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Columbia, Mississippi was named for the South Carolina city by that name. Located on the east bank of the Pearl River, in the mid-southern part of the state, Columbia is the county seat of Marion County. Jackson is about eighty miles to the north, and New Orleans, Louisiana is about a hundred miles to the south. Surrounding communities include Fortenberry, Foxworth, Hamage, Lampton, Lovelace, and Morgantown. US Highway 98 runs through the southern section of the city. The earliest attempt at creating a town in the area was on land owned by Timothy Terrell, who had more than three thousand acres just north of the current town. Columbia was formed on land purchased from William Lott and John Lott. Columbia was the fourth municipality incorporated by the state of Mississippi, although the town was formed six years prior to Mississippi’s statehood, when it was known as Lott’s Bluff. Columbia was the temporary capital of Mississippi from 1821 to 1822, when LeFleur’s Bluff, which has since been renamed Jackson, was chosen as the permanent capital of the state. Particularly in its early years, Columbia was prone to flooding of the Pearl River, which was much deeper and wider than it currently is. Although Columbia was largely spared devastation during the Civil War, Union troops under the command of General Davidson camped just outside Columbia, taking provisions from local landowners and shopkeepers.

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