Old Abe, the famous Wisconsin war eagle, was the mascot of Company C of the 8th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry Regiment, which became known as the Eagle Regiment.
In Fall of 1862, General Grant moved south down the Mississippi Central Railroad in conjunction with General Sherman. During this push, the 8th Wisconsin, with Old Abe, was in the thick of the fighting.
Confederates attempted to defend the railroad’s Tallahatchie River bridge near Abbeville. Skirmishes were fought along the railroad to Oxford, and the Confederates were pushed south past Water Valley.
Accounts vary, but somewhere during the trek from Oxford through Water Valley, the regiment was accosted by a southern girl who scornfully exclaimed: “Oh! See that Yankee Buzzard,” which drew a response from the 8th’s ranks that caused the girl to retreat hastily to her house.
Old Abe was later wounded at the Second Battle of Corinth, shot through one wing, cutting out three quill feathers, but not drawing blood.
Old Abe returned to Wisconsin and when not at public events, her caretaker kept her in the Wisconsin State Capitol. Old Abe died from smoke inhalation in a fire at the State Capitol in 1881. Her body was mounted and remained a centerpiece of the capitol. The mount, along with most of the capitol building, was destroyed by fire in 1904.
Old Abe was adopted by Jerome Case as the trademark of the J. I. Case agricultural equipment manufacturing company of Racine, Wisconsin in 1865. The trademark was retired in 1969.
• 5 years ago, Oct. 25, 2007 – After four decades of doing business at 500 North Main, the Herald moved to its new office at 416 North Main.
City officials made several attempts to get a quorum to vote on selling a 2.7 acre plot behind the Big Yank building. The land was to be sold to Carothers Construction Co. in an attempt to keep the business in Yalobusha County.
Justin Smith, 19, became lost while hunting near Fly Mountain and was later found no worse for wear by a search party organized by the Sheriff’s Department.
Keica Howell, wife of former Water Vallian Jamie Howell, talked about her life in Alaska in Alexe van Beuren’s “Talk of the Valley” column.
Martha Hughes was honored at her retirement reception for 34 years of service to the city of Water Valley electric department.
The Bruce Trojans defeated the Blue Devils, 61-20.
Tom Hill was pictured with a 45-pound Asian carp he caught while snagging at the Enid spillway.
• 10 years ago, Oct. 24, 2002 – The Blue Devils blanked East Webster, 40-0, to bring their record to 5-3.
Merril Binford “Snooky” Williams retired from the Board of Directors of the Mechanics Bank.
A front-page photo showed the ribbon cutting ceremony for the Compassion Food Ministries with some of the people involved including Wesley Vanlandingham, Larry Smith, Margie Pilcher, Jim Wood, Carroll Crenshaw, Rep. Tommy Reynolds, Robbie Parsons, Sam Goodwin, Rev. Roger Howell, Wayne Harris and Director Rev. Raymond Aven.
New Junior Auxiliary officers included Andrea Rucker, Missy Kimzey, Christie Lowry, Kim Jones, Jo Lewis, Tina Sikma, Allison Larson, Tonya Eubanks, Kathy Wrenn, Karon Stanford, Lynne Trusty and Angie Hodge.
Charlotte Hill was the new president of the Blackmur Memorial Library Board, having followed Mary Lou Williams.
• 20 years ago, Oct. 22, 1992 – WVHS Student Council President Michelle Anthony crowned 1992 Homecoming Queen Kesha Rockette during ceremonies before the Saltillo game. Her court included Naketa White, Coralor Freeman, Dorris Bell, Kim Vaughn, Tammy Foster, Heather Horan and Jennie Griffin.
The Blue Devils went on to skin Saltillo, 32-0, putting them 3-0 in the division.
Coach Gary Drewery’s Junior High Devils kept their perfect record by defeating Independence, 24-6.
Fourth grade students who participated in the annual Halloween party at Water Valley Elementary School included (pictured in costume) Michael Fonte, Ethel Phillips, Kellie Magee, Jennifer Norris, Carter White, Michelle Winters, Matt Weeks and Tawana Herbet.
