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black gum tree, 1730, apparently from Cree (Algonquian) ito opilwa "swamp tree."
city, seat (1867) of Lee county, northeastern Mississippi, U.S., located 62 miles (100 km) northeast of Columbus. It is the headquarters and focal point of the Natchez Trace Parkway. In 1859 the original settlement of Harrisburg was moved 2 miles (3 km) east to the Mobile and Ohio Railroad line. The new community, Gum Pond, was later renamed Tupelo for the local tupelo trees that supplied construction timber. It developed as a processing and shipping centre for cotton and dairy produce; it is now a distribution and manufacturing centre producing furniture and tires. The city has branch campuses of the University of Mississippi and Itawamba Community College