Duck Hill, Mississippi

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Duck Hill, Mississippi
Duck Hill from across the tracks
Duck Hill from across the tracks
Motto: The place called home
Duck Hill, Mississippi is highlighted in the small red zone.
Duck Hill, Mississippi is highlighted in the small red zone.
Coordinates: 33°37′55″N 89°42′53″W / 33.63194°N 89.71472°W / 33.63194; -89.71472Coordinates: 33°37′55″N 89°42′53″W / 33.63194°N 89.71472°W / 33.63194; -89.71472
Country United States
State Mississippi
County Montgomery
 • Type Mayor-Counsel
 • Total 1.0 sq mi (2.7 km2)
 • Land 1.0 sq mi (2.7 km2)
 • Water 0.0 sq mi (0.0 km2)
Elevation 253 ft (77 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 732
 • Density 720.8/sq mi (278.3/km2)
Time zone Central (CST) (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP code 38925
Area code(s) 662
FIPS code 28-20260
GNIS feature ID 0669470

Duck Hill is a town in Montgomery County, Mississippi. The population was 732 at the 2010 census.[1]

Duck Hill is located on U.S. Route 51, mid-way between Grenada and Winona. Big Bogue Creek flows east of the town.

The annual Grassroots Blues Festival takes place each July in Duck Hill.


Illinois Central Depot in Duck Hill, c. 1910

Duck Hill is named for a large hill northeast of the town, where "Duck", a Choctaw Chief, held war councils.[2] Chief Duck was also a medicine man who treated the community. A statue of Chief Duck is located on U.S. Route 51 in Duck Hill, next to an old Illinois Central caboose.

The first white settler to arrive was John A. Binford in 1834. Binford built the first home in the area, and became one of the region's most successful slaveholding planters. Binford went on to serve in the Mississippi Legislature. During the Civil War, Binford's sons, James R. and John A. Jr., helped lead the Confederate "Company E" from Duck Hill, known as the "McClung Rifles". James R. Binford went on to serve in the Mississippi State Senate, where he wrote the Jim Crow laws for Mississippi.[3][4]

The Illinois Central Railroad completed a line from Chicago to New Orleans in 1856, and a depot was established at Duck Hill. Premier passenger trains such as the City of New Orleans and the Panama Limited once passed.[5] The line is now used for freight operation by the Grenada Railway.

A tragic train wreck occurred at Duck Hill on October 19, 1862. In the early morning hours, two trains collided head-on, killing 34 men. Most of the dead where Confederate soldiers. It was the South's worse loss of life in a train accident to that time.[6]

In 1887, there was hope Duck Hill would become a thriving mill town after iron ore was found nearby. Financial speculation followed. The New York Times mockingly wrote at the time in its Tour of our Southern Correspondent:

Duck Hill is the euphonious appellation of a straggling wee bit of a hamlet down in the depths of Mississippi, a dozen miles or so from Grenada, on the Illinois Central Railroad, known to the world and to history in something less than a wholesale way.[7]

Duck Hill was the site of a railroad robbery in 1888. Two armed men, Rube Burrow and Joe Jackson, clung to the outside of a train as it left the station, then climbed to the engine cab where they ordered the engineer to stop the train about a mile north of town. The robbers then plundered the express car's safe of $3000, killing one man who tried to help.[8][9]

In 1930, the Lloyd T. Binford High School opened in Duck Hill (Lloyd T. Binford, son of James R. Binford, became a Memphis insurance executive and film censor, and was noted for his views on "Southern womanhood" and white supremacy). An agriculture education building followed, and an elementary school was constructed in 1963. The schools have since closed, and the high school's gymnasium is used as a community center. In 2012, a committee of volunteers was established to preserve the high school, which has suffered from vandalism.[10] The Congressional Record from 1999 quotes Senator Trent Lott, whose father sharecropped a stretch of cotton field in Duck Hill during the 1940s, stating: "I am a product of public education from the first grade through the second, third, and fourth grades where I went to school at Duck Hill, Mississippi, and I had better teachers in the second, third, and fourth grades in Duck Hill, Mississippi, than I had the rest of my life."[11][12]

Duck Hill lynchings of 1937[edit]

The lynching of two black men, Roosevelt Townes and Robert "Bootjack" McDaniels, in Duck Hill on April 13, 1937, gained widespread publicity. The men were arraigned in Montgomery County Courthouse in nearby Winona, charged with murdering George Windham, a local grocer. Both plead "not guilty" and were then escorted by police from the courthouse, where a mob abducted the two men, loaded them into a school bus, then drove them to a wooded lot near Duck Hill. A crowd of five-hundred looked on as Townes and McDaniels were each chained to a tree, after which a blowtorch was used on McDaniels to torture a confession of murder from him. Once obtained, he was shot dead, and the blowtorch was used to extract Townes' confession. A fire was then lit beneath Townes and he was burned to death. The police officers who had been guarding the two defendants were unable to identify any members of the mob, and no charges were laid for the abduction or murder.

