Congressmen, Cotesworth and Community Pride

Unidentified congressmen with Elizabeth Saunders, Kat Williams and J.B. Williams at Cotesworth, 1961

“One time Congressman Frank Smith invited me to accompany a group on a watershed tour. There were nine Congressmen, some high-ranking engineers and others on the bus with us as we rode around the hills and curves of Carroll County. We ended up at Cotesworth, home of the late Senator J.Z.George, near Carrollton, where the Carroll County Garden Club members were waiting to serve us mint juleps in silver cups. We were invited to a party for the group that night at the Greenwood Country Club but did not have a babysitter so could not go.

“The paper carried a feature every Monday titled ‘Our Home Town’ featuring some small town in the tri-state area. This feature ran on the front of the second section of the paper and was usually good for three and sometimes four pictures. So Russell and I visited nearly every little town around and wrote them up for this page. They also ran a series of ‘Our Home Folks’ features and I sent in a lot of those.”

One of Sara's "Our Home Town" photos

Looking through Sara’s scrapbooks of 30+ years with the Commercial Appeal is like peering through a mirror into Mississippi’s recent past. She could put the spin on tiny towns like Sumner or Shelby or Merigold and make you want to pack your bags and relocate. Her years of Chamber of Commerce apple polishing stood her in good stead in those hamlets, most of which have dried up to fly specks on the map now. But not everything has changed; I spent a spectacular fall day today out at Cotesworth with Kat Williams and her cows, and the old house is just as inviting and majestic as it was when Sara’s Congressional entourage pulled up out there fifty years ago. It’s comforting to know that some things never change.

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About sec040121

Hello....I'm in possession of a priceless collection of memoirs and memorabilia left by my mother, Sara Evans Criss. She was a native and lifelong (88 years!) devotee of our small town, who covered this peculiar and volatile corner of the world for 30 years as the Memphis Commercial Appeal's Greenwood bureau chief, a job that started out with debutantes and high school football and wound up spang in the midst of one of the twentieth century's most enduring social upheavals. This blog is dedicated to her memory and the legacy she left behind, both for her family and her community.
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