A Formation of Counties

from the Mississippi Territory

(includes some Alabama, Florida and Louisiana areas)


NOTE: County names in BLUE signify the formation of a current Mississippi County; Counties in PURPLE merged with other counties or changed names; Items in GREEN are links


Since the Mississippi Territory was formed, 71 years have seen numerous changes in the formation of the 82 counties that presently exist in 2003.  Below is the list.


1785 – Bourbon County established by Georgia in the Natchez region


1788 – Bourbon County (GA) eliminated by Georgia


Grants of the Georgia Western Territory (map)


NOTE:  The formation of Bourbon County and its subsequent repeal was the basis for a later controversy, known as the Yazoo Land Fraud.


For more information, also read Pickett’s History of Alabama: And Incidentially of Georgia and Mississippi from the Earliest Period.  By Albert James Pickett. River City Press, 2003.  ISBN # 1880216701.



1799 – Adams and Pickering formed -- original counties of Mississippi Territory


1800 – Washington (AL) formed from Adams and Pickering


1802 – Claiborne formed from Pickering; Wilkinson formed from Adams; Pickering name changed to Jefferson; Adams gained from Jefferson and Claiborne; Jefferson lost to non-county area


1803 – Claiborne gained from Jefferson; West Florida claimed by U.S as part of Louisiana Purchase


1804 – Mississippi Territory expanded to north; Orleans Territory formed (included West Florida)


1808 – Madison (AL) formed from non-county area


1809 – Amite formed from Wilkinson; Franklin formed from Adams, Amite, Wilkinson, and a non-county area; Wayne formed from Washington (AL); Warren formed from Claiborne and a non-county area; Baldwin (AL) formed from Washington (AL); Jefferson gained from Adams and Franklin; Washington (AL) lost to non-county area


1810 – Adams gained from Wilkinson; Franklin gained from Amite; U.S. assumed control of West Florida except for Mobile area after local rebellion expelled Spanish authorities; Feliciana County (LA) formed by Orleans Territory


1811 – Greene formed from Wayne; Marion formed from Amite, Franklin, Wayne and a non-county area; Claiborne gained from Jefferson; Biloxi and Pascagoula Parishes formed in Feliciana County (LA) by Orleans Territory


1812 – West Florida between Pearl and Perdido Rivers added to Mississippi Territory; Clarke (AL) formed from Washington (AL); Hancock, Jackson and Mobile (AL) formed from non-county area


1813 – U.S. captured Mobile (AL) from Spain, extending full control over West Florida


1814 – Lawrence formed from Marion


1815 – Pike formed from Marion; Monroe (AL) formed from non-county area


1816 – Montgomery (AL) formed from Monroe (AL); Chickasaw and Choctaw Cessions


1817 – Mississippi admitted as a state; Baldwin, Clarke, Madison, Mobile, Monroe, Montgomery and Washington become Alabama Territory counties; Greene, Jackson and Wayne lost to Alabama Territory


1819 – Covington formed from Lawrence and Wayne; Amite gained from Franklin; Marion gained from Lawrence


1820 – Perry formed from Greene; Clairborne-Jefferson boundary defined; adjustment of boundary with Alabama; Choctaw Cession by Treaty of Doak’s Stand


1821 – Monroe formed from non-county area (Chickasaw Cession of 1816); Hinds formed from non-county area (Choctaw Cession of 1820); Amite gained from Wilkinson; Warren gained from non-county area


1822 – Franklin gained from Jefferson; Greene Gained from Jackson; Wayne gained from Covington


1823 – Copiah formed from Franklin and Hinds; Bainbridge formed from Covington; Yazoo formed from Hinds; Greene gained from Jefferson; Jefferson gained from Franklin; Warren gained from Hinds


1824 – Simpson formed from Copiah; Bainbridge merged into Covington; Jackson gained from Hancock


1825 – Covington gained from Lawrence and Wayne; Pike gained from Lawrence; Perry gained from Hancock


