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Stone County, Mississippi

Stone County was established in 1916 as the 81st county in the state. The county was named for John M. Stone, the governor of Mississippi between 1890 and 1896, and later, the President of Mississippi A 7 M College. Located in the southeastern corner of the state of Mississippi, the 444 square mile county forms a near-perfect rectangle, other than a 12-mile extension on the southwestern corner. Stone County was a virtual wilderness prior to the Civil War, and in 1817, the area which became Stone County was then a part of Jackson County. This land originally belonged to the Choctaw Indian tribe, however, the area became a part of the Mississippi Territory through the Treaty of Mount Dexter in 1805.

The Old Wire Road was one of the earliest roads running east and west through the southern part of the county, and the Old City Road cut diagonally across the county from northeast to southwest. Stone County’s oldest settlement was Perkinston, which was located in the central region of Stone County on land which was originally homesteaded by a settler named Mr. Perkins. Another settlement, McHenry, was settled by Dr. George McHenry in 1883, near the southern border of Stone County. In 1886, a settlement in Wiggins, the seat of government for Stone County was established.

The entire area of Stone County benefited from the plentiful amounts of lumber in the area, causing population growth as well as an economic boom to the area. McHenry had more than 1,200 residents, due to the thriving sawmill in the town, while Perkinston and Bond also had sawmills. One of the largest sawmills in south Mississippi was built in 1902, in Wiggins. Unfortunately, by 1930, the timber in the area had been severely depleted, and the timber industry was nearly dead. Many people were forced to move to other areas to find work. The Finkbine Lumber Company bought redwood logs from the Pacific Coast, shipping them by boat to Gulfport, then up the G & SI Railroad.

Following a decline in population, the county began to grow, and today the population of Stone County is estimated to be approximately 18,000. It was discovered that cucumbers would easily grow in the local soil, so the Brown-Miller Company built and operated a pickle factory in Wiggins, shipping out hundreds of train cars of pickles every year. The timber industry made a comeback following World War II, with the majority of industries in Stone County now related to wood products manufacturers. After the formation of Stone County, Harrison County Agricultural High School was operated by both Harrison and Stone Counties as a joint venture. The school changed its name to Perkinston Junior College in 1925, then later to the Perkinston Campus of Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College.

Wiggins, the county seat of Stone County was named for Wiggins Hatten, one of the earliest residents of the area, and a prominent figure in the establishment of local schools. Wiggins had the first store in the county, built in 1894 when Wiggins was known as Niles City. Stone County has a total area of 448 square miles, of which 2.71 square miles is water. Neighboring counties include Perry County to the Northeast, George County to the east, Jackson County to the Southeast, Harrison County to the South, Pearl River County to the west, and Forrest County to the northwest. Communities in Stone County include Wiggins, Beatrice, Silver Run, Ramsey Springs, Big Level, Texas, Bond, Ten Mile, Perkinston and McHenry. In 2012, Stone County was named and declared the Mural County of Mississippi, with 23 murals on display throughout the county which tell visual stories of the industries, people, landmarks, and ecosystems of Stone County.

Stone County Courts

The 8th Chancery District Court in Stone County is located at 323 East Cavers Avenue, Wiggins, MS. Cases heard in the Chancery Court include property disputes over $50,000, insurance settlements to minors, domestic and family matters (divorce, child custody, property division, alimony and adoptions), estates of descendants, emancipation issues, commitments of the mentally disabled and property title confirmations. The Honorable Judge Margaret Alfonso, Honorable Judge Carter Bise, Honorable Judge Jennifer Schloegel and Honorable Judge Jim Persons preside over the Stone County Chancery District Court.

The Stone County Second District Circuit Court is located at 323 East Cavers Avenue, Wiggins, MS. The Stone County Circuit Court has jurisdiction over any criminal or civil matter which is not exclusively vested in another court. The Honorable Judge Lisa P. Dodson, Honorable Judge Lawrence Bourgeois, Jr., Honorable Judge Roger T. Clark, and Honorable Judge Christopher L. Schmidt preside over the Stone County Circuit Court.

The Stone County Justice Court is located at 231 Third Street, Wiggins, MS. The Stone County Justice Court resides over many different issues, from delinquent mobile home taxes to civil suits, as well as traffic tickets issued by the State Highway Patrol and the Stone County Sheriff’s Department, and tickets issued by the Public Service and Gaming, Fishing and Marine Reserve. The Stone County Justice Court hears all matters regarding DUIs and violations of County ordinances, as well as first appearances for felony cases. The Honorable Judge Justin Miles and the Honorable Judge Ricky Farmer preside over the Stone County Justice Court.

Felonies and Misdemeanors in the State of Mississippi

A felony charge is much more serious than a misdemeanor charge in all states, including Mississippi. Rather than classifying felony and misdemeanor offenses as a “first-degree, second-degree, third-degree,” and so on Mississippi simply lists the offense along with the penalty in the event of a conviction.

Capital offenses in the state include capital murder, treason, and airplane hijacking. The penalties for a capital offense can range from life in prison to the death penalty. Other felonies have a potential penalty of one year in prison to life in prison, as well as large fines.

Misdemeanor offenses in the state have potential penalties of up to $1,000 in fines, as well as up to one year in county or city jail. If you have been charged with a criminal offense in the state of Mississippi, it is imperative that you speak to a knowledgeable, experienced Mississippi criminal defense attorney as quickly as possible.

Contact Our Stone County Criminal Defense Lawyers

If you have been arrested on felony or misdemeanor criminal charges in the state of Mississippi, it is crucial that you speak to a knowledgeable Stone County criminal defense attorney who will ensure your rights are properly protected. At Coxwell & Associates, PLLC, our attorneys believe in fighting aggressively for our clients, and we can build a defense that is designed to expose the holes in the prosecution’s case against you. Contact Coxwell & Associates today at (601) 948-1600 or (877) 231-1600.

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