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Sunday, September 28, 2008

Senatobia, MS

Senatobia is a city located in Tate County, Mississippi, United States, and is the 15th largest municipality in the Memphis Metropolitan Area. The United States Census Bureau 2006 population estimate for Senatobia was 6,878, a 2.93% increase since the 2000 Census. After a municipal annexation in 2007, Senatobia's population has risen to an estimated 7,448. It is the county seat of Tate County.

Senatobia is the home of Northwest Mississippi Community College, a state community college that provides two year academic and technical degree programs. Northwest's system-wide enrollment exceeds 6,200 on three campuses in Senatobia, Southaven, and Oxford. Senatobia is also the home of The Baddour Center, a residential care facility for mild to moderately mentally retarded adults.

On April 13, 1834 early settler James Peters purchased two sections of land from the Chickasaw Nation for the sum of $1.25 per acre. The land purchased later became the town of Senatobia. The name Senatobia, given by Charles Meriweather, was derived from the Indian word Senatohoba, which means “White Sycamore”--a symbol of "rest for the weary."

Senatobia received its charter as a municipality in 1860, thirteen years prior to the creation of Tate County and one year prior to the outbreak of the Civil War, during which the town's business section was burned twice by Federal Troops.

Northwest Mississippi Community College

Northwest Mississippi Community College is a two-year public community college situated in north Mississippi, USA and has been in existence since 1928. The institution is accredited and affordable, with tuition as of May 2006 under $1,000a for in state students. Enrollment at the three campuses, as of August 2008, is over 7,100 students. There are approximately 3,000 students on the Senatobia campus with almost 1,100 living on campus, slightly over 3,000 students at the DeSoto Center in Southaven and nearly 1,200 at the Lafayette Yalobusha Center in Oxford.

Ranger Football

The main campus of Northwest Mississippi Community College is located in Senatobia, the county seat of Tate County. Senatobia had 6,682 residents, and Tate County had 25,370 according to the 2000 Census. It is a two-year public community college bounded on the east by Highway 51 in Senatobia, Mississippi. Northwest is one of fifteen community or junior colleges in Mississippi. The school boasts a beautiful 247-acre (1.00 km2) main campus in Senatobia, boasts a rural setting (though only 30 miles (48 km) from Memphis),and features Centers in Oxford and Southaven. The college is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, and offers Associate of Arts, Associate of Applied Science, and Certificate Degrees. The Northwest campus has 43 buildings, many built or renovated in the last decade.

Northwest began as Tate County Agricultural High School in 1915. The College began in 1928 with support from Tate and Quitman Counties and the Mississippi Junior College Commission. The first President was Porter Walker Berry.

The school changed with the times. Depression era students were allowed to pay for room and board with produce, and World War II male students studied at an accelerated pace to join the war effort. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools gave accreditation to Northwest in 1953. The college serves an eleven county district and gradually expanded its'offerings. Today, internet classes, noncredit classes, and non-traditional offerings for adults round out the modern campus

Famous residents:

Jessie Mae Hemphill onstage addressing a Beale Street audience during a 1980s Memphis music festival.
Photo by Lisa McGaughran

Jessie Mae Hemphill, blues singer and guitarist (1933-2006),

Jessie Mae Hemphill (October 18, 1923 – July 22, 2006), was a pioneering electric guitarist, songwriter, and vocalist specializing in the primal, northern Mississippi country blues traditions of her family and regional heritage. She was born near Como and Senatobia, Mississippi, in northern Mississippi just east of the Mississippi Delta.

She began playing the guitar at the age of seven and also played drums in various local Mississippi fife and drum bands.

The first field recordings of her work were made by blues researcher George Mitchell in 1967 and ethnomusicologist Dr. David Evans in 1973 when she was known as Jessie Mae Brooks, using the surname from a brief early marriage, but the recordings were not released. In 1978, Dr. Evans came to Memphis to teach at Memphis State University (now University of Memphis). The school founded the High Water recording label in 1979 to promote interest in the indigenous music of The South. Evans made the first high-quality field recordings of Hemphill in that year and soon after produced her first sessions for the High Water label.

Hemphill then launched a recording career in the early 1980s, releasing singles produced by Evans on this university label, which later became a production company who licensed their masters to labels like HighTone and Inside Sounds. In 1981 her first full-length album, She-Wolf, was licensed from High Water and released on France's Vogue Records. In the early 1980s, she performed in a Mississippi drum corps put together by Evans composed of herself, Abe Young, and Jim Harper on Tav Falco's Panther Burns' Behind the Magnolia Curtain album; she also appeared in another drum group with Young and fife-and-drum band veteran Othar Turner in a televised appearance in Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood. Other recordings of hers were released on the French label Black and Blue, and she performed concerts across the United States and other countries including France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Belgium, The Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, and Canada. She received the W. C. Handy Award for best traditional female blues artist in 1987 and 1988.