1826 – Jones formed from Covington and Wayne


1827 – Washington formed from Warren and Yazoo; Pike gained from Lawrence


1828 – Rankin formed from Hinds; Madison formed from Yazoo; Hancock and Perry gained from Jackson; Warren and Yazoo gained from Washington


1829 – Claiborne gained from Warren; Warren exchanged area with Yazoo; Madison gained from Hinds; non-county areas (unceded Indian lands) attached to Madison, Monroe, Washington, Wayne, Yazoo, Rankin, and Simpson jointly


1830 – Lowndes formed from Monroe and a non-county area; Covington, Jones, Madison, Monroe, Rankin, Washington, Wayne and Yazoo gained non-county areas; Jackson and Marion gained from Hancock; Perry gained from Marion


1831 – Lowndes gained from  Madison, Rankin and Wayne


1833 – Attala formed from Madison; Jasper formed from Jones; Carroll formed from Lowndes, Monroe, Washington and Yazoo; Holmes formed from Yazoo; Choctaw formed from Lowndes, Madison, Monroe and Yazoo; Clarke formed from Wayne; Kemper formed from Lowndes, Rankin and Wayne; Lauderdale formed from Rankin and Wayne; Leake formed from Madison and Rankin; Neshoba formed from Jones, Madison, Rankin and Wayne; Noxubee formed from Lowndes and Rankin; Oktibbeha formed from Lowndes; Scott and Smith formed from Covington, Jones and Rankin; Tallahatchie formed from Washington and Yazoo; Winston formed from Lowndes, Madison and Rankin; Yalobusha formed from Monroe, Washington and Yazoo; Hancock gained from Jackson; Madison gained from Rankin; Warren gained from Yazoo; Yazoo gained from Washington; non-county areas attached to Choctaw, Tallahatchie and Holmes – Counties that were formed were from the Choctaw Cession of 1830 (Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek)


1836 – Chickasaw formed from Monroe and a non-county area; Bolivar formed from Tallahatchie, Washington and a non-county area; Itawamba, Lafayette, Marshall, Pontotoc, Tippah and Tishomingo all formed from Monroe; Coahoma formed from non-county area; De Soto formed from Monroe and Washington; Newton formed from Neshoba; Panola formed from Monroe, Washington, and a non-county area; Tunica formed from Washington and a non-county area; Jackson gained from Hancock; Tallahatchie gained from a non-county area – Counties that were formed were from the Chickasaw Cession


1838 – Scott gained from Madison and Rankin


1839 – Warren gained from Washington


1840 – Hinds exchanged area with Madison


1841 – Harrison formed from Hancock and Jackson; Panola gained from Tunica


1842 – Bolivar gained from Coahoma; Coahoma gained from Tunica


1843 – Coahoma gained from Tunica; Hancock gained from Madison


1844 – Issaquena formed from Washington; Sunflower formed from Bolivar; Coahoma gained from Tunica; Harrison gained from Jackson and Perry; Marion gained from Hancock


1846 – Jackson gained from Harrison; Marshall gained from Lafayette; Warren gained from Yazoo; Wilkinson gained from Adams


1848 – Tunica gained from Coahoma and a non-county area


1850 – Marshall gained from Lafayette; Yazoo gained from Washington and Issaquena


1852 – Calhoun formed from Chickasaw, Lafayette and Yalobusha; Warren gained from Yazoo


1854 – Chickasaw gained from Choctaw; Warren gained from Yazoo; Marshall gained from Lafayette


1859 – Scott gained from Madison


1860 – Sunflower gained from Tallahatchie


1865 – Jones name changed to Davis


1866 -- Lee formed from Itawamba and Pontotoc


1869 – Davis name changed to Jones


1870 – Alcorn formed from Tippah and Tishomingo; Prentiss formed from Itawamba and Tishomingo; Benton formed from Marshall and Tippah; Union formed from Lee, Pontotoc and Tippah; Grenada formed from Carroll, Yalobusha, Choctaw and Tallahatchie; Lincoln formed from Franklin, Lawrence, Copiah, Pike and Amite; Pontotoc gained from Lee; Tishomingo gained from Itawamba


