Location of Mayersville, Mississippi
|• Total||1.1 sq mi (2.9 km2)|
|• Land||1.1 sq mi (2.9 km2)|
|• Water||0.0 sq mi (0.0 km2)|
|Elevation||105 ft (32 m)|
|• Density||710.7/sq mi (274.4/km2)|
|Time zone||Central (CST) (UTC-6)|
|• Summer (DST)||CDT (UTC-5)|
|GNIS feature ID||0673260|
Native Americans had lived in this area since prehistoric times, and the Mayersville Archeological Site—added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980—contains the remains of a Native village and cemetery.
The first record of non-Native settlement was in 1830, when Ambrose Gipson purchased a large body of land in the area and established 'Gipson's Landing'. Gipson’s Landing soon became the shipping port on the Mississippi River for the cotton of Issaquena and Sharkey counties, and shifting populations of river crews, gamblers, and traders—as well as show boats during low water times—gave the town a lively feel. The shipping records for David Mayer, who owned nearby Mout Level Plantation, show that river freight was shipped from the port via steamboat to points in Arkansas, Louisiana, Missouri, and Mississippi. Mayer purchased Gipson's Landing in 1870, and the town of 'Mayersville' was founded in 1871. The town was established as the Issaquena County seat in 1872.
A dark chapter in the town’s history occurred on January 30, 1885, after a black saloon keeper named Ebenzer Fowler allegedly sent an insulting letter to a white women in the town. When an armed white posse confronted Fowler on the main street just before dark, Fowler grabbed a gun from a posse member and fired a shot at them. The posse shot him dead. Tension between the town's blacks and whites flared following the shooting, and twenty-two members of Vicksburg's 'Volunteer Southrons' were called in for assistance. The militia left the following day when tensions had eased.
Mayersville’s popularity as a shipping port began to decline in the mid-1800s as railways were built across south, though no railway was built to the town. The construction of a levee following the flood of 1927 removed the town from direct river access, though Bunge North America currently operates a large grain port in 'Millers Landing' north of town.
In 1958, the County Courthouse in Mayersville was built.
In 1976, famed civil rights activist Unita Blackwell was elected Mayor of Mayersville, making her the first female African-American mayor in Mississippi.
Mayersville's present quiescence is in sharp contrast to its history as a booming Mississippi River port.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 1.1 square miles (2.8 km2), all land.
As of the census of 2000, there were 795 people, 190 households, and 126 families residing in the town. The population density was 710.7 people per square mile (274.1/km²). There were 212 housing units at an average density of 189.5 per square mile (73.1/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 11.95% White, 88.05% Black or African American, and 0.13% Hispanic or Latino.
There were 190 households out of which 40.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 26.3% were married couples living together, 31.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.2% were non-families. 31.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.80 and the average family size was 3.53.
In the town the population was spread out with 26.4% under the age of 18, 16.0% from 18 to 24, 36.9% from 25 to 44, 13.7% from 45 to 64, and 7.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 29 years. For every 100 females there were 165.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 228.7 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $10,962, and the median income for a family was $15,208. Males had a median income of $20,917 versus $15,875 for females. The per capita income for the town was $7,287. About 41.6% of families and 49.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 62.6% of those under age 18 and 51.4% of those age 65 or over.
The town of Mayersville is served by the South Delta School District.
- Unita Blackwell, civil rights leader and mayor of Mayersville from 1976-2001; first female African American mayor in Mississippi.
- Willis Elbert Mollison, first African American district attorney in Mississippi.
- William Stamps Farish II, president of Standard Oil.
- "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
- "General County History and Information". Issaquena Genealogy and History Project. 2004.
- "Mayer (David) account book (manuscript)". Mississippi Department of Archives and History.
- Hellmann, Paul T. (2005). Historical Gazetteer of the United States. Routledge.
- Mississippi: A Guide to the Magnolia State. Viking. 1938.
- Wells, Ida B. (2013). Southern Horrors: Lynch Law in All Its Phases (1892). Digital History.
- Wells, Ida B. (1991). Selected Works of Ida B. Wells-Barnett. Oxford.
- Hill, Karlos (2009). "Resisting Lynching: Black Grassroots Responses to Lynching in the Mississippi and Arkansas Deltas, 1882-1938". PhD Dissertation. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "Willis Elbert Mollison". Issaquena Genealogy and History Project. Retrieved January 2014.
- Collins, Karen. "Farish, William Stamps". Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved November 2013.