Thursday, January 19, 2017

Stories of the South - Old Montpelier Baptist Church

Old Montpelier Baptist Church Hickory Ridge Studio

The area I grew up in was settled prior to the Civil War. Our little community Cairo was settled along one of the earliest roads in the county along with Palo Alto, Palestine, Tibbee, and Siloam.  I’ve talked about the history of the county in a couple of other posts HERE  and HERE.  This area saw settlements as early as the 1830s after the succession of the native people due to the treaties with the Choctaw and Chickasaw.  I discussed the Indian treaties a good bit in this post HERE.  

Old Montpelier Baptist Church Hickory Ridge Studio

Old Montpelier Baptist Church Hickory Ridge Studio

The areas of Montpelier, Palestine, Cairo, and Siloam were on the farm to market road that farmers traveled from the western part of the county to get to market in West Point.  It’s all bottom land crisscrossed with creeks and drainage ditches that I cannot imagine having to get a team of mules and wagons across so it was important to have places along the way to sleep and rest your team as getting to town could take two or three days.  Right down the road from our house was an antebellum home owned by the Thompson family that was known to travelers as the “lighthouse.”  The home was three stories tall and in the evening a lantern was lit in a window in the top story so that travelers would know they had reached Sand Creek and would have a safe place to camp for the night before going on to West Point in the morning.  Very few of the structures from the early settlement of the county are left as many little towns were built around business that haven’t existed since before the first world war, but there are a few buildings scattered here and there.  One building that dates from the 1870s and is the Old Montpelier Church located on Old Montpelier Road also known as the Starkville to Houston Road.  

Old Montpelier Baptist Church Hickory Ridge Studio

Old Montpelier Baptist Church Hickory Ridge Studio

Old Montpelier Baptist Church Hickory Ridge Studio

It’s built in a design that is seen all over the south.  A simple design that made use of materials that were readily available in the area at the time of construction.  This church has been abandoned for years and according to my dad it’s been abandoned since before they moved here in the mid 1960s.  The day I stopped to photograph this it was hot as all get out and since I’m scared of snakes I didn’t dare get too terribly close unless I could see my feet.  

Old Montpelier Baptist Church Hickory Ridge Studio

The only thing about this part of the world is there is very little written down.  I found one little mention in a Clay County history book and one other mention in a report submitted to the Mississippi Department of Archives, you can read that HERE.  So I’ll put out a plea to my readers, if you have any info on this church please email me at  I would love to document a little more of the building’s history so it’s not lost but I’m afraid all the first hand knowledge is gone.  So prove me wrong gentle readers.  I’d love to know some really good stories about this church.  

Old Montpelier Baptist Church Hickory Ridge Studio

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Thursday, January 12, 2017

A little tiny preview....

For the purpose of keeping myself accountable I thought I might share what the cover for my ebook cookbook is looking like right now….

I’m in the middle of editing text and tweaking things here and there in the writing.  Each recipe will be sort of like how my newspaper articles read but will not be so date specific as they are each week for the column.  If that makes sense.  

The layout is going to be very simple and minimal so if you do want to print it then you can without wasting a lot of ink.  I’m trying not to nitpick this to death or get overwhelmed by the many, many, MANY choices to host and distribute the ebook either.  Which is hard. Right now I'm looking at as they seem to have the easiest and simplest and hosting method and if anyone is interested in an honest to goodness print copy then they can do that as well. If anyone has any other companies for me to look at I'm happy and thankful for the suggestions.

I guess I'm going to do this. I'm going to actually publish a book of sorts.  

Also if you would be interested in proof reading after I go through it a few more times shoot me an email at

Later my lovelies!

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Wordless Wednesday - Southern Snow

We had some ice and snow Friday the 7th and there were a few patches left come Sunday morning. 
Cooksville United Methodist Church graveyard 
See some other posts HERE, HERE, and HERE.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Happy New Year....a little late as usual.....

(L) Decorating Christmas Cookies, (RT) Delivering Christmas Eve Goodies, (RC) Gingerbread Cookies, (RB) Sparklers on New Year's Eve

Hello dear sweet friends!  It’s the 7th day of 2017 and an entire week has passed. Can you even believe it?  I know I can’t.  I just cannot believe how quickly 2016 passed for me and my family.  I spent the month of December in a whirlwind of Christmas preparation because honestly even though I say every year I’m going to get an early start on Christmas, I can never get excited until I’ve had my Thanksgiving.  Thanksgiving is MY holiday.  I love it.  This year like so many others I burned the midnight oil cooking, baking, sewing, wrapping, and generally freaking out because I never think I’ve bought enough or done enough so that on the 24th I’m up at 2:00 am trying to sew a quilt square so I can at least show my husband what his quilt will sort of kind of look like.  (And no I did not get that quilt square even close to finished because at 1:45 my eyes refused to stay in focus what so ever. It’s a strange feeling when your eyes go on strike.)  

