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Stone County celebrates 100 years since it declared independence

WIGGINS -- It all started over a disagreement on where to build a new high school.

In the summer of 1916, a portion of the northern part of Harrison County seceded from its mother county over where the school should be.

And Stone County was born.

Stone County on Saturday celebrated its 100th anniversary with the unveiling of a new mural in front of the courthouse in Wiggins.

"They probably should have named it Bond County after Sen. Andrew Wiggins Bond," Stone County historian Charles Sullivan said. "But they named it after popular Gov. John Marshall Stone, who was a colonel in the Civil War."

People gathered about noon Saturday on the courthouse lawn to see the unveiling of the county's newest mural.

"This mural celebrates 100 years of Stone County," mural coordinator Sandra Cassibry said.

The mural, Cassibry said, is a mosaic that shows the progression of the county, featuring some of its more familiar entities such as the old pickle factory and the wood-pellet plant.

"It celebrates who we are," she said.

To make the mural even more representative of Stone County, Cassibry said, red clay from the local creek was used in the mosaic.

"This is the first time we've used red clay in it," she said. "The mosaic is mostly made of porcelain tiles imported from Italy."

She said the funding for the mural came from a variety of sources such as grants and private donations. It is the seventh mosaic mural in Stone County and one of 38 altogether.

Muralist Elizabeth Veglia, who has been involved in several South Mississippi art projects, including the Biloxi Bay Bridge, designed Stone County's latest work of art.

"I've done a lot of mosaics on the Gulf Coast," Veglia said. "Sandra and I started working together about 20 years ago at a school in Gulfport."

Veglia said the backside of the mural, which was placed on a structure made of stucco to resemble a scroll, was left blank for a reason.

"We are going to do a mural for the state's bicentennial on the back of the mural," she said.