Moon Lake – Coahoma County, Mississippi

Whether a permanent resident or one of the countless visitors, Moon Lake takes hold of you and never lets go.  It’s a beautiful lake great for fishing, boating or just enjoying a relaxing picnic along its shore.

Going north along Highway 1 in Coahoma County, visitors will notice a sign for Moon Lake Scenic Overlook next to a large pecan grove.  If you have time, pull over into the parking lot and take a walk along the scenic path to this public pier overlooking Moon Lake.

img_1755

Moon Lake is a 2,200 acre ox-bow lake in northern Coahoma County.  The lake started its history off as part of the Mississippi but was created when the river changed course. After the Choctaw and Chickasaw left, the area around Moon Lake became one of the first places settled in Coahoma County.

KXTYj3lmSUKMQ3hZokl3sg

Through the years the shore along Moon Lake has been home to politicians, planters, singers and criminals.  It has calmed recently though.  The famous Kathryn’s Restaurant is still serving up its great food.

fullsizeoutput_6d7

Uncle Henrys, famous site of what was called Moon Lake Casino by Tennessee Williams, continues to face out to the calming waters.  Where small shacks and trailers once stood, well built new homes worth hundreds of thousands of dollars now hold reign.  The bars and dance halls that once beckoned  men and women from as far away as Memphis are  gone.  Only a few posts standing lonely just above the lake’s waves are reminders for this wild history, but Moon Lake maintains its beauty.

m3fHRZpVQn25nv3YW%vnXg

Uncle Henry’s on Moon Lake

Summer time brings hundreds of locals and visitors each year for boating and fishing fun. A number of hunting clubs have lodges along Moon Lake as well.  You will see the trucks packed with decoys and shot guns parked nearby as their occupants are enjoying their time along the lake. Fishermen will be busy near the banks with their rods and reels. Sundays will see party barges meeting up between the two islands of the lake.

Alcorn Island is named after the Reconstruction Era Governor and Coahoma County native, James Lusk Alcorn.  The other is named Texas Island.  Texas Island really isn’t an island by definition, but locals still refer to is as one.

IMG_1722

There are two state maintained boating ramps.  One is located at Moon Lake Park on Paradise Point just off Highway 1. Along with the ramp visitors have access to picnic tables and a fish cleaning station.  The other ramp is located off Highway 49 on the Yazoo Pass, which runs into the lake. This ramp also offers picnic tables and a fish cleaning station. In addition to these two sites, there are several more private or non maintained boating ramps along the lakeshore.

img_4017

img_6054

Unfortunately there are no bait stores nearby so fishermen should bring everything they need.  A Jordan’s convenience store along Highway 49 serves the needs of locals and visitors.  Great prices on beer and tobacco.  Also serves Chester’s Chicken and has Citgo gas for customers. There is another smaller store located in Lula that serves prepared food too.

 

IMG_1721

There is a winding road that runs along the edge of Moon Lake that is perfect for a road trip or a bike ride. Overall Moon Lake is a nice and quiet place to unwind and rest in the Mid South.

References:

John Elliott You Tube

Town of Tunica Veterans Memorial Park- Tunica, Mississippi

img_5993

The town of Tunica has a wonderful little space just south of downtown called Tunica Veterans Memorial Park.  It was completed in 2002 to honor our veterans and remember the wars they participated in.  On one end lies swings and a playground for children.  There is a quarter mile walking trail that encompasses the entire park.  Benches allow visitors to rest and take in the beauty of this unique little Southern town.

img_5995

At the other end lies a statue to our soldiers.  Around it are tablets concerning past conflicts and honoring soldiers from Tunica.  It is a well maintained park and one of my favorite walking trails.

img_5991

Location: Tunica, Mississippi

You Tube video of Tunica Veterans Memorial Park Walking Trail

 

 

Maggie Busby – A lonely grave, but not forgotten by me

img_4542

On a lonely road out from Lula there is a small gated cemetery in the middle of a cotton field.  During summer, grass takes it over so you can barely make it out.  About the only time to go visit is during winter after the first few frosts.  The cold winds cut you to the bone as you are making your trek out to see what the rusted gates hold.  Once there, you notice only one marker.  A small, squatty marble marker with the following inscription:

Maggie E.  Wife of Thomas Busby and daughter of Jack Miller.   Born in Winchester, Tennessee October 28, 1866.  Died in Lula, Mississippi September 22, 1905.  She died as she lived, Trusting in God.  

