The area now called Meridian, Mississippi was obtained by the United States under the terms of the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek signed on September 27, 1830 and ratified by Congress on February 24, 1831, between the Choctaw Indian tribe and the United States Government. This was the first removal treaty carried into effect under the Indian Removal Act. The treaty ceded about 11 million acres of the Choctaw Nation in what is now Mississippi in exchange for about 15 million acres in the Indian territory, now the state of Oklahoma.
After the treaty was ratified, American settlers began to move into the area. Established in 1860, at the junction of the Mobile and Ohio Railroad and Southern Railway of Mississippi, Meridian built an economy based on the railways and goods transported on them. The junction became a strategic trading center. The name Meridian was chosen as the town’s name because the people there erroneously thought “meridian” meant “junction”. Silly rabbit.
At the start of the Civil War Meridian, still a small village, was used by the Confederates because of its strategic position at the railroad junction. They constructed several military installations there to support the war. During General Sherman’s “March to the Sea” Campaign, he burned the city to the ground in the Battle of Meridian, February 3–28, 1864. Despite the destruction, workers rapidly repaired the railroad lines and they were back in operation 26 working days after the battle.
Ardmore, Tennessee to Meridian, Mississippi: 252.8 miles
4 hours 44 minutes