Copyright © Janice Tracy, Mississippi Memories

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Violets

This pseudonym was used by several Attala County ladies who wrote a newspaper column about Shrock, Mississippi shortly after the turn of the 20th century. In a time before most folks had automobiles or telephones, weekly newspaper columns such as the one written by "The Violets" served to keep residents of communities informed about each other. They contained information about events, including engagements, marriages, births, and deaths, and provided details about other local items of interest. Variations of the pseudonym "The Violets" were used to sign the Shrock column, including, "Violet," "Two Violets," "Three Violets," and "We Violets." This type of column appeared over the years in other newspapers in Attala County, as well as neighboring counties, and these columns used similar pseudonyms, such as "Daisy,", "Country Cousins," "Golden Hair," and "Whippoorwill."

Reprints of these columns that span almost thirty years and chronicle daily life in the small communities of Attala County, appear in the book, The People of Shrock, Mississippi 1895 to 1922. Privately published by Duncan C. Covington, an Attala County native who now lives in College Station, Texas, this book is a valuable Attala County family research tool. Not only does it contain a wealth of names, events, and dates, it provides an alphabetical index that lists each name appearing in the book and the page number on which it is located.

An excerpt from Covington's book, a column that was published in Kosciusko's newspaper, the Star-Ledger, exactly 107 years ago today, is reprinted below. The column, dated February 12, 1902, and signed by "Two Violets," has some personal significance for me: it contains an announcement of the birth of a son to Mr. and Mrs. John Porter, my paternal great-grandparents.

"Mesdames G.W. Thomas and W. C. Hearst spent part of the past week in Camden.
Both are wearing broad smiles at the arrival of a granddaughter: one at the home of B. J. Barnette, the other at Mr. J. P. Hearst's. Both arrived Sunday last. Great joy to the little ladies.
Miss Carrie Shrock is spending a few days in Kosciusko, the guest of Miss Hassie Riley.
Messrs Phil Simpson and Frank Shines were with us Sunday. Mrs. Nettie Mabry is nursing a sprained ankle. Hope she will soon be all O.K.
Messrs E. L. Hearst and I. E. Stingley are attending court this week.
Mr. and Mrs. John Porter are rejoicing over the arrival of a fine baby boy who arrived on the 1st.
Mr. and Mrs. Hal Shrock visited Mr. Will Ward Sunday near Artesia Springs.
Misses Donald spent Sunday in Goodman with their cousins, Mrs. Ella and Ruth Donald.
Miss Lillie Holley has returned home after spending several days with relatives near Dossville, and friend in Kosciusko. She was accompanied by her brother George.
Miss Hattie Mabry has gone to Clarksdale to college.
Miss Florence Bunch has gone to Aberdeen to visit her aunt.
Mr. Philip Shutleworth was here on business Monday.
Mr. Luther Donald returned to Goodman last Sunday, after spending a few days at home recuperating and taking a rest.
Little Madeline DuBard is her jolly little self after a short spell of fever."
"Two Violets"


  1. I love this, Janice. To actually find an old newspaper article that mentions your grandfather's birth is priceless.

    Thanks for reminding us of this invaluable source of genealogy information. Do you find a lot of your sources in a library or most of them online?

  2. Janice, who would have thought that such trivial events noted in a county newspaper over a hundred years ago would be genealogical treats today! I bet the The Violets wold be amazed! Our Itawamba newspaper had similar "correspondents" from throughout the county that provided us with glimpses into the daily lives of our ancestors. A