Othar Turner, fife player (1908-2003),

Otha Turner was born in 1907 to Hollis and Betty Turner, both sharecroppers, in Jackson County, Mississippi - the rest is the stuff of legends...

Othar Turner (a.k.a. Otha Turner) (b. east of Canton, Mississippi, June 2, 1907; d. February 26, 2003), was one of the last well-known fife players in the vanishing American fife and drum musical tradition. He lived his entire life in northern Mississippi as a farmer, where in 1923 at the age of 16 he first learned to play the fife and make them from rivercane.

Otha Promo

Turner and The Rising Star Fife and Drum Band (which consisted of friends and relatives) primarily played at farm parties. They began to receive wider recognition in the 1990s. They appeared on Mississippi Blues in Memphis Vol. 1 in 1993, followed by inclusion in many other blues collections. They released their own critically acclaimed album Everybody Hollerin' Goat in 1998. This was followed by From Senegal to Senatobia in 1999, which combined their bluesy fife and drum music with African musicians credited as "the Afrossippi Allstars" (R.L. Boyce, Luther Dickinson, Andre Evans, Bernice Evans, Rodney Evans, Sharde Evans, K.K. Freeman, Morikeba Kouyate, Matthew Rappaport, Musa Sutton, Aubrey Turner, Manu Walton, Abe Young).

The title of Everybody Hollerin' Goat refers to a tradition Turner began in the late 1950s of hosting Labor Day picnics where he would personally butcher and cook a goat in an iron kettle, and his band would provide musical entertainment. The picnics began as a neighborhood and family gathering; it grew over the years to attract musical fans, first from Memphis, Tennessee, and later from all over the world.

The song "Shimmy She Wobble" from Everybody Hollerin' Goat was featured in the 2002 film Gangs of New York. Martin Scorsese also featured Othar in his 2003 PBS mini-series "The Blues" as a link between African rhythms and American Blues. The concept was continued on the 2003 album "Mississippi to Mali" by Corey Harris. The album was dedicated to Othar, who died a week before he was scheduled to record for the album. At only 12 years of age, Othar's granddaughter and protégé, Shardé Thomas filled in for the recording sessions.

Othar Turner died in Gravel Springs, Mississippi on February 27th at the age of 94. His daughter Bernice, who had been living in a nursing home for some time suffering from cancer, died that same day. She was 48. Funeral services were held for Othar and Bernice on Tuesday, March 4th in Como, Mississippi. A procession leading to the cemetery was led by the Rising Star and Fife Band, with 13 year-old Sharde Thomas, Othar's granddaughter, at its head playing the fife taught to her by her grandfather.

Jim Harris, wrestler (b. 1950),

James Harris (born May 28, 1950) is an American professional wrestler. For much of his career, Harris has wrestled under the ring name Kamala, using the gimmick of a "Ugandan Giant".

Kamala approaches the ring in March 1993 in Toronto's Maple Leaf Gardens. -- Mark O'Neill, Toronto Sun files

Harris was born in Senatobia, Mississippi and grew up in Coldwater, Mississippi, where his family owned a furniture store. The family collected welfare to help pay the bills. He got into trouble with the local law enforcement for breaking and entering and was asked to leave town. In 1967, he relocated to Florida to pick fruit, where he briefly attended college and worked as a plumber. At the age of twenty-five, Harris moved to Michigan, where he met wrestler Bobo Brazil. Harris then began training as a wrestler under a friend of Brazil's, Tiny Tim Hampton. He moved to Arkansas to continue training, as he wanted to get away from the snow in Michigan.

O. B. McClinton, country and R&B singer/songwriter; his songs include "Back to Senatobia" and "Obie From Senatobie" (1940-1987),

Obie Burnett McClinton (born April 25, 1940 in Senatobia, Mississippi, died September 23, 1987) was a Black country music singer and songwriter. The second-youngest child born to Rev. G. A. McClinton, a clergyman and farmer who owned his own 700-acre (2.8 km2) ranch in Mississippi, not far from Memphis, Tennessee. Listening to Hank Williams as a child around the age of 9 or 10 sparked his interest in performing country music.

