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					The Town of McHenry



Stone County, Mississippi

Prepared by Ginny Walker English
Information obtained from McHenry Memories I & II donated by Dowie Ecroyd, and
C. Roosevelt Ecroyd
Table of Contents
• History       • Schools
• Churches      • Stone County
                  Enterprise News
                  Articles
                • Citizens
 History

McHenry is located in the heart of the Pine Belt of Southern Mississippi.
The landscape is that of rolling hills, green pastures, and long leaf pine
timberlands. A rolling country with clear water, sandy bottom rivers and
creeks. An abundance of the best table water, also a great deal claimed
for therapeutic value. Game preserves. Large areas rededicated to
reforestation.
The wonderful gardening possibilities are year-round crops, early Spring
and late Fall for others, with those things of natural habitat, as figs,
pecans, Japanese persimmons, blue berries, sweet potatoes, and sugar
cane. The general line of vegetables, cabbage, carrots, radishes, turnips,
etc., can be harvested any day of the year. Tomatoes from May to
December. Peaches by the last of May.
   History

 McHenry is a close knit community where neighbors know and help one
another without much prodding. The citizens of McHenry are proud of their
Southern Heritage.
The town was founded by Dr. George A. McHenry in1889 and was first called
Niles City. At the time of its formation, McHenry was part of Harrison
County until March 19, 1912, with the formation of Stone County. When the
citizens of Niles City registered for a post office, they were made aware there
was another town in Mississippi known as Niles City. Thus, the name change
honoring Dr. McHenry. See bio of Dr. McHenry.
Currently McHenry is under the County government of Stone County. The
old-timers say that it was incorporated at one time.
 History

from 1903 to 1919. Fire has ravished McHenry on several occasions.
Perhaps that is why the incorporation documents cannot be found. See
Newspaper Clippings for articles on fires.
The primary occupation of the early pioneers of McHenry was that which
you would find in an area with an abundance of timber. Saw mills,
planing mills, and turpentine stills were a booming industry. At one time
around 1900, when the population was its greatest, there were about 7
sawmills in and around the town of McHenry.
For the early homesteader and up until about 1930 or so, land could be
obtained in three ways. The largest part of the land belonged to the U.S.
Government and could be bought for $1.25 per acre. The
History


state owned land could be purchased for .25 cents per acre, and the land
sold under the Swamp Act could be purchased for .05 cents per acre.
Today an acre of land sells for approximately $1,025.00 per acre.
Schools
• Old Perryville        • McHenry Elementary
• Michigan Settlement   • McHenry Negro School
Schools
 Old Perryville School
The first school of McHenry was organized in 1898, and was located at
what is known as Old Perryville. It was first a private pay school,
supported by the patrons. Each teacher was paid $1.00 per month for
each pupil attending. Later it was moved when the town of McHenry
was developed. It was then located where the Methodist Church now
stands, but was moved to the present location a few years later. It then
became a public free school and adopted a standard course of study.
During the thriving days of McHenry, this was one of the best high
schools in the county. Included in its’ faculty in the early days were
Professor Darby, father of C. J. Darby, past superintendent of Perkinston
Jr. College, a Mr. McNeal, Miss Edna Walker, Iduma Walker, and
Professor J. J. Dorsey, who was later principal of Perkinston Jr. College.
Schools
Michigan Settlement School

Michigan Settlement School (See article printed in the Stone County
Enterprise, January 27, 1949 - written by Rev. Elmer C. Reber)
The school was named for a colony from Michigan was homesteading
around that section which is now called McHenry. (Perrys, Deepers,
Browns, Lawrence Hoodleys, McHenrys, Rathburns, McDonalds, Bachlers,
Longcoys, Hadas, Stockmans, Cramms, and Kunsmans). The school which
began in the middle of December 1889, with 68 pupils and had classes in all
8 grades.
I was told that it was the first school house with glass windows and an iron
stove in all that rural area.
Mr. Lon Parker “Uncle Lon”, at the age of 92, told Debra Willis the school
was located near the “Yellow Fever Cemetery”.
Schools
McHenry Elementary
(written 1953)
 McHenry Elementary school is a frame building with four large class
rooms, one of which is used for a lunch room and auditorium. The
building cost $8,000.00. Equipment consisted of regulation school
desks, blackboards and heating stoves. Library containing two sets of
reference books for elementary teaching, and other good reading
matter, such as magazines, daily and weekly newspapers, etc. Two
school buses providing transportation. Classes through the 9th grade.
Enrollment is 96.
4-H club for boys and girls; the object to teach them to be better
farmers and homemakers.
(click next for continuation)
 Schools
 McHenry Elementary

