Wayne County, Mississippi


Visitors Guide

For a copy of the Wayne County Economic Development District's "Wayne County Visitors Guide," please call us at 601-735-6056, email us at j.dunlap@cmaaccess.com or fax us at 601-735-6246. Remember to provide us with your name and address and we will be happy to forward you a full-color copy of Wayne County's destination guide.

Some of the featured articles from our Visitors Guide include:

What's in a name? "Mad" Anthony Wayne -- Wayne County's namesake

Wondering how a place got its name? For Waynesboro and Wayne County, the name actually traces its origins to the American Revolutionary War and one of its most gallant leaders.

Anthony Wayne was born in 1745 and grew to become a surveyor and leader in Chester County, Pennsylvania — and served in the Pennsylvania Legislature in 1774-1775.

With the outbreak of war in 1775, Wayne raised a regiment and was made its colonel in 1776. He and his regiment were sent to Canada, and at the Battle of Three Rivers he was wounded. His service resulted in his promotion to brigadier-general in February, 1777.

From there, Wayne would play a major role in key battles of the Revolutionary War, including the Battles of Brandywine and Germantown. Wayne enjoyed victory and suffered defeat at the hands of the British during numerous skirmishes for American Independence, but his fame and place in the nation’s history would be cemented following his most decisive victory.

On the Hudson River, at King’s Ferry, was a strong British fort, Stony Point, and Wayne had contemplated the capture of the fort for some time. He eventually convinced General George Washington it could be done. Wayne’s plan was kept unusually secret — for it was a plan that had to be swiftly executed. The soldiers selected came from Connecticut, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Virginia and North Carolina.

The victory was a surprise to friend and foe alike. It was an outstanding turning point in the Revolution and the most brilliant victory of “Mad Anthony’s” career.

Wayne was later ordered southward by Washington to meet with Lafayette’s forces at Fredericksburg. During the following weeks, the Americans eventually blockaded Cornwallis and his army by land and sea, and after some fighting, Cornwallis surrendered to Washington at Yorktown on October 19, 1781.

After the surrender of Cornwallis, Wayne took troops to South Carolina and Georgia to drive the British out. Georgia was so appreciative of his service that thirty-nine hundred guineas were appropriated to purchase an estate for Wayne.

In October, 1783, Congress promoted Wayne to Major-General. He returned home to Pennsylvania in 1783, in poor health. His time in the field had taken its toll on his body. When he recovered, he took an active part in the Pennsylvania Assembly and was a member of the Constitutional Convention.

In later years, General Wayne was appointed Commander-in-Chief of the United States Army by President Washington to subdue the Indians in the northwest territory. Wayne began at once to reorganize the army. In May, 1793, he established his camp at Fort Washington (near the present location of Cincinnati, Ohio). He established a camp, Greeneville, in honor of his friend, Nathanael Greene, and another fort, Fort Recovery.

He died at Fort Presque Isle in 1796, and was ultimately buried in his beloved Pennsylvania.

Pristine Chickasawhay River highlights local outdoors

For the nature enthusiast, Wayne County is home to one of Mississippi’s premiere rivers — the Chickasawhay, which serves as one of two main tributaries (along with the Leaf River) to one of the nation’s most pristine watersheds in the Pascagoula River Basin.

The Chicksawhay and Leaf rivers run mostly parallel to each other, with the Leaf to the west, until they merge to form the Pascagoula, which runs another 80 miles before reaching the Mississippi Sound.

The basin covers about 8,800 square miles in Southeast Mississippi, including all of Wayne County, and provides opportunities for fishing and boating excursions in areas that feature low-rolling hills, forest-covered lands and broad, flat plains.

The spring and fall are favorite times of the year for many to visit the Chickasawhay to take in the festival of colors and fast-paced fishing action for bass, bream and catfish.

In the summer, the Chickasawhay offers visitors the chance to swim, boat, canoe or kayak to beat the heat and take in the charm of a truly Southern outdoors experience, and to enjoy some of the finest creek fishing in the country.

The area is also home to a wide range of wildlife, including deer, wild hogs, wild turkey, squirrels, rabbits and many more species — which is just right for those wanting to see and photograph Southeast Mississippi’s natural wonders.

Two local tributaries in Wayne County flow into the Chickasawhay — Big Creek and Buckatunna Creek. Both creeks offer fishing, canoeing and kayaking opportunities.

In a historical context, Buckatunna Creek is one of the first creeks to appear on a map of Mississippi. It was noted on a French map from 1732, according to the Mississippi Genealogy Trail.

There are three public boat launches on the Chickasawhay River — off Mississippi Highway 184 west of Waynesboro near Pop’s restaurant; on Mississippi Highway 63 South of Waynesboro; and one in the Buckatunna-Chicora area off Buckatunna-Chicora-Clara Road.

In addition, there is a public boat launch to Buckatunna Creek at Denham Landing, which is located on the Denham-Progress Road.

DeSoto National Forest part of Wayne County's natural surroundings

Wayne is one of 10 Mississippi counties that call the DeSoto National Forest home, and the 378,538 acres that make the forest up are considered one of the most important protected areas for the biological diversity of the Gulf Coast ecoregion of North America

It is a nationally important site for the protection of longleaf pine savannas, pine flatwoods and longleaf pine forests. More than 90 percent of this ecosystem type has been lost in the United States, and the area supports rare and endangered plant and animal species, such as the orchid Calopogon multiflorus and gopher frogs.

The DeSoto National Forest also offers year-round opportunities for outdoor activities, including camping, canoeing, bird-watching, photography, hunting, fishing and more.

Just across the Southern Wayne County line near Sand Hill in neighboring Greene County is Turkey Fork Recreation Area.

Turkey Fork has a 240-acre lake that provides excellent fishing, swimming and boating opportunities, and has RV parking and camping, picnicking and hiking amenities. The recreation area is 35 miles — or less than an hour’s drive — from Waynesboro. Take Mississippi Highway 63 South from Waynesboro to Mississippi Highway 42 and turn east. From there, turn onto Turkey Fork Road and travel South to the park site.

In addition, the National Forest Service also offers the Little Tiger ATV-Motorcycle Trail, which features 12 miles of riding enjoyment and is open year-round – depending on the weather. In the event the ground is too wet, the trail will be closed.

But riders can call 601-428-5118 to make sure the trail is open and ready for use before making the trip. The trail is open during daylight hours only, and full-size pickups jeeps and other passenger vehicles are not permitted.

Other facilities include the Longleaf Horse Trail, which features three horse trail loops that total 26 miles, and the Gavin Auto Tour, which is an 11-mile self-guided driving tour that interprets the history and ecology of the forest.

For information pertaining to National Forest Service activities and amenities, contact the Chickasawhay Ranger District office in Laurel at 601-428-0594 or visit www.southernregion.fs.fed.us/mississippi/chickasawhay on the Internet.