64 A BICENTENNIAL HISTORY OF MISSISSIPPI town prior to the creation of George County. Luce was from Grand Rapids, Michigan, and arrived in Mississippi in 1896. He was typical of other entrepreneurs who were taking advantage of the fact that timber was the primary building material of the time. Demand for it was high, and Mississippi had thousands of board feet of pine waiting to be harvested. Two other factors also dramatically shaped the development of the lumber industry and the growth of towns such as Lucedale. Railroads began laying tracks across Mississippi at a rapid rate. Thus, the rail system actually became the primary transporter of forest products by 1878. Additionally, two technological improvements, the band saw and the new dry kiln that reduced the moisture of pine timber, pushed the business to expand further. By 1880, the lumber business was one of the first to recuperate in this region after the Civil War and Reconstruction. In 1910, when citizens formed the county, the population of George County was 6,599. The sheriff’s department developed that same year. Charles Posey Eubanks was the first sheriff of George County, providing stability to the new PHOTO COURTESY OF MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT OF ARCHIVES AND HISTORY treasurer. The tax assessor was W. A. Steed, while the superintendent of education was W. A. Avery. Manship chose three in the area to be the original George County Board of Supervisors—J. B. Goff, C. F. Ward, and F. G. McQuaggle. The George County Board of Supervisors quickly convened on May 2, 1910, to establish the working government of the county. Thomas R. James, a local attorney from Lucedale who had advocated heavily for the creation of the new county, became George County’s first attorney. Controversy, however, swirled around James as accusations that he might have given a bribe to then Senator Theodore G. Bilbo of Poplarville to secure the passage of the bill creating George County. Eventually, by December 14, 1910, local papers heralded that Judge W. A. Henry had dropped the case. James continued as the county attorney, but he remained in George County only two more years before moving to Texas. Lucedale became the county seat, and it still is today. Named after George N. Luce, this community was a lumber BARQ’S Edward Barq, founder of Barq’s Root Beer, left his job as a sugar chemist and moved to Biloxi in 1897. Barq created the Barq’s root beer recipe and opened Biloxi Artesian Bottling Works where he began bottling and selling the soft drink in 1898. Today, the Coca-Cola company owns Barq’s Root Beer.