For the past two weeks, our own Holt Collier, 59, one-time slave, Confederate soldier, sharpshooter, spy, and scout, and, now, the greatest bear hunter in the south, has been tracking bear on horseback with President Teddy Roosevelt and his entourage in the canebrakes and marshes of the northeast Louisiana delta, along the Tensas River.
Richburg, MS, July 8, 1889: The boxing match of the century—after being banned in states all across the South– finally took place yesterday morning, in a secret, secluded field just north of here, as the greatest heavyweight boxer of our time, John Sullivan, knocked out one of the toughest bar room brawlers ever, Big Jake Kilrain, in the 75th grueling, bloody round. This will likely be the last heavy weight championship bare knuckle fight in these United States fought under London Prize Ring rules.
The events leading up to this controversial fight were almost as exciting as the fight itself. We’ve known, of course, the fight was going to happen for weeks, now. We just didn’t know exactly where or exactly when.
Natchez, MS, Sept. 15, 1829: The widely known, controversial Natchez, Mississippi, slave named Ibrahima, who was an actual African prince and who was freed this past January, tragically died of natural causes, in July, on the coast of Guinea before he could make the trip inland to his tribal homeland, according to trans-Atlantic sailors recently returned to Natchez from Guinea.
Yazoo City, Mississippi, May 26, 1904: A horror from the depths of Hades was unleashed on our town, yesterday, as a freakish, wind-swept fire totally obliterated our entire business district of 124 buildings, and those same flaming winds made ashes of 200 of our citizen’s homes.
But, even as Satan spewed his sparks of destruction, God was still there to protect us and provide miracles. Not one of our 7000 residents died in this horrible conflagration and only a scattered few suffered minor injuries.
These frenzied flames started innocently enough late yesterday morning in the home of Miss Pauline Wise at the corner of Mound and Commercial Streets. She was in her parlor planning her wedding when she smelled smoke and saw a tiny blaze in the corner of the room. She said she thought about stomping it out with her foot, but decided quickly to call the nearby fire department, just to be safe. Suddenly, as if from nowhere, extremely high winds struck Yazoo City. Pauline’s windows were open. The tiny fire in the corner was fanned fiercely and swiftly became an inferno, spreading throughout the house and beyond in a matter of seconds. Pauline stumbled from her home unharmed.
Jackson, Mississippi, April 5, 1952: State Representative N.S. “Soggy” Sweat, 28, of Corinth delivered a somewhat powerful, hesitatingly unequivocal speech, last night, to state elected officials and their wives at a banquet in the King Edward Hotel, here, in which he sort of emphatically described his “universal approach” to our current controversial issue of selling liquor legally in Mississippi.
Lawmakers at the Capitol have been debating legalizing liquor this entire legislative session. So far, no vote and a divided legislature.
Representative Sweat called his oration to the concerned crowd “The Whiskey Speech.” After the first half of the speech, there was stone silence for a few seconds, then a tremendous round of applause from about half the audience. The second half of the speech brought the same response from the other half of the crowd. But, through it all, “Soggy’s” youthful eyes twinkled at both the silences and the applauses.
There is no way to describe “Soggy’s” unparalleled eloquence on the subject of liquor sales in Mississippi, other than to reprint his speech in its entirety. It is brief and to the point.