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Utica, Mississippi is in southwestern Hinds County. Originally part of the Choctaw Nation, the area was ceded to the United States government in the Treaty of Doak’s Stand, but was settled by European-Americans as early as 1780. The settlement was referred to as Cane Ridge, for the large number of cane breaks in the area. In 1835, it was renamed Utica, for the New York home town of Ozias Osborn, an early settler, as the US Post Office refused the town’s original name. At the time of the American Civil War, there were just over a hundred people in Utica, which was little more than a stop along the road. The Natchez, Jackson & Columbus Railroad (Little J) was constructed through the region in 1881, after which the town established five new streets to be nearer to the railroad. The Yazoo and Mississippi Valley Railroad later established a stop, and Utica was a railroad town from 1880 to 1960, and the railroad suspended service altogether in 1981, pulling up its tracks. By 1900, the town had more than a hundred businesses and more than fifteen factories and mills, two newspapers, electricity, and a water system. Utica is home to the URJ Henry S. Jacobs Camp, operated by the Union for Reform Judaism. The town didn’t have a significant Jewish population until the camp was founded in 1970. Nearby communities include Adams, Bear Creek, Carpenter, Cayuga, Duke, Lebanon, Reedtown, and Reganton. Vicksburg, Mississippi is about twenty-five miles northwest, and the state capital of Jackson is about thirty-three miles northeast of Utica.

 

 

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