[Mississippi History Newsletter Online.]

A MDAH Publication  |  Volume 45 No. 8  |  August 2003

Cotton Gin Port History Published

Cotton Gin Port: A Frontier Settlement on the Upper Tombigbee, by Jack D. Elliott, Jr., and Mary Ann Wells, has been published by the Mississippi Historical Society through a generous grant from the Dalrymple Family Foundation. The book grew from an idea that Arch Dalrymple, longtime member of the MDAH Board of Trustees, had years ago while on a mission with his friends William Winter (now president, MDAH Board) and Dr. James Silver, then history professor at the University of Mississippi, to locate the Bell Mission Site marker near Darymple's hometown of Amory. Their struggles to locate the mission site marker demonstrated to Dalrymple the larger problem regarding the undocumented but fascinating history of Cotton Gin Port and its surrounding area. He took his idea for a book to Elbert R. Hilliard, MDAH director, and they decided to make the book a joint effort of the Dalrymple Family Foundation and the Mississippi Historical Society.

According to historian John Ray Skates, chair of the MHS Publications Committee and advisor on the book project, "Cotton Gin Port's story is a microcosm of the frontier American experience, complete with Indian wars, pack horses, ferries, flatboats, trading posts, missionaries, and adventurers. Its colorful history and characters make it well worth remembering."

Jack D. Elliott, Jr., is a historical archaeologist with MDAH, and Mary Ann Wells of Santa Fe, New Mexico, is the author of several books on Mississippi. The volume contains an introduction by Skates, a foreword by Arch Dalrymple, and accompanying maps and historical photographs. The Dalrymple Family Foundation has planned to place copies of the book in each of the public libraries and in school libraries in northeast Mississippi. Cotton Gin Port, published by Quail Ridge Press of Brandon for the Mississippi Historical Society, will be available in August from the Old Capitol Shop, 601/ 359-6920, at $25.00.

Summer Journal Features Mississippi's World War I Aces

In the lead essay of the summer issue of the Journal of Mississippi History, "Mississippi's World War I Airmen and the Naming of Keesler Air Force Base," author William Jeanes looks at other possible contenders besides Sam Keesler (called at the airbase dedication "Mississippi's outstanding aviation hero of that war"). Jeanes turns up quite a few, including one pilot who flew with Captain Edward Rickenbacker's 94th, the famous "Hat in the Ring" squadron. Jeanes includes many interesting photographs of the young pilots.

In "The Jeanes Supervisor: Agent of Change in Mississippi's African American Education," Bonnie J. Krause documents an overlooked group that had a strong and positive impact on education in Mississippi and across the South. Then read about the many challenges met by the developing state park system of the 1940s in Justin C. Eaddy's "Mississippi State Parks: The New Deal's Mixed Legacy."

Reviewed are books on the Indian slave trade, hunting scout Holt Collier, the Civil War, a history of "domestic advice," and more. The editor-in-chief of the Journal is Elbert R. Hilliard, MDAH director; the editor is Kenneth McCarty, University of Southern Mississippi. A year's subscription is $25, and individual issues are available at $7.50 each from the Old Capitol Shop, 601/359-6920.


The Charlotte Capers Building, housing the Archives and Library search room and MDAH administration, will close at 5 p.m. on Thursday, September 11, to begin the move to the new William F. Winter Archives and History Building. The Archives and Library Division is no longer accepting public orders, non-vital mail, and email requests. Administrative offices (only) open in the new building September 15; Reading rooms open for research October 27. Dedication ceremonies for the William F. Winter Archives and History Building are set for November 7, 1:30 p.m. The new prefix for Archives and Library, Administration, Historic Preservation, and Museum telephone numbers-576 replacing 359-takes effect on September 15.

