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Starkville, Mississippi is the county seat of Oktibbeha County. A campus of Mississippi State University is situated adjacent and partly within the city of Starkville, and is its largest employer. Prior to the Revolutionary War, the area was inhabited by the Choccuma people, who were annihilated by an alliance between the Choctaw and the Chickasaw. European-American settlement began with the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek, in which the Choctaw people were forced to surrender the rights to their land. Settlers were attracted by two large springs in the area, and an early mill that produced clapboards gave the town its first name, Boardtown. In 1835, Boardtown was designated the county seat, but its name was changed to Starkville shortly afterward, in honor of Revolutionary War General John Stark. During the years prior to the Civil War, several small farms and some large plantations were developed within Oktibbeha County, growing cotton and raising livestock, both supported heavily by slavery. Starkville became a trade center for the county, but its population was only about 150 at the time of the war, as most people preferred to live outside of town. The Civil War took many of the men in Starkville and the surrounding area, and Grierson’s Raiders came through the region in 1863, looting Starkville. Another Union raid the following year was turned back by General Nathan Bedford Forrest. A branch of the Gulf, Mobile & Ohio Railroad was constructed through the town in 1874, and the Aberdeen & Nashville Railroad came through ten years later. Mississippi A&M was established adjacent to Starkville in 1874, and would later develop into Mississippi State University, and the town’s prosperity has largely followed that of the university in recent years. Nearby communities include Adaton, Bradley, Clayton Village, Longview, Patrick, and Sessums. Columbus, Mississippi is about twenty-three miles east of Starkville.

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