In September, 1830, a meeting between the United States Commissioners and the Choctaw
Indians at Dancing Rabbit Creek resulted
in a treaty granting all Choctaw lands
east of the Mississippi River, an area of 12,000
square miles, to the U.S.
Government. How long the Choctaws had hunted the wilds of this section of the
State is unknown. The earliest settlers found them here in 1820. In December, 1833, this territory was
divided into the following sixteen counties: Noxubee, Kemper, Lauderdale,
Clark, Oktibbeha, Winston, Neshoba, Jasper, Choctaw, Attala, Leake, Scott,
Smith, Tallahatchie, Yalobusha, and Carroll.
Carroll County was named for Charles Carroll of Maryland, friend of Thomas
Jefferson, and one of the immortal
signers of the Declaration of Independence. Because Carroll was not
elected to represent Maryland
until July 4, 1776, he was too late to cast his vote for the declaration, but
did arrive in time to sign it on August 2, 1776, at the age of 38. Carroll's unique signature, "Charles Carroll of Carrollton",
distinguished him from the rest. Carroll, after
the deaths of John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, both on July 4, 1826, became
the last surviving signer of the famous document, and the only signer that
was a Roman Catholic. Carroll died on November 14,
1832 at the age of ninety-five years, 1 month, and twenty-six days
in Baltimore Maryland,
and is interred at the Doughoregan Manor Chapel
(his former home)
at Elliott City
For a list and history of the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence, click HERE. A mention
of Charles Carroll is made in the 2004 Disney movie National Treasure, starring
Nicolas Cage. Although Carroll was described as a
Freemason in the film, he was not a member in real life, based on information
disclosed thus far. Counties in Arkansas, Georgia,
New Hampshire, Ohio,
and Virginia, and parishes in Louisiana are also named for him, as well as Carroll County
Image 2 Image 3 Image 4
the legislature formed Grenada County out of parts of Yalobusha and Carroll;
Leflore out of parts of Sunflower and Carroll; Montgomery out of parts of Choctaw and
Carroll. The formation of these counties brought Carroll County to its
present shape and size. Since its formation in 1833, Carroll County
has undergone numerous changes in size, reducing it from 1090 to 640 square miles. To see the
boundary changes, Click Here.
Carroll County was the 10th
county formed in Mississippi and was once the largest county in the state,
with an area of 1,090 square
miles. In comparison, Rhode Island,
the nation's smallest state, is only 1,212
square miles. Out of Mississippi's
Carroll is (as of 1996)
30th in size.
In territorial days there was an Indian settlement along the
Peachahala Creek, known as Shongalo. The original meaning of the word
"Shongalo" is contested. The legend is that a beautiful Indian
maiden took wings and flew away, causing a Choctaw brave to utter the
exclamation "Shan-ga-lo!" Others say it means "lark,"
"laughing maiden," and "sturdy oak." Discrepancies often
arise in the spelling of the name. Shongalo? or Shongola? A map of the United States and Mississippi
located at the Mississippi Department of Archives and History in Jackson, MS,
actually shows Shongalo and Shongola as
two totally different towns. Nevertheless, Shongalo was located on a regular stagecoach route from Black Hawk to
Kosciusko, the Shongalo settlement grew and many settlers established homes
nearby. After organization of Carroll
County in 1833, a Presbyterian Church was organized in 1834 and a Post Office was
established in 1837.
Mail arrived once a week. Shongalo was incorporated in 1840,
the same day as the town of Middleton.
Some of the earlier purchases of land attributed to Carroll County
were made by John P. Crittenden in 1840, and John S. Crittenden in 1848.
The first written record of any business venture in Shongalo was the store of
William Pickens who "sold goods." He lived a mile from the village.
Solomon Saber and Charlie Kopperl were among the first merchants, as was John
Dear/Dean who had a grocery store. The first tavern keeper was Robb Cross.
Eskridge and Stein also operated a store and tavern where the roads
intersected. Police records show that, in January, 1836, James H. Fulgham was licensed to
sell "spiritous liquors" in Shongalo.
Wm. Gillespie had a "house of private entertainment" in 1837. W.J. Kittrell was
licensed to keep a tavern in April, 1838.
Algernon S.S. Newton
was licensed to keep a tavern in June, 1839.
Taverns served as inns. An interesting note from the Board of Police
Records for 1835
set tavern rates as follows:
and Lodging per mo. . . .$12.50
Board w/o Lodging per mo. . . .$10.00
Board and Lodging per wk. . . .$ 3.50
Board w/o Lodging per wk. . . .$3.00
Board and Lodging per day. . . .$1.00
Board w/o Lodging per day. . . .75¢
Lodging per night. . . .25¢
Breakfast. . . .25¢
Dinner. . . .37½¢
Supper. . . .25¢
Each drink of rum, brandy, or Holland
gin with sugar "sirip". . . .12½¢
Same w/o "sirip". . . .6¼¢
Wine. . . .12½¢
Whiskey, Country Gin with or w/o sugar. . . .6¼¢
Horse feed per mo. . . .$15.00
Horse feed per wk. . . .$4.00
Horse feed per day. . . .$1.00
Horse feed -- single feed. . . .25¢
Despite the availability of "John
Barleycorn" in the area, Carroll
County had one of the
earliest temperance societies in the South, long before the Civil War. For
many years, speakers would visit towns to make their proclamations concerning
the evils of that "vile drink." Converted alcoholics also traveled
the circuit and spoke to standing-room-only crowds throughout the South.
Luther Benson, a reformed inebriate, spoke on several occasions, at towns
On one tour, he made a speech at Vaiden, which was said to be his best
lecture yet. Benson "electrified and held his audience in rapt attention
[with his] scintillating truths that penetrated the hearts of his
hearers." Benson's solution was to make alcohol available only to
drunkards so that "when the present generation of drunkards has passed
away, there will be no more." Benson's speech evidently had its effect.
Mississippi passed Senate Bill 355,
"prohibiting the sale or giving away of intoxicating liquors in
Vaiden," but indefinitely postponed a bill to prohibit the sale of
pistols, cartridges, razors, derk knives, sword canes and large pocket
knives" throughout the state.
