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


        In Lamar County there are many trees, none of any unusual size of historical value. The pines, oaks, blackgum, poplar and magnolia grow larger than any other. The County was once called the "Piney Woods" as this was a forest of large pine trees. In any community on the creeks, all over the county can be found oaks that measure from 9 to 11 feet. The average pine tree in the county at present time is from 5 to 8 feet in circumference. These are mostly short leaf pines and grow in old fields and swamps. Blackgum, sweetgum and poplar average from 5 to 9 feet. Magnolia is the largest flowering tree that grows in the county, the average size also being 5 to 8 feet.

Historic Trees

        Just outside the corner of Bay Creek Cemetery stands a red oak tree that measures 11 feet in circumference four and one half feet above the ground. The people of this community used to hold elections under this tree. The place was called "The Oaks".

        Near Myrtle Grove church in the Baxterville community, Lamar County is an average sized Black-haw tree (these trees never grow large). This tree was planted by Mrs. Rebecca Standford, a lady with who Governor Longino's wife spent the night enroute to visit relatives in Lawrence County. Mrs. Longino was riding horse back and carried this switch to coax her pony along. On leaving she left the switch. Mrs. Standford found it and out of curiosity planted it out and to her surprise it lived and turned out to be a Black-haw tree.

        On the old Daniel Slade place in the Yawn Community there is a live oak about 85 years old, this tree has low swinging limbs, measures 11 feet in circumference four and one half feet from the ground. The top is some fifty feet broad. This tree was planted from an acorn brought form Pass Christian by Daniel Slade, settler of the place. On this same place there are a number of large oak trees, one red oak that measures 12 feet 6 inches four and one half feet from the ground. Another measures 11 feet 3 inches, four feet from the ground.

        In the year of 1884 Mr. John Carley who had just built a new home on Main Street in Purvis, had a man who was in the lumber industry in Marion County, now Lamar, to look out for some water oak trees to set out in his yard. One day Mr. Alfred Bufkin was having some pine trees cut in Holidays Creek and he noticed that there was five tiny water oaks. He dug them up and brought them to Mr. Carley. When Mr. Bufkin reached Purvis he noticed that the leaves on the trees were all withered and almost dead. He told Mr. Carley that he was sorry about the trees looking so dead but the other man said what difference does it make for an oak tree, for it will live just the same. They set the oak trees out in the front yard about fifteen or more feet apart. Today these trees measure the following, four and one half feet above the ground:
        10 feet 4 inches
        10 feet 2 inches
        8 feet 10 inches
        10 feet 2 inches

        These water oak trees are 43 years old. They afford a very pretty shade for the home. The new concrete side walk is near the trees and afford a beautiful street scene in Purvis.

        Fifty-two years ago Mrs. Mary Hendricks set out a water oak tree on her grounds in Purvis. Later when Dr. S. E. Reese and family lived in this home he built a shed around the tree for his children to play in. Today the tree measures 13 feet and 10 1/2 inches, four and one half feet above the ground. The tree is the property of Mrs. Lee Dixon.

        Following is two clippings showing the size of trees that have been in the county. Nothing is being done to preserve trees in Lamar County.

A Big Tree

        Major John W. Watson of the Seminary one of the World's Fair Commissioners for this district, has made arrangements to send to the St. Louis exposition a sample of Mississippi's short leaf pine. The tree, which was cut on the J. J. Newman land, four miles from Sumrall, Miss., in the new county of Lamar, measured 20 feet in circumference at the stump and 6 feet, 8 inches in diameter, its entire height being 160 feet, 75 feet from the butt it measured 10 1/2 feet in circumference and 3 feet 4 inches in diameter. The top end of a 16 feet cut measures 14 and one eighth in circumference. Mr. Watson will also ship for exhibition a 1000 pound of rosin, put up by Lieut. Governor Carter at his turpentine still at McCallum.

Huge Dogwood Log Cut

        A dogwood, unusually large for that kind of tree, was cut near Purvis, Miss., in Lamar County by Mr. H. M. Blye, manager of the Meridian Bank Mill. The log measured 8 feet and 9 inches in diameter at the top. It will be shipped to the public museum in Denmark. Mr. Blye states he ships an average of 25 carloads of dogwood blocks from South Mississippi to Europe each year.


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


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