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Yalobusha Historical Society Minutes – March 17, 2011

Kathy Eubank

The Yalobusha Historical Society held its regular monthly meeting March 17 in Coffeeville. There were 32 members and guests present. Lawrence Litten spoke the opening prayer.

  President Mike Worsham welcomed everyone, especially the speaker and several other guests. He reported that Dave and Emma Hovey, editors of THE PIONEER, are getting another issue ready to print. Dave and Emma are doing an outstanding job, and we appreciate their hard work. Membership in the YHS gives members THE PIONEER on a quarterly basis. Membership dues of $20.00 may be sent to YHS, Box 258, Coffeeville, MS 38922.

  Program Chairman Julia Fernandez, prior to introducing the speaker, stated that the April 21 program will be given by Coffeeville native, Donna Bess Bailey Dye, of Madison, wife of former Lt. Gov. Brad Dye. Jack Mayfield of Oxford has the May program on “College Hill.”

   The subject of today’s program was “Historic Preservation,” presented by Kathy Eubank of Greenville. Kathy was born in Greenville, but her family lived between Lamont and Scott.. Kathy lives about two miles from where the levee broke in the Great Flood of 1927, only about a half mile from the house she grew up in, in the Lamont community. Her daughter lives there now. She graduated from  Benoit High School and then graduated from Delta State University and began teaching in Greenville. She lived in Indianapolis, IN and in Munich, Germany while her husband was in the military. She has two children and four grandchildren.

   Kathy has been interested in history and genealogy since childhood, when she heard her mother’s family talking about events and people in Madison , Hinds and Yazoo Counties. Some of her father’s family were early settlers of southwest MS but migrated to the Delta in the 1830s.  The Loughborough Plantation  in Washington County,has been owned by Kathy’s family, the Paynes, for six generations; her brother lives there now.

  Kathy’s program, “Historic Preservation,” (History Rescued from the landfill) was based on items obtained at two estate sales in Greenville that her friend, Freda Hardee, attended in April and June of 2009. Kathy brought dozens of the items from these two sales, and displayed them at this meeting. All of this would have probably have been thrown in the trash bin after the sales, had Freda not bought them. Kathy was serving as the State DAR Historic Preservation Chairman at the time, and needed a program on that subject. She and Freda developed this program and Kathy presented it at the DAR State Conference in Jackson in 2010. Today’s program  the 20th time that it has has been given. It is truly amazing that they could take someone else’s ‘junk’ and turn it into such an interesting presentation. In addition to the actual articles on display, Kathy narrated a slide show of many other articles from the sales. She also showed pictures of some of the Childress and Metcalfe family members.                                                        

   The first sale was at the home of a lady who had moved into an assisted living center. When Freda arrived at the sale and began to look around, she saw a  DAR membership certificate.  (It was for the mother of the lady whose home was being vacated) Freda realized that there were probably many more items that involved genealogy  and history, so she started looking.  She found an old family bible just full of information on the family history. (Childress) She found this filing cabinet, brimming with all sorts of scrapbooks, letters, pictures, etc. She bought the whole thing, as well as many more items of a historical nature. Speaking of history rescued from the landfill, Freda and a friend did just that. It had not made it quite to the landfill, but was still in a huge garbage dumpster in the garage. One of the more interesting items was a memory book put together by Mary Childress, detailing her years at Central High School in Memphis, 1918 to 1922. There was also an annual from the final year there. A scrapbook contained tons of genealogical information on the Childress family history.  And, yes, many of the female members of the Childress family were in the DAR.       

 The second estate sale that Kathy’s friend, Freda Hardee, attended was at the old Metcalfe house on the family plantation, Newstead, near the town of Metcalfe, on Deer Creek between Greenville and Stoneville, near Kathy’s family plantation, Loughborough.

  The last occupant of the home was Jane Metcalfe Weathers who died in 2000 at the age of 94.. She was married to Walter “Boots” Weathers, owner of Weathers Towing Company in Greenville. They had one son. Her brothers, Harley and Edmund, each had a son.

  Freda purchased many interesting items at the sale, many of which, of course, Kathy had brought with her. She also showed slides of the Metcalfe house, with the family standing in front of it. Kathy has identified the people in the picture, and told something about them.

   Jane Metcalfe Weathers was a prolific letter-writer, and saved hundreds of letters she received from many, many people  in the 1920s to the 1940s. Many of them were written to Jane during the four years she spent at Sophia Newcombe College in New Orleans. This collection of about 700 letters, cards and invitations is very dear to Kathy, as she discovered that some of the letters were from her father’s brothers.  She has enjoyed sorting them by the decade and reading all the newsy letters written by her uncles.

  Jane’s correspondents were from all over the state. She traveled to  dances, parties and other social functions in many of the towns. She had a separate list of people other than the regular correspondents, something like a Christmas card list. (from the mid-1920s) People from Coffeeville on this list:  George Webb (Wells) Armstrong, Carl Bryant, Sammy Pittman, Russell Bailey, Bill Peoples (Peeples) & Clarence Beadles. Names from Water Valley: Catherine Gwin, Wade Creekmore, Ralph Tarver, Ralph Leland, Roy Lipscomb, Errol Spivey, Pete Tarver, Stanhope Brown, Stewart Harvey, Robert Jones, Robert Buckley, Bill Wagner, & Bill Williamson. (There was also a young man who worked at a store in Oakland – Tom  K. “Chick” Broome)            

  Kathy’s friend, Freda, saw a box containing cloth and lace, so she thought. She thought she could use the lace in her sewing projects. She bought the box and took it home. Later, she decided to examine the contents. To her amazement, it contained  half a dozen or more  beautiful christening gowns. The Metcalfes were Episcopalians, so there were quite a few babies christened! It was a very attractive display and it’s hard to believe that nobody in the family wanted to keep this meaningful bit of family history.

   The moral of the Childress/Metcalfe story is “Preserve history – don’t let it end up unwanted and in  the landfill.” Kathy urged everyone to think about the things that they treasure – the family bible, old pictures and scrapbooks, annuals, etc. Pass them on to a family member who loves history, and will see to it that those bits of history will not be lost. There are also repositories for such material, such as HISTORICAL SOCIETY!!

  Kathy spent a lot of time packing, moving and setting up this impressive collection, and we are very grateful to her for her work, and for the excellent presentation. We thank her friend, Freda Hardee, also. Maybe the two of you can do another program for us in the future.

ATTENDING: Kathy Eubank, Dave and Emma Hovey, Charles Dawkins, Mike Worsham,Tom and Alma Moorman, Julia Fernandez, Jimmie and Francine Pinnix, Betty Miller, Carl Vick, Sarah H. Williams, Opal Wright, Betty Bain Thomas, Debby Hughes, Dorothy St. John, Ella Jean McCain,  Mary Mason Furr, Helen Jones, Herb Hayward, Dot Criss, Curtis Berry, Cliff Chandler, John and Ruth Perkins, Lawrence and Bettie Litten, Sue Fly, Kay McCulley, James Person and Pat Brooks.

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