Ninety-two years ago, the January 18, 1922, issue of The Neshoba Democrat reported on a recent board meeting of the Neshoba County Fair Association, and stated: "The Neshoba County Fair directors met at the fairgrounds last Thursday. All directors were present except Uncle George Mars and Editor [Clayton] Rand. A resolution was passed and carried, for the building of a grandstand. The secretary [John Huston] was authorized to obtain a blueprint for the stand. It was also decided to dig a deep well on the grounds, and work was let for ditching and grading on the race track." At a later board meeting, the directors appointed a program committee, "made up of Brown Williams, Earl Richardson, Clayton Rand, J.H. Huston and W.T. Lofton." In late June, the group met and arranged the program for the 32nd session, and also invited a corps of excellent speakers. The board received other good news concerning attendance at the 1922 Fair: "Philadelphia now has a new train, each way, daily to Meridian. The new train runs from Louisville to Meridian. The new service gives Philadelphia six trains a day."

In early 1922, the Mississippi legislature approved a special act that allowed the Neshoba County Fair Association to operate the only licensed race track in the state. After a visit to the statehouse by Association President Brown Williams, Sr. to thank the representatives and senators for their support, over fifty of the solons indicated that they would attend the 1922 session. A Neshoba Democrat scribe wrote, "T.B. Williams... has been active in advancing the Fair's cause in State and County." Just a short period after this historical approval of what became the first and only race track to exist in Mississippi's long history, the Fair Association announced another first for the Neshoba County Fair - a five day affair running from Monday, August 9, 1922 to Friday, August 13, 1922. Agricultural events, including exhibits, programs and awards, capped off by a musical presentation, dominated the first day. Educational programs and civic lessons, followed by a stage play, were the highlights of day two, Tuesday. The third and fourth day were left to the politicians and their like. The last day of the 1922 session concluded with "several prominent speakers," racing events, baseball games and the annual shareholders meeting.



One of the last items that Fair directors had to deal with was that of the concession auctions. Because of the expanded period of operations, directors expected bidding was to be "fast and furious." One director noted that historically the concession day sale was a good indicator of the attendance of the upcoming Fair. With over 800 participants doing the bidding the bidding, most said that the concession event guaranteed the best Fair in the Association's history. Director George W. Mars "cried off the concessions" with Jim Barrett winning lemonade stand number one for $73.00 and John Kindred "J.K." Gillis taking the second stand for $50.00. After learning that Scoutmaster Weaver Bridges wanted the concession as a money-making opportunity for his troop, the gracious Gillis sold his concession at his cost for the boy's project. For $20.50, J.H. Phillips took the peanut and popcorn stand, and for $78.00 extra, Phillips won drink stand number one. For the shoe-shine parlor, John Dewey Pettey, Jr.'s bid of $12.00 carried the day. Marks Pettey won a hamburger stand for $41.00, and drinks stands two and three for $81.00 and $93.00, respectively. Alek Stevens bid $46.00 for the restaurant facility, and local veterinarian, Dr. Fred "R.F." Hays' record-breaking bid of $142.00 closed out the bidding on the ice cream concession. Dr. Hays also took the rights to a new stand - auto park and parcel room-for the sum of $55.00. The fruit stand and barber shop went to Clark Crockett. Charlie Saxon, former supervisor of District One in Neshoba County, successfully bid for the Budweiser Beer Stand. One Association member remarked that for the "last few years no beer has been sold on the grounds, and the brand to be sold is the real stuff minus the alcohol."

VETERANS MEMORIES

Civil War Veterans

Crocker, Silas B. - Private; enlisted March 1, 1862, at Philadelphia, Mississippi, in Company D, 11th Mississippi Infantry Regiment; age twenty-five; Muster Roll, March-April 1862: "Sick at Ashland;" hospitalized with febris typhoides at General Hospital #21, Richmond, Virginia, May 10, 1862; died there, June 8, 1862; knapsack contained: one coat, 2 pairs of socks, one pair pants, one blanket, overcoat and no money; death claim settled for $60.93, and paid to Dorothy E. Crocker, his widow, October 2, 1862; buried in division B, row H, grave # 107 in Oakwood Cemetery at Richmond.

World War II Veterans

McMillan, Gipson Thomas - Private to Private First Class; enlisted on May 14, 1943, at Camp Shelby, Mississippi , in the United States Army; age twenty; farmer; served and trained in the American Theatre of Operations; served also in the European Theatre of Operations in a Medical Detachment with the 35th Infantry "Santa Fe" Division, Ninth United States Army; participated in the campaigns in Northern France, Rhineland, Ardennes-Alsace and Central Europe; killed in action in Germany, February 7, 1945; awarded the Purple Heart; buried in the Holy Rosary Church Cemetery, Neshoba County, Mississippi.



Philadelphia-Neshoba County Historical Museum

Steven H. Stubbs, Curator

303 Water Avenue South Philadelphia, Mississippi 39350 (601) 656-1284

10 a.m. - 3 p.m.;

Monday thru Friday