CHICKASAW COUNTY – The 150th anniversary of the Civil War is underway and the Chickasaw County Historical and Genealogical Society has invited the author of a book about the local history of that event to speak in Houston.
David Harrison, author of the book “Okolona in the Civil War” will be the guest speaker at the Chickasaw County Museum at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 17. The event is free and open to the public.
“Mr. Harrison is a member of Memphis Heritage, Sons of Confederate Veterans and the West Tennessee Historical Society,” said Larry Davis, president of the Chickasaw Historical Society. “He is a regular participant in the Holly Spring Pilgrimages and a volunteer at Elwood Cemetery in Memphis.”
Davis said Harrison will talk about his book and Chickasaw County’s connection to the Civil War.
“He grew up in Amory and attended Mississippi State University,” said Davis. “He brings a lifetime of research and interesting stories about the Battle of Okolona to this event.”
The revival of the Battle of Okolona re-enactment this spring has sparked an interest in Civil War history as it relates to northeast Mississippi. Thousands of people from across the region came to Okolona over two days to see the re-enactment.
“This will also be held the week before the Flywheel Festival where the Museum will unveil it’s Civil War exhibit,” said Davis. “We have worked for some time to get that exhibit ready and I think the community will be impressed.”
Davis said the exhibit will feature photos, diaries and lot of artifacts from the Civil War with a direction connection to Chickasaw County.
“I dare say if you have kinfolk that lived here during the Civil War, you will probably find a photo of someone related to you in this collection,” said Davis. “We have pretty much planned our exhibit, but if people have artifacts or photos, we urge them to contact us. The whole idea of this museum is to not only preserve the history of this community, but to share it with others.”
In 1979 the Chickasaw County Historical and Genealogical Society was formed to preserve, catalog and share local history.
Historical family research has been a keystone in building the current facility. From the beginning the Historical Society has sought to preserve county records, post office and cemetery locations, land maps, letters, family histories and the little bits of information that help people research their roots.
A major portion of the museum’s visitors are people who drive from out of town to search for information about their relatives.
“These people stay in our motels, eat in our restaurants and shop in our stores,” said Davis “This is not only positive recognition for our county, but also economic development.”
The Historical Society has embarked on a three-phase building project for the site on Woodland Circle in Joe Brigance Park.
The first phase saw the construction of a 2,000-square-foot Ag Museum to houses farm equipment and ag-related items with historical significance. Phase Two saw the construction of a 1,600-square-foot building that houses research and historical records as well as artifacts and exhibits. Phase Three will be an additional 800-square-foot exhibit area.
The Historic Society has also built a blacksmith’s shop and is seeking to preserve the old Parkersburg Depot.
Plans have also been discussed to highlight the community’s musical heritage and create a permanent exhibit depicting the history of the Chickasaw Indian nation.
The Historical Society can be reached at www.chickasawcountyhistorical.com.