Aberdeen, the seat of justice of Monroe County, and one of the oldest towns in the northern part of the state, is situated on the west bank of the Tombigbee River, and has a population of about three thousand four hundred and forty-five. It is beautifully located and has a good trade, although it is not as extensive as formerly, as only branch lines are built to Aberdeen. The Mobile & Ohio, Kansas City, Memphis & Birminghan and the Illinois Central lines all have branches terminating at Aberdeen. The United States courthouse and post-office building cost in the neighborhood of $100,000, and is a beautiful and imposing structure. The town has a cotton campus, an ice factory, a spoke factory and other manufactures, and two flourishing banks; The First National, organized May 1, 1887, with a capital of 175,000, formerly the private bank of Jinkins Bros., and the bank of Aberdeen, organized October 10, 1888, with a capital stock of $50,000. The city has one of the finest and most complete public school buildings in the state, and several elegant church buildings.
Aberdeen possesses many advantages as a manufacturing and distributing center, and will in the course of time develop into an important city. The present conspicuous advantages of Aberdeen will be greatly improved with the completion of prospective rail-roads, which, besides giving increased transportation facilities, will also place it in direct communication with the great coal and iron districts of Alabama, located within a reasonable distance, and giving access to the great forests of valuable timber which form one of the most valuable, while least appreciated, of the resources of the Southern states.
Prof. Lawrence C. Johnson, of the United States Geological survey, recently expressed himself as follows, concerning Aberdeen and its surroundings:
“At the head of navigation, this is the natural and nearest outlet to a large territory of both Mississippi and Alabama. It should control the coal and iron regions of at least Lamar and Marion counties, Ala., and have an equal chance at the grand coal fields of Walker. With your population and position you already possess two kinds of capital necessary to enter the lists in the great iron industries of what we may term the New South. Your position, geologically considered, is advantageous. Situated at the eastern edge of what the books call the Eutaw formation of the cretaceous group, you have behind you all the wealth of the calcareous soils of the prairie. Beyond the Tombigbee you have thin soils, it is true, in the sharp hills of what we call the Tuscaloosa formation; but these hills are clothed with the finest timber, and when that is removed it becomes the land of the mulberry, grape, peach, and all the fruits of our climate. In this formation let it be understood that you have no gold, no silver, no lead, nor any coal; do not waste your time upon them; but you have an abundance of iron ores, carbonates and limonite of various grades. In Lamar County, from ten to fifteen miles of the Mississippi line, there are many deposits of limonite ore. The old Hale & Murdock mines are well known. This is not an accidental, sporadic case of the occurrence of ore, but belongs to a system belongs to the lower division of the Tuscaloosa formation, which we have traced from Autauga county, Ala., to Tishomingo county, Miss. It may not be discovered as a continuous iron belt, because erosion has played a big part here, and has cut many gaps in it; and another later formation, called the Orange sand, has in many places covered up, and now conceals the older strata. The Tuscaloosa formation has another in its upper division; not as rich, perhaps, as the lower, and is still more interfered with by erosions and by Orange sand deposits, but of much importance to Aberdeen, because it lies up and down the headwaters of your river and approaches quite near to your city. This might well be called the Greenwood springs belt, for it appears in Monroe county in greatest force in that vicinity. It is two or three miles in breadth, extending to the high hills east of Buttahatchie River, opposite the mouth of Sipsey, and southeastward from that point; on the west of the Buttahatchie it tends northward, up Sipsey. This belt exhibits two classes of ore: one superficial, found only on the tops of the ridge, as well as seen in two of the cuts of the Kansas City, Memphis & Birmingham railroad, east and west of Wise’s gap; the other ore springs from a different source, and is found in the foot hills near Greenwood springs. This last is a limonite that is formed from a change of the carbonate; a carbonate I did not actually see, but know its presence, not only from the resultant zodiac chambered ore seen there, but from the abundance of springs charged with bicarbonate of iron. Of these the chief is “Greenwood.”
Aberdeen Commandery, U. D. was organized in 1891. Frank P. Jinkins is eminent commander.
Wildy lodge No. 21, I. O. O. F., is an old lodge, of which W. S. Lindamood is noble grand.
Eureka lodge No. 719, Knights of Honor, organized about 1875, with Dr. William G. Sykes as dictator, is in a prosperous condition. It has about one hundred members, and J. M. Acker is the dictator.
Castle Gray lodge No. 198, Knights of the Golden Rule, organized December 21, 1881, by Deputy Supreme Commander J. E. Hodges, has about one hundred members.
Apollo lodge No. 14, Knights of Pythias, established in 1878, with William Howard as chancellor commander, now has a membership of about forty-five, and Kirby Lann is its chancellor commander.
Aberdeen lodge No. 32, A. F. & A. M., was organized in 1837, with J. H. Lawson as worshipful master, and the following members: David Hall, Nathaniel W. Walton, T. B. Pollard, John Franks, James G. Williams, Daniel Burnett, Thomas J. Ford, George Weight-man, Parker Alexander, A. R. Hunter, A. J. Holliday, John Abbott and Alex Baker. Dr. William G. Sykes is now worshipful master. In 1884 the lodge erected a magnificent three-story brick temple at a cost of about $38,000. This beautiful structure, which also contains the opera house, has a seating capacity of six hundred.
Amory lodge No. 165, A. F. & A. M. , at Amory, organized with Hon. Wright Cunningham as worshipful master. W. A. Griffith is now worshipful master. This lodge was formed by the consolidation of lodges Nos. 165 and 178.
Euphemia Royal Arch chapter No. 13, at Aberdeen, was organized in 1847, with R. H. Dalton as high priest. Frank P. Jinkins is the present high priest.
Aberdeen council, E. & S. M., No. 28, was organized in 1860, with B. B. Barker, J. N. Walton and W. S. Vestal as first officials. Present officers are R. B. Brannin, C. N. Simpson and S. H. Berg.
Other towns in this county are Amory, Smithville, Quincy, Gattman, Strongs, Reynolds, Prairie and Muldon.
Source: Biographical and Historical Memories of Mississippi, Goodspeed Publishing Company, 1891