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Jones County, Mississippi
Jones County Mississippi Courthouse.jpg
Jones County courthouse in Ellisville
Map of Mississippi highlighting Jones County
Location in the state of Mississippi
Map of the U.S. highlighting Mississippi
Mississippi's location in the U.S.
Founded 1826
Named for John Paul Jones
Seat Laurel and Ellisville
Largest city Laurel
Area
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

700 sq mi (1,813 km²)
695 sq mi (1,800 km²)
4.9 sq mi (13 km²), 0.7
Population
 - (2020)
 - Density

67,246
Congressional district 4th
Time zone Central: UTC-6/-5
Website https://jonescounty.com/

Jones County is in the southeastern portion of the U.S. state of Mississippi. As of the 2020 census, the population was 67,246.[1] Its county seats are Laurel and Ellisville.[2]

Jones County is part of the Laurel micropolitan area.

History[]

Less than a decade after Mississippi became the country's 20th state, settlers organized this area of 700 sq mi (1,800 km2) of pine forests and swamps for a new county in 1826. They named it Jones County after John Paul Jones, the early American Naval hero who rose from humble Scottish origin to military success during the American Revolution.[3]

Ellisville, the county seat, was named for Powhatan Ellis, a member of the Mississippi Legislature who claimed to be a direct descendant of Pocahontas. During the economic hard times in the 1830s and 1840s, there was an exodus of population from Southeast Mississippi, both to western Mississippi and Louisiana in regions opened to white settlement after Indian Removal, and to Texas. The slogan "GTT" ("Gone to Texas") became widely used.

Jones County was in an area of mostly yeomen farmers and lumbermen, as the pine forests, swamp and soil were not easily cultivated for cotton. In 1860, the majority of white residents were not slaveholders. Slaves made up only 12% of the total population in Jones County in 1860, the smallest percentage of any county in the state.[4]

Civil War years[]

Soon after the election of Abraham Lincoln as United States president in November 1860, slave-owning planters led Mississippi to join South Carolina and secede from the Union. These were the two states with the largest holdings of slaves. On November 29, 1860, called for a "Convention of the people of Mississippi" to be held to "adopt such measures for vindicating the sovereignty of the State as shall appear to them to be demanded." The Convention convened on January 7th, 1861, wherefore the elected representatives from the various counties of Mississippi voted 83–15 to secede from the Union. Notably, included in the vote to secede was the representative from Jones County, Mr. John H. Powell. Other Southern states would follow suit.

As Mississippi debated the secession question, the inhabitants of Jones County voted overwhelmingly for the anti-secessionist John Hathorne Powell, Jr. In comparison to the pro-secessionist J.M. Bayliss, who received 24 votes, Powell received 374.[5] But, at the Secession Convention, Powell voted for secession. Legend has it that, for his vote, he was burned in effigy in Ellisville, the county seat.[5]

The reality is more complicated. The only choices possible at the Secession Convention were voting for immediate secession on the one hand, or for a more cautious, co-operative approach to secession among several Southern states on the other. Powell almost certainly voted for the more conservative approach to secession—the only position available to him that was consistent with the anti-secessionist views of his constituency.[5]

Mississippi's Declaration of Secession reflected planters' interests in its first sentence: "Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery…" Jones County had mostly yeoman farmers and cattle herders, who were not slaveholders and had little use for a war over slavery.

During the American Civil War, Jones County and neighboring counties, especially Covington County to its west, became a haven for Confederate deserters.[4] A number of factors prompted desertions. The lack of food and supplies was demoralizing, while reports of poor conditions back home made the men fear for their families' survival. Small farms deteriorated from neglect as women and children struggled to keep them up. Their limited stores and livestock were often taken by the Confederate tax-in-kind agents, who took excessive amounts of yeoman farmers' goods. Many residents and soldiers were also outraged over the Confederate government's passing of the Twenty Negro Law, allowing wealthy plantation owners to avoid military service if they owned twenty slaves or more.[4] In spite of the great displeasure the law caused, few men actually were affected by the law. For example, out of the roughly 38,000 Slaveowners living in the South in 1860, 200 in Virginia, 120 in North Carolina, 201 in Georgia, and 300 in South Carolina won exemptions.(See Project MUSE – Marching Masters).

