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The amazing flow of cotton, from “the best crop in years,” continues this week with the wheels of Water Valley’s two gins rolling all day and far into the night, wrote new Herald Editor Phillip E. Mullen in October of 1942.
The cash registers in local stores were playing a merry tune in response to the biggest wave of farmer business in a long time.
Not since the bumper year of 1937 has there been so much cotton, Mullen continued. Old-timers in these sections of Yalobusha and Lafayette Counties claimed that the size of the crop and the speed of the harvest would set a 30-year record.
A combination of good weather and most of the crop opening at the same time gave the farmers their first good crop in four years. At press time Thursday morning, B&B and the Hervey Gin had handled a total of more than 1200 bales, easily twice as much as the same date last year.
Facing the huge amount of cotton still in the fields, county school officials agreed to postpone full day schedules for at least another week, “allowing the lively fingers of a coupla’ thousand school children to continue their picking in the afternoons,” wrote Mullen.
Pickers were earning as much as $2.50 per hundred. Not since 1927 has cotton brought such a good price. The 1942 crop was “mostly 20 cents.”
It wasn’t just cotton. The national press was calling the year’s overall harvest the greatest in the history of American farming. And, it came at a time of shortages of farm workers and equipment due to the war.
It is interesting what a highly motivated bunch of American farmers can do…with a little help.
Through The Years From The Herald
• 15 years ago, Oct. 4, 2007 – BorgWarner held an employee/family picnic Sept. 29. About 750 people turned out for the day of food and games.
Infrastructure improvements were about to begin at the Oakland site of Windsor Foods, Inc. following the award of a $648,565 CDBG grant.
Richard Hall was sentenced to eight years with one year to serve during a low-key hearing at the Panola County Courthouse in Sardis on state charges for his roll in the failed beef plant.
A group of Yalobusha beauties were pictured on the front page after a Yalobusha beauty pageant including alternates Steffi River, Terri Lynn Harris, Shaniqua Wesley, Dequrisha Perry and DeeAnna Kirk. The winner was Austin Mills.
The Garden Club of Water Valley held a formal tree dedication in honor of Mary Lou Williams, a long-time member, at the Blackmur Memorial Library.
Lady Blue Devil Coach Shane Brown was pictured standing in front of the cleared field that would become the home of the softball team.
Willie “Butch” Foxx was pictured in the living room of his home dubbed the Foxx Den. He used many discarded materials in the construction, which also has two trees growing through the roof.
The Blue Devils fell to West Tallahatchie, 24-18.
• 20 years ago, Oct. 3, 2002 – New car tags went on sale and Tax Assessor Linda Shuffield was pictured with the new plates and members of her staff Wyanda White, Emily Childs, Nellie Foxx and Jennifer Sossaman.
The Blue Devils defeated the Bruce Trojans, 19-14. Right before the game the team was fed by Mechanics Bank. Keith River was taking photos of the games for the Herald and Randy Goodwin was writing the stories.
The Atomic Dogs softball team won the Abbeville All-Star series by two games.
After seven years in business, Ethel Morgan retired and closed her business, Ethel’s Footwear.
David Bland was BorgWarner Employee of the Month.
Blue Devil quarterback Kasey Rogers was looking for room in a photo from the Bruce game. Kasey had 98 yards on 23 carries for the night and completed two of five pass tries for 42 yards.
• 30 years ago, Oct. 1, 1992 – The Blue Devils pulled ahead of Nettleton at the last minute to pull off a 22-20 win.
A front page photo of the Concept Mold grand opening showed owner Gary Melvin and Mayor Garlon Maynor as they cut the ribbon.
The Anchor Club donated $100 to the Hurricane Andrew fund. Club president Michele Anthony was pictured giving a check to Dr. Rayford Edgar. Members in the photo included Kari Smith, Kerri Aston, Teresa Myrick, Louise Davis, Kim Hall, April Moore, Christy Methvin and Callie Cox.
Casey McCoy of Water Valley was elected president of the Wood Junior College Student Government Association.
