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Extinct Towns and Villages of Mississippi

A large portion of Mississippi was settled by means of immigrant wagons and packhorses, which moved slowly and with great difficulty over dim trails or rough wagon roads. In the course of time these early roads developed into great thoroughfares, and wayside inns were erected along them at regular intervals to accommodate the constantly increasing number of travelers. These hostelries often became the nuclei of prosperous villages and towns as the highways along which they were situated grew in popular favor. But subsequent changes in the modes of travel and the shifting of centers of population brought decay and death to many of these places.

Changes in the fickle current of streams and in the methods of water transportation were no less disastrous to many river towns, which at one time bade fair to become centers of commerce.

Another class of towns, now extinct, sprang into prominence in the 30's, when the spirit of speculation was rife in the land. It was a time of inflation; obscure villages and plantations and even insignificant landing places for small boats caught the infection and aspired to become towns and cities. Their lives were generally short and their deaths tragic. Baldwin tells us that when the great financial crash came in 1837, "promising young cities marched back into the wilderness; the ambitious town plat was re-annexed to the plantation," and "the only question was as to the means of escape, and the nearest and best route to Texas."

The loss of political favor, or the changes of county limits, followed by the removal of court houses and county offices, resulted in the decay of many of the early seats of justice in the rapidly developing commonwealth.

Railroads, which are the greatest factors in modern municipal development, have also been the most potent causes of municipal decay and death. This fact is illustrated by the history of scores of innocent country towns, whose only crime was their distance from the "right of way."

In many cases two or more of these causes of decay have united in hastening the destruction of the same unfortunate town.

Sample of Washington City, Territory Capital

County Listing for Extinct Towns and Villages by County

Adams Alcorn Attala Benton Bolivar
Carroll Chickasaw Choctaw Claiborne Clay
Coahoma Copiah Grenada Hinds Holmes
Itawamba Jackson Jasper Jefferson Kemper
Lafayette Lauderdale Lee Leflore Lowndes
Madison Marshall Monroe Newton Noxubee
Oktibbeha Panola Pike Pontotoc Prentiss
Rankin Scott Sunflower Tallahatchie Tippah
Tate Tunica Union Warren Washington
Wayne Webster Yalobusha Yazoo ,,

Footnotes:

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

 

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