DECA officers for the school year were Kari Smith, April Moore, Tina Sikma, Coralor Freeman, Kim Hall, Angela McNatt, Callie Cox, Sondra Brown, Teresa Walton, Angela Gordon and Derrick Fleming.
The Blue Devil coaching staff for the year were Mark Grubbs, Gary Drewery, Head Coach Terry Allen, Murry Dixon, Steve Fowler and Hal Clark.
Holley Automotive Division was celebrating their 20th anniversary with an open house.
• 30 years ago, Oct. 28, 1982 – The Water Valley Fire Department was cited by the Mississippi Firefighters Memorial Burn Association for their fundraising efforts on behalf of the burn center.
Sandra Hobson, WVHS HERO club member, won the table decoration division of the craft contest sponsored by Wal-Mart.
Preparing for the Halloween carnival at Jeff Davis were youngsters Molly Flynn, Ginny Flynn, and cute, curly-topped Lloyd Lee Caulfield, who was dressed as a Smurf.
Drum Major Denise Romberger was pictured directing the WVHS band trumpet line; Paul Wayne Dennis, Jimmy Huckaby, Tim Rutherford, Phillip Zampella and Beau Massey.
• 40 years ago, Oct 26, 1972 – Holley Carburetor Co, supplier of carburetors and component parts to all auto manufactures, was set to open a new plant here. R. M. Burns, president of the Holley Carburetor Division of Colt Industries, made the announcement at a luncheon gathering of city leaders.
The Blue Devils lost to the powerful Lafayette Commodores, 33-12, and the little Devils took Calhoun City, 28-6, in their season final.
Among the student teachers assigned to Water Valley from the University of Mississippi School of Education were Jeani Martin and Becky Steele, both of Water Valley.
An announcement by city officials explained to residents that they would be going to a “plastic bag system of garbage pick up.” The bags, which cost a nickel each, were treated with “Houndsoff,” a dog repellent.
Mrs. Ernest Edrington was named “Cook of the Month” by the Homemakers Club.
In the want ads, Second Baptist Church was looking for an old-fashioned church or dinner bell, used piano and a water cooler.
• 50 years ago, Oct. 25, 1962 – Former Herald Editor Jack Dale of Brandon died of a heart attack. Dale, 55, was manager of the Mississippi Business and Industrial Development Corp.
The Blue Devils were rolling hard with another win, beating Hernando 7-6. The little Devils finished their perfect season with a win over Grenada County, 35-13.
• 60 years ago, Oct. 23, 1952 – Striking Rice-Stix workers were under an injunction prohibiting picketing, violence and threats against non-striking workers. Judge Herbert Holmes delivered a sharp rebuke to the accused union members for their alleged violations of the injunction.
The Blue Devils gained their fifth victory of the year, defeating Holly Spring 26-6.
Presley M. C. Page, 25, and Clarence Albert Tidwell, 19, were being held in jail after confessing that they robbed (burglarized) the Clara Watts store on the Paris Road in the Otuckalofa Community. The store burned after the break-in.
Frankie Jo Srickland was burned in a home accident when her clothing caught fire. The young woman received first and second degree burns over a large area of her body.
Maybell Haley was crowned Little Miss Grammar School of 1952 at the Grand Theatre by Betty Miller, last year’s winner. First alternate was Bonnie Vaughn and second alternate was Judy Vaughn.
• 70 years ago, Oct. 22, 1942 – The Blue Devils were nursing a 32-6 defeat by Grenada. “We call them a fine group of lads. Win, lose or draw, we’re for the Blue Devils,” the Herald quoted one local fan.
Walter Rotenberry of Fords Well was killed when he fell from the back of a pick-up truck on Hwy. 51 near Pope.
Soldiers pictured in the Herald included Cook Second Class Russell Miles and from Oakland, Aviation Cadet Harvey Keith Tillman and his brother Artilleryman Version Harris “Buddy” Tillman, and Marine PFC George W. Barton.
Two thousand Yalobusha school students would be out in force on Monday to raid every home and business place looking for any bit of scrap that might be used to “slap a Jap.” The scrap commandoes were given a day off from school to put full effort into the task.