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Poplarville is the county seat of Pearl River County, Mississippi. Originally, Pearl County was carved out of Marion and Hancock counties in 1872, but became financially insolvent, and was dissolved in 1878, the land reverting back to it former counties. After Pearl County was abolished, Northern investors bought up the virgin forests in the area and a railroad came through. Pearl River County was created in 1880, and given the same boundaries as the former Pearl County, but the county seat was moved from Byrd’s Chapel to a piece of land along the railroad owned by Jim Smith, an early settler whose nickname was Poplar. This became the county seat, known as Poplarville. The railroad allowed transport of area lumber, and several sawmills were soon established in the area. When World War I broke out, the demand for lumber intensified, slowing considerably during the Great Depression of the 1930s, renewing with World War II. In 1959, Mack Charles Parker, a black American who had been accused of rape, was taken from the Pearl River County jail by a mob and shot to death. His body was found in the Pearl River ten days later. The FBI obtained confessions from some of the eight suspects, but the county prosecutor refused to present evidence to a grand jury, and no one was ever charged with the crime. Poplarville was badly damaged by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Although Poplarville has a population of under three thousand, it has enjoyed a slow but steady growth throughout its history. Nearby Mississippi communities include Crossroads, Derby, Hillsdale, Millard, Orvisburg, Red Top, Savannah, Silver Run, Texas, Tyler, and White Sand. Lumberton, Mississippi is thirteen miles to the north, and Bogalusa, Louisiana is twenty miles west of Poplarville.

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