Before beginning his country music career, he tried to break into R&B. Although he was unable to secure a recording contract as a soul singer himself, he did pen several songs recorded by James Carr, including the title songs to Carr's albums You Got My Mind Messed Up and A Man Needs a Woman.

Known to refer to himself as the "Chocolate Cowboy", McClinton successfully marketed his album called The Only One on television long before the practice was commonplace. Featuring his first country chart single "Don't Let The Green Grass Fool You", a top 40 song in 1972, he considered it to be his finest work.

He died on September 23, 1987 after a year-long battle with abdominal cancer.

You Got My Mind Messed Up is a 1966 album by James Carr. Although Carr is not as well known as his contemporaries such as Otis Redding or Aretha Franklin, "You Got My Mind Messed Up" has been cited as one of the top soul music albums of all time. Allmusic gave it 5 stars from two different reviewers. On the 2002 re-release Mojo magazine stated "This is undoubtedly one of the greatest soul albums of all time." (10/02, p.118).

After Carr's death in 2001, Kent Records re-released the album with several bonus tracks.

James "Jimmy" Dixon - World Class Magician

Facts & History

Notable Dates in Senatobia History

1874 Many wooden buildings on Main and Front Streets were destroyed by fire.

1875 The cornerstone of the Tate County Courthouse, located in downtown Senatobia, was laid on June 24.

1878 The yellow fever epidemic struck Senatobia.

1880 The newspaper, Tate County Record was first published, later becoming The Democrat.

1881 Senatobia had two gristmills and cotton gins, each in first class running order. Single railroad fare to Memphis was $1.55.

1882 The Senatobia town charter was misplaced. Anyone knowing of its whereabouts was asked to report the same to the mayor or aldermen. The town treasury was reported as being exhausted but out of debt.

1885 N.M. Ward of Senatobia advertised the sixteen-room Greely Hotel for sale. The hotel was reported to be located on the south end of Front Street.

1890 Grove's Tasteless Chill Tonic , “a pleasant to the taste lemon syrup,” was sold by Senatobia merchants J.W. Hill & Son and by V.P. Still & Co.

1891 In October of this year, a group of 172 Confederate veterans held a reunion in Senatobia.

1892 C.C. Perkins & Co. advertised gingham dresses from 6 1/2 cents up to $1.00. “The cash goes further at C.C. Perkins & Co.”

1897 A new water system was installed replacing wells and cisterns formerly used. A power generating plant was installed in a building on North Ward Street. Lights were turned on from 5 p.m.-10 p.m. and again from 5 a.m.-8 a.m.

1898 Senatobia received its first telephone system; a one-year subscription to the Senatobia Democrat cost $1.25.

1900 Senatobia's population was 1,200. Senatobia Bank, Tate County's longest continuously operated bank, opened on April 1, 1900.

1901 A smallpox epidemic struck Senatobia.

1903 A. L. McCormick built an Opera House on Front Street. The Opera House presented stage shows, minstrels and served as a community meeting place. Later, four-reel motion pictures were shown here.

1910 A group of Senatobia citizens asked the Mayor and Board of Aldermen to pass ordinances restricting the use of automobiles on the streets in town. Automobiles were said to be a source of danger and they frightened horses.

1912 Ice was sold from a new icehouse, which was located in an insulated warehouse on the railroad tracks in Senatobia.

1914 Senatobia's first concrete sidewalks were built.

1915 The Tate County Agricultural High School, which later became Northwest Community College, was opened in Senatobia on Sept. 15, 1915.

1916 Peoples Bank, Senatobia's second longest continuously operated bank, opened for business.

1917 Senatobia's first gas pump was installed on the southwest corner of Main and Front Streets.

1919 All vehicles in Senatobia were required to have two lights on the front and one on the rear. The speed limit was 12 miles per hour.

1920 Senatobia's first sewer system was completed.

1926 Senatobia had 241 customers serviced by electricity.

1927 Senatobia streets were paved and the Tate County Agricultural High School expanded to include a junior college.

1928 Northwest Junior College gained accreditation; the Gloria Theatre opened on Center Street, charging 10 cents and 25 cents for admission.

1930 Senatobia had a population of 1,264.

1932 Senatobia Bank and Peoples Bank kept their doors open during the great depression while many others closed permanently.

