Located in Lauderdale County in the East Central Hills of Mississippi, Meridian started in 1831 after the Choctaw Indians left the land as part of the terms of the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek. The city got its name from a settler who believed that the word “meridian” actually meant “junction” or “zenith”.
Richard McLemore of Virginia was the first to come to area and then offered free land to others to try to get them to move the region. By 1855, railroads had linked Meridian with other areas, and, by the 1860s, there were 15 families living in the town.
Meridian played a role during the Civil War. It was the location of the Confederate arsenal, a stockade for prisoners and a military hospital, and it even was the location of the state capital for a month in 1863. In February 1864, Union General William Tecumseh Sherman destroyed the city. The only surviving antebellum mansion in the area from before this time is Merrehope, a Greek Revival home.
For a period of time during the 1890s until 1930, Meridian was also the largest manufacturer in the state. It was known for timber and cotton production.
Historical Marker Inscription
Formerly Sowashee, it was chartered 1860, and throve as rail junction during the Civil War, serving in 1863 as temporary capital and as depository of the state’s official records.
1805 Front Street Meridian, MS 39301
32° 21′ 52.698″ N, 88° 41′ 44.442″ W