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Out On The Mudline

Prophit Bridge Provided High Water Crossing

By W. P. Sissell

Before My Time

    I do think that I’ve covered some of the material I will use today but it was long ago. Recently I was contacted by Mr. Brian Prophit of Brownsburg, Indiana about the long ago covered bridge on Yocona River which was replaced by the bridge on MS 315. Although replacement of the old bridge was direly needed, the bridge and levee, a high water crossing, was a part of the construction of Enid Reservoir. About twenty years ago some remains of that old wooden bridge could still be found. I only crossed the road and bridge one time, in the late forties after I returned from service. The road was some kind of muddy mess on that occasion.

    Somewhere in that area was the first farm that my grandfather, W. Z. Sissell, bought when he moved his family to Mississippi from Kansas. As usual I waited until too late to wonder why the move. He and his brother had proven a claim out in Gove County Kansas, sold their claims then moved back to Republic County, Kansas.   Will stayed about a year before coming to Coffeeville.

    I wonder if he, Will, stopped in Coffeeville because his wife was born in Coffeeville, Kansas. Again, I could have asked but didn’t. Possibly it was the rich bottom land along Yo-cana-pa-ta-wa River that attracted Will. That name, given to the river by Indians, means “very fertile land.”

    My father, Reuel, and younger brother, Ray, roamed that bottom and the attendant hills as boys. My father told me about the names of Union soldiers scratched into enormous sand rocks. Many years later, after I told one of my classes about these names, a young man came back one Monday morning telling me that he and his buddies had been coon hunting in that area and found those inscribed rocks (young boys roaming the hills). Apparently progress caught up with the inscriptions for they got in the way of dozers as a power line was built.

The Crossings

    The study of a river and its flood plain in geologic time is a wonderful exercise. One can understand why we humans have shaped our occupation zones to deal with the river’s drainage area. One of the things we humans want to do is get to the other side—at my back door on our delta farm, Dry Bayou, there was a foot log that served as a short cut to get to the field on the other side of the bayou.

    On our Mud Line farm we crossed O’tuckalofa on a bridge. We also had a swinging (on cables) bridge and a ford that served as short cuts. Our one-eyed mule, Kit, usually threw riders in that ford. Then there was Mr. Rowsey’s mule that would swim the river pulling the boat loaded with tools when it was to deep to wade.

    The main crossings on Yocana with which I was familiar was Robinson’s Mill. The next crossing downstream was the Will Austin levee. This far down stream there were many deep holes. Just below the bridge there was one that my brother used to take me. That’s where I learned to swim.

    The next crossing above Robinson’s was/is the Prophit Bridge. As I have said before the levee and a steel bridge replaced this as a high water level crossing. As Mr. Prophit says this bridge should be named Prophit rather than Prophet as it is named on the Corps of Engineers maps (I will explain this in later articles). The crossings above Profit’s are above high water level (emergency spillway). The next of these is the Dallas Jones levee and then a county road crossing near Taylor. This one replaces the old Covered Bridge near Taylor.

    We’ll follow this with information which Mr. Prophit has agreed that I might use. In addition I understand that soon there will be a Yalobusha County Historical Genealogic Society Yalobusha Story containing all Mr. Prophit’s information.    

    Our wish for you is a great week—hope that you all have gotten plenty of rain.

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