Rainy weather damages hundreds of county records

JONES COUNTY, Miss. (WHLT) – Thousands of pages of Jones County history may be gone after they were soaked by rain.

The most recent work done on the roof of Ellisville’s courthouse failed to stop Sunday and Monday’s weather.

Beat 4 Supervisor Andy Dial says maintenance attempted to fix the building’s roof problems, but since it hasn’t rained for weeks they didn’t know how it would hold up.

“Anybody know if you don’t fix a leak, a drop goes to a leak and the next thing you know it’s pouring in,” Johnny Pool with the Historic Ellisville Courthouse Square Organization says the roof problem has gone too long.

Hundreds of documents dating back to 1901, from tax receipts to maps and mayor rolls, have water damage because of holes in the roof.

The books of records are from many little communities in Jones County that were once ran by mayors, like Eastabuchie.

The roof has been a problem for some time now, but Supervisor Dial says they don’t have the money to renovate the over a century old building.

So for now, they’ll have maintenance crews do what they can to patch it up.

“Over the years we put new roofs on it, but with an old building like this you keep finding leaks. Next year it might mean more money, but basically there should be enough money in the budget to do smaller things…but not to start to re-roof,” Supervisor Dial said.

“We’re losing the history of our county, and it saddens me to see all of this go to a loss,” Pool said.

In addition to the damaged books, Pool is concerned about safety hazards the roof causes, “you’ve got water dripping on these electrical units and I’ve always heard water and electricity don’t mix.”

Moldy books sit a few feet away from the courthouse air conditioning unit.

Supervisor Dial replied to a question about the mold by saying courthouse workers don’t go up to the attic often:

People don’t go up there that much, and basically down here we don’t have as much mold like we do in that attic up there.

Supervisor Dial says courthouse renovations come from the general budget, but they have about 47 other buildings to spread the money across.

He told WHLT even once they begin to make some renovations, they’ll be limited to what they can do because the courthouse is a historical landmark.

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