Planet Suffolk: Bringing together the Suffolks of the world

Suffolk, Franklin County, Mississippi, USA

Suffolk is a populated place in Franklin County in south west Mississippi. It is approximately 3 miles west of Meadville & 5 miles east of Roxie. It is located at 31° 46’ 10” N 90° 96’ 60” W.

No population figures available.

How to get there:-

By Road: From Roxie & the west, head east on US Highway 84/98. Turn right onto Bunkley Road, then right again onto Campbell Road. From the east take US Highway 84 westbound,  turn left into Bunkley Road, then right onto Campbell Road. From Jackson, take Interstate Highway 55 southbound to Brookhaven, then follow westbound US Highway 84, as above.

No rail service.

Nearest major airport is Jackson-Evers International, Jackson, Mississippi, around 95 miles away.

Time Zone: Central Standard Time (GMT -6 hrs).  Daylight saving time in summer + 1 hr.


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History & Derivation of Name

Franklin County



History & Derivation of Name

Suffolk is now a general area of country between Campbell Road SW and Pot Hook Road in the Homochitto National Forest.  It is very heavily forested with only a few households along the Campbell Road to the southwest of Meadville.  It is still recognised as a populated place described as "a farming community south of Highway 84".  However, it was one of the many small hamlets that suddenly blossomed in Franklin County in the 1890s, flourished during the timber boom that started in the 1900s and was all over by the late 1930s.  Several of these small places in Franklin County have disappeared altogether.  There is no longer any trace of the neighbouring hamlet of Smyrna, one and a half miles to the southwest of Suffolk, except its cemetery.

It is known that Smyrna was in existence in the late 1880s and Suffolk was probably founded in the mid-1890s.  Smyrna is shown on the 1895 Franklin County map, but Suffolk does not appear until 1914.  However, there are documented records of the existence of Suffolk in 1904, and the US Census for 1900 clearly enumerates the families that are known to have lived at Suffolk, although the households are counted under the Smyrna Precinct.  In 1900 there were five households in Suffolk with a total population of 30; all were farms.  The founder of Suffolk was one of these farmers, Theodore Cloy, who named the settlement after the home county in England of his relatives, the Godbold family.

The Godbold family is quite prominent in the Southern USA.  John Godbold, born 1664 in Suffolk, England, served in the British Navy prior to 1735.  He came to Georgetown, South Carolina, in 1735 and ventured into the wilderness to find a place to farm.  He finally settled near to the present town of Marion in South Carolina, and he is considered to be the founder of Marion County.  His grandson, Rowan Godbold, came to Mississippi in the early 1800s and applied for a grant of land in Franklin County by the Homochitto River in 1807.  Three of his children married members of the Cloy family, who were already prominent in the local society.  Theodore Cloy was the son of a younger brother of the Cloy family and it appears that, on the early death of his father, he was brought up by his Godbold relatives.

Suffolk followed the general pattern of small communities in Franklin County.  The population of Franklin County grew for a hundred years reaching a peak of 15,193 in 1910.  Since that time, it has steadily declined and in 2009 it was just over 8,300.  The community of Suffolk grew from five households at the 1900 census to around 60 in 1910, only to decline to about 20 households in 1930.  

Although Suffolk was basically a farming community, it was in the middle of vast woodlands and it benefited from the thriving timber industry from 1904, having two sawmills at the time of the 1910 census.  Sawmills brought the local population ample opportunities for employment during the first three decades of the 20th century.  People who had grown up on farms preferred jobs in the lumber industry and became loggers or sawmill workers.  The larger lumber companies built their own rail lines into the timberlands around Suffolk, and brought in more efficient and economical ways of logging.  However, the methods used crushed the smaller trees, and destroyed the undergrowth that would enable the trees to be replaced.  This short-term policy soon depleted the timber and in the 1930s most sawmills in Mississippi had been forced to close because they had not replenished their timber resource.  In 1936 the last timber operation (the Homochitto Lumber Company) closed down.  This coincided with the effects of the great Depression of the 1930s which brought Mississippi’s agricultural economy to the brink of disaster.  Around a quarter of the farms in the State were forfeited for non-payment of taxes, and people moved away to the cities to find work.

Smyrna, the adjacent community to Suffolk disappeared.  In Suffolk itself, Theodore Cloy, its founder, died in 1934, but the community struggled on with fewer and fewer farms until there are only a few households left in the area today.  In 1936 the surrounding woodlands became the Homochitto National Forest, the first such forest in Mississippi.  The Civilian Conservation Corps (a public work relief program for the unemployed) began reforestation of the area and developing it for recreational purposes, and also ensuring that the timber resources could be managed sensibly and economically to avoid the disasters of the past.  

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Franklin County

Suffolk is located in Franklin County in south west Mississippi. It has boundaries with five other counties; Jefferson to the north, Adams to the west, Wilkinson & Amite to the south & Lincoln to the east. The county was formed in December 1809 & is named after Benjamin Franklin (see Suffolk County, Massachusetts page). The county seat is Meadville, three miles to the east of Suffolk, population 604 (2019) . The population of Franklin County in 2019 was 7,733.

Part of the 189,000 acre Homochitto National Forest is located in Franklin County. Established in 1936, it is a popular location for camping, hiking, biking, fishing, boating & hunting. The name Homochito is a Native American word meaning Big Red.  Situated within the Forest is the Clear Springs Recreational Area (see photo, left), which includes a man-made lake, together with camping & picnic areas.




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