Monday, January 11, 2010

Marietta's Mineral Springs

Prior to 1870, the little community of Marietta was in Itawamba County. When Prentiss County was formed out of Old Tishomingo County, a sliver of land was taken along northern Itawamba County and given to the newly formed county, and thus Marietta today is located in Prentiss County.

This area was home to several of my husband's ancestors: Mills, McKay, Thornton, Fowler, and Randolph to name a few. Therefore it was with great interest I read an article which appeared in the Friday, June 16, 1882 issue of The Tupelo Journal which I recently reviewed on microfilm at the Ole Miss Library. Below is a transcription.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again, old newspapers are a valuable source of genealogical information. In the 1882 article, the mineral springs located at the community of Marietta were being praised for their curative value, and I found a reference to my husband's GGGgrandmother of all people! "Mrs. Posey Fowler was cured of epileptic spasms of forty years standing." What a genealogical gem of a find!

These same extolled mineral springs are still active today at the Marietta City Park, site of the 2008 Mills Family Reunion.

Mrs. Posey Fowler was actually Mary Goocher, daughter of Andrew Martin Goocher and Mary "Polly" Barksdale, who married Posey Fowler in 1833 in Perry County, Alabama and moved with her family to the Marietta area around 1842. I've found in the Itawamba County deed books where the Fowlers owned land just east of the Marietta City Park where the mineral springs are located, and Posey and Mary helped organize the Marietta Methodist Church just down the road. Posey and Mary's daughter, Lucinda Rachel Fowler, married Henry Randolph and Henry and Rachel's daughter, Onady, my husband's great grandmother, married Jesse Thomas Mills.

Here is the transcribed article:

The Crops - Bay Springs Water Power - Marietta Mineral Springs
Tupelo, Miss., June 8th, 1882

Mr. Editor- I have just returned from a trip from Booneville to Bay Springs, going by the upper route and returning by Marietta.

The cotton crop prospect is gloomy. The cotton is small, the stands poor and still dying. Such is the condition of the crops generally in the white counties of North Mississippi. The crop will be short without doubt in this territory, but how short it is impossible now to tell. The corn is more promising but small.

The advantages of Bay Springs as a cite for a large factory can hardly be excelled. The banks are of rock and ascend to a height of fifty or seventy-five feet on each side. The volume of water is large, and a fall of thirty feet can easily be obtained. The fall now is only twelve feet. The place will probably be sold next fall. It has the appearance of a deep channel in a high ridge.

We were pleased to note the improved condition and bright prospects of Marietta. Besides several new stores, magnificent hotel is being erected for the accommodation of visitors to the springs there. That, with the neat cottages will accommodate a hundred and fifty or two hundre persons. Many persons have already engaged rooms and cottages for the season. There is no doubt that it will become a place of popular resort for health and pleasure. The curative properties are highly spoken of by competent judges. I will give you one well authenticated case of a cure from the use of these waters. Mrs. Posey Fowler was cured of epileptic spasms of forty years standing. So Dr. Ben Archer, a former resident of Saltillo and now living near Marietta, informed the writer. Below I give you the analysis of one of the springs by Robt. K dzie (sic), Prof. of Chemistry in the A & M College, Starkville, Miss.:

No. 1-Marietta Water -- Grains to U.S. Gallon

Sulphate of Iron..... 15.300 grs.
Sulphate of Alumina..... 10.125 grs.
Sulphate of Potash..... 2.226 grs.
Sulphate of Lime..... 1.289 grs.
Carbonate of Lime..... 3.366 grs.
Carbonate of Magnesia..... 1.133 grs.
Chlorine Trace
Organic Matter..... 1.254 grs.
Loss in Analysis..... .050 grs.
Total number grs. to gallon..... 35.693

We spent a couple of hours with the citizens of Marietta and found them courteous, intelligent, hightoned and enterprising. Those who do not believe our report, let them go and see. The writer will go again, and stay longer next trip.



Arvel said...

I am tickled to hear that Grandmaw Posey got cured. The Marietta Springs are a fine symbol of the Mills-McKay family roots in Northeast Mississippi. Hope all of our Texas and Arkansas cousins get to visit the little clear water springs some day.

Anonymous said...

Arvel, Arkansas is/WAS famous for the mineral springs/baths at Hot Springs; Texas' famous "healing hole" was in Mineral Wells where they built a town around the 10 or 11 story hotel, The Baker Hotel. We were only in this hotel one week-end when our Metroplex Round dance instructors held a week-end of teaching new dance steps, but they gave us a "grand tour" of the hotel for which it had become famous, including the enclosed mineral springs. I remember back in the late '40's when several people went for a week or two during the winter to soak in the pool filled with the mineral water. They didn't appear to get around any better when they returned than before they went! Maybe they felt better because their wallets were lighter?, just a thought in my old age! bettye