Newspaper Archive of
Stone County Enterprise
Wiggins , Mississippi
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April 29, 2010     Stone County Enterprise
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I WELCOME STONE COUNTY ENTERPRISE / www, stonecountyenterprise.com Stone County, built on the backs of farmers and loggers NOMEI The Stone County Courthouse was built in 1917. In 1996, the Mississippi Department of Archives and History declared the Stone County Courthouse a, "Mississippi Landmark." APRIL 28, 2010 Stone County was officially organized on May 1o, 1916 as Mississippi&apos;s 81st county. Located in the southeastern corner of the state, the young county encompasses a land area of 446 square miles, forming a nearly perfect rectangle except for a 12-square-mile extension on its southwestern corner. The land area from which Stone County was formed was original- ly a part of the Choctaw Indian nation. In 18o5, the Choctaws ceded their south Mississippi lands to the United States through the Treaty of Mount Dexter, and the area became a part of the Mississippi Territory. When Mississippi became a state in 1817, the Stone County area was part of Jackson County. In 1841, it was included in the area that was taken from Jackson County to form Harrison County. Prior to the Civil War, the Stone County area was a virtual wilder- ness covered in virgin pine tim- ber. Two early roads ran through the area, the old Wire Road run- ning east-west through the Today, almost all the county's major industries are wood product manufacturers. southern part of the county and the old City Road cutting across the county diagonally from northeast to southwest. There were few inhabitants and no sig- nificant settlements. The oldest settlement in Stone County" is Perkinston, located in the central part of the county on land homesteaded by a Mr. Perkins around 188o. McHenry, located near the county's southern border, was settled by" Dr. George McHenry in 1883. Bond, another of the county's early settlements, is located near its northern border. Settlement of the area around Wiggins, Stone County's seat of government, began in 1886 when Madison Hatten homesteaded 16o acres there. A village was established on Hatten's land and named Niles City. When the vil- lage residents petitioned for a post office, they found that the name Niles City" was already in use, they renamed their village in honor of Madison Hatten's father, Wiggins Hatten. The young town of Wiggins received a great boost in 1896 when the Gulf and Ship Island Railroad line was completed through the town. The new line, which ran from Hattiesburg to Gulfport, cut across the length of Stone County fl'om north to south. The timber industry brought population growth and an eco- nomic boom to the Stone County area in the early 2oth century. McHenry grew into a thriving sawmill town with more than 1,2oo residents. Bond and Perkinston also were booming mill towns, and one of the largest sawmills in south Mississippi was built at Wiggins in 19o2 by Finkbine Lumber Company. Wiggins incorporated in 19o4. The first town census, taken in 191o, counted 980 residents. As vast tracts of lumber were being cut down across south Mississippi, a search for new sources of revenue from the land began. In 1912, Finkbine Lumber Company and Mississippi Farms Company started a pickle factory in Wiggins. Meeting early suc- cess, a stock company, the American Pickle and Canning Company was formed to operate the pickle factory. The pickle plant burned in 1913, but a larger plant soon took its place. At first, the plant processed pickles, tomatoes, beans and sweet potatoes, but within a few years, pickles became its sole product. The pickle plant, which later became the Brown-Miller Company and then a part of Beatrice Foods, continued to thrive throughout the Depression and ensuing decades. At one time, it was the largest pickle manufacturing plant in the world. However, the plant was sold to Paramount Foods and was closed in the mid 198os. In January 1916, the state legis- lature passed an act allowing the establishment of Stone County' from lands in northern Harrison County, subject to the approval of the voters living in the affected area. The election was held May 6, and according to the Wiggins Enterprise, the new county won approval by a vote of 428 to 330. The new county was named in honor of John M. Stone, gover- nor of Mississippi from 189o- 1896 and later president of Mississippi A&M College. The county's first Board of Supervisors met at Wiggins City Hall. One of the Board's first acts was to award a contract for a county" courthouse. The building was completed in March 1918 at a cost of $29,515.18 and is still in use today. The 192o census listed 6,258 Stone County residents. By that time, the county's timber resources had been severely depleted, and the once-booming saTnill towns such as McHenry and Bond were failing rapidly. By 193o, the timber industry was almost completely gone and many people were forced to move to other areas to find work. The county's population in 193o was 5,704. Stone County's population decline proved to be short-lived. By 194o, the county had 6,155 residents and the population continued to grow during the fol- lowing five decades to 6,264 in 195o; 7,o13 in 196o; 8,1Ol in 197o; 9,747 in 198o; and lO,75o in 199o. Following the 2ooo United States Census, Stone County was named one of the fastest