Located about 20 miles southeast of Brandon, Puckett was named for one of its early settlers. When application for a post office was made, the name Burnham was requested, but there was already a post office named Burnham, so the request was denied. Another one of Puckett’s early settlers named Merchant built the first water mill and to attract trade, he had blazed a trail along the ridge which forms the dividing line between Campbell and Purvis Creeks to the point now known as Shiloh.
One of the oldest houses in the southeastern part of the county was the Bill Stapleton house, built in 1834. The entire west end was said to be built by slave labor, with a porch 10 feet wide extending the entire length of the house, a hall 12 feet wide, and two rooms each containing two fireplaces.
Puckett during the winter months became the mecca for traveling show people and was called humourously by one writer, “the biggest little show town in America.”
The post office at Puckett was established in 1891.
Monterey, located nine miles south of Brandon and five miles east of Florence, is said to have been named by soldiers returning from the Mexican War in memory of the battle that was fought at Monterrey, Mexico. The first postmaster at Monterey was Joseph W. Hill, serving from February 18, 1847, until his death August 18, 1849.
An old settlement five miles south of Florence, Mountain Creek’s settlers were of Scotch-Irish descent, coming from Georgia and the Carolinas. Among them were the Enochs, Laird, Deer, Taylor, and Morris families. The post office in this area was named King, probably in honor of Bee King of Copiah County, who was admired by many of the citizens of this part of Rankin County. The post office was opened in 1881. One of the oldest homes in Rankin County still in use is the Enochs home at Mountain Creek, built in 1860.
Located on approximately the same site as Ratliff’s Ferry, Ophelia was settled during the 1830′s when John Ratliff moved to this area from South Carolina. After the battle at Jackson and the fall of Vicksburg in 1863, Sherman came through this region, camping on this site for two weeks. Before he left, he devastated much of the surrounding countryside and carried off a number of blacks. Ophelia never recovered from the shock.
Pearl, not to be confused with Pearl City, is Rankin County’s largest city. Located in the westen part of the county, adjacent to Hinds County and Jackson, the capital of the state, Pearl has experienced phenomenal growth. Its population in 1970 was 9,623. By 1980 it was 18,580, almost double the 1970 figure.