A late 1926 spring issue of The Neshoba Democrat ran a column announcing another innovation for the 35th version of the Neshoba County Fair. The headlines on page one read: "$50.00 in Gold for Lucky Fair Catalog."
The Democrat offered the cash prize to encourage "reading of the county newspaper which from time to time carries announcements about the fair, to insure the presentation and careful reading of the catalog including the messages of the advertisers who made it possible, and to promote attendance at the fair on Thursday night." Each one of the catalogs had a number printed on page 22, numbering from one to 2,000.
A Fair officer will place a set of cards bearing duplicate numbers in a box, with same "stirred thoroughly by officials of the fair." A child will then draw a number from the container, and the person PRESENT having a catalog with that number will receive the $50 in gold. The article was quick to add, "Everyone is eligible to compete except officers and employees of The Neshoba Democrat." At their July 21, 1926, meeting, the Fair Association's made several final decisions.
The first item considered was to "tighten the belt of law enforcement by having the grounds well policed." To assure the safety of Fairgoers, the Directors hired the well-known "Bud" Scrivner, from Zama, Mississippi, in Attala County. Scrivner served as captain of the force, with deputies R.L. Bowman, Alex Johnson, Jim Moore and Cornelius Lewis.
Next by a private bid, the Board awarded the restaurant concession to Lewis F. Dennis, "thus assuring the inner man will be well cared for during the great celebration." The Association settled two additional matters at this meeting.
The Well Committee ordered a second deep well drilled, and reported that both will be running at "full blast" during the fair; and the Grounds Committee employed Alvis Mayo as electrician, to see that the light plant is doing "full duty."
For establishing still another new feature, the Program Committee received high praise from the Fair Board for presenting a religious program on the Sunday before the Fair opens. As it turned out, none other than Howard S. Williams, the famed evangelist already set to present a two-week revival at the Fairgrounds beginning on Sept. 12, 1926, would lead the religious program. The event was to begin on 11 a.m. on Aug. 8, 1926, with no admission fees charged by the Fair Association.
The speaker-to-be, according to many, "knows the ways of the sinner and is said to be peculiarly able to meet him on his high ground, and lift him to a higher level, even as he was lifted."
Thousands gathered on the appointed morning, wanting only song, prayer, testimony and a great love sermon. His advance agent, Henry Litchfield, informed the crowd that Brother Williams was going to be late, as he had difficulties leaving Carrollton, Miss., but would "make a dash from that city at noon in a high powered car which the fair management had engaged for him, and would reach the fair ground by three o'clock." At four o'clock, after hours of singing, talking and waiting, Litchfield dismissed the service goers as Williams had car problems near Kosciusko, and had turned back. Litchfield also assured all that Williams would be back on Sept. 12.
On Monday morning from Carrollton, Reverend Howard Williams wired a Western Union Telegram to Fair Association Vice President Earl Richardson that read: "Did my dead level best to keep appointment Sunday. First I have missed. Two tubes punctured between Durant and Kosciusko and having no new tubes and but one spare nothing to do but wait for help, so long coming made it impossible to go there and get back for night service. Never regretted anything more in my life. Not my fault for I got in the car and stood up like a man under a terriffic [sic] flapping about in a light car as she bounded over rough roads. God bless all of you and give us a glorious victory in His name in September. No fault of yours I did not reach there. Simply car trouble that could not be forseen."
Reverend Williams closed his telegram with, "Everything works together for good to them that love God. Even missing an engagement to speak to you fine folks and to them in not being able to hear me yesterday. Love to all. Howard S. Williams."
The entourage with the Williams' troop should have heeded a message contained in an advertisement in The Neshoba Democrat, placed by a local automotive company, Key & McNeil, just days before the 1926 Fair opened.
The ad read: "TUNE 'EM UP, And re-tire your car before the great fair begins, Why be bothered with tire trouble and a missing motor when you can have your car 'tuned up' and put in perfect condition before the homecoming. Bring your car around and let our expert mechanics look it over. Remember, we give a ticket for every dollar cash purchase. The lucky ticket will be drawn and the first $100 Edison Phonograph given away at 3:30 p.m., August 21."
At the bottom of the ad, there was a simple phrase, "Edison Phonograph is on display at Hay's Pharmacy."
Civil War Veterans
Whitmire, James Madison - Private; enlisted March 1, 1862, at Philadelphia, Mississippi, in Company D, 11th Mississippi Infantry Regiment; age twenty-two; farmer; nicknamed "Jim;" hospitalized with rheumatism at General Hospital #18 at Richmond, Virginia, May 23 to May 27, 1862; hospitalized with chronic diarrhea at Camp Winder General Hospital at Richmond, July 14 to July 25, 1863.
Furloughed for forty days; wounded in the hand, probably at the Wilderness, May 5 or 6, 1864; captured at Hatcher's Run, April 2, 1865; had $10.00 on person when imprisoned at Point Lookout, Maryland; released at Point Lookout, June 22, 1865; transportation furnished to Meridian, Mississippi; described as six feet and three-quarters inches tall, dark complexion, black hair, and hazel eyes.
World War II Veterans
White, Carley Clayton -- Private to Private First Class; enlisted on December 29, 1943, at Camp Shelby, Mississippi, in the United States Army; age eighteen; student/farmer; served and trained in the American Theatre of Operations at Camp Blanding, Florida, and as a rifleman with Headquarters and Transportation Detachment at the 9206th Technical Service Unit; stationed at Fort George G. Meade, Aberdeen, Maryland, and at Camp Gruber, Oklahoma.
Served also in the European Theatre of Operations, December 1944 to June 1945; participated in the campaign in the Rhineland; captured in action in France, January 9, 1945; imprisoned in Germany; awarded the Combat Infantryman Badge, Prisoner of War Medal and the European-African Middle Eastern Campaign Medal; discharged at Camp Stoneman, California, October 30, 1945, medical disability; described as five feet nine and one-half inches tall, weighing 144 pounds, with blonde hair and blue eyes.
Philadelphia-Neshoba County Historical Museum
Steven H. Stubbs, Curator
303 Water Avenue South Philadelphia, Mississippi 39350 (601) 656-1284