growing counties in the state having increased to 13,622 in a ten-year period. After World War II, the timber industry began to make a come- back in Stone County, and today almost all the county's major industries are wood product manufacturers. However with the cooperation and assistance of educational partners such as Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, Stone County is working to move its workforce toward more technical areas of employment. City & County services: all you need to know Stone County is governed by a five man board of supervisors, Each supervisor is elected from one of the five supervisor's dis- tricts. The districts are configured to provide equal population by district and to provide one black majority district. The board is responsible for the financial administration of the county, as well as the construc- tion and maintenance of county roads and bridges. Other duties the board performs include the equalization of tax rolls, the levying of taxes, the authorization of bond issues, and any otber duties that may be required by law. Stone County Board of Supervisors meet the first Monday and Tuesday of each month as well as the third Monday of each month. Times are posted on the Boardroom door. Stone County Courthouse, locat- ed at 323 E. Cavers Avenue, Wiggins, houses the majority. of the county offices including Stone county Chancery Clei'k, 6Ol-928- 5266; Stone County Circuit Clerk, 6Ol-928-5246; and Stone County Comptroller. Stone County Tax Assessor/Collector is located 3o8 Court Street (next to the Courthouse) and phone number is 6Ol-928-3121. Stone County Road and Solid Waste Depamnent is located at 311 Court St. Phone number is 6ol-928-9265. O13" GOVEmCMEYr Wiggins is governed by a mayor and five aldermen. Four alder- men are elected of the four wards. The mayor and alderman-at-large are elected citywide. The wards are divided to provide equal pop- ulation and to provide one black majority ward. City Hall is located at 117 First Street, which also houses the water department, sewer depart- ment, land code administration, building permits, sales permits, etc. Phone number is 6Ol-928- )21.  ...... The Board of Aldermen meet on the first and third Tuesday of ever 3 ' month at 5:00 p.m. in the board room of Wiggins City Hall. The meetings are open to the public. JUSTICE COURT SYSTEM Justice Court is located at 231 Third Street, directly behind the courthouse. Current Justice Court Judges include Theresa Dearman, east side and Jeffrey O'Neal, west side. Justice Court Clerk is Glenda Cobb. Criminal court is every Monday except holidays. It has concurrent jurisdiction with Circuit Court over all misdemeanors with first court acquiring case having exclu- sive jurisdkion. Civil court is held on Tuesday, except on holidays. Jurisdiction if the amount of controversy is $2,500.00 or less. All court cost has to be prepaid. Venue is prop- er where any defendant resides or where the Cause of actibn arose. All cases are required by law to be rotated to the judges by the clerk of court. FIRE PROTECHON Calls are received and dis- patched through the Stone County Emergency Communications Center (E-911). Wiggins utilizes a combination fire department with full time paid fire fighters, part-time fire fighters and volunteer fire fight- ers. Stone County has seven rural volunteer fire departments all under the direction of Cathy Gardner, Stone County Fire Coordinator. Big Level Volunteer Fire Department, 1414 King Bee Road. Magnolia Volunteer Fire Department, 35o Magnolia Road. McHenry Volunteer Fire Department, 95 McHenry Avenue. Northwest Volunteer Fire Department, 266 Project Road. Perkinston Volunteer Fire Department, 2241 Perkinston - Silver Run Road. Ramsey Springs Volunteer Fire Department, 1735 Highway 15 South. Silver Run Volunteer Fire Department, lO71 Ridge Road. STONE COUNTY E-qll The Stone County 9n- Emergency Communication Center is located at 119 N. Vardaman Street in Wiggins. The center receives and dispatches 911 calls for police, sheriff, fire, and emergency medical service in Stone County. It has been in operation since October of 199o. The E-911 Center is fully equipped with the latest commu- nication equipment, both tele- phone, radio and voice logging. All voice comnmnications with the center are recorded. WoodWick Candles Yankee Candies Trollbeads bzshion Jeweh'y Vera Bradley Crystal China And More 301 Fifth Ave. W., Wiggins PARKER SERVICE CENTER, INC. Full Sen/Ice Station Be#air Maintenance 419 E. Central Ave., Wiggins 601-928-7228 D. McBride MD, FAAP Clinic Hours: Mon - Fri. 8-30-t:30 ZZOI Hv 9 Suite B 601-528-9006 Clinic Wi99ins ,/v 39577 601-5ZS-90t6 Fax . love kids a,qes: rew born to 2,1 years old Give us a call. For Life, Home and Auto Insurance... IHq): " DtSABILHN * I1OME AU'IO * HEALTH Help'rag You is what we "do best. Edmond R. Rawls Agency Manager Todd D. Buckle),., LUTCF John Russell O'Neal, Agent 601-928-7351 527 S. Magnolia Drive, Wiggins Plants Nursery r o" o 9171 tlighway 26 West,  ieeins (just west o.f Hwy 26 / Hwv 49 inler.cction) Cell: 61) 1-466-5579 Fresh-Brewed Coffee Specialty Coffee Drinks Smoothies Also serving muffins and sweet delectables Classes starting soon. t Cbz.,es Oil.red .,eekd, tvs and .'ttorday. Day and evening cltlsse,,, O[]br,d during the .:eeA'. Call.fir avaih:biliD< Pottery tYecious :lletal Clay 7le Painting & Ghlzing Hwy 49, Wiggins 601-928-4718 11 Flat Screen TVs Food Challenges