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Out On The Mudline

Program By Judge McClure Highlights Society Meeting 

By W. P. Sissell


For a number of years, especially since retirement, Nannette and I have been members of the Panola County Genealogical Society – although I should belong to the one in Yalobusha County and Nannette to the one in Lafayette County.  

We both have fun because we keep in contact with many of our long time friends.  One of these is Mr. Breedlove who originally hailed from Coffeeville and several of the others are members of the pinochle players at Mississippi State, one even coached basketball at Jeff Davis.   

Long, Long Ago

After a short business meeting Judge McClure presented, I think, to most of those attending, a very interesting program. Judge McClure brought with him some of the earliest record books to be found in our county—these pertained to Panola Counties first court proceedings.  (If you ask how he brought them—he told us, the Judge may do that.)

Most of the records in these books—the earliest was 1836—were written in longhand.  That handwriting is something to see, what penmanship.  In my time in Germany, when we were involved in hauling wood for the German population, I, as a member of the procurement team saw such handwriting in the books of the Gefurster’s (equivalent to our sheriff) offices.

Judge McClure, reading the results of case after case could locate the high and low points of the economy.  He gave the reasoning behind the several counties in the state having two courthouses—three of those being right here in our area—Panola, Yalobusha and Tallahatchie.

After a question about the surveying —it is quite complicated—he explained the 16th section law.  This has to do with the purchase of land from the Chickasaw and Choctaw tribes, two different purchases from two different tribes and two different surveys.  

Interesting Occupations?

As the various court cases were read surnames of a number of those present were called. It seems that in Panola County most of the bootleggers caught bore the same surname—now one of the Justice’s of the Peace in our county bears that name.  I think that he has been elected, without opposition several times.  

 As Nannette and I discussed that this morning, I said, well I can name three in Yalobusha as I grew up and she volunteered that the one in the south part of Lafayette lived close to Taylor.    

I was about to forget our time in Quitman County.  One afternoon, as Joe Stribling and I unloaded a tractor our Quitman County sheriff with a car loaded with deputies drove up.  The Sheriff asked if I could show him how to get to the north east of our farm and if I would consent to their searching that area for a still.  You know what my answer had to be, yes, to both questions.  

In a few minutes they came back by to tell me they did not find the still but there was a brand new water pump that I might want to get over in that little field.  Several days later on a rabbit hunt I found a still in the top of a briar patch—I left it there—thank goodness, for several of the court cases Judge McClure read  had “Guilty of possession of a whisky still,” as the finding of the case.  The man who probably owned the one mentioned above was in Parchman most of the time we owned that delta farm.  

There was a little talk of Ptocowa (healing water).  I’ll come back to that later.  


Last night was “kinda” special.  It was the first meeting of the year and Nannette had volunteered us to provide the refreshments.  She was pleased when other members were pleased at the feast she provided.  I think one friend complimented me on being the “toter” when they observed me carrying the goodies into the library kitchen.  

Do have a good week—Nannette just came by to tell me that some schools were closing—grandson called to tell me it is sleeting in Batesville—but he’s probably going to be here for lunch.

You can reach me most of the time at 23541 Highway 6, Batesville, MS 38606,, or 662-563-0979.

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