1936 Highway 51 was paved.

1938 A new Senatobia high school was completed.

1939 Senatobia extended its city limits, almost doubling its population.

1941 Dial telephone service was installed.

1949 Senatobia's first traffic light was installed at Hwy. 51 and Main Street costing $400.

1950 Senatobia's population was 2,108 and the Senatobia Public Library opened.

1954 Senatobia's first manufacturing plant, the William Carter Company, opened.

1955 Senatobia Chamber of Commerce was organized.

1961 Chromcraft, the largest manufacturer in Tate County, opened its Senatobia facility.

1962 Interstate 55 opened, connecting the state of Mississippi with points north.

1976 Senatobia Community Hospital, later renamed North Oaks Regional Medical Center, admitted its first patient.

1978 Baddour Memorial Center, a residential facility for adults with mild to moderate intellectual disabilities, opened.

2000 Senatobia's population was 6,682.

2006 Senatobia's second interchange off I-55 was opened.

We were here in 1873 when Tate County was formed from parts of DeSoto, Marshall and Tunica Counties.

We were here in 1875 when the courthouse was built in Senatobia.

We are here today, citizens from all walks of life who are descended from our forefather pioneers in Tate County, population 21,000 plus, where we enjoy the fruits of labor of the many who have passed before us.

Senatobia is part of the territory explored by Hernando DeSoto and Spanish soldiers in 1540 in the historic State of Mississippi.

Our soils, rivers and forests were here in 1798 when Mississippi became a territory of the newly formed United States of America.

Our native American ancestors were here in 1817 when Mississippi entered the Union as the twentieth state.

We were here when DeSoto County became one of the first counties to open up to settlers.

We were here in 1861 when Mississippi was the second to secede from the Union and in 1870 when Mississippi was re-admitted to the union.
nn n April 13, 1834 early settler James Peters purchased two sections of land from the Chickasaw Nation for the sum of $1.25 per acre. The land purchased later became the town of Senatobia. The name Senatobia was derived from the Indian word Senatohoba, which means “ White Sycamore ” and is a symbol of “ rest for the weary .” Charles Meriwether named Senatobia.

Senatobia was originally a rest stop on the trail leading to Hot Springs, Ark. According to legend, the Indians discovered the curative powers of the hot springs and periodically made long trips to Arkansas, stopping to rest in the area that became Senatobia. After the Tennessee and Mississippi Railroad came through in 1856, Senatobia became a railroad station. New commerce came with the railroad and Senatobia saw immediate growth.

Senatobia, the county seat for Tate County, received its charter as a municipality in 1860, thirteen years prior to the creation of Tate County and just one year before the beginning of the Civil War. During the course of the Civil War, Senatobia's business section was burned twice by Federal Troops.

The 1880 census accounted for over fifty active businesses, a newly established newspaper and several physicians in Senatobia.
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Spann House Bed and Breakfast

Originally built by a cotton and cattle baron, this 5,000-square-foot Neoclassical house sits on two acres and is listed in the National Register. Professionally decorated, it features fine antiques and luxuriously furnished rooms with elegant bed linens and Jacuzzi tubs. Separate from the main house, a brand new bridal suite offers a large Jacuzzi bath, a king bed and a kitchen. Private candlelight dinners are available by advance request. Breakfasts feature gourmet cuisine as the inn also manages a full-time catering business. (Guests sometimes are invited to sample food in the kitchen before it makes its way to local parties and events.) Memphis is 30 minutes north.

The Bridal Suite Is a large room (16' X 16'), with floral wallpaper and sage green 11' ceiling. Heavy white woodwork and a 14' bay window make this room look crisp and refreshing. High-backed Victorian queen sized bed with luxury mattress, and linen assures a good nights sleep. Color television with remote and cable, and separate seating area are provided. Private large bathroom (16' X 8'), includes a whirlpool tub, and a basket overflowing with various bath products. Rates $75 - $150

The Gentlemen's Room is a large room (16' X 16'), made up of rich jewel tones, cranberry, teal, an an 11' mustard color ceiling. Natural woodwork is dark, and extensive. Separate pub table/desk with good lighting is excellent for paperwork. Color television with remote and cable is provided. Open shades and curtains reveal our tall oak trees, many birds, and gardens. This room also has a high-backed Victorian queen sized bed with luxury mattress and high quality linen. Private bath (9' X 11') includes whirlpool tub well stocked with bath products. This is our most requested room. Rates $75 - $150

The Pink Room is also a large room (16' X 16') painted a pale, soothing pink. Separate vanity/desk is excellent for paperwork or applying makeup. An antique eastlake rocker and a comfy wing back are cozy places for a good book. High-backed antique queen sized bed with luxury mattress and linen. Large private bath is well stocked with bath products and includes vanity, toilet and shower/tub combination. The extra closet in this room makes it perfect for an extended stay. Rates $75 - $110

