The following article was read by Sally Denton before a community gathering at the County Library at Marks, on June 12, 1936:
“Within the past several weeks some very happy and interesting observations relative to Quitman County have been made. There are many traditions in regard to the first settlements, and different stories have come to us of the Indians, and how the mysterious mounds, which dot the county promiscuously, indicate that another civilization was here in prehistoric times. The name, ‘Coldwater,’ as applied to the river which flows through and drains a good portion of the county, may have been suggested from one of two sources: First, that the river has it’s origin from a group of very cold springs just over, or on the Tennessee border line and was consequently referred to as Coldwater River; the other, as given by Judge M.E. Denton to Mr. Moreland was, that in winter the Mississippi River would bear down on it’s breast great floes of ice from the frozen Northland; the water flowing through the Yazoo Pass into Coldwater River would float ice that way. Thus, while the other rivers of Mississippi were free from the floes, this little stream would present the unusual spectacle of floating ice. The Indians, ever ready with suggestions, called this river by an Indian name, which, in English, meant ‘Coldwater.’ Since the construction of the levees, preventing the waters of the Mississippi from passing that way, there are no longer ice floes in Coldwater, but the significant name still remains to remind annalists of a period in Mississippi’s history which has been altered by the ingenuity of man.
“So much for tradition and sentiment, but, just now, we are interested in facts — how our county came to be, and its development. It was organized February 1, 1877, portions of Panola, Tunica, Coahoma, and Tallahatchie counties, respectively, being taken for the formation of the new county. In a recent chart, county government, roads, transportation, industries, education, and health were discussed as the outstanding factors in the development of the county, and as we studied these subjects we were pleased to note unusual progress, and we would like to pass these findings on to you in statistical form, but time forbids. Suffice it to say that, from the beginning, we have had a wise and prudent Government; roads and transportation have improved with drainage and gravel, with a sprinkle of concrete; standards of education have been brought up from a one-teacher, non-graded school, to well classified ones, taught by skilled or well paid teachers, with brick buildings equipped in an up-to-date way for teaching, not only of regular courses, but many extra curricula subjects. Then, we have come from insect infested (principally, flies and mosquitoes) period, when there were no screens and disease was rampant to the time when we are taking every precautionary measure conductive to good health. Where we once had driven pumps, we now have artesian wells, over fifty in the county; and where we once had our faithful old country doctor who sometimes would get to you, bringing his pills, etc., in his saddle pockets, a day or so after he was notified that he was needed, we now have drug stores, hospitals, part time nurses, and a County Health Officer.”
“In the field of industry we go back to the time of timber cutting and floating logs down the river to market, and after the land was cleared came farming, principally cotton, and the raising of chickens and hogs for family consumption engaged our people. In olden times, cotton was ginned by mule power–now we have electric gins.”
“In 1917 there were five lumber plants at Crowder, employing men, with a payroll of $10,000 weekly. There were, also, two barrel factories, and Mr. Phelps owned and operated a stave factory successfully at Marks. Among present industries are: The Quitman County Meat Curing Plant, Hatcheries, and Ice Factory.”
“In conclusion, we would pay homage to those who successfully blazed the trail and who have given us an inheritance of which we are justly proud–QUITMAN COUNTY.”
Works Progress Administration for Mississippi, Source Material for Mississippi History, Quitman County, Vol. LX, Compiled by State-Wide Historical Research Project, Susie V. Powell, State Supervisor, Illustrated 1936-1938, pages 9-10.
Mississippi flag; photo by Richard Threlkeld on Flickr (noncommercial use permitted with attribution / share alike).
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