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Out On The Mudline

Treasure Trove Includes Baby Books, Arrowheads, Bibles

By W. P. Sissell

We Found It

I’ve been finding out where our money went last year – scattered all around me are all those things one must keep for so many years to back up claims on income tax papers.  Just look over it if there, inadvertently, appears some strange statement or figure.  By the way, have you heard about the lady who wants, demands, to see the law that states that we must pay income tax.

Nannette’s been plundering in the “treasures” we have stashed around—like my mothers box of arrow heads, four or five family Bibles, baby books, etc.  Suddenly, right in the middle of my tax work, she says, “Bill,” (the tone gets my attention)  “Listen to this. I’m reading from Russell’s baby book (her older brother), “started living on the cabin boat December 23, 1925-27.” That sets the time for the digging of the “Twin Ditches,” diversion channels for Tallahatchie and Yocona waters.  In past writings, about the era of the dredge-boats, I could never pinpoint the dates.  

“Baby Book?”

That baby book answered several blank spaces in my knowledge of my brother-in-law Russell for I only knew him as an adult, a fellow WW II veteran.   Russell, a year my elder, was a part of the 1st Armored of General Clark’s forces that invaded Europe on the other front—Italy.  Russell’s part of the division went in at Anzio and were penned down on the beach for a long time, held down by direct fire from “88 s.” One story, told in the Oxford Eagle, related how German Burp guns  (I liberated one of these but traded it for a special rifle) opened up on him as he carried a box of rations.  The rations absorbed the bullets but cut his fatigue jacket on either end of the box. Perhaps that little Testament he had requested from his mother helped. She sent it to her son along with a request that he return it, to her, in person.  

Most of us have most impressionable events. Russell, if you got to know him well, probably might tell you about standing—in this case sitting—with a fellow guard through the night shift. When it was time for them to leave he tapped his buddy on the shoulder, as he said, “It’s time to check in.”   The buddy fell over.  He had been killed during the night.  

Maybe some of the events on that dredge were predictors of events of his life: One morning when Mamma left to go to the kitchen she forgot to hook the outside hook on the bedroom door.  That door opened to a second floor walkway which led to a stairway.  When she looked out her kitchen window she beheld two men in the longboat, looking upward with arms outstretched.  Her toddler was above them on the walkway.  She got there post haste!

Lee Rowsey and I are looking for anyone that knows anything about a waterway that powered a grist mill out around Rowsey Ridge.  If you can help please let either of us know.

Well, they are predicting snow for next week —it’s a little late for that but we live in a changing weather zone—been that way all my life.  Do have a good one.  You can reach me most of the time at 23541 Highway 6 (278), Batesville, MS 38606, 662-563-9879 or

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