The flood plain of the Mississippi River has long been an area rich in vegetation and wildlife, feeding off the Mississippi and its numerous tributaries. Long before Europeans migrated to America, the Choctaw and Chickasaw Indian nations settled in the Delta’s marsh and swampland. In 1830, the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek was signed by the Choctaw Chief Greewood Leflore, opening the swampland to European settlers.
The first settlement on the banks of the Yazoo River was a trading post founded by John Williams in 1830, known as Williams Landing. The settlement quickly blossomed and in 1844, was incorporated as “Greenwood” after Chief Greenwood Leflore.
Cotton & Shipping
Growing into a strong cotton market, the key to the city’s success was its strategic geographic location in the heart of the Delta on the easternmost point of the alluvial plain and astride the Tallahatchie and Yazoo rivers. The city served as a shipping point to New Orleans, Vicksburg, Memphis and St. Louis and flourished until the latter part of the Civil War.
The city struggled after the Civil War until the arrival of the railroads in the 1880’s. Two lines ran into downtown close to the Yazoo River, and once again, Greenwood emerged as a prime shipping point for cotton. Downtown’s Front Street bordering the levy bustled with cotton factors and earned the name Cotton Row. The city prospered this way into the 1940’s.