Tupelo (tōˈpĭlō, tyō–) [key], city (1990 pop. 30,685), seat of Lee co., NE Miss.; founded 1859, inc. 1870. It is the trade, processing, and shipping center for a cotton, grain, dairying, and livestock area. Once important for timber, the city is named after the tupelo, or black gum, tree. Dairy products, furniture, lighting fixtures, corrugated partitions, tires, and wood- and metalworking machinery are produced, and there is poultry processing. A U.S. fish hatchery is there. On the Civil War battlefield of Tupelo, now a national battlefield (see National Parks and Monuments, table), Union troops repulsed an attack by Gen. N. B. Forrest (July 14, 1864) but nevertheless retreated. Nearby is the scene of a victory of Chickasaw and British forces over the Choctaw and French (May 26, 1736). Elvis Presley was born in Tupelo; his home is a tourist attraction. Tombigbee State Park and the Natchez Trace Parkway visitor center are in the vicinity.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.