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 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)
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)
This week, local historian and columnist Jack Lamar Mayfield writes about a young man from Alabama who made Ole Miss his home and forever became an honored member of the Ole Miss family — Roy Lee “Chucky” Mullins.
It was just a short 21 years ago that Chucky was a vibrant, 20-year-old member of the Ole Miss football squad. He had worked his way onto the Ole Miss team with exceptional ability that Coach Billy Brewer had seen when he was first introduced to Chucky. (September 24, 2010, Page 2B)
Local historian Jack Lamar Mayfield takes a look back at the Ole Miss-Vanderbilt football series, writing about the first few meetings between the two schools and then taking a look at a notable 1947 meeting when John Vaught’s Rebels overcame an early-season loss to the Commodores to win the Southeastern Conference championship. (September 17, 2010, Page 4B)