By Lena Mitchell
Daily Journal Corinth Bureau
IUKA – Saturday’s Iuka Heritage Festival drew plenty of visitors to outdoor activities set up throughout Iuka Mineral Springs Park, despite a forecast for rain.
Dr. Ben Kitchens of Iuka, whose new book “John Marshall Stone: Mississippi’s Honorable and Longest Serving Governor” was released earlier this week, was part of an indoor event, a book signing at the Old Tishomingo County Courthouse Museum. All proceeds from sale of the book will be donated to the museum.
“I was up here Wednesday when the books came in,” said Eddie Carson of Iuka. “I got it and read it and said I’d come back today to get it signed.”
Little had been written about the governor whose terms followed Reconstruction, said Kitchens, who described Stone as having used his “leadership skills and business acumen to help pull Mississippi out of the depths of social and financial mire.”
Stone moved to Eastport as a young man in his 20s, and from there moved to Iuka in the year of its founding, 1857, serving as mayor from 1866-1868, when elected treasurer of Tishomingo County.
“There was never much written on Governor Stone before,” said Cindy Nelson, president of the Tishomingo County Historical and Genealogical Society. “This book will be a gold mine of information for high school and college students doing research.”
Organizers had hoped to include a mass wedding ceremony at the museum as one of the day’s special events, but despite dozens of phone calls and interest expressed, none of the couples came for the ceremony.
Early morning rainfall caused two other of the day’s special events to be canceled, the Vintage Tractor Show and the Heritage Day Car Show.
Families seemed not to miss what wasn’t there, however, enjoying a chance to be out enjoying the day’s variety of events.
“This is something we do every year,” said Jana Lewis, who was with her husband, Tom, and their daughters, 12-year-old Taylor and Preslee, 2. “It’s a great event for our family.”