Copyright © Janice Tracy, Mississippi Memories

Friday, February 20, 2009

Froggy's Friday Book Review

Recently, while researching the Cherry Hill Community of Calhoun County, where some of my Gibson ancestors lived over 100 years ago, I found an online book written about this particular area of Mississippi. Assembled, edited, and copyrighted by James M. Young of Ft. Walton Beach, Florida, as a second edition in 2000, the book is a compilation of typewritten and handwritten letters and notes Young received during the 1980s from his mother, Monette Morgan Young.

Mrs. Young's information primarily came from records and recollections of family historians who lived in early Calhoun County, Mississippi, as well as recollections of her own. Entitled "The Cherry Hill - Poplar Springs - Reid Community of Calhoun County," and published online through "Scribd," the book traces the early history of life in the Poplar Bluff community that later became a part of Calhoun County. Logically presented and easily read, this book is a valuable resource for those who are searching for ancestors who lived Mississippi during the 1800s.

Young's book is a must-read for anyone who has family roots in Old Monroe County, the community of Egypt, or sections of Chickasaw and Yalobusha counties, since large numbers of residents of those particular areas migrated into and settled newly formed Calhoun County in the early-mid 1800's. Specific family profiles make up a large portion of the book's pages, along with historical information about the area's businesses, churches, and schools. Anecdotal accounts of everyday rural life in this remote area of the state are often included in the family profiles found in the book. Of particular note, an early census of the Poplar Springs Baptist Church can be found near the end, and an alphabetical index allows the reader to easily search for individual names referenced throughout the book's 272 pages.

James M. Young also compiled the first edition of the book, a non-digital version, and presented a copy to his mother as a surprise gift for her 69th birthday in 1984. According to the preface written by Mr. Young in the second edition published online, approximately 100 copies of the book's first edition were ultimately printed and distributed to family members and several museums and bookstores.

Born in Reid, Mississippi on July 5, 1915, Monette Morgan Young died at St. Dominic's Hospital in Jackson, Mississippi, on February 18, 2000. She is buried next to her first husband, Tom Young in Hillcrest Cemetery in Vardaman, Calhoun County, Mississippi.


  1. Janice, Thanks for this review of Monette Morgan Young's excellent history of a most interesting part of Mississippi. The area holds special interest to me because my maternal grandparents HOLLINGSWORTH once lived at Reid/Lloyd and are buried at Ellzey, Calhoun County, MS.

    The George Washington Murff mentioned at length in her book is the son of my great-great-great-grandfather Randolph Murff. George's sister, Helena Murff Smith of Monroe County MS is in my maternal line. I did not realize until this reading of Young's book today that he carried his family to SC and left them there during the Civil War.

    Terry Thornton
    Fulton, MS

  2. Janice, this sounds like a good resource to keep in mind. I know exactly where Egypt is in Chickasaw County and have some roots in Old Monroe, including my GG Grandmother Rachel Young who was born near Smithville in the 1840s. Thanks for passing along the information. Mona