The romance of names: Part 3
Published 2:55 pm Wednesday, June 15, 2011
As told in “Next Door to Heaven”
Burnt Bridge over the Hobolochitto four miles west of Picayune got its name from the fact that a toll bridge there once burned. The location since that time has been known as Burnt Bridge.
Aaron Academy on Highway 43 seven miles south of Picayune was the site of Aaron Academy School. The first school established there was largely through the efforts of Aaron Frierson. When time came to name the school, they called it Aaron Academy to honor the man who had worked so hard to get the school built there. There was once a post office called Tigerville just south of the school but this name was lost when the post office was moved over the Flat Top. When Highway 90 was built through that community in 1923 a big subdivision was laid out and call Santa Rosa, the name by which this community was better known when NASA took over.
A small creek southeast of Picayune originally had an Indian name that was hard to pronounce. A ferocious tiger roamed the swamp along this creek. This tiger was stalking a hunter there, when the hunter sensed what was going on and whirled round and shot the tiger. Since then the creek has been called Dead Tiger according to old people living near it.
Henleyfield was named for Jeremiah Henley who owned and cleared the land where the original Henleyfield church and school were built. As with most old time churches and schools, there was a spring of cool clear water nearby at the foot of the hill just to the west of the buildings.
Flat Top, in the big NASA reservation and now deserted except for a few families on the north edge of this old community, got its name from a flat top building erected at the cross road there by a family named Penton.
The old town of Center, which stood about one half mile east of the present site of Caesar church, was the most important town in this whole area 150 years ago. Some 1000 to 1500 Indians lived, or made their headquarters there. It was the home of the Choctaw chief for a big area. All roads or trails led to center back then and it was the first county seat to Gainesville and the removal of the Indians to the Indian territory old Center died. The post office was moved to the present location of the Caesar community. It was still called Center. There were two post offices in Mississippi by that name so when the post office department order banning this was promulgated the name was changed to Caesar. It seems that a man named Batson was postmaster at that time and that he suggested the name of Caesar which had no local significance.
Logtown was first given the French name of Chalons but this name had no significance for Americans. Then, too, it was a hard word for Americans to pronounce. This point was a place from which logs were shipped in the early days and to which logs were shipped later. It was called The Log Town by the natives and then just Logtown.
Leetown got its name from the fact that so many people by the name of Lee lived there. The school and the church there were called by the name Leetown.
The community that goes by the name of Anner, about 15 miles northeast of Picayune, was so named by the Rev. N. Breland, the first postmaster there. When the post office was applied for they had to send in a name for it. The Rev. Breland, according to one of his daughters, had a favorite niece named Anner and named the office for her.
Gainesville was name for Dr. Ambrose Gaines who got a Spanish land grant of 55 arpents on the river in 1810, issued by John V. Morales, Spanish government agent. This land grant was later confirmed by William Crawford, U.S. Commissioner acting for the U.S. government. This claim embraced all the land at Gainesville. Gaines platted the land and sold it out to settlers.
The Napoleon community when by that name after Jerome Napoleon, brother of Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte, camped there for a few days when he was in this country on a mission to organize an attempt to rescue his brother from imprisonment.
Pearlington located on Pearl River was named for the river, the word meaning river town or town on the river. Another version is that there were many pearls found in the oysters found at the river mouth.