Copyright © Janice Tracy, Mississippi Memories

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Dark Corner of Possumneck

Something that makes Mississippi special is that a few of its towns have rather unique, and often even strange-sounding names, such as D'Lo, Egypt, Hot Coffee, Itta Bena, and Yazoo City, and any number of others that I won't list here today. Now this is not to say that each of these towns doesn't have a specific and often even an historical reason for its name. This scenario is actually no different for other cities in the United States, or, for that matter, the rest of the world. But a few Mississippi towns may have names that qualify as "one of a kind."

Take Possumneck, for instance. Now you may not have heard of Possumneck. In fact, not every Mississippian even knows about Possumneck. But I would wager that almost everyone who has lived for any length of time in Attala County knows exactly where Possumneck is located. This community got its name from the shape of the area of wooded bottom land that it covered. And yes, it probably did have a rather substantial marsupial population that roamed its dense woods over a hundred years ago. Maybe it still does.

Apart from its rather strange-sounding name, Possumneck was well-known for another reason. It was in this area of Attala County around the turn of the 20th century that a few of the county's less than "reputable" businesses decided to set up shop. And it was for this reason that Possumneck also became known as "Dark Corner." Because the timber business was thriving in that area of Attala county in the early 1900's, the community known as Possumneck eventually grew large enough to maintain a post office. But when the Great Depression caused sawmills in the area to shut down, the less than reputable businesses that no longer had paying customers also closed their doors or moved on to more profitable locations across the Big Black River. The post office soon closed, and today Possumneck is but an extinct town with only a blurred memory of its somewhat colorful past.

13 comments:

  1. Where in the Heck is Possumneck. My wife is from Possumneck. The community is 3 miles east of West.

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  2. LOL! Janice I'm from Mississippi and I've never been to Possumneck! Thanks for giving me a new place to search out.

    Terry Thornton
    Fulton, Mississippi

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  3. I am the wife of Doug whom commented first... Yes, I grew up in the community of Possuneck and am the fifth generation to have grown up there. My great-great grandparents arrived there from North Carolina. My brother is the third generation of loggers in my family, so timber has sent me to college. From everything the "old folks" told my father, there's a little bit more to the story than what you posted. According to their accounts, there was a judge in the county that was presiding over a case where the defendants were from "The Neck," which is what it was called before "Possumneck." When it was said that the defendants were from "The Neck" the judge said something to the effect of, "Oh, yes, that Neck where they catch all them possums!" And, therefore, that area became known as Possumneck. There was a post office there and one of my father's cousins actually carried the mail there for years in a buggy. The post office also housed a general store known as Possumneck Store, which was still standing until the early eighties I believe. I don't remember it, but I have seen pictures. My dad also says that the first privately owned airport was owned by a man in Possumneck. His last name was Weeks, and his house still stands. To me, Possumneck was a very magical place to grow up. Thanks so much for highlighting Possumneck!!!

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  4. Thank you, Chandra, for enlightening us all with more facts about Possumneck. And I am indeed pleased to hear from someone like you who actually grew up in Possumneck!

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  5. My paw paw was from Possumneck. His name is William Donald Armstrong, we called him Bill. His fathers name was Harvey. I am trying to research my family name and if anyone has any information about the names I listed, I would really appreciate it. Is there anywhere in Possumneck I could call about records? Please email me any info. Thank you in advance

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    1. Harvey Armstrong was my father's first cousin. I've heard "Billy Don" mentioned a number of times over the years.

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  6. I have been to possmneck. My dad was raised there for part of his life, Hiram Kettle my uncle had some land there,and we use to go see him when I was young. I got a hat that says Possumneck MS 3 miles east of west.
    Bill Kettle Enid OK

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  7. how can i get a t-shirt

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    1. Thank you, Monica, for your question about how to get a T-Shirt with "Possumneck" on it. An earlier reader (see comment) mentioned that he has a hat (a baseball cap, most likely) that says "Possumneck MS 3 miles east of west." That's West, MS, by the way. So I suspect the Kosciusko, MS or the Attala County Chamber of Commerce in Kosciusko might be your best bet. Check out the websites and send your question to someone there. Maybe I should have some teeshirts made for my readers!! Thanks for visiting my blog, and I hope you will return soon.
      Janice

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  8. Today on The Price is Right, a lady from Possumneck got on the stage with Drew Carey and said she is from Possumneck. I just had to learn more about this town after that.

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    1. Thanks for reading my post about the community of Possumneck. And thanks to Drew Carey's visitor on The Price is Right for putting Possumneck on the map! (See later comment regarding teeshirt.) Wish I had some to offer my readers!!

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  9. My name is Maxine Thornton-Robinson and I grew up in Possumneck along with my sisters and brothers my parents were David and Beola Thornton I remember that general store there. Possumneck was a wonderful place it was all about our family. I still have cousins living there now.

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  10. I spent lots of time at Possumneck when my sister Dixie Cade lived there. I was 9 or 10 years old then...I bought a painting of the store and when my son grew up he asked for it..I had lots of stories of the July picnics on the Big Black river.

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