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Hello everyone I hope you are having a good week.  When I started this column over six years ago, it was based on the premise of my personal experiences for my kids to know something about our family heritage.  

It quickly evolved into a general history of Water Valley and Yalobusha County and many people living and dead who were part of that history.  Thanks to many of my loyal readers who submitted their own personal memories, it has not only been successful but I have learned many things that I didn’t know although I was born and raised here.  

Water Valley began about 1836 and my first Badley ancestor arrived about 1847 and some of those descendants have been here ever since.  Since mother died in 1999, my cousin, Melvin Ford, and most recently Aaron Badley are the only ones currently living here.  It’s really awesome when I think of how it all started with a poor runaway from an English orphanage.  

He went to work for a distant cousin in the Badley jug factory, and served in the War Between the States, raised eight children, became a large land owner and by the time of his death in 1914 was a well known and respected senior citizen.

He had married Mary Page and made their home on Yocona Ridge on what had been known as the Locke place.  Papa Badley was born there in 1871.  

The farm was a wilderness then and was located near what is known as the Prophet’s bridge.  It would be hard to imagine what it was like clearing bottom land, killing snakes and planting crops in the new ground.  Around 1889 they moved to Springdale on land bought from Joe Goodwin.  

Springdale had been a thriving small town before the war with several stores and a couple of saloons.  Illinois Central had a flag station which was burned along with a bridge by Grant in 1862.  

 Papa Badley married Anna Jumper, daughter of W.G. and Sarah Hattox.  W.G. had lived near Pontotoc prior to the war and he was stationed at Vicksburg and surrendered there.  

Anna had been married to Tampy Strange, who died during the war, and then she  married  Charlie Hattox who was killed in the battle of Brice’s crossroads.  My grandmother, Anna was born in 1867 and her brother, Franklin, in 1869.  

He died in 1875 when he was six.  Papa Badley’s younger brother, Guy, married Mamie Hayles and they were the grandparents of Aaron Baddley Jr.      

Aaron, Jr. kidded me at the Watermelon carnival the other day saying, “Your ancestors dropped a D somewhere along the way. I told him. “Your son added a D along the way as the original Elijah, Jr. who came over from England and his employer, Squire Badley all spelled with one D.”  As I stated in an earlier column, there are three spellings of the name in Oak Hill – Badley, Baddley, and Badlley and most of them related one way or the other.  

It’s hard to believe now, but the first Badleys who were potters in England found clay at Water Valley ideal for making churns and jugs and established a factory here.  After the death of Squire Badley, the business was carried on by the Ussery family who had learned the trade from him. I know next to nothing about this family so I would appreciate any information any of you might have about them.

I know that this may be boring to some of you, but since I know that Aaron, Jr. and James Knox Baddley are interested in family history, it might give them a good starting point.  

Gloria Gardner, one of my long time readers has written me after some time, saying she is well and getting re-established after losing everything in a fire.  Gloria is the niece of Cap Gardner, one of the founders of the Newman-Gardner funeral home, and daughter of Frank Gardner who was also connected with the company.  

As usual, I rambled about, but I honestly think my readers expect if of me.  I’m hoping to hear from more of you in the future.  My email address is or write me at P.O. Box 613189 Memphis, Tn 38101 and have a great week.

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