Today, few people realize the extent of European activity during the 1700s in the Tombigbee Valley or how European conflicts between the French and English spilled over into our region. The 1700s were turbulent times in northeast Mississippi and west Alabama.
Prairies form the heart of the Golden Triangle Region. Three miles across the Tombigbee River from Columbus was Pitchlynn's Prairie, which centered around John Pitchlynn's 1820s residence.
With more frequent sightings of alligators along the Tombigbee River, and with popular television shows such as "Swamp People," alligators fascinate folks of all ages.
The cold snap of the last few days has brought to mind an account of spring time 164 years ago. The plantation journal for a Billups farm in Lowndes County during the spring of 1849 has survived and paints an interesting picture.
The Ole Homestead is one of the oldest homes in north Mississippi. The house is a vernacular raised cottage that stylistically reflects a Creole influence. Built between 1821 and 1829, it is the oldest known surviving building within the original town limits of Columbus. It is also believed to be the third oldest surviving raised cottage in Mississippi and is probably the oldest one surviving north of the old Natchez District.
Gideon Lincecum was one of the most interesting people to have ever lived in Columbus.
A week from tomorrow will be the opening of the annual Columbus spring pilgrimage. Although the first pilgrimage was in the spring of 1940, a Columbus tour of homes actually started a year earlier.
Seeing the Tombigbee River filled with March rains brings to mind days long past when high water meant it was time to ship cotton to Mobile by steamboat.
One day last week in a conversation with my friends Bert and Sharon Falkner, killdeers, a delightful spring and summer bird of area fields, came up. It is a bird that I have enjoyed watching since I was a child. You will remember them as the bird that acts like it has a broken wing to draw potential predators away from its nest.
It was 166 years ago this weekend that a die-hard group of Mississippians in red shirts and brandishing Bowie knives changed the course of a battle and history. The Battle of Buena Vista on Feb. 22-23, 1847, sealed the fate of Mexican General Santa Anna's army and ensured a United States victory in the U.S.-Mexican War of 1846-48.
Sometimes research and writing takes you in unexpected directions, and that is the case today. As I started writing this column, I stumbled into one of those poignant stories of long ago that touches a present-day nerve.
From a bomb threat to a windstorm, the early buildings of St Paul's Episcopal Church in Columbus had their problems, but the 154-year-old present structure is a classic. Records of the church provide a view of early church building in Columbus.
Deeply ingrained in both the history and culture of Northeast Mississippi is the Black Prairie. The prairie takes its name from the dark, almost black soil that typifies its range. From the time of the earliest European-American traders and settlers, the region has attracted attention.
Over the years searching for the route of the Hernando de Soto Expedition through Alabama and Mississippi has been about like hunting a ghost. So I guess that in looking for the route of his 1540 trek through what is now Lowndes County, it is only fitting that an old ghost story turned up.
Reading the Dispatch last week one could not help but notice the problems that a potential new industry seemed to have in living up to its commitments. Such problems are not something new. When the Mobile and Ohio Railroad was constructed through this area in the late 1850s, all was not smooth sailing.
This past week I lost a close friend when Sam Kaye passed away and Columbus lost not only a good citizen, but a gold mine of its history.
As we approach the doom and gloom of the fiscal cliff, its repercussions are mild compared to what was happening here 150 years ago.
At Christmas we always think of children and gifts and goodwill. But do we ever stop and remember the people in our community or connected to it that year round do so much to help young people. Of course there are teachers and social workers and church youth leaders and scout leaders and so many others that I dare not list for fear of leaving someone out.
The Christmas season always reminds me of barbecue and global warming. They have both been around our area a long time.
Last week, I had an interesting conversation with Sam and Carolyn Kaye about Horace King. King, the subject of a previous column, was a black bridge builder who, in 1842, built the first bridge across the Tombigbee River at Columbus.
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