Other businesses that located in Shongalo were a carpenter shop, a
wood shop, a shop for spinning wheels and reels, a carriage shop, a cobbler's
shop, and an attorney's office. The primary purpose of towns and businesses
was to serve only fundamental needs with few frills.
A young accountant, A.J. McConnico, and his family came to Shongalo
in its early days. He lived at Shongalo until the Mississippi Central Railroad was built.
Then he moved from the village and accepted work with the railroad where he
remained until his death.
Early land owners produced nearly all the supplies for their homes on
their plantation. Sufficient wheat was grown to supply flour for the family.
Wheat and corn were milled on the place. Candles were also made at home.
Hides from slaughtered cattle were tanned. One or more slaves were often
trained to make shoes for the family and other slaves.
to 1840, the
people were primarily occupied with building roads and homes and clearing
land. Road conditions made travel rough and tedious. Winding and crooked
Indian trails were selected for the first roads, but as the country grew and
developed, the planters kept the roads in fair condition, using slave labor.
The Police Records contain accounts of many meetings called for the sole
purpose of assigning overseers and teams to build roads. Today, nothing
remains of the old village
of Shongalo. Its EXACT
location was 33º 19'40"N and 89º 45'15"W, with an elevation of 410
As pioneer families grew, education became
very important. In 1836,
Richland Academy, a school where pupils could
obtain not only elementary, but also classical education, was incorporated.
It was located in the neighborhood of Shongalo, one mile west of the present
site of Vaiden. The most reliable information states that it was founded by a
Mr. Hughes, a graduate of a University in Ireland. Among the boys who
attended classes there, one name will live forever in the pages of American
history. The boy's name was J.Z. George, who would
serve in the U.S.
Senate from 1881-1897. George was known among
his constituents as "the Great Commoner." He was instrumental in
the creation of the Sherman
Antitrust Act, and worked to aid education and civil service reform. J.Z.
George's statue stands in the Hall of Commons at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.
For more photos of Cotesworth, the J.Z. George Home
in Carrollton, Mississippi, CLICK HERE.
Long before the Civil War, a Presbyterian
minister, W.H. Harris, accepted a call to Hopewell, a rural church near Shongalo.
After assuming his duties, the scholarly minister established a school which
he first called Hopewell
Academy. Later the name
was changed to Milton Academy and became one of the famous pioneer
schools of Mississippi.
It was a country boarding school patronized by people of all the surrounding
communities. Among its attendance were many men that became famous in Mississippi history:
J.A. Campbell, Charlie Campbell, Dr. B.F. Ward, the Barksdales, the McLeans,
and many others. At Mr. Harris' death, the work was left to J.S. Colmery. The
school continued until the building burned. The old brass bell from this school
is in the belfry of the Presbyterian
Church in Vaiden.
and Female College
the Old Fellows built a Male and Female
College. The college
trained women that made their imprint on future generations and men who
achieved their highest professional and business potentials.
(later, Middleton), once a beautiful little village, was known as "the Athens of Mississippi"
because of its cultural and educational advantages. The town was founded when
Indians were in supreme control of this part of the state and was first known
as Bowling Green, then Oxford, and later Middleton. It had its
beginning in a little log store, built for trade with the Indians, and was
incorporated by the legislature in 1840.
In 1841, the
town was one of seven sites considered for the location of a state university
of Mississippi (Ole
Miss)). By 1850,
Middleton was an average-sized town with several hundred inhabitants.
Middleton was built around a square which measured about two hundred
and fifty feet to the side; a town dotted with beautiful residences. West of
the town was a mill for rolling wool, the original horsepower type. Just
prior to the Civil War, a flour and cotton mill were located there.
Baptist, Christian, Methodist, and Presbyterian churches were here.
These churches contained an area for the Negroes who worshiped with their
Masters. The Negroes had no separate churches at the time.
When the Mississippi
Central Railroad was constructed two miles east of the town, Middleton began
to de-populate, gradually becoming extinct. In the 1990s, through many hours of painstaking
work, the Winona Lion's Club restored the old, neglected Middleton Cemetery, and many of its
markers to an immaculate condition.
(Gerenton), located northwest of Vaiden, was settled by a wealthy landowner
named McLemore. In 1880,
he built an imposing home. Claiborne Nelms, Dr. Sanders and Mr. Gerring were
the next homesteaders. Unsubstantiated rumors have circulated for years
claiming that Old Gerrington missed becoming the State's capitol by only one
vote. Today, the only remaining site at Gerenton is the cemetery. However, one map alludes to the fact that Gerenton
might have been called Summerville.
Central Railroad was built through the southeastern section of the county in
1858-1859. The right-of-way and station site was purchased for $50.00 from
the heirs of the late Louis Whitfield Herring; Dr. C.M. Vaiden, Executor. Due
to Dr. Vaiden's cooperation and assistance, the station was named in his
honor and he was made a director. There is only one other place in the world
named Vaiden, which
is 8 miles Southwest of Marion, Alabama (Perry County). The Perry County
location is called Vaiden Field Airport
and sits on a type of soil designated the VAIDEN SERIES,
and according to the Mississippi
Soil Conservation Office, it was so named in 1930. It is named Vaiden after
Dr. Vaiden's cousin, Isaac Butler Vaiden, who taught college in Alabama. This soil is
found in most of the coastal states in the South, including Alabama,
Mississippi, and Louisiana.
Dr. Vaiden became a large railroad stockholder. D.D. Fullilove, Sr.,
and Edmunds Whitehead also assisted in the building of the railroad. On June 31, 1860,
the president of the railroad drove the golden spike at a point between
Vaiden and Winona, marking the
completion of the line; G.E. Wells, Engineer. The first depot, built in 1859, was destroyed on January 1, 1865 by Captain Smith,E Company, of the
Fourth Illinois Cavalry, under the command of Captain Anthony T. Search, a
division of Grierson's Raiders, during their sweep through Mississippi in December 1864 and January 1865.
In the early 1800s,
the Mississippi Central Railroad became the Chicago, St. Louis, and New Orleans Railroad. In
were eight daily trains: a mail train, an express
train, and two freight trains running both north and south. In 1883 the line was sold to the
Illinois Central Company. Agents were as follows:
1870-1873: H.C. Williamson
1873-1895: No records available
1895-1905: T.B. Alvis
1906-1941: H.B. Caldwell, Sr.
