During the past ten years, blues music has more than ever been in the forefront of today’s news. Through the past several years alone, we have seen the U.S. Congress take notice of this special art form by declaring a “Year of the Blues” because of it’s enormous impact to music in general.
A few years ago, a nation wide audience tuned in to PBS in order to watch Martin Scorsese’s epic that documented the evolution of blues music in America. In Mississippi, our governors have gotten involved starting with Governor Musgrove when he saluted this music with a proclamation called “Year of the Blues In State of Mississippi” almost ten years ago. During Barbour’s term, he and the Mississippi State Legislature created a comprehensive registry of all blues related sites and activities in the state that led to the Blues Trail. Barbour also recognized the blues in several other ways when he was governor. Now, Governor Phil Bryant is also doing the same.
Although our great state is blessed to have many talented musicians from all genres of music, if it weren’t for the blues musicians of the Mississippi Delta and the east Mississippi hill country, this music would have never existed. Blues music is the root form to all popular music in the Western Hemisphere. For without this special music, the world would have never heard of an Elvis Presley, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, or anyone else. The significance of this music cannot be understated. The explosion that would spread all over the globe began in Clarksdale in June of 1901.
That year, Charles Peabody, from Harvard’s Peabody Museum, arrived in Coahoma County to begin archaeological excavations on several indian mounds located west of Clarksdale. After arriving in Clarksdale, Peabody hired a dozen or so men to help carry all of his equipment and other provisions from Clarksdale to the first mound about 15 miles away.
One Sunday morning on their walk to the first mound, Peabody’s workers started a “chant like” rhythm. One man would chant a few lines, then the others would answer back in a refrain. Peabody, who had some musical training, took out a piece of paper and began writing down the lyrics and also tried to make some musical transcriptions. Peabody’s notes were later published in the 1903 Journal of American Folk-Lore. His descriptions are the first we have of black music in the Mississippi Delta.
Forty years later, a second explosion would take place when two folk song collectors from the Library of Congress, Alan Lomax and John Work, traveled to the Delta with a tape recorder to record the music of the Delta that they had been hearing about, which by that point, had left the “chanting” stage and transformed into songs performed on acoustic guitars with bottleneck slides that would soon be labeled, blues music. These recordings eventually made their way onto records that were distributed worldwide providing inspiration to young musicians who in turn created another form of music from this root element that became rock music.
Has north Mississippi made a significant contribution to the U.S. and world? Absolutely. Our region has made many contributions to mankind. And, our great blues music is just the start of what we have contributed that has bettered America.
The list is very long and as a seventh generation Mississippian, I could not be any prouder of our great state, our accomplishments, and our people!
Story by, Scott Coopwood
Scott Coopwood, a seventh generation Deltan, lives in Cleveland, Mississippi, with his wife Cindy and their three children. Scott is the publisher and owner of Delta Magazine, one of the South’s leading lifestyle publications, the Delta Business Journal, the first business publication in the Mississippi Delta; and Cleveland’s weekly newspaper, The Cleveland Current .
Email Scott Coopwood at email@example.com
Previous blogs have discussed the 46 places nominated as possible homes for the University of Mississippi and the process for finally selecting Oxford. Except for counties in the Mississippi Delta, a place from most of the counties was put in nomination—from Tishomingo to Hancock. Although eight of the places (Barefoot, Quincy, City of Pearl, Jackson, Cud-de-hunk (Cutty Hunk), Lexington, Mount Pleasant, and Natchez) received no votes after the formal balloting began (the law provided that “not more than one point in each county shall be placed in nomination”), clearly a number of places would have been suitable sites.
Of the cities or towns nominated in 1840, a number are still reasonably large, at least by Mississippi standards, with populations of 10,000 or higher: Jackson, Columbus, Starkville, Natchez, Brandon, Oxford, and Grenada. Several others, with populations from less than 500 to approximately 8,000 are still active (and the population is increasing in some of them): Philadelphia, Holly Springs, Louisville, Kosciusko, Lexington, Raymond, Monticello, DeKalb, and Good Springs (Tishomingo).
