Before the white settlers arrived, Brandon was the center of Indian activities. More than 50 Indian sites have been documented in Rankin County. At the time the county was created, the future town site was a flourishing trade settlement and camping site for travelers. Early settlers were looking for rich land, game and fish. They raised livestock, hunted and logged. About 200 yards south of the Brandon High School was a camp site or accommodation place where the owner kept a few goods and plenty of whiskey for customers who came to this trading center from areas east of the Pearl and to the south.
Prior to 1828, 31 residents of the area of Hinds, that was located east of the Pearl, petitioned the Legislature to divide Hinds and form a new county seat with a seat of justice near the center for the convenience of its inhabitants. According to the House Journal of the 11th Session of the Legislature and the Senate, a bill was presented on February 4, 1828, stating that all the portion of Hinds County, lying east of the Pearl River, shall form and constitute the county of Rankin- in memory of the late Honorable Christopher Rankin, a distinguished lawyer and politician who served Mississippi in Congress from 1819 until his death 1826.
In January of 1829, Brandon, named after the first native born governor- Gerard C. Brandon, was given the county seat. The big trees and cane were cleared from what we call the square and the courthouse was erected in the center. During the Civil War, Brandon felt the full wrath of General Sherman's Army as it marched through Jackson to Vicksburg. Most of the town was burned by the Yankee soldiers and most private homes were looted or burned. At the center of the town square stands a monument of a Confederate soldier placed there by the United Daughters of the Confederacy. The site of the monument is historic because on that exact spot, General Sherman had his soldiers stack arms while he occupied the town.
It has been said that Brandon has furnished the state of Mississippi with more governors, senators, congressman, judges, district attorneys, physicians and teachers than any other town its size in the state. Brandon has often been called the "City of Red Hills Laden with Golden Opportunities".
Population per 2000 Census 16, 436; Mary Ann Mobley, beauty queen and actress. is known as being a resident of Brandon. Brandon is the County Seat.
Source: This is a summary compiled by Mrs. Marjorie W. Murray- September 1997.
Jane Combs, November 25, 2008 ©2008 All rights reserved
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