Issaquena Genealogy and History Project: General County History

General County History and Information

Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Mississippi
Volume I
The Goodspeed Publishing Company

Issaquena county was established January 23, 1844. Its most important towns are Mayersville, the seat of justice, and Skipwith, kown as Duncansby. Other villages and postoffices are Arcadia, Shipland, Balished, Ben Lomond, Carolina, Chotard, Grace, Hay's Landing, Luxembourg, Tallula and Valley Park.

The Mississippi River flows along the whole western boundary, affording cheap steamboat transportation; Deer Creek flows from north to south on the eastern border. Other streams and bodies of water are Steele's Bayou, Lake Lafayette, Moon Lake and Rive Mile Lake. The county lies entirely in the Mississippi bottom. The soil is rich, alluvial loam, with buckshot back to the river. There are about fifty-five thousand acres of cleared land, the balance being much of it heavily timbered with cuypress, oak, ash gum, hackberry, hickory, locust, walnut, sassafras, etc. The county produces corn, cotton, and oats in great luxuriance -- from one to two bales of cotton per acre and forty to eighty bushels of corn. All kinds of vegetables, fruits, etc., are raised for home consumption. The Louisville, New Orleans & Texas railroad crosses the northeastern part of the county.

The population in 1850 was four thousand four hundred and seventy-eight; in 1860, seven thousand eight hundred and thirty-one; in 1870, six thousand eight hundred and eighty-seven; in 1880, ten thousand and four; in 1890, twelve thousand three hundred and eighteen. In 1860 the number of voters was one hundred and seventy nine; the number of taxable slaves, six thousand eight hundred and thirty eight. The colored population in 1870 was six thousand one hundred and forty six; in 1880, nine thousand one hundred and seventy four; in 180, eleven thousand six hundred and twenty three. This county was first represented in the senate by Lelix Labauve; in the legislature, by James J.B. White. The present state senator is H.L. Foote; representative, C.J. Jones.

The county seat was at first located at Tallula. The county, until 1876, embraced Sharkey County, now separated from it by Steele's Bayou. It now has some fifty-five miles of river front, and is bounded north by Washington, east by Sharkey, south by Warren and west by Louisiana.

Col. Zenas Preston and his brother-in-law, a Mr. Atchison, were the first settlers of this county. They located at old Tallula Landing. The first county court was held there. The first place opened was Ben Lomond, opposite Lake Providence. A man named Duncan was in partnership with Mr. Preston when he opened the farm. Old man McCulloch, another brother-in-law of Colonel Preston's, was among the first settlers, coming here probably about 1834, and opening a farm in the southern part of the county. Preston, Duncan and McCulloch were the owners of ten miles, extending south from Clover Hill plantation, embracing at this time the plantations of Homochitto, Carlisle, Holly Ridge, Oakley, Reserve, Duncannon, Middlesex and Elleslie, which are among the largest plantations in the county, and are each a portion of this original purchase and the property of one man, A Mr. Duncan, nephew of the original settler of this section. Of the northern portion the first settler was Ambrose Gipson, who purchased quite a large body of land. His settlement was made in the early forties. On this settlement now are the plantations known as Wadelawn, Cloverhill, besides Mayersville and a farm belonging to D. Mayer, called Mout Level. The extreme northern portion was settled by the  Turnbulls and Gen. Wade Hampton's father, who owned Walnut Ridge plantation, while the Turnbulls owned Veilhood, Riverdale, Hopedale and Lakeside plantations. A Mr. Hill owned a place called Green Brier in this part of the county.

L.L. Wade was among the most prominent men in this county in his day. Coming here when the county was wholey a wilderness, he opened Wadelawn place.

History of Mississippi
The Heart of the South
Volume II
By Dunbar Rowland, LL.D.
The. S.J. Clarke Publishing Company

This is one of the central river counties of Mississippi, and was established January 23, 1844, during the first administration of Gov. Albert. G. Brown. Its name is derived from a combination of two Indian words: issa, meaning deer and okhina, the poetic name of river (water road). Its territory was formerly embraced within the limits of Washington County, but on March 29, 1876, together with Washington, it contributed to form Sharkey County.

