Alcorn County Mississippi Genealogy & History Network

Jacinto, Mississippi in Alcorn County

(submitted by Gerald & Tammy Westmoreland)

Few people, even those living within a few miles, know that many years ago Jacinto was the county seat of the largest county ever formed u=in the State of Mississippi. A county so large as to be called the "Free State of Tishomingo." The county included what is now Alcorn, Prentiss, and Tishomingo Counties.

The town was founded in 1836, when the county of Tishomingo was formed by an Act of the Legislature, signed February 14, 1836. Pioneers moved into the county from the older settlements of North and South Carolina and Tennessee. These settlers, who were willing and anxious workers soon made Jacinto the Metropolis of Northeast Mississippi.

Schools were built long before the Legislature passed the Free School Law, churches were established and newspapers were printed. No county in the state was better represented in the State Legislature. The first telegraph line of record in north Mississippi was built from Tuscumbia, Alabama to Jacinto over the old Tuscumbia-Jacinto stage road, and from Jacinto on to Memphis by way of Somerville, Tennessee.

The first courthouse, which was built of logs, was quickley replaced by a better structure which was more in keeping with the progressive spirit of the people (photo above). The President of the United States, James K. Polk had accepted an invitation to visit the town when he suddenly died. The Judge of the Federal Court, Circuit Judgesm and Army Officers made thir homes here and the town flourished until the building of the Memphis & Charleston Railroad which was projected in 1845. Representatives of Jacinto met with officials of the railroad in Holly Springs to urge the construction of the railroad through the county. The railroad refused the suggested route and the completion of the railroad at Iuka in MArch of 1857 marked the decline of Jacinto.

New railroad towns such as Corinth, Iuka, Burnsville and others displaced the interior towns of Jacinto, Famington and the river town of Eastport. Corinth soon asked for a separate county seat, which took away the court businerss, and soon all other trade drifted to the new railroad towns.

The Civil War came soon after, while all the business was paralyzed, and completed the destruction. In 1870, when the county was divided into three counties, each with new county seats, there was nothing left of Jacinto's former glory.

It is interesting to note that in an old cemetery, near the site of Jacinto are the graves of seventeen children who belonged to one mother. Each child died at the age of sixteen months.

Jacinto is a Spanish name meaning Hyacinth. This was also the name of an Indian Chief of the Chickasaw Tribe, for whom the town was named.

GPS: 34.759722, -88.428333

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