1942-1946: Mr. Matthews
1946-1947: Mr. Ezell
1948-1949: Miss McGinnis
1949-1950: Mr. Fox
1950-1960: H.B. Caldwell, Sr.
1960-1962: H.B. Caldwell, Jr.
1962-1969: Lloyd Rogers
The last Depot survived until the office closed
I.C.R.R. Photos at Vaiden
From a Postcard Mailed in Vaiden
by J.C. Hambrick
Derailment in Vaiden
Photos Courtesy of Kenny King
Cowles Mead Vaiden
The territory opened by the ceding of the
Choctaw land in 1830
attracted new settlers from North and South Carolina,
This land, excellent for cotton production, could be acquired by
homesteading, land patents, or purchase. Some of the settlers were
adventurers, seeking quick wealth. With little capital and good fortune, a
man could become prominent and wealthy within a decade or two.
Sally Cowles (04/25/1781 – 05/11/1850), Dr. Vaiden's mother, lived in
As a young girl, she was "wooed" by her cousin, Cowles Mead
(pronounced "Coals"), whom she loved but refused to marry because
of their blood relationship. She later married Joseph Vaiden, Dr. Vaiden's
father. When their son was born in Charles
City County, Virginia,
August 21, 1812, she named him Cowles
Mead Vaiden, after her cousin, who was famous in his own right.
[Ed. Note: Sally Cowles Vaiden is buried at Mount
Pleasant Church Cemetery in Holdcroft, Charles City County, Virginia. Although her epitaph states that she “desired to be buried here by the
side of her brother Nathaniel Cowles,” it is not currently know if Nathaniel
is actually buried at that cemetery.
Sally Cowles Vaiden Marker: Photo 1 Photo 2 Photo 3. It is also
unknown at this time where her husband (Joseph Vaiden, Esq.) was buried.]
assumed the duties of Territorial Secretary of the Mississippi Territory.
In the absence of Territorial Governor Robert
Williams, who spent much of his time in his native state of North Carolina, Mead
served a brief tenure as acting Territorial Governor. It was during this
tenure that Aaron Burr
landed in Bruinsburg on January 10,
Burr had recently been involved in the now-famous duel in which he killed Alexander Hamilton. When Cowles Mead learned
of Burr's presence in the
territory, he ordered the militia to establish headquarters at a nearby
plantation. While he was a visitor at the home of a local judge, Burr learned
that his supposed friend, General James
Wilkinson, had ordered his arrest. Burr
voluntarily surrendered to Mississippi officials in exchange for a
guaranteed trial in the territory, rather than face extradition. Burr was
bound under a bond of $10,000, and
Mead ordered anyone arrested that appeared hostile toward the Government's
views or favorable to Aaron Burr.
Burr was given a trial in Washington,
Mississippi, in February, 1807,
in which the Grand Jury found him guilty of no
crime or misdemeanor. Mead was chastised for making arrests
without warrants. Burr was later arrested north of Mobile, and was taken to
Richmond, Virginia, where he was acquitted of treason. Mead was later elected
to the Territorial Assembly and served in the 1817 Constitutional Convention, but
subsequently lost in quests for Congress, Lt. Governor, and Governor. Mead
had vast land holdings in Mississippi, including a home at Washington, MS, the town that became
State's first Capitol. In the book, Mississippi Newspaper Abstracts,
Vol. 3: 1813-1850, P. 133, Betty Couch Wiltshire compiled the following
from the May 27, 1844, issue of the Vicksburg
Daily Whig: "Died on the 17th,
near Clinton, Miss., of disease of the heart, General
Cowles Mead. He was born in Bedford
County, Virginia the 18th
of October, 1776.
In 1806 he came
as Secretary of the Territory, under the appointment of Mr. Jefferson."
Mead is buried in a private cemetery north of Clinton, MS.
For more photos of the Cowles Mead Home
"Meadvilla" in Washington,
Mississippi, CLICK HERE.
History of Cowles Mead
Exhibit of Cowles Mead's Gravesite -- June 26,
Mead's namesake, Cowles Mead Vaiden, was educated in Virginia. He moved to Carroll County in 1837 and the same year married Elizabeth
Herring. They settled east of the present site of Vaiden, on their estate, Prairie Mont.
Some years later, Dr. Vaiden's younger sister, Emily, came to visit
the Vaidens and met Mrs. Vaiden's brother, Louis Whitfield Herring. Emily
Vaiden and Louis Herring were married at Prairie Mont on August 20, 1845. In Marriages and Deaths from Mississippi
Newspapers, Vol. 2:
1801-1850, P. 145, by Betty Couch Wiltshire,
and compiled from the September 10,
1845 edition of
the Mississippian (Jackson, MS), the announcement is as follows:
"Married on the evening of the 20th
ult., at the residence of Dr. C.M. Vaiden, by Rev. A.S. Bailey, Mr. Louis W.
Herring, of Lenoir County, N.C., to Miss Emily L. Vaiden, formerly of Charles
Both Dr. Vaiden and Louis Herring eventually became large land and
slave owners. Contrary to custom, Dr. Vaiden did not allow his slaves to take
his name. Dr. Vaiden's land was on the east side of Vaiden and along the Big Black River. Louis Herring's land was west of
Louis Herring died at the age of 46, leaving his wife, Emily Vaiden Herring, and
six children. Dr. and Mrs. Vaiden, having no children, adored these nieces
and nephews. Dr. Vaiden was made Executor of the Herring Estate.
Dr. Vaiden inherited his mother's charm and fine taste. He lived on a
large scale, entertained lavishly and made trips to New Orleans for silks, satins, brocades,
jewelry, silver, and fine china for his wife and nieces. He became a very prominent figure in the
business, political, and social life of North Central
Mississippi. He was reputed to be a millionaire, having
extensive holdings in New York and New Orleans. He was a
member of the legislature in 1870.
He was appointed trustee of the University
of Mississippi in 1877 and served until his death
in 1880. In his
will, Dr. Vaiden left his plantation to Cowles Mead (Herring) Vaiden, his
adopted son. Dr. Vaiden is buried in the Vaiden Cemetery.
marble monument that marks his grave and bears
his likeness, was made and shipped from Italy. In 1880, Dr. Vaiden's funeral was
interrupted by a messenger shouting "horse thief."
