(submitted by and photos by Gerald & Tammy Westmoreland)
About 12 miles SE of Kosciusko, on what is now CR 5131 at CR 5020, Center was established about 1832. It is one of the oldest settlements in this area of the state. The Masonic Lodge, which was destroyed by a tornado in 1884, was one of the first Masonic Lodges in the state.
The Williams Tannery and Shoe Factory, along with several other enterprises played a major part in the building of Center. Liquor traffic was also an important part of the town.
The peaceful Choctaw Indians lived here during the early settlement of the area, but squatters arrived as early as 1800. The squatters lived in log cabins, farmed small patches of ground, hunted and trapped, but they moved further west when permanent settlers arrived.
Among the first permanent settlers were Dave Shuler and Jim Kelly, who assisted the government surveyors in 1832. Others cam between 1832 and 1840, bringing with them their families and their slaves. Dr. J.T. Crawley operated a medical practice here from 1875 - 1915, before moving to Kosciusco.
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