The name Copiah comes from the Choctaw language and is a combination of two words — Coi (panther) and Apahyah (to call out) and thus “Calling Panther”. The area that is now Copiah County was ceded to the United States by the Choctaw tribe in the treaty known as the “Doak’s Stand Treaty” on October 18, 1820.
Formed on January 21, 1823, Copiah County was formed by a division of Hinds and Yazoo counties. At that time, Copiah included all of its present area as well as all of Simpson County, about one third of Lincoln, and about one thousand acres of Franklin. The county now contains 769 square miles and is the seventh largest area in the state. Some of the early communities were Coor’s Springs, which was the first county seat, Gallatin,
Crystal Springs, Centerpoint, Conn, Union School, and Georgetown. The town of Hazlehurst the current county seat, was established as a railroad stop in 1856.
The Copiah County Courthouse, built in 1902, underwent extensive renovations to restore the historic character of its upper floors. Wooden floors were revealed, and the dome is now visible from the ground floor, as the
courthouse was originally designed. Renovations were completed in the summer of 2008.
The county is known as a tomato and cabbage producing area, and for many years was called the “Tomato Capital of the World.” Specifically, Crystal Springs was known as “The Tomato Capital of the World” because
for a few years in the late 1930s it canned and shipped out via rail car more tomatoes than any other locale, but this was disrupted by the onset of World War II. The title stuck. About twelve years ago, on the last Saturday
in June 2000, an annual Tomato Festival was re-established, complete with a tomato growing contest (largest tomato, ugliest tomato, prettiest tomato, etc.), tomato tasting, farmers market, vendor’s booths, musical entertainment, 5K run and, of course, the crowning of the new Tomato Queen.
Folks in Copiah love a good celebration, and we get together for lots more – our Blues Heritage, our great High School sports teams, our tradition of excellent food, and our community cultural celebrations keep us looking forward to another festival all year long.
Nobody is a stranger in Copiah County – and we’d love to have you here! Come for a visit, set up shop, move in and be a part of what’s happening in Mississippi’s biggest little hometown.