Fewer than twenty of the places, then, are highly populated areas today. Some authorities have named fifteen of the places as being extinct: Augusta, Brandywine, Emory, Gallatin, Greeensboro, Holmesville, Kingston, Middleton, Pearl, Pinckney, Salem, Van Buren, Warrenton, Westville, and Winchester. In addition, another writer includes Hillsboro, Mt. Pleasant, and Paulding in a list of declining small towns in Mississippi.
Depending on one’s definition, Barefoot, Cuddy Hunk, Magnolia, Mississippi City, Monroe Missionary Station, Mount Carmel, Quincy, Red Bone, Sharon, Summerville, Sweet Water, and Thomaston might be added to the list of extinct villages or villages which have declined in size and/or activity.
Jackson, Columbus, Starkville, Oxford, and Raymond (of the places nominated, only Raymond became the home for a community college) have proven to be highly satisfactory homes for institutions of higher learning.
Might other places have been equally satisfactory? Had the state university been located at, let us say, Van Buren, Middleton, Magnolia, or Holmesville, would those villages now be thriving towns or cities rather than extinct communities? Might there still be hotels and physicians’ offices (and dormitories and libraries) in places where cattle graze or forests grow or farmers cultivate their crops? If the university had been established at a place–like Kosciusko or Thomastown–in the center of the state, would the state system now consist of eight universities throughout the state?
If the university had been located at the capital in Jackson, would there still have been other universities located in other parts of the state? It is interesting to speculate about where legislators would have placed a college or university for African Americans if doing that had been a consideration.
Perhaps just as interesting is the question of whether there would now be an Alcorn State University at Lorman, a Jackson State University at Jackson (or at Natchez, where the school began), or a Mississippi Valley State University at Itta Bena had integration taken place 50 years earlier.
If the University of Mississippi had admitted women before 1882, would Mississippi University for Women have been established, or was it inevitable that there would be a women’s college formed in the state? Would the University of Southern Mississippi at Hattiesburg and Delta State University at Cleveland, which began as “normal” schools, have been established regardless of where the state university had been located?
If the City of Pearl or Mississippi City had been selected, there would have been no twenty-first century law suits about a senior college offering lower-level classes on the Gulf Coast; but how long would it have been before another university would have been located in the central or northern part of the state?
The success of Mississippi State University as a land-grant institution causes one to wonder whether the state would now have comprehensive universities at Jackson, Hattiesburg, and Oxford if Starkville had been chosen as the location for the university in 1841. If the railroad (not very important at a time when students travel by plane or car, but very important in the early days of the University) had bypassed Oxford, or if the county seat had been moved to another place in Lafayette County, would Oxford be the delightful University town it is today?
(Sometimes I imagine what might have been: A sports announcer on ESPN says something like “And we come to you today from the Ole Miss Vaught-Hemingway Stadium located in beautiful downtown Cutty Hunk, Mississippi.”)
The Oxford Square, mid to late 50s, on less eventful days was the scene of many a serious domino game and a lot of town business. The man in the center of the photo with white hat and hands on table is Noel M. Hodge. Blaylock’s Drug Store (Square Books) with the Fortune’s Ice Cream sign is in the background.
“Saturday was always the busiest day of the week,” J.R. Cofield recalls. “Some Saturday’s the Courthouse lawn was circus like. Spring, summer, and fall, farmers set up rough stalls to sell their produce. Watermelons came into season in mid-July, and the price of a large melon in the 1940′s was a dime. The Courthouse lawn also attracted some ‘blaring’ sermons from traveling evangelist. Through the years many things have change around the town, but the Courthouse lawn is still dead center for Oxford.”
Last week I ended my column with the Chickasaw being given an object lesson by the Spanish. If you will recall, the Spaniards caught three braves stealing their pigs, but to the Chickasaw this was not a crime. To show the Indians what they did to thieves, they killed two of the braves and cut off the hands of the third and sent him back to his tribal home.
To add insult to injury, the Spaniards asked for two hundred braves to act as porters from their expedition. The Chickasaw interpreted this request as an invitation to enslavement. They had now gone too far and the Chickasaw were going to give the Spaniards an object lesson.
