Bill Text: MS SC663 | 2019 | Regular Session | Enrolled

Bill Title: Commemorate the Bicentennial of the extension of the Mississippi eastern boundary to include Jackson County and Port of Pascagoula.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Republican 4-0)

Status: (Passed) 2019-04-08 - Enrolled Bill Signed [SC663 Detail]

Download: Mississippi-2019-SC663-Enrolled.html


2019 Regular Session

To: Rules

By: Senator(s) Wiggins, DeBar, Seymour, Watson

Senate Concurrent Resolution 663

(As Adopted by Senate and House)


     WHEREAS, the State of Mississippi was established on December 10, 1817, by Act of Congress as the 20th state admitted to the Union.  David Holmes was chosen as the first Governor.  The meandering tale of how Mississippi got its shape thus came to an end.  Or at least it almost came to an end; there would be one final piece, one last addition, and it would be tacked on well past the official date of admission; and

     WHEREAS, the eastern boundary of Mississippi on the date of admission ran south "from the northwest point of Washington County (Alabama)" which meant that not only did it leave Mobile in Alabama, it also touched the waters of the Mississippi Sound "very close to the east side of Pascagoula Bay."  In other words, it left out the present-day Cities of Pascagoula and Moss Point along with a sliver of land along the new state's eastern line all the way up to the northeast corner of Wayne County; and

     WHEREAS, there are conflicting reports on how being left out of the new state was viewed by those living in this area.  When arguing over placement of the border line, some others said with confidence that it "would certainly be their wish" to be in the Mobile district, and that "settlers along the Pascagoula River were displeased over being separated from Mobile."  These settlers "protested that this vertical boundary placed them in the Alabama Territory, separating them from families and businesses on the west side of Pascagoula Bay"; and

     WHEREAS, in any event, the reaction of the Mississippi Legislature was immediate.  They met on December 17, 1817, exactly one week after Madison had signed the admission papers, and protested the eastern boundary in a memorial they sent to the U.S. Congress requesting a reconfiguration of the line.  Among other complaints, the memorial bemoans the eastern line as "dividing some of the eastern counties, so as to leave a part of the inhabitants on the Pascagoula unconnected with any county, and destitute of the security and benefits of either a territorial or a state government.  It destroys the equality, in the partition among the southwestern states, of the seacoast acquired by the purchase of Louisiana; thereby giving to the Territory of Alabama on the left, and to the State of Louisiana on the right, the whole extent of that seacoast.  It moreover leaves this state destitute of a seaport, while its two powerful neighbors, Alabama and Louisiana, will possess almost the entire seaboard from the eastern to the western boundary of Louisiana" acquired under the Louisiana Purchase (Memorial, December 17, 1817); and

     WHEREAS, evidently, the Congress found Mississippi's arguments against splitting the eastern counties and leaving the new state without a seaport to be compelling.  Two years later, Section Three of the "Act for the Admission of Alabama" (the enabling act) passed by the U.S. Congress on March 2, 1819, contained the following correction:  "That it shall be the duty of the surveyor of the lands of the United States to run and cut out the line of demarkation (sic) between the State of Mississippi and the state to be formed of the Alabama territory; and if so much of said line running due south, from the northwest corner of Washington county to the Gulf of Mexico, will encroach on the Counties of Wayne, Green, or Jackson, in said State of Mississippi, then the same shall be so altered as to run in a direct line from the northwest corner of Washington County to a point on the Gulf of Mexico, ten miles east of the mouth of the river Pascagoula"; and

     WHEREAS, the surveyors then determined that Mississippi had indeed been shortchanged, so the line was shifted eastward, and on December 14, 1819, "when Alabama was admitted to the Union, Congress reunited all the Pascagoula settlers in Mississippi by relocating the bottom leg 'to run southeastward from the northwest point of Washington County to strike the Gulf at a point ten miles east of the mouth of the Pascagoula River'," thereby annexing the present-day Cities of Pascagoula, Moss Point, and State Line officially and belatedly to Mississippi.  Also added were portions of Buckatunna, Leakesville, and Lucedale.  With these additions, two years after the official date of admission, the State of Mississippi assumed its final form, the familiar, if somewhat unusual, shape that we recognize today; and

     WHEREAS, the importance of this Petition and the subsequent Act of Congress which moved our boundary to the east cannot be overstated, and the economic and cultural impact to Jackson County is momentous.  We join the citizens of the Mississippi Gulf Coast in marking this Bicentennial Anniversary of the founding of Jackson County and the establishment of the eastern boundary of our state:

     NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE SENATE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI, THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES CONCURRING THEREIN, That we do hereby memorialize and commemorate the Bicentennial Anniversary of the extension of the Mississippi eastern boundary line by Act of Congress on March 2, 1819, to include present-day Jackson County and the Port of Pascagoula and commend this historical occasion as a reason for celebration of history.

     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That this resolution be transmitted to the Board of Supervisors of Jackson, Wayne, George and Greene Counties, to the Mayor and Board of Aldermen of the City of Pascagoula and the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, and made available to the Capitol Press Corps.