Thursday, April 22, 2010
‘A wonderful weekend’
By SUE WATSON
Holly Springs was richly blessed with interesting activities and lots of visitors over the weekend.
The skies smiled on the city as hundreds of out-of-town visitors to the 72nd Pilgrimage mixed with locals participated in several events Friday through Sunday. There was a “grand reopening” at the Marshall County Historical Museum, a Case knife show at Booker Hardware and lots of arts and craft offerings on the courthouse square. South of town, Holly Springs Motor Sports was packed. Civil War era re-enactors, including General Ulysses S. Grant (Dr. E.C. Fields, Jr.) added a historical dimension to the occasion.
Summing up the week’s activities, Kathy Elgin, president of the Holly Springs Garden Club, said all events were well attended.
“Overall, it was a great Pilgrimage,” she said. “The weather was gorgeous and the town looked absolutely beautiful.”
Elgin said more than 700 tickets were purchased for the tour of homes (over the three-day period). Other events were also well attended – nearly 300 for Saturday night’s Montrose Under the Moonlight and nearly 300 for Jill Conner Brown’s appearance at Sunday’s “Sweet Potato Queen Fling.”
“We are very grateful to Jill for waiving her usual speaking fee to help us in our efforts to raise money for Montrose’s upkeep,” Elgin said.
Saturday the “Hoopskirts on the Highway” 5K race had about 50 participants. “We were honored that alderman Calvin James and state representative Kelvin Buck joined in,” she said.
More than 300 people enjoyed the “Plant it Pink” luncheon at Montrose Friday and Saturday. Guests enjoyed the menu and received a packet of pink flower seeds so they could go home and “plant it pink” to be a very visible reminder of breast cancer awareness. A portion of the luncheon’s proceeds will be donated to the “Plant it Pink” fund, a joint project of the National Garden Clubs Inc. and the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation.
A Pilgrimage “preview’ Thursday was enjoyed by a group of about 120 gifted students from Union County Schools. They are studying architecture and chose to visit Holly Springs to see many of the styles they have studied. They toured Christ Episcopal Church, the Church of the Yellow Fever Martyrs Museum, Cuffawa and Montrose. After lunch at Montrose, Nancy Gentry (author of “Rebel in Petticoats”) spoke to the students and signed copies of her books.
“It was a wonderful weekend for Holly Springs,” Elgin said. “We are so thankful and appreciative for all who took part in the weekend festivities and helped in so many ways to show the world a bit of Southern hospitality and the treasures of Holly Springs.
“A big thank you goes out to the Holly Springs High School Ensemble, the HSHS Honor Guard, Annie Moffitt, Mayor Andre’ DeBerry, and Senator Bill Stone for making Friday’s ribbon-cutting ceremony extra special.
“I don’t have a complete list of where all visitors came from but I know we had some from Minnesota, California, Arkansas, Tennessee, Alabama, Kentucky, Michigan, Utah, Ohio, Florida, and Canada,” Elgin said.
Jonathan Moore, with Booker Hardware Cutlery, said the Case Historian Tour on the square Saturday “went well.”
“Everyone had a good time,” he said.
The Marshall County Historical Museum held a grand reopening at noon Saturday with prominent citizens and elected officials filling the courtyard for lofty speeches followed by a tour of the museum.
The occasion was blessed by BridgeWay Baptist Church minister Gary Adams, who thanked the Lord for the vision of the Marshall County Board of Supervisors (present and past) in saving the old Mississippi Synodical College for Women building which in the past 40 years has served as the museum. Saturday was the 40th birthday of the museum.
“The museum’s influence reaches beyond its immediate surroundings,” Adams said in asking God’s blessings on the museum and community. “Were it not for the preservation of history, we would not know who we are.”
The restoration of the museum is “a cause of jubilation,” curator Lois Swaney Shipp said. Almost the entire 100,000 items in the museum come from Marshall County.
She thanked the board of supervisors and other elected officials and county workers who helped with the restoration and moving of contents out then back in.
“These men (supervisors) had a vision and they could see what the museum would mean to the county,” she said. “It’s fantastic. Unreal. There was never a cross word and they made the museum look like a million dollars.”
Larry Hall, county administrator, praised Shipp.
“This lady had the vision,” he said. “She came to me several years ago and said ‘We must get through.’ I said, ‘Trust me. We are going to make it.’ ”
Funds from the Appalachian Regional Commission in Washington and the Mississippi Department of Archives and History helped pay for the restoration, the installation of an elevator, and making the building handicap accessible (Americans With Disabilities Act).
“She shed tears and was so persistent that this was done,” Hall continued. “She said, ‘I’m so tired. I just don’t think I’m gong to live to see it done.’ Guess what? Here we are!”
Mayor DeBerry of Holly Springs praised Shipp for her untiring efforts.
“Nobody knows the history like Lois Swaney Shipp,” he said. “She ever keeps the history before us. You could lose yourself in the history. From the Civil War to Civil Rights, Marshall County and Holly Springs were at the forefront of it all. Thank you for keeping it going.”
U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, who recited his ancestors who had origins in Marshall County, spoke of family roots. Wicker’s great-great-grandfather, Caswell Drake Wicker, was laid to rest in a cemetery near Potts Camp, he said.
He noted that General U.S. Grant let soldiers take their horses back home after the war.
“We appreciate some things people may not know about Gen. Grant,” he said.
Grant’s records, which had been housed at the University of Southern Illinois, are now housed at Mississippi State University, he said, and noted that the first African American to serve in the United States Senate, Hiram Revels, lived in Holly Springs and his remains are interred at Hill Crest Cemetery. Revels was appointed to the Senate following the Civil War.
“It’s all a part of our heritage,” he said.
He praised those who have helped preserve the old Presbyterian women’s college School.
“I commend all the people who persevered to insist this building not be torn down - to save it as part of our heritage.”
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