—Simpson County Heritage Trail —
Simpson County is located in the
Gulf Coastal Plain within the Pearl
River watershed, and is graced with
numerous rivers, streams, and springs.
One such spring is McNair Springs,
which along with Saratoga Springs,
feeds the Okatoma Creek, a noted regional recreational waterway. Traditionally, the name Okatoma is attributed to Choctaw words meaning "radiant water."
McNair Springs and its associated waterways are central to the history of
Magee. The beginnings of Magee date to 1840, when Willie Magee built his
gristmill on Little Goodwater Creek. Early in the 1900s, the Gulf and Ship
Island Railroad built a fine hotel at the springs, equipped with its own water
works and spring-fed pools. In addition, a bottled water manufacturing plant
was built around the same time.
When the Sanatorium was built,
McNair Springs supplied it, as well
as the town of Magee, with drinking
Today, McNair Springs is the center
of a park built by the City of Magee.
Although no longer supplying
drinking water to Sanatorium or
Magee, the spring still produces
approximately 400 gallons of clear
spring water per minute. Whether
one is interested in the history or the
natural beauty of the area, a visit to
Magee is incomplete without a visit
to McNair Springs. McNair Springs
mile from U. S. Highway 49 South
off Siloam Road within the city
limits of Magee.
An Anecdotal History of Simpson County
From the Columns of Bee King
The Simpson County News
[Today, several highways, including U. S. Highway 49, serve Simpson County. In the earlier days, the county's many waterways served as "highways."]
Simpson County never had but one river town, that was Osceola, founded at the "bluffs" on Pearl River about a mile south of the present Rockport bridge. It was named in honor of the famous Indian chief Osceola. The first store was opened there in 1830. At that time it was the head of boat navigation. The first line of steamboats was owned and operated by Captain Poitevent, usually known all along the river as "Captain Potervine." Later, he extended navigation as far up the river as Georgetown. During the Civil War, steamboat navigation was almost abandoned on account of cutting trees into the river to prevent federal gunboats from ascending the river. That was the death blow to Osceola, and it was practically abandoned at the close of the war.