Carroll County was established by the Mississippi legislature in 1833 from the land ceded by the Choctaw Indians under the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek in 1830. It was named for Charles Carroll, one of the men who signed the Declaration of Independence. Because of its original size, 908 square miles, Carroll County had two county seats, Carrollton and Vaiden.
In 1870, large portions of Carroll County were used to form three others counties – Leflore, Grenada, and Montgomery – reducing the count to its present size of 615 square miles.
Many important people have lived in Carroll County. J.Z. George, U.S. Senator and author of the Mississippi Constitution; H.D. Money, U.S. Senator; Elizabeth Spencer, author; John Hurt, bluesman; and others, like Admirals John S McCain, Sr. & Jr., and Senators John McCain and Trent Lott, have roots in Carroll County. Many items belonging to the McCains are on display in the Merrill Museum in Carrollton.
Greenwood Leflore, the last Choctaw chief to rule east of the Mississippi River lived at Malmaison, his plantation home which burned in 1942. The Choctaw Indians recently purchased the site and plan to restore it to its original state. The architect who designed Malmaison, James Harris, also designed and oversaw the building of the Carrollton Courthouse, which is still in use.
The Billups Gas empire and the Jitney Jungle grocery store chain also have their roots in Carroll County.
The historical atmosphere of Carroll County has been used in five movies, including “The Reivers,” “Ode to Billy Joe,” and “Mississippi Burning.”
Music has always been a special part of the Carroll County culture. Early folk musicians, such as fiddle player Willie Narmour, guitarist Shell Smith and bluesman John Hurt, were known to perform frequently at the “Valley Store” in the Valley community. While his early fame was fleeting, “Mississippi John Hurt” was “rediscovered” during the folk boom of the 1960s.
Fans searching for the roots of early American music have much to see and do in Carroll County, an important stop on Mississippi’s “Blues Trail.” An official “Blues Trail Marker” honoring Jurt has been erected at the “Valley Store” near Avalon.
Carroll County has a wealth of natural resources, perfect for outdoor activities. It seems as if there is a pond or lake at every turn of the road, with a variety of freshwater fish waiting to be caught. Carroll County is second in the nation in the harvest of white-tailed deer. The County is also home to eight Mississippi Champion Trees.
Whether you are looking for quiet spots, historic buildings, or unique sights, you can find it in Carroll County.