Union Community News: Cherishing our roots: A history of UnionBy MATT HENNINGTON,
Many people may think Union began as a railroad town during the early to mid-1800s. Union, however, did not build a railroad until 1905. For the better part of a century, Union did not have a train or any railroads. Union was a small town built around the Old Jackson to Montgomery Road that ran across the South. At first, Union was just a small village that many people passed through while on the Old Jackson Road; however, as more settlers moved in, that began to change.
Originally, the Chickasaw and Choctaw Indians inhabited the land that Union was built on, and Union was actually a part of Neshoba County. In 1833, a small village had become a town and the county seat of Neshoba County. A small school and church were both built. The church was named Union Church, and the town’s name, Union, derived from the name of that first church. In 1835, Boler’s Inn was built as a stop for the stagecoach line that ran from Jackson to Meridian. A year later, William Donalson, Michael Thomas and Frances Jones created Newton County from the surrounding area and part of Neshoba County. Union became part of Newton County.
From 1836 until the American Civil War, Union grew, with the building of a post office and four stores. During General Sherman’s March to the Sea during the Civil War, Sherman spent the night in Boler’s Inn, and local legends say that after learning the name of the town, Sherman ordered that Union was not to be burned.
After recovering from the Civil War and entering the 20th century, a railroad was built through Union. The railroad in Union was completed in 1905 from the South and later expanded to Louisville. Eventually, the GM&O built a railroad from Meridian to Jackson that ran through Union, which caused the town to shift toward the railroad and caused more people to come to the town.
In 1905, the town of Union was formally recognized and chartered to form a government, with a mayor and Board of Aldermen. Tri-C Wood Products was started in 1908 as Buckwalter’s Lumber Company and changed ownership several times through the years. In 1910, the first newspaper was published in Union. First called “The Union Appeal.
The Peoples’ Bank was organized in Union in 1919 and eventually became the People’s Bank of Mississippi National Association. In 1927, the Board of Aldermen began to pave the streets, and land was donated for a cemetery. In 1933, Union purchased land for an airport, and next to the airport, a nine-hole golf course sits today. In 1938, Dr. E. L. Laird founded Laird Hospital and expanded it in 1939.
In the early 1940s, the Lebanon Manufacturing Company was founded for weaving cloth. In 1954, the name was changed to the Midland Shirt Factory. During the 1970s, Hilltop Manor Nursing Home, the Union Asphalt Company and Century Insulation were all founded. A library has also been built, and today, Union has a cable television service, a sewer system, water treatment facility, two banks, two funeral homes and two parks.
Union began as a small village in the early 1830s and has grown exponentially since then while staying a small town. Union has over 100 years of history, and although the town is small, the people of Union love their town and will always cherish their roots.