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PROLOGUE:

NOTE: Yellow highlights indicate research is needed and author is trying to find the information.

The following is an historical perspective of the events leading up to the manuscript which chronicles the Jews living in Coahoma County, which started in 1868.

The book format starts with major sections divided by decades. The decade chapter is subdivided by years and becomes the subtitle. Each yearly subsection first give global data found that relates to the world, Mississippi's history and Clarksdale history. Then, the Jewish family names are listed alphabetically.

Choices of those individual(s) mentioned in these chapters are dictated by the existence of records and/or oral interviews of descendants. All references will be listed in the Endnotes. Because this may be helpful to genealogical research, Its purpose is not genealogical even though some genealogical data is included, primarily marriage dates and children names.

Because this type of history is more folklore than accurate documentation, we are guilty of giving information typed and transcribed from family members and friends. If you believe it is wrong and have evidence to improve the accuracy, please forward it so that it can be corrected.

History of the world, United States, State of Mississippi, Memphis, Tennessee, and Helena, Arkansas, as well as other religious and political growth, have been included. The purpose is to help the reader gather a comprehensive picture of global history in the time period.


Yazoo Basin Figure1
Figure 1: Upper Mississippi Yazoo Basin called “Upper Mississippi Delta”.

At the time that Mississippi became a state in 1817 and for a couple of decades after the Civil War, the Mississippians called the Mississippi-Yazoo Delta-"The Bottoms" or "The Mississippi Swamps”.[i]

This plush Yazoo River Basin of black alluvial soil extends 200 miles long and 70 miles wide. Lying between Memphis, Tennessee, and Vicksburg, Mississippi. It grew as a result of torrid weather and floodwaters depositing silt from the Upper Mississippi valleys. In the northwest corner of the basin and within Coahoma County, the Yazoo Pass converges into the Coldwater River. This flows south to the Tallahatchie, which joins the Yalobusha River to form the Yazoo River. The Yazoo flows southwest and empties into the Mississippi at Vicksburg. Boatman roamed the bayous and rivers, such as the Sunflower and Hushpuckena, looking for the calmest clearings and the best plots to settle on.[ii]

Most pioneers preferred to build their plantations and towns along the riverbanks since the bald eagles, panthers, wolves, plus the wild cats, possums, rats, as well as snakes, alligators and bears occupied the swampy wilderness. (Weeks, 10) Many settlers knew about the Delta's tremendous wealth-producing potential, but few had capital, credit and the labor force of slaves to tame the area included within the Choctaw Cession.

(McLemore I, 8-9)

The Northwestern part of the state, lying between the Loess Hills and the Mississippi River and the Walnut Hills at Vicksburg and the Chickasaw Bluffs around Memphis, TN, is the Yazoo Basin, locally called the Delta. It is a floodplain and is composed of alluvial deposits. It appears almost perfectly flat, but close examination reveals slight elevation along the streams or old meander belts of abandoned streams. As the streams overflowed, the coarse materials were deposited first, resulting in a slight building of land higher than the surrounding area and known as natural levees. The soils of the Delta are dark, rich alluvium, composed of sand, silt and clays. Due to the separating power of water and the age of the materials, the soils of the Delta can be divided into three main types. The first bottom soils are made up of the sandy silt loams of the natural levees. These soils are coarser and better drained than the inter-stream areas, and make highly productive soils. The older meander belts are the second bottoms and have been in position sufficiently long to develop a profile. They contain more clay than the first bottom soils, but are workable and produce good crops. The third bottoms are the poorly drained back swamp deposit and are extremely high in clay content. The soils are fertile but poorly drained, and in dry weather become granular. They are referred to as buckshot lands. Because of the level topography and rich soil, this is the most productive and extensive agricultural area of the state. About seventy-five percent of the region was cleared and was cultivated.[iii]

(photo of Desoto Monument goes here)

Miriam Dabbs explains the Desoto Marker i

On the 400th anniversary (5/22/1941) of the discovery of the Mississippi River the National Society of Colonial Dames erected a handsome marker at the intersection of Highway 49 and Highway 61. It is identical to the marker that is standing at the mouth of the Manatee River in Florida, where the conquistador landed in 1539. The latter commemorates the explorers 4,000 mile marched into the wilderness of the southern part of the United States. The marker at Clarksdale commemorates DeSoto's discovery of the Mississippi River in what is now Coahoma County.[iv]

cottonClock

Figure 2: Cotton Clock
Photo Courtesy by Harris Barnes

The cycle of the cotton plant:

