Sunset Lake, the beginning of a Village

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By Dr. Ronald D. Smith, Historian, Vicksburg Historical Society

Nameless until 1886

Before a beautiful spring sunset in 1886, Sunset Lake was mostly refereed to as “the swamp” or “the mill pond”. The current name of Sunset Lake was coined by Jennie Notley (later Jennie Notley Clark) in April of 1886. The lake we now know as Sunset Lake hasn’t always been here.

The beginning of a mill, a village and a lake

In 1831 John Vickers, who at this time was a squatter on tribal land, created a brush dam and converted swampland into Sunset Lake and Mill Pond.  The mill powered two 11″ mill stones and was used to grind corn in his 14 ft2 mill house. In 1834 the mill was expanded to include a saw mill, larger grist mill and a distillery.

Vickers’ Mill was later torn down. Asa Briggs and Daniel Anderson then built what would later be called the “Briggs and Smalley Saw and Planing Mill”. The Briggs and Smalley Mill was later destroyed by a fire in 1898. A plaque now marks the site of the Briggs Mill and falsely claims to be the first mill in Vicksburg.