City of Wiggins - History
The City of Wiggins, County Seat
In 1886 Madison Hatten homesteaded 160 acres in the area around Wiggins, and soon a village, called Niles City, was established on Hatten’s land. When the village residents petitioned for a post office, they found that the name Niles City was already in use, and they renamed their village Wiggins in honor of Madison Hatten’s father, Wiggins Hatten.
The young town of Wiggins received a great boost in 1896 when the Gulf and Ship Island railroad line was completed through the town. The new line, which ran from Hattiesburg to Gulfport, cut across the length of Stone County from north to south. In 1904, Wiggins incorporated, and in 1910, the first town census counted 980 residents.
Wiggins thrived with a booming timber industry. In 1902, Finkbine Lumber Company built one of the largest sawmills in south Mississippi in Wiggins.
As vast tracts of timber were being cut down across south Mississippi, community leaders searched for new sources of revenue from the land. In 1912, Finkbine Lumber Company and Mississippi Farms Company started a pickle factory in Wiggins. The American Pickle and Canning Company was formed to operate the pickle factory. The pickle plant burned in 1913, and a larger plant soon took its place.
At first, the plant processed pickles, tomatoes, beans, and sweet potatoes, but within a few years, pickles became its sole product. The pickle plant, which became the Brown-Miller Company and then became a part of Beatrice Foods, continued to thrive throughout the Depression and the ensuing decades. At one time, it was the largest pickle manufacturing plant in the world.
The pickle plant has since closed, but the timber industry, after declining in the 1930s, has made a comeback, and Wiggins boasts a promising future, with many diverse businesses choosing to locate there.
City of Wiggins Mayors, Past to Present
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