|• Total||580 sq mi (1,500 km2)|
|• Land||578 sq mi (1,500 km2)|
|• Water||1.5 sq mi (4 km2) 0.3%|
| • Estimate |
|• Density||37/sq mi (14/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC−6 (Central)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−5 (CDT)|
Newton County is a county located in the U.S. state of Mississippi. As of the 2010 census, the population was 21,720. Its county seat is Decatur.
Newton County was formed in 1836 and named after scientist Isaac Newton.
The Battle of Newton's Station was fought in the county on April 24, 1863 during Grierson's Raid of the American Civil War.
In February 1864, General William Tecumseh Sherman crossed the county, burning the county seat at Decatur and was nearly captured during the Meridian Campaign. Sherman stopped during the return trip from Meridian and slept in the town of Union.
On October 10, 1908, a mob of white people brutally shot, tortured, and lynched Frank Johnson, Dee Dawkins, and William Fielder near Hickory, Mississippi.
On October 8, a Black sharecropper named Shep Jones had a disagreement about his work schedule with his white employer. The white planter assaulted Mr. Jones, leading to an altercation that ended with the white man’s death. Mr. Jones fled Newton County, aware that Black people were not believed to have a right to defend themselves against white people and that he was at risk of being lynched.
For the next two days, an angry white mob terrorized the entire Black community in a manhunt for Mr. Jones. The mob destroyed property owned by Black people, burned a Black church and meeting lodge near Gardlandville, and threatened Black families.
On October 9, the mob hanged Mr. Jones’s father-in-law, William Fielder, from a tree near his home. The next morning, unable to locate Mr. Jones but refusing to be denied a lynching, the mob lynched Dee Dawkins and Frank Johnson, two Black men who were targeted merely for being associated with Mr. Jones.
Many Black people were so traumatized by the violence that they fled Newton County. White elected officials and law enforcement failed to hold anyone accountable for the destruction of Black property or the lynchings.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 580 square miles (1,500 km2), of which 578 square miles (1,500 km2) is land and 1.5 square miles (3.9 km2) (0.3%) is water.
|U.S. Decennial Census|
As of the census of 2000, there were 21,838 people, 8,221 households, and 6,001 families residing in the county. The population density was 38 people per square mile (15/km2). There were 9,259 housing units at an average density of 16 per square mile (6/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 65.01% white, 30.37% black or African American, 3.68% Native American, 0.18% Asian, 0.33% from other races, and 0.44% from two or more races. 0.91% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 8,221 households, out of which 33.50% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.00% were married couples living together, 16.00% had a female householder with no husband present, and 27.00% were non-families. 24.60% of all households were made up of individuals, and 11.60% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.57 and the average family size was 3.04.
In the county, the population was spread out, with 26.20% under the age of 18, 11.20% from 18 to 24, 26.00% from 25 to 44, 21.70% from 45 to 64, and 14.90% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 92.40 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.70 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $28,735, and the median income for a family was $34,606. Males had a median income of $27,820 versus $20,757 for females. The per capita income for the county was $14,008. About 16.40% of families and 19.90% of the population were below the poverty line, including 26.30% of those under age 18 and 21.70% of those age 65 or over.
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