Several men left the service to catch the culprit. When apprehended, the man
pled starvation, and was not convicted. The $10,000
marble statue for Dr. Vaiden's grave was lost at sea off the east coast when
the ship bringing it from Italy
went down in a storm. The monument was salvaged from the shipwreck. A rumor
still exists that, when Dr. Vaiden's monument was being transported to the
cemetery, its sheer weight caused a bridge to collapse, almost losing the
precious statue again. Papers
throughout the state told of the loss of Vaiden's founder.
home of Dr. C.M. Vaiden, was built in the 1840s on his estate about two miles east of
Vaiden. It was an outstanding ante-bellum home, typical of the affluence of
wealthy plantation owners of that period. The house was designed and
constructed by James Clark Harris, a famous architect from Georgia, who also built Greenwood LeFlore's "Malmaison."
All lumber used was cut and planed by hand.
For photos of Greenwood
Leflore's Malmaison, CLICK HERE, and Hopewell Church, as well as many others.
The driveway to the house was lined with cedar and magnolia trees.
The concrete entrance walk was forty-five feet long with five steps at the
gate and four steps at the front porch. The first floor of the house
consisted of seven large rooms and cross halls. Each of the two front parlors
had floor-length windows and double doors opening into the front hall. There
was a long gallery at the back of the house.
The house had four chimneys. All mantels were made of the finest
Italian marble. The fresco work on the walls and the medallions of flower and
fruit on the twelve-foot ceilings, designed by a famous artist from New Orleans, were
exquisite. Imported furniture, heavy velvet draperies, sparkling crystal
chandeliers, and family portraits, hand painted by Poindexter, completed the
setting of the first floor.
A stairway in one of the cross halls led to the second floor, which
consisted of five large rooms and cross halls. A balcony with iron balustrade
ran across the front of the second floor. Another stairway led to the third
floor, which consisted of two rooms and a hall. One more flight of stairs led
to one room, an observatory. This room had eight windows, two in each side.
The two north windows had glass panes of one color, the two east windows had
panes of another color, etc. There were four different colors, one color for
each season of the year.
A man of great wealth, Dr. Vaiden spared no expense in making the
completeness of his manor house second to no other home of that period. For
many years, Dr. Vaiden's faithful servant, Matt Forrest,
was caretaker of the property, and saw to the day-to-day operation of the
the Prairie Mont Plantation was sold to W.M.
(Bill) Lowery, the present owner.
For more photos of the Cowles Mead Vaiden Home, Prairie Mont,
Town Is Born
The following newspaper notice was placed in
the "Mississippian State Gazette" of Jackson, issued March 2,
It reads in part:
Lots For Sale
at Vaiden Depot, one mile North-East
of Shongalo, Carroll
offer for sale at the Depot ground
on Friday, 1st
April next, such lots as
may be selected for business or residence.
This is regarded as a healthy point
is nearly midway between New Orleans
and Cairo, is
well situated for a town
surrounded by an exemplary community, with
a rich and productive country, a thrifty
and industrious population tributary to it.
In evidence of its morality, steps have been
taken to erect three churches for worship.
incorporated in 1860. (Winona, also in Carroll County at the time,
was incorporated in 1861.) In
spite of the undeveloped state of the county, Vaiden and the surrounding area
grew rapidly because of the fertile land, available markets for produce, and
the railroad. Another attraction was the quality of the town's citizens. The
planters, merchants, doctors, lawyers, and statesmen all played an important
part in the growth and development of Vaiden. At one time Vaiden was said to be
the wealthiest town of its size in Mississippi.
As the town grew, many stores and offices were built. The planters
came to town for supplies only once a week or once a month, depending on the
size of their plantation, its distance from town, and road conditions.
Hitching rails and watering troughs along the street provided a place for the
saddle horses and teams to be watered and left, along with their buggies, wagons, and carriages, while their owners
transacted business and visited with friends. A well, located on the Front Street, furnished water for both
people and animals. The old well is now covered over with pavement. When
weather permitted, people gathered on the benches that lined the walk in
front of the stores to discuss their crops and the news, both local and
The following merchants are known to have had businesses in Vaiden
W.H. Armistead, Wm. C. Anderson, W.G. Colmery, F.A. Grantham, S.S.
Lichenstein, H.C. Williamson and the Weir Drug Store. Vaiden, Kopperl, and Hawkins was the largest
store, having three departments: General Merchandise, Groceries, and
Furniture. Robert Weir and J.B. Harrell were early pharmacists.
In addition to the earlier families, the following are names of
families who lived in the proximity of Vaiden from 1860 and 1900, contributing to the growth of the town:
Alexander, Armstrong, Austin, Avery, Bacon, Bennett, Brewer, Brock,
Brown, Calhoun, Cole, Conner, Cox, Flowers, Ford, Gillespie, Hairston,
Harper, Hogue, Hunter, Johnson, Joyce, Keel, King, Lowe, Long, Marshall,
McCorkle, McCune, McKenzie, McLean, McPherson, Morgan, Reeves, Russell,
Seelbinder, Shelton, Short, Simpson, Smith, Somerville, Talbert, Tillman,
Trotter, Wiltshire, Woods, Vandiver, and others. Many men and boys from these
families served in the Confederate Army.
An historical event took place on April 10, 1873. It was decided that the county needed
another seat because of its size and the difficulties of traveling at that
time. Vaiden was chosen as the county seat of the Second Judicial District.
The first courthouse was a brick building
constructed that same year. This building was known as the Haman Memorial Building of the Presbyterian
Church, named after Rev. & Mrs. T.L. Haman. The second courthouse was designed by Architect P.H.
Weathers and built in 1905
by Builder M.L. Lewman, as described in Carroll County Minute Book F. Land,
court, and tax records for the Second District are kept at Vaiden.
Carroll is the only county in the state that elects a deputy sheriff.
Only qualified electors of the Second District are eligible to vote in this
election. The election of a deputy is by Gentlemen's agreement and not by
state law. The elected deputy has his office in Vaiden.
Vaiden's EXACT location is 33º 19'55"N and 89º 44'28"W,
with an elevation of 350 feet.