1871 – Leflore formed from Carroll and Sunflower; Colfax formed from Chickasaw, Lowndes, Monroe and Oktibbeha; Montgomery formed from Carroll and Choctaw; Amite gained from Franklin and Lincoln; Benton exchanged area with Marshall; Lafayette gained from Marshall; Perry gained from Greene; Sunflower gained from Bolivar and Washington; Washington gained from Bolivar; Tunica gained from Panola; Wayne gained from Clarke


1872 – Pearl formed from Hancock


1873 – Tate formed from Marshall and De Soto; Franklin and Lincoln gained from Amite; Lee gained from Union; Marshall gained from De Soto; Union gained from Pontotoc; Warren gained from Yazoo; Winston gained from Neshoba; Yalobusha gained from Lafayette


1874 – Sumner formed from Montgomery, Chickasaw and Choctaw; Choctaw gained from Winston; Prentiss gained from Union; Union gained from Lee


1875 – Choctaw gained from Montgomery; Franklin gained from Lincoln; Harrison gained from Jackson; Montgomery gained from Sumner; Sumner gained from Chickasaw and Oktibbeha; Sumner exchanged with Oktibbeha; Winston gained from Choctaw


1876 – Sharkey formed from Warren, Washington and Issaquena; Colfax name changed to Clay;  Benton exchanged with Marshall; De Soto gained from Tate; Issaquena gained from Warren; Issaquena lost to non-county area; Pearl gained from Marion; Tate gained from Tunica; Tishomingo gained from Prentiss


1877 – Quitman formed from Panola, Coahoma, Tallahatchie and Tunica; Carroll gained from Leflore


1878 – Pearl merged into Hancock and Marion; De Soto gained from Marshall; Lincoln gained from Lawrence


1880 – Lawrence gained from Pike; Leflore gained from Carroll; Marion gained from Covington


1882 – Sumner name changed to Webster; Adams gained from Wilkinson; Carroll exchanged area with Montgomery


1884 – Lawrence gained from Marion and Pike; Wilkinson gained from Adams


1890 – Pearl River formed from Hancock and Marion; Issaquena gained from non-county area


1896 – Carroll gained from Leflore


1904 – Lamar formed from Marion and Pearl River


1906 – Forrest formed from Perry but was unorganized; Jefferson Davis formed from Covington and Lawrence


1908 – Lawrence exchanged area with Pike; Forrest is organized


1910 – George formed from Greene and Jackson


1912 – Walthall formed from Marion and Pike but was unorganized


1914 – Walthall organized; Adams exchanged area with Wilkinson


1916 – Stone formed from Harrison


1918 – Humphreys formed from Holmes, Washington, Sunflower and Yazoo



Mississippi County Etymologies


Adams County: named for the 2nd U.S. President, John Adams.

Alcorn County: named for the 28th Governor of Mississippi James L. Alcorn.

Amite County: based on the Latin language word amicus (friend) or amare (to love), via the French language; the French named the Amite River in honor the friendly local Native Americans.

Attala County: named for Attala or Atala, a fictional Native American heroine from an early 19th Century novel by Franηois-Renι de Chateaubriand.

Benton County: named for U.S. Senator from Missouri Thomas Hart Benton.

Bolivar County: named for South American revolutionary Simσn Bolνvar who freed much of South America from Spanish rule.

Calhoun County: named after U.S. Vice President and US Senator from South Carolina, John C. Calhoun.

Carroll County: named for Charles Carroll of Carrollton, last surviving signer of the U.S. Declaration of Independence.

Chickasaw County: named for the Chickasaw Native American people.

Choctaw County: named for the Choctaw Native American people.

Claiborne County: named for the 1st Governor of the Mississippi Territory, William C.C. (Charles Cole) Claiborne.

