Pearl River County, what's in a name?
The county obtained its name from the stream called the "River of pearls" by French explorers who discovered it in 1699. One Penicaut, a member of the expedition says in his annals, "Here we found those shells with which Indians scrape out their canoes after burning. Beautiful pearls are sometimes found in those shells. We presented some two dozen or more to M. Bienville, our commander.
[Dunbar Rowland, Mississippi the Heart of the South, vol. II, p. 166]
Because Pearl County was unable to maintain itself, chiefly through the lack of development, the organization act was repealed in 1878. Its territory was returned to Hancock and Marion Counties and the records made during the six years of its existence were deposited with the two older counties. (Laws, 1878, pp. 153-154)
A thriving sawmill and lumbering business grew up during the next few years making it possible to re-establish the county as pearl River County, the same land being taken again from Hancock and Marion Counties to form the new county (Laws, 1890, pp 89-91). The boundaries were described as follows: "beginning at the point in the middle of Pearl River, in the center between townships 4 and 5 in the county of Hancock, thence running east through ranges 18, 17, 16, 15 and 14 to the line between ranges 13 and 14; thence north on said line to a point one mile north of the 31st parallel of north latitude; thence west to the dividing line between ranges 15 and 16; thence south to said 31st parallel; thence west along said 31st parallel to the center of Pearl River; thence southwest along the thread of the stream to the point of beginning". Poplarville was made the county seat and the first officers were appointed by the governor. Pearl River County is bounded at present on the north by Marion and Lamar Counties; on the east by Forest and Stone Counties; on the south by Hancock County, and on the west by Pearl River which separates it from the Louisiana Parishes of Tammany and Washington. The boundaries were change din 1904 when some of the ocunty's northern territory was taken in the formation of Lamar County (Laws, 1904, Chapt. 102) and were changed again in 1908 when an area 9 miles in depth was obtained from Hancock County (Laws, 1908, p. 89)
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