At the turn of the Century, a large furniture
factory was organized here, which specialized in an outstanding
line of products. The Vaiden Furniture Company operated for many years, being first a
stock-owned company, then later purchased by J.N. Dodwell, it was managed by
Captain W.H. Cole.
a brick factory was established which lasted for
ten years. Owned by citizens of the town, Mr. A.A.
Kaigler was the President, and Mr. J.C. Bennett, bookkeeper and Manager. 3,000,000 bricks were made
The Spoke Factory -- a big asset to
Vaiden -- was founded in 1908
by Mr. Jacob Edward Weis, an native of Madison,
Indiana, and Memphis, Tennessee.
The Spoke Factory made spokes for carriages, buggies, and wagons for many
years. Mr. Weis married Miss Lois Gaston, of Vaiden, whose father, William
Nelson Gaston, owned a large general merchantile store. Mr. and Mre. Weis
were the parents of Mrs. Catherine Weis Melton, Mrs. Mildred Weis Porter,
Mrs. Ruth Weis Flournoy of Newport News, Virginia, and the late Mrs. Mary
Brode's Hardwood Mill -- located in the vicinity of the Big Black
River Canal, about 1915,
employed a dozen men. This mill made handles for spades, hammers, axes, hoes,
Other businesses through the years include a shoe shop, millinery, the John C.
Hambrick Blacksmith Shop, undertaker,
hardware store, mercantile
store, and the usual assortment of grocery stores,
drug stores, hotels,
and the like.
Vaiden has had five hotels: the Cain Hotel, the Vaiden Hotel, the Armstrong Hotel, the Thomas
Hotel, and the Fowkes Hotel. Three newspapers and two banks were located
here. The Vaiden Bank, in its old
location, served its customers for many years.The Vaiden Bank
later moved to the building that formerly housed Summers' Grocery. The first
theatre showed silent films. Later on, theatres were operated by Bud Baldwin,
Mr. Floyd, and Mrs. Evelyn J. (J.K.) Ross. A large list of the businesses
that have come and gone can be found on Page II.
years, the Hambrick Blacksmith Shop
was often busy repairing buggies and replacing horseshoes
while visitors and townspeople were in town to take care of personal
business. John C. Hambrick was originally from Attala County,
and he and his family set up
residence in Vaiden in 1913,
where a blacksmith was needed to supply the farmers with horseshoe
replacement, plows and other farming implements. In 1946, he built another Blacksmith Shop
behind the stores on Back Street. Upon returning from the Army, Mr.
Hambrick's son-in-law, Wilson Caddess,opened Caddess' Radio and Television Repair Shop in
that location after Mr. Hambrick's death.
Mr.Caddess operated in that location from the mid-1950s through the early 1980s. He also held the title of
Vaiden Fire Chief for many years, and Vaiden Water
Superintendent for 41 years.
The original Hambrick Blacksmith Shop, located on Back Street, would later
Dry Cleaners. The Caddess Radio and Television Repair Shop was later torn
down after it was purchased by the Vaiden Bank for additional parking space.
Tying in the early industries and businesses of Vaiden was the old Illinois Central Railroad Depot, where all incoming and
outgoing freight was dispersed. Many people still remember Mr. Harvey B.
Caldwell, who served as depot telegraphy operator for nearly 50 years.
Another feature of this depot was the cotton ramp, and the cotton
weighers who serviced the farmers with their products,
for miles around. Some of the known weighers were T.P. Whisenant, George
Crook, Jim Pollard, and B.C. McDougal, all being elected by the town.
Also of great economic value to the communities, were the cotton gins. Listed as early gins
are: The Louis Herring Gin; The Goodman Gin;
and the T.I. Applewhite Gin. Later ginners were: Anderson Austin, Tom A. Brock, John C.
Calhoun, Sr., and Percy A. Bennett, who operated gins during a span of 20 years. However, workers were
still employed in the 1950s
to pick cotton by hand. Thomas P. Whisenant either owned or ran this gin.
Moving along with progress came the creameries, some large and others
small, but all of tremendous importance to this area. From 1920-24, Mr. Sam Wright,
assisted by Mr. Jim Pollard, operated a sizeable creamery station in back of
the Vaiden-Kopperl-Hawkins building. From 1925-28,
Percy Crook and Ernest Blanton conducted an impressive creamery across the
street from the Courthouse, on Mulberry
Street. When the Pet Milk Company opened its
huge Vaiden Plant in 1928,
Mr. Crook was appointed manager and continued a very successful operation
then with the plant moving to Winona,
he was requested to serve in a managerial capacity for another five years.
Numerous records also indicate that Mr. O.G. Cearley, who owned the
largest dairy herd in this vicinity, was the company's leading producer and
supplier. One cannot underestimate the economic value of both the creameries
and the Pet Milk Plant to Vaiden. These former flourishing firms furnished a
vast market and an extra income to farmers and dairymen, far and near, all of
which benefited every phase of our business structure.
The Lumber Industry has always been a
significant part of Vaiden's industrial progress. Some of the early known sawmills were owned by Austin Anderson, John
C. Calhoun, Sr., John M. Vandiver, Murry D. and Charles Stewart. One of the
largest sawmill and gin complexes here at the turn of the century was that of
Mr. Barksdale Austin, with 20-30 employees.
Another addition to Vaiden's growing economy in 1928 was the Peeler Lumber
Company which occupied a large acreage south and southeast of town. This
company was owned and managed by industrialist Sam Peeler of nearby
Kosciusko, with the assistance of his wife, Ethel, and daughter Louise. Mr. Peeler employed from 75 to 100 men
to saw, plane, groove and kiln the dry lumber. The operation became so
extensive that a spur railroad track was required on the property to expedite
large lumber shipments. In November, 1931, the Peeler Lumber
Company was destroyed in one of the largest fires in Vaiden's
A disastrous fire almost destroyed the entire plant, but with faith,
the Peelers rebuilt and restocked better than ever, and continued
successfully until 1943,
when their health and wartime measures necessitated a consolidation with
their burgeoning Kosciusko Lumber Enterprise.
Another welcomed asset to Vaiden was the Allen Cooperage Company of Grenada, Mississippi, which installed a stave mill
north of town in 1929.
