History of Yazoo County


Yazoo. The word rolls off the tongue, bringing to mind a fabled land of lush, rolling hills rising abruptly from the fertile flatlands of the Mississippi Delta.

Yazoo County – where these picturesque hills meet broad, open fields has struck visitors for almost two centuries, providing, surpassing, scenic vistas and a diverse economic base.

Gifted with a colorful history, abundant forests and wildlife, thriving industries and an unparalleled agricultural economy, Yazoo County offers a unique range of opportunities for residents and visitors alike.

For most, the dominant impression of Yazoo County is the sudden appearance of the Delta, stretching to the horizon from the top of the last, long hill from which Yazoo City’s Broadway Street descends.

Yazoo County’s geographic location has long been a major factor in its history. Civil War gunboats plied the waters of the Yazoo River winding past Satartia and Yazoo City.

The river provided early trade as farmers from Eden, Holly Bluff and all points in between shipped their cotton to market aboard steamboats bound for New Orleans. The shady hills offered welcome relief from the summer heat and refuge from floods before levees tamed the Yazoo River The Delta, in turn, provided fertile ground for the agricultural economy upon which Yazoo County depended.

Yazoo City – the county seat and principle city – was originally named Manchester It was laid out in the 1830s on acreage owned by a half French, half Choctaw Indian planter named Greenwood Leflore.

Fire destroyed some Yazoo City homes and most of its businesses in 1904, but the central business district was rebuilt in turn-of-the-century splendor Local lore places blame for the fire on “The Witch of Yazoo,” who was chronicled in Pulitzer Prize winning author and Yazoo City native Willie Morris’ novel, Good Old Boy.

In the Delta, the flat terrain gives way to a different perspective. Open roads and rows of crops make beelines for the horizon. Here the landscape is broken only by occasional homes and farm buildings, catfish ponds, serpentine rivers, lakes and bayous. The Delta National Forest and two national wildlife refuges provide an expanse of hardwood timber teeming with fish and wildlife.

The diverse culture of Yazoo County has produced a range of notable residents including the late comedian Jerry Clower; authors the late Willie Morris and Zig Ziglar; actress Stella Stevens and blues singers Gatemouth Moore and Jack Owens.

Whatever your interest – history; the arts, shopping, recreation or commerce – you’ll find what you’re looking for where the Delta meets the hills in Yazoo County.

Soak up some Yazoo!