The town of Holly Springs began as a small outpost at the edge of the “holly springs”, today’s Spring Hollow Park.  For hundreds of years before the arrival of white settlers, the Chickasaw Indians lived in the hill country of northern Mississippi.  After the end of the American Revolutionary War, settlers began arriving in the frontier lands east of the Mississippi.  On October 20, 1832, the Treaty of Pontotoc was signed between the Chickasaw leaders and the United States government, selling all of the Chickasaw homelands to the United States.  The first settlers did not arrive in northern Mississippi until 1834, after the specifics of the “Chickasaw Cession” had been hammered out by the Chickasaws and Americans.

One of the earliest settlers to the area which would become Marshall County was Whitmel Sephas Randolph, who opened an outpost in 1835 at the edge of a glen of holly trees, situated next to a bubbling spring and lake.  Originally Randolph’s Outpost catered to the Chickasaw Indians who hunted in the area, but eventually white settlers and exploration expeditions began arriving  to the springs.

Soon, a small settlement began to form around the springs.  The first tavern was built 200 yards south of the outpost by Samuel Ramsey McAlexander.  McAlexander’s Tavern consisted of two rough-hewn log rooms.  Another settler, Alexander McEwen, opened a store in the area, and gave the new settlement its’ name after sending a merchandise bill to the “settlement by the holly springs.”  On the western edge of the springs, another tavern, called the Dumm and Bishop Tavern, was constructed around 1836.

Even though Holly Springs was born around its’ namesake springs, by late 1836 the center of town had moved south.  The first temporary courthouse was constructed in 1836, and the town square quickly grew around the courthouse.  Randolph’s Outpost did not survive when the town moved south of the springs.  It was located in the northeast corner of the springs, just west of where the Boling-Gatewood House sits today.  McAlexander’s Tavern was gone by 1840, and once stood in the southern area of the springs, where the current water tower stands today.

The Dumm and Bishop Tavern survived for many decades.  It was located in the southwest corner of the springs.  In 1926, it was razed by Wall Doxey, who built a Craftsman Bungalow on  the site.  This Craftsman was in turn destroyed in 2015.  Today a Family Dollar marks the spot of the last reminder of the founding of Holly Springs.  Today, the entire springs area is called Spring Hollow Park.

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