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Situated north of the Homochitto River in southwestern Mississippi, the town of Meadville is the county seat of Franklin County. The town was named for Cowles Mead, a politician who served in the US House of Representatives for Georgia, and then for Mississippi, as acting Governor of Mississippi in 1806 and 1807, and as a delegate to the first constitutional convention of Mississippi in 1817. The community developed as an agricultural area and is still largely rural. In 1964, two local black residents, one of whom was active in the Civil Rights Movement, was abducted in Meadville, tortured, and murdered by the Ku Klux Klan. An arrest was made but the charges were later dropped. In 2007, the case was reopened as a cold case, and a former police officer, who had been arrested in connection with the killing in 1964, was convicted and sentenced to three life terms. The largely rural community is located in the center of the county. US Highways 84 and 98 bypass the town to the south. US Highway 84 leads east to Broohaven, and US Highway 98 leads southeast to McComb, while the two highways run together to the west, leading to Natchez. The town of Bude is adjacent to Meadville on the east. Other nearby communities include Bunkley, Franklin, Kirby, Little Springs, Lucien, New Hope, Oldenburg, Orange, Quentin, Roxie, and White Apple. Jackson, Mississippi is about eighty-two miles to the northeast, while Baton Rouge, Louisiana is about eighty-nine miles south of Meadville. The town is nearly surrounded by Homochitta National Forest.


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