The territory we now know
as Newton County was a well-watered, excellent hunting ground for its native
Indians, a very powerful, but peace-loving tribe. There may have been
as many as 3,000 to 5,000 Choctaws in Newton County at the time of its
early settlement by white people. Yet, they have almost gone from our midst,
as only about 300 remain in Newton County.
The diverse lands of Newton
County are divided into what is termed the ridge and branchlands -- some
loamy, sandy upland, some level with good clay foundation, and some red
clay subsoil. Quite an amount of bottom and creek lands, and the prairie
in the southwestern part of the county. The first to be cultivated were
usually the level table lands, with very little undergrowth, and rich,
virgin soil underneath. Thousands of acres of prairieland were entirely
unobstructed by timber or undergrowth. Most preferred by the settlers were
the level, sandy uplands.
Originally part of
County, Newton County was included in a purchase by the U. S. Government,
called the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek (in Choctaw: "Chookfa Hitla
Bogue"), signed September 28, 1830. Soon, the people of the southern
half of the large county of Neshoba wanted a county of their own. On February
26, 1836, the Mississippi Legislature admitted Newton as a separate county,
and commissioned three of its citizens -- William Donalson, Michael Thomas,
and Francis Jones -- with the task of organizing the new county.
Newton County, named for
the great philosopher and scientist, Sir Isaac Newton, is the only county
in the state that is in the form of a square. The county is twenty-four
miles square, with its seat of Decatur in nearly the exact center.
By 1850, the population
had doubled to 4,465 (not including the Indians), and much more interest
was taken in schools and churches, and the general civilizing of the country.
Better houses were being put up, and the Baptist church was soon built.
A new courthouse (and a new jail) had taken the place of the old log house
built in early days.
Source: Brown, A. J.,
History of Newton County.