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The county seat of Amite County is Liberty, Mississippi, situated in the southern portion of the state. Liberty was incorporated in 1809, and the Amite County Courthouse building is the oldest in Mississippi, constructed in 1839. The area was originally the Natchez Territory, or the Old Natchez District, which was divided into new counties between 1799 and 1809. The Amite Female Seminary, currently known as the Little Red Schoolhouse, was built in 1853. All of its buildings were burned during the Civil War except for the music building, which was spared because the Union commander of the operation recognized the seminary’s director as a former classmate. Unfortunately, by then, the other buildings had already been torched. On November 16, Union Colonel Marsh’s cavalry unit reached Liberty and lodged a surprise attack against Confederate forces, taking 60 prisoners. The larger contingent of Union troops, under Brigadier General Albert Lee, arrived the following day, launching what became known as the Battle of Liberty, which was fought largely on the cemetery grounds. 200 prisoners, including 20 officers, were taken by Union troops, along with several wagon loads of plunder, and more than 1,000 slaves were freed. Today, 11 sites in or near Liberty are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. During the Civil Rights movement, Herbert Lee, an African-American dairy farmer, was murdered in Liberty by E.H. Hurst, a white state legislator. His 1961 murder was reported to federal officials by Louis Allen, an African-American logger. Although he requested protection, it was not granted. He suffered economic blackmail and repeated arrests, and was himself murdered in 1964. No one was prosecuted for the murder, although the county sheriff was a suspect. Liberty, Texas was named for the Mississippi town. Nearby communities include Beechwood, Berwick, and Compromise.

 

 

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