of Mississippi - Monroe County
by Denise Wells
Lowry, Robert and McCardle, William H. A History of Mississippi,
from the Discovery of the Great River by Hernando DeSoto,
Including the Earliest Settlement Made by the French Under
Iberville, to the Death of Jefferson Davis [1541-1889].
Jackson, Miss.: R. H. Henry & Co., 1891. Pages 538-542.
established Feburary 9th, 1821, and was named in honor of
President James Monroe. At the time of its organization
the county embraced the territory out of which Lowndes county,
nine years later, was carved. Hamilton, a few miles above
Buttahatchie river, was the first county site, and at the
time of its location a trading point of considerable importance.
the early settlers were Col. Austin Willis, Mr. Cocke, the
father of Chancellor Stephen Cocke; Daniel W. Wright, the
Cravens, Alexanders, Sandersons, Branches, Fords, Dr. Higgason,
Jacob Loughridge, Isaac Dyche, William Morse, and Ben. T.
Reese; Henry Hardy, John Colter, John Ross, the Echolls,
Martins, Farrisses and Hutchinsons. In the northern portion
of the county were John Wise, Abner Dyer, Kirk and mark
Prewitt, the McKinneys and Parchmans.
the prairies, when first brought into cultivation, and at
the time almost unsurpassed in the production of cotton,
were the Walkers, Randles, and Evans, one of whom was the
father of Captain Joe Evans, the present State Treasurer.
There were also the three Sykes brothers, Rev. Simon B.,
Drs. Wm. A. and Augustus Sykes. The first was a minister
of the gospel of high character and comfortable fortune.
He was the father-in-law of Judge Frank Rodgers, who many
of the people of the State will remember as the nominee
of the Whig party for Governor of the State in opposition
of John J. McRae. He served his judicial district with great
acceptability as circuit judge and was a gentleman of fine
presence and agreeable address. On the hotly contested field
of Fort Donelson he laid down his life in defence of the
Southern cause. Dr. William A. Sykes was a gentleman of
superior judgment, and was highly respected for his christian
virtues. He was the father of Captains Thos. B., Eugene
O. and Dr. Granville Sykes. Captain Thos. B. Sykes served
two terms as chief magistrate of Aberdeen, and the second
brother, Captain E. O. Sykes, represented teh county a number
of times in the Legislature and was a delegate to the Constitutional
Convention of 1890. Dr. Augustus Sykes, like his brothers,
was a gentleman of good fortune and much respected. His
two sons, Hon. E. T. Sykes, a lawyer of high standing and
former State Senator, and Dr. Richard Sykes, a gentleman
of excellent professional attainments, reside in the city
of Columbus. Captain E. L. Sykes, who was sheriff of Monroe
county for several years, belongs to the same family. His
father died when a very young man.
the same locality were the Taylors, Moores, McAllisters,
Boyds, Ewings, Wards, Cloptons, Cunninghams, Abbotts, Vassars,
one of whom, Captain Wm. H. Vassar, was State Treasurer;
Gillespies, Waltons, Gordons, Ragsdales, Gunns, McClendons,
Watsons, Watkins, Harrisons, Col. George H. Young, a gentleman
of high character and large fortune, whose beautiful and
attractive home at Waverly was widely known for its cordial
hospitality. The Waverly section of the country subsequently
became a prt of Lowndes county, and more recently of Clay.
Also the Rogers family.
Samuel J. Gholson was among the early settlers of Monroe
county. He was a member of Congress in 1837 and 1838; served
one full term and part of another. He was subsequently appointed
Judge of the United States Court of Mississippi by President
martin Van Buren, and remained on the bench for more than
twenty years—until the State severed her relations
with the general government in 1861. Judge Gholson entered
the Confederate army in 1861, as Captain. He was an earnest
and gallant soldier, and at the cessation of hostilities
was a Brigadier-General, commanding State troops. He was
elected ot the Legislature in 1866, and made Speaker of
the House of Representative. General Gholson was an able,
vrave and generous gentleman.
