Quitman, the seat of justice of Clarke County, was named in honor of Gen. John A. Quitman. The land upon which the town is built was owned and laid off into town lots by Gen. John Watts, afterward for many years judge of the circuit court. The population is four hundred and ten.
Enterprise, Miss., lies in the northwestern portion of Clarke County, and has both the Mississippi & Ohio and New Orleans & Northeastern railways to carry its products to all the great markets of the country. It also lies at the junction of Chunkey and Tibbee creeks, which here form the important Chickasawhay River, which in times gone by was navigable to the gulf, and from this place alone was wont to transport sixty-five thousand bales of cotton annually.
This place was founded by John J. McRae, afterward governor of the state. Its population, one thousand one hundred and thirty, and its annual cotton shipment amounts to four thousand bales. It has a number of substantial business houses, a cotton mill, gristmill and gin and the Wanita woolen mills a short distance from the corporation limits. There is also a line of street railway which connects the two depots, furnishing transit between the east and west ends, as the river divides the town. Schools, churches, and civil societies are found here, and as a place of residence it is highly spoken of. An excellent agricultural country surrounds the town, and its trade is largely drawn from adjoining counties, whose people find a good market.
Take the agricultural and timber resources of the county alone and they will, when fully developed, serve to support a place of ten thousand inhabitants, but when to these be added inexhaustible deposits of the richest iron ores, it will rightly be conjectured that Enterprise has a magnificent future before it, and that a second Birmingham will soon be found here.
From the explorations already made, it has been determined that heavy deposits of limonite ores exist in this vicinity, covering an area of country four miles wide by ten long, the trend being from northwest to southeast, and the dip of the strata being about thirty feet to the mile. From the analyses given farther along, it will be observed that being exceedingly rich in quartz, clay and lime, it will require little if any other additional flux; but if it should, there exist in close proximity, great ledges of the finest limestone, which will yield an abundance of flux for centuries. The ore stratum is solid and well defined, and runs in an average depth of twelve and one-half feet, although it often reaches a depth of twenty feet and more. Another peculiarity of this ore is that it is easily mined, and it is loose as a gravel bed almost, and can in many places be mined with a steam shovel. That it is exceedingly rich in iron and is easily reduced, the analyses show and furnace tests will confirm this. It now only remains for someone to erect a blast furnace between the two lines of railway, northeast of the city, right in the heart of the ore beds, where excellent water is abundant, and where charcoal can be made in the great forests surrounding. There is a most excellent site in the locality mentioned that ought, and doubtless will be, utilized for that purpose. But in the event that charcoal should not be found desirable for reduction purposes, it is but a short distance to the Warrior coal fields and great coke arms at and near Birmingham, with a line of road directly to them, or to the Patton mines reached via the Mississippi & Ohio and Grand Pacific railways, either of which could lay the coke down here at rates that would render the smelting at this point profitable. The Alabama Land & Development company has more than one hundred thousand acres of land in Clarke County.
The following analysis of the iron ore found at Enterprise will prove conclusively that the deposits of iron in this section, while inexhaustible, are also of remarkable richness and very easy of reduction, besides containing the requisite flux without the addition of lime-stone. Of a specimen of iron ore received from Mr. L, B. Brown for Dr. Moore, Enterprise: Carbonate of protoxide of iron, 37.5; peroxide of iron, 17.14; sulphuric acid, 1.52; phosphoric acid, 1.4; carbonate of lime, 5.5; quartz, sand, clay and organic matter, 36.; metallic iron in ore, 30.12; phosphorous in phosphoric acid, .62; sulphur in sulphuric acid,.61. Extract from a letter from Joseph Albrecht, analytical chemist, New Orleans, accompanying the above analysis: “The ore contains no manganese and no other deleterious matters except those stated in the analysis; it must be roasted before it can be melted, but it is of easy reduction, wants no addition (in my opinion), as the quartz, clay and lime will form the necessary flux or slag required. ”Report of analysis by Charles Mohr & Son, analytical chemists, Mobile: “The material sent to us has been submitted to chemical analysis with the following results: Volatile matter (moisture and combined water and organic matter), 24.3; oxide of iron, 45.4; other metallic oxides, principally alumina, 7.8; silica (sand), 22.5. The 45.4 per cent, ferric oxide represents 35.58 per cent, metallic iron.”
Source: Biographical and Historical Memories of Mississippi, Goodspeed Publishing Company, 1891