Lamar County, Mississippi Genealogy and History


Pamela J. Gibbs County Coordinator

Lori Thornton,  State Coordinator
Deb Haines
, Assistant State Coordinator

WPA History of Lamar County, Mississippi



One of the most beautiful and impressive scenes to the tourist coming through the county is the tall stately pines of the forests of Lamar County. The large oak trees that are nearly evergreen are seen on the streets and are an attraction to everyone. There are numerous other trees in the forest which one delights to look upon, marvel at their color and pause to wonder as the perfume of the Magnolia blossoms and many other native flowers fill the air.


HONEYSUCKLE growing in rich flats near water have pink flowers that are very fragrant.

YELLOW JESSAMINE grows on vines near creeks and has yellow fragrant flowers that bloom in spring.

GOLDEN ROD is most generally found in old fields along fence rows, weed like, and covered in yellow flowers which appear in fall.

SWEET WILLIAM is found on the hills, blooms in spring and grows about two feet tall.

DAISIES grow in hollows, bloom in spring, and have white petals with yellow centers.

VIOLETS bloom in spring on the hills and in damp places. Purple violet is usually found on the hills and white violets in damp marshes.

 BUTTER CUPS are a yellow cup-like flower and grow in damp marshy places. They bloom in spring.

JOHNNY JUMP UPS are small blue flowers to be found in fields and on roadsides and blooms in spring.

MOUNTAIN LAUREL is a pink and white flowering bush that grows in the edge of branches and blooms in the summer.

GRANSON GRAYBEARD is sometimes called the fringe tree because of the fringe-like white appearance. It blooms in spring and grows in the edge of creeks and branches.

 BEAR GRASS is a prickly bush with a cluster of bell shaped white flowers. It grows in old fields.

BLACK-EYED SUSAN is a yellow daisy with a black center. It grows in old fields and on roadsides.

WILD POPPIES are dark rose colored flowers that bloom in the summer in the woods and are cup shaped.

 SNAP DRAGONS are multicolored, grow in the woods, and bloom in summer.

WATER LILIES grow on ponds and in still pools of water, a delicate white flower with yellow center floating on top of the water. They bloom in spring and summer.

BLUE BELLS are blue and bell shaped and grow wild, blooming in summer.

WISTERIA are lavender or orchid colored and fragrant and grow as a bush or vine.

POISON IVY is pink, blooms in summer, and grows in swamps.

FLOWERING BAY grows in creeks and low places and resembles the magnolia blossom.

MAPLE is a small bush with yellow blossoms.

 RED BUD is a small bush with redbud flowers that bloom in spring.

FLOX is different colored flowers, grows in the woods and blooms in spring.

CAT TAILS are two varieties; A grass and a long stemmed yellow topped variety that grows in water.

DAFFODILS are yellow fragrant flowers that bloom in spring.

 INDIAN PIPES are a small white flower, shaped like a pipe, and very sweet.

BABY BREATH is a small dainty white flower.

 WILD IRIS or flag, all colors, bloom in spring.

YELLOW JASMINE is a bush trailing small yellow flowers, with a fragrant odor and blooms in spring.

MAY POP is a vine that grows in fields and has white and blue flowers.

LUPINES grow on a stem with blue bell shaped flowers

WILD ASTER, a purple flower, blooms in autumn.

 WILD PINKS bloom in the fall.



PERSIMMON, very common in old fields, is cut for golf club heads, shutters and novelties.

CHERRY is found in old fields. It has very little economic value.

HUCKLEBERRY never grows so large and has no economic value.

MAY HAW grows in ponds. The fruit is very yellow. It is used for jellies.

CRABAPPLE trees do not grow so large. The fruit is used for jellies and is very sour.

CHINQUAPIN has no economic value.

WILD MULBERRY is found around old fields and has no economic value.

HICKORY bears a very hard nut. It is not very extensive. Its economic value is limited to its wood.

BLACKBERRY vines are extensive throughout the county. The fruit is good for jams or jellies.

WILD PLUMS are found in Lamar County around old fields. They are valuable for preserves and jellies

WILD LOCUST grows around old fields, bears fruit, has no economic value


On almost every farm in Lamar County there is a number of fruit bearing trees. The trees to be most extensively found are peach, pears, plums, grapes, and some apples, apricots, quince and scuppernong.

HOUSTON BASS of Lumberton has the largest peach and pear orchard in Lamar County. He has forty acres in pears and thirty acres in peaches. In 1936 he sold 7,000 bushels of pears to trucks from Texas, Louisiana, (illegible) and Mississippi. Three carloads were shipped to Iowa. He sold 6,000 bushels of peaches, three carloads with 1500 bushels to the car went to Memphis, Tennessee, two carloads to northern markets. This fruit is a cash crop.

