Welcome to Mississippi area of USAescape.com. We've covered the areas
below in a little more detail to help you find your next vacation
destination. Please look through our selections below to find your next
vacation or search for your hotel using the search box.
Biloxi (pronounced bi lux
i ) is a delightful resort city on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Casinos and
resorts offer golf, charter fishing, spas, 24-hour gaming, dining and live
entertainment. Frequent festivals in Biloxi and Gulfport celebrate everything
from seafood to sand castles.
"Mississippi has always been a bewitched and
tragic ground, yet it's also a land of heroism and nobility; a land which has
honored those of us of all our races who possess the courage and the imagination
of the resources given us on this haunted terrain. I love Mississippi, and I
hope the best of it will endure."
Did you know...
1. The event which led to the creation of the Teddy Bear occurred near
Onward, in 1902, when President Theodore Roosevelt, acting upon the suggestion
of some friends, visited the state on a hunt for wild game. A bear was located
by a member of the hunting party for the President. The bear was exhausted and
possibly lame, some claim it was a mere cub. In any case, Roosevelt refused to
shoot the helpless bear because he found it unsporting. News of the President's
refusal to shoot the bear spread far and wide. Soon after, Morris Michtom, a New
York merchant, made toy history when he created a stuffed toy bear and labeled
it "Teddy's Bear. " Mr. Michtom placed the bear in the window of his
candy store to draw attention. His success was so great that it led to the
formation of the Ideal Toy Corporation in 1903. The Teddy Bear continues to be a
favorite toy of children everywhere.
2. The Blues is a music form that began in the
cotton fields of the Mississippi Delta, and is considered the only music
original to the United States. The University of Mississippi Blues Archive in
Oxford, contains the world's largest collection of Blues music.
3. The world's first round trip transoceanic
flight was performed in 1928 by H. T. Merrill, from Iuka. The flight to England
was made in a plane loaded with ping pong balls.
4. Vardaman is the Sweet Potato Capital of the
world. The Sweet Potato Festival is held each November to celebrate this most
5. William Faulkner, one of the literary giants
of the twentieth century, was born in New Albany. His accomplishments include
winning the Nobel Prize for Literature, two Pulitzer Prizes and the National
Book Award. He is considered to be the greatest writer of fiction during the
first half of the 20th century. His novels include The Reivers, The Sound and
The Fury, Light In August, and Absalom, Absalom. His home, Rowan Oak, in Oxford,
is open to the public. At Rowan Oak, visitors may view Faulkner's room where an
outline for A Fable has been scribbled on the wall by the author's own hand.
6. Tupelo is the birthplace of the "King of
Rock and Roll," Elvis Presley. Visitors may tour the Elvis Presley Museum,
chapel and the two-room house where "The King" was born.
7. The world's oldest Holiday Inn is located in
8. Lawrence "Rabbit" Kennedy, of Amory,
was the most decorated soldier in the U.S. Army.
9. Oxford was home to John Grisham, author of The
Firm, Pelican Brief, The Chamber, The Client, A Time To Kill, The Rainmaker, the
Runaway Jury... The list continues to grow. Many of his novels have been made
into feature films.
10. General Frank Gregory, of Shelby, was one of
the principal developers of the helicopter.
11. Guy Bush, of Tupelo, was one of the most
valuable players with the Chicago Cubs. He was on the 1929 World Series team and
Babe Ruth hit his last home run off a ball pitched by Bush.
12. During the 1930's one of Mississippi's most
famous pilots, a barnstormer by the name of Roscoe Turner, of Corinth, was
proclaimed one of the best speed pilots in the U.S. He was, perhaps, best known
for flying with his animal mascot, an African lion cub named Gilmore. A world
renowned aviator, Turner is featured in the National Air and Space Museum at the
Smithsonian Institute and is the only three time winner of the Thompson Trophy
Race. In Corinth, during August, visitors can enjoy the Annual Roscoe Turner Hot
Air Balloon Races, which offer a weekend of fun, festivities, food and
13. Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest,
of Civil War fame, was reared in Benton County and has been declared by military
historians and critics alike to be the foremost Cavalry officer ever produced in
14. S. B. "Sam" Vick of Oakland, played
for the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox. He was the only man ever to
pinch hit for baseball great Babe Ruth.
15. Blazon-Flexible Flyer, Inc., in West Point,
is proclaimed to make the very best snow sled in the U.S. Their famous sled has
become a true American tradition. It's called the FLEXIBLE FLYER.
16. The world's first human lung transplant was
performed at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, in 1963.
The world's first heart transplant was performed at the Center the following
17. Mississippi College, in Clinton, was the
first co-educational college in the United States to grant a degree to a woman.
18. Jimmie Rodgers, from Meridian, has long been
recognized as "The Father of Country Music," and was the first name
placed in the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville, Tennessee. The Jimmie
Rodgers Museum, in Meridian, is dedicated to this amazing performer who was
known worldwide as "The Singing Brakeman," The museum features his
original guitar, and other memorabilia of his life and career.