In late March, 1541, one night just before dawn, several bands of Chickasaw warriors struck the Spanish encampment without warning. Beating furiously on wooden drums and screaming their war whoop, the Indians rushed the Spanish fortifications from all sides. The thatched roofs of the soldier’s quarters were set afire and many of the Spanish raced naked into the night under a barrage of Chickasaw arrows.
The Chickasaw could have annihilated the Spanish that night, but instead they inexplicably let De Soto and his men escape. Historian Don Doyle, in his 2001 book on the historical roots of Yoknapatawpha, states, “A dozen Spaniards, nearly sixty horses, and hundreds of pigs died at the hands of Chickasaw warriors that terrifying night.”
After another brief skirmish, the Spaniards gathered their surviving livestock and supplies and retreated westward toward the “Great River.” Doyle also states, “Some of the pigs escaped into the wilds,” to become “progenitors of the renowned razorback hog.” I guess the University of Arkansas has the Chickasaw to thank for their mascot.
It would not be until around 1690, a century and a half later, that a sustained contact between Europeans and the Chickasaw would occur. A trail had been forged from Charleston into the Chickasaw territory, and the Indians were to be caught up in the struggle between the English and the French for control of the Lower Mississippi Valley.
The English had set up a trading and diplomatic alliance with the Chickasaw, and the French had done the same with the Choctaw, who roamed the land to the south of the Chickasaw Nation. In 1736, the French, with the aid of the Choctaw, launched what was to be a war, they thought, for the annihilation of the Chickasaw and thereby the control of the Lower Mississippi Valley.
This campaign consisted of two pitched battles by the French and their allies against the Chickasaw fortified villages in present day Northeast Mississippi. The first battle of the campaign was at the village of Ogoula Tchetoka, just to the northwest of present day Tupelo. The second battle was at the village of Ackia in the southern part of present day Tupelo.
French troops under the command of Pierre d’Artaguette, who was commander of the Illinois District, came from the north and were to meet with Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville, the overall commander from the area near Mobile and Biloxi. They were to meet and combine their forces before the battle was to begin, but d’Artaguette decided to commence the fight prior to de Bienville’s arrival. This was costly to the French and their Indian allies.
Some 200 Chickasaw along with a few Natchez warriors defeated 130 French regulars and militia, 38 Iroquois, 28 Arkansas, and 300 Miami and Illinois warriors. The Chickasaw had only 50 casualties compared to most of the French killed or captured and almost all of the Iroquois and Arkansas killed or captured. The captured were killed by the Chickasaw driving small stakes of fat pine into their naked bodies, and then set aflame. The powerful Chickasaw warriors then watched their captives burn to death slowly.
In the second battle, the French, who numbered approximately 544 regulars and militia, 45 Africans and 600 Choctaw against a reported 100 Chickasaw, did not fair any better. It is not known how many Chickasaw were casualties, but 100 French were killed, along with 100 wounded and 22 Choctaw killed. What was left of the French and their allies, short of ammunition and provisions, and worried they could not carry any more wounded, retreated the way they came.
One historical account of the battles and fortifications of the Chickasaw reports the “Chickasaw were amply equipped with English arms via a trade route from the English and small Chickasaw settlements in South Carolina and Georgia. Their rectangular palisade forts with loophole walls were complemented by round fortified houses, also with loopholes. With this technology, the Chickasaw invincibly maintained their homeland against relentless pressure from the French and Choctaw, including a repeat campaign in 1739 and numerous small attacks by the Choctaws for the next 20 years.”
The Chickasaw had been strong enough to repulse attacks of the French, Choctaw and other Indian tribes in the area, but not the men of the new United States of America. Next week, I shall give you some of the historical information on the trading practices of the Americans in the new Southwest and then the Treaty of Pontotoc Creek and the removal of the Chickasaw Nation to the Oklahoma Territory in the 1830s and the formation of ten new counties in north Mississippi.
A few weeks ago, I promised to tell the story of the “Father of California Wine,” the incredible Agoston Haraszthy, who brought the Zinfandel grape to California and founded Buena Vista, the winery that makes some of the best wines now available. Some readers have repeatedly reminded me of that promise, and I herewith make good on it.
