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Jones County, Mississippi

Jones County is a county located in the southeast portion of the U.S. state of Mississippi. As of the 2010 census, the population was 67,761.[1] Its county seats are Laurel and Ellisville.[2]

Jones County, Mississippi
Jones County Mississippi Courthouse.jpg
Jones County courthouse in Ellisville
Map of Mississippi highlighting Jones County
Location in the U.S. state of Mississippi
Map of the United States highlighting Mississippi
Mississippi's location in the U.S.
Founded 1826
Named for John Paul Jones
Seat Laurel and Ellisville
Largest city Laurel
Area
 • Total 700 sq mi (1,813 km2)
 • Land 695 sq mi (1,800 km2)
 • Water 4.9 sq mi (13 km2), 0.7%
Population (est.)
 • (2015) 68,215
 • Density 98/sq mi (38/km2)
Congressional district 4th
Time zone Central: UTC−6/−5
Website jonescounty.com

Jones County is part of the Laurel, MS Micropolitan Statistical Area.

Contents

HistoryEdit

Less than a decade after Mississippi became the country's 20th state, settlers organized this area of 700 sq mi (1,800 km2) of pine forests and swamps for a new county in 1826. They named it Jones County after John Paul Jones, the early American Naval hero who rose from humble Scottish origin to military success during the American Revolution.[3]

Ellisville, the county seat, was named for Powhatan Ellis, a member of the Mississippi Legislature who claimed to be a direct descendant of Pocahontas. During the economic hard times in the 1830s and 1840s, there was an exodus of population from Southeast Mississippi, both to western Mississippi and Louisiana in regions opened to white settlement after Indian Removal, and to Texas. The slogan "GTT" ("Gone to Texas") became widely used.[citation needed]

Jones County was in an area of mostly yeomen farmers and lumbermen, as the pine forests, swamp and soil were not easily cultivated for cotton. In 1860, the majority of white residents were not slaveholders. Slaves made up only 12% of the total population in Jones County in 1860, the smallest percentage of any county in the state.[4]

Civil War yearsEdit

Soon after the election of Abraham Lincoln as United States president in November 1860, slave-owning planters led Mississippi to join South Carolina and secede from the Union in January 1861. These were the two states with the largest holdings of slaves. Other Southern states would follow suit.

As Mississippi debated the secession question, the inhabitants of Jones County voted overwhelmingly for the anti-secessionist John Hathorne Powell, Jr. In comparison to the pro-secessionist J.M. Bayliss, who received 24 votes, Powell received 374.[5] But, at the Secession Convention, Powell voted for secession. Legend has it that, for his vote, he was burned in effigy in Ellisville, the county seat.[5]

The reality is more complicated. The only choices possible at the Secession Convention were voting for immediate secession on the one hand, or for a more cautious, co-operative approach to secession among several Southern states on the other. Powell almost certainly voted for the more conservative approach to secession—the only position available to him that was consistent with the anti-secessionist views of his constituency.[5]

Mississippi's Declaration of Secession reflected planters' interests in its first sentence: "Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery…" Jones County had mostly yeoman farmers and cattle herders, who were not slaveholders. They had little use for a war over a "state's right" to maintain the institution of slavery.[4]

During the American Civil War, Jones County and neighboring counties, especially Covington County to its west, became a haven for Confederate deserters.[4] A number of factors prompted desertions. The lack of food and supplies was demoralizing, while reports of poor conditions back home made the men fear for their families' survival. Small farms deteriorated from neglect as women and children struggled to keep them up. Their limited stores and livestock were often taken by the Confederate tax-in-kind agents, who took excessive amounts of yeoman farmers' goods. Many residents and soldiers were also outraged over the Confederate government's passing of the Twenty Negro Law, allowing wealthy plantation owners to avoid military service if they owned twenty slaves or more.[4] The Confederate government figured such planters were needed at home to keep the slaves in line and keep up cotton production, which still produced revenue for the government.

Free State of JonesEdit

On October 13, 1863, a band of deserters from Jones County and adjacent counties organized to protect the area from Confederate authorities and the crippling tax collections.[6] The company, led by Newton Knight, formed a separate government, with Unionist leanings, known as the "Free State of Jones",[7] fought a recorded 14 skirmishes with Confederate forces. They also raided Paulding, capturing five wagonloads of corn that had been collected for tax from area farms, which they distributed back among the local population.[8] The company harassed Confederate officials. Deaths believed to be at their hands were reported in 1864 among numerous tax collectors, conscript officers, and other officials.[4]

