Jackson County has seen many governments. The first European settlement in the Mississippi gulf coast area was at present-day Ocean Springs in 1699. The French found the area already occupied by several American Indian tribes, with the primary ones being the Pascagoulas and the Biloxis. Their form of government was the chiefdom, a political structure in which an individual or close-knit group exercised broad rights of authority and privilege, but was also responsible for the group's welfare.
This area remained French until the British gained control in 1763 and renamed their new colony British West Florida. During the Revolutionary War, British forces were expelled by Spanish troops and Jackson County became a part of Spanish West Florida.
The 13 original colonies declared their Independence in 1776. Within a few decades public sentiment demanded the same for the central gulf coast area. In 1810 this resulted in formation of the Republic of West Florida which lasted only 45 days before the United States annexed the area, officially adding it to the Mississippi Territory on May 14, 1812.
Jackson County was created on December 18, 1812 (five years before Mississippi achieved statehood).
Jackson County's first courthouses were located in the northern part of the county: Benndale in 1812, nearby Brewer's
Bluff In 1822, and Americus in 1826. The notorious local outlaw James Copeland burned it in 1837 to escape prosecution for hog stealing. Rebuilt, the courthouse remained in Americus until 1871 when the seat of government moved to Scranton which had become the population and economic center of the county as a result of the arrival of the railroad. When the towns of Scranton and Pascagoula combined into the City of Pascagoula in 1904, Pascagoula became the permanent county seat.
The first "modern" courthouse was located at the corner of today's Delmas Avenue and Magnolia Street. The current Courthouse was dedicated on June 16, 1950. Today, the Sheriff, District Attorney, Public Defender, Circuit Clerk maintain offices within the Jackson County Courthouse. The Grand Jury meets in the large courtroom, which also hosts public hearings.