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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Hometown Mississippi: Attala County

This blog post originally appeared 10/24/07.

This post of unusual and unusually acquired place names comes from the great county of Attala in the Brown Loam Soil Area of the state.

Can you pronounce this? The natives say Kah-zee-es-ko. It's even trickier to spell. Many name changes took place before settling on the current one. To try and dignify the little village, settlers first chose Peking. Then the meager village became known as Paris. None of these efforts attracted more settlers, unfortunately, and so it became Kosciusko after Thadeusz Kosciusko, a Polish American Revolution hero (and grandfather to a council member).

The founding family of this settlement, the Temples, got up very early in the morning. No, really. In 1906, the town lost its post office and thus became extinct.

This town first went by the name Yockanookany. It was renamed for the McMillian brothers. Guess that's better than YockaMcMilliannookanyville. Maybe they were going for simplicity.

The name was chosen from a possible list of ten. The postmaster's 5-year-old daughter offered the name Pansy. The post office existed from 1899 to 1912.

This town was settled by Lewis and Frank Pickle, who also began the Pickle Jug Factory on this site. Sadly, Pickletown went the way of the dodo about 1890 (side tidbit: the dodo became extinct in the mid-1600s).

This establishment was so named for a local troublemaker named Herod. Herod, in court for a trial, was referred to by the witnesses as "King Herod." The judge asked, "King of what?" and the witness cried, "King of Possumneck!"(32) The name apparently stuck.

We conclude with four town names starting with the letter "z". These are merely four of the fourteen "z" names in the state:

Originally known as Ayres, the town was named for a Miss Zama Franklin.

Named for Zebediah Guess, uncle of the founder, H.M. Guess.

Named for Zemuly Morgan, wife of the postmaster.

Named for the creek of the same name, Zilpha exists today as a voting precinct.

It can be concluded that the early 20th-century popularity of personal names beginning in "z" directly affected several of the town names in Attala County.
If you buy that conclusion, what would some popular town names be today?

Brieger, James F. Hometown Mississippi, 1980.

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