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Itta Bena is in Leflore County, Mississippi. Prior to the arrival of European-Americans, the Choctaw Indians occupied the Mississippi Delta region, which includes the site of Itta Bena. After the Indian Removal Act and the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek, the Choctaws were removed from Mississippi. The founder of the town of Itta Bena was Benjamin Grubb Humphreys, who came to the area in the 1850s after several crop failures at his ancestral home in Claiborne County, finding new farm land along Roebuck Lake, which had been formed when the river changed course. Using slaves from his plantations, he cleared farm land from the overgrown river bottom land. He was soon joined by friends from Claiborne County, who also began to acquire land. Once he had built a substantial home, Humphreys’ family joined him, naming his new home for the Choctaw words for “home in the woods.” The main portion of his home still exists, and is probably still being used as a residence. Humphreys served as a Confederate general during the Civil War, and was elected governor of Mississippi in 1865, during the Reconstruction period. As other settlers moved to the area, particularly after the Columbus and Greenville Railroad came through in 1888, the new town took the name of the Humphreys plantation, and was incorporated in 1889. A post office was established there in 1918. Marion Barry, who later became mayor of Washington D.C., was born in Itta Bena, and the Blues musician, B.B. King, was born in Itta Beta, although he considered the nearby city of Indianola to be his home. Surrounding communities include Runnymede to the east, and Berclair to the west. Greenwood, Mississippi is about ten miles east of Itta Bena.

 

 

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