Somewhere in this vicinity, the Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto crossed the animal paths that later became the Natchez Trace. In 1539, he set out on a long arduous journey that took him across the Southeastern United States. He crossed the Tombigbee River, east of here, in December 1540, and spent the ensuing winter among the nearby Chickasaw Indians. After a dispute with the Indians, de Soto and his army moved westward. He is credited with discovering the Mississippi River south of Memphis, Tennessee, in June 1541.