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Wilkinson County, Mississippi

Wilkinson County Education, Geography, and History

County Seat: Woodville
Year Organized: 1802
Square Miles: 677
Court House:

PO Box 1284
County Courthouse
Woodville, MS 39669-1284

Etymology - Origin of County Name

Wilkinson is named for military leader James Wilkinson.


County QuickFacts: Census Bureau Quick Facts

County History

Wilkinson County is historic ground. It was established January 30, 1802, during the administration of Gov. W.C.C. Claiborne, and was the fifth county to be erected in the new Territory. It was named for Geri. James Wilkinson, in command of the United States troops during the early territorial era of Mississippi. It was created by act of the General Assembly, which recited that “The county of Adams shall be divided as follows, to-wit: Beginning on the river Mississippi at the mouth of the Homochitto River, thence running up the Homochitto River to Richards ferry, thence by a line running due east to the western boundary of Washington County; and all that tract of country south of the above described boundary, to the line of demarcation, shall compose a county, which shall be called Wilkinson.”

From its territory lying east of a line drawn due north from the thirty mile post, east of the Mississippi River, were subsequently drawn the counties of Amite, Pike and the portion of Marion lying west of the Pearl River. June 29, 1822, the river Homochitto was declared to be the dividing line between the counties of Adams and Wilkinson, from its mouth to its intersection with the basis meridian line; and from thence the said river was made the line of demarcation between the counties of Wilkinson and Franklin, as far as the mouth of Foster’s Creek. In 1846, the north channel of the Homochitto, where it forms an island below the lower or western Natchez and Woodville road was declared to be the boundary between Wilkinson and Adams, and Tanzy Island was embraced within the limits of Wilkinson.

This historic region composed the southern part of the old Natchez District, and contained some of the earliest settlements of white people in the State. During the latter part of the eighteenth century, several large settlements had been made in Wilkinson County, along the Homochitto River, Buffalo Bayou and in the vicinity of the Mississippi River. The whole interior of the present State of Mississippi, with the exception of a small district on the Tombigbee River, was at this time in the sole and undisputed possession of the Choctaw and Chickasaw Indians. Many of these early settlers were Anglo-Americans, and some were of Spanish and French descent, due to the successive occupancy of the region by France, England and Spain. Others had emigrated to the district from the United States after the close of the Revolutionary war, under the inducements held out by the Spanish authorities. After the treaty of San Lorenzo in 1795 many more came from the western states, and from the Carolinas and Georgia. The census of 1810 shows that Wilkinson had attained a population of 5,068, and by 1837 it had a total population of nearly 13,000, including slaves. The year after General Wilkinson came to Natchez, in the summer of 1798, he erected a military post at the first highland point on the Mississippi, a few miles above the Spanish line of demarcation, and called it “Fort Adams.” The historic old place is now a small village.

Courts were first held at Fort Adams and Pinckneyville, and a little later the seat of justice was moved to the present county site of Woodville, which was incorporated in 1811. Woodville is situated in the south central part of the county at the terminus of the Bayou Sara and Woodville branch of the Y. & M. V. railroad. This old railroad is noteworthy as one of the first railroads to be built in the United States, and is the oldest line in Mississippi. It was incorporated by Woodville people in 1831, under the name of The West Feliciana Railroad Company. Judge Edward McGehee was one of the active promoters of the road.


According to the US Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 688 square miles (1,781 km2), of which, 677 square miles (1,753 km2) of it is land and 11 square miles (28 km2) of it (1.59%) is water.

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