Thursday, September 30, 2004

Catfish Farming in Mississippi

We've all seen the U-Hauls with Belzoni, Mississippi and a giant catfish emblazoned on them, and those of us who grew up in the state know how important catfish farming is in the Delta. Delta Pride Catfish has a brief history of catfish farming on its Web site. It's actually a fairly recent economic venture.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Olive Branch

The city of Olive Branch is in DeSoto County, just south of Memphis, Tennessee. For many years, it was a small community, but it is now one of the fastest growing places in the State of Mississippi. It was originally named Watson's Crossroad. Read a brief history of the town.

Monday, September 27, 2004


People who have travelled down the Natchez Trace have stumbled across the city of Kosciusko. It is named for a Polish gentleman who was a descendant of Sam Dodd who had the job of naming the city (and county). Read Kosciusko's history at the City of Kosciusko's Web site.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

James Kimble Vardaman

James Kimble Vardaman was Mississippi governor from 1904-1908. He was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1912, serving from 1913-1919. A sketch of him appears in the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1774-Present. A bibliography is included with the information. The town of Vardaman was named in his honor.

Saturday, September 25, 2004


The town of Indianaola, Mississippi, located in Sunflower County, is noted for its pecans. It was incorporated as a village in 1886 and as a town in 1890. Read its history courtesy of the town's chamber of commerce.

Queries of the Week

This week's "Family Trees" column in the Clarion Ledger is filled with queries.

Friday, September 24, 2004

World War II Mississippi

The Mississippi Historical Society has a wonderful online publication called Mississippi History Now, which, although aimed at public school students, has some very nice and well-documented articles. One of the featured articles from this publication is called "Not Just Farms Anymore: The Effects of World War II on Mississippi's Economy" which was written by Sean Farrell.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Ship Island's Fort Massachusetts

Ship Island is a part of the Gulf Islands National Seashore. On the island is a fort which became known as Fort Massachusetts, even though it was not named that during its actual period of use.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Grenada Confederate Postal History

William S. Parks has written a nicely documented "Confederate Postal History of Grenada, Mississippi." His Web page contains many illustrations and presents a very interesting aspect of the state's history.

Monday, September 20, 2004

Photographing Tombstones

Charles Garrison is photographing every tombstone in DeSoto County, Mississippi and donating CDs with the photographs to his local genealogical society. See the DeSoto Appeal for the story. However, there are many others like him in Mississippi whose contributions are significant for genealogical researchers, particularly those living at a distance. Many times persons surveying cemeteries these days do photograph each stone so they can double-check their transcriptions. When Terry Thornton surveyed the Lann Cemetery in Monroe County, Mississippi, he created a way for researchers to contact him so that digital copies could be obtained if someone needed them. Jackie Rhodes, MSGenWeb county coordinator for Webster, Chickasaw, and Choctaw counties, along with her husband Kenneth is planning to photograph all the stones in her counties and make them available online. This couple has photographed some of the markers in other counties and submitted those to their counties as well. What a great way to help researchers, especially those who cannot visit the counties of their ancestors easily!

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Carroll County Resource Expanded, Reunions, Queries

This week's "Family Trees" column talks about Betty Wiltshire's updating of a valued Carroll County military resource, mentions some family reunions, and has some queries. Read it at the Clarion Ledger (Jackson)

Friday, September 17, 2004

New Albany Woman Turns 114

Bettie Wilson of New Albany has seen a lot of things over the years. She was born in Benton County in 1890. She is believe to be the 2nd oldest person in the United States and 4th oldest person in the world. Read her story in the New Albany Gazette.

Interview Your Family

The Madison County Herald offers an article which includes several questions which would help get down some of your family's oral history while older relatives are still around! Read "Preserve Your Family History by Completing Family Life Review."

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

History of Alcorn State University

On its Web site, Alcorn State University has posted a history of the traditional black institution whose first president was Hiram Revels. It has undergone a number of name changes over the years. There is also a timeline below the sketch.