New: Mississippi Women: Their Histories, Their Lives

This collection of seventeen biographies of remarkable Mississippi women, produced by the Mississippi Women's History Project, is an overdue documentation of the efforts and achievements of these women in the advancement of rights for all citizens. The volume was edited by Martha Swain, professor of history emerita at Texas Woman's University; Elizabeth Anne Payne, professor of history at the University of Mississippi, and Marjorie Julian Spruill, professor of history at Vanderbilt University. The life stories told here range from Felicité Girodeau of old Natchez, who was both a person of color and a slaveholder, to Vera Mae Pigee, who "mothered" the civil rights movement in the Mississippi Delta. Some are well known-Eudora Welty, for example-others were prominent in their time, and some have never received the attention they deserve. From University of Georgia Press this fall, $44.95 cloth, $22.95 paper.


to the print version of the Mississippi History Newsletter by sending your postal address to pubinfo@mdah.state.ms.us.


Meteor-Gazing August 16

David Craig, assistant professor of physics and director of the Wiley Planetarium at Delta State University, will lead a stargazing session and viewing of the Perseid meteor shower on Saturday, August 16, 9 p.m. to midnight. He will also talk about Native American interpretations of meteors. The event will be held at Winterville Mounds Museum, Highway 82 North, Greenville. Telescopes will be provided. For more information call 601/ 334-4684.

Veterans Program and Tour August 2

A reunion celebration and tour of Pride of the Fleet: USS Mississippi will honor the seamen who served on the third and fourth USS Mississippis on Saturday, August 2, at 2 p.m. at the Old Capitol Museum of Mississippi History, Jackson. Veterans will reminisce about their experiences on board these ships and then join curator Clay Williams for a tour. The public is invited. For more information call 601/359-6920.


The Medgar Evers Institute has received a Certificate of Commendation from the American Association for State and Local History (AASLH) for the video project produced by Communication Arts Company of Jackson on the work of Medgar and Myrlie Evers. The video was shown publicly at the Old Capitol in Jackson at April 25, 2002, ceremonies marking the donation of the Medgar and Myrlie Evers Papers to the Mississippi Department of Archives and History. Presentation of the award will be made at the AASLH annual meeting in Providence, Rhode Island, on September 19, 2003. The AASLH awards program was initiated in 1945 to establish and encourage standards of excellence in the collection, preservation, and interpretation of state and local history.

Scarborough Honored

William K. Scarborough, professor of history at the University of Southern Mississippi, has been awarded the Jules and Frances Landry Award for his book Master of the Big House: The Elite Slaveholders of the Mid-Nineteenth Century South, soon to be available from LSU Press. As author of the book-based on research in 120 manuscript collections in 16 repositories across the South-Scarborough becomes only the fourth person in the 35-year history of the award to have won it twice-he won in 1989 for his three-volume work The Diary of Edmund Ruffin. The Landry Award is given annually to the best book on a southern topic published by LSU Press. It includes a $1,500 monetary award. In his book Scarborough defines elite slaveholders as those individuals who owned 250 or more slaves; he identified approximately 340 members of this group-in the 1850 and 1860 censuses-two-thirds of whom lived in South Carolina, Louisiana, and Mississippi. Considered a leading authority on the Civil War and the plantation-slavery system of the Old South, Scarborough has written five books and has contributed numerous essays and book reviews to other publications. He has twice won USM's Excellence in Teaching Award and received the Faculty Research Award for basic research in 1989. He is a former president of the Mississippi Historical Society.

The Jackson Council of Garden Clubs presented a generous gift to the Eudora Welty Foundation for development of the Welty House gardens. The gardens, developed by Chestina Welty and her daughter Eudora, are being restored to the 1940s, when it was at its most beautiful. Mary Alice Welty White, (second from left) Welty House director, and Susan Haltom, garden advisor (first from left), accepted the check on behalf of the Foundation and MDAH.


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Published by the Mississippi Department of Archives and History • Elbert R. Hilliard, director • Chrissy Wilson, editor
Please send correspondence to: MHN, P.O. Box 571, Jackson, MS 39205 or email to pubinfo@mdah.state.ms.us