  1. Seedling Cotton
  2. White bloom
  3. Red bloom
  4. Green boll
  5. Cracked boll
  6. Open boll
  7. Defoliation;



The grueling, fast-paced fanning followed the production schedule of king cotton:

  1. Land preparation: From late January to mid-March, the families clear, ditch and repair large acres of land to prepare for the planting
  2. Planting: In April and May they plow and plant regardless of the heavy rains.
  3. Cultivation/Irrigation then hoeing followed during the severe hot summer days
  4. Insect control/ Mature Cotton/ Open cotton fields/Hand/ mechanical picking/Gins. Bales/Winter.
  5. Although they pick some early cotton in August, the picking season starts in September. The harversting and ginning continue through the freezing rain, ice and snow of November, December and early January.[v]

COTTON FACTORS

Ashkenazi, explained how the cotton factor served a significant financial role in cotton production:

Chronic money shortages created the need for credit from the factor that served as a middleman. Between planting and harvesting, storekeepers and large planters who were called plantation owners used financial notes from factors for supplies, for financing the crop and for selling it in the market towns. The factors borrowed money from the cotton wholesalers and repaid them in cotton. The wholesaler received money from New York bankers who loaned out 90 days notes. Their financed only the sale of cotton in the marketplace, not the year-round production. At harvest time, the banker's notes forced the wholesaler to push the factor who pushed the planter to ship cotton as soon as possible. Because the factor could not finance year-round production schedules or the small cotton grower’s debt, a country merchant acted as the factor. The storekeeper consented to one year's credit for supplies and assisted in various types of arrangements for negotiating with many factors. In addition, the merchant agreed to other barter-type transactions. Thus, his customers thought of him as more than storekeeper because he resolved the trading needs for both large and small cotton producing families.[vi]

Found in the Commercial Appeal on 6/30/2006:

Through cotton, the Delta in the 19th Century was more connected to the national economy and the world than were other parts of the South, says Dr. James Cobb of the University of Georgia, keynote speaker for today's seminar on the Delta.[vii]

January 3:        Two French vessels arrived at Ship Island with 300 settlers for Pascagoula and Bay St. Louis.[viii]

1811 TO 1867: The Earliest Growth of Clarksdale

1811

December 11:The greatest earthquake in American history, during which a stretch of the Mississippi River from north Mississippi to Madrid, Missouri, flowed backwards. Today, New Madrid, MO, is located in this area.[ix]

1817

Another religious group that has become an integral part of Mississippi life is the Jewish community. At the time of statehood in 1817, there were possibly 100 Jews in Mississippi. The Universal Jewish Encyclopedia gave the following account of further migration of Jews into Mississippi: a number of migrants to the United States from Eastern Europe settled in Mississippi, particularly in the cities and towns between the Mississippi and Yazoo rivers in what is known as the Delta section. Here many became not only merchants and professional men but also owners of farms and plantations. About fifty communities of Mississippi had ten Jews or more in 1842 Mississippi admitted to Union.[x]

(McLemore wrote:

Another religious group that has become an integral part of Mississippi life is the Jewish community. At the time of statehood in 1817, there were possibly 100 Jews in Mississippi. The Universal Jewish Encyclopedia gave the following account of further migration of Jews into Mississippi: a number of migrants to the United States from Eastern Europe settled in Mississippi, particularly in the cities and towns between the Mississippi and Yazoo rivers in what is known as the Delta section. Here many became not only merchants and professional men but also owners of farms and plantations. About fifty communities of Mississippi had ten Jews or more in 1942Mississippi admitted to Union.[xi]

1820

January 18:      James Copeland, a famous Mississippi outlaw, was born near Basin in George County on the Pascagoula River.[xii]

First signs of community life in this region: Either William Oldham or John Chism were the first to settle Port Royal, 7 miles west of Friars Point..[xiii]

1830

September 27: Dancing Rabbit Creek Treaty signed with Choctaw Indians. (Weeks, 9) The diminution [cessions] of the Choctaw estate in Mississippi began in 1801 with Fort Adams being the first. . . . The Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek liquidated the Choctaws Nation in Mississippi. They surrendered their remaining Mississippi lands, [i.e.] ten and one-half million acres or 10,428,130 acres.[xiv]

The first known Jewish settlers in Tennessee were probably peddlers who in the late 1830s and 1840s moved north from New Orleans, from the river towns of Mississippi, south from St. Louis, and west from Cincinnati and Louisville.[xv]

1836

Following the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek, the Coahoma County is established by act of the State Legislature.[xvi] On February 9, 1836, the state legislature mapped out the thirteen counties acquired from the Choctaw Cession of 1830.

