Attala County, Mississippi
The Star-Herald, Kosciusko, Miss.,April 26, 1979
Ghost Once Inhabited Courthouse
copyright © 1979, Joyce W. Sanders. All rights reserved.
By Joyce W. Sanders
Three courthouses burned in Attala County in 38 years. One was supposed to be haunted. The following article was written by a Mr. Watkins, who was the Editor of the Kosciusko Star in 1896.
"Reviewing the register of my memory, I find that on the 30th day of October 1844 I began my citizenship in Kosciusko; at that time there was upon the ground now occupied by the remnant of what was a few years ago the courthouse of Attala County' a two-storied brick building, the builder of which, after leveling the ground, there placed three plys of plank for the foundation upon which was built the courthouse (about 1838).
The result was that when the planks began to decay and give way the house settled irregularly making large cracks and bulges. To save
the courthouse from falling, it was
tied with iron rods; this, however, did not prevent the courthouse from being a fussy creature. After a rainy season the softening of the decaying plank would cause much noise. It was especially fussy after a heavy freeze; while thawing it would often make a noise much like a man striking the stone steps with a billet of wood.
"In 1847-48 one Henry Sample, who occupied a room upstairs in the courthouse and slept there, was often so frightened at night that he would flee from the building.
"The winter of 1852-53 was worse than anytime before. That winter was extremely cold and the snow was the deepest that had fallen in Attala County since 1844. Mr. Sample was the Judicial Officer of Kosciusko at that time.
"Then came the thaw of 1853. Mr. Sample, early one Sunday morning, after several frights from the noise
made by the settling of the court-house the night before, packed up his valuables in his saddlebags, for there were no grips then, and left Kosciusko and his office. He said that he would not live in no town or county whose courthouse was haunted as was the one in Kosciusko.
"After that winter the old court-house behaved very nicely. (If there was any ghost which freguented the courthouse, it departed when Mr. Henry Sample did, for I was an inmate for many years from early morning till 12 o'clock at night.) In 1853 the settling ceased and the old courthouse remained quiet until the night of the 28th day of July 1858."
Did the ghost return? Is that maybe the same spectral being which the younger generation say used to move through the laundermat across the street from the old jail in the late 1960s? More about this in the next column.
The above article appeared in the April 26, 1979 Star-Herald, Kosciusko, Ms. It is republished here with the knowledge and consent of Joyce W. Sanders.
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