Grenada, the capital of Grenada County, is a bustling, thriving little city of twenty-three hundred inhabitants, beautifully located on a level plateau at the head of navigation of the Yalobusha River, and on the main line of the Illinois Central railway, and is the terminus of the Mississippi & Tennessee railroad, a branch of the Illinois Central from Memphis to Grenada. Grenada has four churches: Methodist, Baptist, Presbyterian and Episcopal. Each has a good congregation and a flourishing Sunday-school.
The Grenada Collegiate institute, costing $40,000, for the education of young ladies, and under the supervision of the North Mississippi conference, is located here and has about two hundred students. There is a high school for boys, and several smaller schools, besides two free schools (one white and one colored), with large attendance, presided over by competent teachers. Two public-school buildings, one for each race, have been erected, costing 115,000.
In the management of the corporate affairs the strictest business rules are observed, and everything is done upon a cash basis. There are in successful operation a cotton com-press, a cottonseed oil mill, a steam gin and gristmill, a collar factory, a tannery, a creamery, ice factory and cold storage warehouse and other smaller enterprises. Other enterprises could be opened with profit, and the people of Grenada will advance means to worthy and competent persons coming here to engage in creditable enterprises. There is a bank here with a paid-up capital of $60,000, and deposits of over $100,000, and a building and loan association which has proven a benefit to the community. The assessed value of the property in the city is over $650,000. All branches of the mercantile business are represented. Grenada is one of the largest receivers of cotton on the Illinois Central railway, the average receipts being about fifteen thousand bales. The various secret orders are represented, and flourishing lodges of Masons, Odd Fellows, Knights of Pythias, and Knights of Honor are here.
The city proper is just one mile square, and is laid off into beautiful lots and wide streets. The stores are handsome, and the residences comfortable and convenient. Many of the houses are of the latest styles of architecture.
The cotton trade is extensive and growing, two thousand bales being handled each year. The town has the additional advantages of a cotton compress, which was erected in 1885. The business portion of Grenada lies about half a mile from the railroad. It comprises between forty and fifty stores. Every branch of business is well represented, some of the houses doing a very heavy trade. There are three good hotels and two lively newspapers. In banking facilities the city is well to the front. The Merchants’ bank has a paid up capital of $40,000, and a large support from the district. A handsome new building has been erected for it on the public square. Grenada is not as yet rich in manufactories, but there are a successful oil mill and gristmill and gin.
The trade which supports thin active town is drawn from a circuit of seventy to eighty miles, and extends over five counties. There is a fair jobbing trade, and in some branches, notably hardware, dry goods and drugs, Grenada merchants launch out far beyond the limits of their territory. Excellent freestone water is supplied by wells and pumps, and there is good natural drainage. The system of sidewalks is complete and commendable. The most prominent building is the courthouse, an ornate structure of brick, erected in 1884 at a cost of $25,000. There is also a large public hall, with a capacity of eight hundred.
Grenada has had some rough experiences. The town is older than the railroad. In 1847 it was devastated by a cyclone. In 1855 it was partially burnt. Early in 1884 the sudden failure of a bank sadly demoralized the business of the town. On the 16th of August, in the same year, a disastrous fire laid one side of Grenada in ruins, doing damage to the extent of more than if $250,000. To crown all these misfortunes the remaining bank closed its doors before the end of the year. The stores were rebuilt more substantially than ever; money was forthcoming; a sound financial system replaced the erratic methods of the broken institutions, and Grenada is today in every way, stronger, healthier and more prosperous than at any period of its existence. All the buildings on the public square are now of brick, with metal roofs. Property is increasing in value, and many new enterprises are in contemplation.
Grenada lies in the mineral district of which Duck hill is the most prominent exponent. It is notable, also, that Grenada capitalists are largely interested in Duck hill’s mineral land company.
The town is located on the land which John Donly, a mail carrier for the Choctaw Indians, obtained by the Dancing Rabbit treaty. On this land, which lies on the left bank of Yalobusha River near the center of what is now Grenada county, sprang up the thriving village of Pittsburg, and on an adjoining tract of land and only a short distance away grew up the village of Tullahoma. They were rivals for some years, neither surrendering its name to the other, and they finally compromised on the name of Grenada, under which it was incorporated in 1836.
In 1882 Grenada Female College was transferred to the north Mississippi conference, and has since been known as Grenada Collegiate institute, with Rev. Thomas J. Newell, a graduate from Emory and Henry College, Virginia, as president. There are five instructors besides the president, and the school has a dormitory for about eighty boarding pupils, and a chapel with a seating capacity of about three hundred. The Methodist is probably the oldest church society in Grenada County, it having had an organization in Grenada as early as 1836. It erected a building about 1837, and in 1852 built its present house of worship. The Presbyterians organized about 1837 and built a house soon after. The Baptists came next, and built about 1845, but their house was destroyed in 1846 by a tornado. They at once built another structure and occupied it till 1891; they have just completed a handsome brick building. The old Baptist church is now owned by the Cumberland Presbyterians, who organized a society in 1891.
In 1851 the Baptists founded Yalobusha female institute at Grenada, and began the erection of a large four-story brick building, which was completed about 1857 at a cost of 147,000. Some time afterward the name was changed to Mercer institute, owing to a liberal endowment by a Mrs. Mercer. During the war the building was used as a hospital for the Confederate soldiers, and sometime after the war the institution fell into the hands of private individuals, and later into the possession of a Mr. Radsdale, who expended about $10,000 in improving the building, etc.
Grenada lodge No. 31, A. P. & A. M., was incorporated in 1838.
The Graysport lodge No. 289, A. F. & A. M. , was organized a few years after the war, and was in existence some ten years, when it surrendered its charter.
Grenada lodge No. 6, I. O. O. F., was chartered about 1840, with Mr. Tyler as noble grand; has a membership of about fifty, and owns a fine brick hall, and is in a flourishing condition. L. P. Doty is noble grand.
Grenada lodge, K. of H., No. 983, was organized in 1878 with A. V. B. Thomas as dictator. The membership is about sixty. J. Ash is the dictator.
Grenada lodge No. 158, K. & L. of H., was organized in 1879. The membership is about forty-five.
Ivanhoe lodge No. 8, K. of P., was organized in March, 1876, and has about fifty members. W. P. Ferguson is chancellor commander.
Calumet encampment, I. O. O. F., No. 16, first organized about 1853, and surrendered its charter about 1880. It was chartered in 1891), and has aboat fifteen members. Julius Ash is chief patriarch.
Protection lodge No. 2, A. O. U. W., chartered about 1877, in 1878 paid out about $40,000 as a result of the yellow fever. It has about twelve members, and Rias Carl is master workman.
The Grenada Bulletin was doubtless the first newspaper published in what is now Grenada County, having been issued as early as 1836, by William McClellan. Other papers that were published from time to time were the South Rural Gentleman, by Jerry Davis, followed by the Whig, the Grenada Republican, the Locomotive, the Grenada Gazette, afterward the New Em, and the Grenada New South. The Grenada Sentinel succeeded the Locomotive in 1855, and is now the only paper in the county. Volume XXXVI is the current volume. J. W. Buchanan is the editor and proprietor.
Other towns in this county are Elliott, Graysport and Hardy.
Source: Biographical and Historical Memories of Mississippi, Goodspeed Publishing Company, 1891