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Mississippi Agriculture & Forestry Museum - National Agricultural Aviation Museum

Bisland Cotton Gin

The Bisland Cotton Gin, built by Peter Bisland in 1892, was located just north of Natchez , Mississippi , in the town of Cannonsburg. The gin was in continuous operation for 62 years from 1892 until 1954.

In 1955, the Bisland Gin was sold to Mr. Charles McMahon, who had hopes of turning the gin and the nearby small general store into a museum. His dream was to preserve history for future generations to enjoy, but that dream was cut short in 1956, when cotton production moved away from Cannonsburg. Determining it was not feasible to truck cotton over long distances for gin demonstrations, he continued to upkeep the gin until 1982 when he decided that, if his dream was to be completed, he would have to find someone to continue on with it. He decided to donate the gin to the Ag and Forestry Museum in Jackson, Mississippi. The original building, in very poor condition, could not be moved; however, the contents of the gin were in good condition. In preparation for the move and construction of a new building, photographs and measurements of the original building were made.

The move was started in 1982 and was completed in 1983.  All of the original equipment was moved to the newly constructed building on the grounds of the museum, and the first bale of cotton was ginned at the new location on August 14, 1984.

The gin is powered by a single cylinder 55 horsepower oil engine which was built by the Continental Gin Company of Birmingham, Alabama. This engine drives a flat 14” wide - 50' long belt that turns three gin stands which contains 70 saw blades each that were manufactured by the Gullett Gin Company of Amite City, Louisiana.

The gin is run every year at the Fall Festival and is enjoyed by all who attend. To our knowledge, the Bisland Cotton Gin is the oldest working gin in the United States.

Bisland Cotton Gin
Bisland Cotton Gin

 

Video of the Bisland Cotton Gin in Operation