The governor was informed by the Jones County court clerk that deserters had made tax collections in the county impossible.[9] By the spring of 1864, the Knight company had taken effective control from the Confederate government in the county.[4] The followers of Knight raised an American flag over the courthouse in Ellisville, and sent a letter to Union General William T. Sherman declaring Jones County's independence from the Confederacy.[4] In July 1864, the Natchez Courier reported that Jones County had seceded from the Confederacy.[10]

Scholars have disputed whether the county truly seceded, with some concluding it did not. While there have been numerous attempts to study Knight and his followers, the lack of documentation during and after the war has made him an elusive figure. The rebellion in Jones County has been variously characterized as consisting of local skirmishes to being a full-fledged war of independence. It assumed legendary status among some county residents and Civil War historians, culminating in the release of a 2016 feature film, Free State of Jones.[11][12][13] The film is credited as "based on the books The Free State of Jones by Victoria E. Bynum and The State of Jones by Sally Jenkins and John Stauffer".[12]

EconomyEdit

The economy of Jones County is still primarily rural and based on resources – timber and agriculture.

GeographyEdit

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 700 square miles (1,800 km2), of which 695 square miles (1,800 km2) is land and 4.9 square miles (13 km2) (0.7%) is water.[14]

Adjacent countiesEdit

National protected areaEdit

DemographicsEdit

Census Pop.
18301,471
18401,258−14.5%
18502,16472.0%
18603,32353.6%
18703,313−0.3%
18803,82815.5%
18908,333117.7%
190017,846114.2%
191029,88567.5%
192032,91910.2%
193041,49226.0%
194049,22718.6%
195057,23516.3%
196059,5424.0%
197056,357−5.3%
198061,9129.9%
199062,0310.2%
200064,9584.7%
201067,7614.3%
Est. 201667,953[15]0.3%
U.S. Decennial Census[16]
1790-1960[17] 1900-1990[18]
1990-2000[19] 2010-2013[1]

As of the census[20] of 2000, there were 64,958 people, 24,275 households, and 17,550 families residing in the county. The population density was 94 people per square mile (36/km²). There were 26,921 housing units at an average density of 39 per square mile (15/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 71.11% White, 26.34% Black or African American, 0.39% Native American, 0.27% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 1.41% from other races, and 0.48% from two or more races. 1.96% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 24,275 households out of which 32.60% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.00% were married couples living together, 15.10% had a female householder with no husband present, and 27.70% were non-families. 24.40% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.00% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.61 and the average family size was 3.08.

In the county, the population was spread out with 25.80% under the age of 18, 10.50% from 18 to 24, 27.30% from 25 to 44, 22.20% from 45 to 64, and 14.20% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females, there were 93.70 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.10 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $28,786, and the median income for a family was $34,465. Males had a median income of $28,273 versus $19,405 for females. The per capita income for the county was $14,820. About 14.30% of families and 19.80% of the population were below the poverty line, including 25.00% of those under age 18 and 16.80% of those age 65 or over.

EconomyEdit

According to the Economic Development Authority of Jones County,[21] the top employers in the county are:

# Employer # of Employees
1 Howard Industries 3,700
2 South Central Regional Medical Center 1,837
3 Ellisville State School 1,459
4 Jones County School District 1,162
5 Sanderson Farms 889
6 Wayne Farms 715
7 Laurel School District 600
8 Walmart 585
9 Masonite 556
10 Jones County 510
11 Sawmill Square Mall 450
12 Jones County Junior College 427
13 MS Industries for Individuals with Disabilities 415
14 Southern Hens 390
15 City of Laurel 317
16 Tanner Construction 185
17 Hudson's Salvage Center 153
18 Dunn Roadbuilders 145
19 Morgan Brothers Millwork 137
20 West Quality Food Service 135
21 Thermo-Kool 135
22 Laurel Machine & Foundry 131
23 The Essmueller Company 115
24 Howse Implement 113
25 Care Center of Laurel 107

Government and infrastructureEdit

The Mississippi Department of Mental Health South Mississippi State Hospital Crisis Intervention Center is in Laurel and in Jones County.[22]