Haraszthy was born in 1812 in the region of Backsa, Hungary, which is now part of Yugoslavia. His family was country gentry and also winemakers of some renown. At that time, Hungarian wines were better known and more respected than they are now, especially the Tokay dessert wine, favorite of the Russian czars, whose Slavic spelling of the Latin title “Caesar” they bestowed on themselves tells you a lot about their self image.
Haraszthy studied law in Vienna, but quit for the more adventurous life of an officer in the Guards of the Emperor of Austria, a political realist and survivor who was both the nephew of the guillotined Marie-Antoinette and the father-in-law of Napoleon. Haraszthy himself had a foot in each camp, being both an aristocrat and a revolutionary, somewhat like the better know Lafayette. While an officer in the Imperial Guard, he secretly joined the Hungarian nationalists under Kossuth (for whom the town in Mississippi is named) and eventually had to flee to America to escape the heat generated by his revolutionary activities.
Upon his return to Hungary in 1842, Haraszthy sold his family’s estate and brought his wife and parents to America, where he bought 10,000 acres of land along the Wisconsin River. There he began calling himself “Count,” which some historians say was a title he simply expropriated, but coats of arms have always been cheap, and titles were easily purchased in those days. Haraszthy also founded a town with the unpronounceable name of Szepta, which is Hungarian for “beautiful view.” Later, more practical and less esthetic settlers renamed it “Sauk City.”
Haraszthy planted vineyards of European vinifera grapes on his new land, but they all died from the harsh winters and vine diseases. Undaunted, he started a ferryboat line across the Mississippi and also ran a steamboat from St. Paul down to Galena Ill., supplying meat and grain from his farms to the troops of the Northwest Territory. Quickly wealthy, he entered politics and helped Wisconsin gain statehood. The climate, however, game him asthma, so in 1848 Haraszthy emigrated again to the healthier climate of Southern California.
He chose to go the “easy” southern route via the Santa Fe Trail. His mother, another real survivor, who had married the U.S. attorney for Wisconsin, and his wife and six children, accompanied him. By then a big man with coal-black hair and a bushy beard, Haraszthy was wagon master a la Ward Bond of a 20-wagon train of Conestoga prairie schooners pulled by a team of oxen. He led his wagon train safely through the marauding Indian tribes of Kansas, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona, and arrived in San Diego in December of 1849. It was then a town of 650 people.
His friends in Wisconsin got word that Haraszthy had been massacred by Indians en route and sold all his businesses and lands in Wisconsin and sent the money to his “widow.” Haraszthy took the proceeds and bought the estate of the former Mexican governor near San Diego.
There he planted yet another vineyard, this time with vinifera “mission” grapes that had been brought to California from Spain centuries earlier by Franciscan friars. This time his vines lived, but the wine was so mediocre that he vowed to import the best European vinifera grapes as soon as he could afford it. It took him nearly a decade.
In the meantime, Haraszthy and his family planted orchards, opened a livery stable and butcher shop, and began speculating in land. Again, he quickly became wealthy and entered politics, and by 1850 was elected the first sheriff of San Diego County, later city marshal, then delegate to the state assembly. He began calling himself “Colonel” instead of “Count.”
His reputation as heroic pioneer began to slip a little, and his first real scandal arrived. His stepfather, as chairman of the city council, approved Haraszthy’s bid, which was double that of any other, to build a county jail. Its walls promptly fell down, but the taxpayers paid Haraszthy to rebuild it anyway, a monument to his gifts of persuasion.
On his first trip north to meet the state assembly at Vallejo, he saw the Gold Rush in full bloom. To an entrepreneur like Haraszthy, it seemed the Promised Land. The climate also looked better for vineyards, being sunny but less hot –– similar to the best wine lands of Europe. As he put it, the problem at San Diego was that the winters were so warm that “my vines don’t get the rest.” He also sensed certain social differences between the two regions, and introduced a bill to divide California into two territories, north and south. The bill failed but it was probably as sociologically sound then as it would be now.
Still pursuing his dream of making great wine in America, and a little money on the side, Haraszthy sold everything in San Diego and moved his family to the San Francisco Bay area for yet another new start.
