Towns, Communities and Other Landmarks,
Southwest Quadrant, Northern Half
(Exclusive of the Town of Newton)

By Dr. Harold Graham

Alabama & Vicksburg Railway

Barnett Creek

Beattie House

According to WPA records, the Beattie house was built in the vicinity of Lawrence in 1870 by Bob Wilson and sold soon thereafter to Ebenezer D. Beattie. The ten-room house was a frame dwelling in Georgian style.

Bentley House

Located on the original Doolittle Plantation, this house was likely built by Thomas Irish Doolittle and later occupied by his daughter Effie and her husband Edgar S. Bentley. Today it is the property of Larry Garvin. Buildings on the property include an ancient smoke house, barn, and the remains of slave houses.

Blalock Plantation

According to WPA records, Milleton Blalock moved to Newton County in 1836, bringing his slaves with him to plant crops and build a large two-story house before bringing his own family from Edgefield District, South Carolina. This house was located five miles south of Decatur. Milleton Blalock operated a large plantation in the immediate area before both his death and his wife’s death in 1859. The house was burned in 1869 and all that remained was a small family cemetery in a cotton field.

Cedar Grove Baptist Church (White)

This church, immediately north of the town of Newton, was founded in 1919.

Map - SW Quadrant Northern

A contemporary map indicates the area featured in this story.

Cedar Grove School (Afro-American)
Discontinued in 1911 and students transferred to Negro Industrial School located in the eastern part of the town of Newton.

Cedar Grove School (White)

Located immediately north of the town of Newton. Trustees for the 1911-1912 School year were W. W. Holladay and L. R. Bounds. The teacher was Ruth Monroe. The school was located on the same site as Cedar Grove Baptist Church.

Doolittle

The post office at Doolittle, 2.5 miles northeast of Newton, was commissioned July 5, 1900. In 1905, Doolittle became a flag stop for the GM & N railroad. The community was named for Newton Doolittle who operated a grist mill in the area. Thomas Irish Doolittle served as the only postmaster until the position was discontinued on March 31, 1903, with the mail then being routed to Newton.

Doolittle Station

Postal services for Doolittle Station were approved on November 24, 1860 and discontinued on January 21, 1867 with John G. Blackwell the only postmaster.

Doolittle Plantation

Doolittle Plantation was owned by Roger Williams Doolittle and included much of the land later part of the town of Newton, and particularly the area immediately north of Interstate 20. Doolittle Flat, Doolittle Station, and Doolittle were located on the original plantation lands. Following the death of Roger Williams Doolittle in 1889, this land would continue to be farmed by his sons Newton and Thomas Irish Doolittle and other family members.

Doolittle School (White)

Trustees for the 1911-1912 School year were N. N. Munn, J. W. Wall, and J. M. Payne. The teacher was Jewel Walton.

Dunagin Creek

Located north of Newton and flowing southeasterly into Potterchitto Creek, Dunagin Creek was named for early settler James Dunagin who came to Newton County from Hinds County, Mississippi.

Ebenezer Baptist Church (White)

North of Lawrence, Ebenezer was formed in 1873 with the original building a log structure with a dirt floor across the road from the current location. After Pine Forest School closed in 1927, with the students being transferred to Lawrence, the church was relocated where the school had once stood.

Gibbs Family Cemetery

This cemetery contains members of the family of Laban Gibbs who moved from Greene County, Alabama, to Newton County, Mississippi, ca 1847. Most of the graves are unmarked. This cemetery is located on the Newton County Land Fill Road between Decatur and Newton.

Gulf & Chicago Railway System

Train
Hazel-Gibbstown

Hazel and Gibbstown represent two overlapping communities in the western part of the county which to many residents represent the same community. Hazel derived its name from the church of that name. Gibbstown derived it name from Jesse Richard (Doc) Gibbs who operated a successful general store in this area and who has numerous descendants who live near the site of his original store. Postmasters at Hazel were

George T. Pace—January 7, 1901 to February 18, 1902; Alice E. Crosby—February 18, 1902 to February 23, 1904; George T. Pace—February 23, 1904 to September 9, 1904, at which time the office was discontinued and mail sent to Lake in Scott County, Mississippi.

Hazel Baptist Church (See separate story)

Highway 15

Highway 80

Highway 80 Cemetery

Located in Section 28, Township 9 N, Range 10E, this cemetery contained markers during the 1950’s which have since been destroyed.

Hull Memorial United Methodist Church (White)

Located in Lawrence, this church dates from 1888.

Interstate 20

Jerusalem M. B. Church (Afro-American)

According to a history of the church, Jerusalem M. B. Church was founded in 1892, one mile north of Lawrence, with Thomas and Eliza Whitehead granting the needed land. Ministers who have served in the life of the church include Revs. L. W. Donald, H. C. Chapman, J. H. Brookins, C. P. Harris, Willis M. Adkins, John H. Kirkland, George C. Willis, and J. S. Spanks.

