Jefferson County, originally known as Pickering, was established April 2, 1799, by a proclamation of the first Mississippi territorial governor, Winthrop Sargent. Jefferson County received its name in honor of President Thomas Jefferson on January 11, 1802. Jefferson County is bound on the north by Claiborne County, on the east by Copiah and Lincoln Counties, on the south by Franklin and Adams Counties, and on the West by the Mississippi River. The original county seat was Greenville, near the mouth of Cole’s Creek, until 1885. However, no evidence of the old town remains.
The 1860 U.S. Census Slave Schedules for Jefferson County reportedly includes a total of 12,396 slaves. This transcription includes 185 slaveholders who held twenty or more slaves in Jefferson County, accounting for 10,600 slaves, or 85% of the county total. The rest of the slaves in the county were held by a total of 240 slaveholders. According to U.S. Census data, the 1860 Jefferson County population included 2,918 whites, thirty-five “free colored,”and 12,396 slaves. By the 1870 census, the white population had increased by about 10% to 3,215 while the “colored”population had declined about 14% to 10,633. Orleans County in Louisiana saw an increase in colored population of almost 100% between 1860 and 1870, growing to over 50,000. That is believed to be the relocation site for the blacks who left Jefferson County.
Jefferson County is also the home of many historical plantations, such as Blantonia Plantation House, Laurel Hill Plantation, Hughes-Clark House, and Springfield Plantation, along with many others.
National Archives and Records Administration microfilm series M653, Roll 599