Total population was less than 2,000. Area covers approximately 10,000 square miles, extending from Tennessee hills on the north and following the meanderings of the Mississippi.[xvii]

River south to Vicksburg, a distance of approximately 175 miles and a breadth up to about 60 miles. It is located in the very center of an alluvial empire.[xviii]

Alexander McNutt was given credit for naming the pistol-grip shape county as Coahoma. Robert Friar, Samuel Holson, Conway Oldham, Aaron Shelby and George Warren appointed by state legislature to settle Coahoma County. Levee law amended to include the Delta lands.[xix]

March 3 -6:      After a two-week siege, the Mexican Army finally overran the defenders of the Alamo and all the Americans including eight Mississippians lost their lives.[xx]

1838

Robert Friar, John Clark and other woodchoppers came to clear out the swamps of Coahoma for the few plantation owners who yearned to reap mighty-fine cotton crops.[xxi]

Robert Friar is first representative to take his seat in State Legislature.[xxii]

1839

Fulcrum of county power shifted to Port Royal. It becomes core of county activity.[xxiii] (Figure 1)

Powhatan is designated as the name of the seat of justice of Coahoma County in a legislative memorial to Congress appealing for a steamboat mail route for the river counties in the Delta.[xxiv]

John Clark ventured up river for timber and for exploring the inland waterways. He began to use the east bank of the Little Sunflower River in Coahoma.

In a meeting with Alvin Labens, Burt Jaegar and Irwin Kaufman, Labens pointed out where the Mississippi River ran through Clarksdale.

When you drive into Lyon, the low place is the riverbed; that is where John got his first logs out of town. That was before the Mississippi River changed its course. Right there at Delta Avenue where the road goes to the Country Club-the old Friars Point Road. John Clark pulled out his logs and sold them. That is how he got his money to buy the land.[xxv]

1840

1840 Census says 763 whites/524 black slaves.

Delta post office opened.[xxvi] (Figure 1)

(McLemore I, 392):

Evidence of Jewish Immigration: Before the 1840s there is no evidence of organized Jewish life in Mississippi. Most of the early Jews in the state were immigrants from Germany, with a few from England. Late arrivals in the antebellum period emigrated from Russia and Poland. It was as peddlers and small merchants that most of them supported themselves. Hard-working, enterprising men, more often than not they started out with no more than could be carried on their backs. [xxvii]

The establishment of cemeteries usually preceded the organization of Jewish congregations. The Jews of Natchez bought a cemetery in 1840, but they did not fully organize as the Congregation B'nai Israel until 1843. Memphis was similar; the cemetery was started in 1847, but the congregation did not become chartered until 1957.[xxviii] This did not happen in Coahoma County. In this community, the congregation carried their relatives to Memphis, TN, Helena, AR and other places for burial until approximately 1916 which is the year of the first grave in the local Jewish cemetery.[xxix]

1841

Friars point beginning to be used as a store port.[xxx] (Figure 1)

Port Royal: venue for circuit court; however, Port Royal and Old Delta did not survive the high water years. In 1841, the Mississippi [outgrew] its banks at Port Royal. From the earliest legends, the ever-changing course of the Mississippi created the need for major family decisions. With alarming regularity, the riverbanks caved in due to massive mudslides, gullies and avalanches.[xxxi]

McLemore I, 392:

The first organized Jewish congregation was established in Vicksburg in 1841. Initially known as the Hebrew Benevolent Congregation of the Men of Mercy, it assumed the name, Congregation Anshe Chesed, when it was formally incorporated in 1862. At the time of its organization there were between twenty-five- and thirty Jewish families living in Vicksburg. Religious services were conducted in various private homes or in a warehouse on Levee Street. The latter was owned by one of the more prosperous members, Barnard Yoste, who acted as their president and conducted the Orthodox services. It was not until 1868 that ground was broken for a temple. At the outbreak of the Civil War about fifty families belonged to the congregation. Although occupying a minority position in the community, they were apparently well accepted. M.A. Levy served as a selectman in 1832 and again in 1833, while L. M. Lowenberg held the office of Justice of the Peace in Warren County.[xxxii]

1842

The boundary of Coahoma County is changed, releasing a large portion to Bolivar. An election is held for the selection of the county seat, Delta, at the mouth of Yazoo Pass, winning over Port Royal and Friar’s Point. Delta selected as county seat. [xxxiii]

