| Holmes County was founded in
1848 and named for Holmes Creek, its principal waterway. The exact identity of
"Holmes" is a matter of conjecture, though some claim he was a Creek chief who
had been given an anglicized name. The county seat of Holmes County has shifted numerous
times since the county was founded, from Hewitt's Bluff (also known as Bear Pen, and now
Cerro Gordo) to Pittman's Ferry to Westville to, finally, Bonifay ("The Crossroads of
Gospel Singing") in 1905. The name honors a pioneer family.
The Westville Courthouse burned in 1902, and most early county records perished with it. The courthouse at Cerro Gordo also burned at least once in the 1870's, with court held thereafter in the open woods. No courthouse was ever built at Pittman's Ferry, and court met either in the open or in the private offices of the judge. A frame building was constructed back at Cerro Gordo in 1889.
The first Bonifay courthouse (shown above) was constructed around 1906. It was demolished after a newer facility was built in 1963.
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