Franklin officials kick off celebration of 200 years

Published 6:00 am Tuesday, December 22, 2009

MEADVILLE – They all crowded into the Franklin CountyCourthouse, young and old, black and white, elected officials andcivilians, and all for one purpose.

Franklin County turned 200 years old Monday, and the courthousewas packed with well-wishers, all there to celebrate the littlecounty with the big heart.

“I tell everyone that Franklin County is the best kept secret insouthwest Mississippi, and it’s so true,” said District 37 Sen. BobDearing, D-Natchez, as he addressed the crowd.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

The celebration was led by local officials and the FranklinCounty Community Band Trumpet Quintet. A gubernatorialproclamation, signed by Gov. Haley Barbour, recognizing thecounty’s 200th anniversary, was read to the group by Dearing andwill be framed and displayed in the courthouse with a flag that wasflown at the U.S. Capitol.

Fourth Chancery District Judge Debbra K. Halford spoke to thegroup about how the communities of Bude, Roxie and Meadville areimportant on their own, but most residents of the area considerthemselves as being from Franklin County first.

“I moved here 25 years ago,” she said. “I chose Franklin Countyas my home, and I always say it’s like being an adopted child – Ichose to be here. And you chose to stay here.”

Halford talked about the things that make the county special,calling out different groups of community members and thanking themfor their efforts.

“We thank our veterans and our active military personnel,because without them we wouldn’t be what we are,” she said. “Ourpastors, music ministers, and other church personnel, yourinfluence keeps us a God-centered government. Educators, you choseeducation as a profession – thank you for equipping our childrenfor the future.”

She also pointed out the fact that without the medical, legaland emergency service communities, as well as charity and servicegroups, the county wouldn’t be such a special place. And Halfordalso pointed to the residents.

“Parents, you could have chosen somewhere else to go, but youdidn’t,” she said. “And retirees, you chose to stay here … ourkids couldn’t develop without that anchor to show us where we camefrom. Thanks to each and every one of you today, because by beinghere you’ve shown that you care about our past and our future.”

And Halford said that the fact that Franklin County has twocenturies of history under its belt makes for a strong foundationfor future growth and community.

“These are tough economic times, and we face bigger transitionsthan we’ve faced in a long time,” she said. “As we transition,let’s look at our history … and meet the challenges to leave ourchildren in a better place.”

Franklin County Board of Supervisors President George Collinssaid the celebration was a success thanks to the hard work of theorganizers, and that those were some of the same hardworking peoplethat had kept the county moving forward in a positive directionover recent years. But that, he said, is just standard for FranklinCounty residents.

“It means good things to us to have been here this long,” hesaid. “It’s because of good people, and good leadership.”

Monday’s celebration served as a kickoff for what will inessence be a bigger celebration the first weekend in March, Halfordsaid.

Anyone interested in assisting with the planning is invited to ameeting at the courthouse on January 7. Officials said moreinformation is available by calling the courthouse.