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Panola County Mississippi

Belmont62 Five or six miles southeast of Sardis, on the Illinois Central (formerly Mississippi and Tennessee) railroad, was located the town of old Belmont on the north side of the Tallahatchie River. It was settled in 1836-'7, and soon became a flourishing town of six or eight stores. A large number of bales of cotton was shipped from this place to New Orleans. Maj. William M. Strickland says, in speaking of Belmont:

''I have seen five steamboats being loaded at the landing at the same time. It did a large mercantile and shipping business. The most flourishing merchants I now remember were Henry Laird and Dimaren L. Childress, of the firm of Henry Laird and Company; Thomas B. Carroll (afterwards Mayor of Memphis, Tenn.), and Anthony Foster."

There was for several years a contest between Belmont and the town of old Panola over the location of the court house of Panola County. This contest aroused much vindictiveness and bitterness of feeling. Panola finally succeeded, but by the use of bribery and intrigue, as was afterwards charged. Col. James Bailey, now of Oxford, Miss., was in the county of Panola on the day of the election. Although he was a lad of only sixteen and lived in the adjoining county of Tallahatchie, several miles over the line, he was prevailed upon to cast a vote in this election for the town of Panola. The failure of Belmont in this contest was a severe blow to the town, which was finally absorbed by Sardis,63 situated near the center of the Belmont faction.

Panola This town was situated on the south side of the Tallahatchie River, a few miles below old Belmont. Although old Panola won in the contest for the county seat, referred to above, and became a flourishing business center in the 40's, it was absorbed in a few years by the town of Batesville, on the Illinois Central (formerly the Mississippi and Tennessee) railroad. Most of its houses were placed on rollers and removed to Batesville, about a mile away. Only two buildings, the brick court house and jail, were left to mark the site of old Panola. The court house has recently been remodeled and made into an elegant residence. An interesting relic of the contest between the two towns of Belmont and Panola, referred to above, is still left in the two judicial districts of Panola County, Batesville being the seat of justice for the second district and Sardis for the first.

Old Panola received much attention from the Legislature of the State, as is shown by the fact that it had three different acts of incorporation passed by that body in 1839, 1840 and 1846.

Extinct Towns| AHGP Mississippi

62. This sketch is based upon information derived from Maj. Wm. L. Strickland, of Holly Springs, Mississippi.
63. This town had its beginning in a small log school house, known as Danville Academy, in which Daniel B. Killebrew taught. The Baptists then built a church at this place and called it the Sardis Baptist Church. This church gave the name to the town which was afterwards built at this place.

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


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