42
Proceedings and Case Records. Dockets and General Court
Records. Bonds. Fees. Newspapers. Miscellaneous. Wills
and Estates.
IV. Clerk of the Circuit Court .... .... · .............................. 47
Proceedings. Case Records: Criminal; Civil; Mississippi
Power Company; Supreme Court. Dockets and General Court
Records. Judgments. Juvenile Records. Naturalization Rec-
ords. Indictments. Jurors. Ponds. Fees. Certificates.
i Miscellaneous. Marriage Records. Licenses. Reports.
E V. County Court ............... · ........... ....~ ........... ‘ ........... E7
VI. Justice of the Peace .............. i ...................... . ....... 58
Reports. Dockets. Inquests.

  — 2 —
{ I Table of Contents
i Page
I VII. County Attorney ............ ..... .......... . ............. ... ..... 65
is VIII. Sheriff ...... . ................................ .. ................ 65
, Court Orders and Services. Financial.
, IX. Constable .. ..................................................... 69
I X. Coroner ........... . ..................................... . ....... 70
’ XI. Tax Assessor .................................................... 7l
5 Assessments. Tax Rolls.
E XII. Tax Collector ................................................... 75
Y Financial Records. Licenses. Tax Receirts. Recister
g of Diamonds and Pearls.
y XIII. Treasurer and Auditor .................... . .............,........ 78
I Dockets. Ledgers. Receipts and Disbursements. Reports.
“ XIV. Registrar ............. . ......................................... 85
· Registration and Poll Records. Ballots.
g XV. Superintendent of Education ..................................... 86
i Suwmary. Financial. Teachers. Reports. Junior ,
Q Colleje and Agricultural High School. Transportation.
i Corresnondence. Educable children. School buildinas.
{ Petitions. Maps.
E XVI. Health Department ............................................... 96
s Vital Statistics. Examinations. Comrnnicehle Diseases.
§ Immunizations. Hiscollaneous ‘·.i Reports. Correspondence.
5 XVII. Pension Board of Inquiry ................... . ................. ... IOO
é XVIII. Surveyor .. ........................... . ............... . .......... IOS
I ~§ XIX. County Engineer ..... ................ . ...... . .................... IO4
§ XX. Ranger ............. . ............................................ IO4
= XXI, County Agent ........................................ . ........... IOC
pi Cotton Control. Soil Conservation. Miscellaneous.
I XXII. County Agent of Home Economics .................................. IOS
t* Clubs.
i Index ......... . .......................... . ...................... IDG
E Chronological Index ............................................. 122

Q - 5 -
  (First entry, p. BO)
i Pearl River County, in the Piney Woods section of Mississippi in the
l extreme southern portion of the state adjoining Louisiana, was established
l originally as Pearl County in 1872, organized from parts of Hancock and
P Marion Counties. The act designated Riceville as the county seat and di-
rected the governor to appoint three commissioners to organize the county.
(Laws, 1872, pp. 110-115). In 1877 the small, frame courthouse burned, the
· fire destroying many of the records,
The county obtained its name from the stream called the "River of Pearls"
by French explorers who discovered it in 1699. One Penicaut, a member of
T the expedition says in his Annals, "hvre we found those shells with which
Indians scrape out their canoes after burning. Beautiful pearls are some-
times found in those shells. We presented some two dozen or more to M.
Bienville, our commander" (Dunbar Rowland, Mississippi the Heart of the
Sputh, vol. II, p. 166). ——»_—-_——- __ **— ‘
Because Pearl County was unable to maintain itself, chiefly through
the lack of development, the organization act was repealed in 1878. Its
I A territory was returned to Hancock and Marion Counties and the records made
during the six years of its existence were deposited with the two elder
1 counties. (Laws, 1878, pp. 155-154).
A thriving sawmill and lumbering business grew up during the next few `
years making it possible to re-establish the county as Pearl River County,
_ the same land being taken again from Hancock and Marion Counties to form
i the new county (Laws, 1890, pp. 89-91). The boundaries were described as
A follows: "beginning_at_the point in the middle of Pearl River, in the cen-
J ter between townships 4 and 5 in the county of Hancock, thence running east
through ranges 18, 17, 16, 15, and 14 to the line between ranges 15 and 14;
j thence north on said line to a point one mile north of the 51st parallel of
I north latitude; thence wtst to the dividing line between ranges 15 and 16; l
thence south to said 51st parallel; thence west along said 51st parallel to
j the center of Pearl River; thence southwest along the thread of the stream
' to the point of boginningt, Poplarville was made the county seat and the
· first officers were appointed by the governor. Pearl River County is bound-
, ed at present on the north by Marion and Lamar Counties; on the east by For-
Y rest and Stone Counties; on the south by Hancock County, and on the west by
g Pearl River which separates it from the Louisiana Parishes ef Tammany and
J Washington, The boundaries were changed in 1904 when some ef the county’s
northern territory was taken in the formation of Lamar County (Laws, 1904,
l Chapt. 102), and were changed again in 1908 when an area nine RITES in_“—
{ depth was obtained from Hancock County (Laws, 1908, p. 89).
Z The region in which Pearl River County is situated, known alternately
y as West Florida, the Mobile District, and the Mississippi Gulf Coast sec-
tion, was explored by the French brothers Le Moyne d’Ibervi1le and de Bion-
ville in 1599 and 1700 after they had established a base at Biloxi on the

