Most of the towns and communities in Mississippi have names that would definitely be considered normal but there are those with names that’ll make you do a double-take and, in some cases, leave you scratching your head. At first glance, these unusual names may seem totally out there and not make any sense at all; however, more often than not, there’s a valid reason behind them. After doing a bit of digging around, we came up with 15 of the strangest-named towns in Mississippi and the interesting stories behind them. Take a look:
1. Hot Coffee
Often included on lists of places of with unusual names, Hot Coffee is located in Covington County. In 1870, not long after the community was established, a store was opened. The owner, L.J. Davis, hung a coffee pot over the door, advertising “the best hot coffee around.” Before long, the popularity of the coffee led to the community’s fitting moniker.
You’d probably assume this small community in Attala County got its name because it was home to an overwhelming amount of marsupials at one time, but that’s simply not the case. Possumneck actually received its name because of the shape of the area that it covered.
Located in Lauderdale County, there are two theories as to how Whynot got its name. Some say it came about after a group of residents were having difficulty deciding on a name. They went back and forth with ideas, each chiming in “Why not name it
this? Why not name it that?” Eventually, someone suggested simply using "Whynot," and the rest agreed. However, others believe it was named by migrants from the Carolinas who came from a town called Whynot.
As you probably guessed from the name, this community, which lies just 30 miles southeast of Jackson, was once home to the state’s only sanatorium, the Mississippi Tuberculosis Sanatorium. The facility was founded in 1916 and was in operation until the 1970s.
Head to northwestern Jones County, and you’ll find this small town, which is home to just 408 people. The unusual name can be accredited to Jim Eaton, a traveling postmaster. According to records, Eaton would often make small talk with locals, responding to many questions with “It’s so so.” Eventually, the post office was named after Eaton’s well-known expression, and soon, the town took the name as well.
6. Mhoon Landing
This Delta community received its unique moniker in 1859, and is named after African-American settler Feyton Mhoon, who each night would place a lantern in a lighthouse, guiding ships navigating the Mississippi River.
Tucked away in Simpson County, this small town’s name can be accredited to its location on the Strong River. According to researchers at the University of Southern Mississippi, the name came from the French who referred to the area on a map as “de l'eau sans potable,” which translates to “bad drinking water.” Over time, it was shortened to the current version, D’Lo.
8. Panther Burn
According to local folklore, this strange name came about after a group of residents trapped and burned a panther that was wreaking havoc on the community; however, this story has been proven to be false. Turns out, “burn,” was once a common term for stream or brook, so the name most likely originated from a nearby water source.
Many of Mississippi’s towns have names with Native American origins, and Pascagoula is one of them. So just what does the name mean? It actually translates to “bread eater.”
10. Itta Bena
Another name with Native American roots, Itta Bena is Choctaw for “home in the woods.” Long ago, there was a plantation in the area named Itta Bena, and eventually, the surrounding town took on the name as well.
11. Rolling Fork
The name of this Sharkey County town may seem extremely strange at first, but once you hear the story behind it, it actually makes perfect sense. In 1828, Thomas Chaney became the area’s first resident, establishing a settlement on Deer Creek. Upon his arrival, he made note of how swiftly the water flowed at the creek’s fork and named the area Rolling Fork.
While this town’s name isn’t strange, the story behind its origin is an interesting (and calculated) one. Named Oxford after England’s prestigious college town, the name was chosen in the hopes that it would increase the city’s chances of becoming the site for the state’s future university, and it worked. In 1848, the University of Mississippi was opened in Oxford.
No, this Holmes County community isn’t named after the well-known character in “A Christmas Carol.” Instead, it was given its moniker by Jewish settlers who migrated from a town of the same name.
Nearly deserted, Money is a small unincorporated community in the Mississippi Delta. Established in the early 1900s, it was named in honor of Hernando Money, a U.S. Senator from Mississippi.
15. Duck Hill
Duck Hill is located in Montgomery County on U.S. Route 51, between Grenada and Winona. The town is named in honor of Duck, a Choctaw Chief and medicine man who once treated residents in the area. Chief Duck was known to hold meetings on a large hill, just northeast of the town. Eventually, his name and preferred meeting location were combined, resulting in the town’s present name.
Know of another uniquely-named Mississippi town with an interesting past? Share your stories with us in the comments section!