THE DELTA 309 THE DELTA 309 was considerably higher in Delta counties than elsewhere. For example, in Bolivar, Coahoma, Issaquena, and Tunica counties, an average acre of farmland was assessed at $34. For the rest of the state, that number was slightly over ten dollars. By 1860, Issaquena County, as the second wealthiest county in the entire country, stood as a testament to this incredible wealth. As the Delta became more populated and the cotton economy generated increased wealth for the planter class, the pace of life in communities and homes picked up across the region. Traffic along the Mississippi surged thanks to the development of the steamboat and booming cotton production in deep south states like Mississippi. The smaller tributaries of the Delta brought cotton from riverside plantations to ports along the Mississippi. By the 1840s, Greenville, Friars Point in Coahoma County, and Rosedale in Bolivar County emerged as important Delta towns drawing lifeblood from the cotton trade and transportation. Significant plantations sprang up along the rivers and navigable streams of the Delta. In 1833, the Griffins- Spragins House, better known as Refuge Plantation, was built in Greenville. The Worthingtons, a prominent Greenville family, built Belmont Plantation near Greenville in 1857. A year later in Bolivar County, Judge J. C. Burrus, an Alabama transplant to the Delta in the 1840s, built his plantation home near the present-day community of Benoit. Delta plantations were the source of much of the “moonlight and magnolia” mystique perpetuated through books and films depicting the deep south in general and Mississippi in particular. They were the sites of lavish parties accompanied by plenty of food, strong drink, dancing, and storytelling. The wealthiest Delta planters imported fine furniture and home decorations from Europe. Compared with yeomen farmers and poor whites from other parts of Mississippi, the Delta elite lived in a world of high- quality material goods. Secession, Civil War, and Reconstruction During the 1850s, the Delta found itself in the middle of a sectional crisis that had the nation spiraling toward a civil war. The 1850s saw the North and South divide over the issue of expanding slavery into the western territories. The PHOTOS COURTESY OF DELTAG DELTAG Founded by Johnny McRight in Greenville in 1976, DeltAg began as a soil and crop nutritional testing and consulting company. Dissatisfied with grower results during the company’s first several years, McRight and his team began using their experience and resources to develop more efficient formulas for fertilizer performance and crop response. Within just a few years, DeltAg had designed a complete set of successful crop nutrition products. DeltAg’s current product line has proven a success since the early 1990s. Today, the company works with growers across the nation and the world, and all products are distributed from DeltAg headquarters in Greenville. As the Delta became more populated and the cotton economy generated increased wealth for the planter class, the pace of life in communities and homes picked up across the region.