Participants take a walk through pieces of Aberdeen history

ABERDEEN – City building inspector David Low lead mostly Aberdeen High School JROTC cadets on a hike through history with stops representing the 1500s to the early 1900s.

RAY VAN DUSEN/MONROE JOURNAL David Low, center, explains the significance of an area on the side of where Matubby Creek and the Tombigbee River meet as far as Hernando DeSoto's expedition in 1540.

RAY VAN DUSEN/MONROE JOURNAL
David Low, center, explains the significance of an area on the side of where Matubby Creek and the Tombigbee River meet as far as Hernando DeSoto’s expedition in 1540.

The program was the second installment of the JROTC’s history hike series, which will ultimately explore the significant events in the the area’s timeline stretching from Hernando DeSoto’s explorations to Prairie’s World War II heritage at the Gulf Ordnance Plant.
“When you look at what used to be here that’s not anymore, you see the opportunity for the need of leadership that can reestablish this town as a district hub,” said AHS JROTC instructor Lt. Col. Jeff ‘Cog’ Coggin while standing on the corner of Meridian and College streets.
At one point, Aberdeen had three colleges, which is a small fraction of the entities that once made it one of the largest cities in the state.
The recent history hike mixed a lesson about downtown’s drainage system and original architectural building codes that were ahead of their time when put in place with a trek through the woods following the same steps as DeSoto.
Low educated the hikers, which also included Mississippi State ROTC cadets and Aberdeen residents, on DeSoto’s union and falling out with the Chickasaw Indians, the importance of the Tombigbee River and Matubby Creek to commerce and livelihood among several other historical tidbits.
The ending point of the hike was on the banks of where the Tombigbee and Matubby meet, a place defined by a line of two shades of dark water where the two meet. Low explained how this site was a spot mentioned in the Faction of the King of Spain in 1544 in regards to Desoto’s expedition.

RAY VAN DUSEN/MONROE JOURNAL David Low speaks about the significance of Acker Park during its prime.

RAY VAN DUSEN/MONROE JOURNAL
David Low speaks about the significance of Acker Park during its prime.

Aside from another spot on the high banks of the Matubby, the JROTC history hike made stops at the old cotton compress and Acker Park.

RAY VAN DUSEN/MONROE JOURNAL David Low leads discusses the construction of the old cotton compress and its importance to Aberdeen's economy years ago.

RAY VAN DUSEN/MONROE JOURNAL
David Low leads discusses the construction of the old cotton compress and its importance to Aberdeen’s economy years ago.

RAY VAN DUSEN/MONROE JOURNAL The group takes a lunch break.

RAY VAN DUSEN/MONROE JOURNAL
The group takes a lunch break.

RAY VAN DUSEN/MONROE JOURNAL The group poses around the campfire.

RAY VAN DUSEN/MONROE JOURNAL
The group poses around the campfire.

RAY VAN DUSEN/MONROE JOURNAL The group gets a view of Matubby Creek from one of its bluffs. The creek was important for Chickasaw Indian tribes in earlier years.

RAY VAN DUSEN/MONROE JOURNAL
The group gets a view of Matubby Creek from one of its bluffs. The creek was important for Chickasaw Indian tribes in earlier years.

RAY VAN DUSEN/MONROE JOURNAL Little signs of the past like this fire hydrant from 1855 on Meridian Street can be seen throughout Aberdeen.

RAY VAN DUSEN/MONROE JOURNAL
Little signs of the past like this fire hydrant from 1855 on Meridian Street can be seen throughout Aberdeen.

RAY VAN DUSEN/MONROE JOURNAL Bruce Childress and Lt. Col. Jeff Coggin make it through puddles through part of the trail.

RAY VAN DUSEN/MONROE JOURNAL
Bruce Childress and Lt. Col. Jeff Coggin make it through puddles through part of the trail.

RAY VAN DUSEN/MONROE JOURNAL An old Sugar-free Pepsi can remains among old cinder blocks and pieces of a store that used to stand next to the Monroe County Sheriff's Office's work center. The area is now grown up with trees and debris.

RAY VAN DUSEN/MONROE JOURNAL
An old Sugar-free Pepsi can remains among old cinder blocks and pieces of a store that used to stand next to the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office’s work center. The area is now grown up with trees and debris.

RAY VAN DUSEN/MONROE JOURNAL The sun peers through a thicket.

RAY VAN DUSEN/MONROE JOURNAL
The sun peers through a thicket.

RAY VAN DUSEN/MONROE JOURNAL The hike gets a little more complicated as it winds through a trail through a thicket.

RAY VAN DUSEN/MONROE JOURNAL
The hike gets a little more complicated as it winds through a trail through a thicket.

RAY VAN DUSEN/MONROE JOURNAL The water is two tones of brown where the Tombigbee meets Matubby Creek, a spot where Hernando DeSoto crossed in the 1500s.

RAY VAN DUSEN/MONROE JOURNAL
The water is two tones of brown where the Tombigbee meets Matubby Creek, a spot where Hernando DeSoto crossed in the 1500s.

RAY VAN DUSEN/MONROE JOURNAL An MSU ROTC cadet searches through leaves after Bruce Childress' metal detector picked up on something.

RAY VAN DUSEN/MONROE JOURNAL
An MSU ROTC cadet searches through leaves after Bruce Childress’ metal detector picked up on something.

RAY VAN DUSEN/MONROE JOURNAL Derby Beasley, center, is joined by two Mississippi State ROTC members in a dig after the metal detector beeped something was underground. The search yielded a small piece of scrap metal.

RAY VAN DUSEN/MONROE JOURNAL
Derby Beasley, center, is joined by two Mississippi State ROTC members in a dig after the metal detector beeped something was underground. The search yielded a small piece of scrap metal.

RAY VAN DUSEN/MONROE JOURNAL The group meanders down a trail behind the old compress.

RAY VAN DUSEN/MONROE JOURNAL
The group meanders down a trail behind the old compress.

RAY VAN DUSEN/MONROE JOURNAL Lt. Col. Jeff 'Cog' Coggin explains the importance of community revitalization stateside near a monument paying tribute to those lost in 1986's Challenger explosion at Acker Park.

RAY VAN DUSEN/MONROE JOURNAL
Lt. Col. Jeff ‘Cog’ Coggin explains the importance of community revitalization stateside near a monument paying tribute to those lost in 1986’s Challenger explosion at Acker Park.

RAY VAN DUSEN/MONROE JOURNAL The group passes North Meridian Street into what was once known as the old Mule Hitching Post and is now Big Star parking lot.

RAY VAN DUSEN/MONROE JOURNAL
The group passes North Meridian Street into what was once known as the old Mule Hitching Post and is now Big Star parking lot.

About Ray Van Dusen

I've been with the Monroe Journal since Aug. 2009 as a staff writer, but took the role as news editor in late 2012. I'm always looking for interesting story ideas from around Monroe County. You can reach me via email at ray.vandusen@journalinc.com.