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Located in the center of DeSoto County, the city of Hernando is the county seat. The city is bordered to the north by Southaven, and Memphis, Tennessee is about twenty-five miles north of Hernando, while Senatobia, Mississippi is fifteen miles to the south. Other nearby communities include Alphaba, Cockrum, Days, Eudora, Ingrams Mill, Nesbit, Pleasant Hill, Robinson Gin, and Stonewall. US Highway 51 and Interstate Highway 55 cross the city from north to south, while Interstate Highway 69 crosses from east to west. Hernando was named for Hernando de Soto, the Spanish explorer who discovered the Mississippi River. Also named for the Spanish explorer, DeSoto County was organized in 1836, and a section of land was chosen in the center of the county for its county seat, which was purchased by Edward Orne from Til-Look-Hi-Yea, a Chicksaw landowner, and donated for the purpose of establishing the town. Originally, the town was named Jefferson, but the state senate changed its name to Hernando in order to avoid confusion with several other post offices in Mississippi. Hernando was incorporated in 1839. The Hernando Female Academy was chartered in 1837, and the Hernando Male Academy was opened in 1840. The first elected constable of Hernando was Nathan Bedford Forrest, who was later to become a Lieutenant General in the Confederate Army, rising from the rank of private despite a lack of formal military training. After the war, Forrest became the first grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan.

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