Hill Country: Ashland (1871)

Ashland, Mississippi was incorporated on March 8, 1871 as the county seat for Benton County.  Benton County was created on July 21, 1870, during Reconstruction, from portions of east Marshall County and western Tippah County.  Depending on the source, Benton County is either named after U.S. Senator Thomas Benton or Confederate General Samuel Benton.  In many ways Ashland is the successor town to Salem, which was founded in 1836 a few miles west of Ashland and destroyed during the Civil War.  Many of the old Salem families moved to Ashland upon its’ creation.

The area that would become Ashland was sold to the city by the McDonald family, who lived in a manor just north of town.  The oldest house in town is the McDonald family’s town or Sunday house, today known as the Lowry House (occupied today by Mike’s Family Jewels antique and gift store), which was built about 1850 and predates the town itself by 20 years.  The Benton County Courthouse was constructed in 1873 on the town square.  Unfortunately, many of the town’s Italianate and Victorian houses have not survived, but there are several architectural gems remaining in the town, including the Crawford House (1875), the Ayres House (1880) and the Renick House (1880).

The population of Ashland was just over 500 in 2010.  Ashland is home to a popular Italian restaurant and several businesses, including the famous Farese Law Firm.

 

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