Vancleave, Mississippi is a small, unincorporated community located in west-central Jackson County, along Bluff Creek, a tributary of the Pascagoula River. Settlement of the community began in the mid-19th century by American pioneers from the Carolinas and Georgia.
The virgin forests to the region were used for timber, charcoal and naval stores, and trading posts developed along lower Bluff Creek and John’s Bayou. Early settlers had also brought with them sheep, and the area became an important exporter of wool. World War I increased the demand for wool. After the war, livestock laws prohibiting open range foraging led to a decline in the industry, and much of the timber had been depleted.
In the mid-20th century, canning and petrochemical industries began developing in the area. The late 20th-century brought a population increase, as residents of lower coastal urban areas moved to Vancleave looking for cheaper land, lower taxes and less crime.
Vancleave was spared Hurricane Katrina’s storm surge, but did suffer extensive wind damage. Since the storm, Vancleave has seen a growth in population and development, with nine subdivisions being developed. Property values have increased about 15 percent.
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