NCHGS Archives Building

NCHGS Archives
15309 Hwy 15
Decatur, MS 38327
(601) 635-2350

Mailing Address
PO Box 181
Decatur, MS 39327

Hours of Operation
Monday - Friday
9am - 1pm
By appointment only


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Holiday Closing Schedule (2012)

New Year's Day -  January 2
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day - January 16
President's Day - February 20
Good Friday - April 6
Confederate Memorial Day - April 30
Memorial Day - May 28
Independence Day - July 4
Labor Day - September 3
Columbus Day - October 8
Veteran's Day - November 12
Thanksgiving - November 22-23
 Christmas - December 24 – 25
New Year’s Eve – December 31

After being housed in two temporary locations, it was with great excitement that Society members watched as the Newton County Archives was relocated to the Old Jail at 15309 Highway 15 in Decatur in June of 2004. Built in 1913, the Old Jail House is a historic building with space to house the growing collection of books and other material being donated to the Society. Visitors at Archives have come not only from many cities in Mississippi but also from various cities in approximately one-half of the fifty states.

The Archives collection (See Archive Holdings) consists primarily of print material. Some of the information is in book or booklet format and shelved by categories while other information is kept in filing cabinets. A list of the categories of print material includes:

A special collection housed in the Archives is the Daysidel Day Bruister Berryhill Collection of Genealogical Materials. Thirty-four different family names are included in this collection of “bits and pieces” of information, letters, family notes and documented material collected by Daysidel over her lifetime of genealogical research. It is certainly an interesting collection.

A collection of non-print material in several formats is a growing part of the Archives collection. Old photographs are being scanned then placed in albums and a collection of old letters continues to grow. Other non-print items include CDs and DVDs.


The Archives is open from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Monday through Friday and the same hours on the first and third Saturday of each month. Society members volunteer their time to staff the Archives. Visitors have access to the material housed in the building and to on-line resources. Volunteers also have access to records in the Newton County Courthouse and are willing to provide assistance to researchers who cannot come to Archives. For information which needs to be printed, copies are twenty (20) cents per page for Archives material and fifty (50) cents per page for pages copied from records housed in the Courthouse.


Newton County Archives
4 July 2004 Message

It was a proud moment a few months earlier when permanent signs were erected on the NCHGS Archives Building in Decatur. It was kind of like giving a name to a newborn child. And, with the help of Ann and Roger Burkes, we have also added an American flag and patriotic bunting -- just in time for the July 4th weekend.

We have much to be proud of. Our membership, as of this writing, stands at 181 members. Of that number many live in Newton County, but members also come from 26 Mississippi towns and cities outside of the county as well as 18 other states: Alabama, Texas (12), Illinois, Idaho, California, Oklahoma, Kentucky, Tennessee, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Missouri, Ohio, Louisiana, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Oregon. Our youngest member is age 16. Our oldest? Don’t ask.

Visitors to the Archives in recent weeks have come from more than a dozen Mississippi towns and cities outside of the county and from the following states: Alabama, Colorado, Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Missouri, South Dakota, Arkansas, Florida, Utah, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Illinois, Idaho, California, and Tennessee.

Our collection of research materials continues to grow and includes Newton County marriage records (1872-1952), cemetery records through 1995, abstracts of more that 3,000 death certificates, a database of more than 62,000 individuals, most with links to Newton County, 48 church minutes or histories, a variety of military records, 236 family histories or files, a number of court records, bound volumes of The Newton Record (1901-1966), and shortly we will have a complete set of census records (1840-1930) for the county. All this and more! Whew! And we are just beginning. Signs of the times.


Newton County Archives
Moved to Old Jail House June 22, 2004

On Tuesday, June 22, 2004, a crew of NCHGS members, including Ann Burkes, Bess Hollingsworth, J. P. and Floy Hurst, and myself (President Harold Graham), and with help from muscle men from the county trustee system, made the move into our new archives. It was a day of rejoicing.

Bess Hollingsworth & Jesse Max Harris

Bess Hollingsworth and Jesse Max Harris at the new NCHGS Archives.

This day would not have been made possible without the combined efforts of our county officials, including the Board of Supervisors, the Chancery Clerks Office, and the Sheriffs Department.

The “new” facility was originally designed as a jail in 1913, but over the years has served many other functions. Most recently the county government has given the building a face-lift and life transfusion by applying a new roof, adding interior and exterior painting, and making other improvements. The labor for these improvements came largely through the use of prison trustees.

Since our move, a group of volunteers has begun the process of bringing the new facility into order. Our collection is on display and ready for use, but there are other needs to address. These needs include increased shelving and seating, a table for the copy machine, and modifications to the bathroom. Beyond these needs, we plan to concentrate on improving our equipment and our collection of materials. For these purpose, we have started a Building Fund. Many of you have already generously donated to this fund. These donations are greatly appreciated and will be used to accomplish the purposes just stated. Additional contributions are welcome and will be used to improve the facility and equipment that we have.


Newton County Archives
Opened on September 24, 2003

The Newton County Archives, sponsored by the Newton County Historical and Genealogical Society, opened on September 24, 2003, in the Courthouse Annex and then moved to the Old Jail at 15309 Highway 15, Decatur, Mississippi, on June 22, 2004.

I. Research Materials (all donated) that are housed in the Archives include:

  • Church histories 50 items
  • Court records 6 volumes
  • Census records 5 items
  • Military records 18 items
  • Marriage records 5 items
  • Newton County history 8 items
  • Family histories 155 items (books and folders)
  • Civil War history 22 items
  • Mississippi History 14 items including various issues of Journal of Mississippi History
  • Other States 44 items and various journals
  • Newspapers Back issues of Newton Record (1901-1924) and Union Appeal

II. Map Collection. Our map collection continues to grow. This collection includes both contemporary and historical maps of Mississippi and the Newton County area. We are indebted to Danny McDonald for providing the Society customized maps of specific areas within the county.

III. Volunteer hours: members have spent over 3, 000 hours of time working on various projects and making the facility available to the public.

IV. Visitors: We have received over 100 visitors since our opening. These visitors have come from the following locales outside Newton County; Carriere, Carthage, Collinsville, Forest, Jackson, Kosciusko, Long Beach, Madison, Meridian, Moss Point, Pearl, Philadelphia, Raymond, Van Cleave, and Walnut Grove and from the states of Alabama, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, New Mexico, Okalahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia.

V: Research Projects

  • Abstracting early issues of Newton Record and Union Appeal.
  • Gathering data toward the publication of a book on World War II
  • Veterans from Newton County. At present we have received completed
  • Questionnaires on approximately 260 veterans of approximately 1,000 who have been identified.

VI. Building Project. Through the combined donations of money and labor of many we have been able to build four bookcases, a copier table, and make modifications to the bathroom area. We have also received donated of computers, furniture, and an air-conditioner. Future plans include adding a permanent sign near the building. Our gratitude is expressed to all those who have made donations to make the Archives a reality.

Ann Burkes, Archivist
Harold Graham, President


Newton County Prison
NCHGS Archives Building

Decatur, Miss., Oct. 18, 1913: The board of supervisors of Newton  County, in special session here to-day completed the plans and specifications  for a new and modern jail, to be constructed immediately. The jail to be  constructed, as planned, will, as estimated, cost about $4,000. The board will  receive bids for this purpose at their next regular meeting, which will be held  the first Monday in November. It is considered by those that are acquainted with  the old jail that the board did not take action any too soon in the matter, for  the present jail, being an old frame building, and getting in a dilapidated  condition, is hard to keep sanitary.


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