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Valley’s Rich History Instills Pride In Citizens

Hello everyone, hope you’re having a good week.   

It occurred to me that I haven’t done a “Do you remember” piece in a long time so here goes: Do you remember when George Wagner stood in front of his store when business was slow?

When Mrs. Sloan, who lived on the corner of Lafayette Street and North Central, would sweep her sidewalk at night – sometimes as late as midnight?  Neighbors said she was afraid to sleep at night.  Jim Peacock said when he was a teen and delivered wood to her from his Dad’s mill, she would give him a dime tip. Fortunately she wasn’t sweeping one night when someone failed to make the turn and made deep ruts in her yard.  

When Frank Carter would walk downtown from his home on Wood Street and buy his groceries and have Martin Boydston drive him home?  He was supposed to be well-off, but he never owned a car.  

When Fred Kendrick would walk from his home at the lower part of town to his office in the Bank of Water Valley?  

When Mr. Frank Harding would sit on the same stool every day in the Blackmur cafe drinking coffee and greeting his friends as they came in?  

When the stave mill steam whistle would blow in the morning once to wake the workers up and one to start the work day? It was located about where the Dollar General store is today.  They also would take the flawed strips into bundles and sell them for kindling at a dime each.      

When Claude Wood had the first self-serve grocery in town?  When my cousin, Beverly Badley’s boxer, Jack, would go down each morning and wait for the same postman and make his rounds with him?  

When Dr. Cooper bought the first ‘46 model Ford that came to Water Valley after World War II?     When Burney Crowell worked at the Standard Station across from the Methodist church, and did contract hauling for Railway Express?  He did all this walking on a crutch due to childhood polio and later was the distributor for the Commercial Appeal.  

When Mr. Bob Miller would deliver the Memphis Press Scimitar from a bag over his shoulder and he had only one arm?  

When Nick and John Stamolis had the Blackmur Cafe and they never served Greek food?  I think that’s enough to make some of you come up with some of your own memories, and I hope you’ll share them with us.  

I really want to thank Jack Gurner for his interesting article and picture of the founding of the Rotary club in 1925.  It was interesting to have him point out Mr. Will Wagner in the picture.  It added a human touch instead of a statistic in a murder case.

 I was also interested in the interview with Mr. Bill Trusty.  I have talked to Mr. Bill several times and I still think he should be recognized as the last of the group of businessmen who started the first Watermelon Carnival in 1931.  

I still wonder why there is no historic marker honoring Dr. George Brown at the site of his hospital on Panola Street.  I don’t think you’ll find another town in Mississippi with the historical background of Water Valley.  That’s why those of us who were born and grew up still have such pride in it – even though we might live somewhere else.  

Just think, Water Valley was the second town in Mississippi to have electric power and, in the days before fluoridation, was rated as the purest water in the State.  

I’m currently researching several things to be included in future columns that will be of interest to all of you.  

My email address is or write me at P.O. Box 613189 Memphis, Tn 38101 and have a great week.

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