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Look Back In Yalobusha History

Vets Enjoy Cold Beer And Stew At 1935 Gathering

By David Howell

            The American Legion hosted a get-together at the Curtis E. Pass Post, inviting all World War, Spanish-American and Confederate veterans as guests on Greener’s Hill. During the day it rained the boys changed the meeting place to the old car shop to the I.C. Yards where all was in the dry.

            Tables 110 feet long were erected on which was served 40 gallons of Brunswick stew and 400 pounds of barbecued pork, bread, pickles, cold beer, etc.

            Three hundred-fifty veterans including one honored Confederate veteran enjoyed the wonderful feast. During the early part of the evening the members of the local post elected by ballot new officers for the coming year. The result of the election was as follows:

            Joe N. Holt, Commander; T.R. Gabbert, Vice Commander; Alvin Holloway, Adjutant; G.L. Gafford, Service Officer. Also reported was the post enjoyed a most successful year under the efficient direction of Charles L. Ritter, present leader who will be succeeded in the near future by Holt. Membership was holding well and the Post’s finances was in excellent condition.

            Commander Ritter called the boys to attention early in the night and announced that L.C. Barber would make a few remarks. The “Talk” went over 100 percent strong – only one dissenting comrade didn’t like the speech. The speech was printed with the story, “with hopes that the one dissenter will read it, digest it and embrace it,” the article in the June 14, 1935 edition of the Herald reported.

            “Nineteen years ago, this bunch of Mavericks didn’t look or act like you do today. Then you were full of pep, vitality, hope and possessed a most vivid imagination. The big adventure was before you – The World’s War… You American boys practically all of you in your teens stopped the Germans in their drive to Paris… All expected a glad welcome home. Oh Yes, where were those jobs promised to be held for you on your return – they were filled by home guards like Mike Conner and Pat Harrison. Where in Hell were the 21 Senators and 55 Congressmen who voted down your bonus, Yes, where were they when shells and shot and gas was mowing you boys down by the thousands…. Say buddies, if our President and Pat Harrison had been in your shoes just one day at the front, they would be in favor of paying the veterans and not distributing several billions of dollars to hordes of “sappers” who live in the relief agency for handouts… Maybe it won’t be long until we have a President and Mississippi Senator who will appreciate loyalty, patriotism and service.”    

            • 70 Years Ago –  Thursday, June 9, 1955 – Turnage Drug Store celebrated their 50th year with a two-day celebration. Mr. W.W. Turnage shared stories over the years, recalling that the drug store was a favorite hangout for the menfolk. He also recalled the days when before a radio was a household item, a telegraph line and key were installed in the balcony of the store during baseball season. Mr. Roy “Shorty” Moyer or some other train dispatcher would take down a play by play account of the game and call over the wire to an audience on the main floor of the store. A hat would be passed to collect rent for the telegraph line.

            Also in the old days a familiar sight in the store was an L-shaped cigar counter in the center of the floor. The “Blue Laws” prohibited the sale of tobacco on Sunday, so the store provided lockers for the customer in which they kept their smokes.

            For years, Mr. Turnage was puzzled by an old sign in the building which said “No Practicing.” He was relieved when the late Mr. Tom Gafford informed him that the sign was put there when there were pool tables in the back end of the store, before it was a drug store.

            During a Watermelon Carnival several years ago, Mrs. Turnage packed a lunch for her husband’s dinner. Sometime during the day one of the clerks in the store accidentally sold the lunch. Several years later a lady came back to the store wanting sandwiches exactly like those she had bought during the Watermelon Carnival.

            Mr. Turnage received a phone call one night from an alarmed citizen telling him that an automobile was in the store. Sure enough, when Mr. Turnage got downtown he found that a Model T Ford had ploughed through the plate glass. It had been parked nearby and rolled down the hill.    

            Yalobusha farmers faced more than $100,000 in damages in early June after 3.26 inches of rain fell in a four-hour period.

            The water even covered portions of Main Street downtown, coming in to some of the stores.

            Much of the farmland in Otuchalofa bottom, from Highway 7 eastward was covered by overflow waters and young cotton was either buried by the silt carried by the waters or was washed away. Tributary creeks also overflowed their banks causing similar damage to farm lands.

            Meetings were held in Water Valley Tuesday night and Wednesday to discuss the possibility that the impounded waters in Enid Reservoir might have contributed to the flooding of the farmlands by preventing the quick drainage of the lands affected.

            Several farmers of the area were planning to replant their fields of cotton and some had already started preparing their land for replanting.

            The Herald had a visit from Mrs. Nell Wall of Jackson, a field representative for the American Cancer Society.

            Mrs. Wall informed the newspaper that cancer patients in the county could not be helped during the month of June because money appropriated for Yalobusha County had been exhausted.

            The county failed to meet the $1,800 quoto and, in fact, only raised $672.25. Of the money raised, 40 percent went to the national society, 40 percent to the state and 20 percent was retained in the county for local relief.

            C. E. “Cat” Wilbourn entered the Beat 3 Constable race. He was described as a local farmer and a life-long resident of the county.

            He had never been a candidate for public office, but had served five years as a game warden.

            George Gafford and Tom Bell were representatives at Boys’ State over the past week. The pair were sponsored by the Curtis E. Pass Post of the American Legion and the Junior Chamber of Commerce.


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