(L) New Friends Amos and Smokey the cat, (C) Christmas Eve after Santa, (R) I do believe they like eachother
I hope you’ve all had a great start to your week and I can’t wait to dig in and get some work out on this blog!  Last year I kind of spluttered along but I’m hoping to get back to this space this year.  Honestly I got a little lost.  It’s been a little tough making that adjustment to Allie starting school, trying to lose some weight (as usual), and generally getting myself back organized again.  For so long after I had Allie I was on survival mode - get enough sleep every night, eat something healthy, try not to crash out before 9:00 pm.  But she’s finally big enough now that we’re past just getting by, time to get myself back in gear, shed some pounds, and be a productive human being again.  

Maybe it’s just the January optimism talking.  

(L) Tea and piecing quilt blocks, (C) A little mindless embroidery while I watched movies, (R) New quilt beginnings
I started a bullet journal back the end of September and it has been a God send. I'm late jumping on the bandwagon and after I looked at the website HERE I realized it was just a different variation of the sketchbooks I kept in college. I've tried all kinds of planners and large calendars and the like and cannot stick to them. My brain works like a ball of string not a nice straight line of string. I like that the bullet journal is organic and like I said I already used a system sort of like that in my sketchbooks in college so I know it's something that I will stick with. If you're interested I can show you what mine looks like. I started out with a simple one subject spiral notebook so if I didn't like it or lost interest (like I have in the past with other planners) then I was only out a dollar. I'm telling ya, if you're in the slightest bit a creative thinker it's awesome. I use the super simple layout and don't worry about all the pretty drawings and stickers and the like (no offense if you do but I just don't have the time and energy for that I'm trying to be productive and not cute.)

ALSO I'm going to go ahead and throw this out there. If you follow me on Instagram or facebook you may have already seen this.....

Yes, I'm finally working on an ebook. It seems a shame to have all this written material and not find a way to share it. I've done some blog posts on my newspaper articles for the Macon Beacon but this will be a way for locals and non locals alike to have all the recipes, 22 of them total, that ran in the paper this year. I think I have all the text done now to just work on editing and layout. My goal is to have this done by the end of or before the end of January. The one thing I ask is that yall keep me accountable! I'm going to lay aside self doubt for once and just go for it! Stop worrying about platform and layout and distribution just write the damn thing and make mistakes and use this as a starting off point for other books. Yes, other books. I've worked the last three months on researching ebooks and distribution platforms and the best way to host them and sell them and all that jazz. This is something I've had on my mind for several years now and I'm going to commit myself in 2017 to actually producing them. Even if I don't sell a one at least this will be a goal that I've had set for at least two to three years now that I want to accomplish. So that hopefully lets you know what I've been doing since I have not been posting here on the blog. I also looked at getting a real true big girl blog and honestly I have so much content here, I'm comfortable with blogger, and honestly changing the name of the blog, moving all this content, and trying to make sure that people can still find me makes me want to break out in hives. If I ever become a "big time" blogger I'll cross that bridge, but for right now I'm going to keep it simple and just stay here. And if blogger works for the blog who am I to think that I as a very minuscule bloggers needs the vanity of a .com when this gentleman is sponsored by Mood Fabrics (of Project Runway fame), has been published in several notable large sewing magazines, and has crazy adoring fans that descend to his meetup in New York every year bringing guests from all over the US and Europe. Yea, I think I'll just stay with blogger for now. (As an aside if you've never hear of Peter Lappin from please go now and read his blog. The man is the absolute sweetest as I know from emailing him in the past and is hysterical to boot.)

Love all yall and hope you had a great week.  We’ll talk again soon my lovelies!

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Stories of the South - Grand Village of the Natchez Indians

I’ve been going to Natchez for almost 10 years now as my husband’s family is from there.  Every time I go I try and see something new which is pretty easy in a town as steeped in history as Natchez.  One place I’ve wanted to see for several years is the Grand Village of the Natchez Indians.  It’s located right off highway 61 in the city limits at the end of a dead end street in a very ordinary looking residential neighborhood.  But at the end of the street this sign and historical marker are here to greet you.  

The Grand Village of the Natchez was the main religious and political capital for the Natchez between the late 17th and the early 18th century.  The Grand Village is a 128 acre site on the banks of St. Catherine’s Creek that contains three prehistoric Native American Mounds, a reconstruction of a Natchez Indian home, nature trail, and museum.  It’s open 7 days a week and is free to enter!  A link to their website is HERE which gives directions and hours.  I grew up being fascinated by the Indian mounds in North Mississippi at Bynum and Owl Creek built by the Chickasaw and the Naniya Mounds in Southern Noxubee County built by the Choctaw.  Honestly though I didn’t realize that the Natchez mounds were even there much less that there was a tribe called the Natchez.  I had never even heard of them.  There is not a lot online so I’m definitely mad at myself now for not purchasing a book in the gift shop, but I’ll share what I was able to find.  

