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Benton County Mississippi

Lamar12, The town of Lamar was located on the stage road midway between Lagrange, Tennessee, and Holly Springs, Miss., in Benton (formerly Marshall) county. At one time it supported perhaps half a dozen stores. Col. Timmons L. Treadwell, the leading merchant and planter living at this place, accumulated a great deal of wealth. Lamar was finally absorbed by the station of the same name about two miles to the east, on the Illinois Central railroad. The sons of Col. Treadwell became large and influential commission and wholesale grocery merchants in Memphis.

This was a fine agricultural section of country and was settled by a wealthy class of planters, such as Capt. William Coopwood and Thomas Mull, both of whom were very fond of politics; Col. Chas. L. Thomas, who was a member of the Legislature for several terms; and Judge A. M. Clayton, who lived on his plantation near this place after his retirement from the bench. The Smiths, the Hendrons, the Chainers, and the Rooks also settled in this section, as did also Rhinehart, Gorman, and Dr. Cummings, Col. Andrew R. Govan, Dr. Hardarway, John Dabney, and William Hull.

The original site of Lamar is now part of a cultivated field.

Salem, The town of Salem in Tippah County (now Benton), was settled about 1836. It was incorporated by the Legislature in May, 1837. At one time it had twelve or fourteen business houses, two hotels, and a thriving female school. Its population numbered about two hundred. It carried on a large trade with the surrounding country. The neighborhood was composed of wealthy, substantial planters, among whom were Col. Frances T. Seake, Thomas Hamer, and Col. Daniel B. Wright. Col. Wright practiced law both in Ripley and in Holly Springs. He was fond of politics, and for one term represented his district in the lower House of Congress. Col. John B. Ayres and his son. Dr. Gus Ayres, lived in Salem. Mr. Robert McDonald, Dr. J. A. Moorman, Col. Baird, and John W. Matthews also lived at or near this place.

Orin Beck, proprietor of a watering place, known as Beck's Springs, also lived in old Salem. N. B. Forrest, who acquired such great renown as a Major General of cavalry during the late War Between the States, was a nephew of Mr. Beck, and was reared near this place. Joseph W. Matthews, once governor of Mississippi, lived within two miles of Salem (in Marshall County.) Although his early education was neglected, he was a man of great intellectual power and was invincible on the hustings. During his various political campaigns he was known as "Jo Salem," "Jo the Well Digger," and "old copperas breeches."

Old Salem has entirely disappeared. One or two citizens live there and cultivate the site of the former town. It was absorbed by Ashland, county seat of Benton County, situated two or three miles to the east.

Extinct Towns| AHGP Mississippi

Footnotes:
12. The sketches of the extinct towns of Benton County are based upon information derived from Maj. Wm. M. Strickland, of Holly Springs, Mississippi.

Source: The Mississippi Historical Commission Publications, Volume V, Edited by Franklin L. Riley,
Secretary, 1902.

 

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