Issaquena County, Mississippi
|Issaquena County, Mississippi|
Location in the state of Mississippi
Mississippi's location in the U.S.
|• Total||441.36 sq mi (1,143 km2)|
|• Land||413.06 sq mi (1,070 km2)|
|• Water||28.30 sq mi (73 km2), 6.41%|
|• Density||3/sq mi (1.23/km²)|
Issaquena County is a county located in the Mississippi Delta region of the U.S. state of Mississippi. As of the 2010 census, the population was 1,406,1 making it the smallest county by population in Mississippi. Its county seat is Mayersville.2
The Mississippi River flows the entire western boundary of the county, and many of the earliest communities were river ports.
The county's economy is highly based on agriculture.
"Issaquena" is a Choctaw word meaning "Deer River". The Choctaw people were the first inhabitants of the county, and were removed from their land in 1820.3 Non-Native settlers began arriving in the early 1830s.
Issaquena county was established on January 23, 1844, from the southern portion of Washington County. The first county seat was located in Skipwith, and then moved to Duncansby (both communities are now submerged in the Mississippi River). In 1848, the county seat moved to Tallula, and in 1871, to Mayersville.4
The county lies entirely in the Mississippi Alluvial Plain, and hardwood forest known as "bottomlands" grow thick in the nutrient-rich, high-clay "buckshot" soil. Early settlers cleared many forests, and by the early 1890's about 50,000 acres (20,000 ha) of the county was growing corn, cotton, and oats. About that same time, the Louisville, New Orleans and Texas Railway was completed along a north-south route through the center of the county.5
In 1876, Sharkey County was created from portions of Issaquena, Warren, and Washington counties.6
Issaquena County is notable for its participation in slavery. In 1860, 92.5% of Issaquena County's total population were enslaved people, the highest concentration anywhere in the United States.7 The U.S. Census for that year showed that 7,244 slaves were held in Issaquena County, and of 115 slave owners, 39 held 77 or more slaves.8 Dr. Stephen Duncan of Issaquena County held 858 slaves, second only to Joshua John Ward of South Carolina.9 This large "value of slave property" made Issaquena County the second richest in the nation, with "mean total wealth per freeman" at $26,800 in 1860.10 By 1880—just 15 years after the abolition of slavery—the county had developed "a strong year-round market for wage labor", and Issaquena was the only county in Mississippi to report "no sharecropping or sharerenting whatsoever".10
During the winter of 1862 and spring of 1863, Union Army General Ulysses S. Grant conducted a series of amphibious operations aimed at capturing the Confederate stronghold of Vicksburg, located south of Issaquena County.
The Steele's Bayou Expedition occurred on waterways within Issaquena County, including Steele Bayou, Little Sunflower River, Big Sunflower River, Deer Creek, Black Bayou, Little Black Bayou, and the Yazoo River.11
The shallow waterways proved difficult for the large Union boats, and Confederate defenses were robust. The Steele's Bayou Expedition was a defeat for Union forces in Issaquena County.12
According to the 2000 census, the county has a total area of 441.36 square miles (1,143.1 km2), of which 413.06 square miles (1,069.8 km2) (or 93.59%) is land and 28.30 square miles (73.3 km2) (or 6.41%) is water.13
- Washington County (north)
- Sharkey County (northeast)
- Yazoo County (east)
- Warren County (south)
- East Carroll Parish, Louisiana (west)
- Chicot County, Arkansas (northwest)
||Chicot County, Arkansas||Washington County||Sharkey County|
|East Carroll Parish, Louisiana||Yazoo County|
As of the census15 of 2000, there were 2,274 people, 726 households, and 509 families residing in the county. The population density was 5.15 people per square mile (2/km²). There were 877 housing units at an average density of 2 per square mile (1/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 36.32% White, 62.75% Black or African American, 0.09% Native American, 0.22% from other races, and 0.62% from two or more races. 0.44% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 726 households out of which 34.20% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.60% were married couples living together, 16.00% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.80% were non-families. 26.20% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.30% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.77 and the average family size was 3.37.
In the county the population was spread out with 27.70% under the age of 18, 10.90% from 18 to 24, 30.90% from 25 to 44, 19.90% from 45 to 64, and 10.70% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females there were 113.50 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 130.10 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $19,936, and the median income for a family was $23,913. Males had a median income of $23,167 versus $17,115 for females. The per capita income for the county was $10,581. About 25.90% of families and 33.20% of the population were below the poverty line, including 43.20% of those under age 18 and 41.00% of those age 65 or over.
Of 3,197 counties ranked by the U.S. Census Bureau in 2011 for "estimated percent of people of all ages in poverty", Issaquena was 14th; for those under age 18, the county was eighth. It was estimated that 40.1 percent of the county's residents lived in poverty.16
There are no schools located in Issaquena County. Students attend campuses in neighboring Sharkey and Washington counties.
- Public School Districts
- Private Schools
- Sharkey-Issaquena Academy – Located in Rolling Fork; Enrollment open to Issaquena County residents.
- Unita Blackwell, civil rights leader and mayor of Mayersville from 1976-2001; first female African-American mayor in Mississippi.
- Charles C. Diggs, Sr., first African-American Democrat elected to the Michigan Senate; born in Tallula.17
- William Stamps Farish II, president of Standard Oil; born in Mayersville.18
- Muddy Waters, blues musician (1913–1983); born in "Jug's Corner".19
- Eliza Winston, notable slave.
- Blackwell v. Issaquena County Board of Education, an important 1965 civil rights legal case
- National Register of Historic Places listings in Issaquena County, Mississippi
- "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 3, 2013.
- "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
- Franks, Bob (2010). "Introduction". Issaquena Genealogy and History Project.
- Hellmann, Paul T. (2005). Historical Gazetteer of the United States. Routledge.
- "Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Mississippi". General County History and Information. Issaquena Genealogy and History Project. Retrieved November 2013.
- "About Sharkey County". Mississippi Genealogy & History Network. Retrieved November 2013.
- Blake, Tom (2001). "Largest Slaveholders from 1860 Slave Census Schedules". Ancestry.com.
- Franks, Bob (2010). "Issaquena County Slave Research". Issaquena Genealogy and History Project.
- Blake, Tom (2004). "THE SIXTEEN LARGEST AMERICAN SLAVEHOLDERS FROM 1860 SLAVE CENSUS SCHEDULES". Ancestry.com.
- Cobb, James C. (1992). The Most Southern Place on Earth: The Mississippi Delta and the Roots of Regional Identity. Oxford.
- "Steele's Bayou Expedition". Rootsweb. Retrieved November 2013.
- "Steele's Bayou Expedition". Mycivilwar.com. Retrieved November 2013.
- "Census 2010 Gazetteer Files". Retrieved July 2, 2013.
- "U.S. Decennial Census". Census.gov. Retrieved September 3, 2013.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "Table 1: 2011 Poverty and Median Income Estimates - Counties". Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates. U.S. Census Bureau. 2011.
- Dillard, Angela D. (2007). Faith in the City: Preaching Radical Social Change in Detroit. University of Michigan.
- Collins, Karen. "Farish, William Stamps". Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved November, 2013.
- "Muddy Waters Birthplace". Mississippi Blues Commission. Retrieved october 2013.
- Sharkey-Issaquena County Library
- Sharkey-Issaquena County Health Department
- South Delta School District
- Western Line School District
- Delta National Forest
- Indian Bayou State Wildlife Area
- Anderson-Tully State Wildlife Management Area