Even with Mississippi Studies being a required course in the state’s schools, there are some things they just don’t teach you about Mississippi. Here are 12 perfect examples.
1. The state’s name is derived from the Ojibwa Indian language.
Mississippi literally translates to “great river” or “gathering waters.”
2. Jackson wasn’t always the state capital.
Throughout Mississippi’s territorial period and well into its statehood, the capital city changed several times and included Natchez, Washington, back to Natchez, Columbia, and finally, Jackson.
3. In 1870, Hiram Revels became the first African-American United States Senator to represent the state of Mississippi.
After debate regarding his eligibility, it was ruled that Revels did meet the necessary requirements. This victory was exceptionally significant since the seat Revels was filling had previously belonged to Jefferson Davis.
4. During the 19th century, a majority of traffic on the Natchez Trace was from travelers known as Kaintucks.
Kaintucks were boatmen who would send merchandise such as agricultural goods, coal, and livestock down the Mississippi River on flatboats and then travel back north on foot via the famous trail.
5. Mississippi and Hawaii aren’t often grouped together, but the two states have more of a connection than many think.
The city of Diamondhead was actually named after a volcanic tuff cone that is located on the Hawaiian island of Oahu. The Hawaiian-inspired name was selected in hopes that it would attract tourists and residents.
6. The infamous railroad accident that took the life of Engineer Casey Jones occurred in Vaughan, Mississippi.
The tragedy occurred on April 30, 1900, when Jones’ train collided with another that was halted on the tracks. The young engineer did his best to prevent the collision. Even though Jones lost his life, his efforts weren’t in vain – every passenger survived.
7. Shortly after the Siege of Vicksburg, Jones County resident Newton Knight formed the Knight Company and waged his own war on the Confederate Army.
Refusing to fight a war they didn’t believe in, Knight and his company of 125 men evaded capture by the Confederate Army by utilizing guerilla war tactics. In 1864, the Natchez Courier reported that the Knight Company sent Union General Sherman a “declaration of independence.” Although there is no official documentation, a lot has been written about whether the “Free State of Jones” actually seceded or not.
8. The country’s first female rural mail carrier delivered mail to the area southeast of Vicksburg.
In 1914, Mamie Thomas began delivering mail to residents by buggy.
9. Smithville native Lawrence “Rabbit” Kennedy is the most decorated soldier in the history of the U.S. army.
Over the course of 35 years, Kennedy fought in three wars - World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. Today, many of Kennedy’s medals are on display at the Amory Regional Museum.
10. Meridian’s Dentzel Carousel, which is a two-row antique stationary carousel, is one of only three in existence.
The National Historic Landmark was manufactured in 1895 and has been in operation since 1909.
11. During the Civil War, General Ulysses S. Grant had a horse named Jeff Davis.
While near Vicksburg, the Union leader stole the horse from Brierfield Plantation, which was owned by Confederate President Jefferson Davis.
12. In 1809, well-known explorer Meriwether Lewis died from a gunshot wound while on the Natchez Trace.
Historians still debate as to whether it was murder or suicide that took Lewis’ life.