Quitman history

Quitman has a long and rich rich history. Clarke County was created from lands that was once were part of Choctaw Indian territory. Quitman is the county seat for Clarke County, Mississippi, named after Mississippi’s 10th governor, General John A. Quitman. The Clarke County Courthouse has a memorial for fallen Confederate Soldiers on the grounds. Southern courthouses have soldiers depicted on the monument which face south.Courthouse

The city has many antebellum homes located throughout the community such as:

  • Long Bell Home
  • Benjamin H. Carter House
  • Donald House
  • Ruth Fleming House
  • Huff House

Gavin Huff House
Gavin-House House at 116 Church Street, Quitman, Mississippi. Photo © 2009 by Terry Lynch. Retrieved May 31, 2012:

These houses are found in neighborhoods throughout Quitman and - with the exception of Huff House - serve as residential dwellings for local families today.

Texas Hospital Cemetery

The Texas Hospital, near the Chickasawhay River, housed primarily Confederate soldiers from Galveston and Houston, Texas during the Civil War and supplied servicemen from the South with medical supplies imported from Mexico. The hospital, railroad, train depot, and original post office were all destroyed as Sherman’s men advanced through Mississippi after capturing Vicksburg. All that remains of the Texas Hospital is the old cemetery which is comprised of 300 unmarked Confederate tombstones. During Hurricane Katrina, the original archway for the cemetery was destroyed. Some changes should be implemented to the cemetery which would grant both easier access to the area and strengthen the community’s pride in housing such a beautiful piece of American history. For example, the Oakwood Confederate Cemetery in Richmond, Virginia was renovated circa the 1902. Since then, the community has seen a growth in tourism and community pride as parades and Memorial Day festivities entice people to the grounds housing thousands of fallen soldiers from the Civil War. cemetery

To commemorate facilities destroyed by Sherman’s army, the City of Quitman has placed a marker signifying the location of the original post office as well as marking the train depot. In order to preserve the depot, Quitman has transformed the original train depot into the county’s Chamber of Commerce. rich history


Downtown Quitman water trough

The City of Quitman is rightfully proud of its downtown area, including its many historic buildings. The downtown has gone through many transformations in its long history, and is ripe for a renaissance. The Majestic Theater, for example, brought 40 years of entertainment to the area before closing its doors in 1966. Today the former theater is utilized by Blair Brothers Department Store.

City Hall, Police Department, Clark County Courthouse, U.S. Post Office, and the Fire Department are all located within the downtown area, making it the hub of the town’s government and city life. Downtown also contains many businesses catering to information and creative development, such as the Clarke County Chamber of Commerce, Quitman and Clark County Public Libraries, Veterans Service Center, and WIN Job Center.

The historic Huff House, estimated to have been built around 1900, is currently owned by Historic Clark County, a nonprofit group whose purpose is to restore the house and make it into a museum and garden park (Byteland). The local newspaper, The Clark County Tribune, has its office located in the downtown area. Bernhard’s House of Printing, which deals in commercial printing, is also located downtown.

Active businesses dot the downtown area, but many buildings and spaces are vacant. Other communities have made use of "new urbanism" techniques to update and renew downtown spaces, for example, improving walkability with more shade, providing comfortable places to rest, brightening the area with colorful window displays and colorful buildings, erecting decorative lighting and awnings, enhancing street signage, and cultivating more vegetation such as trees and colorful flowers.

Fantasy cottageTwo businesses currently in the area, Fantasy Cottage Flowers & Gifts and Majure Jewelers & Gift Shop, have already started this transformation. By utilizing many bright colors, Fantasy Cottage Flowers & Gifts is very beautifully decorated on its exterior. Majure Jewelers & Gift Shop has an elegantly designed window display showcasing its merchandise.

There appear to be several other "hidden" assets in the downtown area, waiting to be discovered and developed. Southern Miss students, for example, were excited to find a large, unmarked, potential performing space with a stage already in place.
. Unknown stage

The city of Cleveland, Mississippi, provides one nearby example of downtown revitalization (Visit Cleveland, MS). Cleveland's downtown area today is alive, vital, and scarcely has an empty building. Three pictures of a portion of Downtown Cleveland, MS are included for illustration. The organization TEAM CLEVELAND has been formed to oversee the restoration and redevelopment of the downtown area (Cleveland Chamber).

Membership in the Mississippi Main Street Association could provide another important tool to help Downtown Quitman reach its full potential. There are several levels of membership from which a city can choose. The lowest level is the “Friends of Mainstreet” membership with an annual fee of $100. This membership is reserved for an individual, corporation, or a not-for-profit organization. Individual businesses or a downtown association could easily take advantage of this level of membership. The Mississippi Main Street Association also has a membership that focuses on downtown areas called the “Mississippi Downtown Network Member.” This membership has an annual fee of $1,000.