19. Mississippi produces more than 70% of the
world's supply of farm-raised catfish. Each year, in April, the World Catfish
Festival is held in Belzoni, which is known as the Catfish Capital of the World.
Visitors will enjoy a browse through the Catfish Institute, which offers a look
at this profitable industry from "pond to plate."
20. "Margaret, marry me and I'll build you a
palace," proposed the Reverend H.D. Dennis. Margaret said she would and he
did, of sorts. Thus began one man's odyssey into the world of masonry, whereby,
he turned a simple community store into an ever-evolving monument to God,
country and wife. Preacher, as the patrons of MARGARET'S GROCERY, in Vicksburg,
call him, is a World War II veteran who learned masonry from the Germans. They
advised him to always be unique in his work. Bright colors of red, white and
blue with a dab of yellow here and there adorn the castle-like pillars and
archways at the entrance and the walls surrounding this unusual structure. Of
the fifty foot tower overlooking a gravel parking lot, Preacher says, "God
keeps telling me to keep going higher." And he does.
21. In 1982, through a Joint Resolution of the
United States Congress, Jackson became the official home of the USA
International Ballet Competition, which is now held every fourth year in
Jackson, during the second weekend in June. This dance competition is touted as
the Olympics of Dance, where competitors vie for gold, silver and bronze medals,
cash awards and scholarships. Jackson is the only city in the United States to
host this international event. In Europe, host cities include Moscow, Russia;
Helsinki, Finland; Paris, France and Varna, Bulgaria.
22. In the Mississippi Delta can be found
Greenwood, home of Cotton Row, which is on the National Register of Historic
Places. It is the second largest cotton exchange in the United States, and is
known as the Cotton Capital of the World.
23. Columbus was incorporated in 1821 and was
first called Possum Town, due to the opossumish features of Spirus Roach, a
trader living there. Today the beautiful old town is called Columbus, for the
famous Spanish explorer.
24. Greenville is the Towboat Capital of the
World, and birthplace of Jim Henson, creator of the world famous Muppets.
25. In Rose Hill Cemetery, in Meridian, are the
graves of Emil and Kelly Mitchell, the King and Queen of all the Gypsies in the
United States. People travel from near and far to leave small gifts of fruit and
juice at the grave sites in a cemetery that has been, since 1915, the burial
site for the Gypsy Royal Family.
26. The 4-H Club was founded in Holmes County in
27. Mississippi native Ethel Wright Mohamed is
world renowned for her unique style of art stitchery and was known as the
Grandma Moses of Stitchery. Her works are now on permanent display at the
Smithsonian Institute. Many fine examples of her art may be seen at the Ethel
Wright Mohamed Museum, MAMA'S DREAM WORLD, located at 307 Central Street,
28. The Governor Mansion, circa 1842, in Jackson,
is the second oldest executive residence in the United States that has been
continuously occupied as a gubernatorial residence. The Mansion is a National
29. The Petrified Forest, in Flora, is found to
be about 36 million years old and is a National Registered Landmark.
30. The Waterways Experiment Station, in
Vicksburg, is the largest research, testing and development facility of the U.S.
Army Corps of Engineers.
31. Greenville is the birthplace of puppetmaster
Jim Henson, creator of Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Big Bird, Cookie Monster...
the list goes on and on. In Leland, where he spent his boyhood along Deer Creek,
can be found the BIRTHPLACE OF THE FROG MUSEUM, an exhibit dedicated to this
unique individual who has made the world laugh and smile at the antics of his
Muppets and the Sesame Street Characters.
32. In Greenwood Cemetery, at Jackson, are the
grave sites of seven Mississippi governors, four State Supreme Court Justices,
four Episcopal bishops, one Methodist bishop and James Lynch, an
African-American who served as Mississippi's Secretary of State during the
post-Civil War years. Also, you will find numerous graves of Civil War soldiers,
including several famous Generals.
33. Friendship Cemetery, in Columbus, is known as
"the place -where flowers healed a nation." It was here on April 25,
1866, barely a year after the Civil War ended, that the kind ladies of Columbus
decided to decorate both Confederate and Union graves with beautiful bouquets
and garlands of flowers. As a direct result of this kind gesture, Americans now
celebrate what has come to be known as Memorial Day, the annual recognition of
our war dead.
34. The Biedenharn Candy Company Museum, in
Vicksburg, commemorates the site where the world famous soft drink beverage,
Coca-Cola, was first bottled in 1894.
35. The Dentzel Carousel, circa 1892-99, in
Meridian, is one of three two-row antique stationary Dentzel menagerie carousels
in existence. Original paintings of museum quality adorn the top crown and all
animals are meticulously hand-carved of basswood and poplar. For twenty-five
cents you can take a ride on this remarkable National Historic Landmark.