The disciplinary control is under the supervision of the Principal and is
well handled. PTA meets once a month. Faculty meetings are held once
a week. Cafeteria in the school.
There is no teacher’s home, they all live in town, taking active part in the
social and religious life of the community.
Qualifications for teachers: at least 2 years college work. Salaries were
$199.00 per month. J.W. Watkins, C. H. Bond, and Cora Lassister were
teachers.
 Schools
 McHenry Negro School

Located in town near Hwy. 49. Frame building consisting of2
classrooms, 1 home science room and a cloak room (costing $1,500) and
erected with the Rosenwald fund for Negro schools. The equipment
consists of desks and benches, black boards, maps and piano. No
transportation available. No PTA. No cafeteria. Clubs: Improvement
Club whose aim is to work out plans and discuss improvements for
classroom and school. Ruel Ephrane is the teacher. Qualifications 4
years high school training. Salary is $30.00 per month.
Taken from interview given by Ruel Ephrane, Teacher
Churches
• Michigan Settlement   • Other Churches
• McHenry Baptist       • Mt. Zion Methodist
• McHenry Methodist     • Sunlight Missionary
                          Baptist
                        • McHenry Missionary
Churches
Michigan Settlement Church

A church was formed in the school building for the Michigan
Settlement. Rev. Elmer C. Reber was the pastor. Meetings consisted of
Sunday School and preaching every Sunday. Old time settlers as the
Tiners, Swilleys, Bonds, Hattens, Garners and Brelands attended and
seemed to enjoy those good meetings. As Rev. Reber was not ordained
then, Rev. Aurelius Cox had to baptize over 20 in a deep hold in a
creek that was near the school house. People came on foot, on
horseback, and even in an ox wagon, for miles around to attend those
meetings and see the baptism. Those walking at night would carry
burning “lighter” sticks to guide them along dim roads and mere paths.
 Churches
 McHenry Baptist Church

A Missionary Baptist church organized in 1883, immediately after the
organization of the small town of McHenry. When first organized there
was an enrollment of 15 members. The building was small, wooden
frame constructed by the people. Later, a larger and better building was
constructed as the membership had increased to about 130. Sunday
School and preaching were held Sundays.
 Churches
 McHenry Methodist

Organized immediately after the organization of McHenry, which was
organized in 1889 by Dr. McHenry. As people began to settle near this
small town they thought of a place to worship and therefore decided to
build a church at once. When first organized, there were only about
thirty members, at present there is enrollment over 10.
Stone County Enterprise
• Michigan Settlement School, January 27, 1949
• Ramsey Springs Hotel, July 3,1980 (written by Linnie Breland)
Michigan Settlement School (See article printed in the
Stone County Enterprise, January 27, 1949 - written by
Rev. Elmer C. Reber)


“Back in November, 1889, I arrived in Gulfport. All I found there
was a short train shed, a two-story frame hotel and Captain Jones’
office. Dr. McHenry and his wife arrived at the same time and we
came on the engine up 121/2 miles to Rufus Bond’s Crossing,
where there was a small sawmill. Dr. McHenry got Mr. Bond’s
horse and open buggy to bring his wife the other 121/2 miles to
the Michigan Settlement and they let me ride with them. A colony
from Michigan was homesteading around that section which is
now called McHenry. They had written me to come and be their
teacher and preacher. These people, the Perrys, Deepers,
Michigan Settlement School (See article printed in
the Stone County Enterprise, January 27, 1949 -
written by Rev. Elmer C. Reber)




