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Meridian, the queen that rose up along the banks of Sowashee Creek in a land once home to the Choctaw, first beckoned settlers to its lush green valley in 1831. The town rose to prominence through the visions of Richard McLemore, Lewis A. Ragsdale, and John Ball and was empowered by the arrival of the railway system and later the factories of the manufacturing era. Meridian survived General Sherman's torch and withstood yellow fever, fires, and tornadoes, blossoming into one of the largest and most progressive cities in the state. Home to Naval Air Station Meridian and the birthplace of Jimmie Rodgers, the father of country music, Meridian is the heartbeat of Lauderdale County, with a history that runs as deep as the Mississippi.