36. Shoes were first sold in boxes in pairs
(right foot and left foot) in 1884, in Vicksburg, at Phil Gilberts Shoe Parlor
on Washington Street.
37. Kosciusko is the birthplace of Oprah Winfrey,
nationally syndicated talk show host and actor.
38. Greenville is home to Shelby Foote, novelist,
historian and Pulitzer Prize winner.
39. Margaret Walker Alexander, of Jackson, was a
poet, novelist, essayist, and author of the international best seller titled,
40. Beth Henley is a playwright and Pulitzer Prize
winner from Jackson.
41. Eudora Welty is a world renowned novelist,
short story writer, and winner of a Pulitzer Prize as well as the American Book
Award. Ms. Welty is from Jackson, where as a child, she roller skated through
the marbled halls of the State Capitol Building on her way to the library. Often
as not the librarian would send her back home to put on her petticoat, no doubt
forgotten in her haste.
42. Columbus born Thomas Lanier, best known as
Tennessee Williams, was a novelist, short story writer, poet, playwright, and
winner of two Pulitzer Prizes and four New York Drama Circle Critics Awards. He
was known to spend his summers in Clarksdale, and his home, in Columbus, is now
a Welcome Center and open to the public year-round.
43. James Dotson Byrd, of Clinton, is an inventor
and polymer scientist with more than 40 technical publications to his credit.
Mr. Byrd holds seven U.S. patents and developed the plastic used as a heat
shield in the NASA Space Program.
44. Harry A. Cole, Sr., of Jackson, invented
45. Arthur Guyton, of Jackson, is a physician and
author of the most widely used text of physiology in the world.
46. Mississippi University for Women was the
first state college for women in the nation. The college was established in
Columbus by an act of the Mississippi Legislature on March 12, 1884.
47. The largest Bible binding plant in the nation
is the Norris Bookbinding Company, in Greenwood.
48. The first female rural mail carrier in the
U.S. was Mrs. Mamie Thomas. In 1914 she delivered mail by buggy to the area
southeast of Vicksburg.
49. The largest cottonwood plantation in the
world is the Fitler Plantation in Issaquena County. The plantation is comprised
of over 20,000 acres.
50. Every commercial airliner in the free world
has at least one hydraulic component on it that was designed and manufactured at
Vickers, Incorporated. This leader in hydraulics is located in Jackson.
"It is by knowing where you stand that you
grow able to judge where you are... one place comprehended can make us
understand other places better."
Did you know...
51. The Federal Building in Jackson was the first federal building in the
U.S. to be named for an African-American. Dr. A. H. McCoy was a prominent
dentist and business leader.
52. Mississippi University for Women graduate,
Ms. Neill James, of Meridian, authored The Petticoat Vagabond, and also
introduced the silk industry to Ajijic, Mexico. In 1983 she was inducted into
The International Who's Who of Intellectuals in Cambridge, England.
53. Famed hat maker, John B. Stetson, practiced
his trade at Dunn's Falls, near Meridian, after the Civil War. One of his
creation has since become a favorite choice among men's hats and is known
throughout the world simply as "The Stetson. "
54. The Union gunboat, the U.S.S. Cairo
(pronounced Kay-ro) was struck by a Confederate torpedo in the Yazoo River on
December 12, 1862, just north of Vicksburg. The 175 foot iron clad vessel was
the first ship in history to be sunk by an electrically detonated torpedo. All
160 men on board escaped injury because it took the Cairo about 12 minutes to
sink and also because it was close to the river bank. The Cairo has in recent
years been resurrected from its watery grave and is now on display at the
Vicksburg National Military Park.
55. "The drums of Champion's Hill sounded
the doom of Richmond, " said one noted English historian of the Battle of
Champion's Hill. According to many soldiers and military historians it was the
most decisive battle of the entire Civil War. Each Spring this crucial battle is
reenacted near the small town of Edwards on the actual battle site, a
seventy-foot ridge named for the Champion family plantation which stood nearby.
56. The oldest field game in America is
Stickball, played by the Choctaw Indians of Mississippi. Stickball is a rough
game played on a large field with goalposts (precursors of modern-day football
goals). Lively demonstrations of this sport can be seen each year at the Choctaw
Indian Fair, a week-long event held in July on the Choctaw Indian Reservation in
57. 1870 was the year of the famous riverboat
race between the Robert E. Lee I and the Natchez VI. The race was won by the
Robert E. Lee I and the traditional trophy awarded was a huge set of golden elk
antlers, which are now on display at the Old Courthouse Museum in Vicksburg.
58. The Marathon "Gorilla " is the
world's largest and heaviest mobile off-shore jack up (self- elevating) oil rig.
This colossal rig, built in Vicksburg by Marathon LeTourneau Company, stands
over 600 feet tall and weighs approximately 38 million pounds. The monstrous
drilling platform moves across land at a snail's pace of 100 feet per day.
