Meridian, the queen that rose up along the banks of Sowashee Creek in a land once home to the Choctaw, first beckoned settlers to its lush green valley in 1831. The town rose to prominence through the visions of Richard McLemore, Lewis A. Ragsdale, and John Ball and was empowered by the arrival of the railway system and later the factories of the manufacturing era.
Meridian survived General Sherman’s torch and withstood yellow fever, fires, and tornadoes, blossoming into one of the largest and most progressive cities in the state. Home to Naval Air Station Meridian and the birthplace of Jimmie Rodgers, the “father of country music,” Meridian is the heartbeat of Lauderdale County, with a history that runs as deep as the Mississippi.
Highlights of Meridian:
• Images in the book were donated from the Meridian Star, Lauderdale County Archives and History, and the private collections of local residents.
• The ordered destruction of archived photograph holdings of the Meridian Star occurred under the ownership of a foreign company in the 1980s. It is with a debt of gratitude to the former social editor of the paper, Dorothy Thompson Hagwood, whose foresight saved many vintage photographs from destruction.
• There is a picture of Elvis Presley in the book, riding the hood of a Cadillac at a Calf Scramble parade in Meridian.
June Davis Davidson and her husband, Bobby, reside in Lauderdale County. She is on the board of directors for the Mississippi Writers Guild and a member of Mississippi Alliance for the Arts in Education. She was chosen for the Mississippi Arts Commission Teaching Artist workshop in 2009. Her short stories have been published in Pets Across America, Volume III, the Magnolia Quarterly, and Gallery of Voices. She is currently writing nonfiction on early rural culture.
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With more than 7,500 local history titles published to date, Arcadia Publishing is the leading publisher of local and regional history in the United States. Widely recognized sepia books feature hundreds of vintage historical images.