VICKSBURG FACTS: Warren County, you are what you eat

Published 8:00 am Friday, April 14, 2023

Did you know that Warren County was once number one in fruit production?

Before the start of the Civil War, Warren County was one of the many counties in Mississippi where agriculture thrived. According to the Mississippi Encyclopedia, Warren County was in first place for orchard products like apples and pears in the state. 

Orchard products originally came from Europe and quickly became an important part of survival for the new colonies. The South was a great location to harvest fruits due to its climate and soil.

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“There are great portions of the Southern States where the apple thrives to perfection; and all over the South, the pear, peach, quince, grape and strawberry are at home, and in the early fruits, especially, the South is destined to supply the great Northern market,” according to the Vicksburg Daily Whig Dec. 21, 1854, edition. 

Warren County was slowly becoming known for its acres of land dedicated to the production of various fruits.

“Larger orchards of choicer fruit can not be found in the South than on the Colonel’s plantation of this county. One hundred acres are devoted to fruit trees, comprising an orchard of 700 pear trees, a nursery of three thousand ditto, a peach orchard of four thousand bearing trees of the best-imported varieties from Downing’s and Prince’s nurseries at the North, and from the South of France, and also an excellent plum and apple orchard,” according to the Vicksburg Whig, Sept. 11, 1850.

Part of Warren County’s success in orchard production was thanks to its railroads. The fruit produced in the county was then shipped off to various parts of the South and sometimes the Northern markets. “This may seem an extravagant anticipation to such persons as have not paid particular attention to the quantity of fruit and fruit trees shipped from this point to New Orleans, up the river, and various places throughout the South; but to those who have witnessed the wonderful increase in the trade in this business in the last five years,” according to the Vicksburg Daily Whig, Dec. 21, 1854. 

Other papers from various states began to recognize the tasty fruits coming from Warren County. The Louisville Journal wrote a letter to the Vicksburg Daily Whig about a peach orchard in Warren County.

“One of the healthiest peach orchards we ever saw is that of Mr. Lawrence Young, near this city; it is constantly cultivated,” the letter read.

In  1860, there was an apple orchard around Cherry and Baum Streets. According to the Historical Marker Database website, Frederic Baum and his wife Ellen Chambers Baum lived in the middle of the apple orchard and donated the land near the orchard to the City of Vicksburg. That donated land became Vicksburg’s first neighborhood, which included Baum, Frederick and Chambers Streets.