About [Calhoun] City History
Taken From County’s Story
(Editor’s Note—The following are excerpts from
“Studies in Mississippi History, Course 312;
Mary Lou Peyton, Instructor;
Mississippi State College for Women, Columbus, Miss.: 1935-1936: Vol. 1,”
The contents were written by Students at MSCW from Calhoun County.)
Written by Carolyn Murphree Backstrom
The railroad, which
brought into existence the Town of Calhoun City, was to be built from Okolona
to a mile or two beyond the little town of Derma; so the new town of Calhoun
City was started in 1905. All of this took its tool [toll] of old Pittsboro.
Mr. Going moved his “Dixie-Herald”
to Calhoun City. Merchants moved to the new
towns located on the railroad. Calhoun City got a good start and grew steadily. Early in 1908, Dennis and Stanley Murphree
purchased the Progressive Farmer outfit or printing plant, which was then
located at Starkville, Mississippi. J. Walter Jacobs took the
plant to Calhoun City and became editor of The Calhoun Clipper. The Clipper was not a
success. The new town was wild, advertising was slow and Mr. Jacobs gave up the publication after
about a year. The Murphree Brothers
moved the outfit into their printing office. The Calhoun Monitor, at Pittsboro.
The Spring and Summer
of 1920 continued in the same vein as 1919, but the autumn brought a panic.
Prices tumbled; money became scarce. Early in 1920, the Murphree Brothers bought The Dixie Herald,
published at Calhoun City by Hon. J. B. Going. They
leased this paper to Grady Cook, who
edited it. In 1921, Grady Cook
bought The Calhoun Monitor and The Dixie Herald,
and moving The Monitor machinery to Calhoun City, he consolidated the two papers under the name of The Monitor-Herald.
In 1922, Stanley Murphree
became editor of The Monitor-Herald, which the Murphree Brothers had purchased from Grady Cook. The paper has continued under the same editor and ownership
since that time.
However, in October,
1923, The Farmer’s Bank of Pittsboro closed its doors and went into the hands
of receivers. This placed Calhoun County in a bad position and hurt business. There
were, though, two banks in Calhoun City by this time – The Calhoun County Bank,
a branch of the Grenada Bank, of which Mr. J. T. Thomas was President; and the Peoples Bank, which was controlled by
The Calhoun City Community club was organized in 1925. One of the first undertakings of
the Club was improving and beautifying the town. Other equally important matters
were taken up as the necessity became apparent.
The Know Mississippi Better Train, founded by Dennis Murphree made its first tour in the
summer of 1925. Stanley Murphree
and I. R. Bradshaw
were Calhoun’s official representatives on this Train which was activated to
About this time, Fred Marshall founded a power and light
plant in Calhoun City, which was of real value in bringing electric conveniences into the
homes and businesses of the town. About a year later, probably 1927, the Inland
Utilities established a power and light office at the City and constructed
power lines from Eupora to Calhoun City. In 1928, the Mississippi Power Company
took over the office and lines and built additional lines over much of the rest
of the county. Several years later The Natchez Trace Electric Power Association
took over the business that had been operated in South Calhoun County by the
Mississippi Power Company and proceeded to electrify the rural areas of the
entire Southern part of Calhoun. This
transaction has proved a great asset to Calhoun City and other towns of the county. TVA power and light rates are low and
have proved a great inducement to industry to local areas served by the TVA.
In 1929, came the
panic and the crash of Wall Street. The really bad effects of the depression
did not reach the South until later. Around 1930 and 1931 two banks in Calhoun
failed—the Peoples Bank of Calhoun City and The Bank of Derma. The Calhoun
County Bank, of Calhoun City, the Bank of Bruce and the Bank of Vardaman
weathered the storm of the depression and have gained in assets and in business
expansion since the depression.
The story of this
panic is the same as many others, although this one was the worst that the
county had ever suffered. Money was scarce, people were thrown out of
employment and business was in bad condition. Many thousands saw their entire
savings of a lifetime swept away in a few weeks or months.
The Democrats won the
election in 1932, putting Franklin D. Roosevelt
in office with the feeling of “let’s do something about this depression.” President Roosevelt upon inauguration immediately and boldly began his “New
Deal” plans by calling a banking holiday in March, 1933. Every bank in the
county was closed, and people were frightened. However, the banks were soon
open for business again. Calhoun enthusiastically followed the President’s
About this time, a
Civilian Conservation Corps Camp was located between Calhoun City and Derma. The CCC
workers were put to work on reforestation and soil conservation jobs. They
built two look-out towers for fire prevention in the county—One near Wardwell
and the other on the summit of Gauley Mountain. This work was the forerunner of the fine system of forestry work now
being done in the county.
The American Legion
Auxiliary through the Works Project Administration, procured funds to build a
Legion “Hut” and park in the suburbs of Calhoun City, which has been used “not only by the Legion and Auxiliary, but for many
public gatherings and picnics.”
Following is a
population summary of Calhoun County for the years 1860 to 1930.
Historical Events Taken From The Town’s Records
June 4, 1912 – The Charter of the Town of Calhoun City was recorded.
July 7, 1912 – Lee Martin
was awarded a contract to work the streets of Calhoun City. Contract called for 6 mules and grader to work 10 hours per day, at
$14.00 per day.
August 6, 1912 – An
ordinance was passed regulating the putting down and construction of sidewalks
in and for the Town of Calhoun City, Mississippi.
18, 1912 –
A meningitis epidemic was declared by the Mayor and Board of Aldermen. It was
decided that quarantine was unnecessary.
March 4, 1913 – The Mayor
and Board of Aldermen passed a resolution, declaring that a sidewalk was
necessary from the south side of Railway Avenue north to the south side of the public square and
a contract was awarded to H. L. Bowlin &
Son. Total cost was $1,917.58.
23, 1913 –
C. V. Beadles was awarded a contract
by the Mayor and Board of Aldermen to move 3,336 cubic yards of dirt from the Town Square at 24 cents per cubic yard. This was
grading work, which removed a knoll from the center of the public square. (We
have been told that much of this dirt was used to fill up a pond in the lots
where The Monitor-Herald building now stands.)
May 6, 1913 – E. A. Boland,
J. B. Going, and J. A. Clements were appointed Election
Commissioners to hold a Special Municipal Election on Tuesday, May 20, 1913 to elect a Marshal to fill the vacancy
caused by the resignation of E. C. Hardin.
June 3, 1913 – An order was adopted by the City Fathers
in which “The County Board of Supervisors were given the privilege of building a good road
through the corporation of Calhoun City.”
1913 – Tax levy for Town
of Calhoun City was fixed at 10 Mills on the dollar.
May 4, 1915 – H. O. Burson
was allowed $97.00 out of the General Fund for work done on the mineral well.
May 4, 1915 – An
ordinance was adopted that no motor car, motorcycle, automobile or other
conveyance propelled by gas or steam, or any other conveyance, or any horse or
other animal, “shall be driver or ridden at a greater rate of speed than eight
miles per hour through or over the streets and highways within the corporate
limits of the town of Calhoun City Mississippi.”
September 7, 1915 – W. G.
Baldwin was given permission to
erect, construct, maintain and operate a telephone system in Calhoun City,
February 1, 1916 – Mrs. W. O. Lawrence was allowed $24.00 for two months’ teacher’s pay.
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