Panola Co Historical & Genealogical

Crenshaw, Mississippi (Panola County, 1836)

Crenshaw, Mississippi (Panola County, 1836)

Crenshaw and the Tallahatchie Valley area

Highlights of town history are many and varied.

Living in the northwest corner of Panola County brought the wilderness of timberland and the turbulence of inhabitants and beasts. Consider the following description:

"The Yocona, Tallahatchie and Coldwater Rivers drain the county. The Yocona, frequently spelled Yockna in the early days and also called Yockanapotapha crosses the southern boundary several times draining the southwestern part. The Tallahatchie River drains almost half the county, a small portion of the northeast, the central section and the southwestern part. Mos of the creeks and branches of the northern section of the county flow into the Coldwater River.

In 1845, an emigrant described the physical features of Panola County:

"The Northern boundary of the county is about 34 deg. and 30 minutes N. latitude and is 27 miles square. The climate is mild, the soil fertile and well adapted to the culture of cotton, corn, wheat, oats, rye, barly, potatoes. There are perhaps but few counties in this state which will compare with Panola with regard to soil; and few which will admit of so much emigration. It is suppposed that four or five hundred families in addition to the present population might be comfortably settled in the county.
(Laws of Mississippi, 1836, p. 12)

The Panola Story Quarterly July - August - September 2003 Number 3 Page 42

The Valley which bears the same name as the river, consistes of beautiful strips of excellent land lying on each side of the river varying from one to two miles in width, on each side and not only extends through the county, but continues perhaps one hundred miles below praticularly on the south side and is much increased in width lower down. The soil of this valley is characterized by the growth of hickory, walnut, blackgum, dogwood, cherry, poplar, etc. (Franklin Earl Vestal, Panola County Geology, Mississippi State Geological Survey Bulletin 81 (University, MS. 1956), p. 20)

Nearly all of the creeks afford a considerable quality of rich bottom land which will, if properly mangaged, last as long as any man can desire. The high lands are light, lively, clear of stones, easy of culture and generally produces fine crops. The growth on the upland embraces the red oak, hickory, dogwood, etc.

Taking everything into consideration we do surpass the bounds of truth whe we say Panola County presents as strong inducements to emigration as any othr reglion, the far famed Texas not accepted! (The Lynx (Panola County), Jan. 11, 1845)"

The width of the Tallahatchie River gave rise to fears of how many and where 'seats of justice' would be established. John Cooper Hathorn, in a study of Lafayette County 1836-1860, identified three individuals speculators and one partnership as purchasers of Panola lands: Joseph Caruthers, Wyatt Mitchell, James Brown and Wilson T. Caruthers and Richard Bolton. (John Cooper Hathorn, "A Period Study of Lafayette County from 1836 to 1860 with Emphasis on Population Groups," (unpublished Master's thesis, University of Mississippi, 1938, ppgs. 10-14).

The Panola Story Quarterly July - August - September 2003 Number 3 Page 43

The act that authorized the organizing of the new counties (after Treaty of Pontotoc, rdr) provided that the board of police of each of the counties should choose a seat of justice which should be in the center or within five miles of the center of the county. (Laws of Mississippi, 1836, p. 48).

Wilson T. Caruthers deeded to the board of police thirty-two and thirty-three hundredth acres on the west side of fractional section 5-9-7W as the board had located the 'permanent seat of part' on the section. On the same day and for the same consideration, David Hubbard conveyed to the board seventeen and seventy-three hundredth acres of fractional section 6-9-7W adjoining the donations of Caruthers. Dissension over the choice of Panola as the seat of justice must have arisen immediately, because a law passed by a call session of the legislature May 13, 1837, authorized a specal election to select a permanent seat of justice for the county; and again the law specifified the place must be within five miles of the center of the county. The rival community wishing to be the county seat was Belmont, a few miles up (and north, rdr) of the Tallahatchie River. (Franklin L. Riley, 'Extinct Towns and Villages of Mississippi, Publ. of the MS Historical Society, V, November, 1901).

Riley further wrote that he interviewed a Col. James Bailey ,who was living at the time in Tallahatchie County, on the election day and was persuaded to cast a vote for Panola at the early age of sixteen! An act of the legislature validated the election on February 8, 1838.

Stories just like this one appear in The Panola Story, a quarterly mailed to your postal address. We are a small historical society in northwest Mississippi encouraging all to participate in 'writing down history' as it happens so the details will be available to future generations as well. Crenshaw's history would not be with us without the effort of someone. In fact, the whole town and cemetery of Coldwater had to be moved (our neighbor in Tate County) for the Arkabutla Dam to be set! The subscription of only $15 each year (January-December) will have the next issue mailed to your address. List your address in our Guestbook, please. Your check may be mailed to Betty Jo whose address is listed on Panola County Connection page. Thank You.