2019 Regular Session

To: Rules

By: Senator(s) Hill

Senate Resolution 22


WHEREAS, on January 5, 2019, the south Mississippi Town of Columbia, Mississippi, celebrated its Bicentennial (200th) Celebration in downtown Columbia. Mississippi Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves stood atop a platform in front of the town's Christmas tree and spoke to the thousands of residents who were gathered. The brightly lit downtown, he said, made Columbia "a shining example of what is possible when Mississippians come together"; and

WHEREAS, Columbia is the county seat of Marion County, Mississippi. Marion County was created out of Amite County in 1811, encompassing the southwest quarter of the current State of Mississippi. Before statehood in 1816, there were three territorial census/poll tax records taken of what was deemed Marion County at the time. The land on which the current City of Columbia resides was first purchased for cash on April 18, 1820, by William Lott and John Lott. Columbia was officially incorporated on June 25, 1819, becoming the fourth municipality in the State of Mississippi; and

WHEREAS, Columbia served as the temporary Capital of Mississippi from November 1821, when the 5th Session of the Mississippi Legislature first met there, until 1822. In that year, a Special Session of the Legislature met in Columbia, inaugurating Governor Walter Leake, and selecting LeFleur's Bluff (now Jackson) as the permanent Capital; and

WHEREAS, Columbia, "The City of Charm on the River Pearl," has always been in danger of flooding, due to its bordering the Pearl River. The county courthouse, with its records dating back to pre-statehood, has managed to survive war, floods, tornadoes and hurricanes. In its first 100 years, Columbia relied on the Pearl River for transportation of goods. The river was much deeper and wider than it is now. Steamboat captains, such as John Black, lived in Columbia; and

WHEREAS, during the Civil War, United States troops under the command of General Davidson camped outside Columbia, taking provisions from the citizens of the Confederate States of America. The courthouse was spared. The Southern Claims Commission Files detail these events. In 1935, Mississippi's first rodeo was held in Columbia. In 2016, the Mississippi Rodeo Hall of Fame was founded and headquartered in Columbia. During the Civil Rights Movement, Columbia and Marion County were the site of the most peaceful demonstrations, due to the diligent insistence of nonviolence by Sheriff John Homer Willoughby. The town is known for its citizens ability to work together; and

WHEREAS, in 2005, Columbia suffered extensive damage from super storm Katrina. Once again, the courthouse survived. There was no looting, and citizens worked together with local churches, civic officials, and law enforcement to provide for citizens during the extensive power loss. Individuals immediately began helping their neighbors clear roads and escape being trapped in debris; and

WHEREAS, former Mississippi Governor and Columbia native Hugh L. White introduced white squirrels to the area, and they are still common in Columbia City Park. His home still stands today, a stately reminder of architecture of the past; and

WHEREAS, notable people from Columbia include:

Gil Carmichael, businessman, transportation specialist, Republican politician, born in Columbia in 1927;

Logan Cooke, NFL punter;

Peggy Dow (Peggy Varnadow Helmerich), film actress and philanthropist;

Jim Dunaway, NFL player for the Buffalo Bills and Miami Dolphins;

Reverend John Ford, pioneering Methodist Minister and early political leader;

Bobby Hamilton, two-time Super Bowl winner with NFL's New England Patriots;

Gerry E. Hinton (1930-2000), former member of Louisiana State Senate and Slidell, Louisiana, City Council;

Claudis James (1943-2013), NFL player;

General Benjamin Lee, military leader and early political figure;

Sylvester Magee, reportedly the last living American slave, died there in 1971;

Joseph T. "Joe" Owens (1945-2013), NFL player;

Eddie Payton, pro football player;

Walter Payton (1954-1999), NFL player in Pro Football Hall of Fame, born in Columbia;

Hugh L. White, former Columbia Mayor and two-term Governor of Mississippi; and

WHEREAS, it is with great pride that we acknowledge this landmark event in the history of a Mississippi community which has reflected the highest credit on the State of Mississippi:

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE SENATE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI, That we do hereby join the citizens of Columbia, Mississippi, in recognizing its Bicentennial (200th) Celebration, and extend the best wishes of the Mississippi Senate to the citizens of Columbia on this auspicious occasion.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That this resolution be presented to Mayor Justin McKenzie of the City of Columbia, forwarded to the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, and made available to the Capitol Press Corps.