59. On May 11, 1887, a most unexpected object
fell from the sky during a severe hail storm near Bovina. The unusual object
proved to be a 6-inch by 8-inch gopher turtle completely encased in ice.
60. In 1872, a 180 foot paddle wheeler, Iron
Mountain, left Vicksburg, bound for New Orleans with 55 passengers and crew on
board. The boat was laden with a cargo of molasses and towing several barges of
cotton. Two hours after the Iron Mountain left Vicksburg, another steamer, the
Iroquois Chief, almost collided with a string of runaway cotton barges. The Iron
Mountain had simply vanished, leaving no trace of debris or survivors. A search
was mounted but no sign of the Iron Mountain was ever found.
61. The last man to fight Rocky Marciano, World
Heavyweight Champion from 1952-1956, was Archie Moore from Benoit, Mississippi.
Though Archie Moore lost to Rocky, he did hold the Light-heavyweight title from
62. Henry Armstrong, of Columbus, held the World
Champion Featherweight title in 1937, the World Lightweight title in 1938 and
the World Welterweight title during the years 1938-1940.
63. Riley B. King, the blues singer and guitarist
who was born in Mississippi near Itta Bena on September 16, 1925, no longer uses
his real name but goes by B.B. King. This is the shortened form of Blues Boy
from Beale Street, a nickname earned during his early days after World War II
while working as a disc jockey at radio station WDLA, in Memphis, Tennessee.
Charles Sawyer, author of B. B. King - The Authorized Biography, said B.B. named
his guitar "Lucille" after an incident which took place in Twist,
Arkansas, in 1949. The story goes something like this:
It seems that a fight broke out between rivals over a
lady named Lucille. In the melee a kerosene heater was turned over, setting the
dance hall on fire. B.B. fled with the rest of the crowd, but realizing he had
left his guitar behind he impulsively rushed back inside, snatched up the guitar
on the run and escaped the fire a second time. The rest is music history. The
Blues legend with his famous guitar went on to start his own brand of fire. Its
flames are still spreading and burning brighter than ever.
64. Fred Grant the teenage son of General U.S.
Grant, accompanied his father on the Vicksburg campaign during the Civil War.
While in Jackson, to watch the raising of the U.S. flag over the dome of the
state capitol building, the young man removed (we wouldn't want to accuse the
General's son of stealing) a smoking pipe from the governor's office as a
65. In the Civil War section of the Old Capitol
Museum in Jackson, is an authentic General William T. Sherman necktie. Such an
example of a Sherman necktie is quite rare. What is a Sherman necktie? An iron
rail heated over a fire and bent around a tree. This was the method Sherman used
to render the railway system in the South useless. This twisted rail was found
buried in a muddy bank of the Pearl River, just a few hundred yards from the
museum where it is now housed; the same museum that is bordered on its eastern
side by the tracks Sherman uprooted on his destructive sweep of the South.
66. Many years ago there was an old woman living
in seclusion along the banks of the Yazoo River. Yazoo means river of death in
the Choctaw Indian language. Everyone believed her to be a witch and the good
folk of Yazoo City loathed her, for it was rumored that on stormy nights she
lured fishermen into her hut, poisoned them and buried their bodies in a densely
wooded hillside, nearby. The story goes something like this:
In 1884, Joe Bob Duggett was gliding past her hut on a
river raft and heard an ungodly moaning coming from inside. Very carefully he
approached the dwelling and through the window spied her cavorting around the
bodies of two men. Joe Bob raced off to town and with the sheriff returned a
short time later. Confronted, the old woman ran into the swamp and was pursued
by the men who found her trapped in quicksand. "I shall return, " she
shouted her warning. "You people never liked me here. I will break out of
my grave and burn down the town on May 24, 1904, " And with a gurgle and a
retch she sank beneath the muck and mire.
Twenty years later, in 1904, her curse was realized when
a fire occurred and almost completely consumed the town. The next day a group of
citizens, remembering the witch, visited her grave in Glenwood Cemetery and
found, to their astonishment, that a heavy chain that had been wrapped tightly
around the crypt as a precaution twenty years earlier, had been snapped as if by
some supernatural force. Many believed that the Witch of Yazoo had, as promised,
returned to wreak vengeance on the townspeople. The story is recounted in detail
by writer Willie Morris in his book titled Good Old Boy.
67. Leontyne Price, of Laurel was the first
African-American to achieve international stardom in the field of opera. Ms.
Price was with the New York Metropolitan Opera and gave her last performance on
January 3, 1985, in the role of Aida.
68. In 1882, the world's first heavyweight
championship fight took place in Mississippi City, and was won by John L.
Sullivan. On July 8, 1889, Sullivan and Jake Kilrain fought a heavyweight
championship fight in the small community of Richton, that lasted 75 rounds.
Again, Sullivan was the victor. This was the last sanctioned bare-knuckle fight
in America. A monument has been erected to commemorate the event in the nearby
town of Purvis, just south of Hattiesburg.