Next week: Haraszthy move to the Valley of the Moon, marries his sons Attila and Atpad to the governor’s daughters, plants the first zinfandels at Buena Vista, goes broke and moves to Nicaragua to make rum, and is last seen walking alone toward a stream full of alligators.
John Hailman of Oxford is a regular contributor to HottyToddy.com on two subjects: Law and Wine. Now retired from both his “day job” as a federal prosecutor in Oxford after 33 years and his “night job” of 25 years as a nationally syndicated daily columnist in more than 100 daily papers on wine, food and travel for Gannett News Service and the Washington Post, Hailman will cover both topics under the titles of The Legal Eagle and Wine Tips of the Week. HottyToddy.com will also run periodic excerpts from Hailman’s upcoming book of humorous legal stories: From Midnight to Guntown: True Crime Stories From A Federal Prosecutor in Mississippi. Hailman now teaches Federal Trial Practice and Law and Literature at Ole Miss.
It was during Frederick A.P. Barnard’s tenure as rector that St. Peter’s Episcopal Church building, chancel and nave were erected. The lot was purchased on November 19, 1855, for $600 from Philip A. and Mary D. Yancey. The structure, built by William Turner, was completed in 1860, and the first sermon preached in the church was given by Barnard on Easter Sunday, April 8, 1860. This beautiful church is the oldest religious structure in Oxford, having survived the burning of the town during the Civil War. St. Peter’s was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1975.
“My family are still members of St. Peter’s. I was asked when I was younger to ring the bell during the hostage crisis in Iran. They knew of our connection. So every Saturday I would ring. At first I would ring with the number of days but then that got really long. Then I rang for each hostage.”
–Katie Brandon Coward
“Our Family Church for decades and generations. Whenever I’m there I’m overcome by the memories, comfort, solitude, serenity and the peace of mind that I’m Home.”
The evening of Friday, May 3rd, 50th class reunion attendees were hosted at a reception held in the lovely Oxford home of Al and Jan Povall. It was a thoroughly enjoyable event. Some in attendance recalled that Al was the cheerleader who dared to carry an Ole Miss sign on the Tigah Stadium field, which stated words to the effect of, “We’re Nbr 1, Second to None!” Unfortunately that 1963 evening, Ole Miss came up on the short end of a 10-7 score. And, Al was attacked by a large segment of Tigah fans. They had won the game but were still angry about Al and his pennant.
Saturday, on the double-decker tour bus, we visited some of the facilities and buildings on the Ole Miss campus, including the new basketball practice court, the Haley Barbour Center For Manufacturing Excellence, and the beautiful Lyceum building. Great briefings were received at each of the facilities.
Afterward, returnees entered the M Club building, where they were fed and received interesting talks from soon-to-retire Dr. Andrew Mullins and the new Ole Miss Athletic Director, Ross Bjork. In this attendee’s opinion, Ole Miss will sorely miss the leadership of Dr. Mullins, but we are blessed to have Ross as the Athletic Director. He is full of the vitality, enthusiasm, and never-say-die spirit that resided so strongly on the Ole Miss campus during the 1960s.
Jake Gibbs and Glynn Griffing were in attendance at the luncheon with their friend and fellow football great, Kenny Dill.
The wife of former football coaching great, Wobble Davis, rose and related a touching story about her late but sorely missed husband. Making the story even more interesting was the fact that Jake Gibbs earlier had confessed that he and most of the players he knew from Ole Miss were terrified of Coach Davis, then as well as now.
However, Ms. Sara, Wobble’s wife, recounted a tender side of the coach. He had a cherished lettered sweater that he kept in a closet. One day, without saying a word, he entered the closet, removed the sweater, and left with it. Many years later, at Coach Davis’s funeral, the recipient of the lettered sweater stepped forward and identified himself to Mrs. Davis. He had been on the Ole Miss team for four years and never played a down on the football field with the varsity. For his dedication, Coach Davis had awarded him with the lettered sweater. That revelation brought forth misty eyes.