TransportationEdit

PoliticsEdit

Presidential elections results
Presidential elections results[25]
Year Republican Democratic Third parties
2016 71.0% 20,133 27.5% 7,791 1.5% 428
2012 68.6% 20,687 30.5% 9,211 0.9% 261
2008 68.9% 20,157 30.2% 8,846 0.9% 270
2004 71.7% 19,125 27.7% 7,398 0.5% 143
2000 67.1% 16,341 31.7% 7,713 1.2% 286
1996 59.6% 13,020 33.7% 7,360 6.7% 1,457
1992 56.6% 13,824 32.9% 8,035 10.5% 2,571
1988 69.1% 16,764 30.4% 7,383 0.5% 125
1984 70.5% 17,586 29.3% 7,298 0.3% 70
1980 53.1% 12,900 45.8% 11,117 1.1% 272
1976 51.5% 11,098 47.0% 10,139 1.5% 315
1972 83.8% 16,489 14.2% 2,790 2.0% 400
1968 18.0% 3,242 13.8% 2,476 68.2% 12,276
1964 86.0% 12,123 14.1% 1,981
1960 25.9% 2,729 46.3% 4,871 27.8% 2,928
1956 29.8% 2,463 62.2% 5,137 8.0% 663
1952 40.7% 4,039 59.3% 5,884
1948 3.0% 193 9.2% 599 87.9% 5,736
1944 6.6% 337 93.4% 4,782
1940 5.1% 242 94.9% 4,517
1936 3.9% 185 95.0% 4,461 1.0% 49
1932 4.2% 173 91.5% 3,816 4.4% 183
1928 44.1% 1,804 55.9% 2,284
1924 10.1% 318 75.2% 2,373 14.7% 464
1920 30.1% 419 52.7% 734 17.2% 240
1916 9.4% 196 80.0% 1,664 10.6% 220
1912 2.4% 34 73.9% 1,058 23.8% 340

CommunitiesEdit

Notable peopleEdit

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on July 12, 2011. Retrieved September 3, 2013.
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on 2011-05-31. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
  3. ^ Jones County Mississippi Official Site
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Kelly Jr., James R. "Newton Knight and the Legend of the Free State of Jones" Archived 2010-06-09 at the Wayback Machine.. Mississippi History Now. Mississippi Historical Society
  5. ^ a b c Leverett, Rudy H., Legend of the Free State of Jones, University Press of Mississippi, 1984, pp. 38-41.
  6. ^ "The State of Jones," co-authored with Sally Jenkins, New York: Doubleday, 2009, page 378
  7. ^ Evan Andrews (2015-01-13). "6 Southern Unionist Strongholds During the Civil War". History Channel. Retrieved 2017-04-05.
  8. ^ Leverett (1984), Legend of the Free State of Jones, p. 64.
  9. ^ Leverett (1984), Legend of the Free State of Jones, p. 112
  10. ^ Leverett (1984), Legend of the Free State of Jones, pp. 17-29
  11. ^ Richard Grant, The True Story of the ‘Free State of Jones’, Smithsonian Magazine, March 2016
  12. ^ a b State of Jones (2016)[permanent dead link], History vs Hollywood (retrieved 26 August 2016)
  13. ^ Mick LaSalle, "Movies to look for (maybe) in 2016". San Francisco Chronicle, December 30, 2015.
  14. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Archived from the original on September 28, 2013. Retrieved November 4, 2014.
  15. ^ "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved June 9, 2017.
  16. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on May 12, 2015. Retrieved November 4, 2014.
  17. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved November 4, 2014.
  18. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved November 4, 2014.
  19. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved November 4, 2014.
  20. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  21. ^ Major Employers
  22. ^ "Contact Us Archived 2012-03-14 at the Wayback Machine.." South Mississippi State Hospital. Retrieved on November 1, 2010. "SMSH Crisis Intervention Center 934 West Drive Laurel, MS 39440."
  23. ^ "Contact." Hattiesburg-Laurel Regional Airport. Retrieved on July 15, 2011. "Our Address Airport Director, 1002 Terminal Dr. Moselle, MS 39459"
  24. ^ "Hattiesburg city, Mississippi Archived 2006-09-24 at the Wayback Machine.." U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved on July 16, 2011.
  25. ^ Leip, David. "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". uselectionatlas.org. Retrieved 2018-03-03.

Further readingEdit

  • Ballard, Michael B. and Mark R. Cheathem, Of Times and Race: Essays Inspired by John F. Marszalek, Oxford, MS: University Press of Mississippi, 2013
  • Bynum, Victoria E. (2002). The Free State of Jones: Mississippi's Longest Civil War. The University of North Carolina Press.
  • Downing, David C. (2007). A South Divided: Portraits of Dissent in the Confederacy. Nashville: Cumberland House. ISBN 978-1-58182-587-9.
  • Galloway, G. Norton., Historian Sixth Army Corps. (November 1886). "A Confederacy within a Confederacy," Magazine of American History 16.
  • Jenkins, Sally, and John Stauffer (2009). The State of Jones: The Small Southern County that Seceded from the Confederacy, New York: Random House. ISBN 978-0-385-52593-0.
  • Leverett, Rudy H. (1984, 2nd printing 2009). Legend of the Free State of Jones. University Press of Mississippi. ISBN 0-87805-227-5, ISBN 978-0-87805-227-1.
  • McLemore, Richard Aubrey. (1973) History of Mississippi (2 volumes), University & College Press of Mississippi.

External linksEdit