1844

February 24:    The University of Mississippi was chartered.[xxxiv]

The early pioneers of the county experience their first destructive overflow from severe flooding from the Mississippi.[xxxv]

This major flood of 1844 happened only months after James Alcorn had arrived from Kentucky. Coahoma County voters sent him to the state legislature to propose his levee bill. The state legislature passed his two bills that approved the levee and created "a general levee board for the Delta." [xxxvi]

Date/year unknown: Andrew Jackson was at one time a property holder in Coahoma County and is reputed to have constructed a private levee running from neat what is known at Rescue Landing—a point prominent in Coahoma’s history.[xxxvii]

1845

Sewing machine invented by Elias Howe . . .improved by Singer between 1851 and 1856. Many immigrants had gained knowledge and experience in Europe in the manufacture of clothing. Trained in the old country, they came to America at a time when ready-made clothing was becoming popular and their skills were timely assets in this industry.[xxxviii]

1846

Mexican-American War (1846-1848) Two citizen in Coahoma County participated (Benjamin Saunders and Isaac N. Brown).[xxxix]

1847

February 22:    During the Mexican-American War, Col. Jefferson-Davis, Commander of the First Mississippi Regiment, developed the V-battle formation and eventually won the Battle of Buena Vista.[xl]

1848

Clark bought 101 acres so that he could send the logs easier along the Sunflower to the Mississippi to avoid fierce competition; however. most settlers carved out prosperity at the river landings, such as Union/Friars Point. Port Royal and Old Delta.[xli]

Delta is incorporated.[xlii]

First ferry licensed by Webb and McMullen to carry freight.[xliii]

Old Delta’s streets turned to canals as floodwaters forced high ridges to crumble. Although some
families rebuilt New Delta, most picked up and shifted downstream seven miles southwest to Union where the river lowed at the J-shaped bend. Because everyone thought of Union as Robert Friar's town, the local citizens always said Friars Point." Families could not move too far because the cotton crop yield kept doubling, and they owed the commission agent or factor."[xliv]

1850

2,780 black and white settlers with their factors produced and ginned nearly one million pounds of cotton to send to market every year.[xlv]

LEVEES: The first whites established their wood yards and small clearings on the higher spots of the river bank, the problem of protection from overflows has bee ever uppermost. Prior to 1850, little progress was made in levee building but in this year the work was greatly stimulated by a generous grant of lands from Congress.[xlvi]

1852

Friars Point is incorporated under the name of "Union", and in the same year, the name is changed to read "Point Friar".[xlvii] (Figure 1)

Levee bill passed for levee to be constructed.[xlviii]

1856

Russian History

August 26:      Coronation Manifesto-Alexander II: removed juvenile Jewish conscription granted as an act of grace.[xlix]

June 1856 to 1863:      From 1840 when Jews segregated to Pale Of Settlement: Special groups were selected by financial or educational qualifications for purpose of best to win rights and privileges (merchants of first guild-university graduates, incorporated artisans).

1857

March 27:        Completion of the Memphis and Charleston Railroad. . . . From that time on, cotton, hardwood, food and manufactured goods passed through Memphis in large quantities.[l]

1858

Another flood: legislature created a general level district for the entire Delta. Even though the major flood of 1858 initiated the start of the 262-mile levee; the state had not borrowed the full amount (estimated $6.25 million) to complete it.[li]

1859

John Clark, founder, starts building his home near Sunflower River.[lii]

1860

Many Jewish immigrants throughout Arkansas. Mississippi and Tennessee went to Memphis for weddings, births, bar mitzvahs, deaths or any major religious turning points.[liii]

On July 20, 18, Mobile and Northwestern Railroad received its charter. Despite the local management of Thomas T. A. Lyon, the M & N Railroad failed, but for the first time Coahoma residents began to think of cross county possibilities, of the future of the county’s interior and of total independence from the Mississippi River.[liv]

Prior to the Civil War, there were many Jewish immigrants in Tennessee, Arkansas and lower Mississippi. They traveled by packet boat(s) to the Delta river towns. Coahoma County census of 1860 does not list Jewish settlers.

