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The city of Laurel is the second county seat of Jones County, situated in the Pine Belt region of southeastern Mississippi, northeast of Ellisville, the first county seat. The Jones County Sheriff’s Department is headquartered in Laurel, while the courthouse is in Ellisville. The community was founded as a lumber town in 1882, and named for the laurel thickets that grew in the area of the town site. Eastman-Gardiner & Company opened the first large lumber mill in Laurel, and was soon followed by others. Later, cotton mills were developed there, but the mechanization of agriculture in the early 1900s greatly reduced the number of available farming jobs. The discovery of oil in Laurel in the 1940s opened up a new industry, with several companies providing regional services for oil and gas drillers. Apart from Ellisville, other nearby communities include Antioch, Bonner, Calhoun, Cleo, Currie, Eastview, Gitano, Hawkes, Hoy, Lanham, Mill Creek, Moss, Pendorff, Pleasant Ridge, Powers, Sandersville, Service, Sharon, Soso, and Tuckers Crossing. Meridian, Mississippi is about fifty-seven miles northeast, and the state capital of Jackson is about eighty-nine miles northwest of Laurel.

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