Skip to content

Look Back In Yalobusha History

Mitchell Newberry Gunned Down In January 1934

• 5 years ago, Jan. 22, 2009 – City aldermen lowered the water rate for industrial customers, but left the higher rate for residential customers during a special, twice-rescheduled meeting of the board and after about 30 minutes of discussion. The lowered rate was actually below the cost to produce water, according to an official from the Mississippi Rural Water Association, which put in question the legality of the move.
At the same meeting, aldermen granted city employees a three-percent pay raise.
The beneficiaries of the lowered rate were Water Valley Poultry and BorgWarner.
County officials were hoping that state legislators would authorize one or more regional jails and that Water Valley would be selected as a site.
Snow fell on Yalobusha County but in spite of “the sky is falling!” predictions from TV weathermen, there was no accumulation.
The Yalobusha Crime Stoppers was seeking help in solving several church burglaries in the county.
Around $100,000,000 in local money was “leaked” to out of town markets, according to the Charrette study.
Richard Hall, former owner of the Mississippi Beef Plant at Oakland, filed suit against Georgia based Facility Group charging that they were responsible for the plant’s failure by failing to deliver a full operational plant.
• 10 years ago, Jan. 22, 2004 – The Yalobusha Economic Development Foundation was reorganizing into a county-wide organization after funding was cut by Water Valley officials.
City property owners were no longer allowed to keep junk vehicles, trash or debris on their property or to leave lots uncut under a new ordinance adopted by the city board.
Colt Doom, husband of former Vallian Dee Ann Cox, was honored as a top performer by Union Planters Bank and Kevin McMinn received a promotion at UP in Tupelo.
Santa Claus and Elvis visited the Yalobusha Nursing Home and were pictured on the front page.
Bond was set at $50,000 for four people arrested at a methamphetamine lab in Tillatoba. Michael Kendall, James Kendall, Shannon Kendall and Nickey Raines were arrested and charged after drugs and weapons were found.
Enid Lake Corps Rangers and volunteers spotted 21 eagles around the lake area during the annual eagle spotting day.
Water Valley Schools Superintendent Sam Higdon of Water Valley was among five Mississippi educators seeking a position on the Public Employee’s Retirement System (PERS) Board of Trustees.
• 20 years ago, Jan. 20, 1994 – Cold weather was the story for the past several days as temps dipped to near zero. A photo on the front page showed a two-and-a-half foot icicle on the eve of the home of Mr. and Mrs. Mark Trusty on North Main Street.
Yalobusha County Beat Three equipment barn burned Jan. 18. A tractor was destroyed and a motor grader damaged during the blaze, which was fought by volunteers from the Sylva Rena and Water Valley Fire Departments.
Louis Dewayne Dean of Batesville was shot in the neck with a 12-guage slug while deer hunting near Oakland.
The Water Valley Bank Eagle was pictured being restored by J. K. Gurner. The weather vane was believed to have been placed atop the bank building when it was built in 1891.
Yalobusha County employees of the Mississippi Department of Transportation were honored for their years of service by Northern District Commissioner Zack Stewart including Kevin Harmon, five years; Willie Carvan, 35 years; James Horton, 20 years; Joe Coleman, 35 years; and John Purdy, 35 years.
Around $11,000 was donated to Water Valley Habitat making the total contributions to date about $16,000.
• 30 years ago, Jan. 26, 1984 – The Water Valley Junior High Lady Devils won the Tri-Lake Conference Basketball Championship by defeating Lafayette, 49-43.
City officials built a fence around the Oak Hill Cemetery to keep out three-wheel riders who were roaming the cemetery at will over gravesites and desecrating monuments.
Winners of the Freedom Week Essay Contest were Andrea Sigler, Latona Burgess, Nicole House, Dell Hervey and Cinca Browning. The contest, entitled “What Freedwom Means To Me,” was sponsored by the Water Valley Jaycettes.
City aldermen voted in executive session to raise the salaries of city employees by five percent. They also approved a $300,000 bond issue to pay for the old railroad property and make various other improvements.
Water Valley Pilot Club volunteer puppeteers presented a show on drug abuse at the Water Valley Elementary School. The group included Marc Jefferson, Dawn Martin, Denise Clement, Joey Walker, Dee Ann Cox, Missy Martin and Lance Clement.
Water Valley High School Building Trades students built “pop-in, pop-out” insulating panels for a window in their homes with material furnished by TVA. The students participating were Elvis Reynolds, James Gooch, Ken White and David Daniels. Instructor was Claud Hayles.
Johnie Goad, supervisor of inspection, finished his 25th year with Holley Carburetor and was presented a service award by Plant Manager Jerry Fondren.
• 40 years ago, Jan. 24, 1974 – A nationwide newsprint shortage hit home for the Herald. The newspaper reduced it’s page size from 16 inches to 15 inches wide after the printer in Grenada was unable to secure 32 inch wide rolls and had to purchase 30 inch rolls.
