The David O. Dodd No. 212 Chapter of the Daughters of the Confederacy will host a memorial service and marker/iron cross dedication in honor of John Jones Pettus at 2 p.m. Saturday in the Flat Bayou Cemetery near Wabbaseka.

The David O. Dodd No. 212 Chapter of the Daughters of the Confederacy will host a memorial service and marker/iron cross dedication in honor of John Jones Pettus at 2 p.m. Saturday in the Flat Bayou Cemetery near Wabbaseka.

Pettus served as governor of Mississippi on two separate occasions. He has the distinction of serving the shortest term of governor in the state’s history, when he served for five days between the resignation of Henry Foote on Jan. 5, 1854, and the inauguration of his successor, John J. McRae on Jan. 10, 1854. He is best known, however, as the governor who took Mississippi out of the Union in 1861.

Pettus moved to Kemper County, Miss., as a small boy from his native state of Tennessee. He represented Kemper County in the Mississippi House of Representatives and was then elected to the state Senate in 1848. He was named president of the Senate in 1854.

As the country’s sectional crisis worsened during the 1850s, Pettus coined the phrase, “fire-eater”, a name that spread across the country. He was elected governor by popular vote in 1859 and was re-elected to a second term in 1861. During his tenure, Mississippi seceded from the Union on Jan. 9, 1861, and joined five other states to form the Confederate States of America. The state prepared for war, organizing troops, arms and provisions.

After completing his term, Pettus left office and then joined the Confederate Army. After Gen. Robert E. Lee’s surrender at Appomattox, Pettus never requested nor was he ever offered amnesty. He moved to Pulaski County, Ark., to join family, where he remained until his death on Jan. 28, 1867. Pettus was buried in the Flat Bayou Cemetery in Jefferson County.

This event is one of several sanctioned by the Arkansas Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission, which is commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Civil War.