This firm employed many men and women, with profitable operations until 1936. Its payroll was a boost
to the town during a greater part of the depression years.
Mr. and Mrs. Anderson Austin
purchased from Mr. T.I. Applewhite, the large gin located in front of their
home. Attuned to the demands of the times, a year later Mr. and Mrs. Austin
erected a much-needed grist mill and ice plant
on the same location. The busy ice plant had an annual output of 1000 tons.
the Dresser Mineral Company constructed on a
site south of town, a clay factory known as Magcobar. From Bentoniate Clay,
which was supplied from nearby sections, molds were made for the manufacture
of automobile motors Magcobar was absorbed in 1971 by its midwestern parent company,
Daily life, however, was not all work and no play. Town meetings,
political rallies, holiday gatherings, dances and humorous events
were usually on the agenda. Picnics
were often held at the old Vaiden
Place. In 1934, Vaiden celebrated Carroll County's Centennial, in honor of
Charles Carroll. Area events, such as the Montgomery County
Fair, were often enjoyed, with only minor incidents
dampening the occasions.
Some of the older generation talked about some of the odd customs of their day and the feuds that took place when they were young.
The Vaiden Cemetery is one of the oldest in Mississippi, having
been in existence well over a century. Mrs. Mary Pleasants gave the land for
the original cemetery, which was called the Shongalo Cemetery, and she is
buried there. The south section of the cemetery is still referred to as the Shongalo Cemetery.
A marble monument marks
the place where Dr. Cowles Mead Vaiden, and his wife, Elizabeth Herring
Vaiden are buried. This marble stone, approximately 20
feet high, has an angel on top with the right hand raised and
a finger pointing heavenward. The square area below is adorned with symbols;
justice scales, a honey comb, an hour glass, and others. Dr. Vaiden was a man
of integrity and many talents; a doctor, a farmer, a philanthropist, and a
A grave of historic significance is that of John Cain, a Revolutionary War Drummer Boy.
He was born December 12,
1766, and died
April 17, 1854.
Nearby is another military grave. The marker bears the following
inscription: "Lucas C.S.A. Alabama 1862." This is the grave of an ill
confederate soldier whom Mrs. Mary Pleasants nursed in her home and after his
death, had him buried in Shongalo
In the southwest section of the cemetery
is a plot with a stone bearing the inscription, "32 Soldiers Known Only To God." These
soldiers died in skirmish fighting between Union
and Confederate soldiers, when the Union soldiers divided into smaller units
and began raiding through the country. A fierce skirmish occurred just east
of Vaiden, near "Briarwood" plantation,
with General Grierson in command of the Union soldiers. The sick were treated
and the dead buried by the Wilson
family of "Briarwood." Due to the humaneness shown the Union wounded and dead, the remaining Union soldiers
were ordered not to destroy "Briarwood." Because of the confusion
and destruction resulting from the war, the identity of many of these Union and Confederate soldiers who were killed are
unknown, but the burial plot remains, and interesting history is kept alive.
On one side of the cemetery's Confederate
Memorial, is the inscription: "Dedicated to the Memory of the
Confederate Soldiers, Known and Unknown, Who Gave Their Lives During the War
for Southern Independence 1861-1865 and are Buried in this
Before the turn of the century, Joseph Vaiden Herring cared for the
graves in this plot and many other graves in the cemetery, and through his
interest, the Vaiden Chapter of the U.D.C. was organized. On memorial Day,
the children would gather at the Courthouse, have a ceremony, and march to
the cemetery to place flags and flowers on these 32 graves marked by a single brick.
Through the efforts of Mrs. Mable Wilson Bruce and the cooperation
and support of interested citizens, the present marker was erected which
bears the following inscription:
"With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the
right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work
we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to do all which may achieve and
cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.
Abraham Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address."
A grave marker that causes many to stop and contemplate, bears this
inscription: "My Husband, Sacred to the Memory of Joseph H. Harrell.
Died March 31, 1859, age 27 yrs. 2 mo. and 29 days." All that is known about this man is
that he is listed as a pharmacist among the early settlers of Shongalo. He
died well over a century ago and his grave is in a lot surrounded by an iron
fence. It is not known why his wife is not buried here but the beautiful
marble monument that marks his grave is a visible expression of her deep
sorrow. It is a carved lady, in a sitting position, bowed in grief. Local
people refer to this grave as the one with "the weeping lady."
A smaller section of the cemetery, referred to as the Cain-McClurg
section, joins the Shongalo section.
In the early 1900s,
the Industrial Order of the Odd Fellows donated a plot, approximately one
acre, adjoining this section. Many descendants of the older Shongalo-Vaiden
families are buried in this section. Some family plots contain the graves of
When the next cemetery expansion became necessary, the latest
addition, known as the Wright-Fullilove section was added.
the Vaiden Garden Club spearheaded a drive for
overall restoration of the cemetery. The chain link fence with four gates was
completed during the first year at a cost of $4,026.71. The existing west fence was left
for future expansion. The Odd Fellows and the Wright-Fullilove sections were
joined by the removal of trees, stumps, and underbrush, grading and sodding.
Many people gave time, work and money for this special improvement. A new
retaining wall, new concrete steps, and the restoration of the antique fence
have added much to the appearance of the cemetery. Other improvements are
being planned. This work has been a labor of love.
A look at a century-old grave and then at a more recent one brings
the feeling expressed by William Cullen Bryant: "All that breathe will
share thy destiny."
Company E, 1st
Regt., Mississippi Light Artillery,
was organized at Vaiden in November, 1861. It was organized as Company L., but the
designation was changed to Company E. on March 6, 1865.
It was not assigned duty in the field until February, 1862. The company, when ordered
to the front, encamped until the battle of Shiloh near Corinth. The government could not furnish
them the necessary equipment for the full battery, having no horses, and not
enough guns. When the battle of Shiloh was to be fought, although General
Ruggles reported Bain's Battery was not ready for full service, Lt. A.J.
Sanderson, with a sufficient detachment from the Vaiden
Artillery to man two guns, joined the Stanford
Battery of Grenada men, which was weakened by sickness of their
men, and was in the hottest of the fight at Shiloh.
The detachment lost the guns, but they were later recovered. Several
men were killed and wounded. Jeff Sandridge was the first to be killed.
