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Rienzi, Mississippi is a small town in Alcorn County. The region was populated by European-Americans in the 1830s, even before the Chickasaw people were moved from the area. Rienzi began as a way station along the stage route from Old East Port, Tennessee to Holly Springs, Mississippi, on what is now Highway 356, about two miles west of Highway 46. Then known as Wayside, a two-story log cabin provided travelers with a place to eat and sleep along the way. Soon, a school was formed there. In 1836, residents organized the community into the town of Rienzi. A post office was established in 1839, with Charles W. Williams as the first postmaster. The Mobile and Ohio Railroad came through bypassing the town in 1859, so the town moved to the railroad, but still along the Old Stage Road. By the time of the Civil War, Rienzi had seven or eight stores, a post office, school carriage shop, wagon and paint shop, two churches, and a railroad depot. Several skirmishes took place in or around Rienzi throughout the war years, made difficult for both sides due to the swamps, forests, hills and ridges surrounding the town, as well as a large number of Confederate deserters moving through the area. The town changed hands several times. A telegraph was built from Rienzi to Jacinto in 1870 but when they had a bad crop, local farmers blamed the telegraph line and cut it down. A series of three tornadoes hit Rienzi in 1875, demolishing the downtown section of Old Rienzi, including the Rienzi Academy, along with several homes, after which Old Rienzi was never rebuilt. Rienzi is located in southern Alcorn County, on the Prentiss County line. Nearby communities include Biggersville, Booneville, Burnsville, Jumpertown, Kossuth, New Hope, and Thrasher. Corinth, Mississippi is about fifteen miles north of Rienzi.

 

 

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