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Wilkinson County, Mississippi

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Profiles

  • Nathaniel Edward Scudder (1770 - 1820)
    Nathaniel Edward Scudder was a son of Matthias Scudder (1733-1827) and Elizabeth Moore (1743-1847). He was born 7/13/1770 in Essex County, NJ and died in 1820 in Woodville, Wilkinson County, MS.Nathani...
  • Thomas Pike Scudder (1793 - 1850)
    Veteran. Pvt. Bass' Co., 3rd Tenn. Militia, War of 1812.Thomas Pike Scudder was a son of Nathaniel Edward Scudder & Agnes Nancy Blair. Born 7/13/1770 Essex County, NJ and Died in1820 at Woodville, Wilk...
  • Charlotte Virginia Hutcheson (1838 - 1929)
    Charlotte Virginia Scudder was a daughter of Thomas Pike Scudder & Mary Ann Elizabeth Coon. Born 4/25/1858 in Centreville, Wilkinson County, MS and Died 5/2/1929 in Centreville, MS.2nd wife of John Wil...
  • Elizabeth Jane Hutcheson (1840 - 1866)
    Elizabeth Jane Stafford was a daughter of Hartwell Stafford & Elizabeth Turberville.She was the 1st wife of John Williams Hutcheson. They married 5/25/1858 in Wilkinson County, MS. The couple had 4 chi...
  • 2nd Lt. (CSA), John Williams Hutcheson (1835 - 1927)
    Civil War Veteran. Served as 2nd Lt. in Co. F, 3rd Louisiana Cavalry (Wingfield's), CSA.Appeared on Roster dated Camp near Norwood, 6/15/1864. Appears on Roll of Prisoners of War, Paroled at Gainesvill...

Please add profiles of those who were born, lived or died in Wilkinson County, Mississippi.

Official Website

History

Located in Mississippi's southwestern corner, on the Louisiana border, Wilkinson County was one of the state's original counties, formed in 1802 and named for Revolutionary War general James Wilkinson, the first governor of the Louisiana Territory.

After Indian Removal in the 19th century, white settlers rapidly developed cotton plantations along the Mississippi River, which forms the western border. The intensive cultivation depended on the labor of slaves. In the early 19th century, more than a million slaves were relocated to the Deep South from the Upper South in a major forced migration. The population of this county quickly became majority black as more slaves were brought in to develop plantations. Much of the bottomlands and interior were undeveloped frontier until after the American Civil War.

The West Feliciana Railroad was later built to help get the cotton commodity crop to market. Some planters got wealthy during the antebellum years and built fine mansions in the county seat of Woodville, Mississippi. Jane and Samuel Emory Davis moved here in 1812 with their several children and lived at a plantation near Woodville. Their youngest son, Jefferson Davis, attended the Wilkinson Academy in Woodville for two years before going to Kentucky to another school.

After the Civil War, freedmen and planters negotiated new working arrangements. Sharecropping became widespread. Although cotton continued as the commodity crop, a long agricultural depression kept prices low.

Following Reconstruction, white violence against blacks increased through the later decades of the 19th century and into the early 20th century. According to 2017 data compiled in Lynching in America (2015-2017), some nine lynchings of blacks were recorded in Wilkinson County.

The peak of population in the county was reached in 1900, after which many blacks left in the Great Migration to the North and Midwest. The county has continued to have a black majority population.

In the early 20th century the boll weevil infestation destroyed much of the cotton crops, and mechanization caused a further loss of agricultural jobs. The exit of many blacks from the state did not change the state's exclusion of them from politics. They were not enabled to vote until after passage of the federal Voting Rights Act in 1965 and its enforcement. Cotton cultivation was revived, but it is produced on a highly mechanized, industrial scale.

Southwest Mississippi was an area of continuing white violence against blacks during the Civil Rights Movement. In February 1964, the White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan officially formed. Clifton Walker, 37, a married father of five and employee of International Paper Company in Natchez, who was not politically active, was killed in an ambush on Poor House Road near his home. The evidence showed there had been a crowd of shooters on both sides of the road. This lynching cold case has never been solved.

Timber has been harvested and processed in the county as a new commodity crop. The population of the rural county has continued to decline because of lack of jobs. Towns have started to develop heritage tourism to attract more visitors.

Adjacent Counties & Parishes

Towns & Communities

  • Artonish
  • Centreville (part)
  • Clarksville
  • Crosby (part)
  • Doloroso
  • Fort Adams
  • Loch Leven
  • Pinckneyville
  • Possum Corner
  • Rosetta
  • Wilkinson
  • Woodville (County Seat)

Links

Wikipedia

MSGW

Genealogy Trails

Nat'l Reg. of Hist. Places