The territory we now know as Newton County was a well-watered, excellent hunting ground for its native Choctaw 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 Neshoba 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., The History of Newton County.

Surrounding Counties

Clarke

Jasper

Kemper

Lauderdale

Leake

Neshoba

Scott

Smith

 

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Newton County Records

The Clerk of the Chancery Court - Phone (601) 635-2367 or (601) 635-3370 - has divorce, probate, civil court, and deeds from 1876. 
The Clerk of the Circuit Court has marriage records.  Most of the early records were lost due to a court house fire in 1911.

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Banner photo courtesy Library of Congress
Sir Isaac Newton grahic source:  Helmolt, H.F., ed. History of the World. New York: Dodd, Mead and Company, 1902. 
Many thanks to former Newton County hostess, Mona Hura, for her contributions.
 
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