As the new year dawned in DeSoto County, folks from Rabbit Ridge to Frog Mountain were busy the last week of December 1960 as they swept away tinsel and got out their party hats in time for New Year’s Eve. Times-Promoter columnist Mills Barbee quoted a line from Alfred Lloyd Tennyson:
“Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky;
The flying cloud, the frosty light,
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out wild bells, and let him die.”
Barbee, whose popular column, “Ramblin’ Remarks,” was regularly featured in the Times-Promoter, the predecessor to the DeSoto Times-Tribune, penned the following observation:
“From Center Hill and Smokey Hollow to the Mississippi River and from the state line to Coldwater River, DeSoto County has localities and communities with picturesque and colorful names like Bull Frog Corner, Rabbit Ridge, Dark Corner, Owl Hoot, Frog Mountain, Jaybird, Love, Pleasant Hill, Oak Grove, Poplar Corner and Cedar View.”
Barbee went on to note that Pigeon Roost Creek was given its name from the thousands of pigeons that once roosted there. Mussacunna Creek was named for the Chickasaw Warrior who lived along Robertson Gin Road and was known for his vast rows of maize corn that stretched as far as the eye could see. Barbee also noted there was a “Plum Point” and “Possum Trot.”
The Hernando Bank also wished everyone a “Happy New Year,” that week in 1960:
“A New Year arrives … and new horizons stretch before us. We look to 1961 with confidence that it will approve abundantly rewarding in solid achievement, steadfast progress, enduring peace and plenty for all. To all our good friends and neighbors, we extend New Year’s greetings, with the wish that your personal universe may be filled with the riches of health, contentment, love and good fellowship.”
Thieves were busy the last few days of 1960 in their attempt to steal the joy of Christmas. Would-be burglars at the Horn Lake School used an electric drill to bore a hole in the metal door of the vault at the school. The combination dial was knocked off but the prospective thieves were apparently scared away before their heist was successful. A heavy safe at the W.H. Hurt Grocery in Horn Lake was smashed and $300 taken. The incident was being investigated, according to Chief Deputy Burmah Hobbs, Sr.
Front page news also included the announcement that tentative plans had been initiated for a new Catholic Church on Holly Springs Road (now Commerce Street) between the Standard Oil Co. plant and the school bus depot.
In 1960, the Southaven Land Company, a group of developers from Memphis, had a vision for future development. The first working name for the development was South Whitehaven, which was soon shortened to Southaven.
That last week of 1960, the folks at the Times-Promoter reminded readers that the hometown newspaper was “like the rising and setting of the sun — and is a vital part of our everyday living.”
Happy New Year from the Time Traveler and please come see us at your award-winning DeSoto County Museum, 111 E. Commerce Street in Hernando.
ROBERT LEE LONG is Cuator of the DeSoto County Museum.