The Senior Adult Group members of East Philadelphia Baptist Church are always doing something fun and interesting.  Their latest activity was no exception.  On Tuesday, Feb. 21, twenty-one members boarded the church bus for a “mystery trip!”  The two hour journey northward ended as they topped a hill on Highway 17 and gazed down into the valley where the town of Mayberry, RFD lay spread out below.  Of course it was the little town of Carrollton, but one would not be surprised to see Andy and Barney drive by in a '61 Ford patrol car, for the town seemed lost in time!  The mystery of the trip was solved.

Carrollton once had a population of 2,400, but has shrunk to 200, and is listed as one of Mississippi's most endangered places.  Unlike many Mississippi towns, Carrollton never “reinvented” itself.  The town was chartered in 1834 and most of the buildings were constructed between then and 1900 and have changed very little since that time. The Civil War had no effect on Carrollton because it was remote and of no strategic importance.

Two members of the Carrollton Pilgrimage Association, Mrs. Pam Lee and Dr. Bernard Turner were the tour guides for the group.  The tour began in the court house which appears much as it did when constructed in 1876.  The only modern touches visible were the addition of an elevator and computer screens on desks.  The next stop was the Merrell Museum, housed in one of Carrollton's oldest buildings, erected in 1834.  This small brick structure has served many functions through the years, including a dry-goods store, interim court house (while a new one was being built to replace the original that was burned by a losing candidate), a laundry, and a coffin factory!  

Dr. Turner then led a walking tour that included two churches available for tours, the Methodist Church built in 1885, and the Presbyterian built in 1897.  Grace Episcopal Church was erected in 1884, but was not open for tours.  These three churches have maintained their original appearance, but their congregations are small and the members are elderly.  Mrs. Lee gave a lecture on the bus for those unable to take the walking tour.

A driving tour of the town was next where they viewed numerous beautiful antebellum homes and sites.  Many of these were used as backdrops for the numerous movies shot in Carrollton, ranging from “The Rievers” in 1969 which was based on a William Faulkner novel set in 1905, to “The Help,” filmed in 2011.  

The tour ended with a catered lunch served at the historic Baptist Church, built in 1894, where Dr. Turner, the music director, led the group in singing, “Amazing Grace,” accompanied by EPBC pianist, Tommie Hardy.  Carrollton Baptist is a thriving church whose congregation includes many young people and children.  Their average weekly attendance approaches 200 which is remarkable considering the population of the town is only 200!  All of the churches support one another by the congregations’ attending each other's Christmas programs.  The Carrollton Pilgrimage Committee is very active, sponsoring various fund raisers and applying for grants to renovate and restore the town.  They are doing a wonderful job!  Several members of the tour group are already making plans to attend the Carrollton Pilgrimage scheduled on October 6-7, or the annual soup lunch in February.  What an interesting trip and what a gem to discover in our state!

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Congratulations to Maggie Taylor, the daughter of Mark and Amy Taylor, on winning first place in her division at the Regional Reading Fair which was held on the Meridian campus of MSU on Friday, Feb. 24.  She selected the book, "The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind," and created a storyboard about it.  Her mother was especially proud because Maggie did “one hundred percent of the work herself. All I did was drive her to Wal-Mart and pay for the art supplies!”

Maggie is a fifth grader at Philadelphia Elementary School.  There were several others from Philadelphia Elementary School who placed in their divisions.  They are Xan Menchion, third place; Ariel Burnside, third place; Zariyah Jackson, third place.  Philadelphia High School also had participants who placed in their divisions, Juwan Jones, first place, and Jayda Moore, second place.  

Congratulations to all of these students on their awards.  This was a Regional Reading Fair and included students from many different schools who had already won at their local level. The Reading Fair encourages reading as well as creativity.  It is an honor to reach this level and an even greater achievement to place in their divisions.

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    A Mardi Gras party was held in the Parish Hall at Holy Cross Catholic Church after the 10:30 mass for the congregation.  The hall was festively decorated in the traditional Mardi Gras colors of purple, green, and gold.  Each table was covered with a gold colored cloth and had a bright centerpiece made of colored foil masks clustered together to form a pretty arrangement.  Large glittery foil masks in carnival colors hung above the stage with streamers hanging from them. Everyone attending brought their favorite finger food to place upon the long serving table.  It was a very nice event and those who decorated the hall deserve several words of thanks for a job well done!

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Will Adams, the son of Shannon and Lee Dansby Adams, has been selected to attend Session 2 of the 18th Annual Lott Leadership Institute for rising 9th grade students.  The Lott Leadership Institute is held at the University of Mississippi during the summer on the Oxford campus.

There were over 600 applicants from all over the state, and of these, fifty were chosen to attend one of two sessions.  Will worked for countless hours on his application, and his hard work was rewarded.  He is in the eighth grade at Copiah Academy. His most recent honor was being a page to Lt. Governor Tate Reeves in Jackson for one week during February.  He is very interested in politics and keeps up with current events.  

His very proud grandparents are Bill and Joyce Dansby, and Laura Bryan of Philadelphia, and Joe and Kay Adams.