Free State of Jones[]

On October 13, 1863, a band of deserters from Jones County and adjacent counties organized to protect the area from Confederate authorities and the crippling tax collections.[6] The company, led by Newton Knight, formed a separate government, with Unionist leanings, known as the "Free State of Jones",[7] and fought a recorded 14 skirmishes with Confederate forces. They also raided Paulding, capturing five wagonloads of corn that had been collected for tax from area farms, which they distributed back among the local population.[8] The company harassed Confederate officials. Deaths believed to be at their hands were reported in 1864 among numerous tax collectors, conscript officers, and other officials.[4]

The governor was informed by the Jones County court clerk that deserters had made tax collections in the county impossible.[9] By the spring of 1864, the Knight company had taken effective control from the Confederate government in the county.[4] The followers of Knight raised an American flag over the courthouse in Ellisville, and sent a letter to Union General William T. Sherman declaring Jones County's independence from the Confederacy.[4] In July 1864, the Natchez Courier reported that Jones County had seceded from the Confederacy.[10]

Scholars have disputed whether the county truly seceded, with some concluding it did not fully secede. While there have been numerous attempts to study Knight and his followers, the lack of documentation during and after the war has made him an elusive figure. The rebellion in Jones County has been variously characterized as consisting of local skirmishes to being a full-fledged war of independence. It assumed legendary status among some county residents and Civil War historians, culminating in the release of a 2016 feature film, Free State of Jones.[11][12][13] The film is credited as "based on the books The Free State of Jones by Victoria Bynum and The State of Jones by Sally Jenkins and John Stauffer".[12]

Geography[]

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 700 square miles (1,800 km2), of which 695 square miles (1,800 km2) is land and 4.9 square miles (13 km2) (0.7%) is water.[14]

Adjacent counties[]

National protected area[]

  • De Soto National Forest (part)

Demographics[]

Historical populations
Census Pop.
1830 1,471
1840 1,258 −14.5%
1850 2,164 72.0%
1860 3,323 53.6%
1870 3,313 −0.3%
1880 3,828 15.5%
1890 8,333 117.7%
1900 17,846 114.2%
1910 29,885 67.5%
1920 32,919 10.2%
1930 41,492 26.0%
1940 49,227 18.6%
1950 57,235 16.3%
1960 59,542 4.0%
1970 56,357 −5.3%
1980 61,912 9.9%
1990 62,031 0.2%
2000 64,958 4.7%
2010 67,761 4.3%
U.S. Decennial Census[15]
1790-1960[16] 1900–1990[17]
1990-2000[18] 2010–2020[1]

2020 census[]

Jones County racial composition[19]
Race Num. Perc.
White (non-Hispanic) 41,676 61.98%
Black or African American (non-Hispanic) 19,135 28.46%
Native American 364 0.54%
Asian 272 0.4%
Pacific Islander 24 0.04%
Other/Mixed 1,636 2.43%
Hispanic or Latino 4,139 6.16%

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 67,246 people, 24,178 households, and 16,729 families residing in the county.

2000 census[]

At the 2000 census there were 64,958 people, 24,275 households, and 17,550 families in the county. The population density was 94 people per square mile (36/km2). There were 26,921 housing units at an average density of 39 per square mile (15/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 71.11% White, 26.34% Black or African American, 0.39% Native American, 0.27% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 1.41% from other races, and 0.48% from two or more races. 1.96% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.[20] Of the 24,275 households 32.60% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.00% were married couples living together, 15.10% had a female householder with no husband present, and 27.70% were non-families. 24.40% of households were one person and 11.00% were one person aged 65 or older. The average household size was 2.61 and the average family size was 3.08.

The age distribution was 25.80% under the age of 18, 10.50% from 18 to 24, 27.30% from 25 to 44, 22.20% from 45 to 64, and 14.20% 65 or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females, there were 93.70 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.10 males.

The median household income was $28,786 and the median family income was $34,465. Males had a median income of $28,273 versus $19,405 for females. The per capita income for the county was $14,820. About 14.30% of families and 19.80% of the population were below the poverty line, including 25.00% of those under age 18 and 16.80% of those age 65 or over.


Economy[]

The economy of Jones County is still primarily rural and based on resources – timber and agriculture.