69. The University of Southern Mississippi, in
Hattiesburg, houses the de Grummond Exhibit, which is the World's largest
collection of original manuscripts and illustrations of children's literature.
70. Alcorn State University, in Jefferson County,
is the world's oldest land grant college for African-Americans.
71. The International Checker Hall Of Fame is
located in Petal, Mississippi.
72. Windsor, circa 1860, near Port Gibson, was
the largest antebellum mansion ever built in Mississippi. Because of its immense
size, this stately home was often incorrectly referred to as a college by Samuel
Clemens, better known as Mark Twain, as he piloted riverboats up and down the
Mississippi River. The mansion's cupola served as a lookout post for both Union
and Confederate patrols, and the mansion was used as a Union hospital. Windsor
survived the destruction of the Civil War, only to burn in 1890, at the hands of
a careless smoker.
The haunting Ruins of Windsor, with its 23 remaining
monolithic columns, has been filmed extensively and was the site of filming the
major motion picture, RAINTREE COUNTY, staring Elizabeth Taylor and Montgomery
73. Longwood, circa 1858-61, in Natchez, is the
largest remaining octagonal house in the United States. It is a superb example
of the mid-19th century Moorish style, and was designed by noted Philadelphia
architect Samuel Sloan, for the Dr. Haller Nutt family. When the first shots of
the Civil War rang out at Fort Sumter, all work on Longwood ceased leaving much
of the interior of the upper floors unfinished. Dr. Nutt's own northern
sympathies failed to protect him when Yankee troops destroyed his vast holdings
in Louisiana, valued at more than 3 million dollars.
His wealth greatly diminished, the Doctor raced to
Vicksburg in a vain attempt to protest to General Grant, but encountered bad
weather and was forced to return to Longwood. Due to prolonged exposure to the
elements, he contracted pneumonia and died broken hearted and dispirited. Many
claim that his ghost and that of his wife, Julia, continue to linger about the
property where they may be seen in the twilight of late evening.
Longwood remains unfinished today, which only lends to
its mysterious charm. A visit will take you through the first level rooms, so
elegantly furnished, and through the corridors of this most unusual house where
you will find the workmen's tools left where they fell, abandoned in their haste
to return home to fight for their own cause.
74. Natchez was first settled by the French in
1716, two years before New Orleans, Louisiana. This makes it the oldest
permanent settlement on the Mississippi River. The grand old river city once
boasted over 500 millionaires, more than any other city in the United States,
except New York, and today its streets are graced by more than 600 pre-Civil War
structures, the largest in the country. Over 1,000 buildings are on the National
Register of Historic Places. Each year historic homes and churches are opened
for touring during Spring and Fall Pilgrimages with many remaining open to the
75. Historic Jefferson College, circa 1802, was
the first preparatory school established in the Mississippi Territory. Located
in the small town of Washington, which was once the territorial capital of
Mississippi, this historic college was also the site where Aaron Burr was
arraigned for treason in 1807, beneath the wide spread branches of what has come
to be called the "Burr Oaks. " Jefferson College also appeared in the
movie based on John Jakes novel, North and South, all dressed up to resemble
West Point National Military Academy.
76. The DEVILS PUNCHBOWL, located near Natchez,
is one of nature's freak occurrences. It is a gigantic, semi-circular pit,
somewhat cone-shaped. Connected with this uncanny spot are countless stories of
river pirates, runaway slaves, buried treasures, and other involvements with
adventure and romance.
77. Grand Village of the Natchez Indians, in
Natchez, is a National Historic Landmark. Between 1682 and 1729 the area served
as the center of activities for the Natchez Indians. In 1730, the Natchez
Indians attacked Fort Rosalie, in Natchez, killing the French settlers. In
retaliation, the French attacked the Natchez Indians. Some managed to escape the
slaughter and were absorbed by other tribes of the region. According to A
History of Mississippi, by Robert Lowery, the Natchez Indian nation was one of
Mississippi's early tribes, that could be traced to Mexico where they aided
Cortez in the conquest of the country and the overthrow of Montezuma. Mr. Lowery
contends that, "the Natchez Indians were of a light mahogany complexion,
with jet black hair and eyes; their expression was intelligent, open and
noble.... they were tall in statue, very few being under six foot. " To
learn more about the Natchez Indians, click here.
78. Emerald Mound, Natchez Trace Parkway,
northeast of Natchez, is the second largest Indian mound in the U.S. and was
built between 1250-1600 A.D. by ancestors of the Natchez Indians. The ceremonial
mound covers 8 acres, measures 770 feet by 435 feet at its base and stands 35
feet high. The builders were far from primitive and lived within a complex, high
level social and political organization. They were skillful farmers and produced
pottery, tools, weapons, cloth and leather.
