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Look Back in Yalobusha History

1942 Squad Was First To Be Called Blue Devils


10 Years—September 20, 2007

“The poultry plant is back in operation, providing 122 jobs and processing 55,000 chickens daily,” stated Phillip Tallant, plant manager for Water Valley Poultry, LLC.

The Water Valley Board of Aldermen voted unanimously to deny a tax exemption requested for the county’s largest employer, BorgWarner.

Supervisors, with a 3-2 vote, set the date of December 11 to vote on legalizing beer and light wine in he county. Beer and light wine have been banned in the county since 1937.

Red Hat Melons, Mary Sue Stevens, Jonnie Mayo, Edwina Hyde, Janice Avant, Kelly Magee, Ann Surrette, and Linda White  had lunch at Ground Zero, a restaurant in Clarksdale, owned by Bill Luckett and Morgan Freeman.

The Water Valley High School Blue Devils were defeated by the Independence Wildcats. Head Coach for the Devils was Trent Hammond. A familiar face among the officials was former Vallian, Larry McKay, a 1967 WVHS graduate, the son of Rev. and Mrs. Dorsey McKay, long time minister at North Main Methodist Church.

20 Years—September 25, 1997

Water Valley High School Student Council officers for the year were: Cameron Surrette, president; April Link, vice-president; Brandi Kehoe, secretary; and Robin Keisling, treasurer.

State Auditor Phil Bryant was shown presenting Rubye Carr a certificate of recognizing her exemplary stewardship of fixed assets and compliance in fixed asset reporting. Mrs. Carr serves as school business officer for the Water Valley School District.

After a hot first half, the Blue Devils lost the game to the Lafayette Commodores, 40-14.

Pictured was Quarterback Bennett Crow as he helped hold Michael Rhyne’s arm while Blue Devil Trainer Steve Thompson added more tape to his sprained wrist.

The Lady Blue Devils softball team defeated Charleston, 12-0. The score included a grand slam by Carol Conard. Reporter for the softball team was Dr. Andy Jones.

Ray Carr, son of Mr. and Mrs. Raymond Carr, was a resident assistant at Itawamba Community College in Fulton. This is a student leadership position in the Department of Housing and Resident Life.

Northwest Community College’s “Campus Country” presented their first concert Saturday night. Two members of the group, Sonya Brown, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Breck Brown, and Mandy Holt, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Jerry Holt, were from Water Valley.

30 years—September 24, 1987

The 1942 Blue Devils football team was planning a reunion. This team was the first squad to be called “Blue Devils”. Earlier teams were known as “Yellow Jackets.” Team members were Harry Fair, Ray Howard, Rayford Edgar, James Kelso, Jack Thompson (captain), Clyde Howard, Pat McNamee, Howard Croft, W. F. Beck, Davis Ward, Wesley Myers, Aubrey Milstead, Harry Kelly, Trusty Martin, Earl Miller, James White, Bill White, Keith Wolfe, Joe Baddley, Pat Holloway, and Billy Howard. Coaching the team was A. C. Massengale, and the manager was Dalton Hyde.

Barry Culpepper made a leaping reception to catch a short pass from quarterback John Ingram late in the fourth quarter, giving the team hope for a win—unfortunately the home team still lost by a score of 18-7.

Gary Jackson, son of Buster and Sue Jackson, was named an “Outstanding Young Man of America” in the 1987 edition of their publication.

Tasha Vollbracht was a top salesman for advertisements for the recent “Gong Show.” Proceeds from this event went to the Yalobusha County Ambulance Fund.

40 Years—September 22 , 1977

Buck Suratt and Jack Watson were pictured with Glover Wilkins, administrator for the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway Project. Mr.  Wilkins was speaker at Rotary and he forecast great long-term benefit for Mississippi through improved transportation facilities for bulk materials. 

Walter Carr, III, grandson of Mrs. Tennessee Carr of Water Valley, is an honor graduate of his Advanced Individual Training Class at Fort Bliss, Texas.