Browns, Lawrence Hoodleys, McHenrys, Rathburns, McDonalds,
Bachlers, Longcoys, Hadas, Stockmans, Cramms, and Kunsmans were
were widely scattered, as they could only homestead on odd numbered
sections, as the even numbered ones for 3 miles each side of the Gulf
and Ship Island Rail Road had been granted to the promote of the
Railroad which was being built from Gulfport to Jackson. I worked with
the others on the one-room frame building for a school, located about a
mile west of the Railroad grading toward Thomas Tiner’s home. I had to
walk 32 miles to the home of Prof. Lancaster to pass an examination and
get the contract for the school which began in the middle of December
1889, with 68 pupils and had classes in all 8 grades. I was told that it
was the first school house with glass windows and an iron
  Michigan Settlement School (See article printed in the Stone
  County Enterprise, January 27, 1949 - written by Rev. Elmer
  C. Reber)



stove in all that rural area. I boarded with Mr. and Mrs. Edward Brown for
$5.00 per month and also had washing and ironing of my clothes. I
organized a Sunday
School and preached every Sunday. Also a protracted meeting and quite a
number were converted. Many said it reminded them of old times. Old
time settlers as the Tiners, Swilleys, Bonds, Hattens, Garners and Brelands
attended and seemed to enjoy those good meetings. As I was not ordained
then, had Rev. Aurelius Cox to baptize over 20 in a deep hold in a creek that
was near the school house. People came on foot, on horseback, and even in
an ox wagon, for miles around to attend those meetings and see the baptism.
Those walking at night would carry burning “lighter” sticks to guide them
along dim roads and mere paths. We didn’t have telephones,
Michigan Settlement School (See article printed in the Stone County
Enterprise, January 27, 1949 - written by Rev. Elmer C. Reber)


autos, radios and then Gulfport and Mississippi City were our post
offices and we got mail once a week when Dr. McHenry started his
store. No modern conveniences, but people were happy and
contented and no need for a jail or policeman.
Ramsey Springs Hotel
Linnie Breland

The history of Ramsey Springs dates back to the days of the Indians.
Nearly 100 years ago the Rev. Abner Walker and his brother George
were directed to the springs situated on the banks of Red Creek, some 20
miles southeast of Wiggins. George (George Washington Walker) was
suffering from a stomach ailment which the Indians had told him would
be cured if he drank the mineral waters. He tried it, and the pain was
alleviated. Impressed with this miracle the Walkers told others about the
spring, located on the Ramsey homestead.
People came by the hundreds to camp, bathe, and drink the water,
   Ramsey Springs Hotel
   Linnie Breland




Andrew Ramsay, an heir to the property, and A. Baldwin developed the
spring and later sold to Dr. George McHenry and George Bustin. These
men promoted the spring as a cure for stomach ulcers and skin diseases. It
was from them that the Millers acquired the property. An analysis, made
by the National Bureau of standards lists eight chemicals, plus a small
amount of radium. In 1890 a pamphlet from A. E. Ramsay set forth the
advantages of Ramsay Mineral Springs based on an analysis made by a
chemist in New Orleans, that the water was good for skin disorders, blood
and bowel diseases and liver and kidney complaints (I remember very
well my Dad going once a week to jugs of mineral water for me to drink
when I was a little girl. The taste wasn’t the nicest but I knew I better not
dare drink any other water. This being the orders of some doctor that this
would help cure my kidney ailment.)
   Ramsey Springs Hotel
   Linnie Breland




In increasing numbers people came to camp, bathe, drink the water and
enjoy the fried chicken of the rustic rambling 25 room hotel that
accommodated the Ramsay Springs guest. It was decorated with curious
timbers, pinecones, and rock formations found in the vicinity. The huge
lobby with its’ great cobblestone fireplace and ceiling of cypress logs
that formed the support for the upper stories was a favorite gathering
place for the guests. For many, many years - until the beach strip
[Gulfport] began building its’ string of motels and hotels, Ramsay
Springs was booked solid.
In 1961 the hotel was demolished but people still return to the “old
swimming hole”.

				
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