First settled by the Choctaw Indians in the 1700's, this area of the piney woods became a place that settlers of Scotch-Irish descent found ideal for raising cattle and other livestock in the early 1800's.
The community was named in honor of Irvin Polk's daughter, who died in 1904 before her second birthday. He was the first postmaster of Petal. The City of Petal, which incorporated on April 5, 1974, was known as the "largest unincorporated town in the United States" for much of its existence. Petal was named Sports Illustrated's Mississippi City, in celebration of 50 years. Petal is the only city/town in the United States with the name "Petal".