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Tallahatchie County Mississippi

Tuscahoma The village of Tuscahoma was situated about twelve miles northwest of Grenada. Some of its early mercantile firms were: Girault & McRea, Campbell & Adams, and Tulson & Company. Mr. and Mrs. Williams kept a hotel there at an early date. Geo. W. Martin, an intimate friend of Gen. Andrew Jackson, lived near this place. Its population at the time of its greatest prosperity was about three hundred. In 1836 it was incorporated by an act of the Legislature. It became extinct about 1850.

A newspaper. The Tuscahomian, was published at that place in 1835. In the same year a ferry was established there by A. L. Campbell. The first license, granted by the authorities of Tallahatchie county, to sell spirituous and intoxicating liquors led to the establishment of a saloon at Tuscahoma (Jan., 1835). This privilege cost the princely sum of $15.00. The second road in Tallahatchie County was "viewed out" between Pharsalia and Tuscahoma, both of which are now extinct.67

Pharsalia68 In 1833 or '34 the town of Pharsalia sprang into existence. It was located on the south bank of the Yacona River, in the northeastern part of Tallahatchie County, a few miles from Harrison Station, on the Illinois Central (formerly Mississippi and Tennessee) railroad. At the time of its greatest prosperity it had seven or eight stores, a blacksmith shop, and several grog shops. At that time its population numbered about two hundred. Among its citizens were Dr. Broome, Dr. Shegog, J. Hunter, and Augustus B. Saunders. The last of these was for several years (18371842) Auditor of Public Accounts of Mississippi. Two Methodist ministers, Goode and Keeland, and two teachers, James McClain and Eugene Stevens, 'lived here at an early date. Col. Thomas B. Hill and Charles Bowen also lived near this place.

Early in the 30's Pharsalia was almost depopulated by an epidemic of smallpox, from which it never recovered. The place received another severe blow through the financial panic of 1837. It struggled along, however, until its death, which occurred in 1842. The site of this place is now part of a cultivated field belonging to Mr. R. R. Martin. There is still an old cemetery close by.

Among the amusements for which Pharsalia was especially noted were horse races and shooting matches on Saturdays, and gander pullings** on Christmas days. This place was the scene of many memorable political debates. One of the most interesting of these took place between John A. Quitman and Henry S. Foote. Quitman, being the first speaker, finished his address and left. Foote then arose and alluded to Quitman's action in the following words: "This reminds me of the days of old, when Caesar stood on the plains of Pharsalia and viewed the retreating Pompey. I, like Caesar, am left victorious at Pharsalia." This created great enthusiasm for Foote.

Tillatoba69 The town of Tillatoba, which was located about a mile northwest of Charleston, was at one time the county seat of Tallahatchie County. It was a village of one hundred or one hundred and fifty inhabitants at the time of its greatest prosperity, and had a half dozen stores, grog shops, etc. As the land on which this town was located had a defective title, the county seat was removed about 1837 across Tillabota creek to Charleston. The name Tillatoba still survives in a small station on the Illinois Central (formerly Mississippi and Tennessee) railroad, though there is not a vestige of the old town left. W. H. Carothers, a merchant, Trewalla, a tailor from North Carolina, and Dr. Coleman, were at one time citizens of Tillatoba.

An aristocratic old gentleman from South Carolina, by the name of Roup, settled in Panola county near Tillatoba, in the 30*s. He had been a friend and neighbor of Calhoun and McDufiie before seeking his fortune in Mississippi, and was an ardent Democrat. In the fall of '37, Sargent S. Prentiss, the young Whig candidate for Congress, made his brilliant tour of North Mississippi, delivering speeches in the interest of his party. When it was announced that Prentiss would speak in the court house at Tillatoba, Mr. Roup, who felt very much humiliated to learn that no Democrat dared to speak against this Whig candidate, declared with a pompous air that he would answer the young man himself. Before the hour for speaking arrived Mr. Roup had sent his servant to the court house with a supply of stationery to be used in preparing to demolish Mr. Prentiss. When Mr. Prentiss began to speak Mr. Roup was in the audience with pages of stationery before him. He dipped his pen in ink and raised it with a flourish as if he were ready to pounce upon his prey. Being attracted by the first utterances of Mr. Prentiss, Mr. Roup sat, holding his pen poised before him, entirely oblivious of the fact that his friends expected to hear him take the young speaker sharply to task for his utterances. At the conclusion of a speech of three hours, Mr. Prentiss took his seat amid the deafening applause of his audience. Scarcely had the noise ceased when Mr. Roup, realizing that he would be expected to say something, arose and made the following remarks, addressed to Mr. Prentiss: "Young man, I came here to answer you, but since hearing you speak, I'll be damned if I don't vote for you myself."

Locopolis The town of Locopolis, the first shipping point in Tallahatchie County, was situated on the west bank of the Tallahatchie River, about ten miles west of the present town of Charleston. Locopolis was a large shipping point for cotton in the 30's. In March, 1837, an appropriation of $2,000 was made to build a turnpike from that place to Holly Grove. In 1839 a road was "viewed out" along the township line from Locopolis to the county line, and the privilege was granted to establish a ferry at Locopolis. In 1840 the Locopolis turnpike was leased to a company of gentlemen, who in return for their services in extending it were "allowed to charge one dollar for the passage of a wagon or a double carriage, fifty cents for a cart, six and one-fourth cents for a 'horseback rider,' and three cents each for footmen." In March, 1852, the Charleston and Locopolis railroad was chartered by a special act of the Legislature, and in June of the same year "the county by a vote of 152 to 80 instructed the Police Court to subscribe $10,000 to the stock of said road. The records do not show the final disposition of this matter.''70

In 1842, or the year following, Col. James Bailey counted in one day about a hundred loaded wagons going into Locopolis. This town also carried on an extensive trade through the Yazoo Pass. There were during the days of its greatest prosperity as many as thirty or forty flatboats and keel boats in the river in front of Locopolis at the same time. It was hoped at one time that this town would be a rival of the city of Memphis.

Its inconvenience as a shipping point and the frequent inundations of the Mississippi probably caused its decay. Before the outbreak of the War Between the States the site of Locopolis was in cultivation. Since that time it has been covered by a thick growth of trees and shrubs.

Extinct Towns| AHGP Mississippi

Footnotes:
67. Article on the "Early Days in Tallahatchie," published in The Democratic Herald (Charleston, Mississippi) April 25, 1901.
68. The information upon which this sketch is based was furnished to the writer by Col. James Bailey, of Oxford, Mississippi, and Messrs. Nelson McCleod and John M. Kuykendall, of Harrison Station, Mississippi.
69. The information contained in this sketch was derived from Col. James Bailey, of Oxford, Mississippi, and Capt. W. S. Eskridge, of Charleston, Mississippi.
70. Article entitled "Early Days in Tallahatchie' published in The Democratic Herald (Charleston, Mississippi), April 25, 1 901.
**Goose Pulling (also called gander pulling, goose riding or pulling the goose) was a blood sport practiced in parts of the Netherlands, Belgium, England and North America from the 17th to the 19th centuries. The sport involved fastening a live goose with a well-greased head to a rope or pole that was stretched across a road. A man riding on horseback at a full gallop would attempt to grab the bird by the neck in order to pull the head off. Sometimes a live hare was substituted. (from Webmaster Research)

Source: The Mississippi Historical Commission Publications, Volume V, Edited by Franklin L. Riley,
Secretary, 1902.

 

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