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?
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.
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.
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."
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.
January may be a strange time to bring up the mint julep but maybe it makes a good forerunner to springtime and warmer weather.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This weekend the theme of the Columbus Cultural Heritage Foundation's Decorative Arts and Antiques Forum was the Military Road from Nashville to New Orleans. Contrary to local legend, Andrew Jackson did not build the road as he marched his Tennessee volunteers south to meet the British at the Battle of New Orleans in 1815. However it was because of the Battle of New Orleans that the road was built.
Next week two events, that appear at first glance to be unrelated, intersect. There is Halloween and the Columbus Decorative Arts and Preservation Forum, whose theme is Andrew Jackson's Military Road. While it may seem strange that these two events are intertwined, the answer is simple. The oldest recorded ghost story in the area is of the haunting of the Military Road (Highway 12) crossing of Black Creek four miles north east of Columbus.
There were many famous generals and horses that came out of the Civil War. Among the most noted was Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest and his favorite horse, King Phillip.
More so than any other single question, I am asked about the origin of local names. What does Tombigbee mean? What is West Point west of? What does the Military Road have to do with the military? Our region abounds in interesting names. I will try to shed some light on a few of them.
From under the old drawbridge at the Riverwalk, the Tombigbee River looks small and peaceful as it slowly flows toward Mobile. Yet for almost 500 hundred years that location has witnessed an almost unbelievable pageant of history.
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