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Cofield on Oxford & Ole Miss: Isaiah’s Busy Bee Café

Picture by Debora Freeland
Picture by Debora Freeland

Born in Oxford, Georgia Isaiah spent thirty years cooking for Ole Miss Chancellors J. D. Williams and Porter Fortune.

When she finally retired, she still had the urge to feed her friends and neighbors and opened her own café. She had a little bee that she always put her change in, and so she decided to name it after the little bee. Isaiah’s Busy Bee Café opened for business on Christmas Eve 1971.

For the next twenty or so years, she plucked vegetables from her garden, fried chicken, baked pound cakes and sweet potato pies and brewed mint tea to the delight of the greater Oxford community.

Miss Isaiah is gone and so is her café, but memories of this woman and her glorious food still swim in many hearts and stomachs around this small college town.


John Cofield is a HottyToddy.com writer and one of Oxford’s leading folk historians. He is the son of renowned university photographer Jack Cofield. His grandfather, J.R. “Colonel” Cofield, was William Faulkner’s personal photographer and for decades was the Ole Miss yearbook photographer. Cofield attended Ole Miss as well.

Stay tuned for more information on Cofield’s forthcoming book: Oxford, Mississippi ~ The Cofield Collection — a pictorial history book with John’s writing on the history to go along with the photos.

Contact John at Johnbcofield@gmail.com.

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