Hazlehurst, Mississippi

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Hazlehurst is a city in and the county seat of Copiah County, Mississippi, United States,[1] located about 30 miles south of the state capital Jackson along Interstate 55. The population was 4,400 at the 2000 census. It is part of the Jackson Metropolitan Statistical Area.



Hazlehurst originated as the town of Gallatin when two lawyers and brothers-in-law named Walters and Saunders arrived from Gallatin, Tennessee in 1819, and built their homes on the banks of the Bayou Pierre in the western part of Copiah county. Other settlers came with them and in 1829 the state legislature incorporated the town. The incorporation charter was repealed on January 18, 1862. Hazlehurst began with the building of the New Orleans, Jackson and Great Northern Railroad on November 3, 1865. The town was named for George Hazlehurst, an engineer for the new railroad.

As Hazlehurst grew, Gallatin declined into just a settlement at a crossroads. In April, 1872, the legislature ordered the county board of supervisors to hold an election to decide if the county seat should be moved from Gallatin to Hazlehurst. A majority voted for the change and Gallatin's old brick courthouse was torn down and reassembled in Hazlehurst. Several years later, a new courthouse replaced this building after it was ravaged by fire. The courthouse has been destroyed and rebuilt over 15 times during the town's history. As of April 2007 Hazelhurst has not bothered to rebuild the ill-fortuned civic building.

Moses Marx was the first town merchant, and A. Mangold, who arrived as a newsboy on the first train, later opened a store that became one of the largest in the county. The Merchants and Planters Bank opened in 1882, with Major R. W. Millsaps as president and I. N. Ellis as first cashier.

Notable natives and residents

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