The Water Valley High School Band Guard members were Candi Harris, Lea Anne Norris, Callie Cox, Kerry Aston, Mandy Holt, Brandi Thomas, Audrey Cotton, April Moore, and Kari Smith.
Nancy P. Goodwin, longtime State farm Insurance Agent, was honored by her successor, Clark Logan at an open house at the new office on Main Street.
• 40 years ago, Oct. 7, 1982 – The new street signs had arrived and were pictured on the front page with Mayor and Mrs. Hamric Henry along with Chamber Manager Sam Higdon, city employees Mike Colclasure, Michael Fondon, Oscar Harris, Raymond Bruner and Marty Baldridge.
Officers for the newly-formed Parents’ Support Group were Toni Hill, president; Lynda Maynor, vice-president; Linda Eakes, secretary; Ora Lee Phillips, treasurer; and Jonnie Mayo, publicity.
The Coffeeville Pirates defeated the Blue Devils, 7-0.
Eddie Aune, CPA, returned home to Water Valley and formed a partnership with Joe Black, CPA.
• 50 years ago, Oct 5, 1972 – The Devils tied with Independence, 8-8. The little Devils defeated Calhoun City, 20-8.
The first Yalobusha bale of cotton was classed in Memphis Sept. 28, about a week earlier than last year’s. It belonged to Rob Tolliver and was ginned Sept. 22 at B&I Gin.
Dean Wright was named assistant principal of the Deer Creek School.
Mrs. Bill Johnsey was named “Cook of the Month” by the Homemaker Clubs.
Dorothy Caulfield auditioned for and was accepted as a member of the famed Belhaven College Concert Choir.
It was 4-H Week and the local club was honored with a plaque presented by C. W. “Bill” White. Shown in the photo with White were club leader Mrs. John Wilkes and members Alvin Tharp, Ronnie Martin, Rob Clay and Ray Tharp.
Sgt. Earl Stacy was on duty with the Air Force at Ubon, Royal Thai Air Force Base, Thailand.
Yalobusha County was to receive $417,164 in federal revenue sharing funds.
• 60 years ago, Oct. 4, 1962 – The Blue Devils won their fourth game, defeating Marks 25-6. That put them in a tie with Senatobia for the loop lead.
Meanwhile, Coach Bobby Clark’s little Devils swarmed over North Panola, 20-7, in the homecoming game.
The “Battle of Ole Miss” was on in Oxford as riots broke out in the wake of a federal invasion to enroll James Meredith at the all-white university. The Water Valley National Guard unit was activated under federal control in order to take command away from Mississippi Governor Ross Barnett and was one of the first units to arrive in Oxford.
A front page story told of the new budget at First Baptist Church being the highest in their history at $42,685.48.
• 70 years ago, Oct. 2, 1952 – A front-page editorial warned of the possible consequences of a strike at the local Rice-Stix plant. Company officials and members of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America were to meet at the Peabody Hotel in Memphis the next evening in an effort to iron out differences.
While some claimed it was all about an increase in wages, the prime reason that workers were unhappy was “constant checkout.” Employees were reporting, working a few hours and then being sent home for lack of a steady flow of work.
The Blue Devils were defeated by the Oxford Colonels, 14-6.
Band Director Jimmy Fullilove was hosting a meeting to discuss the possibility of forming a school band in Water Valley.
In the Camp Ground school news “Spotlight” Editor Janis Watson wrote of a young man, Bennett Mixon, who had returned from the Korean War after three and one-half years in the military to complete his interrupted high school education.
• 70 years ago, Oct. 1, 1942 – The War Department had advised this section of Mississippi to prepare for a surprise black-out. Information about the black-out appeared in an advertisement and was to be distributed throughout the city as a circular. The signal for the black-out was to be a long, continuous blast of the fire siren. Citizens were expected to put out any lights that could be seen from the outside and extinguish all fires as if it were a real air raid.
Herald columnist Dudley Wagner died Thursday morning, Oct. 1, at his home. He was 51.
The state welfare department was going to urge county supervisors to reconsider their abolishment of the food stamp program. The main reason was that the school lunch program would probably be cut out as a result.