Wednesday, February 13, 2013 12:00 AM
At the Neshoba County Fair Board's Feb. 11, 1926, meeting, the Association directors announced a series of improvements and additional amount of funds it would expend for the 1926 Fair.
These improvements included the erection of a high steel wire fence that would provide ample security to persons and property and assure privacy of the grounds; the clearance of a circle within the race track and the laying out a baseball diamond. Fair officials also set a larger sum of money for racing purses and premiums to encourage community and beat exhibits.
Additionally, management contracted for a group of world-famous thoroughbred horses to compete in daily races, added chariot races, standing races with two or three horses abreast, horses jumping over high hurdles and a race by a fleet Nebraska thoroughbred against an automobile.
President Brown Williams, Sr., speaking as a member of the State Senate, reported to the Board that he was well satisfied with the road legislation which has been enacted at this session, and that highways now connect Neshoba County with Attala, Scott and Kemper counties, almost guaranteeing record-setting crowds again in 1926.
Just a few weeks after Dixon community Fair Director Charlie C. Robert's offer of special premiums, Secretary John Huston also offered information to a staff reporter with The Neshoba Democrat, relative to the activities at the Fairground during 1926.
"Howard S. Williams, layman evangelist, who melted the heart of Herrin, Illinois, and who has attracted Nation-wide attention for his evangelistic powers, has accepted the invitation of the Neshoba Fair Directors to hold a meeting at the Fair grounds and the date has been fixed beginning September 12th," wrote the Democrat scribe.
Huston noted in the article that a committee has "endeavoured annually... to secure the services of a preacher of national renown to hold a meeting, but without avail until this year."
The reporter explained that, "It happens that Howard S. Williams is a Mississippian, former editor of the Hattiesburg American, and appreciates the true importance of Neshoba County and the attractiveness and popularity of the fair grounds."
A later issue of the Democrat that announced the booking of the Reverend Williams' revival, also brought other good news - the 35th Annual Fair would run from Monday through Friday, Aug. 9 to Aug. 13, 1926.
After the "unqualified success" of last year's musical entertainment, Buzzington's Rube Band, who played in "costumes varying from the red-headed rural swain to the silk-hatted city dude," the Association's Board booked three more professional entertainment acts, along with a 28-piece college band from Hattiesburg, Miss.
The first group signed was Vera Spriggs & Company, featuring the iron-jaw act and the sensational loop-the-loop trapeze stunts, scheduled to perform in front of the Grandstand.
The second group inked was another similar ensemble, The Loretta Sisters, and their aerial swinging ladders. Following the lead of the previous year, the Fair Board selected Roy Brownlee's Original Hickfield Band, a team of eight performers that, present a "roaring comedy, rare musical treats, and ludicrous antics that keep the spectators in a constant state of bubbling merriment."
The Hickfield Band also stated that they "have a number of late dance hits ready for local rendition... at a dance after one of the nights shows."
The Entertain Committee booked the Hickfield group through Gus Sun Exchange Company, Springfield, Ohio, the largest fair and park booking office in the world.
By a private bid, the Board then awarded the restaurant concession to Lewis F. Dennis, "thus insuring that the inner man will be well cared for during the great celebration."
Civil War Veterans
Prince, John Randolph, M.D. - Second Lieutenant; First Lieutenant; Captain; mustered Apr. 13, 1861 at Neshoba Springs, Mississippi, in the Neshoba Rifles; age twenty-four; physician; served as a second lieutenant with the Neshoba Rifles; elected second lieutenant of Company D at organization, April 24, 1861.
Elected first lieutenant at re-organization, April 21, 1862; served temporary as commander of Company A, the University Greys, Sept. 28, 1862; Muster Roll, Dec. 1862: "On special service;" promoted to captain, Jan. 12, 1863; present at Gettysburg, July 3, 1863; possibly wounded at Falling Waters, West Virginia, July 14, 1863.
Hospitalized with a gunshot wound at the General Hospital at Charlottesville, Virginia, July 27 1863 to Aug. 8, 1863; Muster Roll, July-August 1864: "Sick at division hospital;" Inspection Report, Aug. 16, 1864: "has displayed all the qualities that constitutes an officer and good conduct and handling."
Ordered to detailed service (maybe to Gholson, Noxubee County, Mississippi), Jan. 13, 1865; paroled at Meridian, Mississippi, May 12, 1865.
World War II Veterans
Hooper, William Brooks - Private to Master Sergeant; enlisted on Sept. 19, 1940 at Jackson, Mississippi, in the United States Army; age twenty-two; truck driver; served and trained in the American Theatre of Operations at aircraft mechanic's school at Kansas City, Kan., Long Beach, Calif. and at Chanute Field, Ill., with the Army Air Corps.
Graduated (highest honors out of a class of 35 students) from the Missouri Aviation Institute at Kansas City, Mo., June 3, 1941; stationed at Davis-Monthan Field, Phoenix, Ariz., and as an aircraft maintenance technician with Squadron A at the 811th Base Unit.
Served also in the Asiatic-Pacific Theatre of Operations with the 42nd Troop Carrier Squadron in the Territory of Alaska, October 1942 to February 1944.
Participated in the campaign in the Aleutian Islands; stationed with the First Troop Carrier Command at Lawson Field, Fort Benning, Ga., March 1944 to September 1944; graduated from the Curtis Technical Training School at Buffalo, N.Y., June 1945.
Awarded the American Defense Service Medal, American Campaign Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal (with one bronze service star), Good Conduct Medal, and the World War II Victory Medal.
Discharged at Lawson Field, Nov. 5, 1945 to re-enlist in the Regular Army; re-enlisted at Lawson Field, on Nov. 6, 1945.
Served again in the American Theatre as an aerial engineer with Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron with the 2750th Base Unit.
Discharged at Wright-Patterson Field, Dayton, Ohio, Nov. 5, 1948, expiration of term of service; described as five feet seven inches tall, weighing 130 pounds, with brown hair and blue eyes.
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