     Issaquena constitutes one of the later subdivisions of the New Purchase, acquired from the Choctaws in 1820. It is a long narrow county situated in the Mississippi and Yazoo delta, and is bounded on the north by Washington and Sharkey counties, on the east by Sharkey and Warren, on the south by Warren and on the west by the Mississippi River. It has a population of 7,618, of which number nearly 7,000 are negroes, and contains no large towns.

     The county, embracing some of the most fertile region of the State, has a land area of 406 square miles. Mayersville, the seat of justice, is a river town of 150 people in the northern part of the county and was named for David Mayers, an extensive land owner. Duncansby and Chotard, on the river may also be mentioned as other towns. The Yazoo and Mississippi Valley railroad cuts across the northeastern and southeastern corners of the county, but the inhabitants still largely depend for transportation on the Mississippi River steamboats.

     The value of the farm property listed in Issqauena County is tiven at $8,695,000 and that of its crops for 1919 at $2,134,000. Its area of cotton culture is placed at 23,000 acres producing that year 7,000 bales. The chief wealth of the county in love stock, estimated at $824,000 is mules, which are valued at $405,000. Issaquena is, as originally constituted, among the old counties of the State, and though it has all the natural resources necessary for agricultural development, its population has increased only fro 4,478 in 1850 to 7,618 in 1920. However, with the passing of some of its negro labor to the north, white people from the thickly settled upland regions are looking for future homes in that locality.

Mississipi: comprising sketches of counties, towns, events, institutions, and persons, arranged in cyclopedic form
By Dunbar Rowland
Southern Historical Publishing 
Atlanta, Georgia

Issaquena County was established January 23, 1844, during the first administration of Governor Albert G. Brown. Its name is an Indian word meaning “deer river.” Its territory was formerly embraced within the limits of Washington county (q. v.), and its limits were defined as all that part of Washington county south of a line, “commencing on the Mississippi river between townships 13 and 14, and running east, between said townships, to the western boundary of Yazoo county.” March 29, 1876, together with Washington county, it contributed to form the county of Sharkey (q. v.). Issaquena constitutes one of the later subdivisions of the so-called New Purchase acquired from the Choctaws in 1820. It is a long, narrow county on the western border of the State, in the Mississippi and Yazoo delta, and is bounded on the north by Washington county, on the east by Sharkey and Warren counties, on the south by Warren county and on the west by the Mississippi river. It has a small population composed very largely of negroes and possesses no towns of any size. It has a land surface of 473 square miles. Its wealth lies in its fertile plantations and its extensive and heavily timbered areas. The county seat is mayersville, a river town in the northern part of the county, which has a population of 250 souls and was named for David Mayers, an extensive land owner in the county. Other small towns in the county are Duncansby and Chotard, on the river, and Valley Park, Grace and Booth on the Yazoo and Mississippi Valley R. R., which touches the county at its northeastern and southeastern extremities. The Mississippi river washes most of its western boundary, affording excellent and cheap transportation by steamboat. Other waters are Deer creek, on the eastern border; Steele’s Bayou, Lake Lafayette, Moon Lake, Five Mile Lake and Cypress lake. About two thirds of the county is heavily timbered with a heavy growth of cypress, oaks, ash, gum, hackberry, hickory, locust, walnut and sassafras. The soil is a rich alluvial loam and will produce luxuriant crops of cotton, corn, oats, etc., even with improvident and negligent cultivation. When the soil is properly handled, it will raise from one to two bales of cotton per acre and from forty to eighty bushels of corn. Too much attention has been paid to raising cotton in the past and not enough to the production of corn, oats and meat, for which the region is peculiarly adapted.

     The twelth United States census, 1900, yields the following statistics: Number of farms, 1,646; acreage in farms, 90,676; acres improved, 55,052; value of land exclusive of buildings, $1,456,110; value of buildings, $413,870; value of live stock, $334,035, and total value of products not fed, $887,071. The number of manufacturing establishments was 38, capital, $174,390; wages paid, $13,989; cost of materials used, $49,393; and total value of products, $119,363. The total assessed valuation of real and personal property in the county in 1905 was $1,489,928 and in 1906 it was $1,517,410.50 which shows a gain of $27,482.50. The population in 1900 was composed of 622 whites, 9,778 colored, a total of 10,400 and a falling off since 1890 of 1,918.

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