The Natchez were some of the last Indian tribes to live in what we now call Southwest Mississippi.  Natchez culture began somewhere around 700 A.D. and lasted until the 1730’s when altercations with the French caused them to give up their ancestral home.  Before European settlement they were successful farmers growing corn, beans, and squash while also hunting, fishing, and gathering wild plants.  The Grand Village was their second ceremonial mound complex with the first being the Emerald Mound located to the north about 14 miles away.  The Emerald Mound can also be visited and is located off the Natchez Trace Parkway - something else to add to my list of stuff I want to do in Natchez.  They moved to the new location on St. Catherine’s Creek somewhere before contact with the Spanish in the 1600’s.  The first European contact is thought to be with the expedition led by Hernando DeSoto in 1542-1543.  The population reduced drastically after this contact due to the diseases carried by the Spanish such as smallpox, measles, and bubonic plague.  So when the first documented contact occurred in 1682 when Rene-Robert Cavelier and Sieur de La Salle’s expedition came down the Mississippi River they were a very different people than DeSoto had met.  Following La Salle’s meeting with the Natchez they were frequently visited by other French and English explorers, priests, and military personnel.  Eventually the French established Fort Rosalie and Natchez in 1716 and it quickly became  the center of the new colony.  Over the next 13 years the colony of Natchez grew as did the tensions between the French, the English, and the native Natchez Indians.  

Things finally boiled over due to French confiscation of Natchez Indian land after the death of their leader the Great Sun in 1728.  In 1729 the Natchez rebelled and attacked Fort Rosalie killing most of the soldiers stationed there.  The French attacked the Natchez in 1730 aided by their Choctaw Indian allies.  The French and Choctaw used the Grand Village as their staging point to lay siege to the Natchez.  The Great Mound, former home to the Great Sun, was used as storage for artillery.  This confrontation with the French was the beginning of the end for the Natchez nation.  While the Natchez never formally surrendered they did choose to leave their lands and join the tribes of the Chickasaw, Creeks, and Cherokees as refugees.  Those that did not leave, around 300 or so, were captured by the French and sold into slavery in the West Indies where there were several French colonies.  Today Natchez Indians have descendants living in the southern Appalachian mountain areas and in Oklahoma.  

With a little history behind us let’s explore the mounds themselves.  Mounds have been built since prehistoric times in many parts of North and South America.  The mounds at the Grand Village stand about 8 feet high and rise in several stages as structures on top were torn down and rebuilt according to religious and political ceremony.  Construction is estimated to have begun in the 13th century.  Only a few high ranking tribal leaders lived at the mounds full time.  The majority of the tribe lived scattered on individual family farms in the surrounding area.  There are a few 18th century first hand accounts of the ceremonies that were conducted there and give descriptions of the traditions that were nearly extinct by the time Europeans arrived.  The Chief of the Natchez, I mentioned earlier, was called the Great Sun and did live at the Grand Village full time.  His home stood on the center mound which has been excavated and built back to the original size and shape.  The second mound is the Temple Mound located on the southern part of the property.  Within the temple a fire was kept burning day and night.  Foundation remains of the Great Sun’s home and the temple were found in 1962.  

A mound located at the north end of the site is called the abandoned mound and was no longer in use when the Europeans arrived.  This mound has been investigated but has remained largely undisturbed and will remain this way keeping it as a time capsule for that era.  The Grand Village of the Natchez Indians is a National Historic Landmark administered by the Mississippi Department of Archives and History with the museum accredited by the American Association of Museums.  They have a pretty good informational movie for you to watch, examples of Natchez pottery and tools, and a small selection of books.  I’m still mad at myself I didn’t get one!  

I went in July while we were at the Mississippi Ducks Unlimited State Convention and while I really enjoyed my visit I absolutely melted!  Natchez in July is sweltering to say the least.  I really wanted to walk and explore the nature trail area and see St. Catherine’s Creek but after walking and looking at the mounds I had sweated completely through my clothes.  Maybe next time.  The site is also host to the annual Natchez Powwow featuring dancing, foods, crafts, and more.  Descendants of the Natchez from all over the country attend the weekend event each spring.  Definitely something to look at in the future.  

I hope you enjoyed this!  I love Native American history and have since I was a little girl.  If you did like this, please let me know as I have a site in Noxubee County I am going to write about sometime soon.  Thanks so much as always for reading!  I know this one was a long one!   

Thursday, December 1, 2016

All these baby quilts....

One more baby quilt y'all and we'll get back to regular posting.  I made this for a sweet cousin who's having a baby boy!  It's another top with the minky fuzzy stuff on the bottom.  Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! Talk to y'all soon!


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