1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Meridian (Mississippi)

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search

MERIDIAN, a city and the county-seat of Lauderdale county, Mississippi, U.S.A., about 90 m. E. of Jackson. Pop. (1890), 10,624; (1900), 14,050, of whom 5787 were negroes; (1910 census), 23,285. It is served by the Southern, the Alabama Great Southern, the Mobile & Ohio, and the New Orleans & North Eastern and the Alabama & Vicksburg (Queen & Crescent Route) railways. It is the seat of the East Mississippi Insane Hospital, of the state Masonic Widows and Orphans Home and of the Meridian Women’s College (non-sectarian, opened in 1903), the Meridian Male College (opened in 1901), and, for negroes, the Lincoln School (Congregational) and Meridian Academy (Methodist Episcopal). The city is an important market for cotton grown in the surrounding country, and is the principal manufacturing city in the state. Its factory products, chiefly railway supplies and cotton products, increased in value from $1,924,465 in 1900 to $3,267,600 in 1905, or 69·8% in five years. Mineral waters (especially lithia) are bottled in and near the city. Meridian was laid out in 1854 at a proposed railway crossing, and was chartered as a city in 1860. In February 1864 General William Tecumseh Sherman, with an army of about 20,000, made an expedition from Vicksburg to Meridian, then an important railway centre and dépôt for Confederate supplies, chiefly for the purpose of making inoperative the Mobile & Ohio and the Jackson & Selma railways; on the 14th of the month his army entered Meridian, and within a week destroyed nearly everything in the city except the private houses, and tore up over 110 m. of track. In the “Meridian riot” of 1871—a prominent episode of reconstruction—when one of several negroes on trial for urging mob violence had shot the presiding judge, the whites, especially a party from Alabama interested in the trial, killed a number of negroes and burned a negro school. On the 2nd of March 1906 a cyclone caused great loss of life and property.