Walt's Look Around: The Queen City of the East - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Walt's Look Around: The Queen City of the East

JASPER COUNTY, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Today we're going to the "Queen City of the East." At least that's what they called it back in its day. Many people have never heard of it, but the Paulding community still has some distinctions worth noting.

The historic marker at the crossroads of Highways 503 and 512, in East Jasper County, gives the short version of the rise and fall of Paulding. It was the county seat of Jasper County when the county was formed. it still is a county seat. Jasper is one of those counties with two courthouses, Bay Springs being the other location.

Paulding has the distinction of being the only unincorporated county seat in the state. The original courthouse, when it was built, was supposed to have been the only two-story building between Chattanooga and New Orleans. It burned in the early 1930's.The current courthouse is the third one.  

About the only really old reminder of the original Paulding is the old jail, or what's left of it. It's mostly an arbor for Virginia creeper and briar vines now. It was built in 1846, and is out behind the post office.  

Another reminder of the original Paulding is St. Michael Catholic Church. This is the 2nd oldest catholic parish in the state, Natchez being the oldest.

Irish settlers came to this part of Mississippi fleeing the potato famine. Many of the really old headstones in the graveyard behind the church are for people born in Ireland.

The church building itself is not the original. It, like the courthouse, burned. But the current building is 70 years old this year.  

People still live there, but not as many as the 1,000 who were supposed to have populated it when it was the "Queen City" of the east. The railroad by-passed it after the Civil War, going to the east and promoting little obscure Meridian to "Queen City" status.

As a matter of fact, the Paulding newspaper, the Eastern Clarion, moved to Meridian after that city began to eclipse Paulding. And then, when Jackson began to regain some prominence after the Civil War, it moved to Jackson.

You may have picked it up off your driveway the morning. They call it the Clarion-Ledger now. Still a prominent publication, it is one of the few newspapers in the nation that is still circulated state-wide. They even get it in Paulding.  

Life is fickle. One day you are the "Queen City of the East," the next you are a historic marker and a footnote. But even as an asterisks in the history books, Paulding still cast tall shadows across life in Mississippi.

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