79. Natchez-Under-The-Hill was called Natchez
Landing at the turn of the nineteenth century. It was during this time that it
began to acquire an infamous reputation as the most notorious spot on the
Mississippi River. Above, on the hill, the wealthy of Natchez looked down on the
rougher elements of river life that flowed in a steady stream as constant as the
river itself. Here could be found the gaming halls and dens of vice where the
lawless villainy gathered, as well as bustling wharves, bulging warehouses,
shops and boisterous saloons.
Today, much of the area has been reclaimed by the river
and all that remains is the ever busy Silver Street, where scenes were filmed
for such movies as John Jakes, NORTH AND SOUTH, and most recently, Disney's HUCK
FINN. Riverboat gaming has also returned to this historic district in the form
of the luxurious Isle of Capri Casino, where Las Vegas style gambling can be
enjoyed 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
80. Springfield Plantation, circa 1786-91, near
Fayette, just off the historic Natchez Trace Parkway, was the site of the first
marriage between Andrew Jackson and Rachel Robards, in 1791. Springfield was one
of the first houses in America built with a full colonnade across the entire
front facade, and was the first such mansion to be built in the Mississippi
Valley. Springfield remains almost entirely original and is on the National
Register of Historic Places.
Nearby is the historic community of Church Hill, once
called the Old Maryland Settlement. The Cedars, circa 1830, was the home of
Josephine Balfour, author of several children's books, and was once owned by the
handsome actor, George Hamilton.
81. The Old Spanish Fort, located in Pascagoula,
was built between 1715 and 1726 and is the oldest edifice west of the Atlantic
Coast. Originally, this historic structure was the carpentry shop of Joseph
Simon de La Pointe.
82. The Singing River, in Pascagoula, murmurs a
tragic tale of Indian lore. The Pascagoula Indians were a tribe of contented,
idyllic people, whereas the Biloxi Indians considered themselves the 'first
people, " and were jealous of the Pascagoula. Anola, a princess of the
Biloxi tribe, was in love with Altama, chief of the Pascagoulas. She was
betrothed to a chieftain of her own tribe, but fled with Altama to his people.
Faced with enslavement by the Biloxi tribe, the Pascagoulas joined hands and
began to chant a song of death as they walked into the river until the last
voice was hushed by the dark, engulfing waters.
The Singing River is famous worldwide for the noise it
makes, like a swarm of bees. The music, which grows nearer and louder until it
seems to come from under foot, is best heard in the still of evening, during
late summer and autumn. Various scientific explanations have been offered for
the phenomenon, but none have been proven.
83. "The Mad Potter Of Biloxi," George
Ohr, was a turn-of-the-century artist of abstract pottery. During his lifetime
he was considered a lunatic by most residents of the Gulf Coast, but now his
talent is recognized as genius by all who view his unusual designs. In reality,
Ohr merely sought to bring attention to his art by pretending to be odd. Today,
any one piece of his artwork can sell in auction houses for more than Ohr earned
in his entire life.
84. Walter Anderson is another eccentric artist
known worldwide for his unusual sculptures and paintings. Anderson shunned
society and a conventional lifestyle to live in hermit-like seclusion, close to
nature on tiny Horn Island off the Mississippi Gulf Coast. After his death in
1965, hundreds of pieces of his unusual and distinctive works of art were
discovered, some of which are on display at the Walter Anderson Museum located
at 510 Washington Avenue in Ocean Springs.
85. In Natchez City Cemetery can be found the
grave of Jose Vidal, governor of Natchez Spanish District in 1798 and the
Spanish Consul; Issac Guion, commander of the U.S. Forces that took control of
the Natchez Territory; General John A. Quitman, hero of the Mexican War and
Governor of Mississippi; Captain T.P. Leathers, Captain of the steamboat NATCHEZ
in the famous river race with the steamboat ROBERT E. LEE; William Johnson, a
free African- American barber whose published antebellum diary is a unique
account of the free African- American in the pre-Civil War South; General W.T.
Martin, Mississippi's highest ranking Confederate officer.
86. William Grant Still, of Woodville, composed
the Afro-American Symphony which was the first symphonic work by someone of his
race to be performed in the U.S.
87. During the War of 1812, American gunboats
engaged the British fleet in the Gulf of Mexico, near Bay St. Louis. This proved
to be the last battle to date between the U.S. Navy and a foreign foe in
88. Burnita Shelton Mathews, of Hazlehurst, was
the first woman federal judge in the U.S. and served the district of Washington
89. Four miles south of Alcorn is the ghost town
of Rodney,settled in 1722. History records that this once bustling river town
was considered for the state's capital, boasted the state's first opera house,
had over 35 stores and five thousand residents. Andrew Jackson visited Rodney
often and Zachary Taylor was living there when notified of his presidency.
During the Civil War, the citizens invited some Union
gunboat officials to church. When they accepted, Confederates captured them. The
Union gunboat fired on the town, but soon withdrew when the Confederates
threatened to hang their Yankee captives. A cannonball remains, to this day,
lodged in the brick facade of the old Rodney Presbyterian Church as a reminder
of this confrontation.
