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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Jack Lamar Mayfield

Girl Scouts’ Double Decker tour visits Lamar House, UM campus

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)

University trustee Col. James Brown and student malicious mischief

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)

The Great Mississippi Bear Hunt: Circa 1902

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)

Lamar and the Taylor farm experiment

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)

Solitude: Lamar and agriculture

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)

Superhuman faith and tenacity in the face of inhuman adversity

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)

The Commodores and the Rebels: More than 11 decades of history

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)

30,000 Yankees encamped at College Hill

Stories of courage and honor surround the Yankee’s occupation in the  College Hill area after Gen. Ulysses S. Grant crossed the Tallahatchie River near Abbeville and went on to Oxford.

Grant’s second in command was Gen. William T. Sherman. He had crossed the Tallahatchie at Wyatt’s Crossing, just to the west of Abbeville, and had moved his 30,000 troops into the area around College Hill. (September 10, 2010, Page 3B)

The story of North Mississippi College

This week Oxford EAGLE columnist Jack Lamar Mayfield gives readers another lesson Lafayette County Education. Last weeks column he wrote about the formation of a new state university in which the Mississippi Legislature voted for Oxford to be the home site. This week, is about another another institution of higher learning that preceded the University of Mississippi in Lafayette County. (August 27, 2010, Page 2B)

James Alexander Ventress: The Father of Ole Miss

Mississippi House of Representatives member James Alexander Ventress, in early February of 1840, introduced a bill “to provide for the location of the State University.” He was chairman of the house committee on the seminary fund. The House passed the bill on Feb. 10 and then sent it to the state Senate. The Senate quickly passed the bill and sent it on to the Gov. Alexander G. McNutt, for him to sign into law. He signed the bill on Feb. 20, 1840. (August 20, 2010, Page 3B)

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