Selma Lewis described the early Jewish peddlers: the immigrants wore backpacks filled with farm items and walked to each farmhouse. They were well received because the farmers rarely saw strangers. The peddler would unpack in the middle of the room near the fireplace. They unfastened the pack to

roll back the awning striped cover to expose their wares. There were brightly colored clothes in his first bag; then, when his canvas roll was opened, there came of rash of smells: sachets cheap perfumes, soaps, leather goods and spices filled the room with tantalizing fragrances.[lv]

When a peddler saved enough money, he/she bought horses and buggies. When they put together a little more capital, they stopped traveling to buy inventories of bankruptcy stores to start their stores or “became wholesale dealers for other retailers.” Many were successful from these small beginnings. They became large businesses, such as Macy's, Lowenstein, Goldsmith, and Julius Lewis which were in the larger towns like New York and Memphis; however, even the smaller towns eventually had a Jewish department store.

The primary icon is the Jewish immigrant in the clothing business; however, immigrant Jews found diverse opportunities. Thus, for many the dry goods and general merchandise were a beginning. In addition, they became cotton brokers and factors, real estate brokers, barbers, auctioneers, wholesalers, grocers, liquor and wine dealers, tobacco and candy merchants, purveyors of leather goods, tailors, boots and shoes repair, cattle brokers, hatters and dry cleaners.

McLemore wrote:

Thus, on the eve of the Civil War, the few Jews who were in Mississippi resided for the most part in the towns and villages. Organized religious life existed at five different points: Vicksburg, Natchez, Columbus, Port Gibson, and Jackson. However, none of the congregations owned an official house of worship nor did any enjoy the services of a resident rabbi. Although no official census figures are available, one might safely place the number of Jews in the state in 1860 at approximately 600.[lvi]

Coahoma County population was 6,606 with 13 churches; land averaged $30,000.[lvii]

1861

John Clark stops building home due to Civil War and he stopped increasing his holdings to become the tax collector for the district.[lviii] First volunteers from Coahoma County leave for the War between the States.[lix]

January 9:        Mississippi was the second state to secede from the Union and to join the Confederacy. First volunteers from Coahoma County leave for the War Between the States. The Coahoma Invincibles became Company B of the 11th Mississippi Regiment.[lx]

February 18:    Jefferson Davis inaugurated President of the Confederate States of America.[lxi]

March:             Abraham Lincoln inaugurated as President of the United States.

April 14:          (Civil War began): The most able-bodied men, like Major General Nathaniel Bradford Forrest, left to fight for the Confederacy. Prior to the war, Forrest had lived in southwest Coahoma County at Green Grove, a 1,000-acre plantation.[lxii]

1/23 Rabbi Tuska, Congregation of Children of Israel, Memphis, TN publishes an editorial on anti-defamation issues in the Commercial Appeal about the Jews accused of theft. The accusation led to the infamous Order #11 by General Grant.[lxiii]

Plantations and cotton crops, especially the large crop of 1861, remained exposed to attacks by Yankee soldiers advancing b road and rivers.[lxiv]

The women fought by protecting the family property. This included growing cotton, maintaining control of the slave and dealing with the unwelcome Yankee visitors.

1862

April:               The Union forces occupied Now Orleans. Fort Penny (Helena, Ark) General Buford used James Robinson house as Union headquarters in Friars Point.[lxv]

June 6:             Confederate forces abandoned Memphis on June 6.

Trading conditions in Memphis had a rippling affect throughout the Delta. Selma Lewis wrote, “Memphis became a major center of illegal trading after falling to Union forces because of its location on the Mississippi River and because it was the nearest city to St. Louis, the source of badly-needed pharmaceuticals.”[lxvi]

Korn wrote about the tensions in Memphis. “The outbreak of the war had created an impasse. Supplies from the North were cut off and a Union blockade of southern ports prevented importation of products from Europe. Shortages of all manufactured goods resulted in rapid inflation and the beginning of illegal traffic between the North and South.[lxvii]

December 17: Order #11 by General Grant prohibited Jewish merchants from engaging in trade with the Treasury Department of the Union, especially soldiers' supplies.[lxviii] The order was issued in Kentucky. A Jewish friend of President Lincoln's wrote him about the order. It was rescinded as soon as Lincoln read the letter.

