ASHLAND - A historical marker was placed at the old Benton County courthouse nearly two weeks ago after four months of the application process.
The Ashland-Benton County Preservation Commission applied for a historical marker for the courthouse through a program offered by Mississippi Department of Archives and History. Donations by citizens and yearly benefit activities made it possible for the payment of this marker.
"This is something we looked forward to for quite some time," said Stanley Childers, President of the Ashland-Benton County Preservation Committee. "It all worked out for us. The plan went real well. The commission we made off of our fundraisers paid for the historical marker. We are extremely proud of that. It makes us all feel good. It is a beautiful marker."
Benton County was established in 1870. The land on which the courthouse is located was donated by Lewis J. McDonald in 1871. Construction began and the courthouse was completed in 1873. George Wilson Patrick designed the courthouse for Benton County, along with the courthouse in Tippah County.
Board member of the Preservation Committee, Janet Jones sought after and researched facts to confirm the information that is on the marker with the help of Childers. Marlene McKenzie, the Benton County Chancery Court Clerk, was able to locate and provide the original land deed where McDonald donated the land for the courthouse, town square and jail. The marker was then presented to the Preservation Commission Board, reviewed and approved. All documents and the application was sent to Jim Woodrick with the Mississippi Department of Archives and History. Woodrick presented the application to the Mississippi Department of Archives and History Board for approval.
The Mississippi Department of Transportation works with the Mississippi Department of Archives and History to install markers across the state. The Benton County marker was delivered and installed by the district office in Batesville.
The historic courthouse is home to the Benton County Historical Society and Museum along with the Ashland-Benton County Historic Preservation Commission. The Museum is open every Wednesday from 9 a.m. to noon and every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Volunteers are available to assist with family research. Donations to the Preservation Commission or membership to the Benton County Historical Society can be mailed to P.O. Box 733, Ashland, MS 38603