Utica was originally an area known as Cane Ridge. In 1837, it was given the name Utica at the suggestion of the then postmaster, Ozias Osborn, who came from Utica, New York. The town was incorporated in 1880.
Utica was located on the Yazoo and Mississippi Valley Railroad. A weekly newspaper, the Herald, was established in 1897. In the early 1900s, Utica had several churches, eight hotels, a public school for white students, and an industrial college for black students. Agriculture consisted of watermelons, cotton and timber. The settlement had a sawmill, three cotton gins, and a brick plant. The population in 1907 was nearly 1,000.