Monday, September 13, 2004

Noxubee County Oral History

The library in Noxubee County has placed several oral histories of the county online. These deal with all facets of life in the county including businesses, schools, churches, agriculture, medicine, politics, and much more.

Montpelier Renovations

Glen Hill is doing some restoration on Montpelier, his Natchez home. Read about the project at the Natchez Democrat.

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Jews in Port Gibson and Natchez

After posting the Mississippi Delta Jewish site in the blog, a reader told me about a new site that documents some of the Jews in the Port Gibson area. The site is called Judeo-Alsatians in the Deep South and contains pages for Port Gibson and Natchez.

Pontotoc Vocalist Is Subject of New Book

Ruby Elzy, a native of Pontotoc, is the subject of a new book by David Weaver entitled Black Diva of the Thirties: The Life of Ruby Elzy. Elzy is known for portraying the role of Serena in Porgy & Bess and later was featured in Aida. Read more about the book and about Elzy in the Daily Journal (Tupelo).

Saturday, September 11, 2004

Mississippi Delta Jewish History

Margery Kerstine has prepared a history documenting the Jews of the Mississippi Delta region. Her site is COTTON-FAMILY-RELIGION: Jewish Life in Coahoma County, Mississippi Delta History from 1836 to 1941.

Lundy Historic Cottage Garden Dedication

The dedication of the restored Lundy Stagecoach House Cottage Garden (ca. 1895) will take place in Lexington, Mississippi on September 14. Read about it in the Holmes County Herald.

Millsaps College Offers Family History & Photo Preservation Classes

This week's Family Trees column reports on Millsaps College's enrichment program classes that might be of interest to family historians. The first class deals with Family History research and the second with preservation of family photographs. Read about the courses in the column at the Clarion Ledger.

Friday, September 10, 2004

Tishomingo Museum Holds Open House

The new Tishomingo County Archives & History Museum is officially opening this weekend. All sorts of festivities are going on. Read about it in the Daily Journal (Tupelo).

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Ole Miss Group to Participate in Alabama Archaeological Dig

Ole Miss students and personnel are going to participate in a search for Fort Louis with expoerts from the University of South Alabama. Read about it in the Daily Mississippian.

Picayune Celebrates Centennial

The city of Picayune is celebrating its centennial. Several events are planned for the weekend. Read about the plans and about a few pioneers in the Picayune Item.

Union Church Store Destroyed by Fire

The historic Union Church Store in Jefferson County which dates back prior to the Civil War was destroyed by fire. Read about it in The Daily Leader (Brookhaven) or in the Natchez Democrat. See a picture at the Jefferson County MSGenWeb site.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Former Governor Kirk Fordice Dies of Leukemia

Former Mississippi Governor Kirk Fordice died today. Read his updated biography on the Mississippi History Now Website, a service of the Mississippi Historical Society.

Monday, September 06, 2004

Jefferson College's Raymond Hall Gets Rennovation

The Natchez Democrat has an article concerning the rennovation of Historic Jefferson College's Raymond Hall. The article tells about some of the things former residents left behind. It also gives an overview of the college's history and the future planned use of the building.

Olive Branch's Blocker Cemetery

The resting place of Olive Branch's first settler is getting a face lift and other extra attention reports the DeSoto Appeal, an edition of the Commercial Appeal (Memphis). Workers are verifying burials as well as adding a wrought iron fence.

Saturday, September 04, 2004

Queries Fill This Week's Family Trees Column

This week's Family Trees column is full of genealogical queries. Check it out at the Clarion Ledger (Jackson).

Historic Home for Sale

The Father Ryan house in Biloxi will be sold at auction to the highest bidder. The home was home to Confederate Poet Laureate Father Abram J. Ryan, a friend of Jefferson Davis. The home was built in 1840-41 by Judge W. C. Wade. Read about this in the Sun Herald (Biloxi). The home is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Friday, September 03, 2004

Delta Oral History Project Focuses on Food

The DeSoto Appeal, a version of the Memphis Commercial Appeal, has an article on an oral history project of the Mississippi Delta region that focuses attention on the foods of the region. More about the project can be found at the Southern Foodways Alliance Web site.