Corporal and Gunner J.T. Harris was severely wounded through both his thighs.
After the battle of Shiloh, the company was stationed at Columbus for several months. When it became
apparent that Grant was making every effort to take Vicksburg, the Vaiden
Artillery was sent to that point and given a prominent and
important position in the defense of that stronghold.
When the vessels of the Federal fleet drew up in the river above the
city, the boys were pleased that they would soon be able to show their skill
as gunners. The time came, and as the first vessels came within range, the
guns were directed with accuracy and the shots went straight to the mark.
Though the vessels passed, they bore the marks and bruises of the shot and
shell of the Vaiden Artillery.
During the siege, Lt. J.B. Young was killed on the breastworks. Sgt.
W.R. Harris and Lem Eakin were so severely wounded that both died, and others
were wounded. While stationed at Corinth,
Lts. W.P. Young and D.P. Wilbanks died of disease, as did several other men.
The vacancies in the ranks of commissioned officers were filled by E.M.
Collins and E.L. Wood who, in addition to Capt. S.C.
Baines and 1st Lt.
A.J. Sanderson, served the company until the close of the war. This was the
largest company that was made up of Carroll County
men. The company was later sent to a battery in Mobile Bay,
where it was stationed until it was paroled at the end of the war.
Roll of Vaiden Artillery:
Sanderson, A.J., 1st
Young, W.P., Junior 1st
Wilbanks, D., 2nd
Young, J.S., Junior 2nd
Collins, E.M., Lts. promoted
Wood, E.L., Lts. promoted
Simpson, John B., 1st
Winfrey, A.F., Ordinance Sgt.
McEachern, J.D., Sgt.
Pilcher, J.S., Sgt.
Hairston, W.H., Sgt.
Oldham, F.C., Sgt.
McEacher, W.H., 1st
Buck, T.C., 2nd
Harris, J.T., 3rd
Kaigler, A.A., 4th
Weir, W.C., 5th
Mecklin, R.W., Corp.
Oldham, D.T., Corp.
Hamilton, T.A., Corp.
Hemphill, A.J., Corp.
The Vaiden Artillery has the distinction of having it's own plaque in the National
The inscription reads as follows:
VAIDEN (MISSISSIPPI) BATTERY:
RIVER BATTERIES; ARMY OF VICKSBURG
A detachment of the battery, under
Lieut. E.L. Wood, served one 12-
in this position from
May 23 to the end
of the defense,
July 4, 1863.
To this day, one of the buildings in Downtown
Vicksburg proudly displays a plaque
detailing the actions of the Vaiden Mississippi River Battery.
The Mississippi Monument was dedicated at Vicksburg National
on November 13, 1909, and
as a reminder of the gallant men who gave their lives for the support of the
The celebrated unveiling of a Confederate Monument, erected by the local chapter U.D.C.,
in the Vaiden Court Square, to the memory of heroic effort of Confederate
Soldiers -- living and dead -- was performed Friday, May 12, 1912. Another date given for its unveiling
is June 3, 1912, as listed and illustrated
on page 124 of Confederate
Monuments: Enduring Symbols of the South and the War Between the States,
by Ralph W. Widener, Jr., Ph.D., and is published by Andromeda Associates,
During the War, there was no way for General William W. Loring
(Southern Commander in Jackson) to communicate
with his troops at Greenwood.
Loring directed Colonel Thomas N. Waul, the commander of the legion, to
establish a line of couriers between Greenwood
and Vaiden on the Mississippi
Central Railroad. This ensured an adequate line of communication between
Loring's advance position and Pemberton's Jackson headquarters. From Vaiden, a
telegraph line ran to Jackson.
Subsequently, Pemberton ordered General George to send the Mississippi State
Troops assembled at Vaiden and Winona to Greenwood as a reinforcement for Loring.
Bearss, Edwin C., Decision in Mississippi: Mississippi's
Important Role in the War Between the States, Pp. 165, 201.
Many other Vaiden residents served in the Civil War. Dr. C.M. Vaiden
was a member of another group of 56
men called the Vaiden Guards,
led by Captain Joseph A. Applewhite. Carroll County
produced at least 41
different military units during the Civil War. They are listed below. Keep in
mind that, during the Civil War, the present Grenada
County and Leflore
County, and their cities, including Winona, were within the lines of Carroll County.
Black Hawk Rifles; Co. G, 22nd Regiment Infantry
Buckner Rebels; Co. I, 30th
Capt. Applewhite's Company (Vaiden Guards)
Capt. J.M. Armistead's Company (Partisan
Capt. Stanford's Battery
(Stanford's Light Artillery)
Capt. Walker's Company; Carroll County Militia, Co.
3rd Regiment Infantry MinuteMen (State Troops)(Owen's)
I, 28th Regiment
Defenders; Co. B, 3rd Regiment
Minute Men (State Troops)(Owen's)
H, 4th Regiment Infantry
K, 11th Regiment Infantry
Carroll Dragoons; Co.
B, 2nd Battalion
Carroll Fencibles; Co.
A, 42nd Regiment Infantry
Carroll Guards; Co.
C, 20th Regiment Infantry
Carroll Light Artillery; Battery
E, 1st Regiment Light Artillery
Carroll Minute Men; Co.
H, 2nd Regiment Infantry
(Army of 10,000)(Alcorn's)
Carroll Minute Men, Co. H, 30th Regiment
Carroll Rangers; Co. E, 1st Battalion Cavalry (Miller's)
also Co. A, 1st Regiment
Coms Avengers; Co.
I, 25th Regiment Infantry
also Co. I, 2nd Regiment
(aka 10th and 20th Battalions Infantry)
Coyle's Company; Co.
G, 1st Battalion
Cavalry Reserves (Denis')
Curtis' Company; Co.
C, 5th Regiment Cavalry
Deason Battalion of Cavalry (local defense)
Dixie Boys; Co. K, 30th Regiment
Dixie Rangers; Co.
B, 28th Regiment Cavalry
Ford's Company; Co.
A, 2nd Regiment Partisan Rangers (Ballantine's)
Lake's Company; Co.
I, 2nd Battalion
Reserve Corps. (Cavalry)
McAfee Hussars; Co.
A, 28th Regiment Cavalry
McClung Rifles; Co.