Clarke County: named for first Mississippi state chancellor and judge Joshua G. Clarke.

Clay County: named for Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Henry Clay.

Coahoma County: based on a Native American word meaning red panther.

Copiah County: based on a Native American word meaning calling panther.

Covington County: named for U.S. Army officer and Congressman Leonard Covington.

DeSoto County: named for Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto.

Forrest County: named for Nathan B. Forrest, Confederate general.

Franklin County: named for Founding Father Benjamin Franklin.

George County: named for James Z. George, US Senator from Mississippi, who was actually from Money, Mississippi in Carroll County.

Greene County: named for American Revolutionary War general Nathanael Greene.

Grenada County: named for the Spanish province of Granada.

Hancock County: named for Founding Father John Hancock.

Harrison County: named for the 9th U.S. President William Henry Harrison.

Hinds County: named for U.S. Congressman from Mississippi Thomas Hinds.

Holmes County: named for David Holmes, 4th Governor of the Mississippi Territory and later the 1st and 5th Governor of Mississippi.

Humphreys County: named for Benjamin G. Humphreys, 26th Governor of Mississippi.

Issaquena County: based on a Native American word meaning Deer River.

Itawamba County: named for Levi Colbert, a Chickasaw leader who was called Itte-wamba Mingo, meaning bench chief.

Jackson County: named for 7th U.S. President Andrew Jackson.

Jasper County: named for Sergeant William Jasper who was killed during the American Revolutionary War's siege of Savannah, Georgia.

Jefferson County: named for 3rd U.S. President Thomas Jefferson.

Jefferson Davis County: named for the Confederate States of America’s only president Jefferson Davis.

Jones County: named for naval leader John Paul Jones.

Kemper County: named for Reuben Kemper, a soldier in the Seminole Wars and Mexican-American Wars.

Lafayette County: named for French military officer Marquis de la Fayette.

Lamar County: named for U.S. Secretary of the Interior Lucius Q.C. Lamar.

Lauderdale County: named for colonel James Lauderdale, who was killed at the Battle of New Orleans in the War of 1812.

Lawrence County: named for naval leader James Lawrence, famous for the Battle of Lake Erie during the War of 1812.

Leake County: named for the 3rd Governor of Mississippi Walter Leake.

Lee County: named for Confederate American Civil War general Robert E. Lee.

Leflore County: named for Choctaw leader Greenwood LeFlore.

Lincoln County: named for the 16th U.S. President Abraham Lincoln.

Lowndes County: named for U.S. Congressman William Jones Lowndes.

Madison County: named for the 4th U.S. President James Madison.

Marion County: named for American Revolutionary War guerilla leader Francis Marion, known as the Swamp Fox.

Marshall County: named for Chief Justice of the United States John Marshall.

Monroe County: named for the 5th U.S. President James Monroe.

Montgomery County: named for American Revolutionary War military leader Richard Montgomery.

Neshoba County: based on a Native American word meaning grey wolf.

Newton County: named for scientist Isaac Newton.

Noxubee County: based on a Native American word meaning stinking water.

Oktibbeha County: based on a Native American word meaning either bloody water (because of a battle fought on the banks) or possibly icy creek.

Panola County: based on a Native American word meaning cotton.

Pearl River County: named for Pearl River, which early on was the site of French-run pearl fisheries.

Perry County: named for American naval leader Oliver Hazard Perry.

Pike County: named for explorer Zebulon Pike.

Pontotoc County: named for a Chickasaw Native American leader called Pontotoc.

Prentiss County: named for Smith Prentiss, a famous speaker and debater.

Quitman County: named for 10th Governor of Mississippi John A. Quitman.

Rankin County: named for U.S. Representative Christopher Rankin.

Scott County: named for 7th Governor of Mississippi Abram M. Scott.

Sharkey County: named for the 25th Governor of Mississippi William L. Sharkey.

Simpson County: named for Judge Josiah Simpson.