In a battle on the home field, the mighty Senatobia Warriors defeated the Blue Devils, 0-40. Leading rushing for the Blue Devils was Buddy Willingham and defensive standouts were Willie Baker and Mike Tate.

In Sam Higdon’s column, “Know Your Neighbor,”  it was stated that Mrs. Dollie Ann Henderson is known throughout the areas for her many years of work in the education system and also as a community leader.

Leroy Benson was pictured with a huge Yellow Jacket nest (two feet long and eighteen inches wide) found inside a vacant house in Water Valley.

50 Years—September 21, 1967

In a three vehicle accident on Highway 7, north of Coffeeville, Tommy White, a senior at Ole Miss and son of Mr. and Mrs. Bill White, was seriously injured. He collided head on with Hardy Brown, also of Water Valley, who was killed. According to Highway Patrolman Billy Houpt, Brown was passing a third automobile and hit White head on.

The Water Valley Blue Devils defeated the Senatobia Warriors, 25-20, in a cliff-hanger. Pictured was Blue Devil Bill Harris as he congratulated Senatobia’s Jerry Veazey on a hard-fought game.


An aerial picture showed an important city industry, Riley Lumber Company. The company employed more than 100 people and ships to 38 states and Mexico. Owner of the business was R. L. (Bob) Riley.


D. E. Clark’s yard was named “Yard of the Month” for September by The Garden Club of Water Valley.


Jeannie Barron, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Jasper Barron of Water Valley, was one of a group of college students awarded grants for summer research at Ole Miss. Jeannie was a student at Mississippi State College for Women, majoring in Biology.


Pvt. Billy W. Stark, 21, son of Mr. and Mrs. Marvin E. Stark, completed a radio course at the Army Training Center in Ft. Knox, Kentucky.


The Oakland Hornets were edged 20-18 in an upset at Sledge.


60 Years—September 19, 1957

Samuel and Lester Winoker, president and vice-president of Pride of Virginia Poultry Corp., were in Water Valley to discuss a processing plant to be located on the Vanderburg place that will process 40,000 broilers. Complete agreement was reached between the Yalobusha County Board of Supervisors and the corporation.

A committee of Jaycettes and Jaycees selected “The Five Debs,” Diane Thomp-son, Nancy Bennett, Lucretia Webb, Marty Fortinberry and Gay Peacock, to represent Water Valley in finals at the Mid-South Fair.

The Blue Devils will play Coldwater in hopes of their first win of the season and a chance to climb out of the Chickasaw Conference cellar.

Richard and Moyle Surrette, sons of Mr. and Mrs. George Surrette, were pictured with ribbons taken by their cows (senior reserve champion and grand reserve champion) at the Tri-Lake Fair.

Mayor Stanley Perkins presented crowns to “Miss Union Labor”, Betty White, and “Mr. Union Labor”, J. T. Coleman, at the CIO Local 643 ACWA Booth at the Tri-Lake Fair.

70–Years—September 25, 1947

Judge John C. Stennis, candidate for the seat in the U.S. Senate vacated by the death of Senator Theodore G. Bilbo, was scheduled to speak in City Park in at Water Valley. 

Pvt. David Harris was serving with the 1st Squadron of the 8th Cavalry Regiment of the Eight Army in Japan.

President of  Yalobusha County Fair Association W. E. Blackmur stated that tarpaulins have been purchased to house exhibits. The fair will be held on Hendricks Field.

The Rotary Club accepted a challenge from the Jaycees for a softball game to be played on Hendricks Field. Quay Jones will manage the Jaycees, with Dr. Ben Evans assisting, and  Newnan Dorsey will manage the Rotary team. 


Umpires for the game will be Lester Berry and Earl Fly. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Christmas Fund for underprivileged families in the area.

  Coach Tommy Gunn announced that the Water Valley Yellow Jackets will play their opening football game on Proby Field in Grenada instead of the Water Valley field as was scheduled.

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