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The Mississippi State Capitol, which is located in Jackson, was completed in 1903 and features a distinctive copper dome that is visible from miles away.
Forrest County, Mississippi, was established on March 10, 1906, taking its name from Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest. The county encompasses a total area of 470 square miles and is located in the southeastern part of the state. The area was initially inhabited by indigenous Native American tribes, including the Choctaw and Chickasaw nations.

In the 19th century, European settlers began to arrive in the region, drawn to the fertile land and abundant natural resources. The economy of Forrest County was primarily agrarian, with cotton becoming the dominant cash crop. Large plantations and farms were established, worked by a significant enslaved African American population.

During the American Civil War, Forrest County, like many parts of Mississippi, supported the Confederacy. General Forrest, for whom the county is named, was a prominent figure in the Confederate Army and led successful campaigns against Union forces. The county saw its fair share of battles and skirmishes as Union troops attempted to gain control of the area.

After the Civil War, Forrest County faced the challenges of Reconstruction. The abolition of slavery brought significant societal changes, and the county's economy underwent a period of transformation. The advent of the railroad in the late 19th century opened up new opportunities for trade and commerce, leading to the establishment of towns such as Hattiesburg, which became the county seat.

Throughout the 20th century, Forrest County continued to develop and diversify its economy. The lumber industry became a significant presence, taking advantage of the region's vast timber resources. Education also played a crucial role in the county's growth, with the founding of the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg in 1910. Today, Forrest County is a thriving area with a diverse economy, rooted in its rich historical heritage.

This timeline provides a condensed summary of the historical journey of Forrest County, Mississippi.

  • 1811: Forrest County is established and named after Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest.
  • 1870: Hattiesburg, the county seat, is incorporated.
  • 1882: The Mississippi Central Railroad is completed, boosting the area's economic growth.
  • 1914: The University of Southern Mississippi, originally known as Mississippi Normal College, is established in Hattiesburg.
  • 1917: Camp Shelby is established as a military training site during World War I.
  • 1932: The Longleaf Trace, a 41-mile recreational trail, begins operation as a railroad corridor.
  • 1942: Camp Shelby becomes a major training site during World War II.
  • 1984: Pine Belt Stadium, now known as M.M. Roberts Stadium, is built on the University of Southern Mississippi campus.
  • 2005: Hurricane Katrina devastates the Gulf Coast, including areas of Forrest County.
  • 2017: The Hattiesburg Zoo expands with the opening of the Asbury Discovery Center.