According to the Economic Development Authority of Jones County, the top employers in the county are:[21]

# Employer Employees
1 Howard Industries 3,700
2 South Central Regional Medical Center 1,837
3 Ellisville State School 1,459
4 Jones County School District 1,162
5 Sanderson Farms 889
6 Wayne Farms 715
7 Laurel School District 600
8 Walmart 585
9 Masonite 556
10 Jones County 510
11 Sawmill Square Mall 450
12 Jones County Junior College 427
13 MS Industries for Individuals with Disabilities 415
14 Southern Hens 390
15 City of Laurel 317
16 Tanner Construction 185
17 Hudson's Salvage Center 153
18 Dunn Roadbuilders 145
19 Morgan Brothers Millwork 137
20 West Quality Food Service 135

Government and infrastructure[]

The Mississippi Department of Mental Health South Mississippi State Hospital Crisis Intervention Center is in Laurel and in Jones County.[22]

Transportation[]

Major highways[]

  • I-59.svg Interstate 59
  • US 11.svg U.S. Highway 11
  • US 84.svg U.S. Highway 84
  • Circle sign 15.svg Mississippi Highway 15
  • Circle sign 28.svg Mississippi Highway 28
  • Circle sign 29.svg Mississippi Highway 29

Airport[]

Hattiesburg-Laurel Regional Airport is located in an unincorporated area in the county, near Moselle.[23]

Politics[]

United States presidential election results for Jones County, Mississippi[24]
Year Republican Democratic Third party
No.  % No.  % No.  %
2020 21,226 70.54% 8,517 28.30% 348 1.16%
2016 20,133 71.01% 7,791 27.48% 428 1.51%
2012 20,687 68.59% 9,211 30.54% 261 0.87%
2008 20,157 68.86% 8,846 30.22% 270 0.92%
2004 19,125 71.72% 7,398 27.74% 143 0.54%
2000 16,341 67.14% 7,713 31.69% 286 1.18%
1996 13,020 59.62% 7,360 33.70% 1,457 6.67%
1992 13,824 56.59% 8,035 32.89% 2,571 10.52%
1988 16,764 69.07% 7,383 30.42% 125 0.51%
1984 17,586 70.47% 7,298 29.25% 70 0.28%
1980 12,900 53.11% 11,117 45.77% 272 1.12%
1976 11,098 51.49% 10,139 47.04% 315 1.46%
1972 16,489 83.79% 2,790 14.18% 400 2.03%
1968 3,242 18.02% 2,476 13.76% 12,276 68.22%
1964 12,123 85.95% 1,981 14.05% 0 0.00%
1960 2,729 25.92% 4,871 46.27% 2,928 27.81%
1956 2,463 29.81% 5,137 62.17% 663 8.02%
1952 4,039 40.70% 5,884 59.30% 0 0.00%
1948 193 2.96% 599 9.18% 5,736 87.87%
1944 337 6.58% 4,782 93.42% 0 0.00%
1940 242 5.09% 4,517 94.91% 0 0.00%
1936 185 3.94% 4,461 95.02% 49 1.04%
1932 173 4.15% 3,816 91.47% 183 4.39%
1928 1,804 44.13% 2,284 55.87% 0 0.00%
1924 318 10.08% 2,373 75.21% 464 14.71%
1920 419 30.08% 734 52.69% 240 17.23%
1916 196 9.42% 1,664 80.00% 220 10.58%
1912 34 2.37% 1,058 73.88% 340 23.74%



Communities[]

Cities[]

Towns[]

  • Sandersville
  • Soso

Census-designated place[]

  • Eastabuchie
  • Moselle
  • Ovett
  • Sharon

Unincorporated communities[]

  • Errata
  • Sand Hill
  • Shady Grove
  • Whitfield

Notable people[]

  • Lance Bass, singer with NSYNC
  • Ralph Boston, Olympic track and field medalist
  • Jason Campbell, retired National Football League quarterback
  • Mary Elizabeth Ellis-Day, actress
  • Carroll Gartin, lieutenant governor of Mississippi
  • Newton Knight, farmer and opponent of secession and slavery, a Confederate deserter who led a guerrilla rebellion against local Confederate officials as the leader of the Knight Company and Jones County Scouts; he was a US Marshal and a leading Republican figure in the Reconstruction of Mississippi
  • Jill Collen Jefferson, human rights lawyer
  • Tom Lester, actor played Eb on Green Acres
  • Amos McLemore, schoolteacher, Methodist pastor, businessman, and one-time opponent of Southern secession from the Union; commissioned as a Confederate officer at the rank of major; he was reputedly assassinated by Newton Knight
  • Charles W. Pickering, retired Federal Circuit Judge who served on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
  • Parker Posey, actress
  • Leontyne Price, operatic soprano
  • James Street, author
  • Ray Walston, actor My Favorite Martian

