Harrison County, Mississippi is a county with a rich and diverse history. It was formed in 1841 from Hancock, Jackson, and Perry Counties and was named in honor of William Henry Harrison, the ninth president of the United States. Located on the Gulf Coast, the county has been home to a variety of immigrants over the years, including Mexicans, Vietnamese, Indians, Japanese, and Filipinos. Marriage and land records have been available since 1841 and probate records since 1853. Gulfport and Biloxi are the two county seats of Harrison County.
During 1932, the state of Mississippi allowed Harrison County to withhold 2 million state taxes for port promotion and development. Although few Civil War battles took place on the Gulf Coast, Harrison County became an important site for former Confederates after the war. At its first census in 1850, Harrison County was home to 3,378 whites, 56 free blacks, and 1,441 slaves. During World War I, Harrison County had two shipbuilding plants where several large sailing ships were built for maritime navigation. Thrift cities such as McHenry to near Maxie also sprung up during this time. In 1880, Harrison had only 190 farms, the fourth-fewest in Mississippi.
Cities and population of HARRISON County increased considerably due to the influx of sawmills and their followers. Harrison County contains large masses of various clays suitable for bricks and drainage shingles. However, on the Harrison coast during World War I there were 1,300 men and more than 300 women classified as unemployed. Today, Harrison County is home to 8,434 Catholics - by far the largest number in the state - as well as a diverse population of immigrants from all over the world. It is an important site for former Confederates and has become a hub for industry and commerce.