E, 15th Regiment Infantry
Middleton Rebels; Co.
B, 2nd Regiment Infantry
(Army of 10,000)(Alcorn's)
Mississippi Rangers; Co. A, 5th Regiment
Neill Guards; Co.
A, 30th Regiment Infantry
Perkins' Company; Co.
A, Yerger's Regiment Cavalry
Pettus Partisans (aka W.B. Prince's Company); Co. A,
Red Invincibles; Co.
C, 4th Regiment Infantry
Robert's Company; Co.
A, 3rd Battalion
Scale's Company; Co.
D, 5th Regiment Cavalry
Shipp's Company; Co.
F, 1st Battalion
Cavalry Reserves (Denis')
Stephens' Guards; Co.
E, 4th Regiment Cavalry
Trotter's Company; Co.
B, 5th Regiment Cavalry
Vaiden Artillery; Battery
L, 1st Regiment Light Artillery
Walthall Rebels; Co.
G, 29th Regiment Infantry
Winona Stars; Co. B, 15th Regiment
On December 23, 1862,
Confederate President Jefferson Davis visited Grenada,
Mississippi, to discuss the War with
Pemberton and to review the Confederate defenses along the Yalobusha River.
"Davis, Pemberton, and Johnston presided at a 'grand and imposing
review' of the army on the 24th
and left Grenada on the 25th, stopping briefly at Vaiden,
gave a short address. According to one listener, Davis
'said the prospects in the West were cheering, and that if the young men of Mississippi would turn out, the invader would be driven
across the Ohio.'"
Source: The Papers of Jefferson Davis, Volume 8, 1862. Edited by Lynda Lasswell Crist, Mary Seaton
Dix, and Kenneth H. Williams.
University Press, Baton Rouge, 1995. Page 560. First Printing. ISBN: 0-8071-1938-5
Another famous Carroll County Native, Hernando De Soto Money (1839-1912), served in the Confederate Army during the
Civil War. H.D. Money was from Carrollton,
MS. He was born in Zieglersville, MS, on
August 26, 1839, and served as a U.S.
Representative from Mississippi
(3rd District from
1875-1883; 4th District from 1883-1885, and 1893-1897). He also served as a U.S. Senator from Mississippi from 1897-1911. He died near Biloxi,
MS, on September 18, 1912, and is buried in Carroll County, MS.
Excerpts from a report read by Mrs. T.B. Kennedy
at a meeting of the Vaiden Chapter, U.D.C., September 14,
"I can recall about
38 names of the
noble, sacrificing heroic women who met in Vaiden to furnish, make and send
articles of clothing to the dear boys in gray, I don't suppose any women ever
met together with more willing hearts and hands than our members of 'The
Ladies' Aid Society'. . . .There were at least 100, many young girls among them. . .
.They could tell of experiences treasured in our memories; some almost
obscured by time. [Ed. Note: These women served a vital function in
caring for the sick and wounded, as did other notable women during the Civil War.]
The heroines at home
made many sacrifices and self-denials 'to keep the wolf from the door.'
Potatoes, meal and okra were substituted for coffee; we wore home-spun
dresses; even biscuits were a rarity sometimes. . .I will relate a little
incident that took place at my own home, the time Grierson made a raid
through this part of Mississippi.
The time was January 1, 1863. The heroine then was my own little
three-year-old daughter Camilla. One of the insolent Yankee soldiers
pretended to have been insulted by some member of our family, and had the
impudence to take a torch from the fireplace. Mother asked: 'What are you
going to do with fire?' He said: 'Madam, I am going to burn your house.' Then
Camilla called to him and said: 'Please don't burn ma-ma's house, and I will
give you some wine.' The Yankee said, 'Well, get it quick.' Camilla took the
hand of a servant, passing through numbers of Yankee soldiers, and led the
way to the storeroom, got the wine, and gave it to the one who said he would
burn the house. The soldier said to mother, 'Madam, this little child has
saved your house.'"
[It was during this raid
that Maj. Charles Kopperl, was killed by a Yankee
soldier because Mr. Kopperl refused to give up his watch, and Union Soldiers
had no need for Confederate Currency.]
"We also had a
hospital in Vaiden. . .Our dear, good women would go to the hospital and take
our convalescent soldiers to their own homes, where they were cared for until
they were well enough to return to their company. Quite a number of soldiers
are buried in our own cemetery, whose grave, after many years lying
neglected, have been brought to a respectable condition by the supervision of
our esteemed friend, Mr. Joe V. Herring, who so recently passed into the
spirit world, and whose kindness and usefulness will be greatly missed.
According to Clarence Pierce, the C.S.A. hospital was located on Front Street, but
records have yet to be located confirming the exact location. From the first
of January ...until
the end of the war in April, rumors of Confederate victories, Union
victories, burning of distant and of near-by communities were rife -- Vaiden,
Bankston, Greensboro, Winona, West Station. . . .On February 2, 1865, the Yankee soldiers demolished
Young's Drug Store in Vaiden. The floor was strewn with medicine and broken
jars and vials.
Source: Kosciusko-Attala History;
Kosciusko-Attala Historical Society,
Ch. 8 [by Marymaganos McCool Fenwick],
P. 43. 1970s.
. . . .
I thank Heaven that
there are so many noble women still left who could and would fill the places
of those gone before. They could never surpass the heroic mothers of the
South, who have passed and are still passing one by one to the bright and
Source: The Vaiden Heritage, 1976, published by the Messenger
Press, Florence, MS,
was compiled by the many members of the Vaiden Garden
Club, who tirelessly collected, sorted, recollected, and assembled data about
their hometown. Other sources include: Richard
Aubrey McLemore, A History of Mississippi, 1973. Vol. 1. University Press of Mississippi. Data concerning
locations of historical value provided by the Gazetteer
search engine at Lineages.
Thank You for joining me at Vaiden, Mississippi.
. .A unique place. . .a place I'll always call home.
Picture Tells A Story . . .Page III
Design and Compilation of all VAIDEN.NET pages Copyright © by Ron Collins. 2007.
For two great references to Mississippi's towns (in print), be sure to
check out The Historical Geography of Extinct Towns in Mississippi, by
Howard Glenn Adkins, and Hometown Mississippi by James F. Brieger.