The small town of Rocky Springs, Mississippi is a ghost town with nothing more than a walking path around what was once the town with a few old safes, cisterns, plaques were buildings may have once stood. The only building left in town is the Rocky Springs Methodist Church and cemetery that is out back.
Rocky Springs, Mississippi
Rocky Springs, Mississippi was established sometime in the late 1700s and was a popular stop for travelers needing to stop to water their animals along the old Natchez Trace. This stop along the Natchez Trace was a popular stop because of its natural spring and rock cropping.
Because of this the stop, it soon became a community that took the name after the spring. In 1796, Mayburn Cooper Settled the area. In at 1837 the Methodist Church was built. Then in 1838, Rocky Springs Academy Opened its doors.
By 1860 Rocky Springs, Mississippi had peaked and had 2,616 residents, plus about 2,000 slaves all living in a 25-square-mile area. During this period the town had three merchants, four physicians, four teachers, three clergymen , and thirteen artisans. The surrounding area had fifty-four planters, twenty-eight overseers. The town’s main source of income came from the surrounding cotton plantations and farms.
Then in 1863 the Civil war reached Rocky Springs and the Union Soldiers occupied the town and its resources for ten days. General Ulysses S. Grant used the Methodist Church as a camp headquarters as his army made its way to Jackson and Vicksburg. He had the church pews removed and he setup his desk where the pulpit now stands.
When General Grant and his troops left they stripped Claiborne County of everything the soldiers and its support staff would need to fight the Confederates in Vicksburg.
So for two weeks 50,000 troops took all the livestock, emptied the mills/storage tanks full of grain, took all harvested food, they killed what livestock they didn’t need, burned fields and houses, and took the slaves with them.
Then in 1878 Yellow Fever killed seventy-eight residents in town. Another website mentioned that the Yellow Fever struck again in 1888 but I haven’t found another reliable source that mentions this second round or how many residents were killed by it.
The few remaining residents were then devastated by an infestation of boll weevils that destroyed their cotton crops in 1905. Between the boll weevil infestation and the severe erosion caused by poor land management practices more residents left the area. By 1930 the post office and the last store closed. Not long after the closures the natural spring dried up and by 1940 the few remaining residents moved on.
Rocky Springs, Mississippi Today
Today, the only remaining structures in town is the Rocky Springs Methodist Church and cemetery. But some historical evidence was left behind and still can be seen today. Along the hiking trail you can find the old post office safe, two other safes, and a cistern or two in locations where these buildings may have been.
The trail is on the former town site with signage at different spots along the path that tells you about the items left behind and about the erosion in the area. The whole area can be explored in about thirty minutes and few minutes more if you want to explore the church and cemetery.
I’m still researching the history of Rocky Springs and much of the information I found came from Wiki and several other websites. If you have any information, vintage photos or had family that lived in the town please let me know. I would love to add your stories to the article.
About the Images
Below are a few images taken during my hike at the Rocky Springs trail. All images were shot with an old Nikon D5000 and Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR during a sunny day but in the dappled light of the woods. The images were edited in Adobe Lightroom. Next, I post processed with Topaz Clarity and Google Nik Collection to add texture, brighten, and bring out the details in the images.