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Rankin County, Mississippi

Rankin County Education, Geography, and History

County Seat: Brandon
Year Organized: 1828
Square Miles: 775
Court House:

305 Government Street
County Courthouse
Brandon, MS 39042-0000

Etymology - Origin of County Name

Rankin is named for U.S. Representative Christopher Rankin. Christopher Rankin (1788 – March 14, 1826) was a U.S. Representative from Mississippi. Born in Washington County, Pennsylvania, Rankin completed preparatory studies at Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, moved to Georgia. He taught a village school and studied law at the same time. He was admitted to the bar in 1809 and commenced practice in Liberty, Mississippi. He served as member of the territorial legislature in 1813. He moved to Natchez, Mississippi, in 1816 and practiced law. He served as member of the state constitutional convention in 1817. He was an unsuccessful candidate for United States Senator in 1817.


County QuickFacts: Census Bureau Quick Facts

County History

Rankin County was erected February 4, 1828, from all that portion of Hinds County lying east of the Pearl River, and was named in honor of Christopher Rankin, congressman from Mississippi. The county has a land surface of 791 square miles. The Pearl River forms its entire western and northern boundary and divides it from the counties of Madison and Hinds. It formed a part of the New Purchase of 1820, and the Choctaw Boundary line, defining that purchase, makes part of the present eastern boundary line. It has an area of about twenty townships.

As early as 1837 it had a population of 3,255 free whites and 1,956 slaves. One of the oldest settlements in the county was located at Richmond, on the east side of Pearl River, about five miles from Jackson. It had in the time of its greatest prosperity a population of about three hundred. The old town has disappeared and the site is now under cultivation.

The county seat is at Brandon, (named for Gov. Gerard C. Brandon). It is located twelve miles east of Jackson. Brandon was at one time the most important trading point in this section of the State. The old Brandon Male and Female Academy, reorganized in 1849, as Brandon College by the well known educator, Dr. Thornton, and the later Brandon Female College, were potent influences in raising the general standard of culture throughout this vicinity. Miss Frank Johnson was the principal of this famous school from the time of its founding until 1897 when her noble life and career was ended in death.


According to the US Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 806 square miles (2,088 km2), of which, 775 square miles (2,006 km2) of it is land and 32 square miles (82 km2) of it (3.92%) is water.

Neighboring Counties:

  • Madison County (north)
  • Scott County (east)
  • Smith County (southeast)
  • Simpson County (south)
  • Hinds County (west)


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