Sunflower County Data
Sunflower County Neighbors
Welcome to Sunflower County!
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About Sunflower County...
On 15 February 1844, the area now known as Sunflower & Leflore Counties was take from Bolivar County and formed as Sunflower Couny. Sunflower County is named for the Sunflower River, which is named in turn for the sunflowers that grow along its banks. The Mississippi State Legislature used the following language to define the new county:
“Beginning at the corner of townships 24 and 25, of ranges 4 and 5 west, thence east between townships 24 and 25, to the line between ranges 2 and 3 west; thence south between ranges 2 and 3 west to the line between townships 21 and 22; thence east between townships 21 and 22 to the Tallahatchie River; thence down the Tallahatchie River, and down the Yazoo River to the point where the old Choctaw boundary line intersects it; thence with the said boundary line north, forty-six degrees west, to the point where the line between ranges 4 and 5 west, intersects that line; thence north with the line between ranges 4 and 5 west, to the place of beginning.”
The first center of government for Sunflower County was the town of Clayton. The county seat was later moved to the town of McNutt (located in present-day Leflore County). Then on 15 March 1871 a large area of Sunflower County was removed to form a new county called Leflore. Since McNutt was located in the new Leflore County, Sunflower County moved their county seat to the town of Johnsonville. In 1882 the very mobile county seat for Sunflower County was once again moved to the town of Eureka, which later changed its name to Indianola. Apparently the center of government for Sunflower County became comfortable in Indianola since it has remained there to this day.
Early and prominant settlers of the county include James J. Chenning, Major Frank Hawkins, Captain John Hawkins, Governor B. G. Humphreys, Ezekiel McNabb, Colonel Hezekiah McNabb, J. Y. McNeil, Colonel Eli Waits, and G. B. Wilds. Notable residents of a more contemporary era include Blues musicians B. B. King and Charlie Patton, Country singer Johnny Russell, and NFL Quaterback Archie Manning.
In addition to the county seat of Indianola, other towns and communities in Sunflower County include Drew, Moorehead, Ruleville, Shaw (in both Sunflower and Bolivar Counties), Doddsville, Inverness, Sunflower, Baird, Baltzer, Blaine, Boyer, Caile, Dockery, Dwyer, Fairview, Heathman, Holly Ridge, Kinlock, Linn, Parchman, Rome, Roundway, Steiner, and Stephensville. Sunflower County is also home to two ghost towns - Cottondale and Inwood.
Sunflower County is the longest county in Mississippi. The traveling distance from the southern boundary at Caile, to its northern boundary at Rome is approximately 56 miles. In 1850 the population of Sunflower County was 1,102, which grew to a peak of 66,364 in 1930. As of 2010 the population had declined to 29,450. The county has a total area of 707.22 square miles, of which 693.79 square miles is land and 13.43 square mile (1.90%) is water.
Neigboring counties are Coahoma County (north), Tallahatchie County (northeast), Leflore County (east), Humphreys County (south), Washington County (southwest), and Bolivar County (northwest). Communities in the county include Indianola, Drew, Moorhead, Ruleville, Shaw (mostly in Bolivar County), Doddsville, Inverness, Sunflower, Baird, Baltzer, Blaine, Boyer, Caile, Dockery, Dwyer, Fairview, Heathman, Holly Ridge, Kinlock, Linn, Mississippi State Penitentiary (Parchman), Rome, Roundaway, Steiner, Stephensville, Cottondale, and Inwood.
Sunflower County Records
Sunflower County MSGHN has many records here on our website. Marshall county marriage records and more. Look at the Sunflower County Records links in the menu on the left for a list of available data.
Birth Records - The Mississippi Department of Health maintains records of births after November 1, 1912 on file. This was the year Mississippi began keeping official birth records. You can obtain official copies of birth certificates by mail by using this birth record application on their website. If you just have to order by internet or phone, or use a credit card, you can use VitalCheck, a third party records company recogn ized by the Mississippi Dept. of Health. Since there are no official birth records before November 1, 1912 for births prior to that date you will need to determine birth information from census records, bible records, baptismal records, cemetery tombstones, etc.
Death Records - The Mississippi Department of Health maintains births recorded after November 1, 1912 on file. This was the year Mississippi began keeping official death records. You can obtain official copies of death certificates by mail by using this death record application on their website. If you just have to order by internet or phone, or use a credit card, you can use VitalCheck, a third party records company recognized by the Mississippi Dept. of Health. Since there are no official death records before November 1, 1912 for deaths prior to that date you will need to determine death information from census records, bible records, funeral home records, cemetery tombstones, etc.
Marriage Records - We have thousands of county marriage records here on our website. These dates will assist you greatly in obtaining a copy of the original marriage license. The Mississippi Department of Health can provide you with this for marriages that took place between January 1, 1926 to June 30, 1938, and for January 1, 1942 to present by mail by using this marriage record application on their website. If you just have to order by internet or phone, or use a credit card, you can use VitalCheck, a third party records company recognized by the Mississippi Dept. of Health.
All existing county marriage records for any date not listed above (and for the dates listed above for that matter) may be obtained from the county's Circuit Clerk's office.
Divorce Records - Prior to 1859, divorce proceedings were introduced as private bills in the Mississippi State Legislature. References to these can be found in the books Index of Mississippi Session Acts 1817 - 1865 and Index to the Laws of the Mississippi Territory. These books can be found at the Mississippi Department of Archives and History as well as many other genealogy repositories and libraries across the state. After 1859, county divorce proceedings were filed in the county's Chancery Clerk's office.