Thursday, July 19, 2007
Salem Bridge - an important bridge
We are working frantically at the Marshall County Museum collecting and writing all the fabulous history of Red Banks and north Marshall County. We are aiming at having this new book out by Thanksgiving and we know it will be wonderful. The name of it will be “The History of Red Banks and North Marshall County and her Indigenous Recipes.” We have a few blank spots yet to fill if you care to be in the book or have your family in the book and remember, a picture speaks 10,000 words.
The book is the last in a series that the museum has been producing on local history and personalities called Windows to the history of the county. Windows I was on the beautiful and unusual architecture of Holly Springs; Windows II was on the history of Holly Springs; Windows III was on the history of Southeast Marshall County and Potts Camp; Windows IV was on the history of Southwest Marshall County and Byhalia. This one will be Windows V.
All the books have 300 recipes in the back of the book, and all the recipes came from this part of the world. We have another book, “Childhood in Holly Springs,” which was a collection of my columns in The South Reporter. All these books are for sale at the museum.
The museum advertises with Triple AAA and has a four-star rating with them so we have visitors from all over the world. It is a thrill when I think of people across the ocean reading about us and how great we are.
We plan eventually to move back to our original building at 220 College Avenue. However right now, though it has been renovated there isn’t any heat or air and I’m addicted to both (aren’t you?)
Do you remember Betty Williams Ulmer Weathersby? She is the beautiful vivacious, redheaded daughter of Pauline and Harry Williams. After the column in the paper about the 1919 Ingram trail, she wrote to say that Rube Ford was the sheriff at the time and that her grandfather was his deputy. Her grandfather Ed Williams was brought to Holly Springs to be Mr. Ford’s jailer/deputy. He went out with Sheriff Ford to arrest someone for making whiskey. Someone shot out of the house and blinded him forevermore. The county made up a fund as there were no pensions or disability of any kind in those days and bought him a house and a store.
The house was located just over Salem Bridge on the north side. After Mr. Williams and his wife lived here, the Tomlinsons owned the house. Now the house is gone with the wind in the name of progress.
Salem Bridge has been in the same spot, straddling the railroad since 1857 when the railroad was built. There was never any effort to make it beautiful as only the railroad workers could see it. It has been replaced once or twice. This is one of the routes southern General Earl Van Dorn came in on from Ripley when he made his famous raid on the town on December 20, 1862.
Millions of people have driven over that all important bridge in the last 150 years. It was really smart to build that bridge as it would have been so hard to cross traffic while dodging the trains. There was another bridge which was hump-backed and it was located below Salem Bridge, but it was torn down about 60 years ago in the name of progress when someone was hanged on it. Consequently, the street died when it had no bridge. It was picturesque.
The railroad bridge spanning Old Highway 78 South had possibilities of being beautiful but although the bridge is still there, the main traffic doesn’t move in that direction anymore and people’s attention is elsewhere. The Highway 7 North bridge is still beautiful and intact but now needs to be enlarged as the traffic out there has increased so much.
During World War II, I remember a bunch of us kids, Doc Cochran, George Rather and others who were fixing to go to War, had a watermelon cutting on that bridge and a troop train was passing underneath at that time. It was so long ago and so unreal that it’s had to imagine.
We have three bridges, three railroads, and no rivers. We are the hills. Holly Springs is one of the highest elevations in the state as we are 550 feet above sea level. We are the last of the Appalachian mountain chain. One of the things the early settlers loved about Mississippi was that there were very few rocks, just virgin timber which they could cut and use.
Because we have so few rocks, when the trees were cut and the cotton planted, we began to wash away to the Gulf of Mexico and it formed huge, deep gullies. Finally we imported the kudzu plant from Japan and now the gullies have ceased.
My herb lady said that the kudzu plant will be the cure of cancer as it is made of selenium. Everyone with cancer has it because he has no selenium in his system (that’s why he has cancer.) Selenium is a poison and kills the cancer cells as they start. Take your selenium today and everyday. They are in the vitamin section at the store. It’ll save you lots of troubles and doesn’t cost much.
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