In 1795, Spain offered the United States any and all of the land north of the 31st parallel, which is now the northern boundary of Florida. It wasn't long before the word was out about the prosperous land that was available, and John and William Lott left Columbia, South Carolina for Mississippi. The Lotts decided to set up camp, and called their home Lotts Bluff. That name lasted until 1821 when it was changed to Columbia because many of its original settlers came from Columbia, South Carolina. Columbia later became the temporary capital of Mississippi, with two sessions of the legislature being held there.
Settlers, for the most part, were from South Carolina, but many others migrated from Georgia, North Carolina and Tennessee.
Reverend John Ford and his wife Katherine were among the many settlers in Marion County. They settled approximately 20 miles to the south of Columbia, and over time-acquired 2,000 acres of land in the area. Their home became a place for travelers to stay. General Andrew Jackson stayed in Ford's home for two weeks during the war of 1812. The home stands today, and is preserved in its original condition.
During the 1900s, many homes and communities were built around churches, schools, railroads and the Pearl River. Today, Marion County continues to grow, with a population of more than 25,000. Columbia is home to the former NFL great Walter Payton and Governor Hugh White, who introduced the Balance Agriculture with Industry program (BAWI) in 1936. This program was responsible for helping lure new industries to the state of Mississippi.
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