Crazy Laws in Mississippi and Fun Facts
Crazy Laws in Mississippi and Fun Facts
When it comes to Crazy Laws, Mississippi has few equals. 21 Crazy laws exist for almost everything from polygamy, to seduction, to illegitimate children, to dogs wearing diapers, to sex in public, cattle rustling, public profanity . . . you name it.
Crazy Laws in the State of Mississippi
• It is illegal to sell the meat of a cat for food.
Do not feed your cat any cat food that already IS cat food.
• If one is a parent to two illegitimate children, that person will go to jail for at least one month.
He or she shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by imprisonment in the county jail for not less than thirty (30) days nor more than ninety (90) days or by a fine of not more than two hundred fifty dollars ($250.00), or both.
It appears that if you have only one illegitimate child, no penalty applies.
• It is illegal to teach others what polygamy is.
Warning to Mormons – avoid Mississippi.
• No one may bribe any athlete in baseball, football, basketball, or tennis to ‘rig’ a game, match or tournament, professional or amateur.
The provisions of this section shall not be deemed to include any wrestling matches, it being expressly provided hereby that wrestling matches shall be deemed to be shows or exhibitions and not athletic contests.
Wrestling matches are not athletic contests? Do not tell the Rock! (movie star actor formerly wrestler, Dwayne Johnson.) He might not take the news lightly.
• A man may not seduce a woman by lying, and claiming he will marry her.
Don Juan and Casanova would not be welcome in Mississippi.
• One may be fined up to $100 for using ‘profane language’ in public places.
If any person shall profanely swear or curse, or use vulgar and indecent language, or be drunk in any public place, in the presence of two (2) or more persons, he shall, on conviction thereof, be fined not more than one hundred dollars ($100.00) or be imprisoned in the county jail not more than thirty (30) days or both.
Curses! Foiled again.
• Horses are not to be housed within 50 feet of any road.
I wouldn’t keep my horse in my house wherever it was located.
• Cattle rustling is punishable by hanging.
Is it the cattle that get hanged? Just wonderin’.
• Private citizens may personally arrest any person that disturbs a church service.
What if it is the Pastor who is delivering a disturbing sermon?
• Unnatural intercourse, committed with mankind or with a beast, if both parties voluntarily participate, results in a maximum sentence of 10 years and $10,000.
What if ‘mankind’ or a ‘beast’ do not voluntarily participate? Just askin’.
• It is illegal for a male to be Sexually Aroused in Public.
This law may be known around the police department as the S.A.P. law.
• Vagrancy is punishable by either 30 days in prison or a $250 fine.
If you are a genuine vagrant without funds and it has been an icy cold winter, you may welcome that free 30 days room and board in a nice warm prison.
• Drugstores cannot sell poison to children.
They needed to enact a law? Were druggists actually doing that?
• Adultery or Fornication (living together while not married or having sex with someone that is not your spouse) results in a fine of $500 and/or 6 months in prison.
So . . . how is that law working out?
Crazy Laws in the Cities of Mississipp
• In Columbus - the fine for shooting a gun in public is actually less than the fine for waving a gun in public.
Wave the flag if you must . . . not your gun.
• In Ridgeland – it is unlawful for anyone to have sex in public.
Public place means and includes streets, sidewalks or highways; transportation facilities; schools; places of amusement; parks; playgrounds; restaurants; nightclubs, cocktail lounges; burlesque houses; bars; cabarets; taverns; taprooms; private fraternal, social, golf or country clubs; or any public place that allows the consumption of intoxicating liquors including light wine, beer and alcoholic beverages on the premises.
(The law is seven paragraphs long and goes into great detail about what's illegal.)
Were citizens doing any of the above? If so, this law does cut down on one’s options.
• In Temperance – walking a dog without dressing it in diapers is illegal.
The folks living here take the ‘Poo law’ very seriously.
• In Tylertown – it is unlawful to shave in the center of Main Street.
Do not shave in the center of Main. A truck might hit you in the fast lane.
• No person who denies the existence of a Supreme Being shall hold any office in the state.
But not to worry – this law was held to be unconstitutional by the US Supreme Court in Torcaso v. Watkins (1961).
• In Oxford – There's a law on the books that says it's illegal to cheer at an Ole Miss (university) football game ‘unless there's a reason to.’
But the law does not specify what constitutes a reason, nor who makes that decision.
• Be careful how many times you drive your automobile around the town square. More than 100 times is against the law.
Wait a minute! That’s a moot point since ‘motor vehicles’ aren't allowed on the town square in the first place.
Illustrious Information and Fun Facts about Mississippi
• Hernando de Soto, a Spanish explorer, discovered the Mississippi River on May 8, 1541. De Soto died of a fever in 1542. To avoid conflict with the local natives, he had encouraged them to believe he was an immortal Sun God.
Therefore, his men had to conceal his death. They hid his corpse in blankets, weighted it with sand, and sank it in the middle of the Mississippi River during the night
• The name of the state is derived from the Mississippi River, 2,320 miles long, which flows along its western boundary. Settlers named it after the Ojibwe word misi-ziibi (‘Great River.’)
