County Seat: Ashland
Year Organized: 1870
Square Miles: 407
P.O. Box 218
Benton is named for U.S. Senator from Missouri Thomas Hart Benton. Thomas Hart Benton nicknamed "Old Bullion" (March 14, 1782 – April 10, 1858), was a U.S. Senator from Missouri and a staunch advocate of westward expansion of the United States. He served in the Senate from 1821 to 1851, becoming the first member of that body to serve five terms. Benton was an architect and champion of westward expansion by the United States, a cause that became known as Manifest Destiny.
County QuickFacts: Census Bureau Quick Facts
Benton County is another Mississippi county organized during the reconstruction times, being organized from parts of Marshall and Tippah counties, July 15, 1870, during the administration of Governor Alcorn. Its name honors the memory of General Samuel Benton, who was killed in the War for Southern Independence at the battle of Ezra Church, near Atlanta, July 28, 1864. Its early annals are identical with those of the region from which its territory was carved.
Ashland, the county seat, is situated at the center of the county and is a small incorporated village of 200 inhabitants, named for the home of Henry Clay. Besides Ashland, there are a number of other small towns in the county, the more important of which are Lamar and Michigan City on the Illinois Central railroad and Hickory Flat and Winborn on the Kansas City, Memphis & Birmingham division of the San Francisco & St. Louis system. The Illinois Central line cuts across the northwestern corner of Benton County, and the latter railroad through its southwestern corner. Ashland, the county seat, has no railroad connection.
According to the US Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 409 square miles (1,058 km2), of which, 407
square miles (1,054 km2) of it is land and 2 square miles (5 km2) of it (0.46%) is water.
The headwaters of the Wolf River meander and braid their way north and west across northern Benton County from Baker's Pond, the river's source spring (highest origin of continuous flow) in the Holly Springs National Forest approximately 1 mile southwest of where U.S. Highway 72 passes into Tippah County, Mississippi. The Wolf passes into Fayette County, Tennessee between Michigan City (on the Mississippi side) and La Grange, Tennessee.
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