Paulding, Mississippi - Queen City of the East
Of all the Jasper County, Mississippi locations that I have attempted to research and write about, Paulding has proven to be the most difficult. Although it is was once one of the major commercial locations within the newest Mississippi territory, fate and circumstance led it down a path to physical and historical obscurity.
Paulding was settled about 1833 and named for a local resident. John Paulding, a Revolutionary War hero. It became a major hub of commerce, situated at an intersection of the few major roads that existed in those days. Paulding also became the seat of Jasper County and boasted a brick courthouse of considerable stature. It is reported that the bricks used in its construction were manufactured on-site by negro slaves.
There are numerous mentions in the period writings of local authors regarding the legal proceedings that took place at the courthouse in Paulding. For example, the J.M. Kennedy articles posted on this site reference the activities at Paulding numerous times.
Following the War Between the States, Paulding was bypassed by the chosen railroad route and soon fell prey to economic hardship. Nearby, the cities of Bay Springs and Vossburg began to grow and flourish.
On September 10, 1937, the historic courthouse at Paulding burned. There are numerous rumors regarding how and why the fire started, but none, to my knowledge that were ever proven. Sadly, many irreplaceable historic records of Jasper County were lost, a situation that has served to make the efforts of many researchers difficult or impossible.
Based upon the remaining records, verbal descriptions, and the Federal Architecture style employed during the time period for other Mississippi courthouses, this photograph is likely representative of the original Jasper County courthouse.
Today, there is little remaining of Paulding and it bears the distinction of being the only unincorporated county seat within the state of Mississippi. Out of respect, I assume, this distinction is maintained.
As a closing note, I will include some 1937 newspaper clippings regarding the loss of the Paulding courthouse. Included in these articles is some additional Paulding history. If you can contribute more than I have written, please contact me. I am especially interested in finding any drawings or photographs of the original courthouse.
One of the few remaining original buildings - an old general merchandise store
Interior of the store
Photo of the old Jasper County Jail, taken in 1969 by Sheriff Tom R. Green
Remains of the old jail
Another view of the old jail
Interior of the old jail
Saint Michael Church
A sample of the 1st generation Irish settlers who found their final resting place in Paulding.
Newspaper clip dated 9/22/82
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