How had this small cemetery survived all these years?  The Mississippi Delta can be an unforgiving place to cemeteries left uncared for.  Also, why would Maggie Busby be buried in such an isolated place with nobody else around her?  When I asked my father, he said he always heard she had died from the plague and everybody was scared to move her.  People were even scared to go visit the grave.  How sad. This made me want to find out even more about Maggie and who Thomas Busby was.

Winchester, where Maggie was born, is a small town in Franklin County, Tennessee on the Alabama state line.  She was the daughter of Jackson Steel Miller and Priscilla Ann Estill.  Maggie was part of a large family with twelve brothers and sisters.  Jack Miller made his living as a carpenter, but made sure his children attended school.

Maggie married Thomas Bailey in 1889 and moved to Lula.  She is listed on the 1900 U.S. Census living with Thomas and his two sons, Willie and Ferdel.  Thomas was identified as a farmer.  Willie was a farm laborer and Ferdel said he was a book keeper. Life was hard in the delta during those times.  Fevers and diseases spread quickly wiping out entire families.  Poor Maggie took ill with typhoid fever and died September 22, 1905 and was buried on the family farm. Her parents had already passed. Priscilla had died in 1900 and Jack had followed in 1901.  Maggie left no children and Thomas had to persevere.

img_4539

Thomas Busby had quite a history himself.   He was born in 1854 in Mississippi.  He and his brother Joseph were the sons of Levi Busby and Elizabeth Lee.  According to family history, Elizabeth was a slave who had been the daughter of Jim Lee.  She had been a favorite daughter of her father and lived in his house until she grew into young womanhood.  When he died, she was left to Levi Busby who had worked as an overseer for Lee.  They had two children.  According to family history, Levi was extremely proud of his sons with Elizabeth and they lived with him after her death.  Even though he later married, Thomas and Joseph remained in the household as his children.  He would have two more sons by his wife who would both serve in the Confederate army. Not much is known about Levi and his family before the Civil War though.

Levi and most of the family migrated to Brazil after the Civil War as hundreds of other Confederates did. Apparently they decided Brazil wasn’t for them because the family returned to the United States on March 19, 1869.  Along with Levi were his two sons, Thomas and Joseph. Joseph would soon marry and move to Arkansas.  Thomas remained near Levi and owned a large estate outside Lula.  Thomas first married Rachel Beasley, who was white, and a daughter of a local farmer. Although unusual at that time, it was not completely illegal.  It wasn’t until the 1890 state constitution of Mississippi where strict laws regarding marriage were put into the books.  Rachel and Thomas would have two sons, Willie and Ferdel.  Rachel passed away and he soon married Maggie.  Tragedy would hit sixteen years later with Maggie’s death.  Thomas and his two sons kept their farm going and were still living at Lula in 1910.  He soon remarried and moved across the river to Helena.  Others bought the land and Thomas passed away in 1944.  For a number of years after, a Busby or two would come visit friends at Barbee service station in Lula.  They would always go by and visit Maggie’s grave.  As time went by, those visits came less and less.  Soon they stopped altogether and Maggie was forgotten at her lonely grave in the field.  My life came along much later, but I noticed that gated cemetery when I went drove by.  I never knew Maggie.  I’m not related to Maggie. I care about Maggie’s story though and her husband Thomas’s story.  Their story is one of courage to tame a hard land; their story is one of hardship caused by this hard land; their story is one of triumph over this hard land.  She remains part of the history of this hard land.

Maggie E. Busby, always remembered as part of  the Lula history. 

References:

Ancestry.com

 

Hugh Jack Stubbs Recreation Trail – Coahoma County, Mississippi

The Hugh Jack Stubbs Recreation Trail is a recently completed walking and biking trail that starts at the Mississippi Welcome Center located at the intersection of Highway 49 and 61 in Northern Coahoma County, Mississippi.  It’s winding path follows the Yazoo Pass, which is an historical area from the Civil War.  Restrooms and water are at the visitor center.  The trail ends where the Pass empties into Moon Lake.  Restrooms are also available there as well.  For those interested, you can continue on across a walking bridge and complete a circle.  This will carry you on a much traveled road so caution is advised.

img_5151

There is a picnic area and kayak ramp for those that are interested.  An historical display discusses the Yazoo Pass and it’s importance in the Civil War. Exercise stations can be found along the path as well.

img_2499

Hugh Jack Stubbs Recreation Trail.  US Hwy 49 and US 49N; Coahoma County, Mississippi. 38644.