J. Watson Hunt was elected Mayor to fill out the unexpired term of the late Tolbert Maddux. Hunt carried all four of the city’s voting precincts as he defeated opponent R. L. (Bob) Riley, 593 to 302.
Mrs. Mildred Bell was retiring from her position as Home Economist of Yalobusha County. She had worked here and in Washington County for over 20 years.
Free poison was available for the rat eradication campaign being sponsored by the four towns in the county along with the board of supervisors. The program was being overseen by Doyle Varner Jr. of the Extension Service.
Local Guardsmen reenlisting were Sp5 James Tidwell, SSG Dwight Tatum and SFC Danny Forsyth.
Steve Hale was elected to the position of Youth Teams Chairman for the Baptist Student Union at Delta State College.
• 50 years ago, Jan. 23, 1964 – Circuit Court was set to convene with several cases including two on the criminal docket. Both were assault and battery cases against Johnnie Wilmington.
The county 4-H Advisory Council received district honors at their meeting in Jackson. Yalobusha was represented by Mrs. Bob Walker of Coffeeville.
J. B. Massie had tickets for the $100 per plate “Go Goldwater” dinner to be held in Jackson.
The Davidson High School Tigers, with a 17-4 record, were led by their captain James Morgan. Team members included Jerry Martin, McArthur Wilson, Chester Folson, Joe Bailey, William Bland, Leon Lester, Jack Cook, Sylvester Cook, Sidney Joseph and George Lawrence. The Tigeretts were Lucille Fondon, Barbara Riley, Berniece Turner, Christine Phillips, Martha Turner, Josephine Martin, Katie Pigue, Dorothy Wilmington, Dorothy Love, Emma Clark, Betty White and Josie Covington. Student trainers were Ethel Hudson and James Haywood. Score Keepers were Eva Sanders, Rochester Haywood and William Toliver. Coach was J. H. Ford.
• 60 years ago, Jan. 21, 1954 – Fire protection in the city took a giant leap forward with the arrival of the new fire truck purchased at a cost of $15,000 from the American Fire Apparatus Company. The truck is a closed cab model 470 series GMC with a five-speed transmission and a 500-gallon water taken. The truck had the ability to pump 750 gallons per minute at 400 pounds of outlet pressure. The truck also contained a folding ladder and a 40-foot ladder, both made of aluminum. Safety equipment included a powerful siren, a revolving red light atop the cab and a pair of red blinker lights on the front and rear of the truck.
There was some excitement at the Ford’s Well community when a weather balloon landed there. The government balloon landed in a hay field near the Arlis Nichols residence. Nichols and James Williamson investigated and found a yellow parachute, some five feet in diameter. Attached to it was a radiodonde and instructions to return it at Government expense to its base. It had been released Jan. 12 at Joliet, Ill.
In a contest held at the City Auditorium, Sara Nell Trusty was selected “Miss Water Valley Junior High” and David Green, “Mr. Water Valley Junior High.” The pair were selected by a panel of out-of-town judges.
Just Rambling columnist Merle Cox wrote that Bruce Gurner had supplied her with her regular order of four dozen eggs that included three extra large, which turned out to have double yolks. “Bruce should put that hen on pension,” she noted.
• 70 years ago, Jan. 20, 1944 – The trial of Aaron Hefner on the charge of first degree murder began Thursday, Jan. 20, at Coffeeville. Hefner and A. I. Shaw are accused of killing Pvt. James R. Durkin of Camp McCain. The soldier’s body was dumped on Hwy. 7 near Coffeeville. Principal witness for the state was Mrs. Margaret Hunt, who was with Durkin the night of his death.
Sgt. Harvey Tillman of Tillatoba, gunner on a B-17, was reported missing in action over France.
John S. Throop Jr. was promoted to the rank of Captain at his station in Atlanta, Ga.
Russell Gregory, a former resident of Water Valley, was one of only 13 African-American Chief Petty Officers in the U. S. Navy. Gregory grew up in Water Valley before going to Memphis to finish high school. He began working for the I. C. Railroad as a machinist before joining the Navy. His brother, Chauncey Gregory, is a Water Valley resident.
• 80 years ago, Jan. 26, 1934 – Mitchell C. Newberry, 61, was shot by Ersel Stepp around 5 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 21. at the Stepp home near Coffeeville. Newberry was taken to the hospital at Grenada where he died Sunday afternoon. The victim was shot twice with a shotgun loaded with what the newspaper described as duck shot. He was the brother of John and Bailey Newberry, twins. John Newberry was the flagman who was tasked with stopping Casey Jones on the night of the infamous wreck in 1900.
• 100 years ago, Jan. 22, 1914 – The water was to be shut off this date from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. for needed repairs, city officials announced. “Take notice of this fact and draw plenty of water to do you during the shut off. Can’t do without water.”
John Newberry advertised his eating place, The EuDora Cafe, for sale “on account of leaving the city.”

Leave a Comment