CATEGORY: Marshall County
HED:Marshall County man compiles calendar for 2000
By Eileen Bailey
ASHLAND – Bobby Mitchell pulled out the four notebooks he carries with him at all times.
Inside each are historical facts he jotted down during hours upon hours of research for a calendar he plans to release for the year 2000.
Mitchell, 60, has toiled the last 14 months compiling information for the calendar about Marshall County and Marshall County residents, both past and present.
“I thought it was going to be easier than it was,” Mitchell said in his office at the Benton County Vocational Center building where he works as special populations counselor. “It has been so interesting. I have really enjoyed it.”
The Marshall County native, who has taught at several Marshall County and Missouri schools, is trying to find a historical fact or two for each day of the year. So far he has found information for 240 days.
Mitchell, a cemetery buff, spends hours at the Holly Springs library going through microfilm and other historical data. He even takes his notebooks into bookstores in case he finds an interesting fact about Marshall County.
Civil War records, cemetery records, newspapers and records kept at the Marshall County courthouse also have provided Mitchell with information.
“It takes about one hour per event,” he said. “I can’t read just one paragraph. I read the whole paper.”
Historical facts, from the trivial to the significant, will provide information for those who plan to buy the calendar.
Proceeds from the calendar being sponsored by First State Bank in Holly Springs will go to the Marshall County Genealogy Society, Mitchell said.
Calendar sales may be used to buy microfilm and a new microfilm machine.
Martha Fant, president of the Marshall County Genealogy Society said the calendar will be a unique item for community residents.
“We hope it will go over well,” Fant said. “Bobby has worked really hard to get information to put into the calendar.”
One of the reasons for doing the calendar is the year 2000.
“We hope it will be a sentimental value and a unique calendar,” Fant said.
Most of the calendars will be bought by adults with an interest in genealogy, but Fant hopes the calendars will help children understand their history and develop more of an interest in genealogy.
“(The calendar) will provide (students) with information they would not normally get in a history class,” she said.
Clinton and Davis
One of the oldest entries in the calendar appears on Aug. 9. On that day in 1787, South Carolina ceded lands that include current day Marshall County to the U.S. government.
Most of the remaining entries range from the early 1800s to present day items.
On April 27, 1862, Thomas Jefferson Blythe joined the Confederate Army at Holly Springs. Blythe and two of his brothers and three brothers-in-law all signed up on that day. What makes Blythe so notable is his great-great-grandson: William “Bill” Jefferson Clinton.
Clinton was William Jefferson Blythe until he took the name of Clinton when he turned 18, Mitchell said.
One of the most interesting facts for Mitchell was the first entry on Jan. 1.
On that day in 1876, Holly Springs native Joel Addison Hayes married Margaret Davis, the daughter of Confederate President Jefferson Davis, in Memphis. She would become the only Davis child to marry and have children.
Tornadoes, train wrecks, the Civil War, sports, yellow fever, elections, meetings, governors, deaths and births fill the days of the calendar.
Other older entries include the birth, life and death of Robert Church Sr., who was born in Holly Springs and died in Memphis on August 29, 1912. Church was the first black millionaire in the South, Mitchell said.
On September 13, 1868, Elizabeth Blanton Jones was born. Mitchell said Jones was instrumental in the creation of the Natchez Trace Parkway.
Newer entries include the passing of the Olympic Torch on U.S. Highway 78 on June 2, 1984.
The county’s first black elected sheriff Osborne Bell was killed in the line of duty on May 7, 1986.
Mitchell hopes to get additional information for the calendar so that it can be completed by this summer.
“I thought that with the new millennium coming up people would want a calendar they can save,” he said.