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The city of Batesville, Mississippi is one of two county seats for Panola County, the other being Sardis. Originally inhabited by a Chickasaw Indian by the name of Ish-Sho-Nu-Nah, the land upon which the town was founded was part of the Chickasaw cession to the federal government. The town was founded as a secondary frontier community, as it lacked the river frontage of Panola and Belmont, which were the largest towns in northern Mississippi at that time. However, when the Mississippi and Tennessee Railroad laid its tracks through Batesville, steamboat traffic was quickly replaced by the railroad, and Batesville gained the advantage. Incorporated in 1866, Batesville was named for Jim Bates, a railroad conductor and local minister. When the Illinois Central Railroad bought out the MT line and extended the tracks to New Orleans, businesses, churches and residents of Panola began moving to Batesville, and what remains of the former town of Panola is now known as Old Panola. Nearby communities include Asa, Ballentine, Courtland, Eureka Springs, Horatio, Pleasant Grove, Sardis, and Tocowa. Memphis, Tennessee is just over sixty miles north of Batesville.

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