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Oktibbeha County, Mississippi facts for kids

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Oktibbeha County
Postcard. Textile Building of Mississippi State University, Starkville
Map of Mississippi highlighting Oktibbeha County
Location within the U.S. state of Mississippi
Map of the United States highlighting Mississippi
Mississippi's location within the U.S.
Country  United States
State  Mississippi
Founded 1833
Seat Starkville
Largest city Starkville
 • Total 462 sq mi (1,200 km2)
 • Land 458 sq mi (1,190 km2)
 • Water 3.7 sq mi (10 km2)  0.8%
 • Total 47,671
 • Estimate 
 • Density 103.18/sq mi (39.84/km2)
Time zone UTC−6 (Central)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−5 (CDT)
Congressional districts 1st, 3rd

Oktibbeha County is a county located in the east central portion of the U.S. state of Mississippi. As of the 2010 census the population was 47,671. The county seat is Starkville. The county's name is derived from a local Native American word meaning either "bloody water" or "icy creek". The Choctaw had long occupied much of this territory prior to European exploration and United States acquisition.

Mississippi State University, a public research university and land-grant institution, is in Oktibbeha County.

Oktibbeha County is conterminous with the Starkville, MS Micropolitian Statistical Area. The county is part of the Golden Triangle region of Mississippi, designated for joint regional development strategies.


The name Oktibbeha is a Native American word meaning either "bloody water" (because of a battle fought on the banks) or possibly "icy creek". Indian artifacts more than 2000 years old have been found near ancient earthwork mounds just east of Starkville. These have been used to date the construction of the mounds to the Woodland period, ending about 1000 A.D. The Choctaw people, one of the Five Civilized Tribes of the Southeast, occupied extensive territory in this area for centuries prior to European encounter. The Indian Mound Campground nearby was named for the earthwork monuments. The area has been inhabited for over 2100 years. Artifacts in the form of clay pot fragments and artwork dating from that period have been found east of Starkville at the Herman Mound and Village site, a National Historic Register site that can be accessed from the Indian Mound Campground. Shortly before the American Revolutionary War period, the area was inhabited by the Choccuma (or Chakchiuma) tribe, who were annihilated about that time by a rare alliance between the Choctaw and Chickasaw at a settlement known as Lyon's Bluff. The modern early settlement of the area was started after the Choctaw inhabitants of Oktibbeha County surrendered their claims to land in the area in the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek in 1830.

White settlers were drawn to the Starkville area because of two large springs. The Choctaw Agency was set up near what is now Sturgis first to deal with the Choctaw and later to organize the selling of the land to the new inhabitants. The post was located on Robinson Road, about 1.5 mi (2.4 km) east of the Noxubee River. A mill southwest of town provided clapboards which gave the town its original name, Boardtown. In 1835, Boardtown was established as the county seat of Oktibbeha County and its name was changed to Starkville in honor of Revolutionary War hero General John Stark.

Mississippi State University was founded near Starkville in 1878 as a land-grant university. It has become a major research university. Since the late 20th century, Oktibbeha, along with Clay and Lowndes counties, have been designated as the Golden Triangle in Mississippi. This is based on a goal of collaborative economic development among the three counties and their major jurisdictions. With the growth of Mississippi State University, Starkville has become the largest city in the region.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 462 square miles (1,200 km2), of which 458 square miles (1,190 km2) is land and 3.7 square miles (9.6 km2) (0.8%) is water. The majority of the county lies within the Black Belt region while portions of the county are in the Flatwoods region.

Major highways

  • US 82.svg U.S. Highway 82
  • Circle sign 12.svg Mississippi Highway 12
  • Circle sign 25.svg Mississippi Highway 25

Adjacent counties

National protected areas


As can be seen on the population table, there was a marked decline from 1910 to 1920, a period when the Great Migration (African American) of African Americans out of the rural South began. Before 1940 a total of 1.5 million African Americans went to northern and Midwestern industrial cities to find work.

