DeSoto County, Mississippi
|DeSoto County, Mississippi|
Location in the state of Mississippi
Mississippi's location in the U.S.
|Founded||February 9, 1836|
496.77 sq mi (1,287 km²)
477.86 sq mi (1,238 km²)
18.91 sq mi (49 km²), 3.81%
225/sq mi (87/km²)
DeSoto County is a county located in the U.S. state of Mississippi. DeSoto County is part of the Metropolitan Memphis (TN-AR-MS) Statistical Area. Its county seat is Hernando. It is part of the Mississippi Delta.
As of 2000, the population was 107,199. By 2010, the county had grown to a population of 161,252, largely due to an influx of African-American immigrants from Memphis. It is now the third most populous county in Mississippi and the second most populous county in metro Memphis.
The county is named for Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto. The county seat, Hernando, is also named in his honor. De Soto allegedly died in that area in May 1542, although some believe that he died near Lake Village, Arkansas. See here for a list of sites associated with the de Soto Expedition.
Early history 
At its organization by European Americans on February 9, 1836, after Indian Removal, DeSoto County stretched from the Tennessee state line on the north to the Tate County line on the south; from the Mississippi River and Tunica County on the west to Marshall County on the east. A mistake in surveying placed the state line at what is now Winchester Road in Shelby County, Tennessee. In 1838, the line was resurveyed and moved to its present location. Indian artifacts collected in DeSoto County link it with prehistoric groups of Woodland and Mississippian culture peoples.
The Mississippian culture met Hernando DeSoto when he explored North Mississippi and, traditionally, came through present-day DeSoto County. Some scholars speculate that DeSoto discovered the Mississippi River west of present-day Lake Cormorant, built rafts there and crossed to Crowley's Ridge, Arkansas. The National Park Service declared a "DeSoto Corridor" from the Chickasaw Bluff (Memphis) to Coahoma County, Mississippi.
Over 200 years passed and the Mississippian culture disappeared, devastated by disease. The Indian town named Chicasa which De Soto visited, was probably the ancestral home of the historical Chickasaw. They still lived in the area when European Americans began arriving as pioneers. Their "Long Town," several villages close to each other, was near present-day Pontotoc. The Chickasaw claimed much of western Tennessee and northern Mississippi as their hunting grounds. Negotiations, begun September 1816, between the United States government and the Chickasaw nation, concluded with the signing of the Treaty of Pontotoc in October 1832. During these 16 years, government officials pressed the Chickasaw for cessions of land to enable European-American settlement.
Congress passed the Indian Removal Act in 1830, authorizing forcible removal if necessary to extinguish Native American claims in the Southeast. From 1832 to 1836, government surveyors mapped the 6,442,000 acres (26,070 km2) of the Chickasaw domain, dividing it into townships, ranges and sections. The Mississippi Legislature formed 10 new counties, including DeSoto, Tunica, Marshall and Tate, from this territory.
By treaty the land was assigned by sections of 640 acres (2.6 km2) to individual Indian households. The Chickasaw, a numerically small tribe, were assigned 2,422,400 acres (9,803 km2) of land using this formula. The government disposed of the remaining 400,000 acres at public sale. The Indians received at least $1.25 per acre for their land. The government land sold for 75 cents per acre or less.
Modern history 
Located adjacent to Memphis, Tennessee, DeSoto County is now among the forty fastest-growing counties in the United States. This fast-paced growth is attributed to black flight from Memphis, which has been most noticeable in the cities of Southaven, Olive Branch and Horn Lake. Also fueling development is the massive casino/resort complex located in neighboring Tunica County (the third largest gambling district in the United States).
Celebrities from DeSoto County 
DeSoto County is known for its golf courses. Velvet Cream, known as 'The Dip' by locals, is a landmark restaurant in the county. Operating since 1947, it is the oldest continually running restaurant in the county. In 2010, it was awarded 'Best Ice Cream in Mississippi' by USA Today. DeSoto County was also previously known as the home of Maywood Beach, a water park that closed in 2003 after more than 70 years of operation.
DeSoto County Museum 
A popular attraction is the DeSoto County Museum located in Hernando. The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday 10-5. Admission is free but donations are encouraged. Exhibits include displays on Hernando DeSoto, Civil War History, antebellum homes of the county, civil rights, and the history of each of the county's municipalities.
DeSoto County is the most northwestern of Mississippi's 82 counties, in a corner that borders Tennessee and Arkansas. According to the 2000 census, the county has a total area of 496.77 square miles (1,286.6 km2), of which 477.86 square miles (1,237.7 km2) (or 96.19%) is land and 18.91 square miles (49.0 km2) (or 3.81%) is water.
Geographic features 
Major highways 
I-55 recently underwent major widening from four lanes to ten lanes from the MS/TN state line south to Goodman Rd. Eventual widening of the freeway from Goodman Rd. to Star Landing Rd. is believed to include the addition of new exits at Nail Rd. and Star Landing Rd.
I-269 is a planned metro Memphis outer loop connecting the cities of Hernando and Olive Branch in Mississippi with Collierville and Millington in Tennessee. Expected to open within the next five to seven years.
Adjacent counties 
- Shelby County, Tennessee - north
- Crittenden County, Arkansas - west
- Tunica County - south
- Tate County - south
- Marshall County - east
||Shelby County, Tennessee (Memphis)|
|Crittenden County, Arkansas||Marshall County|
|Tunica County||Tate County|
|MS Counties 1900-1990
GeoHive - 2000 & 2010 statistics
As of Census 2010 the total population was 161,252. Non-Hispanic Whites were 70.4%, African Americans were 22.6%, Hispanics were 5%, and Asians were 1.6%.  The median income for a family was $66,377 and the mean income was $75,875 . DeSoto County has the highest median income in Mississippi and the second highest mean income after Madison County. According to the census of 2000, the largest ancestry groups in DeSoto County were English 53.1%, Scots-Irish 15.1%, African 11.4% and Irish 4.5%.
- Census-designated places
- Unincorporated places
See also 
- National Register of Historic Places listings in DeSoto County, Mississippi
- Bill Hawks, agribusinessman and former state senator from DeSoto County
- "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
- "The USA's best ice cream: Top parlors in 50 states". USA Today. August 29, 2010.
- "Census 2000 U.S. Gazetteer Files: Counties". United States Census. Retrieved 2011-02-13.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
Suggested reading 
- Map Guide to the U.S. Federal Censuses, 1790–1920, Thorndale, William, and Dollarhide, William; Copyright 1987. (Historic state maps including evolution of DeSoto County)
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: DeSoto County, Mississippi|
- DesotoCountyMS.gov - Official County Government Website
- DeSotoCountyOnline.com - Useful Information for Residents and Visitors.
- DeSoto County Economic Development Council - Official site.
- DeSoto Arts Council - Official site.
- Desoto County Museum, DeSoto County Historic Museum in Hernando
- The DeSoto Times online edition, the daily county newspaper based in Hernando (site under construction)
- The DeSoto County Tribune online edition, the weekly county newspaper based in Olive Branch
- The DeSoto Appeal online edition, a community edition of the Memphis, Tennessee-based Commercial Appeal
- An article from the Clarion-Ledger, providing insight into the contrasts amid DeSoto County's growth (22 December 1999)