Union commanders ordered the cotton to be confiscated and declared cotton trading forbidden. The Delta planters faced perverse decisions: smuggling the cotton illegally to Mexican traders, having it confiscated by the Federals or letting the Confederates bum it. The families used remote warehouses or hidden sheds to protect themselves and the crops from Yankee searches.[lxix]

1863

May-June:       Delta burned by Sherman. Gen. Sherman's army of 32,000 men with a fleet of transports and gunboats, on their way to Vicksburg, rendezvous at Friars Point. Union forces by order of Gen. Sherman open a way through Yazoo Pass in seeking a route to Vicksburg down the Yazoo River but they are blocked by wily Confederate booby traps. Coahoma rebels joined the hundreds of their slaves who lined up along the bayous shores and threw rocks, spears and bullets. It delayed the Union troops a month, and it provided the time for the Confederates to prepare for Grant at the Yazoo River. However, this valiant effort did not save Vicksburg or the mighty Mississippi from total Union control in July 1863. The war was over for the families of Coahoma. Cotton remained king but their beloved land belonged to the enemy who set the labor forces free.[lxx]

1864

February 22:    The brother of C.S.A. General Nathan Bedford Forrest, Col. Jeffrey Forrest and his men helped rout 4,000 Yankees near Egypt in Chickasaw County.[lxxi]

Sherman burned Delta.[lxxii]

1865

April 9:            Civil War ends officially with the surrender of General Robert E. Lee to General Grant at Appomattox, Virginia.[lxxiii]

May to 1867:   At the close of the war, confusion ran rampant. From, the United States Army assumed control of Mississippi for specific periods. Both the Confederates and the Union had destroyed and had neglected private levees.[lxxiv]

1866

March:             Officials of the Freedman’s Bureau established.

April 25           The nations first Declaration Day held (currently called Memorial Day) at Columbus. The town's women placed flowers on the graves of both Confederate and Union soldiers.[lxxv]

Gen. N. B. Forrest is arrested and bail set in the sum of $10,000.00 for his appearance at Circuit Court, charged with the murder of a colored freedom" on his plantation in Coahoma County.[lxxvi]

Investors who had leased the land did not survive long. Short crops of 1866 and 1867 created severe problems leading to heavy losses. The cotton-growing schedule had required more workers than they could hire. The freed slaves had left to search for their children and relatives who had been separated by slave trading before the war. They believed that this new freedom meant, not only working when they wanted to, but owning land, a piece of the action. They insisted on negotiating for land, not wages, for their work but the families refused.[lxxvii]

1867

The Negroes exercise the right of the ballot for the first time, in the election held for or against a State Constitutional Convention.[lxxviii]

THERE'S WHERE THE SOUTH BEGINS

When you come to a land

Where everybody is a friend

Where, when you get off your train

Cordially, you are invited to remain.

There's where the South begins

When you come to a land where cotton is king

Where Negroes in the field, work while they sing

Where folks walk slowly, dragging their feet

Where folks hang out on each comer of the street

There's where the south begins

When you come to a land where you can settle on a farm

Where you can share the crop, on the strength of your arm

Where, if you never cropped, they will let you learn

Where, they furnish grub and money before you earn
There's where the South begins

When you come to a land, where you can settle in town

Where, if you are broke, they won't turn you down

Where you can start in business on a shoestring or two

Where in the course of a few years, you will be well to do

There's where the South begins

When you come to a land, where girls are fair

Where in virtue and charm have more than their share

Where a stranger is met with a smiling eye

Where your heart goes throbbing, Oh my, my

There's where the South begins

When you come to a land, where they vote democratic

Where men are brave, their features aristocratic

Where capital is always at peace with labor

Where people regard each other as neighbor

There's where the South begins

If your are dissatisfied elsewhere, come to the fair south

To the Delta, where we have no storm, cloudburst or drought

Where the Levees are safe, where we are cozy and dry

Where we have everything in the world that money can buy.[lxxix]

by Abe Isaacson                  

Rabbi Wax, Temple Israel, Memphis Tennessee, was asked: “How Jews had survived in America”, he answered to Marion Solomon, The secret is that Jews learned to assimilate without becoming assimilated.”[lxxx]


[i]   Weeks, Linton, “The Gay Nineties,” in Clarksdale & Coahoma County: A History (Brandon, MS, 1982), 101.

[ii]    Ibid, “Papaws, Panther, and Poisoned Water,”6-8; “The Uncivil War,” 42.

[iii]McLemore, Richard A. A History of Mississippi Volume 1I (Hattiesburg, MS, 1973), 8-9.

[iv]"Local Historical Site To Be Marked," Here's Clarksdale, May-June 1973, p 6, 9, map, 7.

[v]  Barnes, Harris. Cotton: A 50 Year Pictorial History: The Photographs of Harris Barnes, (Brandon, MS: Exposures Publishing, Inc. 2002), TOC; Weeks, “Home Sweet Coahoma,” 12, 13, 16 17; Weeks, “Reconstruction and Rigor Mortis,” 22; Cobb, James, The Most Southern Place on Earth: The Mississippi Delta and the roots of Regional Identity (Oxford, 1992), 21.

