Thursday, May 23, 2013
Fitch addresses graduates
What a special treat it was to be able to hear Mississippi’s state treasurer, Lynn Fitch, address the Marshall Academy graduating class of 2013! She began her speech by telling the graduates, as well as a packed house, that she, too, was an alumni from Marshall Academy. Coach Tommy Gunn was there when she was a student and is currently the headmaster, which made her being there just that much more special.
She could have gone on and on about her illustrious career and coming up in the ranks as female Republican politician, but she did not. She chose to focus on the future for the students and how first impressions truly do make a difference. She also drilled home to them, as well as everyone in the audience, how very important the social media has become in today’s society.
A wise person once said to never write anything down that you do not expect the world to see. With the way the Internet is now, once it is out there, it sticks. Things you think you have deleted are still out there floating in cyberspace.
Companies research prospective employees by visiting their social media sites, colleges look deeply into that, especially the social organizations. Words and pictures last a lifetime once put on the Internet. That point has been proven time and time again.
It was so refreshing to hear someone as prestigious as Lynn Fitch talk about it, which I believe may have truly put things in perspective for some.
Peyton Lewis and John Bradford Whisenant, co-valedictorians, and Wood Morris, salutatorian, all gave very thought-provoking speeches.
They each pointed out attributes about Marshall Academy and their classmates that rang true to the spirit of graduation. It was a very special night to see all of the young men and women take their walk one last time down the center of the gym. I wish them all luck and prosperity with their future endeavors. The class of 2013 is certainly a special group who will shake it up whereever they may land in life!
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Surveyor who settles in county becomes very powerful citizen
(Continued from last week)
In 1832 the Chickasaw Indians and the United States government signed the Treaty of Pontotoc which would ultimately lead to the dispersal of the Chickasaws to a new land for them, in the Indian Nation.
As soon as was practicable after the signing of the treaty, surveyors were hired to come to the land, by then known as the Chickasaw Cession, and to begin the dividing of the lands in the cession into ranges, townships and sections, preparatory to them being offered for sale.
One of the many surveyors who came to the Chickasaw Cession to work, was Joseph Warren Matthews, who settled in Marshall County near the Marshall-Tippah County line, in what is now Benton County. Joseph Matthews was born in Laurens County, SC, August 3, 1807, and died in Palmetto, Ga., on August 27, 1862, on his way to Richmond, Va., to serve as an adviser to his old friend, Jefferson Davis.
Matthews is buried in the family cemetery on his old estate, northwest of Snow Lake. At some point in time the correct birth date and birth place of Matthews was lost, as his tombstone has a birth date of 1812 and his biographies in the state records concerning his being governor of Mississippi all have 1812, and the official records have his birthplace near Huntsville, Ala.
His family moved to Alabama in 1811. They soon bought some property within one mile of the plantation of my ancestors, Littleberry Lesueur on one side, and Lesueur’s father-in-law, Charles King, on the other side. The Lesueurs lived within about three miles of Joseph Matthews here in Marshall County.
The Matthews family had allied with the Church of Christ at an early date, in the 1790s, thus they were likely first part of the Republican Methodists, then became longtime friends of Barton Warren Stone, mentioned earlier in this article, naming Joseph Warren Matthews for their friend.
A very large number of the various Matthews family kindred were Christian Church preachers including upon occasion Joseph Matthews. His brother, James E. Matthews, living in Tishomingo County, who was also an evangelist, served in the Mississippi State Legislature, was State Auditor for a time, and then again State Auditor while his brother, Joseph, was governor of Mississippi.
Joseph Matthews became a powerful and influential citizen of Marshall County, serving as a state representative, as a state senator and subsequently as governor. He acquired a large estate of tens of thousands of acres, a substantial workforce of slaves, and a town house in Holly Springs as well as his country home near Salem.
With all the history in the Matthews family of being active members of the Church of Christ, it was inevitable that they would as soon as possible organize a congregation. Several of the original incorporators of Holly Springs who came here from Kentucky, via Paris, Tenn., were also Christian Church members, namely the Hardins.
On January 13, 1837, the Board of Police (supervisors) gave a lot for a church building, for one dollar - lot number 282, immediately behind the present Greer and White Insurance Office - to the Reformed Baptist, one of the names by which the early Church of Christ was known. John Hardin and Thomas Loving were two of the trustees.
In Oct. 1846, John and Katherine Loving Curry transferred the Reformed Baptist lot to the trustees of the Christian Church, among whom again was Thomas Loving. John Frazier, father of John Wesley Frazier, later a general in the Confederate Army, was the other trustee.
A publication in 1838 listing public buildings in Holly Springs has one listing for a Campbellite Baptist Church. Joseph Travis, a Methodist minister sent to Holly Springs in 1838, stated that when he arrived in Holly Springs the most numerous sects by far were the Campbellites.
The church apparently flourished until the Civil War, but after the war the church in the town gradually withered away, although in the southwest part of the county, and in the eastern edge of the county the church continued to prosper until the early 1900s. The Church of Christ at Thyatira, formerly on Gim Wolf Creek, then in Marshall County, is the oldest continuously operating Church of Christ in Mississippi.
Epilogue: “Today in History in Marshall County,” May 16, 1989, Eddie Lee Smith is the first African-American to be elected mayor of Holly Springs.
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