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Herald Records Changes Through The Decades

Young Water Valley businessman Lawrence Perkins purchased Ray’s Department Store on Jan. 1, 1981. Clyde Ray, owner for more than 30 years, turned over the keys.

The local Rice-Stix plant was advertising an open house birthday party to be held on Jan. 19, 1951 in honor of their third year of operation.

By Jack Gurner

WATER VALLEY – Comes now the New Year. And while we know not what it may bring, let us welcome it with hope and faith.

Those words were written by Herald columnist Dudley Wagner and appeared seven decades ago in the Jan 2, 1941 edition of the newspaper.

The coming of each new year is looked upon by most with anticipation. But, in 1941 war raged in Europe and it was feared that America would soon be involved. That fear was reinforced by the news that mobile Army recruiting station would be visiting the city in late January.

The good news in Water Valley was that both local banks were showing financial gains not seen over the past decade and both declared 10-cent dividends on Jan. 1.

The City had a new Board of Aldermen including grocer and butcher E. C. Aven and businessman Paul Parker. Popular City Tax Collector Everett Cock was leaving his office after 28 years of continuous service. The Tax Collector’s position had been combined with the office of City Clerk.

An advertisement from the Jitney Jungle grocery store offered a pound can of Canova Coffee for a quarter, ten pounds of potatoes for $.21, and chuck roast for $.17 per pound.


By the beginning of the next decade, the world had seen the end of the Second World War. But, it had moved toward a “police action” on the Korean peninsula. In the Jan. 2, 1951 Herald, Laura Lee wrote in the column “Mississippiana” that the saying was that college freshmen got younger every year. Now, she noted, the soldiers get younger every war.

The experts at State College (Mississippi State University) predicted that farm families would have higher incomes in the coming year. Some of the increase would be due to higher production for defense needs.

The front page of the first Herald of the year had several birth announces from the past weeks. Mr. and Mrs. Bill White had an eight-pound son, John Carl; Mr. and Mrs. Markley Trusty announced the arrival of their daughter, Toni Annette; and Mr. and Mrs. Edward Lee Dickey were the proud parents of Falace Dodd.

Some of the ads in the Jan. 2 Herald included Ray’s Department Store offering their $17 to $20 dresses on sale for $10.95. Peoples Wholesale Co. had work pants for $1.98 and dress pants for $3.98.

The local Rice-Stix plant was advertising an open house birthday party to be held on Jan. 19 in honor of their third year of operation. The employees were to receive specially wrapped dollar bills for their pay that would be worth $1.05 at a list of local merchants.

60’s Dawn With Optimism

There was a much greater feeling of optimism at the beginning of 1961 as reported by Editor Edward B. Shearer in the Jan. 5 edition of the Herald. He said the past year had been good for the development of Water Valley and Yalobusha County.

He cited the preliminary work being done for the construction of the new hospital; a contract for operation of the poultry plant; and the passing of a bond issue to build a new high school. Even the Herald was increasing its service to the community by adding one more column to the page width.

Columnist Myrle Cox reported that Ole Miss had defeated Rice, 14-6, at the Sugar Bowl and all was right with the world.

The Herald’s ads included an offer from Jim Walter Corp. to build your own home for only $10 down; Jones Bros. M & H Supermarket had Fryers for $.29 per pound; and Peoples Wholesale Co. was reminding shoppers to get their card punched or miss out on the $100 jackpot.


Forty years ago in 1971, the New Year started out quietly in Water Valley with the Herald featuring the installation of officers for the Masons, Eastern Star, Oddfellows and Rebekahs.

Ole Miss Quarterback Archie Manning gave a speech in his hometown of Drew that was entered into the Congressional Record by Senator John Stennis. The talk was on “following the rules” to be a good citizen.

A film on the war in Vietnam was presented at First Presbyterian Church to help people understand the conflict in southeast Asia.

Stan True, outdoor columnist, reported that trotline fishermen were now required to mark one end of their line with a readily visible float. He also reported that deer season would end Jan. 11 and the kill had already exceeded last season.

In the Herald’s ads Larson’s Big Star offered sirloin steak for $1.09 per pound and T-bones for $1.19; Investor Diversified Services Representative Oscar Parsons was thanking his customers for a successful first year; and the Mechanics Bank was reporting almost $8 million in resources.


Moving ahead to 1981, the Herald reported that young businessman Lawrence Perkins purchased Rays Department Store on Jan. 1; accountant Joe Black, Jr. became a new partner in a local CPA firm; and editor Ed Shearer III had already broken three of his four New Year resolutions. He didn’t say which resolutions he broke.

The Soil Conservation Service challenged the long-time practice of burning leaves in the Jan 1 newspaper. District Conservationist James Clay suggested the new practice of composting the leaves to make valuable fertilizer.

The Babson forecast, a long-time Herald tradition, predicted things would be better in 1981. They had accurately predicted the past year’s economic slump.

The Herald’s advertisers were using full-page ads to offer discounts to local consumers. Jones Supermarket had two pages with fryers for $.53 per pound and bacon for $1.17 per pound. Larson’s Big Star had pot pies four for $1 and five pounds of Martha White flour for $.79.


Twenty years ago at the beginning of 1991, the Herald reported that the weather for the end of 1990 had been like summer, then the rainy season, then back to winter and on New Year’s day was sunny and spring-like.

The front page displayed a photo of the new Habitat for Humanity Board including Chairman Brad Van Winkle, Treasurer Lynn Morris, Secretary Ora Lee Phillips, and Chairman-elect Rev. Jerry Beam. Also featured were a long list of names of those who contributed to the Christmas Lighting Project for new downtown decorations.

Turkey Creek Crossing columnist the late Tammy Calvert noted that “today is the first day of the rest of my diet. I put an end to my love affair with food and begin a life filled with hunger and desperation.”

Among the Herald’s advertisements were a sale notice from the Crow’s Pride and Joy Children’s Shop regarding their 30 to 50 percent off sale; an invitation to join Jenny Ramsey who was about to begin her clogging classes; and a photo of Leigh Ann Black in the Gurner Photography ad.


Not only a new year was dawning in Jan. 2001, but a new century and – depending upon to whom you listened – a new millennium. It got started in Yalobusha County with a slightly more than one-inch snowfall. The front page of the Herald had photos of Main Street covered with a nice coating of the white stuff.

Also on the front were names of WVHS Blue Devil players who had been named to the All-Area and All-Division teams including Justin Brewer, Travis Stokes, Kasey Rogers, Ward Walker, Will Taylor, Greg Turner, Jarrod Corlew, Jarrod Dickey, Franklin Crowder, Joseph Hilliard, Chris McCluskey, Carter, White, Jeremy York, and Clay Whitehead.

Herald outdoor writer Darrell Hugueley provided readers with a recipe for venison chili and the youngsters at Davidson Elemen-tary School were congratulated for collecting over 1500 cans for their “Can the Principal” food drive.

Yalobusha County Agent Steve Cummings noted in his Cummings and Goings in Agriculture column that supervisors had let the bid for the new multipurpose building to be constructed near Coffeeville.

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