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Look Back In Yalobusha History

ICRR Prepares To Move Last Local Facilities In 1945

By David Howell

             The bad news was confirmed after several weeks of rumors. Illinois Central announced more offices in Water Valley would be moved to Jackson, Tenn., 120 miles up the line to allow the railroad to better cover their entire territory. The announcement from the railroad was reported in the May 10, 1945, edition of the North Mississippi Herald.

            The move would take place on August 1, 1945, and involve the re-location of some 30 workers. The division headquarters had moved to Water Valley in 1901, and had been for many years the main line of the Illinois Central between Chicago and New Orleans. Traffic was as heavy and trains were as frequent through Water Valley as any part of the railroad south of the Ohio River, according to the letter from the railroad published in the Herald.

            But now, Illinois Central cited a shift in traffic conditions, which brought great changes in with respect to railroading in the Water Valley territory and the change must be made for the railroad to operate efficiently post-war.

            Action from local business and professional men of Water Valley soon followed, as they agreed to petition the Interstate Commerce Commission to review the action of the Illinois Central Railroad in moving the District Superintendent’s officers, together with the dispatchers and clerks from Water Valley. The group agreed to ask Senator Theo G. Bilbo, Senator James O. Eastland, Congressman Jamie Whitten and other Mississippi Representatives in Congress to use their influence to retain the offices in Water Valley.

            The men were called together by T.O. Gore, Sr., vice-president of the Water Valley Business Men’s Club. The committee charged with writing the letter to petition the Interstate Commerce Commission included Jack Horan, W.E. Blackmur, T.O. Gore, Sr., Claud Woods, E.L. McVey, Murray Williams and E.B. Shearer.

            “Water Valley is and has been for a great many years, more or less, a railroad center,” the group wrote. “In fact, Water Valley was built because of the railroad shops here. In 1927 and 1928 the Railroad Company began to take up and move the shops away from here and now there are no shops here. Later they pulled off the switch engine and the only railroad we now have here are the offices above mentioned. And, too, some ten or twelve years ago the said Railroad Company discontinued all passenger trains running through Water Valley. Because of this, we earnestly urge the Commission to intercede and restrain the Railroad Company from moving their last facility away from our community.”


Through The Years From The Herald

            10 Years Ago, May 12, 2005 – The world record white crappie caught at Enid Lake by the late Fred Bright on July 31, 1957, returned to Water Valley. Gene Stuckgart of Arkansas brought the mounted five pound, three ounce crappie and presented it to Mayor Larry Hart. The mounted fish has been professional touched up and is now on display at the Enid Lake Fish Hatchery Visitor’s Education Center.

            Both the boys and girls track and field teams finished their 2005 season with fifth place finishes at the Class 2A State tournament in Pearl. The Blue Devils had eight athletes make the All-State Team at the meet. For the boys, Pierre Allen, Eddie Mister and Derek Croy made All-State, while the girl’s All-State team included Sasha Carr, Brittney Weekly, Stephanie Allen, Katesha Daniels and Mirandi Phillips.

            Steve Cummings shared an exciting moment for a Yalobusha County farmer, reporting in his weekly column that Coley Little Bailey was on stage with George W. Bush during the president’s visit to Canton Mississippi. Cummings said he caught the live coverage on CNN while flipping the channels on the television.

            Former Herald reporter William Browning reported he caught a ride with a MDOT dump truck to the Ole Miss campus after having a blow out on his car. Browning made it to class just in time to take his final, thanks to the hospitality of the MDOT employee. Browning said his exit from the cab triggered confused looks from other students.

            20 Years Ago, May 11, 1995 – Water Valley ambassadors Ludie Appleton, Nell Gholson, Lucia Holloway and Dot Knox served sack lunches during the MayDay celebration in the Valley on May 6.

            The Mississippi Depart-ment of Transportation announced a four-way stop would be added at the intersection of Hwy. 32 and the Hwy.  7 bypass. The traffic change came after the MDOT Traffic Control Engineer recommended it due to the accidents that occurred at the intersection.

            Mayor Larry Hart cut the ribbon to officially open the newly renovated Chamber of Commerce Economic Development during MayDay festivities on May 6.

            County Agent Steve Cummings congratulated Rev. Truman Scarbrough on winning numerous ribbons and awards at the North Mississippi Iris Show held in Coffeeville.

            30 Years Ago, May 16, 1985 – A family outing on the O’Tuckalofa Creek at Hawkins Crossing ended tragically when three Water Valley residents drowned. Anthony Dennis Kerr, 28, and his brother, David Kerr, Jr., 38, drowned while trying to rescue the younger Kerr’s stepson, Issac Darrell Stewart, 12, who also drowned in the incident.

            A runoff was scheduled in the municipal election after incumbent mayor Garlon Mayor had a 60-vote advantage over Hamric Henry, but failed to gain a majority in the three-way race.

            The monthly report from the Justice Court Office showed 237 criminal and civil cases were heard from March 20 to April 20, 1985. The cases included: speeding, 120; reckless driving, 3; ran stop sign, 2; possession of beer, 6; public drunk, 3; DUI, 8; Contempt of Court, 3; driver licenses violations, 13; inspection sticker violations, 14; tag violations, 7; driving on the wrong side of the road, 1.

            Thirteen citations issued by the Department of Wildlife, and the total fines and penalties collected from these cases was $19,943.

            MidTown Auto Parts advertised they were open for business at 413 Main Street in the building formerly occupied by Surrette’s Grocery. The countermen were Craig Hart and Billy Welch.

            40 Years Ago, May 15, 1975 – Jerry Turner, Deroy Harvey and Dewitt Clinton attended the Rust College Career Day in Holly Springs.

            Receiving first aid certificates were Bennie Hall, J. C. Womble, Hubert Clark, H. O. Vanlandingham, Chester Vanlandingham, Shelby Rogers, Anthony Boxx, Barron Caulfield, Jr., and Stanley True. The course was sponsored by the Water Valley Volunteer Rescue Unit.



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