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Out On The Mudline

Trip To Family Farm Is Journey Into Past

By W. P. Sissell

    Several days ago Nannette and I decided to do something we had been planning for a long time—just had not found time, but suddenly found it. For many months I have wanted to go back to the farm where I grew up out on the Mud Line. Actually that name was not a misnomer for it had earned the name before we moved there in 1929. By 1929 most of the roadway had been graveled. If you look at early issues of this paper you will find that Dr. D. C. French had a great deal to do with that first surfacing with gravel.

  By the time we got ready to embark on our day’s journey it was around ten o’clock. We decided to go through town and purchase our favorite traveling lunch—a Sonic Burger.

  There, at the Sonic, as we awaited our lunch I could look to the east and see the former location of the ice plant. In my younger days the rail spur, for loading rail cars with ice, was still in place. Dad, about twice a week, got a fifty pound block of ice for our icebox—before we were able to buy  an Electrolux refrigerator, which burned coal oil to make ice. As I have told before, there was a water line connecting the swimming pool to the tank in the plant where the three hundred pound blocks of ice were melted out of the freezing tanks (pretty big ice cubes). The swimming pool was just to the north of the present day Sonic. The cold water from the melting tank kept the pool water cooler.


  We decided to eat out on the farm. We drove down Highway 7 to Highway 32, passing Frostland where my folks, at one time, had a dairy. Although a stretch of Highway 7 was one of the early partially paved roads, (the west half paved for, I think seven miles in most of the years of the dairy), the road was planked down the middle with “drive outs” double planking for passing every so often.

  At the intersection of County Road 152, we turned north and went over Fly’s Mountain to our old farm on Otuckolofa and Yocona. When we got to the end of CR 152 we drove up the remains of the Mud Line to the site of the one time steel bridge. There was just a dry weather steam flowing in the creek. The road over the mountain showed abuse in several places. I used to ride my bike to the highest point and coast almost all the way home.

  We came back to the intersection of 152 and the Mud Line and parked at what some 50+ years ago there was a well kept orchard. We sold apples, pears and several kinds of peaches almost every year. At the north end of the orchard there was a laying house for registered white leghorns. They produced hatching eggs for a hatchery at Coffeeville. We still have, on our kitchen wall, the scale for weighing an acceptable hatching egg.

  From where we sat we could see the second site of our sawmill and the field where dad usually planted several acres of Purple Top turnips (free to almost any who wanted them). Dad bought a mess from a gentleman who had gathered half a pickup load earlier in the day.

  The site of our concrete stave silo and new barn, which we dismantled and moved almost all of it to the Crowder Farm (Dry Bayou) was to our right front. Billy Boy Mitchell and I never dreamed that I would be charged with tearing those two structures down. To our direct right was the old Mud Line, along side which the McFarland folks had their yearly picnics.

  Actually, although the old road is said to go over McFarland Hill, it is crossing the McFarland Ridge which separates the floodways of Otuckolofa and Hoebuck Creeks.

After Lunch

  After our early lunch we drove down to CR 431 (Robinson’s Crossing)—What a beautiful area. I doubt that the casual traveler along Highway 32 has any idea that this area exists. If this area was in Panola County the names would refer to old settlers. I was interested in again finding the location of the Walker Cemetery. Many years ago I was called to help Rachel and Betty Sue Johnson bury their mother. The one time gap has been replaced by a gate and the cemetery is still out there in the little grove of trees.

  The rest of the day was filled with nice happenings. I’ll tell you about them another time.

  You may reach me most of the time at 23541 Highway 6, Batesville, MS 38606, or 662-563-9879.

  Do have a wonderful week. Although I drove from Water Valley home after the above trip in a snow, it was not heavy and wasn’t sticking at all.

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