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Encyclopedia > Tallahatchie County, Mississippi
Image:Map of Mississippi highlighting Tallahatchie County.png

Tallahatchie County is a county located in the state of Mississippi. As of 2000, the population is 14,903. Its county seats are Charleston and Sumner6.



The country was founded on December 31, 1833. Tallahatchie is an Indian name meaning Rock River and the county is one of ten in Mississippi with two county seats, Charleston and Sumner. Charleston was the first county seat, and Sumner was organized later in 1872.

Charleston was founded in 1837, but its history goes back prior to that. A settlement of five communities had grown up along the forks of Tillatoba Creek.

In 1833 the land was opened for settlement. There were no roads only Indian trails. Most of the settlers entered the county over what was called Charley's Trace, an Indian trail that came across from the Mississippi river and entered the hills about where Leverett is now located. Here the trail merged with a trail from the south and passed near the present site of Charleston.

Colonel Thomas Bailey came from Kentucky and formed the first settlement on the north fork of the creek which was about five miles to the northeast. He was later joined by James Bailey, Samuel Caruthers, William Flemming, M. Johnson, Willam Kendrick, Robert Thrasher, A. Patterson, and Kinchen Mayo who extended the settlement along the creek toward the Junction. Another settlement was started by the Priddy's, the J. Houstons, Cade Alford and the Carson family who extended the settlement along the creek to the junction of three forks.

DeKalb and Tillatoba were founded on the north fork of the creek just west of the present town. Both towns wanted to be county seat of Tallahatchie, and Tillatoba succeeded. In 1837 the Board of Police found it necessary to abandon Tillatobia. There was a section of unsettle land in the heart of the first five settlements. This section of land had been granted to Greenwood LeFlore under the terms of the Dancing Rabbit Treaty of 1830. J.S.Topp & Co. had acquired this section of land and proposed to build the town of Charleston (named for Charleston Sc.) and to have this as the permanent county seat. In 1843 the county seat fight flared up again. The board voted to abandon Charleston, but Mr. Steel the president of the Board of Police refused to sign the minutes which killed the rally. J.B. Sumner moved to this section in 1872 and founded what is now Sumner. The present sight was a dense forest. He donated land for the railroad right-of-way, railroad park, courthouse square and jail lot. In 1873 there was a Presbyterian Church that was known as Maria Church. A post office was established in 1885 and the town incorporated in 1900.

From 1882 through 1884 disastrous floods and overflows of the river forced the people of Sumner to go by boat to Webb (which was called Hood) for their supplies. From 1931 through 1933 there was overflows which inundated thousands of acres (many km˛) of farmland and destroyed much property.

The first court house was built in 1902 and destroyed by fire in 1908. The records were saved, but in 1909 the entire business section of the town burned and all records were destroyed.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,689 km˛ (652 mi˛). 1,668 km˛ (644 mi˛) of it is land and 21 km˛ (8 mi˛) of it is water. The total area is 1.25% water.


As of the census2 of 2000, there are 14,903 people, 5,263 households, and 3,826 families residing in the county. The population density is 9/km˛ (23/mi˛). There are 5,711 housing units at an average density of 3/km˛ (9/mi˛). The racial makeup of the county is 39.62% White, 59.43% Black or African American, 0.09% Native American, 0.36% Asian, 0.00% Pacific Islander, 0.05% from other races, and 0.46% from two or more races. 0.92% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There are 5,263 households out of which 34.00% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.50% are married couples living together, 23.50% have a female householder with no husband present, and 27.30% are non-families. 24.60% of all households are made up of individuals and 11.60% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.81 and the average family size is 3.36.

In the county the population is spread out with 30.00% under the age of 18, 10.00% from 18 to 24, 25.90% from 25 to 44, 20.90% from 45 to 64, and 13.20% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 33 years. For every 100 females there are 87.80 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 84.40 males.

The median income for a household in the county is $22,229, and the median income for a family is $26,509. Males have a median income of $24,766 versus $18,972 for females. The per capita income for the county is $10,749. 32.20% of the population and 26.80% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 43.80% of those under the age of 18 and 27.80% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.

Cities and towns

  • Charleston
  • Glendora
  • Sumner
  • Tutwiler
  • Webb
Regions of Mississippi
The Delta - Natchez District
Largest Cities
Biloxi - Greenville - Gulfport - Hattiesburg - Jackson - Meridian - Pascagoula - Southaven - Tupelo - Vicksburg
Adams -

Alcorn - Amite - Attala - Benton - Bolivar - Calhoun - Carroll - Chickasaw - Choctaw - Claiborne - Clarke - Clay - Coahoma - Copiah - Covington - De Soto - Forrest - Franklin - George - Greene - Grenada - Hancock - Harrison - Hinds - Holmes - Humphreys - Issaquena - Itawamba - Jackson - Jasper - Jefferson - Jefferson Davis - Jones - Kemper - Lafayette - Lamar - Lauderdale - Lawrence - Leake - Lee - Leflore - Lincoln - Lowndes - Madison - Marion - Marshall - Monroe - Montgomery - Neshoba - Newton - Noxubee - Oktibbeha - Panola - Pearl River - Perry - Pike - Pontotoc - Prentiss - Quitman - Rankin - Scott - Sharkey - Simpson - Smith - Stone - Sunflower - Tallahatchie - Tate - Tippah - Tishomingo - Tunica - Union - Walthall - Warren - Washington - Wayne - Webster - Wilkinson - Winston - Yalobusha - Yazoo

  Results from FactBites:
Tallahatchie County, Mississippi (2544 words)
Tallahatchie County, Mississippi has a less-educated working age population, with 11 percent of the population (+25) having received at least a Bachelors Degree, as reported in the Decennial Census of 2000.
Tallahatchie is reported having a lower percent of highly educated individuals than the State of Mississippi's proportion of 17 percent and a lower percent than the US proportion of 24.4 percent.
Tallahatchie ranks 70 of 82 counties in terms of population growth in Mississippi and the county ranks 2,864 of 3,141 counties when calculating the total change in county population across the US.
Case Study #1: Southern Echo (787 words)
The population of Tallahatchie County, on the eastern edge of the Mississippi Delta, is 59 percent African American.
The county has a long history of racial oppression - it was in the county courthouse that the men who lynched Emmitt Till in 1957 were acquitted by an all-white jury.
Tallahatchie is one of the ten poorest counties in the nation; yet, the county's Board of Supervisors refused to cooperate with efforts to attract new industries whose presence might affect and boost wage levels on its cotton, rice and soybean plantations.
  More results at FactBites »



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