Reuben Davis, who recently died at the advanced age of eighty-five
years, became a citizen of Monroe county when the county
site was Hamilton. He read medicine with his brother-in-law,
Dr. Higgason; after practicing for several years, he became
dissatisfied with the profession, abandoned it and read
law, and very soon became prominent as a criminal lawyer.
In 1842 he was appointed by the Governor, Judge, to fill
a vacancy occurring in the High Court of Errors and Appeals.
He occupied the bench but a short time, delivering but two
opinions, which can be found in Sixth Howard Mississippi
Reprots. Prior to the war he served in the Congress of the
United States, and during the war was a member of the Confederate
Congress. He was honorable, impetuous and courageous, always
maintaining his opinions independently and fearlessly. He
left his volume of "Reminiscences of Mississippi and
Mississippians" as a contribution which does honor
to his memory.
lawyers who assembled at Athens at an early day, and subsequently
located at Aberdeen when it was made the county site, were
in the main men of a high order of talent.
addition to those mentioned were Hon. John B. Sale, a gentleman
of intellectual power and ranked deservedly with the foremost
lawyers of the State.
James Phelan, who was elected to the Confederate Senate
from the State, was an accurate lawyer, with agreeable manners
and scholarly attainments.
Joel M. Acker, a lawyer of acknowledged merit, has always
held a high rank among his brethren at the bar.
Locke E. Houston, the venerable Judge of the first Judicial
District is probably the sole survivor of the lawyers who
settled at an early day at Athens. A thoroughly trained
lawyer, with a mind of great strength, well stored with
legal learning, he has for more than forty years occupied
a high place in the estimation of his professional brethren
of the State, an able and impartial judge, courteous and
dignified, affable manners, the peer of any, respected and
honored by all.
long established firm of Houston and Reynolds was dissolved
by Judge Houston's acceptance of the Circuit Judgeship.
Col. Reuben O. Reynolds, the junior partner, Colonel of
a regiment in the Confederate service, was for many years
a prominent figure in Mississippi politics, as well as a
lawyer of distinguished ability. During his long service
in the State Senate he labored for the development and advancement
of the State. He was able, active, and upon all occasions
exhibited the greatest interest in measures tha had for
their object the welfare of Mississippi. A leader of the
body of which he was so long a member, he was uniformly
polite and obliging. He was a persuasive speaker, full of
resources, graceful in his bearing, and with the manners
of a thorough gentleman. He was strong and adroit in debate,
eminently conservative, and always listend to with interest
and respect. Gentle and engaging in manner, clear and forcible
in the discussion of his subject, Reuben O. Reynolds, was
a favorite with the general public, and a most valuable
citizen. His early demise was not only felt in the immediate
vicinity where his long life had been spent, but throughout
the State. Peace to the ashes of the gallant soldier, learned
lawyer, able legislator, worthy citizen and gifted gentleman.
high character and ability of the bar at the period mentioned
served as a bright example to the younger members of the
profession now in full practice, who with their legal learning,
scrupulously observed the courtesies and ethics left them
as a heritage by those who have passed away.
towns in the county are Aberdeen, the county site, Amory,
Nettleton, Smithville, Quincy, Gattman, Reynolds, Strongs,
Muldon and Prairie.
principal streams are the Tombigbee river, Old Town Creek,
Matubba, Jones, Town, Buttahatchie, Sipsey, Weaver and Chuquatoncha
are three railroads in the county, the Mobile and Ohio,
Canton, Aberdeen and Nashville and the Kansas City, Memphis
and Birmingham—aggregating fifty-eight miles.
with her fertile lands and excellent population, is properly
classed among the best counties in the State.
county has 176,539 acres of cleared land—average value
per acres as rendered to the assessor, $11.13. Total value
of cleared lands, including incorporated towns and cities,
population of Monroe as shown by the census report of 1890:
Whites, 11,930; colored, 18,792; total, 30,722.
- Bartlett C. Barry.