MR. JIM FILLINGAME of Oloh had six acres in Elbert peaches. This fruit is sold to local market in Columbia, Mississippi. Last season the fruit from these trees netted Mr. Fillingame the sum of $500. This orchard furnishes a cash crop for the owner and when canned or dried is also of economic value.

MR. J. T. TANNEHILL of Purvis has 40 acres in pears and 20 acres in peaches all varieties. Like the other orchards this one means a cash crop to the owner.

MR. ALFRED THOMPSON in the Grove community seven miles west of Purvis, Mississippi has a Youngberry vineyard. The vineyard consists of two acres and has quite an interesting history. Mr. Thompson went to visit one of his cousins that lives in the Rio Grande Valley and on his trip he saw quite a number of Youngberry vineyards. He asked if the berries would live in other sections of the country. A man explained how they could be cultivated and marketed. When he returned home the first thing he did was to clear a place for a vineyard in an old pond in the field, because the place was damp. The berry plants are set out in the fall, three feet apart, fertilized with a good grade of fertilizer and wound around a wire frame that goes from one end of the row to the other end. The berries get ripe the first of May. The berries are gathered when ripe and placed in pint cups and quart cups. He sells them to local markets and some to northern markets. One year he received a cash profit of $500 from the berries.


The Vickers Plant farm, located southeast of Oloh in a tract of 1000 acres of cut over land, rented from Ross J. Beatty of Chicago by H. J. Vickers of Forrest County. He has planted about 500 acres in Tung oil trees and is planning on planting the entire 1,000 acres in Tung oil trees.


Climate in This Section Assures Abundant Crop From Cultivated Trees
Possible That $95.00 Per Acre Profit Can Be Made

Will Lamar County, Mississippi take advantage of its natural endowment in climate and soil to reap its share of this wealth? Tung Oil in Mississippi is no longer the speculative hazardous undertaking it was five years ago. The crop of this year and for years to come can be carried to market and sold for cash.

Small plantings of ten acres can be made to yield more per tree than a large planting because individual attention can be given in connection with correlative crops on the same ground.

To the far-seeing Mississippi farmer would it not appear that perhaps one hundred man hours of labor per year, invested in $5.00 per acre land, and yielding $100.00 per acre per year without other investment and with only a five year wait for results would be a thoroughly sound investment.

In five years time some thousands of acres of Tung trees, planted about 100 trees per acre, have come into bearing. These trees were carefully tended, plowed and harrowed, but not necessarily fertilized, for the first three years. No plant diseases or pests have yet been known to attack Tung oil trees. Authorities cannot say why but the fact remains. Perhaps it can be attributed to the poisonous or nauseating nature of the oil.

The interested reader should not draw the conclusion from this article that all he has to do to raise Tung oil is to stick a seed in the ground and let it grow. It would probably grow a few inches and stop. Rather follow this procedure: write your State Plant Board at Starkville, Mississippi, where the chief field supervisor is located, and ask his advice as to the selection of proper soil and care of young Tung trees. Then, purchase selected pedigreed nursery stock from your local growers who can guarantee growing stock with a history of heavy production. Do no be afraid to pay a fair price. Then follow instructions and put in at least ten hours per acre per year in intensive cultivation on each acre planted.

Before closing this article it is well to consider a few pertinent facts as to competition and demand. First, let us state without reservation the demand for Tung oil will increase in America faster than the supply. This can be assured because the vast paint industry is now willing to advance the applications of Tung oil to its formulae because it can in a few years see independence from an uncertain Chinese supply.

Contrary to common opinion Tung oil is still just as indispensable to China as it has always been, according to Mr. L. Ching Hee, the largest Chinese exporter of Tung oil.


The Vickers Plant Farm, consisting of 1000 acres, 500 of which is being used for raising truck plants, such as tomatoes, peppers, cabbage, etc., located 12 miles northwest of Purvis on the Purvis and Oloh Road, is now in the midst of its busiest season. Approximately 300 employees are busy gathering and packing plants for shipment to customers all over the country.

The plant farm was only recently cleared up from cut over land, and this is the first season that they have shipped plants. 500 acres are being cleared and planted with Tung oil trees. It is developing the Tung oil orchard, but the vegetable plant feature of the farm is being developed by the manager, Mr. Vickers.
(From Special Edition Progressive Citizen, Weekly Lumberton Newspaper, 1935, writer unknown.)


a. National -- none
b. State Parks -- none
c. Forest Nurseries -- none


Conifers (trees bearing cones)

PINE: The Long Leaf Yellow Pine. The most distinguishing characteristic is its size-stateliness, its long needles and dark brown, rough bark. Used for lumber, fuel, turpentine, rosin, pine oil, powder and even the needles are used for basket making.