See also[]

  • Bainbridge County
  • National Register of Historic Places listings in Jones County, Mississippi

References[]

  1. ^ a b "United States Census Bureau". United States Census Bureau. https://www.census.gov/search-results.html?searchType=web&cssp=SERP&q=Jones%20County,%20Mississippi. 
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. http://www.naco.org/Counties/Pages/FindACounty.aspx. 
  3. ^ "Jones County MS". https://jonescountyms.com/. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f Kelly, James R., Jr. (April 2009). "Newton Knight and the Legend of the Free State of Jones". Mississippi History Now. Mississippi Historical Society. http://mshistorynow.mdah.ms.gov/articles/309/newton-knight-and-the-legend-of-the-free-state-of-jones. 
  5. ^ a b c Leverett, Rudy H., Legend of the Free State of Jones, University Press of Mississippi, 1984, pp. 38–41.
  6. ^ ""The State of Jones," co-authored with Sally Jenkins, New York: Doubleday, 2009, page 378". http://www.randomhouse.com/catalog/display.pperl/9780385525930.html. 
  7. ^ Evan Andrews (2015-01-13). "6 Southern Unionist Strongholds During the Civil War". http://www.history.com/news/history-lists/6-unionist-strongholds-in-the-south-during-the-civil-war. 
  8. ^ Leverett (1984), Legend of the Free State of Jones, p. 64.
  9. ^ Leverett (1984), Legend of the Free State of Jones, p. 112
  10. ^ Leverett (1984), Legend of the Free State of Jones, pp. 17–29
  11. ^ Richard Grant, The True Story of the ‘Free State of Jones’, Smithsonian Magazine, March 2016
  12. ^ a b State of Jones (2016), History vs Hollywood (retrieved 26 August 2016)
  13. ^ Mick LaSalle, "Movies to look for (maybe) in 2016". San Francisco Chronicle, December 30, 2015.
  14. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. https://www.census.gov/geo/maps-data/data/docs/gazetteer/counties_list_28.txt. 
  15. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. https://www.census.gov/programs-surveys/decennial-census.html. 
  16. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. http://mapserver.lib.virginia.edu. 
  17. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. https://www.census.gov/population/cencounts/ms190090.txt. 
  18. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000". United States Census Bureau. https://www.census.gov/population/www/cen2000/briefs/phc-t4/tables/tab02.pdf. 
  19. ^ "Explore Census Data". https://data.census.gov/cedsci/table?g=0500000US28067&tid=DECENNIALPL2020.P2. 
  20. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. https://www.census.gov. 
  21. ^ "Major Employers". http://www.jonescounty.com/index.php/site_selection/major_employers/. 
  22. ^ "Contact Us Script error: No such module "webarchive".." South Mississippi State Hospital. Retrieved on November 1, 2010. "SMSH Crisis Intervention Center 934 West Drive Laurel, MS 39440."
  23. ^ "Contact." Hattiesburg-Laurel Regional Airport. Retrieved on July 15, 2011. "Our Address Airport Director, 1002 Terminal Dr. Moselle, MS 39459"
  24. ^ Leip, David. "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". http://uselectionatlas.org/RESULTS. 

Further reading[]

  • Ballard, Michael B. and Mark R. Cheathem, Of Times and Race: Essays Inspired by John F. Marszalek, Oxford, MS: University Press of Mississippi, 2013
  • Bynum, Victoria E. (2002). The Free State of Jones: Mississippi's Longest Civil War. The University of North Carolina Press.
  • Downing, David C. (2007). A South Divided: Portraits of Dissent in the Confederacy. Nashville: Cumberland House. ISBN 978-1-58182-587-9.
  • Galloway, G. Norton., Historian Sixth Army Corps. (November 1886). "A Confederacy within a Confederacy," Magazine of American History 16.
  • Jenkins, Sally, and John Stauffer (2009). The State of Jones: The Small Southern County that Seceded from the Confederacy, New York: Random House. ISBN 978-0-385-52593-0.
  • Leverett, Rudy H. (1984, 2nd printing 2009). Legend of the Free State of Jones. University Press of Mississippi. ISBN 0-87805-227-5, ISBN 978-0-87805-227-1.
  • McLemore, Richard Aubrey. (1973) History of Mississippi (2 volumes), University & College Press of Mississippi.

External links[]

Coordinates: 31°37′N 89°10′W / 31.62, -89.17


This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Jones 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.
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