2 - 4 -
i I Historical Sketch ' (First entry, p. 50)
i coast; The section was part of the vast territory belonging to the Choc-
Q taw‘Iniians but they used it mainly es a hunting and fishing ground, nok-
i ing r ruler excursions to the coast to cat the cyst rs which troy leiwu
g along the river. Huge piles ef shells near the coast show that this cus-
V ‘ tem was followed for many ycrrs prior to the coming of the French.
( A map of the Mississippi region and Province of Lcuisirna by Elder
° ( Homaa, fated 1687, but evidently published in the first part of the eight-
eenth century, sh ws that the Colepissa Indians lived on the lower reaches
.·_» f the Pearl River. Legend has it thct the Colopissa or Accelopissa Inii-
_ ans wriyixatoa from the Five Town tribes of the Choctaw Irdians. A group
_; of bravcs, because ·f the pleas of the mai&cns they were wooihg, rcfuscu
_ I to make war on the French. The bravcs were banished from the tribes but
yy they hola to Choctaw customs and took the name of Accolopisss, meaning
¤ · "nc h wes". They were the smallest tribe numerically in the Suuth. They
became the arieut friends of the whites and established themselves in the i
`” lower southern sectors cf Mississippi and Louisiana. It is believed that
this smell tribe withirew entirely fro;.the Mississippi region to Louisi-
M ana after France lost the territory to the English in l7€3 (J. H. Bailey,
Cpppentpricsg Sjpjgpppg Indian Eribis, pp. 40l-402).
,4 Frarco in establishing its right ti the lower Mississippi Valley,
based on tho claiU.of LaSalle at the mouth of the Uississippi River ir _
( lG82, governcC its southern possessions from New Orleans, foumicd in
l7l8. In l762, unable to maintain and defend its hel%ings, Frarce by
V I secret treaty,ceQei to Spain, its ally, all the prwscnt sesboard of Mis-
, sissippi, (which included molern Pearl River County), Leuisianr, and Alt-
· hams from the mississippi River cast as far as the Perdiic. By the Treaty
, I of Paris in l763 which ended the French and Indian Nar in Aneries owl the
l Seven Years Uhr in Europe, France gave victorious Great Britsir all terri-
v tvry on the east side of the Mississippi River from its he lvaters south ,
I to Bayou Manchac, the Amitc River and Lakes Maurcpas anG Ponchrrtraim above
. » New Orleans, as iell .·.· as the fort ani river of Mobile. Spain urs forced to
I cedc Greet Britain all coast territory then called West Florilr, retaining
Q only New Orleais and the islrai of Orleans, as the land lying between Bay-
_ ‘ ~u Ianchac, the Anitc River, the lakes and the Mississippi River wts then
_ ; design tes. Eg these ccssicns the Pearl River County region ar* the re-
; muinder of present-day Mississippi became British territ ry.
,, T Eetsecn l779 and l7Sl, Bernarlc dc Gelvcz, the Spanish Goreraor at
I ` New Orleans, takinp advantage gf Englend’s entangling war with its Amer-
ey 5 ican cilonios on the htlsntic coast, captured Bet n Reu e, Nctchez, Lc-
i bile, ani Pensacola, restored West Flerile es a Spanish privince an?
, male hississippi e possession of Spain. After the Americans hai won
_ their freedom they claimed all former British lanl but Spain claimed {ll