  • [vi]Ashkenazi, Elliott, The Business of Jews in Louisiana 1840-1875, (Judaic Studies Series, 1888), 20-23.

[vii]              Michael Loller, Commercial Appeal, June 29, 2006.

[viii]      Cooper, Forrest Lamar, “Mississippi Matter of Fact”, 1995 Calendar (Florence, MS, 1995), use dates for page number.

[ix]         Ibid.

[x]          Weeks, “Home Sweet Coahoma,” 9.

[xi]         McLemore, A History of Mississippi Volume 1, 88.

[xii]           Cooper, 1995 Calendar, use dates for page number.

[xiii]         Weeks, Weeks, “Home Sweet Coahoma,” 12; The Golden Age of Friars Point,” 17.

[xiv]       McLemore, A History of Mississippi Volume 1, 88; DeRosier, The Removal of the Choctaw Indians; Cooper, 1995 Calendar, use dates for page number.

[xv]  Lewis, Selma, “In the Beginning,” A Biblical People in the Bible Belt: The Jewish Community of Memphis, Tennessee, 1840s-1960s (Macon, GA 1998) 7; Postal and Koppman vol. 2, 241.

[xvi]       Compiled by Harold K. Sage and Madge P. Baucom, Clarksdale-Coahoma County, 1836-1936: one hundred years of progress in the Mississippi Delta: Centennial Edition by (Delta Staple Cotton Festival Association 1936), 33.

[xvii]      Mosley, Louis, and Heaton, “Points of Interest in Coahoma County.”Kaufman Research Collection.

[xviii]     Labens, Alvin, Burt Jaeger, Irvin Kaufman interview with author at Memphis Jewish Community Center, November 28, 2004.

[xix]       Weeks, “Home Sweet Coahoma,” 10-11.

[xx]        Cooper, 1995 Calendar, use dates for page number.

[xxi]       Sage and Madge P. Baucom, Clarksdale-Coahoma County, 1836-1936; Weeks, “The Golden Age of Friars Point,” 12, “The Clarks, The Bobos, and Other Founders,” 27, 29.

[xxii]      Labens, Jaeger, Kaufman interview, November 28, 2004; Weeks, “The Golden Age of Friars Point,”, 12; “The Clarks, The Bobos, and Other Founders,” 27, 29.

[xxiii]      Weeks, “Home Sweet Coahoma,” 12; “The Clarks, The Bobos, and Other Founders,” 27, 29.

[xxiv]     Sage and Madge P. Baucom, Clarksdale-Coahoma County, 1836-1936.

[xxv]      Weeks, “Home Sweet Coahoma,” 12; “The Clarks, The Bobos, and Other Founders,” 27, 29; Labens Jaeger, Kaufman interview, November 28, 2004.

[xxvi]     Weeks, “Home Sweet Coahoma,” 7, 12;“The Golden Age of Friars Point,”, 22.

[xxvii]    McLemore, A History of Mississippi Volume 1, ___; “Inventory of the Churches and Synagogues,” Archives of Mississippi Jewish Congregations and Organization, (Mississippi State Conference, B'nai B'rith, Jackson, Mississippi), 2, 392.

[xxviii]   Cemetery Registry, 1847-1925, Temple Israel Archives, Memphis, TN.

[xxix]     Ibid, 3; http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~ssjdb/Clarksdale.htm; accessed May 30, 2015.

[xxx]       Weeks, “Home Sweet Coahoma,” 13.

[xxxi]     Weeks, “Home Sweet Coahoma,” 12; Ashkenazi, The Business of Jews in Louisiana 1840-1875, 21.

[xxxii]    Philippsbom, Gertrude, The History of the Jewish Community of Vicksburg (1820-1968), 11-13.

[xxxiii]    Sage and Madge P. Baucom, Clarksdale-Coahoma County, 1836-1936; Weeks, “Home Sweet Coahoma,” 13

[xxxiv]   Cooper, 1995 Calendar, use dates for page number.

[xxxv]     Sage and Madge P. Baucom, Clarksdale-Coahoma County, 1836-1936; Weeks, “Home Sweet Coahoma,” 13.

[xxxvi]    Cobb, “Plantation Frontier,” 28.

[xxxvii]  Labens, Jaeger, Kaufman interview, November 28, 2004.