Smith County: named for Major David Smith.

Stone County: named for 33rd Governor of Mississippi John M. Stone.

Sunflower County: named for the Sunflower River, which is named in turn for the sunflowers that grow along its banks.

Tallahatchie County: named for the Tallahatchie River, the main tributary of the Yazoo River. Tallahatchie is a Native American name for river of the rock.

Tate County: named for the prominent local Tate family.

Tippah County: named for Tippah, wife of Pontotoc, an important Chickasaw leader.

Tishomingo County: named for a Chickasaw leader called Tishomingo.

Tunica County: named for the Tunica Native American people.

Union County: named for the Union which was threatened by the American Civil War.

Walthall County: named for military leader Edward Walthall.

Warren County: named for American Revolutionary War officer Joseph Warren.

Washington County: named for the 1st U.S. President George Washington.

Wayne County: named for General "Mad" Anthony Wayne.

Webster County: named for American statesman Daniel Webster.

Wilkinson County: named for military leader James Wilkinson.

Winston County: named for military leader Louis Winston.

Yalobusha County: based on a Native American word meaning tadpole place.

Yazoo County: named for the Yazoo Native American people.




Map of Indian Cessions

NOTE: Click on different areas of the map to access the treaties


Treaties listed on the above map are as follows: Choctaw Treaty of Fort Adams in 1801; Choctaw Treaty of Fort Confederation in 1802; Choctaw Treaty of Mount Dexter in 1805; Choctaw Treaty of Fort Stephen in 1816; Chickasaw Treaty of 1816; Treaty of Doak’s Stand in 1820; Treaty in Washington, D.C. in 1825; and the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek in 1830.  The Treaty of Hopewell in 1786 and the Treaty of Hoe Buckintoopa in 1803 are not shown on the map.  For the Treaty of Hopewell, CLICK HERE.  For the Treaty of Hoe Buckintoopa, CLICK HERE.


Synopsis of Choctaw Treaties


1786 -- Treaty of Hopewell between US and Choctaw establishing borders


1798 -- Mississippi Territory formed


1801 -- Treaty of Ft. Adams whereby 2,264,920 acres along Mississippi River are sold to US for $2000


1802 -- Treaty of Ft. Confederation whereby approximately 50,000 acres is ceded to US for $1


1803 -- Treaty of Hoe Buckintoopa whereby 853,760 acres of land are ceded in settlement of trade debt amounting to $40,000


1803 -- Louisiana Purchase


1804 -- Louisiana Territorial Act authorizes President to negotiate with tribes to move west of Mississippi River


1805 -- Treaty of Mt. Dexter whereby 4,142,720 acres of land are ceded in settlement of trade debt amounting to nearly $48,000, plus payment of annuity of $3000, plus payment of $500 for chiefs and salaries of $150 per year


1812 -- Choctaw support Americans against British in War of 1812


1816 -- Treaty of Fort St. Stephens whereby approximately 3,000,000 acres of land are sold for $10,000 plus annual payments of $6000 for 20 years


1820 -- Treaty of Doak's Stand whereby 5,269,788 acres are exchanged for approximately 13,000,000 acres west of Mississippi


1825 -- Treaty of Washington City establishes borders for lands received in Treaty of Doak's Stand; In exchange for 2,000,000 fewer acres then originally agreed, US will move out any white settlers living in remaining "Indian Territory" plus provide a perpetual annuity of $6000, payment of trading debts, and pensions for Choctaw veterans who fought in War of 1812


1830 -- Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek whereby remaining 10,000,000+ acres of Choctaw land in Mississippi and Alabama are ceded and tribes agree to move to Indian Territory in exchange for protection, passage, and an annuity of $20,000 for twenty years, plus funds for schools, churches, and a council house.


1833 -- Treaty of Doaksville (Doak’s Stand) whereby Choctaw lease lands west of their own settlements to Chickasaw for $530,000



Watch the Counties Form


History of the Mississippi Counties