In, 1798, the first permanent settlement in the parish was started when Don Jose Vidal obtained grants of land for himself and his sons on the Mississippi River opposite Natchez. At that time, the United States was in the process of taking over Natchez and the Mississippi territory. Wanting to stay in the Spanish territory, Don Jose moved his family from Natchez across the river and became the commandant of the new Post of Concord.
The same year, a franchise for a ferry from Natchez to the Post of Concord was granted, making Vidalia a terminus in the great Westward migration through central Louisiana during the early 1800's. A road was blazed from Vidalia to Harrisonburg as early as 1802. The route between Natchez and Natchitouches via the ferry at the Post of Concord has been officially designated as part of the Louisiana Historic Trails.
In 1811, the Post of Concord was designated as the Town of Vidalia and its development as a center of activity began with construction of a school and the establishment of a gin, a sawmill and a blacksmith shop. It was not until March 16, 1870, however, that Vidalia was incorporated under the laws of the State of Louisiana.
During the first half of the nineteenth century, Vidalia was a well known thriving steamboat town and shipping point. Texas trail drivers brought great herds of longhorns to the Natchez market. According to Alonzo Smith, celebrated Texas cattle driver, Vidalia was then known as "one of the toughest little towns in the world."
The town faced many trials, including the Civil War and Reconstruction. It was ravished by fire, crippled by boll weevil, and battered by flood waters. The Federal flood control program resulted in the removal of the entire town to a site further inland in 1940. On September 26, 1940, a bridge was opened linking Natchez and Vidalia.
City of Vidalia Website
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