 - )
E “ Historical Sketch (First entry, p. 50)
  territory north to the Yazoo River. The controversy was compromised on Octo-
‘¥ ber 27, 1795 by the Treaty of San Lorenzo el Real which fixed the 51st parallel
L as the southern boundary line of the United States (§_Stat. 1,, pp. 158-152),
· 1 and left Spain still in possession of West Florida.
1 However, this section had filled up with refugee loyalists or Tories
Q ddring the Revolutionary War and with American settlers following the war,
7 especially after the Louisiana Purchase in 1805 (ibid., pp. 200-215). The
United States renewed its claims to the land below the 51st parellel, as-
` certing that it was part of the Purchase. In this continuous diplomatic
contention the government was abetted by the predominantly Eng1ish-speak-
I ing American, English, Irish, and Scottish inhabitants who openly resented
I _ Spanish domination. Tired of the bickering of diplomats, the settlers re-
_ g volted, captured Baton Rouge on September 25, 1810 and set up the Indepen-
U dent Republic of West Florida under a blue flag with a single, five-pointed
white star, the emblem which became famous again as the Lone Star flag of
the Texas Republic and as the Bonny Blue flag of the Southern Confederacy
` in 1861. The territory seized extended from the Mississippi River east-
i ward across the Pearl River country to a point just west of Mobile. On
· October 10, 1810 the new Republic sought admission to the United States
I (Annals g1_Congress, 11_Qnng,, 5 Sess., (1810-11), Appendix, 1254-55);
. Stanley Clisby Arthur, Eye Stgry of_1he_@est_F1orida Rebellion, pp. 122-
, 125).
1 · President James Madison, stating that this land "was not delivered to
_t , 1 the United States in pursuance of the terms of the Louisiana Purchase",
` ;» promptly took it over by proclamation on October 27, 1810 (Richardson, Mes-
. 5* SHEQS gnd_Papers o1_the_Presidcnt, (Washington, 1896, vol. 8, pp. 480-481),
I and made it a part of the Territory of Orleans. than the Territory was
g admitted as the state of Louisiana April 12, 1812 (2 S15], 1,, pp. 701-704),
l j only the land "below the line" west of Pearl River was annexed with it. The
V Q country between Pearl River and the Perdido River on the east, including
3 present-day Pearl River County, was joined to the Mississippi Territory May
,1 14, 1812 (2_Stat. 1,, p. 754). From this urea the counties of Hancock and
Q Jackson were organized December 12, 1812 (1pgg£r1s_Q1g1st, 1816, pp. 108-
i_ 109). These counties were divided in 1841 to form Harrison Ccunty (Laws,
E 1841, pp. 145-147) and in 1872 Pearl County was established (13gs, 1822, pp.
g 110-115) only to be disbanded in 1878 (Laws, 1878, hp. 89-91). George County
§ was established in 1910 (Laws, 1910, pp. 256-241). In 1916 Stoie County was
f Created from the north portion of Harrison County (1gwjJ 1j16, pp. 594-597),
_ Q completing the organization of county government in the district east of
E Pearl River.
) While the Pearl River County area itself was not prominently con-
Q nected with the early development of the region, it was in this Gulf sec-
§ tion at what is now Ocean Springs in Jackson County th;t d'Ib·rville .»-· found-
i ed Old Biloxi in 1699. This post was the first white settlement in the
i lower Mississippi Valley, from 1699 to 1702 being th» swat of government

  ·— 6 —
( Historical Sketch (First entry, p. 50)
t£~ of the extensive Province of Louisiene. In this region the French mede their
first efforts to establish a sout?ern empire in North America, efforts thst
f ·.ere fruitless end expensive. (Francis Perkman, IgSel1g_and_thg_Iusgoyery
  si its Sseei   frepjeees E-E§2i.i2n» V<>1· V>·
The eerly settlers of Hancock County from which come a pert of the
, land that formed Pearl River County, were clustered principally on the
1 * coast, engsyed reinly in the fishint and oyster business- The original
pioneers of Marion County which furnished the remeinder of Peerl River
Y County's erea, turned to fsrming»and to the sawmill end lumbering in-
T dustries. The seepuge from the populztion centers of these two counties,
_ , in which 17,340 people lived in 1890 (llth census p;_the Q) Ss), was suf-
_ ‘ ficiently large et that tiwe to establish end maintain the new county sup-
( ported by flourishing lumbering end turpentine businesses ani e fairly
- prosperous ugriculturel development. A
( when the county was re-created on February S2, 1390, Poplarville wes
· meds the county seat (IELE, lj9QJ pp. 99-91). The first officers, epoointed
by the governor, were A. F. Reels, P. E. Uillismu, James Smith, Joseph E.
_ Jheat, end Themes Martin, members of the board of supervisors; James M.
I Shiv rs, sheriff ond tex collector; Rufus L. Retliff, circuit and chencery
_ clerk; Eli F. Stewert, assessor; and Andrew Smith, treasurer. By 1992 n
f two—story brick courthouse wes erected. The three—story trick end stone
K courthouse now in use was built in l9l¥ Qgguggs) §pj]d_of_Sujeryisors,Qggi
· 10, 191Q, pp. l2-l$). The first buildinv is utilized os e public school.
= The population of Pe rl River County, 2,957 in lS90 (llth_Qensus_gf
; the U. S. ), by 1930 hed increesed to l9.405, of vhich l4,209 were netive
· - E white ond 5,l49 were tegro (lbth_Census_of_the_Q. S,). Lumboring con-
__· Z tinues to be the principal industry, eugmented by the production of tur-
l~- g pontine and other navel stores. There ere 57,935 acres of timbcrod lends l
- E in the county assessed, exclusive of timber, at $224,265. The timber, es-
_·j i timutod et ES,S9S,6ll boeri feet, was assessed at *$,l6?,465 (Beport of
_ _  § thg_§jEte_T§£_Commissioni_lggg, p. 65), better then 50 percent of the
g $6,005,761 total es.esscd velumtion of all property. Of the county's
i 797 square miles of eros, only three and one—helf percent is under culti-
  V¤ i iw