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Out On The Mudline

Ford’s Well Was A Popular Destination In The Roaring ‘20s

By W. P. Sissell

What Was Ford’s Well?

  On Monday, as I entered the exercise building, Mrs. Rowsey (Kathleen) asked me the question that I have used as the first part of today’s writing. I don’t think I told her the full story about Ford’s Well, for in its “heyday,” it was quite a place. I will compare it with a few of the same type attractions throughout our state. some of these places were used by the Native Americans who preceded us as residents of this country.

  One of the first years that we lived in the home on the Mud Line happened to be an election year and a political speaking was held at Ford’s Well. We went as a family and my sister, Ruth, and I had to go with Mom and Dad. I really do not remember Ruth’s description of the afternoon (she was four years old). I do remember what I thought—although the water of the lake looked attractive and cool the entire afternoon was far from the present day expression of “coooool.” I, at seven or eight, would have had a much better time at home.

  At that time most of the living facilities etc. of the resort area were still intact and usable. The main attraction was the same as that of many of these found throughout our state—mineral water that was supposed to be helpful, health-wise.

  My next visit to Ford’s Well was with my mother. The area Home Demonstration Club met at the well, and Ruth and I accompanied mother in our 1925 (I think) Model T Ford—four door, all aluminum body. There was just one little bit of trouble—the rain poured down and there was a slightly steep hill with very little, if any, gravel that had to be negotiated in leaving (by negotiating I mean that I, now about eleven, got out and pushed to hold the car straight as it climbed with wheels spinning, up the hill). If I remember correctly that car was given to my brother, Reuel, after that trip.

  Better days, as far as I was concerned, were in store for my relations with Ford’s Well. In a part of my high school days, many Sunday afternoon were spent with “the crowd” swimming in Ford’s Well Lake. Only a part of the structures were left, but those did not interfere with our fun. Charles Luther (Fuzzy) and Sammie Morgan could usually get the milk truck (with cans) and take a crowd out to the lake. A part of the structure, a corner of an eight foot wall, was used for high diving. Mae Evelyn Green, whom my wife says dived from the bridge on Taylor Creek, was initiator of the high dive from the old structure.

What Was Ptocowa Springs?

  Here in Panola County you might ask about Ptocowa Springs. On the west side of Panola County, where the hills meet the delta, you can find the remains of another resort areas of the roaring twenties. At one time there was a rail spur that brought train car loads to Tocowa (I’ll go to the present day spelling) for bathing in and drinking of the water which has medicinal value. There are many stories about these waters.

What about the Native American Burial Ground?

  Very close to the Leflore County line, on the edge of the delta bluff, there is a tribal burial ground for which the State Historical Society had searched for years. It was found as one of my son’s friend’s father excavated to install a sewage system. When he called the State Historical Society all activity on that construction, as well as the road which was causing the construction, was stopped.

You Could Ask About A Petrified Forest

  If you did I would tell you about one that’s close to Flora in Madison County. I went there with a group many years ago but we, Nannette and I, have our own piece of petrified wood—someone’s borrowed and not returned it—but that Flora forest is interesting.

Are There Others?

Many years ago now, a friend and I attended a conservation workshop held at Perkinson. Most of our days were spent in the forest lands of that area. On one of those days we came upon the site and ruins of an attraction such as Tocowa and Ford’s Well. I wonder how many of these sites of interest could be listed.

Do you know where they claim to make the best coconut pie in the world? Thank you, Mr. Wright, for that phone call.

Our wish for you is a happy week. Today, as I write, I know that I have to protect for the cold night and hope that you do likewise. You can reach me at 23541 Highway 6, Batesville, MS 38606, or 662-563-9879.

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