• Natchez was settled by the French in 1716. Prior to the Civil War, Natchez had the most millionaires of any city in the U.S. Today, the city boasts it has more antebellum (prior to the war) mansions than any other city.
• The oldest field game in America is Stickball, played by the Choctaw Indians of Mississippi since 1729. The Stickball World Series hosted by the Mississippi band of Choctaws in Philadelphia, MS every July is arguably the biggest, most hotly contested Indigenous ballgame in the country.
• Oliver Pollock created the U.S. dollar sign ($) in 1778. Born in Ireland, he used much of the fortune he earned as a merchant to finance the American Revolution. He was buried near Pinckneyville.
• The McRaven House built in 1797 in Walnut Hills which is now Vicksburg is believed by many visitors to be haunted. It carries the title, ‘the most haunted house in Mississippi.’
• LeFleur’s Bluff was named after a French-Canadian trader, Louis LeFleur. When the state legislature decided to move the state capital there in 1821, LeFleur’s Bluff was renamed Jackson after Andrew Jackson, who served as major general in the Battle of New Orleans and went on to serve as America’s seventh president.
• The Bowie knife became famous when used by Jim Bowie in the ‘Sandbar Fight,’ a famous 1827 duel between Bowie and several men The fight took place on a sandbar in the Mississippi River across from Natchez.
This is the only documented fight in which Bowie was known to have employed his Bowie knife design. In this battle, Bowie was stabbed, shot, and beaten half to death but managed to win the fight using his large knife.
• Gail Borden, who developed a process in the early 1850s for condensing milk and founded the New York Condensed Milk Company (later known as Borden Inc.) lived in Liberty from 1822 to 1829.
• The University of Mississippi known as Ole Miss was founded in 1848 in Oxford. Four branch campuses are located in Booneville, Grenada, Tupelo and Southaven.
The Lyceum is the oldest building on campus.
• Liberty was the site of the first daytime bank robbery in the U.S. during peacetime, on February 13, 1866 at the Clay County Savings Association. Former confederate guerrillas were responsible.
• In 1834, prior to the Civil War, Captain Isaac Ross, whose plantation was in Jefferson County, freed his 160 slaves and paid for them to be returned to Liberia, Africa. 123 chose to be repatriated and settled in what came to be known as Mississippi-in-Africa.
• Mississippi suffered the largest percentage of people who died in the Civil War of any Confederate State. Around 80,000 Mississippians fought in the Confederate Army. By the end of the war 59,000 were either dead or wounded.
• When shoes were first invented there were only shoes – not a left shoe, not a right shoe. In 1884, the concept of selling shoes in boxes in pairs (right and left foot) occurred in Vicksburg at Phil Gilbert's Shoe Parlor.
• On March 12, 1894, Joseph Augustus Biedenharn, the owner of a local wholesale candy company, bottled the first Coca-Cola in Vicksburg. Before that, Coca-Cola had only been available at soda fountains.
Biedenharn had been advised by his father to ‘go into the nickel business,’ meaning to offer soft drinks for 5 cents each. Prior to 1900, many folks would hold on to a dime but willingly spend a nickel for pleasure.
• Barq’s Famous Olde Tyme Root Beer was created in Biloxi in 1898 by Edward Charles Edmond Barq. The brand is currently owned and operated by the Coca-Cola company.
• Children in the United States and Canada often count ‘One-Mississippi, two-Mississippi’ during informal games such as hide and seek to approximate counting by seconds.
'Show Boat' - 1951
• In 1902, while on a hunting expedition in Sharkey County, President Theodore (Teddy) Roosevelt refused to shoot a captured bear.
This act resulted in the creation of the world-famous Teddy bear.
Speaking of the name, ‘Teddy,’ Pres. Roosevelt loathed being referred to as such.
• Much of Edna Ferber’s 1926 novel, ‘Show Boat,’ takes place on the Mississippi River.
The novel is the basis for the celebrated 1927 musical play by Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II.
Show Boat was filmed in 1929 and 1936. The third adaptation by MGM was shot in Technicolor in 1951 and starred Kathryn Grayson, Ava Gardner, Howard Keel and Joe E. Brown.
• Speaking of movies, Marilyn Monroe won the 'Mrs. Mississippi' finals in the 1952 film, ‘We're Not Married!’
• George E. Ohr, known as the ‘Mad Potter of Biloxi’ and the father of abstract expressionism in pottery, lived and worked in Biloxi.
Ohr dug much of his clay locally in southern Mississippi from the Tchoutacabouffa River. The Tchoutacabouffa was an appropriate source since it is the Biloxi tribe's word for ‘broken pot.’
• In 1891, Minnie Cox was appointed postmaster of Indianola, becoming the first black female postmaster in the U.S. Her position was one of the most respected and lucrative public posts in Indianola, as it served approximately 3,000 patrons and paid $1,100 annually – a large sum at that time.
• Jimmie (James Charles) Rodgers, the ‘Father of Country Music,’ was born in Meridian.
Rodgers was one of the biggest stars of American music between 1927 and 1933, who did more to popularize blues than any other performer of his time.
