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Copiah County, Mississippi
Map of Mississippi highlighting Copiah County
Location in the state of Mississippi
Map of the U.S. highlighting Mississippi
Mississippi's location in the U.S.
Founded 1823
Seat Hazlehurst
Largest city Crystal Springs
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

779.38 sq mi (2,019 km²)
776.60 sq mi (2,011 km²)
2.78 sq mi (7 km²), 0.36%
 - (2010)
 - Density

36/sq mi (14/km²)

Copiah County is a county located in the U.S. state of Mississippi. As of 2010, the population was 29,449. The county seat is Hazlehurst[1]. It is part of the Jackson, Mississippi Metropolitan Statistical Area.


Copiah, from a Choctaw Indian word meaning calling panther, was organized in 1823 as Mississippi's 18th county. In 2004 Calling Panther Lake, commemorating this name, was opened up just West and North of Crystal Springs near the Jack community. The county ranks seventh in land area. In the year of organization, Walter Leake served as governor and James Monroe as President of the United States.


The county is known as a tomato and cabbage producing area, and for many years was called the "Tomato Capital of the World." Specifically, Crystal Springs was known as "The Tomato Capital of the World" because for a few years in the late 1930s it canned and shipped out via railcar more tomatoes than any other locale, but this was disrupted by the onset of World War II. The title stuck, and twelve years ago an annual Tomato Festival was re-established, replete with a tomato growing contest, tomato tasting, farmers market, vendor's booths, 5K run and, of course, the crowning of the new Tomato Queen. There is a tomato museum at the Chautauqua Park Visitor's Center that exhibits historical pictures, agricultural relics from the era and examples of some of the shipping and canning labels.


Soon after the Indians relinquished their claims to this land in 1819 and the legislature formed Copiah County in 1823, Elisha Lott, a Methodist minister who had worked among the Indians, brought his family from Hancock County to a location near the present site of Crystal Springs. When the New Orleans, Jackson and Great Northern Railroad built in the area in 1858, a new town was created about a mile and a half west of the old settlement. The new settlement took the name Crystal Springs and the old settlement became Old Crystal Springs.

William J. Willing's home was the first to be built in the new town, and Jefferson Davis once made a speech from the front yard. Ozious Osborne owned the first merchandise store on a corner of his residence lot on south Jackson Street. This lot later became the Merchants Grocery Company's site.

The first church was the Methodist in 1860. It was followed by the Baptist in 1861, Presbyterian in 1870 and Trinity Episcopal in 1882.

As one of the largest tomato shipping centers, Crystal Springs commercial farming goes back to 1870 when the first shipment of peaches, grown by James Sturgis, was shipped to New Orleans and Chicago markets. Tomatoes were still known as "love apples" when N. Piazza imported seeds from Italy, and with help from S. H. Stackhouse, began scientific cultivation of tomato plants. With the help of German immigrant Augustus Lotterhos, the industry achieved success. In 1878, Lotterhos pooled the products of a number of tomato growers and shipped the first boxcar load to Denver, Colorado.


Historical populations
Census Pop.
1830 7,001
1840 8,954 27.9%
1850 11,794 31.7%
1860 15,398 30.6%
1870 20,608 33.8%
1880 27,552 33.7%
1890 30,233 9.7%
1900 34,395 13.8%
1910 35,914 4.4%
1920 28,672 −20.2%
1930 31,614 10.3%
1940 33,974 7.5%
1950 30,493 −10.2%
1960 27,051 −11.3%
1970 24,749 −8.5%
1980 26,503 7.1%
1990 27,592 4.1%
2000 28,757 4.2%
2010 29,449 2.4%
MS Counties 1900-1990
GeoHive - 2000 & 2010 statistics

As of the census[2] of 2000, there were 28,757 people, 10,142 households, and 7,494 families residing in the county. The population density was 37 people per square mile (14/km²). There were 11,101 housing units at an average density of 14 per square mile (6/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 47.80% White, 50.95% Black or African American, 0.07% Native American, 0.16% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.46% from other races, and 0.54% from two or more races. 1.15% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 10,142 households out of which 34.40% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.70% were married couples living together, 20.10% had a female householder with no husband present, and 26.10% were non-families. 23.60% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.30% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.71 and the average family size was 3.20.

In the county the population was spread out with 26.90% under the age of 18, 12.50% from 18 to 24, 26.80% from 25 to 44, 21.10% from 45 to 64, and 12.70% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females there were 92.90 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.10 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $26,358, and the median income for a family was $31,079. Males had a median income of $28,763 versus $20,104 for females. The per capita income for the county was $12,408. About 22.00% of families and 25.10% of the population were below the poverty line, including 33.20% of those under age 18 and 21.20% of those age 65 or over.


According to the 2000 census, the county has a total area of 779.38 square miles (2,018.6 km2), of which 776.60 square miles (2,011.4 km2) (or 99.64%) is land and 2.78 square miles (7.2 km2) (or 0.36%) is water.[3]

Major highways[]

  • I-55.svg Interstate 55
  • US 51.svg U.S. Highway 51
  • Circle sign 18.svg Mississippi Highway 18
  • Circle sign 27.svg Mississippi Highway 27
  • Circle sign 28.svg Mississippi Highway 28

Adjacent counties[]

National protected area[]

  • Homochitto National Forest (part)


  • Cities
    • Crystal Springs
    • Hazlehurst
  • Towns
    • Georgetown
    • Wesson
  • Villages
    • Beauregard
  • Unincorporated places
    • Carpenter
    • Dentville
    • Gallman
    • Hopewell
    • Martinsville
    • Egypt Hill
    • Jack- known as the Jack community

See also[]

  • National Register of Historic Places listings in Copiah County, Mississippi


External links[]

Coordinates: 31°52′N 90°26′W / 31.86, -90.44

This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Copiah County, Mississippi. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.