SHORT LEAF PINE: These pines do not grow as tall and as smooth as the long leaf pine. They have a short body, swaying limbs, and short needles.

CYPRESS: Is not so extensive in Lamar County but is found in the larger swamps. The needles are short. The cypress is used for shipbuilding and for furniture and coffins.


WHITE OAK AND RED OAK are extensive in Lamar County and are the most commercially important of any hardwood.

BLACK JACK OAKS have large divided leaves and are not so valuable.

WATER OAKS are nearly ever green with wedge shaped leaves.

FOOT OAK has leaves thick and rough with branches rough and stout. It is of minor importance, generally fit only for post or fuel.

PIN OAK is hard to distinguish from Red Oak and is seldom found away from deep-rich soil.

LIVE OAK is not so extensive in Lamar County. It has thick low branches and thick leaves that are ever green. It has no economic value.

HICKORY'S distinguishing characteristics are its tall stately body and long leaves. This tree is used in wagon building.

BLACK GUM has lower branches which grow at right angles to the trunk. It is the first tree to show its fall coloration, a bright scarlet on the upper surface. The larger logs are used for furniture, the small for ox yokes and wooden wheels on account of extreme toughness.

DOGWOOD is cut for shutters, small handles, and novelty stock.

POPLAR is white, tall and slender. It grows in swampy places and is economically valuable for lumber.

MAGNOLIA is distinguished by large leaves which are green on top and brown underneath. The Magnolia is sometimes used for furniture building. This tree is noted for its large white fragrant blossoms.

WHITE BAY is similar to the Magnolia but has white leaves and is of lesser significance.

SWEET BAY is also similar. They are of no economic value.

RED MAPLE is common on the wet flats and swamps but is usually too poor for lumber.

RED BUD is not so common. It is found on our upland ridges and is hardly ever cut except for fenceposts.

HOLLY is very extensive in swamps of Lamar County. It is cut only for handle stocks and is used for Christmas Trees.

PAWPAW is confined to loamy ridges and rarely reaches tree size. It is common as shrubbery and undergrowth.

SASSAFRAS is confined to loamy ridges and is cut and aged for posts.

SYCAMORE is not extensive.


Trees improve and build up the soil. The leaves and small twigs decompose and form a dark layer of colored vegetable mold which enriches and stores up moisture. By means of this moisture layer of mold the binding of the soil by the roots of the woods prevent floods, gulling, or destroying the land by erosion. Forest trees serve as shelter for livestock, as a windbreak for buildings, and a shade against extreme temperature.

The home forest will usually supply the farm needs for buildings, fences, fuel, repairs or all kinds and the surplus can be sold in the forms of standing timber, saw logs, posts, poles, cross ties, pulp wood, fuel wood and blocks. The amount of these is according to the acreage of the forest.

The farmer sells his timber to the small mill owner in this county. Sometimes he sells it standing and at other times he cuts it himself. The timber is cut into logs by two men with a crosscut saw. Trucks haul the logs to the mill, which is located as near to the timber as possible. At the mill the logs are made into lumber and sold to different customers by the mill owner.

If the timber is sold standing it brings the farmer from $3.00 to $6.00 per log. If he cuts it and hauls it himself, he gets from $7.00 to $10.00 per thousand for it. The mill owner sells the lumber to people in the county and also ships or hauls it in trucks to all the interior cities. He receives from $10.00 to $30.00 per thousand for it.

There is no organized method in Lamar County for protection of the woods against fire, fungi, insects, etc. The large land owners often have men posted to guard and watch. If a fire breaks out he goes for help and puts it out. The farmer often burns the woods on his place to kill snakes and other harmful insects.

Improvement in home forestry is not so extensive in Lamar County, and can be done by cutting out the inferior kinds, removing dead and dying trees and deformed trees that shade the bottom ones, also the less valuable kind. Very little reproduction has been done in Lamar County.

Trees used and best suited to Lamar County on the streets in the towns of the county are Water Oaks and White Oaks. The kinds that can be used are Live Oaks, Pecans, Walnut and Magnolias, Tung Oil and Cedar. The highways of Lamar County are bordered by a natural growth of trees, as above mentioned.

W. P. A. Table of Contents
Sawmills And The Men Who Owned Them


Copyright 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007  by Pamela J. Gibbs except where otherwise noted.


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