1823-25 - Bartlett C. Barry.
1826 - William Downing.
1827 - William Downing.
1828 - William Downing.
1829 - James F. Trotter.
1830 - James F. Trotter.
1833 - George Higgason.
1835 - Stephen Cocke.
1838 - Samuel Ragsdale.
1839 - Samuel Ragsdale.
1840 - Samuel Ragsdale.
1841 - Samuel Ragsdale.
1842 - J. Y. Thompson.
1843 - J. Y. Thompson.
1844 - J. Y. Thompson.
1846 - Joel M. Acker.
1848 - James E. Harrison.
1850 - J. Y. Thompson.
1852 - J. Y. Thompson.
1854 - J. M. Acker.
1856 - J. M. Acker.
1857 - Benjamin Bradford.
1858 - Richard Harrison.
1859 - Richard Harrison.
1860-61 - Richard Harrison.
1861-62 - James Phelan.
1865-66 - J. H. Anderson.
1870-71 - F. H. Little, F. M. Abbott.
1872-73 - F. H. Little, F. M. Abbott.
1874-75 - Nathan Shirley, F. H. Little.
1876-77 - R. O. Reynolds, Nathan Shirley.
1878 - R. O. Reynolds, J. T. Griffin.
1880 - R. O. Reynolds, T. J. Griffin.
1882 - R. O. Reynolds, Sam'l L. Wilson.
1884 - R. O. Reynolds, Jno. M. Simonton.
1886 - R. O. Reynolds, Jno. M. Simonton.
1888 - J. C. Burdine, J. L. Turnage.
1890 - J. C. Burdine, J. L. Turnage.
- William Cocke.
1823-25 - C. H. Williams.
1826 - Robert D. Haden.
1827 - Geo. Higgason, R. Edrington, J. F. Trotter.
1828 - Goe. Higgason, L. Pruett, R. Edrington.
1829 - R. Edrington, D. W. Wright, S. Ragsdale.
1830 - Sam'l Ragsdale, John Bell, J. Higgason.
1833 - John Bell.
1835 - S. J. Gholson.
1836 - S. J. Gholson, James McKinney.
1837 - James McKinney, J. H. Bell.
1838 - Lemuel Prewett, G. Jowers.
1839 - S. J. Gholson, G. Jowers.
1840 - John R. Greer, J. M. Acker.
1841 - Joel M. Acker, J. R. Greer.
1842 - John R. Greer, J. M. Acker.
1844 - John Abbott, J. M. Acker.
1846 - J. C. Moore, S. Dilworth.
1848 - Locke E. Houston, J. T. Fortson.
1850 - Stephen Adams, T. T. Armstrong.
1852 - Thomas Coopwood, James Sullivan.
1854 - D. W. Saddler, Lewis Nabors.
1856 - Reuben Davis, John A. Abbott.
1857 - Thomas H. Davis, John A. Abbott.
1858 - S. F. Kendrick, Lewis Nabors.
1859 - B. M. Bradford, J. R. Lyles.
1860-61 - J. R. Lyles, B. M. Bradford.
1861-62 - J. L. Tindall, L. B. Moore.
1865-66 - S. J. Gholson, Joel M. Acker.
1870-71 - William Hodges.
1872-73 - A. P. Huggins, Arthur Brooks, Wm. Holmes
1874-75 - J. C. Walker.
1876-77 - A. J. Sykes, W. W. Troupe, J. M. Trice.
1878 - S. J. Gholson, N. W. Hatch, Wright Cunningham.
1880 - E. O. Sykes, J. C. Burdine, A. Carter.
1882 - E. O. Sykes, J. C. Burdine, J. M. Trice.
1884 - R. E. Houston, C. H. Moore, J. T. Dilworth, J. C.
1886 - J. M. Acker, Jr., J. T. Dilworth, J. C. Burdine.
1888 - J. T. Dilworth, T. A. Oliphant, J. R. Murff.
1890 - J. T. Dilworth, T. A. Oliphant, R. E. Houston.