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Ask Rufus: They called Columbus home

Posted 4/12/2014 in Local Columns

The past two weeks I have been helping with the Columbus Pilgrimage. I had not intended on doing so, but Nancy Carpenter of the Columbus Convention and Visitors Bureau called and said they were short-handed and could I help with tour groups. Before I realized it, I was telling stories about Columbus to multiple tour groups on the double-decker bus.

 

Ask Rufus: Was it America's first pro ball team?

Posted 4/5/2014 in Local Columns

This is a ballgame weekend. Professional baseball has just cranked up, basketball's Final Four started Saturday and college baseball is in full swing. But long forgotten is the story of how what may have been America's first professional ball team assemble at Columbus in 1829.

 

Ask Rufus: Roots of the Columbus Pilgrimage

Posted 3/29/2014 in Local Columns

The roots of the Columbus Pilgrimage run deep within our community. In 1939, T.C. Billups decided to act on the success of Natchez and other Southern towns in using a spring pilgrimage to attract tourists and promote community development.

 

Ask Rufus: The homeland

Posted 3/22/2014 in Local Columns

This past week has been a most interesting one. I had the pleasure of having four houseguests who are working on a historic sites study for the Choctaw and Chickasaw Nations of Oklahoma.

 

Ask Rufus: Stand Fast Mississippians

Posted 3/9/2014 in Local Columns

The other evening I was asked by friends to join a dinner with Bertram Hayes-Davis, the great-grandson of Jefferson Davis. Naturally, a fascinating conversation about history ensued.

 

Ask Rufus: The magnolia flag

Posted 3/3/2014 in Local Columns

Last week a magnolia flag was posted on a Columbus Facebook page with a question about its history. Several people commented on what an attractive flag it was but knew nothing about it. What is the Magnolia Flag?

 

Ask Rufus: A terrifying night

Posted 2/22/2014 in Local Columns

On those warm, rainy days and nights in February when the temperature suddenly drops 30 or 40 degrees and a wintry blast comes roaring out of the Delta, I think of the Eliza Battle.

 

Ask Rufus: Plymouth Bluff

Posted 2/9/2014 in Local Columns

I have previously written about John Pitchlynn and Fort Smith at Plymouth Bluff during the Creek Indian War of 1813-1814, but there is much more history surrounding the bluff than just that.

 

Ask Rufus: The story behind an iconic photograph

Posted 2/1/2014 in Local Columns

There is a 1908 postcard view of the Steamer American at the Columbus landing which has become the iconic image of a Tombigbee steamboat at Columbus. I have twice used the image in articles and it appears in my book "The Tombigbee River Steamboats: Rollodores, Dead Heads, and Side-Wheelers."

 

Ask Rufus: Mississippi's first pro football team: The Columbus Warriors

Posted 1/25/2014 in Local Columns

It's Super bowl time and conversations turn to professional football. While Mississippi has never had an NFL team, there have been pro football teams from minor or indoor leagues.

 

Ask Rufus: The Columbus Mint Julep

Posted 1/18/2014 in Local Columns

January may be a strange time to bring up the mint julep but maybe it makes a good forerunner to springtime and warmer weather.

 

Ask Rufus: The first OK?

Posted 1/12/2014 in Local Columns

Last week I was asked to explain the origin of the old saying "The Lord be willing and the creek don't rise." There are several traditions about the origin of the phrase but one clearly sticks out in my mind.

 

Ask Rufus: New Year's Day 1814

Posted 12/28/2013 in Local Columns

This New Year's Day arrives with a fair share of concerns: What will the Affordable Care Act do to health care? Will the economy improve? Will there ever be peace in the Middle East? As much as those issues worry people, they are nothing like the fears of people in the Tombigbee River Valley 200 years ago on January 1, 1814.

 

Ask Rufus: Christmas dinner

Posted 12/21/2013 in Local Columns

On Friday Karen and I made a quick trip to the grocery store to pick up a couple of last minute items for next week's Christmas dinner. Several hours later while stuck in traffic I pondered on Christmas dinner in times past.

 

Ask Rufus: Barbecue, buccaneers and six bits a dollar

Posted 12/14/2013 in Local Columns

On Friday night while I was downtown enjoying wassail, several people asked me the same question; "What are you writing about for Sunday?" I got some strange looks when I replied that my topic was that this was the month to celebrate pork barbecue in Mississippi.

 

Ask Rufus: With December rains came steamboats

Posted 12/7/2013 in Local Columns

Late November and early December was once the time when Columbus, Aberdeen and other towns along the upper Tombigbee River would get to celebrate the arrival of the first steamboat of the season.

 

Ask Rufus: The night the cotton burned. Or did it?

Posted 11/30/2013 in Local Columns

There was a huge fire at Columbus on the night of Nov. 25, 1865. It destroyed the former Confederate Arsenal Building, which is southeast of the old Marble Works. The building had been taken over by the occupying Federal troops and was being used to store property seized as having belonged to the Confederate government.

 

Ask Rufus: Tecumseh's journey

Posted 11/23/2013 in Local Columns

Three years ago marked the beginning of a series of the bicentennials of the events leading directly to the founding of Columbus. November of 1813 was a month in which those events linked directly with one of greater national significance. That story is told in the nation's newspapers of the day.

 

Ask Rufus: Stories that link history

Posted 11/16/2013 in Local Columns

I am frequently asked where I find the details of the stories in my column. Sometimes things just link together. A couple of weeks ago my column dealt with the construction of Andrew Jackson's Military Road. One problem with a column that only runs around 800 words is the inability to fully provide background material. So today I will delve into seemingly unrelated accounts that link together and help tell the story of the Military Road and the founding of Columbus.

 

Ask Rufus: Unsung heroes

Posted 11/9/2013 in Local Columns

On Friday, I spoke at the Base Community Council luncheon at Columbus Air Force Base. My topic was stories my father had told me about his World War II experiences as a tail gunner on a B-17 named Smoky Stover Jr., which was shot down near Frankfurt, Germany.

 

 

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