History Is Lunch: Copiah County’s Bicentennial

Two Mississippi Museums | 222 North Street, Jackson, Mississippi, 39201

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Join MDAH on site at the Two Mississippi Museums at noon on Wednesday, August 2, for History Is Lunch or watch the livestream when Paul C. Cartwright, Gene Horton, and Tricia Nelson will present “Copiah County’s Bicentennial: A History from 1823 to 2023.”
Copiah County was founded on January 21, 1823 from parts of Hinds and Yazoo counties. Its name is taken from the Choctaw words meaning “calling panther.” The first county seat was Coor’s Springs, and other early communities included Gallatin, Centerpoint, Mt. Washington, and Union School. The current county seat, Hazlehurst, was established as a railroad stop in 1856.
“In the second half of the nineteenth century Copiah County turned increasingly to the production of commercial vegetable crops, and Crystal Springs became one of the largest tomato shipping centers, earning the moniker ‘Tomatopolis,’” said Nelson, who is co-author along with Cartwright and Horton of the book A Shared History: Copiah County, Mississippi 1823-2023. “In 1870 the town’s first shipments of peaches went to New Orleans and Chicago markets, and later that decade a boxcar of tomatoes was shipped to Denver.”
In the 1960s, Hazlehurst and Crystal Springs saw citizens becoming active in the civil rights movement, registering voters and pushing for education reforms. In 1966-67 protestors boycotted local businesses that opposed integration.
Paul C. Cartwright is a retired library administrator. He earned his BA in history from Hendrix College and his MLS from the University of Southern Mississippi. Cartwright is the author of Among the Truck: Truck Farming in Hazlehurst 1903-1935 and the local history booklets History of Copiah—Recollections of an Old Citizen; Rising from the Ashes, Sparks from Fire 1904; and Old Communities and Landings of Yazoo County. From 2004 to 2008 he served as president of the Yazoo City Historic Preservation Commission.
Gene Horton is a retired pastor and with a special interest in the history of communities where he served local churches. Since retiring to Crystal Springs, he has focused on the development of transportation during Mississippi’s territorial and antebellum years.
Tricia Nelson earned her BS in paralegal studies and MBA from Mississippi College and her MA in historic preservation from Savannah College of Art and Design. She is a featured writer for the Copiah Monitor newspaper and author of several books about Copiah County, most recently Copiah County Historic Postcards.
Copies of A Shared History: Copiah County, Mississippi 1823-2023 will be for sale at the program.
History Is Lunch is sponsored by the John and Lucy Shackelford Charitable Fund of the Community Foundation for Mississippi. The weekly lecture series of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History explores different aspects of the state’s past. The hour-long programs are held in the Craig H. Neilsen Auditorium of the Museum of Mississippi History and Mississippi Civil Rights Museum building at 222 North Street in Jackson and livestreamed on YouTube and Facebook.
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