Widespread publicity followed the murders, which included a photograph of McDaniels' tortured body chained to a tree. German newspapers at the time used the murders for propaganda, contrasting the "humane" way Nazi Nuremberg racial laws were applied.[13] Such publicity enabled Joseph A. Gavagan to gain support for pending anti-lynching legislation he had put forward in the House of Representatives (and supported in the Senate by Robert F. Wagner and Frederick Van Nuys). The legislation eventually passed in the House, but not in the Senate.[14][15][16]

Recent history[edit]

In 1943, fifteen armed black soldiers from nearby Camp McCain came to Duck Hill during the night and began firing into the town. There were no injuries. The soldiers were upset about a recent assault against a group of black soldiers at Starkville, Mississippi.[17][18]


Duck Hill is located at 33°37′55″N 89°42′53″W / 33.63194°N 89.71472°W / 33.63194; -89.71472 (33.631875, -89.714655).[19]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 1.0 square mile (2.6 km2), all land.


As of the census[20] of 2000, there were 746 people, 307 households, and 201 families residing in the town. The population density was 720.8 people per square mile (279.6/km²). There were 331 housing units at an average density of 319.8 per square mile (124.1/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 63.27% African American, 36.06% White and 0.67% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.80% of the population.

There were 307 households out of which 36.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.3% were married couples living together, 16.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.5% were non-families. 33.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 16.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.43 and the average family size was 3.11.

In the town the population was spread out with 30.3% under the age of 18, 7.0% from 18 to 24, 26.5% from 25 to 44, 20.4% from 45 to 64, and 15.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females there were 81.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 69.9 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $24,118, and the median income for a family was $29,375. Males had a median income of $26,731 versus $15,639 for females. The per capita income for the town was $11,550. About 18.9% of families and 21.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 21.3% of those under age 18 and 32.6% of those age 65 or over.


Duck Hill is served by the Montgomery County School District, which facilitates Montgomery County High School and Montgomery County Elementary School. The aforementioned schools are located in Kilmichael, Mississippi.

The Duck Hill Head Start Center is a preschool located at 620 Carrollton St.


There are several small businesses within the town limits. Of those include a small Jiffy Mart gas station where U.S. Route 51 and Main Street intersect and a Regions Bank. In September 2009, a Dollar General was opened adjacent to U.S. Route 51 in the north part of town.


The following is a list of churches in Duck Hill:

  • Duck Hill Missionary Baptist Church
  • Duck Hill Baptist Church
  • MT Pleasant Missionary Baptist Church
  • Wilkin Chapel Baptist Church
  • Unity Baptist Church
  • Sweet Home MB Church
  • St. Mark MB Church
  • Binford Chapel United Methodist
  • Duck Hill Church of God In Christ
  • Victory Apostolic Church of Duck Hill

Notable people[edit]


  1. ^ "Duck Hill town". 2010 United States Census. 2010 Census Interactive Population Search. Retrieved 11 May 2012. 
  2. ^ McElvaine, Robert S. (1988). Mississippi: The WPA Guide to the Magnolia State. University Press of Mississippi. 
  3. ^ Wynne, Ben (2003). A Hard Trip: A History of the 15th Mississippi Infantry, CSA. Mercer University Press. 
  4. ^ Doherty, Thomas (2007). Hollywood's Censor: Joseph I. Breen and the Production Code Administration. Columbia University Press. 
  5. ^ "A Brief Historical Sketch of the Illinois Central Railroad". Illinois Central Historical Society. 
  6. ^ "Duck Hill Train Wreck - October 19, 1862". MSGenWeb. Aug 1, 2010. 
  7. ^ "Mississippi is in Line". New York Times. April 4, 1987. 
  8. ^ "An Express Car Robbed". Kendallville Standard. Dec 21, 1888. 
  9. ^ "Rube Burrow, Outlaw". Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. The Sun. Oct 12, 1890. 
  10. ^ "Group Hopes Schools Can Again Serve Community". Grenada Star. Aug 31, 2012. 
  11. ^ "Iona Watson Lott (Obituary)". Rome News-Tribune. July 12, 2005. 
  12. ^ "REAUTHORIZING THE ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION ACT OF 1965". Congressional Record. U.S. Government Printing Office. 1999. 
  13. ^ "Lynchings Top NAZI Papers". San Jose News. April 13, 1937. 
  14. ^ Finley, Keith M. (2003). Southern Opposition to Civil Rights in the United States Senate: A Tactical and Ideological Analysis, 1938-1965 (PDF). Doctoral Dissertation (Louisiana State University). 
  15. ^ Weiss, Nancy Joan (1983). Farewell to the Party of Lincoln: Black Politics in the Age of FDR. Princeton University. 
  16. ^ Wood, Amy Louise (2009). Lynching and Spectacle: Witnessing Racial Violence in America, 1890-1940. University of North Caroline. 
  17. ^ Dougherty, Kevin (2010). Weapons of Mississippi. University Press of Mississippi. 
  18. ^ Orr-Klopfer, M. Susan (2005). Where Rebels Roost: Mississippi Civil Rights Revisited. M. Susan Klopfer. 
  19. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  20. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 

External links[edit]