General Nathan Bedford Forrest portrait stolen from Forrest County Board of Supervisors conference room.

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The back of the frame where the portrait was removed from the frame.

Yesterday, a thief of sorts accessed a private meeting room used by the Forrest County Board of Supervisors and stole a portrait of General Nathan Bedford Forrest from the frame. The room is normally kept locked unless a supervisor wants to use the room to review documents, perform county business, or have a meeting.

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The empty frame

The source of the information, who did not want to be named, told the Hattiesburg Patriot about the theft, and also said that word is spreading that Councilman Rod Woullard is planning to make a motion to have the state flag removed from all county buildings during the next meeting on July 7th.  The Hattiesburg Patriot confirmed that the portrait was indeed stolen. Pictures included here show the evidence.

An official with the county, who did not want to go on the record, told the Hattiesburg Patriot that the portrait had been replaced this morning.

Where the portrait was hung. It was replaced today.
Where the portrait was hung. It was replaced today.

If rumors are true, and Woullard plans to divide the community in an election year, political maneuver, he might aim to accomplish two things.  First, it would potentially rally Woullard’s political base at a time when he faces what will likely be a very tight repeat of last year’s election against Independent challenger Ronnie Perkins.

The second thing it does is it puts enormous political pressure on District 2 Supervisor Charles Marshall,.His opponent is Sharon Thompson in the Democratic primary.  A motion by Woullard to remove the flag, would put Marshall in a precarious position, faced with the political winds being fanned by Woullard to second such a motion.

The Hattiesburg Patriot contacted Supervisor Rod Woullard for a comment. He did say he was aware of the theft, but beyond that he had, “no comment at this time.”