[xxxviii] Lewis, Selma, “Early Prosperity,” 22; Frank, 55

[xxxix]   Labens, Jaeger, Kaufman interview, November 28, 2004.

[xl]         Cooper, 1995 Calendar, use dates for page number.

[xli]Weeks, “Home Sweet Coahoma,” 12; “The Clarks, The Bobos, and Other Founders,” 27, 29.

[xlii]      Sage and Madge P. Baucom, Clarksdale-Coahoma County, 1836-1936; Weeks, “Home Sweet Coahoma,” 15.

[xliii]      Weeks, “Home Sweet Coahoma,” 15.

[xliv]       Ibid, 16; Weeks, “The Golden Age of Friars Point,” 17; Ashkenazi, Elliott, The Business of Jews in Louisiana 1840-1875, 21.

[xlv]       Weeks, “Home Sweet Coahoma,” 12, 13, 16; “The Golden Age of Friars Point,” 17; 22.

[xlvi]      Labens, Jaeger, Kaufman interview, November 28, 2004.

[xlvii]     Sage and Madge P. Baucom, Clarksdale-Coahoma County, 1836-1936;

[xlviii]    Weeks, “The Golden Age of Friars Point,” 17, 24.

[xlix]     Dudnow, Simon Markovich, Jewish History: an essay in the philosophy of history (Jewish Publication Society of America and Jewish Historical Society of England, H.S. 1994), 50.

[l]           Lewis, “Early Prosperity,”14.

[li]   Cobb, “Plantation Frontier,” 29; Weeks, “The Clarks, The Bobos, and Other Founders,” 24.

[lii]  Weeks, “Reconstruction and Rigor Mortis,” 33; “Clarksdale, The Queen City; Its History and Promise for Future,” Clarksdale Press Register, August 23, 1926”, Clarksdale Public Library, Microfilm Scrapbook, #1, 5.

[liii]        Author's accumulated information from various oral history interviews.

[liv]        Weeks, “Machine in the Garden,” 61.

[lv]         Lewis, “Early Prosperity,”14, 15, 18;.Capers, 102; Clark, 45.

[lvi]        McLemore, A History of Mississippi Volume 1, 393.

[lvii]       Weeks, “The Clarks, The Bobos, and Other Founders,” 33, 34.

[lviii]      “Clarksdale, The Queen City; Its History and Promise for Future,” Clarksdale Press Register, August 23, 1926”, Clarksdale Public Library, Microfilm Scrapbook, #1, 5.

[lix]        Labens, Jaeger, Kaufman interview, November 28, 2004.

[lx]         Weeks, “The Clarks, The Bobos, and Other Founders,” 34, 35.

[lxi]        Cooper, 1995 Calendar, use dates for page number.

[lxii]       Weeks, “The Uncivil War,” 43.

[lxiii]      Temple Israel Archives, Memphis, TN.

[lxiv]      Weeks, “The Uncivil War,” 38; Ashkenazi, The Business of Jews in Louisiana 1840-1875, 25, 63.

[lxv]       Ibid.

[lxvi]      Lewis, “The Civil War Years,” 38.

[lxvii]     Korn, Bertram, re: Civil war period in Memphis, 45.

[lxviii]    Lewis, “The Civil War Years,” 40-42.

[lxix]      Ashkenazi, The Business of Jews in Louisiana 1840-1875, 24; Cobb, “The Stern Realities of War,” 38.

[lxx]       Weeks, “The Uncivil War,” 38-42.

[lxxi]      Cooper, 1995 Calendar, use dates for page number.

[lxxii]     Weeks, “The Uncivil War,” 40.

[lxxiii]    Lewis, “The Civil War Years, 44, 49.

[lxxiv]    Cobb, “A “Harnessed Revolution,'” 28.47, 48, 57; Weeks, “Reconstruction and Rigor Mortis,” 49.

[lxxv]     Cooper, 1995 Calendar, use dates for page number.

[lxxvi]    Sage and Madge P. Baucom, Clarksdale-Coahoma County, 1836-1936.

[lxxvii]   Cobb “A 'Harnessed Revolution,'” 66.

[lxxviii]  Sage and Madge P. Baucom, Clarksdale-Coahoma County, 1836-1936.

[lxxix]     Isaacson, Abraham, Poem, Printed in the New Yorker, October, 1950, p 1.

[lxxx]       Solomon, Martha interview with author April 27, 1999. Lewis, Selma, “Early Prosperity,” 14-23.