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Out On The Mudline

Longtime Educator Moved To Panola After Lake Was Built

By W. P. Sissell

Rowsey’s Ridge

North of the Yalobusha/ Panola county line, on Mississippi Highway 315, if you turn left just after crossing Bynum Creek bridge you will soon come to the intersection of what we once called the Water Valley/Batesville Road.  That road is now named Eureka Road.              Turning left at that intersection will take you, via Peter Brown Hill, past the site of the one time “Wildcat” school and to the edge of Enid Lake, where today you can probably see one of the old Bynum Creek bridges.  As you follow that road (today it’s named Cliff Finch Road) you will come to a road that will lead you to Rowsey Creek. 

Not far down that road you will find the site of the Old Rowsey house on the ridge named Rowsey Ridge. Long time teacher-farmer Robert Frank Rowsey (R.F. to us) told me that he was born in that home. 

The Teacher

I first knew R. F. as a teacher in the school at Pope.  He told me that his first job as a teacher was at Jeff Davis School, just south of Water Valley. After taking a job teaching mathematics his principal, because he was a tall slender fellow, questioned him about basketball. This resulted in his being hired as basketball coach (at the price of $65.00 per year.) He was a good coach as well as a good math teacher.  He was still teaching math when he retired several years ago. 

R. F. followed his father, known as “Frankie,” to a farm west of Courtland with the advent of the building of Enid Lake.  They, like most of us who sacrificed our land because of that lake, made the best of something we didn’t like.  When we look back there are many good friends that we would have never known except for that event.

R. F., like his father, was a good farmer and served on the ASCS Committee and its successor for a number of years.  R. F., and Lillian and Nannette and I had become close friends in recent years. At another recent funeral, another of our friends, Monty Randolph, remarked, “Bill, we’re leaving one by one.”      I had to agree.

The Book Sale

Nannette and I belong to “The Batesville Friends of the Library.”  For a number of years now one of our major fund raising events has been a used book sale.  Most of that time we have been allowed to use the Panola County Extension Building on Highway 51 South. This year, because of the election (the extension building is used as a voting place) our sale started the day after the election.  Although this will limit our time. we think that may be a good thing.  We have started keeping a used book shelf at the library where people can buy low cost books.  This has met with great success. 

This year we have had more books than usual.  It took the entire first day to get the books “unboxed” and arranged on tables in some kind of order. Several of us have worked diligently most of the last two days.  We’ve had fun meeting the people who come by. 

One of our doctors, who buys many books to give away to children, came by today.  He had already given a sizeable donation in response to a special lot of children’s books we took to him earlier (this was the collection from which I bought the book containing the picture of my great granddad, Benjamin Hawkins.) 

One young woman bought a boxful of books to take to her child’s school.  She left and later came back to buy more.  When she started to leave the second time she came to me telling me that I was not to let her come back a third time—I was to just deny entry to her.  After talking to her a few minutes and finding that on her second trip she was buying to place in the school, we gave her most of those books. 

The Fall

Have you ever seen such a beautiful fall? We do not have to travel to the New England or the western states to see God’s beautiful painting of our trees. I imagine that most of you out there realize that we live on or near a weather change line.  One winter on my daily trips to Northwest I ran into a “freeze over” area just before I reached Sardis.  And then there’s that fall when I awoke on the morning of the fifth of November after picking corn all day on the fourth in my shirt sleeves to encounter about six inches of show—the early fifties—the last year we worked the Mud Line farm.  But winter is on its way—how about that snow up in the Dakotas?

It is our hope that you have a good week. We’re finishing that book sale today at noon.  We’ve had a great week greeting and meeting our many customers.  You can reach me most of the time at 23541 Highway 6, Batesville, MS 38606 or 662-563-9879.

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