In the fall of 1939, Adolf Hitler, the Fuhrer of the German Third Reich, hurled his massive blitzkrieg force at the Polish-German border.
On Sept. 1, one and one-half million soldiers, supported by 2,000 warplanes, 1,700 tanks and a small armada of navy vessels, launched Hitler's "lightening war" on Poland.
The second great world war was at hand, and again the isolationist United States of America stood on the sidelines of the hostilities. While the Nazi (Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterparti) Army pushed through Europe, America slowly rearmed for war.
In its Jan. 3, 1941 issue, The Neshoba Democrat outlined the top ten stories for the year 1940; and these reports clearly show that Neshoba County had no concerns or cares about the war theatre in Europe, but only worried about life at home:
Excessive rain cuts cotton crop in half and harms corn and other crops.
TVA. The city enjoyed its first full year of lower rates; increases in customers and power consumption.
The draft; 3,201 Neshoba men register under the Selective Service Act; first ten draftees report to Camp Shelby in December.
The weather again; at least 14 inches of snow in January and record below zero (some said 14 degrees below) temperatures.
Better Dairying Contest; six farmers win and take free trip to Wisconsin and come home with new enthusiasm for promoting dairying in county as cash income sources.
The Mary Oliver No. 1, county's first real test oil well, in House community; drilled to depth of 4,000 feet and abandoned oil activity such as leasing, etc.
Street repairs in Philadelphia, $30,000 worth, long needed and much appreciated as the year's greatest civic improvement; building activity in the city.
The Census - Philadelphia, 3,702 (1,142 above 1930); Neshoba County, 27,903 (1,212 above 1930).
Trial of Grady White on charge of murder of Sam McCune; White convicted by jury and sentenced to death in the electric chair; case appealed to the Supreme Court where it now awaits decision. [The Supreme Court denied the appeal and James Grady White, age 38, became the last person executed in the electric chair in Neshoba County on May 15, 1941.]
The 49th annual Neshoba County Fair; Not as big as usual, perhaps, because of poor crop prospects, but a great institution always.
On Nov. 25, 1940, the United States War Department inducted 211 officers; 53 officers, attached but not assigned; and 3,417 enlisted men belonging to the Mississippi National Guard into federal service.
One week later, the Neshoba County Draft Board announced that a Board physician provided physical exams to 26 men to secure the quota of ten.
Then, the Draft Board mailed 111 questionnaires to Neshoba men to obtain that number to classify as 1-A.
Named, after examinations and classification, to report to Camp Shelby, Mississippi, were: Charles Jefferson Bradshaw, Route 1, Union; Arthur Lee Dooley, Philadelphia; Ovett John Gipson, Route 4, Philadelphia; Leroy Jolly, Route 7, Philadelphia; James Anthony McCloskey, Philadelphia; Ezra Herman McMurry, Route 1, Edinburg; James Luther Pike, Route 7, Philadelphia; Robert Marshall Stokes, Route 2, Philadelphia; Henry Lofton Slaugher,, Route 6, Philadelphia and Eddie Lee Townsend, Route 3, Philadelphia.
Philadelphia-Neshoba County Historical Museum Steven H. Stubbs, Curator 303 Water Avenue South Philadelphia, Mississippi 39350 (601) 656-1284 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. Monday thru Friday