The Red Room is a smaller room (16' X 12') painted a vibrant red. A large table underneath a beautiful window makes paperwork a breeze. An open closet is convenient for an extended stay. A very high antique queen sized bed with luxury mattress and linen plus the best view in the house sures a restful night. A private bath with shower and antique vanity is well stocked with toiletries. This is a very masculine room. Rates $75 - $110

The Executive Suite - This is a full suite, well appointed with a living area including a desk, you can sit on the window seat to read or look out at the world. There is a kitchen with tile floor and counters. A fireplace to keep warm and cozy by. This is a wonderful room for those longer stays when you need to feel at home. Rates:

Gourmet breakfast is always different and exciting at the Spahn House.

Breakfast is served between 7:00 and 9:00am. Just let us know when you check-in at what time you would like to be served. Breakfast is a served meal and may include several of the following:

Spahn House eggs
4-inch high omelettes
German pancakes with special sauce
thick crisp bacon
country ham or sausage
homemade breads, muffins or croissants
and many other tasty suprises.

The Parlor

The Stairway at Christmas


Make a clean getaway in our horse and buggy.

The Map

Tate County

Tate County was established December 23, 1873, and was named for a prominent family of the region, of which the Hon. T.S. Tate was a member. The county has a land surface of 400 square miles. It is situated in the northwestern part of the State and was formed chiefly from the southern part of the older county of De Soto, though Tunica and Marshall counties contributed each a small portion of its area. It was a part of the Chickasaw Indian cession of 1832. For the early history of the region composing Tate, see the three counties mentioned. The Governor was empowered to appoint the county officers, pending a general election for that purpose, and the county assumed its share of the debts of the parent counties and received its proper share of school and county funds. Gov. R.C. Powers appointed the following county officers: Josiah Daily, Sheriff; O.F. West, Clerk of the Chancery and Circuit Courts; W.J. Pace, Treasurer; J.R. Jackson, Assessor and Collector; E.J. Litsey, County Supt. of Schools; J.E. Matthews, Surveyor; T.S. Tate, J.V. Walker, J.P. Pickle, Eli Bobo, D.T. Neighbors, Members of the Board of Supervisors. The county was first represented in the Legislature by T.S. Tate and T.B. Garrett, as Representatives, and J.H. Holloway and M. Campbell as Senators. It is one of the smaller counties, but has an abundance of natural resources. It is bounded on the north by the county of De Soto, Coldwater river forming part of the dividing line; on the east by Marshall County, on the south by Panola County and on the west by the Coldwater River which divides it from Tunica County.

The county seat is Senatobia, a town of 1,100 inhabitants, in the south central part of the county, on the line of the Memphis division of the Illinois Central railroad. It is a shipping point for large quantities of cotton, corn, fruits and vegetables from the rich country surrounding it, and enjoys the advantage of a close local market at Memphis, only 37 miles distant. Its name is a Choctaw Indian word meaning “white sycamore.” In the northern part of the county, also on the railroad, is the town of Coldwater, with a population of 850. The villages of Strayhorn, Arkabutla, Independence and Tyro are the largest settlements away from the railroad. The Memphis division of the Illinois Central railway runs north and south through the center of the county, and the Yazoo & Mississippi Valley railway, cuts across the extreme southwestern corner, affording it good shipping facilities.

The county is watered by the Coldwater River on its northern and western boundary, and the tributary creeks, Senatobia, Arkabutla, Hickahala, Jim Wolf, Bear Tail and Strayhorn. In the extreme western part of the county an extension of the bluff formation crosses the county north and south, the rest of the county is undulating, level on the river and creek bottoms. The soil is rich and fertile for the most part and produces excellent crops of cotton, the cereals, and all the vegetables and fruits common to the latitude. Of late years, considerable attention has been given to the live stock industry, for which the region is well adapted, and fruits and vegetables are now grown for market as well as home consumption.

Various items extracted from the census reports of 1920, covering the year 1919, are enlightening as to the condition of Tate County in the farming and live stock world. The value of all its farm property was estimated at $10,664,000, of which the live stock was figured at $1,618,000. All its crops were valued at $4,308,000. In the latter computation, the raising of cotton played a leading role, as 41,000 acres were devoted to this branch of the agricultural industry and a crop produced, which, when prepared for the market, amounted to 14,000 bales. The population of Tate County has varied little since its establishment, having been 18,721 in 1880, and 19,636 in 1920.

(The) McGehee Place (aka McGehee's Crossing), built 1857 by the McGehee family; Senatobia