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.
Duck Hill, Mississippi is located in the US
Duck Hill, Mississippi
Duck Hill, Mississippi
Location in the United States
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, midway 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 or shaman who treated his people. A statue of Chief Duck is located on U.S. Route 51 in Duck Hill, next to an old Illinois Central caboose.

The first European-American settler in the area was John A. Binford in 1834. He built the first home in the area, and developed his property as a cotton plantation. He became one of the region's most successful planters and large slaveholders. Binford was elected to the Mississippi Legislature. Duck Hill was a trading center for the cotton planters.

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 later was elected to the Mississippi State Senate, where after the Reconstruction era, he wrote the Jim Crow laws for Mississippi.[3][4]

In 1856 the Illinois Central Railroad completed a line from Chicago to New Orleans, and it built a depot at Duck Hill. This stimulated its businesses. Premier passenger trains such as the City of New Orleans and the Panama Limited once passed through the town.[5] The line is now used for freight operation by the Grenada Railway.

A train wreck occurred at Duck Hill on October 19, 1862, when 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, regional businessmen hoped that Duck Hill would become a thriving mill town after iron ore was found nearby. Financial speculation followed. Tour of our Southern Correspondent reported in the New York Times:

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 plundered the express car's safe of $3000, killing one man who tried to help.[8][9]

20th century to present[edit]

In 1930, the Lloyd T. Binford High School opened in Duck Hill. (It was named for Lloyd T. Binford, son of state senator James R. Binford, who had become a Memphis insurance executive and film censor. He was noted for his views on "Southern womanhood" and white supremacy.) The city also built an agriculture education facility for its vocational students. A new elementary school was constructed in 1963. The schools have since closed because of declining population. 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]

During World War II, African Americans were among soldiers trained and stationed in the South. 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 white assault against a group of black soldiers at Starkville, Mississippi.[11][12]

Senator Trent Lott, whose father sharecropped a stretch of cotton field in Duck Hill during the 1940s, said in 1999 while supporting a bill for public education: "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."[13][14]

Duck Hill lynchings of 1937[edit]

The brutal lynching of two black men, Roosevelt Townes and Robert "Bootjack" McDaniels, in Duck Hill mid-day on April 13, 1937, gained national publicity. The men had been arraigned in the Montgomery County Courthouse in the county seat of Winona, Mississippi, charged with murdering George Windham, a grocer in Duck Hill, in December 1936. Both pleaded not guilty, as a crowd gathered at the courthouse. A team of 12 white men abducted the two men, as hundreds watched.[15]

They were loaded into a school bus and driven to a wooded area near Duck Hill. Hundreds of people followed, and a crowd estimated at 300-500 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. He was then shot dead, and Townes was subjected to the blowtorch until he confessed. A fire was 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. No one was charged in the abduction or murders.[16]

Newspapers carried a photograph of McDaniels' burned and tortured body chained to a tree, and the lynchings were nationally condemned. German newspapers at the time used the murders for propaganda, contrasting the lynchings to controls under the "humane" Nuremberg racial laws.[17] Such publicity enabled Joseph A. Gavagan (D-New York) to gain support for anti-lynching legislation he had put forward in the House of Representatives (it was supported in the Senate by Robert F. Wagner (D-New York) and Frederick Van Nuys). The legislation eventually passed in the House, but the Solid South of white Democrats blocked it in the Senate.[18][19]


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


Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 151
1890 332 119.9%
1900 242 −27.1%
1910 499 106.2%
1920 528 5.8%
1930 553 4.7%
1940 537 −2.9%
1950 537 0.0%
1960 674 25.5%
1970 809 20.0%
1980 706 −12.7%
1990 586 −17.0%
2000 746 27.3%
2010 732 −1.9%
Est. 2015 1,210 [20] 65.3%
U.S. Decennial Census[21]

As of the census[22] 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. ^ Dougherty, Kevin (2010). Weapons of Mississippi. University Press of Mississippi. 
  12. ^ Orr-Klopfer, M. Susan (2005). Where Rebels Roost: Mississippi Civil Rights Revisited. M. Susan Klopfer. 
  13. ^ "Iona Watson Lott (Obituary)". Rome News-Tribune. July 12, 2005. 
  14. ^ "REAUTHORIZING THE ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION ACT OF 1965". Congressional Record. U.S. Government Printing Office. 1999. 
  15. ^ "Roosevelt Townes and Robert "Bootjack" McDaniels", Northeastern University's Center for Civil Rights and Restorative Justice; News Articles: "Dual Lynching Nationally Condemned" and "Mob Lynches Two Negroes Tuesday near Duck Hill", Winona Times, 15 April 1937; accessed 18 March 2017
  16. ^ Wood, Amy Louise (2009). Lynching and Spectacle: Witnessing Racial Violence in America, 1890-1940. University of North Caroline. 
  17. ^ "Lynchings Top NAZI Papers". San Jose News. April 13, 1937. 
  18. ^ 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. 
  19. ^ Weiss, Nancy Joan (1983). Farewell to the Party of Lincoln: Black Politics in the Age of FDR. Princeton University. 
  20. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2015". Retrieved July 2, 2016. 
  21. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Archived from the original on 12 May 2015. Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  22. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 11 September 2013. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 

External links[edit]