Lake

Located in the edge of Scott County, Lake was founded ca. 1860 as a railroad town. Throughout its history it has served as a trade center for area residents in both Scott and Newton counties. Many students from the southwestern edge of Newton County are enrolled in Lake schools.

Lake Christian Church

This church is located just north of Lake on Highway 489.

Lawrence

A railroad town, Lawrence was established as early as 1867, just west of Newton, and, according to WPA records, the town was founded by R. E. Wilson who laid out town lots and operated a mill at this site. During the 1890’s the town had one physician, Dr. F. B. Nimocks, two churches, several businesses, and a steam mill and gin.

Postmasters who served at Lawrence there through 1935 were Ebenezer D. Beattie, July 11, 1867—October 25, 1869; Russell Rustin, October 25, 1869—March 1, 1875; Ebenezer D. Beattie, February 20, 1877—June 14, 1901; James W. Boyd, June 14, 1901—October 28, 1903; Flossie Searcy, October 28, 1903--April 16, 1908; Melisa C. Beaver, April 16, 1908-April 19, 1922; and Joseph B. Price, April 19, 1922--.

The town was severely impacted by the yellow fever epidemic of 1878 and a number of merchants and professional families moved to Newton after this epidemic. Over a period of time the population of Lawrence has declined to such a degree that in 2007, Ottis Cooksey, unofficial mayor and operator of the only remaining businesses in town, offered the town for sale.

Lawrence Baptist Church (White)

Lawrence Cemetery (White)

Begun ca., 1862, Lawrence Cemetery has served as a community burial ground.

Lawrence Presbyterian Church

Reported by A. J. Brown in 1893, but no longer in existence.

Lawrence Schools

Lawrence schools operated under the auspices of Newton County School District until August 24, 1911, at which time the schools was given status as a separate school district. This arrangement remained in effect until a later merger with Newton Separate School District. Trustees for the white school in 1911-1912 were W. L. McCulley, F. F. Simmons, A. V. Dennis, and A. C. Spinks. Teachers were Mrs. Marguerette Monroe and Carmelia Gordy. The trustees for the Afro-American school in 1913-1914 school term were Bob Evans, Clarence Effinger and Jake Curry and the teachers, Joseph Ellis and M. E. Whitehead.

Lone Star School

Located in Scott County, this school was declared a Line District School on July 16, 1914, with students attending from both Newton and Scott Counties.

Midway Baptist Church (White)

This church was founded in 1878 at a mid-way point between Decatur and Newton.

Pace Family Cemetery (White)

Established ca. 1886 or earlier, this cemetery is located in the Hazel-Gibbstown community.

Patron’s Union (See separate story)

Pine Bluff Baptist Church (White)

Pine Bluff Baptist Church was organized in 1873; however the adjoining cemetery likely predates the formation of the church. Pioneer settler David Riser who died ca. 1864 and his first wife, Nancy Hollingsworth Riser, who died before 1856, are both believed to be buried in this cemetery.

Pine Forest School (White)

This school was located on the site where Ebenezer Baptist Church now stands. Trustees for the school session 1911-1912 were J. T. May and A. M. May. Teachers were B. H. Thigpen and Miss U. Beavers.

Pine Ridge Baptist Church (White)

Located between Lake and Lawrence (on the old route), Pine Ridge is thought to have been established ca. 1855-1860 to coincide with the migration of a number of families from Jasper County, Mississippi, including the Parkers, Nelsons, Robinsons, and Bounds. A large cemetery is located next to the church with many unmarked graves.

Potterchitto Creek (partial)

Prestridge School (Afro-American)

The teacher for the 1911-1912 school session was Rebecca Jefferson. School trustees were A. Jones and Rob Evans. This school was closed in 1917 with students being transferred to either Union Grove or Good News Schools.

Purefoy

Purefoy was located northwest of Lawrence. Elias J. Madden served as its only postmaster, from February 8, 1900 to December 31, 1903, at which time the post office was discontinued and the mail routed to Newton. This location is thought to have been misidentified as Puerto in some historical references.

Richardson Mill Creek

According to WPA records, Richardson Mill Creek, located north of Lawrence and running eastward, was named for Bryant Richardson who operated a water mill at the head of the creek.

Riser

Located southwest of Decatur, Riser has served as a voting precinct throughout much of Newton County’s history. The center of this community is regarded as Pine Bluff Baptist Church, with the community extending south to St. Hill M. B. Church and north to Macedonia Primitive Baptist Church. Riser Creek flows through this region and an early school, known as Riser, also operated near Pine Bluff Baptist Church. The community derives its name from early settler David Riser.

