A Landing a Day

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Smithville, Mississippi

Posted by graywacke on January 18, 2010

First timer?  In this (hopefully) once-a-day blog, I have my computer select a random latitude and longitude that puts me somewhere in the continental United States (the lower 48).  I call this “landing.”  I keep track of the watersheds I land in, as well as the town I land near.  I do some internet research to hopefully find something of interest about my landing location.  To find out more about A Landing A Day (like who “Dan” is and what the various numbers and abbreviations mean), please see “About Landing,” (and “Abbreviations” and “Cryptic Numbers”) above.

Dan –   Today’s landing is in the SB (a new abbreviation meaning “Southern Block” of USers) . . . MS; 28/29 (barely . . .); 6/10; 6; 152.2.

Here’s my landing map, showing my proximity to Smithville and Amory (and the Alabama State line):

Here’s a broader landing view:

The large river just west of my landing is the Tombigbee R (7th hit); on to the Mobile (20th hit); on to Mobile Bay.

Here’s my GE shot, showing I landed in a mostly-wooded area.

Notice all of those ponds?  My guess is that they’re sand and gravel pits that have been abandoned and then flooded.  It’s common for sand and gravel pit operators to dig below the watertable, pumping the groundwater out as they go.  Then, when pumping gets too expensive, they turn off the pump, and voila – a pond.

I wonder what that large field is, just north of my landing?  No row crops – maybe a cow pasture?  Here’s a close-up, showing what looks like a house perched right on the edge of a pond (the white is sunlight reflected off the water).  If that’s a backyard, it’s a lot to mow!

From the local Smithville website:

Smithville was first used as a trading post as early as 1820. The land where Smithville stands today was first owned by a Chickasaw Indian by the name of Cochubby, who had received the land through the Pontotoc Treaty.  Cochubby later sold the land to a man by the name of Couch, who sold to a man by the name of Evans who sold to a man by the name of Smith (who was honored by having the town named after him).

Smithville has enjoyed the longtime services of several doctors. One of them, Dr. B.C.Tubb, practiced for 65 years before his death in 1973.

Check out Dr. Tubb’s office building:

I love it!!  Seems like his rates must have been pretty reasonable . . .

Moving down river to Amory.  They have a famous daughter, Lucille Bogan.  From Wiki:

Lucille Bogan (April 1, 1897 – August 10, 1948) was an American blues singer, among the first to be recorded. She also recorded under the pseudonym Bessie Jackson. Bogan sang straight-talking blues about drinking (“Sloppy Drunk Blues”), prostitution (“Tricks Ain’t Walking No More”), gambling, lesbianism and other facets of what her generation called ‘the life’.

Phew!  This was one spicy lady!!  Her song “Shave ‘em Dry” (recorded in the 1930s) is something else.  You’re on your own if you want to check out the song (warning:  sexually explicit language.)   Here are some printable lyrics of another song:

Drinkin’ Blues

Blues has got me drinkin`, trouble`s got me thinkin`,
and it`s goin` to carry me to my grave
And I`m goin` to keep on drinkin`, the rest of my worried days

Don`t a woman look real funny, when she wakes up cold in hand,
and the broad ain`t got a dollar to give the house-rent man

Trouble`s got me thinkin`, and I just can`t keep from drinkin`,
and I`m tryin` to drive my worried blues away
How I been worried each and every lonesome day

Now my heart is achin`, and whiskey`s all it`s takin`,
just to drive these blues away
And I stay drunk each and every worried day

On to Amory proper.  Here are a couple of back-in-the-day shots from AntBrotherArms.com.  First, an 1880s shot of the town:

And this, a shot of Amory “Trade Days” in 1935 – Amory was a happenin’ place!

You’ll notice on my landing map, that the Tombigbee R looks a little, well engineered, with some lake-like sections and some very straight sections.  It turns out that this is actually part of the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway, or the “Tenn-Tom.”  From the Tenn-Tom website:

The United States is served by an extensive inland waterway system unparalleled in the World. Completed in December 1984 after 12 years of construction at a cost of nearly $2 billion, the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway is one of the most modern components of this world class transportation network. It provides a low cost and energy efficient trade link between the Sunbelt states and 14 river systems totaling some 4500 miles of navigable waterways that serve mid-America.

Here’s a map showing the Waterway, and how it connects the two watersheds (Amory is shown on the blown-up map insert):

And this, about the “Divide Cut,” where they had to simply cut a channel through the uplands separating the Tombigbee & Tennessee watersheds.  From the same website:

Ten years of work, at a cost of nearly $500 million, were needed to excavate a canal through the divide that separates the watersheds of the Tennessee and Tombigbee Rivers. The deepest cut is 175 feet and the average depth of excavation along the entire 29-mile reach is 50 feet. While the breadth of the cut at the top of the natural terrain is nearly one-half mile wide, the canal itself is 280 feet wide and 12 feet deep. The 150-million cubic yards of earth removed (nearly one and one-half times that excavated in building the Suez Canal) were carefully deposited and landscaped in the valleys along the canal.  This successful disposal of so much excavated soil solved one of the most potentially serious environmental problems confronting the construction of the waterway.

Here’s a picture of the Divide Cut:

More local to my landing, here’s a shot of the Lock located at Smithville (the caption below):

Wilkins Lock has a lift of 25 feet and cost $34 million. It is located in northern Monroe County near Smithville, Mississippi The Lock is named after a former administrator of the Tenn – Tom Waterway Development Authority, who was instrumental in making the waterway a reality.

I find it amazing that this old-school type of project was completed in 1984!  I wonder if, with 20-20 hindsight, it was worth it?

I’ll close with this shot of the Waterway:

That’ll do it.



© 2009 A Landing A Day


4 Responses to “Smithville, Mississippi”

  1. Rita Thompson said

    April 27, 2011 an EF5 tornado destroyed most of Smithville, MS. Six months later the town is trying to rebuild. You can see a lot more on Google.

    • graywacke said

      Rita – Thanks for the update, although it’s so sad. I certainly wish Smithville luck in getting back on its feet . . .


  2. Dudley Pearce said

    Dr. B. C. Tubb was my granddady Jerry Pearce’s (Jeremiah Beauregard Pearce) doctor until his death in 1943. On vacations we used to visit Jerry and family at their home in the Pearce Chapel community. I called on Dr. Tubb a time or so in my work for the Veteran’s Administration in the 1960s. I like your picture of his office. Am I free to publish it? I am now 85 years old and live in Virginia. Dudley Pearce

    • graywacke said

      Dudley – I love it when I get some local, knowledgeable feedback. Very cool that you actually knew Dr. Tubb. As for using the picture – I don’t recall where on the internet I got it (and back in 2009, I wasn’t very good about including photo references), but as far as I’m concerned, you’re free to use it as you wish.


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