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Coahoma County, Mississippi

Coahoma County Education, Geography, and History

County Seat: Clarksdale
Year Organized: 1836
Square Miles: 554
Court House:

115 1st Street, PO Box 579
County Courthouse
Clarksdale, MS 38614-0579

Etymology - Origin of County Name

Coahoma County was given a name meaning "red panther", from the Choctaw words `ko-i' ("panther", "wildcat") and `humma' or `homa' ("red"), but it is not known with certainty why this name was given. There is a tradition that the county was named for Princess Coahoma Sheriff, "Sweet Coahoma", who was the daughter of a Choctaw chieftain named Sheriff. This seems improbable, if for no other reason than that Coahoma was a man's name among the Muscogee peoples. Another suggestion is that the county may have been named for a stream called Coahoma. It does seem likely that this name, like several other county names, was suggested by Alexander G. McNutt. Even though the county lies in the Choctaw district, it was formed at the time of the creation of counties in the Chickasaw district. Since other counties formed at the same time were named for Tishomingo and for Itawamba (Levi Colbert), it seems at least reasonable to suppose that Coahoma County may have been named for William McGilvery (sometimes given as McGillivray), whose Indian name is said to have been Coahoma and who, like Levi Colbert, was a mixed-blood Chickasaw district chief during the time between the Treaty of Chickasaw Council House in 1816 and removal during the 1830s.


County QuickFacts: Census Bureau Quick Facts

County History

Coahoma County, an original county of the Choctaw Cession of 1830, was the eleventh county established by the act of February 9, 1836. Formed under Second Constitution (1832-1869), March 1, 1836 {Divided, February 19, 1892 - June 3, 1930} , and is located in the northwestern part of the State in the fertile Yazoo Delta region. The name "Coahoma" is a Choctaw word signifying "red panther." The act creating the county defined its limits as follows:

"Beginning at the point where the line between townships 24 and 25 of the surveys of the late Choctaw cession intersects the Mississippi River, and running thence up the said river to the point where the dividing line between the Choctaw and Chickasaw tribes of Indians intersects the same; thence with the dividing line to the point where the line between ranges two and three of the survey of the said Choctaw cession intersects the same; thence with said range line, to the line between townships 24 and 25 aforesaid, and thence with the said township line to the beginning."

The county has a land surface of 530 square miles. It constitutes one of the numerous counties formed from the Choctaw cession of 1830. In 1877 the county relinquished a part of its territory to Quitman.

Port Royal was once the county seat of Coahoma County. It was a rival of Friar’s Point, five miles up the Mississippi River. In the early days the county seats of the Mississippi River counties were always located on the banks of that stream. When Port Royal was cut off from the river in 1848, its fate was sealed and the county seat of justice was located at Friar’s Point, which still remained a river town. It received its name in honor of Robert Friar, one of its earliest settlers. Clarksdale, one of the county seats, is now the largest and most important city in the county. Clarksdale was named for John Clark, a brother-in-law of Governor Alcorn, whose beautiful home, Eagle’s Nest, was in this county. The main line of the Yazoo & Mississippi Valley railway, together with four branches of the same road, afford the county excellent railroad facilities. From Coahoma in the northeastern part of the county, two branches cross in a southwesterly direction, one of which, branching at Clarksdale, crosses the southeastern part of the county.


According to the US Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 583 square miles (1,510 km2), of which, 554 square miles (1,435 km2) of it is land and 29 square miles (75 km2) of it (4.97%) is water.

Neighboring Counties:

  • Tunica County (north)
  • Quitman County (east)
  • Tallahatchie County (southeast)
  • Bolivar County (southwest)
  • Phillips County, Arkansas (west)


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