Monticello, Lawrence County’s seat of justice, was incorporated in 1818. Monticello academy was established in 1836 with John E. McNair as its first principal. Mr. McNair was afterward a circuit judge of great popularity. One of the first papers was the Southern Journal, edited by John R. Chambers. Among local papers well known in this part of the state may be mentioned the Monticello Advocate, by S. W. Dale, and the Sunny South, by C. N. Jones. The Lawrence County Press, by Joseph Dale, son of S. W. Dale, is an able journal, and the only paper now published in the county.
The first church in the county was established at Monticello. It was of the Methodist denomination.
The Baptists organized a few years afterward.
Silver Creek Baptist church was organized in 1815, and has a membership of two hundred.
Bethany church (Baptist), on White Sand, was organized in 1819, under the labors of Elder John P. Martin, one of the leading pioneer ministers of the state, who was succeeded by Norvel Robertson for more than forty years.
A branch of the Planters’ bank was established at Monticello soon after 1830. Monticello at one time did a large and extensive business, and had an able bar, comprising some of the best talent in the South. The superior court was held at this place for some years, and the vice chancery court until 1854. It was here that the lamented S. S. Prentiss received his license to practice law. Monticello was selected as the site of the state capital at a session of the legislature convened at Columbia just before Jackson was made the capital of the state when Mr. Runnels was in the senate and Mr. Cooper in the House of Representatives. They were both prominent citizens of Monticello and leaders in selecting Monticello as the state capital, and by their efforts it was located here. After they had secured the vote in favor of Monticello, they returned to their home to bear the news of their success to their constituents, and in their absence a motion was made to reconsider the vote, and Jackson was then given the honor thus unfairly wrested from Monticello.
Following is Monticello’ s church and society directory:
Churches: Baptist Third Sunday and Saturday in every month at 11 o’clock a. m.; Sunday-school every Sunday at 3 p. M.; Rev. R. W. Hall, pastor.
Presbyterian First Sunday in every month at 11 o’clock A. M. and 7:30 p. m.; Sunday-school every Sunday at 10 a. m.; Rev. George G. Woodbridge, pastor.
Methodist Fourth Sunday in each month at 11 a. m. and 7:30 p. m.; Rev. R. Havers, pastor.
A. F. & A. M. lodge Third Saturday in every month at 10 o’clock A. M.;
Z. P. Jones, W. M. Monticello Farmers’ Alliance First Saturday in every month at 3 o’clock p. m.; Will C. Cannon, president.
Source: Biographical and Historical Memories of Mississippi, Goodspeed Publishing Company, 1891