Jasper County was carved out of Choctaw lands by the Mississippi Lesiglature in 1833, after the the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek.Members of the Heidelberg family, who were of German ancestry,made their way from North Carolina to the Mississippi Territory.
Washington Irving Heidelberg, son of Samuel Christian, was the founder of Heidelberg. He served in the Civil War and at the end of the war, returned home to settle on land in Jasper County which he had purchased before the war. He built a home and raised a family. After the war, he rebuilt his fortunes in planting and opened a general mercantile store in Heidelberg. In 1882 W. I. Heidelberg laid out on a portion of his land the present town of Heidelberg, Mississippi. It was in his honor the small rural town was named.However, the greatest contribution W I Heidelberg made was giving the right-of-way to the New Orleans and Northeastern Railroad.
In 1882 the rail company was attempting to build a road from Paulding to Mobile by way of Shubuta. Mr. Heidelberg was enterprising and generous enough to realize how important the railroad would be to the development and growth of Heidelberg. People in the surrounding area immediately began to bring their cattle, cotton, and other produce to Heidelberg to load on the train.
Mr. Heidelberg owned the first mercantile in town.
Washington Irving Heidelberg, died in 1901. He would never know of the oil boom, but his granddaughter Mrs. W. H. Parker who still lives here said that although her grandfather gave the railroad the right of way, he retained the mineral rights and that family members still receive payment for oil sold out from under the land on which the track was built. At left is the W. I. Heidelberg Home.
History Compiled by Janette Kennedy © 1984
Jasper County Genealogical & Historical Society