Hazlehurst, Mississippi

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Hazlehurst, Mississippi
Amtrak Station on Hazlehurst
Amtrak Station on Hazlehurst
Location of Hazlehurst, Mississippi
Location of Hazlehurst, Mississippi
Coordinates: 31°51′54″N 90°23′29″W / 31.86500°N 90.39139°W / 31.86500; -90.39139Coordinates: 31°51′54″N 90°23′29″W / 31.86500°N 90.39139°W / 31.86500; -90.39139
Country United States
State Mississippi
County Copiah
 • Total 4.4 sq mi (11.5 km2)
 • Land 4.4 sq mi (11.3 km2)
 • Water 0.0 sq mi (0.1 km2)
Elevation 476 ft (145 m)
Population (2000)
 • Total 4,400
 • Density 1,004.9/sq mi (388.0/km2)
Time zone Central (CST) (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP code 39083
Area code(s) 601
FIPS code 28-31220
GNIS feature ID 0671047

Hazlehurst is a city in and the county seat of Copiah County, Mississippi, United States,[1] located about 30 miles south of the state capital Jackson along Interstate 55. The population was 4,400 at the 2000 census. It is part of the Jackson Metropolitan Statistical Area.


Hazlehurst originated as the town of Gallatin when two lawyers and brothers-in-law named Walters and Saunders arrived from Gallatin, Tennessee in 1819, and built their homes on the banks of the Bayou Pierre in the western part of Copiah County. Other settlers came with them and in 1829 the state legislature incorporated the town. The incorporation charter was repealed on January 18, 1862. Hazlehurst began with the building of the New Orleans, Jackson and Great Northern Railroad on November 3, 1865. The town was named for Col. George H. Hazlehurst,[2] an engineer for the new railroad. There is also a city in Georgia with George Hazlehurst's namesake (see Hazlehurst, Georgia).

As Hazlehurst grew, Gallatin declined into a settlement at a crossroads. In April, 1872, the legislature ordered the county board of supervisors to hold an election to decide whether the county seat should be moved from Gallatin to Hazlehurst. A majority voted for the change and Gallatin's old brick courthouse was torn down and reassembled in Hazlehurst. Several years later, a new courthouse replaced this building after it was ravaged by fire. The courthouse has been destroyed and rebuilt over 15 times during the town's history.

Notable natives and residents[edit]

  • Alvin C. Cockrell, Jr. was awarded a Navy Cross in World War II.
  • Benjamin Morgan Palmer, 19th century Presbyterian minister, made Hazlehurst his family's home in the summer of 1862 as he served as chaplain with the Washington Artillery of New Orleans.
  • Mablean Ephriam, who presides over the syndicated daytime courtroom TV show Divorce Court, is a Hazlehurst native.
  • John Epperson, actor and singer best known for his performance as Lypsinka, was born in Hazlehurst.
  • Beth Henley, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, although born in Jackson, spent much of her childhood in the town, where her father grew up. The play for which Henley won the Pulitzer, Crimes of the Heart, is set in Hazlehurst.
  • Robert Johnson, the delta blues musician, was born in Hazlehurst; between the Copiah County courthouse and the Trustmark bank, there is a small monument in memory of his birth. Robert Johnson's birth home is also located near the courthouse and is currently tied up in litigation with the City of Hazlehurst to determine its future.
  • Emmett Honeycutt, a fictional character from the TV show Queer as Folk.
  • Rory Lee, pastor of Antioch Baptist Church in Hazlehurst from 1976 to 1994; president of two Southern Baptist colleges[3]
  • James L. McCorkle, Jr., American agricultural historian, was born in Hazlehurst in 1935.
  • Print Matthews, social reformer and African American rights advocate murdered in the act of voting after defying local white supremacists, was born near Hazlehurst.

Rail Transportation[edit]

Amtrak, the national passenger rail system, provides service to Hazlehurst. Amtrak Train 59, the southbound City of New Orleans, is scheduled to depart Hazlehurst at 11:55 am daily with service to Brookhaven, McComb, Hammond, and New Orleans. Amtrak Train 58, the northbound City of New Orleans, is scheduled to depart Hazlehurst at 4:17 pm daily with service to Jackson, Yazoo City, Greenwood, Memphis, Newbern-Dyersburg, Fulton, Carbondale, Centralia, Effingham, Mattoon, Champaign-Urbana, Kankakee, Homewood, and Chicago.


Hazlehurst is located at 31°51′54″N 90°23′29″W / 31.86500°N 90.39139°W / 31.86500; -90.39139 (31.864910, -90.391353).[4]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 4.4 square miles (11 km2), of which 4.4 square miles (11 km2) is land and 0.04 square miles (0.10 km2) (0.90%) is water.


As of the census[5] of 2000, there were 4,400 people, 1,594 households, and 1,131 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,004.9 people per square mile (387.9/km²). There were 1,752 housing units at an average density of 400.2 per square mile (154.4/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 29.30% White, 68.59% African American, 0.02% Native American, 0.48% Asian, 0.59% from other races, and 1.02% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.05% of the population.

There were 1,594 households out of which 34.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 36.5% were married couples living together, 28.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.0% were non-families. 26.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.68 and the average family size was 3.20.

In the city the population was spread out with 28.1% under the age of 18, 10.4% from 18 to 24, 25.6% from 25 to 44, 19.9% from 45 to 64, and 16.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 82.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 76.3 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $25,008, and the median income for a family was $26,081. Males had a median income of $27,066 versus $19,475 for females. The per capita income for the city was $11,839. About 24.0% of families and 26.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 35.8% of those under age 18 and 26.7% of those age 65 or over.


The City of Hazlehurst is served by the Hazlehurst City School District.

The Copiah-Jefferson Regional Library operates a branch in Hazlehurst.[6]


  1. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  2. ^ Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. Govt. Print. Off. p. 153. 
  3. ^ "Pastors Serving Antioch Church". barlowgenealogy.com. Retrieved July 30, 2013. 
  4. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  5. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  6. ^ "Homepage". Copiah-Jefferson Regional Library. Retrieved 12 July 2014. 

External links[edit]