Riser Creek

Riser School (White)

Riser School was one of the first schools organized in the county during Reconstruction.  According to W. J. McMullan, the original school building was a “boxed plank set-up” built next to where Pine Bluff Baptist Church now stands. Water was obtained from the “Riser Gum Springs — good water.” The first teacher, according to McMullan, was “an old man named Sibley”, a Scotsman, who McMullan’s father helped to move from Neshoba County. School opened two weeks before Christmas, then during the holidays Sibley got drunk and was dismissed from his duties.[Dunagin, Odis Mae Spivey, Dunagin Family and Allied Lines, Memphis, Tennessee, 1974, p. 36.]

There was no mention of the school in the Newton County School Board minutes for 1911-1912 and it is believed that the school had been closed by that time and the students transferred to Macedonia or other area schools.

Rush School (White)

This school was located immediately to the west of Pine Ridge Baptist Church. Trustees for the year 1911-1912 were W. M. Rush and A. Caples. The teacher was Charlie Evans.

Sharon Primitive Baptist Church (White)

Founded in 1891, the church is directly across the highway from Hazel Baptist Church.

Simmons Family Cemetery #1 (White)

Located near Morgan Field, just west of Newton, this is the likely the burial site for pioneer settler Ralph Simmons and other family members.

Simmons Cemetery #2 (White)

Located on Roncali Road just west of Newton, this is the burial place for William Simmons who was killed in a hunting accident in 1882.

Sivils’ Creek

St. Cloud Church (Afro-American)

St. Hill M. B. Church (Afro-American)

Located north of Newton on the Pine Bluff Road, this church is believed to have been founded by the former slaves of Thomas J. Wash and allied families. Other than Wash, the adjacent cemetery also contains burials for these families: Benson, Brown, Garr, Glover, Hardy, Hitt, Hughes, Jordan, Jinkins, Kidd, McCune, Mapp, Moore, Nelson, Rush, Shoemake, Smith, Spiva/Spivey, Watkins, Whitfield, Williamson, and Willis. One unusual burial is represented by a marker for Charlie Glover, Sgt., Company D, 11th Alabama Infantry, CSA. Charles Frank (Charlie) Glover, then age 96, died 22 January 1937 at Decatur.

St. Hill School (Afro-American)

This school is thought to have existed near the St. Hill M. B. church. Trustees for the 1913-1914 school term were G. Gardner, Dan Currie, and Walter Brown. The teacher was H. R. Hitt.

Stephens Family Cemetery (White)

Burial site for Samuel Henry Stephens, his wife Sarah Kelly Stephens and other family members.

Turkey Creek (partial)

Tuscalameta Creek (partial)

The headwaters of this creek begin near Pine Ridge Baptist Church and flow northward to converge with the Pearl River in Leake County, Mississippi.

Union Chapel United Methodist Church (Afro-American)

This church is located in the town of Lawrence.

Union Grove School (Afro-American)

This school was located east of Hazel. Trustees for the 1911-1912 school term were Thomas Wayne and Frank Tolbert. The teacher was Viola Moore.

Wash Plantation

This plantation, located south of Pine Bluff Baptist Church was owned by Thomas J. Wash and his wife Mary (Polly) Clements Wash.

Wash-Volentine Cemetery (White)

This cemetery is located in Section 31, Township 6N, Range 10 E.

Why Not School (White)

This school was located to the northeast of Newton. Trustees for 1911-1912 were C. A. Brantley, J. A. Thomas, and R. N. Henry. The teacher was Frances Hosey.

Yellow Fever Cemetery

Burial site for a number of victims of the Yellow Fever epidemic of 1878, this cemetery is located on the south side of Highway 80 between Lawrence and Newton.

References

1914 Soil Map, Newton County, Mississippi, copy courtesy of Ricky Harrison

Boyd, Gregory A., Family Maps of Newton County, Mississippi, Arphax Publishing Company, 2005

Brieger, James, Hometown Mississippi, Town Square Books, Inc., Jackson, Mississippi, 1997.

Brown, A. J., History of Newton County from 1834 to 1894, Clarion Ledger Company, Jackson, Mississippi, 1894.

Dunagin, Odis Mae Spivey, Dunagin Family and Allied Lines, Memphis, Tennessee, 1974.

Gibbs, Annie Lee. Personal knowledge.

Hollingsworth, Bess, transcriber, County Superintendent’s Records, Newton County, Mississippi, 1911-1917.
 

Justice, Keith, “Many of Newton County’s Communities Have Vanished,” The Newton Record, December 10, 1986.

Mississippi Death Certificates, State Department of Health

Sledge, Broox, Post Offices in East Central Mississippi, Macon, Mississippi, n/d.

Smith, Bonnie Addy, Smith, Jackson Eliot, and Smith, Robert Ervin, Ph. D., Newton County, Mississippi, a Cemetery Census, 1782-1995, EBRS Publishing Company, Decatur, Mississippi, 1997.

Vance, Lucy Hollingsworth. Personal knowledge.

WPA Records, ca. 1935.

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