180 A BICENTENNIAL HISTORY OF MISSISSIPPI REED’S METALS Reed’s Metals, Inc., started with a portable shed in Lawrence County in 1998 by Bernie Reed, the President and Chief Executive Officer. Over the past two decades, Reed’s has become one of the most prominent and successful metal roofing and metal building providers in the South. Located on twenty acres in Brookhaven, Reed’s uses advanced methods and technology to manufacture residential, industrial, and commercial buildings of all sizes. The multi- million dollar company also offers a wide variety of metal roofing options in ten locations throughout the south central United States. Ship Island Railroad in Covington County north of Hattiesburg, a string of communities, including Lux, Sanford, Gandsi, Seminary, Kola, Collins, Mish, and Mount Olive, attracted at least small-scale sawmill operations. Lux, Sanford, Gandsi, Kola, and Mish all declined rapidly or simply disappeared when the supply of timber proved inadequate to support mill operations. Larger towns, such as Seminary, Collins, and Mount Olive, developed as trading centers serving the surrounding communities. Even the larger towns saw their growth stagnate as the mills cut out after exhausting their supply of longleaf yellow pine. Similar results occurred along the tracks of the Mississippi Central Railroad, a main east-west route that connected Hattiesburg and Natchez. The J.J. Newman Lumber Company under the direction of Pennsylvanian Fenwick Peck constructed the line in part to gain access to timber to the north and west of Hattiesburg. The Newman Company operated large sawmills at Hattiesburg and Sumrall. After his stint in the Union army, Daniel Sumrall moved from Perry County to northern Marion County, operating a gristmill and store. Fenwick Peck selected the site near the mill for a new sawmill and laid out a town to the east of the mill site. Incorporated in 1903, the town kept the name of the local post office, Sumrall. By 1910, the population of Sumrall swelled to over 2,000 people, and prospects for the town were bright. The town attracted two banks, a newspaper, and a movie theater and built a first- rate school for white residents. Several churches, including three Baptist churches and a Methodist church, catered to the spiritual needs of the population. Under Jim Crow laws and custom, the town was PHOTO BY AMANDA SMITH