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Water Valley, Mississippi is in northern Yalobusha County. The region was settled in 1834 after Chickasaw land was put on the market and made available for settlement through the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek and the Treaty of Pontotoc, in which the Chickasaws were forced to cede their land to the federal government. Stage coach service to the area also began in 1834, and a stage stand was built a half mile south of town. River transportation began on the Yalobusha and Yocona rivers in 1835. The first store and a church were established in the community in 1843, and the post office moved from Ragsdale, north of town, to the community in 1846, and named Water Valley. The Mississippi Central Railroad reached Water Valley in 1858, running from Canton, Mississippi to Jackson, Tennessee. Water Valley was chartered as a city in 1858. When the American Civil War began in 1861, the Water Valley Rifles were organized, and became part of the 15th Mississippi Regiment of the Confederate States of America. The city was occupied by the Union after a skirmish along the ridges north of the town, and its railroad was destroyed. Following the war, in 1866, the railroad was rebuilt through Water Valley. Yocona Mills was built in Water Valley in 1868, and became the largest twine mill in the world. That same year, the railroad brought in dozens of skilled Swedish craftsmen to work in shops within the city, but many of them died during the first year from heat and fever. Another group of Swedish craftsmen were brought in in 1878. The Enid Reservoir is located just west of the city. Other nearby communities include Banner, Courtland, Delay, Enid, Eureka Springs, Oakland, Paris, Pine Valley, Pope, Springdale, Taylor, Tula, and Velma. Batesville, Mississippi is about twenty-five miles northwest of Water Valley.

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