Historical population
Census Pop.
1840 4,276
1850 9,171 114.5%
1860 12,977 41.5%
1870 14,891 14.7%
1880 15,978 7.3%
1890 17,694 10.7%
1900 20,183 14.1%
1910 19,676 −2.5%
1920 16,872 −14.3%
1930 19,119 13.3%
1940 22,151 15.9%
1950 24,569 10.9%
1960 26,175 6.5%
1970 28,752 9.8%
1980 36,018 25.3%
1990 38,375 6.5%
2000 42,902 11.8%
2010 47,671 11.1%
2020 (est.) 51,788 8.6%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2013

2020 census

Oktibbeha County Racial Composition
Race Num. Perc.
White 29,224 56.43%
Black or African American 18,228 35.2%
Native American 93 0.18%
Asian 1,506 2.91%
Pacific Islander 10 0.02%
Other/Mixed 1,459 2.82%
Hispanic or Latino 1,268 2.45%

As of the 2020 United States Census, there were 51,788 people, 17,798 households, and 9,263 families residing in the county.

2010 census

As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 47,671 people living in the county. 59.2% were White, 36.6% Black or African American, 2.4% Asian, 0.2% Native American, 0.4% of some other race and 1.2% of two or more races. 1.4% were Hispanic or Latino (of any race).




Census-designated places

Other unincorporated communities

Historical/ghost towns

  • Agency
  • Bell's Mill
  • Chapel
  • Cedar Grove
  • Collier's Tanyard
  • Double Springs
  • Ebenezer
  • Folsom
  • Grab All
  • Hassie
  • Kemper
  • Lincecum's Mill
  • Muldrow Station
  • Prospect
  • Red Acre
  • Steelville
  • Trimcane
  • Whitefield
  • Yanaby


At one time, the county was served by a number of single-teacher schools. Gradually these were consolidated into larger schools, including Starkville High School, Longview High School, the Self Creek Consolidated School district, and many others.

By 1922, there were about twenty small public schools for African-American children across the rural county. The county maintained a segregated public school system until 1970, although the US Supreme Court had ruled in Brown v. Board of Education (1954) that such arrangements were unconstitutional. Schools for African-American students were historically underfunded.

In 1922, community groups arranged to match funds from the Rosenwald Foundation in order to build and operate improved rural schools for these children; the first two were erected in the communities of Trim Cane and in Turnpike. A total of eight Rosenwald Schools were built in the county between 1922 and 1927. The largest of these, Oktibbeha County Training School, was opened in 1926 at a cost of $127,000. Other schools included a three-teacher school in Longview, Maben Colored School with two teachers; Pleasant Grove, which had four teachers; True Vine school (3 teachers), and Rock Hill School, which also had four teachers.

Until 2013, Oktibbeha County was served by both the Oktibbeha County School District and the Starkville Public School District. Until 1970, the schools were segregated. From 1923 until 1970, African Americans attended schools that were located on US Highway 82, which is now known as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard. These schools, originally built with Rosenwald funds, were variously known as the Oktibbeha County Training School, Rosenwald School, and Henderson High School. In 1970 the schools were integrated. Henderson was designated as the junior high school. The Rosenwald School was destroyed in a fire. This site now hosts Henderson-Ward Stewart Elementary, which was built on the site of Ward Elementary in 2010 for a cost of $4.8 million.

In 2013, the Mississippi Legislature passed a bill requiring that all Oktibbeha County schools be merged into the Starkville School District, in order to consolidate administration.

The county has two private schools: Starkville Academy was founded in 1969 as a segregation academy to avoid integration, and Starkville Christian School, which was founded in 1995.

In terms of higher education, Oktibbeha County is within the service area of the East Mississippi Community College system. The campus of Mississippi State University is located in Oktibbeha County, partially in Starkville and partially in an unincorporated area. Its growth has led the Starkville to become the largest city by population in the Golden Triangle.

The county also runs the Starkville-Oktibbeha County Public Library System.

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Condado de Oktibbeha para niños

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