In 1870 the Mississippi River started changing course.
Rodney gradually lost its importance as a river port, and by 1940 was three
miles inland. Most of its population had moved away and it was soon a ghost
town. To reach Rodney, travel west of Lorman on the backroads of Mississippi
90. Dizzy Dean, from Bond, was a member of the
Baseball Hall of Fame, former pitcher for St. Louis Cardinals, and a sports
television commentator. Memorabilia from the Dizzy Dean Museum was recently
incorporated into the Mississippi Sports Hall Of Fame, located on Lakeland Drive
91. The Mississippi Gulf Coast has long been one
of the South's most popular seashore resort areas. The world's longest man-made
beach averages 200 feet in width and stretches for 26 scenic miles along the
Mississippi Coast past gracious homes, modern hotels, numerous fine restaurants,
gaming casinos and fabulous resorts.
92. FRIENDSHIP OAK, in Long Beach, is a
magnificent live oak tree more than 500 years old, which measures over 50 feet
in height, has a circumference of 17 feet at the trunk, and limbs and foliage
that form more than 16,000 feet of shelter. Brides have murmured their vows on
the platform built within its sprawling limbs and it is said that those who meet
beneath its shadow will remain friends forever. This legendary tree was a
sapling when Columbus sailed into the Caribbean, and had begun to bear acorns
when Ponce de Leon reached Florida in quest of the Fountain of Youth. Its
massive limbs survived the fury of centuries of hurricanes and, if trees could
talk it would speak volumes of the history it has witnessed.
93. On February 18, 1861, Jefferson Davis, a
former Senator from Warren County, was inaugurated as President of the
Confederate States of America. Rosemont, his boyhood home, was built in 1810 and
is located in historic Woodville. On the grounds of Rosemont can be found the
Davis family cemetery. Davis' last home was Beauvoir, located in Biloxi. Both
homes are open to the public for touring. Beauvoir, circa 1852-54, houses a fine
collection of Civil War/Jefferson Davis memorabilia and on the grounds is a
cemetery and the tomb of the Unknown Confederate Soldier.
94. The first can of condensed milk was produced
by Gail Borden in the small town of Liberty. His home is still standing. Nearby
is the Jerry Clower Museum.
95. U.S. Highway 90, between Bay St. Louis and
New Orleans, Louisiana, is known as the Praline Capital of the World. What is a
praline? For a confectionery treat, try it yourself.
2 cups of sugar
1 cup of buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon soda
1 pinch of salt
2 Tablespoons clear Karo Syrup
2 Tablespoons butter or margarine
2 1/2 cups pecans (puh-cahns)
Cream sugar, milk, soda, salt and Karo. Boil 5 minutes,
stir often. Add butter and pecans. Stir for 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Cool
for 1 minute. Beat until creamy and drop by teaspoon onto wax paper. Let cool 1
hour before removing from paper. Store in a cool place.
96. The first nuclear submarine built in the
South was produced in Mississippi.
97. The first permanent European settlement in
the lower Mississippi Valley was established at Ocean Springs in 1699, by
Frenchman Pierre Le Moyne, Sieur d'Iberville.
98. In 1834, Captain Isaac Ross, whose plantation
was in Lorman, freed his slaves and arranged for their passage to the west coast
of Africa. There they founded the country of Liberia. Representatives from
Liberia visited Lorman and placed a commemorative stone at the Captain's grave
site to honor his kindness. In 1857 Rosswood Plantation, on the National
Register of Historic Places, was built near the site where the Captain's home
once stood. Today, instead of cotton, Christmas trees are grown and the home is
a bed and breakfast inn. Featured are the slave quarters and a gift shop.
99. Dr. Charles Bryant, former president of
Chamberlain Hunt Academy in Port Gibson, as an amateur archaeologist in the late
1960's, discovered the lost Biblical town of Trogylium on the eastern shore of
the island of Samos in the Aegean Sea near the southern coastline of Turkey.
This town, which appeared for so long to be lost, was deleted from the newer
Bible translations but can still be found in the King James Version where it was
visited by Paul in Acts 20:15.
100. Oliver Pollock was the largest individual
financial contributor to the American War of Independence, and is buried near
Pinckneyville. He is best known, however, as the man who invented the dollar ($)
"Memory believes before knowing
Did you know...
101. Jackson County is famed worldwide for its development of nine of the
ten most successful varieties of "paper-shell" pecans: Stuart,
Success, Schley, Alley, Delmas, Papst, Russell, Hall and Lewis.
102. Resin Bowie, the famous inventor of the
"Bowie Knife, " is buried in the Catholic cemetery in Port Gibson. The
knife, fashioned by a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, cutter from a blacksmith's
rasp after Resin Bowie's model, was made famous by Resin's younger brother Jim
Bowie, in a duel on a sandbar near Natchez.
