National Register Listing in
Simpson County, Mississippi

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Mississippi played a significant role in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s. Many of the most important events of the movement, including the Freedom Rides and the March Against Fear, took place in Mississippi.
Simpson County, Mississippi, has a rich and diverse history that dates back to its original Native American inhabitants. Prior to European settlement, the Choctaw tribe occupied the land, utilizing the abundant natural resources for sustenance and trade. In the early 1800s, the area became part of the Mississippi Territory and attracted settlers seeking fertile land for agriculture.

The county was officially established in 1824 and named after Judge Josiah Simpson, a prominent figure in Mississippi's early legal system. The fertile soil of Simpson County led to the rapid growth of cotton plantations, and by the mid-19th century, cotton had become the region's primary cash crop. Slavery played a significant role in the county's economic development, as plantation owners relied heavily on enslaved labor.

During the Civil War, Simpson County was caught in the middle of the conflict. The Battle of Champion Hill, a key engagement in the Vicksburg Campaign, took place in the northern part of the county in 1863. This battle resulted in a Union victory and marked a turning point in the war, leading to the eventual surrender of Vicksburg to Union forces.

In the years following the Civil War, Simpson County underwent a period of reconstruction and recovery. The decline of agriculture, combined with various economic challenges, pushed many residents to seek opportunities elsewhere. Despite these difficulties, the county continued to develop economically, with industries such as timber, milling, and manufacturing becoming integral parts of its economy.

Today, Simpson County remains deeply rooted in its agricultural heritage, with farming, poultry production, and timber still important industries. Additionally, the county has embraced diversification and has seen growth in sectors such as healthcare, education, and tourism. With its rich history and natural beauty, Simpson County continues to evolve while preserving its unique heritage.

This timeline provides a glimpse into the major events and milestones that have shaped the history of Simpson County, Mississippi.

  • 1823 - Simpson County is established on February 18, 1823.
  • 1833 - The first county courthouse is constructed in Westville, the original county seat.
  • 1870 - The county seat is relocated to the newly established town of Magee.
  • 1930s - The Great Depression has a significant impact on Simpson County, with a decline in agricultural production and widespread unemployment.
  • 1940 - Simpson County experiences a devastating tornado outbreak, causing extensive damage to several communities.
  • 1950s - The construction of Highway 49 leads to increased development and economic growth in Simpson County.
  • 1986 - The Simpson County Courthouse in Magee is destroyed by a fire.
  • 1987 - A new courthouse is built in Magee, replacing the one destroyed by fire.
  • 1997 - The Mississippi Petrified Forest, located in Simpson County, is designated as a National Natural Landmark.
  • 2010 - Simpson County celebrates its 187th anniversary.