BY JOE BUCK COATES
Inside your paper this week is a full-color, glossy magazine dedicated to the sesquicentennial in Wesson this year. The magazine contains 40 pages of historical articles and photos, stories about local organizations and churches and people who have helped shape current-day Wesson. Found on many of the pages are advertisements for local businesses, many of whom have existed for decades, which helped underwrite the cost of the product. The magazine is a window into Wesson’s history and a look at the town’s present.
Over the course of the past few months while working on Wesson 150 the Magazine, I’ve gotten to know many of the long-time Wesson residents who have sort of been the unofficial historians of the town. I’ve truly enjoyed hearing the stories of early Wesson when the mills were operating at full speed and the money flowed through town like a swollen spring river. (Funny thing is, after you get past the basics of the founding of Wesson, aspects of the town’s history seem to skew into several versions, depending on the teller.) I’ve seen artifacts and papers from the original owners that only a few have viewed over the past few decades. I’ve learned that Wesson’s present is directly affected by its past and each new generation needs to be taught the town’s history. The experience has been most memorable.
My staff and I received miles of copy and volumes of old photos from Wesson area residents from which we could select for the magazine. Several organizations and churches in the area also provided mounds of stuff that we could use. Copiah-Lincoln Community College became a gold mine, too, for content. Fortunately, we had plenty; unfortunately, we couldn’t cram it all in 40 pages. What we did was choose what we felt could provide the best reader experience possible.
We appreciate all of the photos and story ideas and other suggestions shared with us by many Wesson folks. What could have been a very difficult research project was made much easier by your contributions and willingness to work with us. Thanks also to the folks at Copiah-Lincoln Community College who contributed and helped guide the gathering of information for the college.
We hope you enjoy Wesson 150 the Magazine and hold on to it for others to read. We are honored to have one placed in the time capsule at the old school on Saturday during the birthday party, as well. A limited number of copies will be available around town in Wesson during Founders Day and the birthday party on Saturday while they last.