[Mississippi History Newsletter Online.]

A MDAH Publication  |  Volume 44 No. 11  |  November 2002

Stennis Portrait to Enter Hall of Fame November 17

The portrait of the Honorable John C. Stennis will be dedicated to the Mississippi Hall of Fame on Sunday, November 17, at 3:00 p.m. in the House of Representatives Chamber at the Old Capitol Museum, Jackson. The ceremonies will include a video presentation on the life of Senator Stennis. The public is cordially invited to attend.

John C. Stennis's career in elective office spanned sixty-one years, from 1928 to 1989. He was Mississippi's longest-serving United States senator, holding office from 1947 until 1988, and serving as chairman of the Armed Services Committee and later the powerful Appropriations Committee. Known as "a senator's senator," Stennis was respected on both sides of the aisle. His reputation for integrity was borne out in 1954 when he became the first member of his party to challenge the actions of Senator Joseph McCarthy on the Senate floor. Stennis also wrote the first code of ethics for the Senate. Back home the senator championed various improvement causes, including the Rural Electrification Administration, the Tennessee Valley Authority, and the construction of the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway. The Stennis Space Center in Hancock County, one of the senator's proudest achievements, employs more than 4,500 people, and the four forestry research labs he helped establish support the state's huge timber production industries.

John C. Stennis died April 23, 1995. His body lay in state in the Old Capitol on April 25 and he was buried at Pine Crest Cemetery in his native DeKalb.

Holiday Open House

The Old Capitol Shop presents the annual Holiday Open House on Sunday, November 10, 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. at the Old Capitol Museum, Jackson. The Open House offers visitors a sampling of the state's art, crafts, and books by Mississippians and about Mississippi.

Authors of three new books will be on hand to autograph their books: Minor Ferris Buchanan, author of Holt Collier: His Life, His Roosevelt Hunts, and the Origin of the Teddy Bear, and Mary Carol Miller, author of Lost Landmarks in Mississippi, 2:00 to 4:00 p.m.; and Robert St. John, author of A Southern Palate, illustrated by Wyatt Waters, 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. Enjoy the Metropolitan Chamber Orchestra in concert at 2 p.m. For more information call 601/ 359-6920.

Specialty Items Include:

Eudora Welty photographs
Wolfe Studio ceramics
Choctaw baskets
Amish baskets
Teddy bears
Hand-crafted jewelry
Hand-blown glass
Walter Anderson prints
Pottery Christmas ornaments
Old-fashioned toys
Much more

MDAH director Elbert R. Hilliard and Princella Nowell, Winterville, Washington County Historical Society, unveil "Great Flood of 1927" marker October 25. The marker will be erected on Highway 1, Bolivar County, near the levee crevasse where the flood began.

In the Search Room: Richard and Charlotte Sanders of Atlanta have been researching a criminal case from Mrs. Sanders's childhood: the claim against her mother of the attempted murder of her (Charlotte's) father in Brookhaven. (After a sensational trial, the sentence was suspended.) Richard Sanders is in the process of drafting a novel about the case. Mrs. Sanders is collecting information and trying to solve the case. When the energetic couple (Sanders is 94 and Mrs. Sanders is 83) come to do research, they like to stay in Brookhaven and drive each day to the Archives Search Room in Jackson.


Minie Ball on Archives Grounds

Paul King, an employee of Service Printers, Jackson, was making a delivery to MDAH offices in the Charlotte Capers Building recently when he noticed what looked like a larger-than-usual acorn on the ground near a live oak tree. Upon closer examination, the acorn proved to be a Civil War- vintage minie ball and was identified by Civil War scholar Grady Howell (an MDAH staff member who assists patrons in their research) as a .58 calibre Enfield minie ball. Howell was not surprised, noting that downtown Jackson saw much activity of both Confederate and Union forces.

Civil War Reenactment

The thunder of cannon fire and clatter of charging horses' hooves will sound over the grounds of Historic Jefferson College on Saturday, November 16, and Sunday, November 17, when reenactors meet to recreate the Wirt Adams Raid of 1863.

Reenactors from Mississippi and Louisiana will camp on the grounds of the college Friday and Saturday nights, cooking over open fires, sleeping in canvas tents, and wearing period dress. The camps open to the public at 9 a.m. each morning. Saturday's skirmish begins at 2 p.m. and Sunday's at 1 p.m. The reenactments are free and open to the public. Skirmishes last about 45 minutes.

Confederate brigadier general Wirt Adams was charged with surveillance of the Union garrison in Natchez. But when a Union cavalry force of some 1500 men-a larger force-gathered to apprehend Adams, he marched to ambush them. Positioning his forces within 1000 yards of the Union forces, he attacked at first light, routing the Yankees. Adams's Confederate troops pursued the fleeing Yankees for a few miles, then left the area themselves by way of Kingston destroying the barns of some of the local planters who were Union sympathizers.

Admission to the reenactment is free. For more information call 601/ 442-2901.

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

Archaeology Month


Sherwood W. Wise, 1910-2002 Sherwood Wise, a member of the MDAH Board of Trustees for over thirty years (1964-1998), died October 15 at the age of 92. He was an active member of the board, serving as vice-president and on many special committees over the years. A Hazlehurst native, Wise was a graduate of Washington and Lee University, where he was president of the student body and where he earned both B.A. and law degrees. He began a fifty-year law career in Jackson in 1934 (interrupted by four years' service in the U.S. Navy 1942-46). Following the war he organized a merger of law firms that practices today as Wise Carter Child & Caraway, P.A. He served as president of both the Mississippi Bar and the Hinds County Bar. After President John Kennedy invited him to participate in a conference of lawyers regarding civil rights unrest, Wise was asked to serve as a member of the ABA Committee on Civil Rights and Racial Unrest. In 1947 Sherwood Wise, an active member of St. Andrew's Episcopal Cathedral, was a cofounder of St. Andrew's Episcopal Day School in Jackson. "In the passing of Sherwood Wise," said William F. Winter, president, MDAH Board of Trustees, "Mississippi lost one of its ablest citizen leaders. A distinguished lawyer, a dedicated churchman, an educator, writer, and historian, a man devoted to his family, he represented the best that our society has to offer. He made a special contribution as my longtime colleague on the Board of Trustees of the Department of Archives and History."

Kenneth Haxton, 1920-2002

Kenneth Haxton, one of the few remaining leaders of a remarkable arts community in Greenville, died September 17 at 82. He was a prolific composer of works including two symphonies, two piano concerti, and an oratorio. He was also a gifted pianist and cellist. Much of his music was inspired by literature-works by Eudora Welty, William Faulkner, and others-and Haxton himself wrote six novels and one play. He was instrumental in the founding of the Greenville Symphony Association and the Twin City Theatre Guild; he went on to direct plays. Haxton was a mentor to the many young people who worked at his Greenville store, Nelms and Blum, over the years, and many of them went on to become artists, writers, and musicians themselves. With the late Hodding Carter and Ben Wasson, Haxton founded the Levee Press, which published limited editions of works by Welty and Faulkner, and he was married for many years to writer Josephine Ayres Haxton (Ellen Douglas). Their sons are musician Richard Haxton, Los Angeles; attorney and former state legislator Ayres Haxton, Jackson; and poet Brooks Haxton, Syracuse University, N.Y.


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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