Jake also told a story about the Vicksburg Greenie great Richard Price. It seems Richard liked a cigarette smoke now and then. Coach Davis was bound and determined to catch and break Richard from the habit. However, Richard, known by friends as “Possum”, was slick about when and where he puffed on the nicotine stick. Finally, Coach Wobble sought out help in the form of Hall-of-Famer Coach Bruiser Kinard.
“Coach,” he said. “I’ve been trying to catch Possum smoking, but thus far, I’ve failed. Would you help me catch him?”
“What are you going to do when you catch him?” Kinard responded.
“I don’t know,” Wobble replied.
“Then,” Bruiser stated, “Don’t catch him.”
Blunted in his efforts, Coach Wobble finally confronted Coach Johnny Vaught with the problem. So, reluctantly, Coach Vaught put out the word that he wanted to speak with Richard. I say reluctantly because former Lt. Governor Brad Dye confided that Coach Johnny Vaught loved Richard as if he were his own son. I think the ending of this story confirms that statement.
“Richard,” Coach greeted him after the young man had entered the office.
“I understand that you have been smoking. Do you smoke, Richard?”
“Well,” Richard hesitantly replied, while looking down and shuffling a foot. He suspected the ol’ man knew something, and would not tolerate a lie.
“Yes, sir, after supper, I get a craving for a smoke. And I have one or two.”
“Well, now, Richard,” Coach Vaught advised, as he walked from behind his desk and put his arm around the young man, “I want you to cut back a little on your smoking.”
“Yes, sir, Coach,” Richard acknowledged, I’ll do that.”
Kenny Dill’s first wife, Kitty, whom he dearly loved, passed away in 1990. Without prior notification, a former team mate, Glynn Griffing, who, along with Jim Weatherly, quarterbacked the 1963 Ole Miss national championship team, joined Kenny during his wife’s last hours on earth.
“It meant so much,” Kenny said, “to have Glenn with me during that very difficult time.”
Kenny refers to times such as this as the “rippling effect” one acquires from Ole Miss. He spoke about several other stories reaffirming the Ole Miss rippling effect. “One,” he says, “looks after the needs of fellow Ole Miss grads. You help them and they help you, or others.”
That is the rippling effect that has been experienced by him and fellow Ole Miss folks.
Regarding Coach Wobble, Kenny wrote statements that I share verbatim:
“I still have a vivid memory of meeting freshman football Coach Davis. I recognized [right] off the bat that if you planned to play varsity football at Ole Miss, you had to go through Coach Wobble. It was his way or the highway. Ole Miss signed 50 freshman football players in those days, and we didn’t realize that Wobble was the mine field you had to navigate through to survive.
“Miller Hall was the new athletic dorm, and Coach Wobble and Ms. Sara were our daddy and mother in the dorm. I got the unlucky draw of getting the room directly above their bedroom on the second floor by the stairway.
“We had to be in the room at 10:30 during the fall season. One night. I got into a nervous twitter and started bouncing a golf ball over their bedroom, and we heard Coach Wobble almost knock the door off the hinges coming up to our floor.
“We got quiet to see who he was going after. The next thing we knew, he was standing in our room and yelled, ‘Who’s bouncing that blankety-blank golf ball?’ He was standing between me and the door and I couldn’t run, and I couldn’t make the ball disappear. Wobble told me what the punishment would be if I ever bounced the ball over their bedroom again. Since that night over 50 years ago, I haven’t forgot what he told me, and I don’t play golf today. Wobble was about tough love, and he always kept up with us after college. And when we were facing health issues or death in our family, he called or showed up at your door to let you know that he was hurting too.”
That evening, class returnees enjoyed food, drink, and many more stories, interrupted only by dances to the music of a good band.
