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Scott County, Mississippi

Scott County History, Geography, and Demographics

County Seat: Forest
Year Organized: 1833
Square Miles: 609
Court House:

P.O. Box 630
County Courthouse
Forest, MS 39074-0630

Etymology - Origin of County Name

Scott is named for Governor of Mississippi Abram M. Scott. Abram Marshall Scott (1785–July 12 1833, age 47–48) was a Democratic Mississippi politician born in South Carolina. He served in the state senate in 1822 and 1826–1827. In 1832, he was sworn in as Governor and served until his death by cholera on July 12, 1833.

Demographics:

County QuickFacts: Census Bureau Quick Facts

County History

Scott County was organized on the 23d of December, 1833, and was named in honor of Abram M. Scott, seventh governor of Mississippi.

The act which established the county defined its boundaries as follows:

“Beginning at the northwest corner of Jasper County, and running from thence north, with the line between ranges 9 and 10 east, to the line between the townships 8 and 9, from thence west with said line to the line between ranges 5 and 6 east; from thence south with said line to the western boundary of the Choctaw nation; from thence directly south, to a point directly west of the line, between townships 4 and 5; and from thence east with said line to the place of beginning.”

February 8, 1838, the county was enlarged by the addition of “all that portion of territory lying east of Pearl River and the old Choctaw boundary line, designating the dividing line between the Indian and white settlements prior to the treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek, in 1830, from the point where the said boundary line crosses Pearl River, to the point where the same intersects the present western boundary line of the county of Scott.” It is now a nearly square area of land containing 597 square miles of territory, and was one of the sixteen counties formed at the above time from the territory ceded by the Choctaws in the treaty of Dancing Rabbit, September 27, 1830.

The original county seat was located at Berryville, about four miles southwest of Forest, but after the streets were laid out, it was abandoned within twelve months and the courthouse was removed to Hilisboro in the fall of 1836, where it remained for thirty years. During the Civil War it was burned to the ground on Sherman's famous "March to the Sea." On November 8, 1865, a motion was made in the legislature to relocate the county seat. The election was held, and Forest was selected by a large majority. This caused one of the largest controversies in county history.

People from Hillsboro stormed the new courthouse and set fire to the roof in hopes of totally destroying the new establishment. Their plot was foiled and only a small part of the courthouse was burned. People from Forest spent the rest of the night entrenched around the courthouse with guns, determined that no harm would come to their much desired courthouse.

The result of the first elections were then suspended, and in the next election, Forest lost decisively. The intracounty turmoil was so great that it approached a small-scale war. Forest was dissatisfied and demanded another election. In the first week of May, 1873, the third and last election was held, and Forest won by a large margin. It was finally moved to Forest, on the Alabama & Vicksburg railroad.

The city of Forest has had four courthouses. The first was a frame building and the second and third were built of brick. During the time the third courthouse was in use, people often gathered on Saturdays to listen to preachers or other speakers. Because of a faulty foundation, this third courthouse was replaced by the building which is in use today. All of the early courthouses had a watering trough for animals on the east side. An extensive renovation of the latest courthouse was begun in 1996.

Geography

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 610 square miles (1,581 kmē), of which, 609 square miles (1,578 kmē) of it is land and 1 square miles (3 kmē) of it (0.21%) is water.

Neighboring Counties:

  • Leake County (north)
  • Newton County (east)
  • Smith County (south)
  • Rankin County (west)
  • Madison County (northwest)
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