Holly Springs, the beautiful and attractive seat of justice of Marshall County, dates back as far as the year 1836. Long before the war it was a prosperous town. Unfortunately, in the course of events Holly Springs suffered terribly. It was almost entirely destroyed during the war, and has never yet thoroughly recovered its status. Holly Springs is famous historically as the scene of Van Dorn’s raid on the Federal stores. Many interesting incidents of the raid are told by the old residents. The old courthouse was burnt by Grant and most of the rest of the city by Van Dorn. Soon after the war the present courthouse was erected. It is a large two-story brick building, surrounded by an unusually well-kept grass lawn, at whose edge shade trees in great and rare variety give an additionally charming effect. Holly Springs is the market town of a varied and productive district. Cotton is the chief item of trade. A prominent druggist of Holly Springs has a very complete creamery near at hand, with fifteen Jersey cows and fifteen graded. He ships milk and cream to Memphis, besides supplying a portion of the home demand. Holly Springs also boasts of the only Holstein registry in the state. This is under the direction of Capt. Buchanan, and is doing excellent service. Trotting horses are being raised to quite an extent. There are some superb Kentucky stallions here. The farmers are devoting much attention to the breeding of horses and mules. Holly Springs is an important station on the Illinois Central railroad. The railroad company has established here an excellent hotel. The Memphis & Birmingham branch of the Kansas City, Port Scott & Gulf road also runs through here. This road connects the West with the Alabama mineral district. The public schools of Holly Springs are of a high grade of excellence, and this is the site of the State Normal Colored school, the Maury Institute for girls, the Franklin Female College and the Bethlehem academy.
Holly Springs has a population of two thousand two hundred and thirty-two. It is built on the west side of the ridge that divides the state on a north and south line, and Memphis is only fifty miles away. The soil round about, very much like the famous Mississippi swamp lauds, is fertile in the extreme, and the surface of the county is beautiful. From the beginning there it was patent that the town would become one of importance, and it soon left other towns in the territory far behind in the race for commercial and municipal supremacy. The stream of immigration was then flowing southward and it bore to Holly Springs many well known planters, eminent lawyers and talented and scholarly physicians, who at once identified themselves with its interests, and were instrumental in placing it upon a solid foundation conducive to future growth and prosperity. With the early history of Holly Springs such names as Roger Barton, Hon. Joe Chalmers, Gen. Alexander Bradford and John W. Watson are inseparably connected. From an early day the average population of the county was refined and educated, and down to the present time no community has stood higher than that of Holly Springs. Its business men as a class have been noted for the most rigid commercial integrity. Its banks have been strong and reliable. Its professional men have stood high at the bar of the county and state and upon the roll of those who elevate their lives to the alleviation of the suffering of their fellow- men. Its churches have been strong numerically and of far-reaching spiritual influence, its preachers, some of them, among the most noted divines of the South. Its educational institutions, including its excellent public schools, have been thorough, efficient and popular, some of the men and women having oversight of them distinguished in literature and art. Holly Springs is a pushing, enterprising, advancing city, full of enterprise and ambition, and in the highest degree typical of the progressive spirit of the new South.
Byhalia, Redbank, Victoria and Potts’ Camp on the Kansas City, Memphis & Birmingham railroad, and Waterford and Hudsonville on the Illinois Central railroad, are small railroad towns of growing importance. The following villages and trading points in the county have no railroad facilities: Early Grove, Mount Pleasant, Bainesville, Oak Grove, Cornersville, Bethlehem, Chulahoma Watson and Wall Hill
Source: Biographical and Historical Memories of Mississippi, Goodspeed Publishing Company, 1891