Copiah County, Mississippi

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Copiah County, Mississippi
Map of Mississippi highlighting Copiah County
Location in the state of Mississippi
Map of the United States highlighting Mississippi
Mississippi's location in the U.S.
Founded 1823
Seat Hazlehurst
Largest city


area_total_sq_mi = 779, Mississippi|Hazlehurst
area_total_sq_mi = 779]]
 • Land 777 sq mi (2,012 km2)
 • Water 2.2 sq mi (6 km2), 0.36\%
 • (2010) 29,449
 • Density 38/sq mi (15/km²)
Congressional district 2nd
Time zone Central: UTC-6/-5

Copiah County is a county located in the U.S. state of Mississippi. As of the 2010 census, the population was 29,449.[1] The county seat is Hazlehurst.[2]

Copiah County is part of the Jackson, MS Metropolitan Statistical Area.


Copiah, from a Choctaw Indian word meaning calling panther, was organized in 1823 as Mississippi's 18th county. In 2004 Calling Panther Lake, commemorating this name, was opened up just West and North of Crystal Springs near the Jack and New Zion community. In the year of organization, Walter Leake served as governor and James Monroe as President of the United States.

Soon after the Indians relinquished their claims to this land in 1819 and the legislature formed Copiah County in 1823, Elisha Lott, a Methodist minister who had worked among the Indians, brought his family from Hancock County to a location near the present site of Crystal Springs. When the New Orleans, Jackson and Great Northern Railroad built in the area in 1858, a new town was created about a mile and a half west of the old settlement. The new settlement took the name Crystal Springs and the old settlement became Old Crystal Springs.

William J. Willing's home was the first to be built in the new town, and Jefferson Davis once made a speech from the front yard. Ozious Osborne owned the first merchandise store on a corner of his residence lot on south Jackson Street. This lot later became the Merchants Grocery Company's site.

The first church was the Methodist in 1860. It was followed by the Baptist in 1861, Presbyterian in 1870 and Trinity Episcopal in 1882.

As one of the largest tomato shipping centers, Crystal Springs commercial farming goes back to 1870 when the first shipment of peaches, grown by James Sturgis, was shipped to New Orleans and Chicago markets. Tomatoes were still known as "love apples" when N. Piazza imported seeds from Italy, and with help from S. H. Stackhouse, began scientific cultivation of tomato plants. With the help of German immigrant Augustus Lotterhos, the industry achieved success. In 1878, Lotterhos pooled the products of a number of tomato growers and shipped the first boxcar load to Denver, Colorado.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 779 square miles (2,020 km2), of which 777 square miles (2,010 km2) is land and 2.2 square miles (5.7 km2) (0.3%) is water.[3]

Major highways[edit]

Adjacent counties[edit]

National protected area[edit]


Historical population
Census Pop.
1830 7,001
1840 8,954 27.9%
1850 11,794 31.7%
1860 15,398 30.6%
1870 20,608 33.8%
1880 27,552 33.7%
1890 30,233 9.7%
1900 34,395 13.8%
1910 35,914 4.4%
1920 28,672 −20.2%
1930 31,614 10.3%
1940 33,974 7.5%
1950 30,493 −10.2%
1960 27,051 −11.3%
1970 24,749 −8.5%
1980 26,503 7.1%
1990 27,592 4.1%
2000 28,757 4.2%
2010 29,449 2.4%
Est. 2013 28,921 −1.8%
U.S. Decennial Census[4]
1790-1960[5] 1900-1990[6]
1990-2000[7] 2010-2013[1]

As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 29,449 people residing in the county. 50.9% were Black or African American, 46.3% White, 0.3% Asian, 0.2% Native American, 1.6% of some other race and 0.8% of two or more races. 2.6% were Hispanic or Latino (of any race).

As of the census[8] of 2000, there were 28,757 people, 10,142 households, and 7,494 families residing in the county. The population density was 37 people per square mile (14/km²). There were 11,101 housing units at an average density of 14 per square mile (6/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 47.80% White, 50.95% Black or African American, 0.07% Native American, 0.16% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.46% from other races, and 0.54% from two or more races. 1.15% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 10,142 households out of which 34.40% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.70% were married couples living together, 20.10% had a female householder with no husband present, and 26.10% were non-families. 23.60% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.30% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.71 and the average family size was 3.20.

In the county the population was spread out with 26.90% under the age of 18, 12.50% from 18 to 24, 26.80% from 25 to 44, 21.10% from 45 to 64, and 12.70% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females there were 92.90 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.10 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $26,358, and the median income for a family was $31,079. Males had a median income of $28,763 versus $20,104 for females. The per capita income for the county was $12,408. About 22.00% of families and 25.10% of the population were below the poverty line, including 33.20% of those under age 18 and 21.20% of those age 65 or over.

Tomato Festival[edit]

The county is known as a tomato and cabbage producing area, and for many years was called the "Tomato Capital of the World." Specifically, Crystal Springs was known as "The Tomato Capital of the World" because for a few years in the late 1930s it canned and shipped out via rail car more tomatoes than any other locale, but this was disrupted by the onset of World War II. The title stuck.

In June 2000, an annual Tomato Festival was re-established in the town, held on the last Saturday in June. It includes a tomato growing contest (with prizes for largest tomato, ugliest tomato, prettiest tomato, etc.), tomato tasting, farmers market, vendor's booths, musical entertainment, 5K run and, of course, the crowning of the new Tomato Queen. The Tomato Festival was originally set up on Front Street.

The Friday night before the Tomato Festival, a Street Dance is held as the kick-off event. It is the night of the crowning of the Tomato Queen, and entertainment includes a live band, games and amusement rides for the kids, and food vendors. During the Street Dance, "BBQ and Blue Jeans" is sponsored by the Junior Auxiliary of Crystal Springs. They sell take-out containers filled with BBQ sandwiches, potato salad, baked beans and a dinner roll. This is the evening when other festival vendors start setting up their booths for the main day events. Vendors come from all over the U.S. to the festival every year to sell their wares, and provide games and amusement rides. A tomato museum at the Chautauqua Park Visitor's Center exhibits historical pictures, agricultural relics from the era, and examples of some of the shipping and canning labels. The Tomato Festival takes place each year on the last Saturday in June.





Unincorporated communities[edit]

Ghost town[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 3, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  3. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved November 3, 2014. 
  4. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved November 3, 2014. 
  5. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved November 3, 2014. 
  6. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved November 3, 2014. 
  7. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved November 3, 2014. 
  8. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 31°52′N 90°26′W / 31.86°N 90.44°W / 31.86; -90.44