History of Laws Hill
By R. B. Henderson
The South Reporter, date unknown
The Laws Hill community is in the southwestern part of Marshall County, about 17 miles from Holly Springs. A black top road connects the community with Highway 4 to the north and several local roads intersect in the community.
The community is a farming, livestock, and to a limited extent, lumber producing area, although the virgin timber of pioneer years has long been harvested. The land varies from rolling plateau to higher hills that drop off into the Tallahatchie River bottom to the south. Much of the land of the community has been cultivated since pioneer days, but responds profitably to fertilization and modern farming methods and good crops are produced every year.
The name "Laws Hill" is said to have been adopted informally as the name of the community because a man named Laws built a store on an eminence south of the present stores and church. Exact location of Laws store is not now known.
There was once a post office at Laws Hill. A star route ran from Harmontown via Laws Hill and thence to Waterford. It is also likely that during ante bellum years, mail was delivered, and picked up at Laws Hill by the stage line that ran from Old Wyatt to Collierville. Also mail from Oxford to Memphis was carried for several years by horseback carriers and it would seem that Laws Hill was also served by this route during those years.
Laws Hill was never a town; perhaps there were never over three or four stores at any one time, but in the days before the automobile and good roads, every crossroads was a thriving business center and the school and churches were also community meeting places. Laws Hill has been a voting precinct for many years. The community was settled mainly along the Laws Hill and Holly Springs road. Perhaps the area around the Fesmire store, community building and building of the Church of Christ could be classified as the center of the community.
The land around Laws Hill was sold on February 2, 1836 to the United States Government by an Indian named Shu ma cha. It remained in possession of the government until March 1, 1844 when it was sold to the Boston-Mississippi Cotton Land Company, a firm financed by Massachusetts men. This was perhaps a land speculating company and shortly afterwards the company began selling off their lands.
No attempt has been made to limit location of lands to the possible vicinity of the early village in the sales to pioneer families but is comprehensive of the community as a whole. These early buyers were:
John R. Wright, 1844; J. C. Alderman, 1846; E. H. Miller, 1852; John Denton, 1857; G. W. Wright, 1858; W. J. Gulpin, 1858; James H. Alexander, 1866; Frank Shaw, 18__; S. A. Redding, 1878; J. A. Miller, 1870; M. J. Fesmire, 1883; J. A. Miller, 1892; A. C. Fesmire, 1894; and Jody Knighton, 1848. Other early settlers whose dates of arrival are not available were Joseph H. Talley, D. S. Sanderson, Andrew McGhee, Phillip Austin, J. M. Cunningham, J. W. Briscoe, Volney Peel and G. W. Wright. There were many other prominent families who settled in the community and were familiar figures in Laws Hill, however, time nor space does not permit a run down of all of these early settlers so the enumeration conforms mostly to an abstract of Section 6 and 18 and supposedly those who settled along the highway (now the black top road) or near to it.
There are two churches in Laws Hill, the church of Christ and the Old Mount Moriah Church further up the road. The building of the church of Christ is a handsome brick edifice erected three or four years ago and is very active and well attended. If, our abstract of title is correct, this church is built upon one acre of land described as "One acre, more or less, in the NW 1/8 of Section 26." The land was donated for a church, school, and cemetery lot by G. G. Austin and Mrs. A. B. Holt, R. H. Malone and H. M. Shaw were named as trustees. The deed was executed on November 30, 1892. A Methodist church was built and remained active for many years. Many of the members died, others moved away and finally the church was declared inactive.
The Mt. Moriah Church, showing the weathering of many years, is yet active and attended mainly by the Baptists. The church grounds, also declared in a the deed of gift as a site for a school and cemetery lot, were donated on February 22, 1870 by Volney Peel.
In the deed of gift it was declared as a union church but emphasized that Baptist and Christian denominations were active and conducted church services at that time.
Inscriptions on some of the older tombs in the Mt. Moriah Cemetery read:
Arthur C. Fesmire, Dec. 1, 1885-1936; David Lawman, born Amherst Co. Georgia, March 22, 1822, Moved to Mississippi 1857, Died June 28, 1893; Clark B. Miller, April 25, 1862-Nov. 16, 1899; Munson W. Miller, 1875-1964; J. L. Murphy, 1856-1956; Wesley N. Cannon, 1875-1947; Russell Dean, May 23, 1813, October 7, 1891; Caleb E. Tucker, Scout Forrest's Cavalry, Feb. 17, 1846-Dec. 10, 1916.
Submitted by E.R. Palmer Jr.
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