The site of Yazoo City, the justice seat of Yazoo County, was an Indian reservation, entered by Greenwood Le Fleur in 1827, under the provisions of the treaty of Washington, concluded January 20, 1825, with the Choctaw Indians. Yazoo City was first called Hannon’s Bluff and afterward incorporated as Manchester, and subsequently as Yazoo City, the name having been changed about 1845. This town, the gem city of the world-famous Yazoo, Miss., delta country, is situated upon the eastern bank of the Yazoo fiver. The site is a well chosen and wonderfully advantageous one, gently sloping back to the bluffs in the rear. A better or prettier site for a city could not have been selected. At its wharves are always seen steamboats loading and unloading, while along the levee run the tracks of the Illinois Central railroad, its depot, freight and warehouses presenting an equally busy scene. Along its principal business street are large, substantial brick business houses, fronted with iron, stone and plate glass, presenting a metropolitan appearance, giving the stranger an agreeable impression of its commercial importance. The streets are broad, beautifully graded, macadamized with gravel and well guttered.
Its population is five thousand two hundred and forty-seven, and its growth is steady, it having more than doubled since the close of the war. During the past few years improvements have been more rapid and of a much superior nature. Owing to its splendid navigation and railroad system it should, and doubtless will, become Mississippi’s greatest industrial city. Its present industries consist of one large sawmill, a cotton seed mill, containing all the latest improved machinery, a large, first-class compress, a mill and gin, one ice factory and four substantial brick cotton warehouses. There are also brickyards, making an excellent quality of brick, used locally and shipped to other points. Two creameries are in operation, turning out large quantities of fine butter. Two amply capitalized banking houses furnish satisfactory facilities.
Two steamboat lines run regular packets from Yazoo City. The river navigation extends north over two hundred miles, and to the Mississippi river south, connecting with the Big and Little Sunflower rivers, and Lake George, etc. Some twelve hundred and fifty miles of navigable rivers, penetrating the South’s greatest cotton and corn regions, are made accessible and tributary to Yazoo City, which, by reason of its comprehensive railroad and river navigation system, should naturally develop into a great jobbing center, as well as an industrial city.
In the “matter of public schools, Yazoo City is well supplied, there being not less than three, with a large enrollment of pupils. There are also private schools, notably, the convent or Catholic school. There are also five white churches in the city, some of whose edifices of worship are noble and imposing specimens of architectural beauty. The principal civic societies are also represented by flourishing lodges, while a public library and social club are attractive and pleasing features. There is an opera house with a seating capacity of seven hundred.
The city limits extend one mile north and south, and a mile and a half east and west. The sidewalks are usually of brick. Another attractive feature is the great number of ornamental trees, by which the streets are shaded, as well as the evergreen shrubbery and semi-tropical exotics adorning the grounds of the different residences. The city has an efficient and well-equipped fire department, having two engines and one hook and ladder company.
The county courthouse, a beautiful and imposing structure, was erected at a cost of $80,000. A substantial city jail has also been built at an outlay of $12,500. A fine iron bridge has been built across the Yazoo River, in order to facilitate trade from the west, at a cost of 130,000.
Socially, as well as in a business sense, the people of Yazoo City are a very superior class, being noted for enterprise and progressive tendencies. They have full faith in the future of their charming little city, and are ever ready to further its interests by all means within their power. The city government is vested in a mayor and board of aldermen, numbering eight, a clerk, treasurer, assessor and collector, attorney and city marshal. It is a popular administration, and is made up of men who guard the interests of the public with conservative care.
The local capitalists are not averse to engaging in new enterprises, and will meet out- side men of means half way in the matter of sites for manufacturing establishments or taking stock in the same. But Yazoo City has something better to offer the manufacturer and capitalist than a mere subsidy of money or land, and that is location, which, after all, is what insures the success of every industrial enterprise. By its railroad system not less than thirty counties in Mississippi and six different states and territories are reached, while its fine navigable river makes tributary the most fertile and productive portion of the lower Mississippi valley, with all the tributary streams of the Father of Waters. The raw material can be floated to its factory doors, almost without cost, while the same highway, aided by the rail-road, serves to distribute the product to every great consuming center in the country. The First National bank was organized in September, 1886, with a capital paid up of $50,000, to which has since been added a large surplus. It is located in a new building at the corner of Main and Bridge streets, specially arranged for the business, the interior being arranged in modern style, while tire and burglar-proof vault and safes effectually guard the treasure. A general banking, exchange, deposit and collection business is transacted by this bank, and any one requiring the services of a reliable correspondent in this section will do well to engage its services. The officers of the First National are: L. Lippman, president; Charles Mann, vice president; and E. L. Bennett, cashier, under whose careful and conservative management its affairs have thriven and the business widely extended. The directory is made up of L. Lippman, Charles Mann, L. B. Warren, J. H. D. Haverkamp, John Lear, E. A. Jackson and E. Drenning, who are all well known as leading capitalists, merchants and professional men of Yazoo City. The bank’s correspondents are the Mercantile National, New York; Union National, New Orleans; Kentucky National, Louisville; and the Prairie State National, Chicago. The establishment of this bank was the outgrowth of Yazoo City’s urgent demand for increased banking facilities.
The Bank of Yazoo City, the pioneer banking house of Yazoo City, was established in the year 1876, with a paid-up capital of $100,000, to which has since been added a large surplus. This bank has the handsomest and most attractive building on Main Street. The interior is fitted up in elegant style, such as prevails in metropolitan banking houses, and is equipped with fireproof vaults, steel safes and time lock. The building was erected at a cost of $10,000. This institution does a general banking business in all its branches, and is regarded as one of the safest banks in the state. Its correspondents are the National Park bank, New York, and the Louisiana National bank, of New Orleans. The officers are R. C. Shepherd, president; Charles Roberts, vice president, and S. R. Berry, cashier, men of extensive experience as bank managers, who are well known and stand high in financial circles. The directors are R. C. Shepherd, J. H. D. Haverkamp, J. J. Fouche, J. N. Gilruth, J. F. Powell, William Hamel, W. C. Craig and Louis Wise, all of whom will be recognized as being among Yazoo City’s leading capitalists, largest and most successful business men and manufacturers.
Source: Biographical and Historical Memories of Mississippi, Goodspeed Publishing Company, 1891