103. Joe Newman, a professional inventor from
Lucedale, holds patents on plastic-covered barbell sets, an orange picker and
several other unusual devices. Mr. Newman has also invented an "energy
machine" which, according to several well known physicists and engineers
actually produces more energy than it consumes.
104. The first Southerner to use Negro dialect in
poetry was Mississippian, Irwin Russell, born in Port Gibson in 1853. His long
poem, Christmas Night In The Quarters, earned for him the stamp of genius.
105. During the period between 1824-47, Joseph
Holt Ingraham, of Natchez, wrote and published 80 novels - approximately 10
percent of all novels published in the U.S. during that period. Included in this
literary feat was the first successful Biblical novel ever published, Prince of
The House Of David.
106. Will Price, of McComb, was the script
consultant for the movie GONE WITH THE WIND, and later married actress Maureen
107. In 1871, Liberty became the first town in
the U.S. to erect a Confederate monument.
108. Throughout the Civil War General U.S. Grant
rode a horse called Cincinnatis. However, in his memoirs he admitted that while
near Vicksburg, he stole a small horse from Brierfield Plantation, which was
then owned by Confederate President Jefferson Davis. What did he name this
horse? Jeff Davis, of course.
109. Mississippi's original soft drink, Barqs
Root Beer, was invented in 1898 by Edward Barq, Sr. of Biloxi. The building in
which this drink was made and bottled still stands and is located at 224 Keller
Avenue, one block off U.S. Highway 90 in Biloxi. The secret formula is mixed by
Edward "Sonny" Barq IV, the quality control specialist, and is sold to
Barq's franchises in every state in the nation.
110. The world's largest hardboard manufacturing
plant is Masonite Corporation, located in Laurel.
111. The Pass Christian Yacht Club, formed in
Pass Christian during 1849, holds the distinction of being the second oldest
yacht club in North America. The oldest is the New York Yacht Club in New York
City, organized in 1844.
112. The world's only cactus plantation is
located near Edwards, and grows more than 3,000 varieties of cacti.
113. The rarest of North American cranes lives in
Mississippi in the grassy savannas of Jackson County. The Mississippi Sandhill
Crane stands about 44 inches tall and has an eight-foot wing-span.
114. Elizabeth Taylor Greenfield was known as the
"Black Swan, " and was America's first African-American singer of
classical music. She was born in Natchez, in 1809.
115. In 1978, during the presidency of Jimmy
Carter, Confederate President Jefferson Davis was restored to U.S. citizenship.
116. In 1839, the Mississippi Legislature passed
one of the first laws in the English speaking world protecting the property
rights of married women.
117. The Natchez Trace Parkway begins its 450
mile scenic route in Natchez, and extends upward across Mississippi into Alabama
and ends near Nashville, Tennessee. The original Trace began as a buffalo and
Indian trail more than 8,000 years ago. Today's traveller is invited to stop and
enjoy living history exhibits, picnic areas, nature trails and history markers.
118. Mississippi has more tree farms than any
other state, according to the American Forest Institute.
119. Mississippian, W. A. Scott, founded the
first African-American owned newspaper, The Atlanta Daily World.
120. National parks in Mississippi include:
Vicksburg National Military Park; Natchez Trace Parkway; Gulf Islands National
Seashore; Natchez National Historic Park; Brice's Crossroads National
Battlefield Site, and the Tupelo National Battlefield.
121. The Mississippi Delta is the birthplace of
Blues music, the only music recognized as truly original to America.
122. In 1870, Mississippi was readmitted to the
Union. It was during this time, the Reconstruction Period, that Hiram Revels was
elected as the first African-American to the U.S. Senate.
123. The Parent-Teachers Association (PTA) was
founded in Mississippi in 1909.
124. Mississippi is the birthplace of the Order
of the Eastern Star.
125. Mississippi was the first state in the
nation to have a planned system of junior colleges.
126. Since the 1930's Mississippi has been known
as the Magnolia State. But few people know that it was also once called the
Bayou State. From a speech by Seargent Smith Prentiss in 1841, it is recorded
that he told of the mound builders, the earliest Mississippians, who had
connected all of the Delta area by way of an intricate pattern of waterways or
127. The Choctaw Indians are the largest tribe to
live in Mississippi, and at one time encompassed more than 50 villages. Their
warriors were said to number 25,000. What does the name Choctaw mean?
"Charming Voice. "
128. What does the word Mississippi mean?
Mississippi is Choctaw for "Father of Waters, " and refers, of course,
to the Mississippi River, from which the State takes its name.
129. In 1942, During World War II, the
Mississippi River's approaches were mined with explosives by Germany.
130. During the Civil War some 78,000
Mississippians entered the Confederate military. Of those taking up the cause of
Johnny Reb, 59,000 were either dead or wounded by War's end.
Facts provided by Mississippi Department of Tourism http://www.visitmississippi.org
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