Playing Santa Claus is one of Jack Mayfield’s favorite things to do during the holidays. This week in Oxford Living, the historian takes a break from Oxford’s history to tell us why having a long white beard makes for the perfect Santa Claus. (December 17, 2010, Page 3B)
Historian Jack Lamar Mayfield writes this week about the invasion of Oxford by Union forces just before Christmas in 1862. (December 10, 2010, Page 2B)
Columnist Jack Lamar Mayfield talks about Oxford’s first community Christmas tree that was erected at the Memory House on University Avenue. (December 3, 2010, Page 2B)
Oxford historian Jack Mayfield takes us back to the beginnings of the Egg Bowl in 1901 when the two teams finally came together for the in-state rivalry that continues today. (November 25, 2010, Page 2B)
Oxford Living columnist and local historian Jack Lamar Mayfield writes about spending time with a local Girl Scout troop as they tour Oxford and the University of Mississippi on the Double Decker bus. (November 19, 2010, Page 3B)
We have all read or have heard stories about malicious mischief by college students around the United States. The students of the University of Mississippi have also, over the years, been accused of perpetrating mischief during their years on campus. The following is an event that happened in April of 1852. It concerns one of the first trustees of the Ole Miss, Col. James Brown, and his horse, while it was hitched in front of the Lyceum.
First I would like to give you a little background on Col. James Brown. Brown came to Lafayette County in 1836 and was an extensive purchaser of Indian lands in the county. He paid $11,040 for 11 and a half sections of land by 1837. A section of land is 640 acres.
This was in the first two years after the Chickasaw lands were opened up for sale by the government. His purchases were widely scattered over the area, but mostly located in those parts of the county where large land purchasers were operating. His holdings were considered extensive for the day as they would be today.
Brown being one of the original setters of Lafayette County and one of the wealthiest landowners, was elected to the Board of Trustees of the university in 1846. He was very active in the governance of the university and served as a trustee until 1870, when the Republican legislature reorganized the board. (November 12, 2010, Page 2B)
When we have a football weekend in Oxford and the University of Mississippi, I usually write about the team we are playing. We do not have much of a history with our opponent this weekend so I have decided to write about the first of many All-Americans who have played for Ole Miss. He was a man who never strayed far from Ole Miss after he made his way to Oxford in the 1930s. When you think of Ole Miss football, Bruiser Kinard is at the forefront of players and coaches who come to mind.
Forty-four years after Ole Miss fielded its first football team, we would have our first All-American. Frank Manning Kinard had first been invited to play college football for the University of Alabama. He had been an outstanding high school player at Rolling Fork High School and had made the All-Southern high school team as a tackle. Coach Frank Thomas had Kinard come to Alabama at the start of his freshman year in 1934.
Kinard’s stay at Alabama would be short lived. When he got to the campus, the coach found out Kinard had married in his senior year of high school. Coach Thomas said to Kinard, “I sure do appreciate your coming over here but we have two married players now and they haven’t panned out.” He left Alabama and Martin Miller of Meridian and Clyde Hester of Jackson collaborated to get the young married athlete into Ole Miss. Webb Burke, an assistant coach, rented part of his house to Kinard and his wife. This would be the beginning of a life-long marriage of Ole Miss and Frank Manning Kinard. (November 5, 2010, Page 2B)
President Theodore Roosevelt was exhausted from mediating a solution to the strike by the United Mine Workers in the coal fields of America. T.R. was in need of a short vacation and this hunt would produce what Brinkley calls the most popular toy ever manufactured — the Teddy Bear.
He decided to accept a long-stranding invitation to come to Mississippi for the bear-hunting season. He had recently invited Booker T. Washington to a dinner at the White House and some Southerners had vilified him for this invitation. Thus his trip to Mississippi did have somewhat of a political overtone. One of his hosts was Stuyvesant Fish, the president of the Illinois Central Railroad. He wrote to Fish, “My experience is that to try to combine a hunt and a picnic, generally means a poor picnic and always a spoiled hunt. Every additional man on a hunt tends to hurt it. Of course I am only going because I want to hunt and do see I get the first bear without fail.” Little did he know how he would be presented the first black bear of their hunt. (October 29, 2010, Page 2B)
In the early 1880s, L.Q.C. Lamar was thinking about retirement from public life. He started purchasing land in the small town of Taylor, just south on Oxford. By 1882, he had acquired 550 acres along the Mississippi Central Railroad. On a hill overlooking the farm, he had a small wooden frame home built in the New England farmhouse style. There were also barns and shelters for the stock, and a dairy barn.
He wrote to his farm manager, William Knight, “that place is to be my future home at the end of my services here, I shall go to that place and spend the remainder of my life. You see, therefore, that you are not merely in charge of a nice farm and fine stock, but that you will contribute much to my future comfort.” (October 22, 2010, Page 2B)
L.Q.C. Lamar is known nationally as a congressman, senator, Secretary of the Interior and associate justice of the United States Supreme Court, but he is not known for his interest in, and ownership of, farming operations. In 1854, Lamar was living in his home state of Georgia. He had established a law firm in Macon but he did not have any use for his extensive slave holdings. (October 15, 2010, Page 3B)