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Fayette


Fayette, "the county seat of Jefferson county, is 6 miles east of the historic old town of Greenville (now extinct, q.v.), the original county seat of Jefferson county. Dr. Franklin L. Riley thus speaks of the removal of the seat of justice to Fayette: "On the first day of February, 1925, the General Assembly of Mississippi passed an act authorizing the election of five commissioners to select a permanent location for the seat of justice of Jefferson county. This commission was granted power to purchase at a price not exceeding twenty dolars an acre, or to receive by donation, not less than two nor more than fifty acres of land upon which a county site was to be laid off. The place chosen was to be called 'Fayette' in honor of General Lafayette, who was at that time in the United Sates as the nation's guest. The commission had authority to select Greenville. The night before the election, however, a mob, which favored the removal of the seat of justice to a place nearer the center of the county, wrecked the court house, a frame structure, built of hand-sawed poplar lumber. This sealed the fate of Greenville and settled the question of removal in favor of the present town of Fayette, which is six miles east of the first county seat." (M. H. S. pub. vol. v., p. 346.) The town lies in a fine agricultural district, has three churches, a female college, a newspaper office, and a telegraph, express and banking facilities. The Jefferson County Bank was established here in 1901 at a cost of about $40,000. On the public square stand a beautiful Confederate monument, erected in 1905, at a cost of about $2,500, inclusive of the iron fence surrounding it."


From: Mississippi Vol. I A-K by Dunbar Rowland, 1907, page 699-700.
 
 
 

Masonic Lodge

in Fayette

Confederate Monument

in the Fayette Town Square

 
Jefferson County Tidbits # 19 (Fayette)

Fayette became the second county seat of Jefferson County. Dr. Franklin
L. Riley tells of the removal of the seat of justice to Fayette: "On the first day of February, 1825, the General Assembly of Mississippi passed an act
authorizing the election of five commissioners to select a permanent location
for the seat of justice of Jefferson County. This commission was granted
power to purchase at a price not exceeding twenty dollars an acre, or to
receive by donation, not less than two nor more than fifty acres of land upon
which a county site was to be laid off. The place chosen was to be called
'Fayette' in honor of General Lafayette, who was at that time in the United
States as the nation's guest. The commission had the authority to select
Greenville, The night before the election, however a mob, which favored the
removal of the seat of justice to a place nearer the center of the county,
wrecked the court house, a frame structure, built of hand -sawed poplar
lumber. This sealed the fate of Greenville and settled the question of
removal in favor of the present town of Fayette, which is six miles east of
the first county seat." (M. H. S. pub. vol. v. pg 346)
     The first court house burned in 1901 and was replaced at the cost of
about $40,000. Miraculously, just about all of the records were saved. Some
time in the 1960's a separate annex adjacent to the the courthouse was built
for the Chancery Records. Remaining in the Courthouse were the Circuit Court,
School , and Justice Court Records.
     In 1990 the second courthouse burned. The majority of the records were
again saved. The night of the fire many citizens showed up and was able to
remove most of the records and place them in the abandoned jailhouse next door to the courthouse. Some of the records were also placed in various private storage places. A couple of civic minded folks (of which I was one) cleaned, sorted and prepared the records for removal to a safe place as the jail was to be renovated. Much to our chagrin, the 'powers that be' moved the records to an open shed. We raised quite a fuss so finally after a couple hard rains, the records were moved to an room in an abandoned school for 'safekeeping'. There they were exposed even more so. This room happened to be an old shower room off the gym. The old school house was being used for lots of 'interesting' activities by questionable people as exhibited by the trash, beer cans, condoms, etc. To make matters worse, some of the spigots were turned on and water ran down over and ruined many records. Among them was a large book about 14"x24" (size of a newspaper page) in which were entries dating back to early 1800's. This was found on the floor, soaked with water .. only the rim of the cover was there. Jefferson County lost about one third of the records that had been saved!!!
Finally after the new court house was built, we were given the charge of
cleaning and sorting the records again. It was a disheartening task as we
knew what had been lost.

Rowland writes that in 1900 Fayette had three churches, a female college,
a newspaper office, telegraph, express and banking facilities. Population in
1900 was 604.

Ann Brown
 
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