Pontotoc, Mississippi

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The Town Square Museum/Post Office located in downtown Pontotoc.
Pontotoc, Mississippi
City
Pontotoc County courthouse.
Pontotoc County courthouse.
Nickname(s): Little Broadway
Location of Pontotoc, Mississippi
Location of Pontotoc, Mississippi
Coordinates: 34°14′55″N 89°0′24″W / 34.24861°N 89.00667°W / 34.24861; -89.00667Coordinates: 34°14′55″N 89°0′24″W / 34.24861°N 89.00667°W / 34.24861; -89.00667
Country United States
State Mississippi
County Pontotoc
Area
 • Total 9.6 sq mi (24.9 km2)
 • Land 9.4 sq mi (24.5 km2)
 • Water 0.2 sq mi (0.4 km2)
Elevation 495 ft (151 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 5,625
 • Density 555.9/sq mi (214.6/km2)
Time zone Central (CST) (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP code 38863
Area code(s) 662
FIPS code 28-59160
GNIS feature ID 0691601
Pontotoc, Mississippi (lower left) is west of Tupelo (via Highway 278) and south of New Albany.

Pontotoc is a city in Pontotoc County, Mississippi, located to the west of the much larger city of Tupelo. The population was 5,625 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Pontotoc County.[1] Pontotoc is a Chickasaw word meaning "Land of Hanging Grapes".

The famous outlaws Jesse and Frank James and their gang once hid at an old house which was used as a Union Army hospital during the Battle of Harrisburg or Battle of Tupelo. The house was located at a crossroad in east Pontotoc County, near the Lee County line.

The Town Square Museum is located in the old US post office near the county courthouse. This historic building houses Pontotoc memorabilia, and continues to operate as a full-service post office. A mural in the museum's lobby titled The Wedding of Ortez and SaOwana - Christmas 1540 depicts the first recorded Christian marriage on the North American continent. It was said to have occurred between Juan Ortez and Princess Saowana, daughter of Chief Uceta, of the Florida Seminole tribe. The wedding is said to have taken place in Pontotoc County during a visit by explorer Hernando de Soto. The mural was painted by Joseph Pollet in 1939 under the arts program of the Works Progress Administration.

The Town Square has a festival every year during the last week of the month of September called the Bodock Festival, based on the Maclura pomifera tree next to the historical mansion, Lochinvar, that survived a massive tornado hit in 2002. The festival lasts over the last weekend, including Friday, of September.



Geography[edit]

Pontotoc is located at 34°14′55″N 89°0′24″W / 34.24861°N 89.00667°W / 34.24861; -89.00667 (34.248611, -89.006729).[2] According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 9.6 sq mi (25 km2), of which 9.4 sq mi (24 km2) is land and 0.2 sq mi (0.52 km2) (1.66%) is covered by water.

Demographics[edit]

As of the census[3] of 2010, 5,625 people, 2,325 households, and 2,129 families resided in the city. The population density was 555.9 people per square mile (214.6/km²). The 2,250 housing units averaged 238.1/sq mi (91.9/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 70.08% White, 20.42%African American, 0.35% Native American, 0.24% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 7.39% from other races, and 1.45% from two or more races. Hispanics of any race were 2.76% of the population.

Of the 2,325 households, 32.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.1% were married couples living together, 16.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.9% were not families. About 29.2% of all households were made up of individuals, and 15.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.41, and the average family size was 2.97.

In the city, the population was distributed as 25.7% under the age of 18, 8.6% from 18 to 24, 26.3% from 25 to 44, 21.5% from 45 to 64, and 18.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females, there were 84.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 77.6 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $28,491, and for a family was $39,306. Males had a median income of $31,403 versus $23,491 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,324. About 12.0% of families and 17.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 18.5% of those under age 18 and 23.0% of those age 65 or over.

Education[edit]

The city of Pontotoc is served by the Pontotoc City School District and the county is served by the Pontotoc County School District . North Pontotoc High School and South Pontotoc High School are two of the top academic schools in the state of Mississippi. North received the Blue Ribbon Award and South received Level 5, the highest rating for a school in Mississippi. The city's band was the third best in the state in 2013

Notable residents[edit]

Some notable residents of Pontotoc, Mississippi include:

  • Soprano Ruby Elzy, a pioneer black opera singer, played the role of Serena in George Gershwin's Porgy and Bess and became a star on Broadway, as well as a prominent radio, concert and film personality. Elzy is buried in Pontotoc's City Cemetery.
  • Negro League baseball player Cowan F. "Bubba" Hyde, who played for the Birmingham Black Barons, was born in Pontotoc on April 10, 1908.[4]
  • Professional wrestler Max Palmer is from Pontotoc.
  • American guitarist Cordell Jackson was born in Pontotoc, and is thought to be the first woman to produce, engineer, arrange, and promote music on her own rock and roll music label.
  • Singer, songwriter and musician Jim Weatherly, author of "Midnight Train to Georgia" and star Ole Miss quarterback is from Pontotoc.
  • Alfred Oscar Coffin, the first African American man to earn a Ph.D. in the field of biological sciences, was born in Pontotoc on May 14, 1861. He later attended Fisk University and Wesleyan University, and served as a professor of Romance languages at Langston University. He was known as an author, teacher, agent, and traveler. He died in Kansas City, Kansas, in 1933, and is buried there.[6]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  2. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  3. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  4. ^ http://biography.jrank.org/pages/2352/Hyde-Cowan-F-Bubba.html
  5. ^ http://www.arts.state.ms.us/folklife/artist.php?dirname=bean_terry
  6. ^ https://webfiles.uci.edu/mcbrown/display/coffin.html