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Yalobusha is a native American word meaning "tadpole place," and before the county was formed, it was the home of both the Choctaw and Chickasaw Indian tribes.
In 1816, General Andrew Jackson ordered the surveying of the Choctaw-Chickasaw Line. The line as surveyed cut almost a perfect diagonal across the area of the present day Yalobusha County. In 1830, the Choctaws ceded their Mississippi lands to the United States in the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek. Two years later, the Chickasaw signed the Treaty of Pontotoc, ceding their lands to the United States. Both tribes moved west to new lands in present day Oklahoma.
In 1833, the Mississippi Legislature authorized the formation of 17 counties, including Yalobusha, on what until recently had been Indian land. Yalobusha County was officially organized and its first officials elected on February 21, 1834. The first Board of Police (Supervisors) held its first meeting at Hendersonville, then the largest town in the county. Hendersonville had been established in 1798 by John Henderson, a Presbyterian missionary, who was one of the first white men to settle in the area.
At its first meeting the Board of Police solicited donations of land for a county seat. At its second meeting, the Board selected the site, naming it Coffeeville in honor of General John Coffee, who had represented the United States in the treaties with the Choctaws and the Chickasaws. The next meeting was held in the new settlement, and in 1837 the first courthouse was built.
The Illinois Central Railroad built a branch line from Jackson, Tennessee to Grenada, passing through Water Valley and Coffeeville, in the late 1850s. ICRR officials wanted to set up shops in Coffeeville, but could not obtain the property they wanted. Residents of the fledging town of Water Valley offered to donate the needed land to the railroad; therefore, the shops were located there, and Water Valley quickly became the largest town in the county. It was officially chartered in 1858. With the completion of the railroad from New Orleans to the Ohio River, Water Valley was an important railroad community on the Mississippi Central railroad at the outset of the Civil War. ....READ MORE