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Monroe County Mississippi

Hamilton56 The town of Hamilton was the first county seat of Monroe County. It was situated one mile east of the Tombigbee and two miles north of the Buttahatchie River, in what is now the southwest corner of Monroe County. The original site, where once stood the court house, jail, business houses, and a great many of the dwelling houses, is now under cultivation, being part of the Troop and Alexander plantations.

During the time of its greatest prosperity old Hamilton had four or five stores. The leading business men were Thomas Branch, George Landemix, and Benjamin Rees. The hotel at this place was owned at first by Red Eckols and afterwards by Waits Tucker. The blacksmith and general repair shop, which occupied a conspicuous place on one of the streets of the town, was owned and controlled by T. Tipton Linsley. In its prosperous days old Hamilton had a population of one hundred and fifty or two hundred people.

It was the county seat of Monroe County until the formation of Lowndes County in 1830. The court house was then removed to a place called Augusta, which was nearer the center of the county. The site of the extinct town is now an old field.57 For years after the decay of old Hamilton the post office was moved from house to house in the neighborhood, until in the year 1900. At that time, through the efforts of Dr. J. D. Egger, R. W. Eiker, W. A. Stewart, I. Henderson, and others, a beautiful tract of land, three miles northeast of the site of old Hamilton, was chosen as the site of the present town of Hamilton.

Cotton Gin Port58 The town of Cotton Gin Port was situated on the east bank of the Tombigbee River, on a beautiful plateau, twenty feet above the high water mark. Court was held here about 1821, before the establishment of a seat of justice for Monroe County. In September, 1824, Dr. W. F. Boyakin, who is now a citizen of Blue Rapids, Kansas, took charge of the first school that was ever taught at this place. At that time the place contained six or seven log houses, "scattered around without any regularity." Among its inhabitants were: The Waltons, the Lucas family, the Doggates, and the Mayfields. Among the pioneer farmers who lived within two miles of the place were Bowers, Gunaway, Rayburn, Bickerstaff, Mayfield, Malone, Thomas, Folks, Cannon, McQuarry, and Cooper. These people had not more than half a dozen slaves in all at that time. For a long time the site of Cotton Gin Port had been the camping ground of a restless class of adventurers.

For many years this place was the head of navigation on the Tombigbee River and was the trading post for the Chickasaw Indians. It was incorporated by the Legislature in 1858. Its most prosperous period was about 1848. At that time it had a carding factory, a flouring mill, twenty stores, and a population of about five hundred. It was on the dividing line between the Chickasaw Indians and the white settlements. The road known as Gaines' Trace passes through this place. Some of the leading citizens at the above mentioned period were H. B. Gillespie, Isaac Mayfield, B. G. Knowles, P. A. Knowles, John Bickerstaff, Johnson Bickerstaff, Capt. J. H. Montgomery, Dr. T. B. Moody, George Abrams, A. J. Owen, and Jack Hill.

The Kansas City, Memphis and Birmingham railroad was built in 1887, establishing the town of Amory, which quickly absorbed the business and population of Cotton Gin Port. The site of the old town is now a cultivated field.

Athens In 1830 the Legislature created Lowndes County out of part of Monroe County and provided that a new seat of justice be chosen for the latter. A commission, consisting of Sketon Standifer, Richard Dilworth, and W. F. Boyakin, selected a beautiful plateau near the geographical center of the county as the best site for the new seat of justice. By the time the site was settled upon, Dr. Boyakin says, "half the county had a name to give it, without charge. A large number, and among them one member of our board, thought as the Legislature had given no authority therefor we had no right to name it at all. But a majority overruled and after much parleying, the writer, having a dim view that this town might in the future be a great center of learning, suggested the name of 'Athens' for it." This suggestion was adopted. The lots were duly surveyed and advertised for sale. Dr. Boyakin describes the sale of these lots as follows:

"Everybody in the county almost was on the ground and Dick Dilworth, coat off, collar unbuttoned and face reeking with sweat, stood on a big stump and at the top of his voice (you could have heard him half a mile) auctioneered these lots off to the highest bidders * * * Long before the sun went down the last lot was disposed of and the auctioneer was so worn down and hoarse that Judge Nathan Morgan, who lived hard by, had to take him to his home and doctor him up, for several days."

Dr. Boyakin continues his narrative as follows:

"Years went on (I do not know how many). The Indians west of the Tombigbee were removed; a flood of home seekers from almost every state in the Union poured in, and in a few years the whole country was reclaimed from primeval conditions, and the hum and buzz of civilization were heard 'from Dan to Beersheba.' Buoyant and thrifty as our pet little city of Athens was, it was soon apparent that in the not distant future it would have to yield to the inexorable logic of commerce, and go with the crowd. So, after long years of obedience to municipal function, unceremoniously, one day Madame Justice gathered her official robes around her documents, records, jurors, lawyers, clients, witnesses, and all, and moved west of the river, settling quietly down in the flourishing, rival town of Aberdeen; and here, ever since, has dispensed to all alike, the edicts of justice. Athens then gradually went back into rural quietude."

Quincy The town of Quincy was situated on the rolling hills in the eastern part of Monroe County. Among its citizens were Bob Gordon, George Wightman, Daniel Malone, and Drewry Cooper. In the vicinity of the place lived the Dilworths, Parchmans, Boggans, Gillelans, Walkers, Greenwoods, Kinnys, Elktans, and others.

Extinct Towns| AHGP Mississippi

Footnotes:
56. The information upon which the sketches of extinct towns in Monroe County are based was received from Col. L. Willis and Dr. J. D. Egger, of Hamilton, Mississippi, and Dr. W. F. Boyakin, of Blue Rapids, Kansas.
57. See Goodspeed's Historical and Biographical Memoirs of Mississippi, Vol. I., page 248.
58. The information upon which the following sketch is based was derived from Mr. T. E. Stevens, of Amory, Mississippi, and Dr. W. F. Boyakin, of Blue Rapids. Kansas.

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

 

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