• In 1963, Dr. James D. Hardy of the University of Mississippi Medical Center performed the first human lung transplant in Jackson, Mississippi.
• In 1964, Dr. Hardy performed the first heart transplant, transplanting the heart of a chimpanzee into a human, where it beat for 90 minutes.
• Speaking of firsts, Pine-Sol detergent was invented in 1929 by Jackson native Harry A. Cole, Sr. The brand was later acquired by Clorox.
• Lumberton is home to the world’s largest pecan nursery.
• Edwards is home to the world's only cactus plantation with more than 3,000 varieties of cacti.
• Mississippi University for Women in Columbus was the first state college for women in the country, established in 1884.
Men were offered admission to MUW in 1982.
• At Pascagoula, the Ingalls Division of Litton Industries uses leading-edge construction techniques to build the U.S. Navy's most sophisticated ships.
• The town gained notoriety in 1973 when two local fishermen, Charles Hickson and Calvin Parker, claimed to have been abducted by aliens from a Pascagoula pier.
A media frenzy followed and Hickson wrote a book about his ordeal, ‘UFO Contact in Pascagoula.’
• The rarest of North American cranes lives in the grassy savannas of Jackson County. The Mississippi Sandhill Crane is about 4 feet tall and has an 8-foot wingspan.
• One of the major petrified forests in the U.S. is found in Flora. The forest consists of the remains of a log jam that were created nearly 36 million years ago in a raging river that flowed across the young continent.
So it's no great surprise to learn that the 'state stone' is petrified wood.
• Elvis Presley, who created a sensation in the 1950s as a crossover artist and brought rock'n'roll into the mainstream of popular culture, was a native of Tupelo.
He is often referred to as ‘The King of Rock and Roll’ or simply, ‘the King.’
• Speaking of icons, Greenville is the birthplace of Jim Henson, the creator and voice for Kermit the Frog (‘Sesame Street’) who was ‘born’ in Leland where Henson played as a kid.
• Around 60% of the country’s farm-raised catfish comes from Mississippi. Belzoni has a Catfish Museum to tell its story.
• State specialties include catfish, often served fried. For catfish pate, served free as an appetizer, head to The Crown Restaurant in Indianola. In Jackson, Julep offers a catfish taco. If you hunger for a catfish BLT, with a dab of comeback sauce, stop by Ground Zero Blues Club in Clarksdale.
• Few things are as uniquely Mississippi as comeback sauce. Sometimes spelled kumback or cumback, it is used as a dipping sauce for fried foods or salad dressing in the cuisine of central Mississippi.
The base of the sauce consists of mayonnaise and chili sauce. The origin has been credited to The Rotisserie, a Greek restaurant that was located in Jackson.
Some Famous Mississippians
Actors: Morgan Freeman, Jim Henson, James Earl Jones, Gerald McRaney, Parker Posey, Jamie Lynn Spears, Sela Ward, Oprah Winfrey
Didja know that Oprah's real name was Orpah (named for the sister-in-law of Ruth in the Bible?) But most folks spelled it wrong and began calling her Oprah. Just as well since she was able to spell it backwards and name her production company, Harpo.
Authors: William Faulkner, John Grisham, Thomas Harris, Eudora Welty, Tennessee Williams, Shelby Foote, Richard Wright
Musicians: Leontyne Price, Lance Bass, Brandy, Jimmy Buffett, Bo Diddley, Faith Hill, B.B. King, Elvis Presley, Charley Pride, LeAnn Rimes, Jimmie Rodgers, Britney Spears, Conway Twitty, Muddy Waters, Tammy Wynette
State stone – Petrified wood
State reptile – American alligator
State fish – Black bass or Largemouth bass.
State butterfly – Spicebush swallowtail
State beverage – Milk
State song – ‘Go, Mississippi’ composed by Houston Davis.
State nicknames – ‘The Hospitality State’ and ‘The Magnolia State’
State motto – ‘By valor and arms’ (virtute et armis)
State tree – Southern Magnolia. (Magnolia grandiflora)
State flower – Magnolia
State bird – Northern mockingbird.
State mammal – White-Tailed deer and Red fox
State marine mammal – Bottlenose dolphin
State waterfowl – Wood duck
State insect – Honeybee
State shell – Eastern oyster
Some Mississippi ‘Titles’
• Belzoni is the Catfish Capital of the World.
• Vardaman is the Sweet Potato Capital of the World.
• Greenville is the Heart and Soul of the Delta.
• Biloxi, with its beautiful coast casinos, is the Playground of the South.
• Gulfport’s motto is ‘Where Your Ship Comes In.’
• Jackson is the ‘City with Soul.’
• Long Beach is the Radish Capital of the World.
• Port Gibson is the town ‘too beautiful to burn’; its historic buildings survived the Civil War.
• Vicksburg is the Gibraltar of the Confederacy.
“I've just come back from Mississippi and over there when you talk about the West Bank they think you mean Arkansas.” – Pat Buchanan
© Copyright BJ Rakow, Ph.D. 2015. All rights reserved. Author, "Much of What You Know about Job Search Just Ain't So."