1. William (Bill) Morris. Book author:Ole Miss at Oxford (A Part of our Heart & Soul)
2. Kenny Dill & Steve Mistimes
3. Double-decker tour guide
4. Kenny Dill & wife Anna
5. Kay Mistilis, husband Steve, and Ann Jackson Gatwood
6. Brad Dye & Olen Akers
7. Jake Gibbs
8. Carl & Nancy Parker Ford
9. Steve & Kay Mistilis with Guy Hovis
10. Edward & Mary Eidt
11. Susan Sadler Hayman & Friend
12. Mary Pat Coley Custer, Bobby & Jane Pope Black
13. Jeff & Robbie Lindsey Troyka
14. Mary Pat Coley Custer & Kay Mistilis
15. Sis Hovis, Olen & Jan Akers
16. Meredith & J.D. May, Ann Jackson Gatwood
17. Dr. Joseph McFadden, Dr. Jim & Mary Sharp Lickfold Rayner
18. Happy Campers
19. Susan Sadler Hayman & Guy Hovis
20. Bobby & Jane Pope Black
21. Jeff & Robbie Lindsey Troyka, Al & Jan Povall
22. Al & Jan Povall
23. Howard & Mary Thetford Peck
24. Dr. Joseph McFadden & Margaret Countiss Harbison
25. Bill Baker & Wife
26. Barbara & Kay Howard
27. Margaret Countiss Harbison
28. Anna & Kenny Dill
29. Donna Bailey Dye & Patricia Dees Gilbert
30. Donna Bailey & Brad Dye
31. Bill Morris & Al Povall
32. Camille & Bill Morris
33. Meredith & J. D. May
34. Carl & Nancy Parker Ford
35. Larry Eubank & Carl Ford
36. Margaret Countiss Harbison & Sis Hovis
After having completed obtaining a full collection of “Ole Miss” yearbooks, I have often said that everyone in those yearbooks remains permanently 21 years old. This is so very true as I and all the other people in those yearbooks get older.
The first several yearbooks that I vividly remember were 1943-1946, which was the four years my mother was a student at the University. As I grew up looking at those annuals, it became clear that the star on campus during that time was Lila Lee Nosser of Vicksburg. Lila was probably the most popular student on campus.
She was a cheerleader and a beauty every year she was at Ole Miss. In 1946, she was Miss Ole Miss and one of the four students elected to the Hall of Fame that year.
I have attached a couple of her cheerleading photographs and her pictures from the 1946 annual. She was absolutely stunning.
Lila married Bill McRight, and they and their five children moved to Greenville around 1960. I attended high school with their children, finishing in 1965 with their oldest son, Bill.
I have now known Lila for more than fifty years, and she is just as sparkling, gracious and beautiful as ever.
About five years ago, we were visiting my neighbor, Jim Crutcher, and there was a large group of people, including Lila, at Jim’s. We told them that Lila had been a beauty and Miss Ole Miss back in the mid 1940s, and to prove it, I went to my place and brought back the 1946 annual to show to everyone.
Once again, Lila became a sensation. Although she appeared to be very “Aw Shucks” about all the attention, you could tell that she was flattered.
In April of this year, when the Rebel Road Show came to Greenville, Lila was right there filling out nametags, registering the guests and saying hello to everyone. She can work a crowd as well as anyone I have ever seen.
I have attached a recent picture of her with her brother-in-law, Rebel football great, Kayo Dottley. Make no mistake about it, Lila Lee Nosser McRight was then, always has been, still is and always will be Miss Ole Miss.
Congratulations to Jake Caraway Thompson, who received his Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from the Meek School of Journalism and New Media.
After convocation, a brunch was hosted for journalism graduates and family and a special message was read about each graduate as they walked across the stage at graduation.
“The portfolio presented to each graduate will always be a treasured remembrance,” said Jackie Thompson, who was on hand to witness her son’s proud moment. “The Thompson graduation gathering at the Inn at Ole Miss was the perfect ending to such an amazing day.”
Natchez is the oldest settled town on the river. King’s Tavern is the Oldest building in Natchez. Believers in ghosts say that “Madeline,” the murdered lover of tavern proprietor Richard King haunts the upper story. Legend says King’s wife murdered her, then bricked up the corpse behind the fireplace.
Several generations of Oxonians have great stories from their time hanging out at the statute of the Confederate soldier in Oxford. It’s been going on for 100 years among young and old alike. This great photo from the Square is from the early 1980s.
From left to right is Mr. Ed Elzey, Judge Boatwright and Mr. Vettra Alderson. This is Americana at its finest!