Economic Development Partnership of Montgomery County MS | 662.283.4828 | 701 Summit Street Winona, MS 38967
EDP of Montgomery County
CALL US:
662.283.4828
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701 Summit Street
Winona, MS 38967
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History

The history of Montgomery County is one of exploration. Our natives and residents have never shied away from new challenges or new territory. The legendary Choctaw Chief Duck, medicine man and shaman, ventured into the spirit world to treat his people; over a century later astronaut Donald Peterson logged 120 hours walking in space as mission specialist onboard the space shuttle Challenger. Disruptors?  Montgomery County has had plenty of those. B.B. King spent his boyhood years here before he electrified the world with his blues guitar. And Choctaw native Roebuck “Pops” Staples changed the course of American music as patriarch and founder of the Staples Singers, whose songs inspired artists across the spectrum of popular music—from gospel to R&B to rock and roll—and whose contributions to the civil rights movement were equally inspiring. Leading teacher and hymn composer Lucie E. Campbell stirred the hearts and minds of the nation, while Jane Holmes Dixon blazed another inspiring path as only the second woman consecrated as bishop in the Episcopal Church.

Today Montgomery County is a high point on the Mississippi Blues Trail thanks to markers commemorating the talent and achievements of King and Campbell.  A statue of Chief Duck shares pride of place with a vintage Illinois Central caboose at a junction in Duck Hill, named in honor of the chief, while Winona, a name derived from “Wenonah,” which means “first-born daughter” in Choctaw, serves as another reminder of the County’s deep-rooted Native American history. The first non-Native settler to the county set up a log trading post in 1791 in what would become a thriving settlement by the name of Middleton, considered as a possible site for the Mississippi state capital before the Mississippi Central Railway located its line in Winona. Winona in turn became the county seat when the county was formed and named in honor of the American Revolutionary War General Richard Montgomery.

In fact, valor in wartime is also integral to the County’s rich historical legacy. The Clemson Class destroyer U.S.S. Billingsley was named in honor of Winona native William Billingsley, who was the first Naval aviator killed in an airplane crash when he was thrown from his B-2 over water near Annapolis in 1913.

Just over a hundred years later, Montgomery County’s North Mississippi Veterans Memorial Cemetery opened officially in 2017, and with great fanfare became Mississippi’s second State Cemetery operated under the jurisdiction of the State Veterans Affairs Board. Local military honor guards, comprised of active duty and reserve members, provide full honors for burial services, and while the cemetery serves as an appropriate and welcome final resting place for members of U.S. Armed Forces, it has also become a popular pilgrimage destination, a place for deep meditation and respect for all citizens.

Poised to blaze new pathways to the future, Montgomery County enjoys the momentum of those pathfinders who came before—one more reason we’re always inspired to keep moving ahead.


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