The Free State of Jones

Gitano, Jones County: Origins of Name?

A new Facebook friend of mine, Ross Bynum (we haven’t yet figured out exactly how we’re related) raised an interesting question. He has long wondered how Gitano, where he is from, got its name. As he points out, “gitano” is a word for Spanish male gypsies; also the Romani people of Spain are often called Gitanos. So, does the town’s name pre-date settlers from the eastern U.S. and harken back to earlier Spanish settlements, or is there another explanation for how it got its name?


7 replies »

  1. Very interesting. I clicked on the website–which has other great stuff on it about ethnicity in the rural Mid-South–then scrolled down and found the reference to Gitano under “The Roma Dialects.” Wish we could find more! Thanks, Jon.



    • What a great story, Jon–so glad you posted the Meridian Star article. Being a Jones County descendant who was raised outside of Mississippi has made me woefully ignorant of the state’s Gypsy history–but I’m learning as fast as I can!



  2. I was so enthralled with the story of gypsies in Mississippi, I had to have Hazel come across a caravan and drink the tequila they brought up from their travels in Mexico!


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