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Greenwood Springs Once
Riviera of the South
Written in 1976, article appeared in the Amory Advertiser and the Monroe County History Book. Mary Lou ( Mrs. Clyde) King is my aunt. She was married to my Uncle Clyde King. She is a retired teacher and lives in the nursing home in Amory, Ms, recently celebrated her 93rd birthday on August 12, 1999. I discovered this article on a trip to the library in Aberdeen, Ms recently just before her birthday. Needless to say, I was thrilled. I hope you enjoy as much as I did. A few days after her birthday I visited her in the nursing home, at first she couldn't remember anything about the article, but as I was reading the part about Dr. Broyles and Mr. Hendrix, she began to tell me the story!
Aunt Mary Lou died January 31, 2000. At her death she was writing about her grandparent's move to MS.
BY MRS. CLYDE KING
One fall evening just 200 years ago, a band of hard faced Chickasaw Indians, running along a ridge trail, were tiring after a long day's journey. Realizing it would soon be dark and there would be no moon, they must make camp soon. They were nearing a narrow valley, peering down into the dark foliage of huge oaks and beech trees, they would be certain to find water here and the trees would provide shelter for the night. Having made their way down into the valley, sure enough there was a spring gushing from the earth. They ate their jerky, washing it down with the cool, mineral water, then prepared for the night.
For some years after 1815, the Indians who lived north of the Trace and west of the River, took their sick to these springs to be cured of any sickness.
In 1816, John Wise was ordered out of these Chickasaw lands and directed by Levi Colbert to move to the hills of the Southeast. However, he returned the following year and began a settlement just two miles southwest of the present Greenwood Springs. He soon became the largest land and slave owner around.
By this time in history, Napoleon had been exiled to the barren island of Saint Helena, off the west coast of Africa and was dying of cancer. James Monroe was president of the United States, George. Poindexter had just been elected governor of Mississippi and the boundary lines of Monroe County had not yet been defined. This same year, 1820, Thomas Greenwood, a native of Virginia, moved to Alabama. The next year, 1821, he moved to a place near Quincy. Being a trader, he became friendly with the Indians, who told him about the curative springs just a few miles to the east. Mr. Greenwood was a planter, merchant and slave owner.
He bought the property around the springs and used it as a vacation spot for his family. He allowed anyone to build a cabin on this property to live and to drink the curative waters. He intended, upon his death, to leave this Mecca ,to the public, to be used, free of charge, by all those desiring to drink these waters, however, he died before taking these legal steps and his wife and children inherited the property.
Soon the property was acquired by a Mr. Miller and in Aug. 1850, it was purchased by a company owned by Bill Terre!l, then it passed on to Austin Pollard and J. M. Sandier.
In 1835, the Indians were driven from their homes to the west, throwing open this rich, bottom land to settlers. Hearing about these lands being up for sale, settlers came from Georgia and South Carolina and other states, to make their homes. Among those buying !and were three brothers, Tom, Dave and Robert Crenshaw. In October, 1840, they rode horse back from Newberry, S. C. and purchased a large tract of land along Sipsey River. The next spring, they with their families, slaves and cattle came by wagon train and built homes and cleared land here. Within a few years, Easters, Edges, Woods, Deans and Thomases came here to settle. This area became known as the Crewshaw-Wood Settlement.
Among those seeking a new home were Henry Tyrone, of Tyrone, Pa., and his bride, Elizabeth Walpole, of South Carolina. It was near their property that the first school in this area was established. It was located on the "Wire Road" and known as Concord. Elizabeth died in 1862 and was buried in the Crenshaw Cemetery. The first marked grave in this cemetery is that of Siceley S. Crenshaw, 1854.
The home of Benjamin Lann, near Splunge was the voting place for all residents in this area and if'they had access to a newspaper, it would probably have been The Jackson Clarion-Ledger.
Then came the Civil War and many of the young men left their families to fight for a cause they thought to be right. Their families suffered many hardships while they were away. My great grandfather once wrote to his wife saying, "Jane, buy one or two bushel of salt, if you have the opportunity.'' He, Robert Crenshaw, lost his life at Vicksburg in 1863. Another casualty of the war, from this community, was Hiram Edge.
After the war, several new families bought land and moved into the settlement. Among them was William Bryant Todd. He came from Georgia and married Margaret Caroline Edge of this Community.
This notice appeared in the Aberdeen Examiner, July 8, 1859--"Mrs. Sarah A. Crenshaw takes pleasure in informing the public that the boarding house will be open for the reception of boarders, July 10, 1859. Rates are $30 per month, $9 per week, $1.50 per day. Horses $1 per day, children under 10 and servants one-half price."
Aberdeen Examiner, Aug. 9, 1865-"The undersigned would respectfully inform the many patrons of the renowned Greenwood Springs Watering place and the public generally that,having opened the hotel for the season, we are determined to make it worthy of the wonderful spring which gushes from the earth within fifty yards of the hotel. This is a pleasant home for the invalid and weary. This hotel is situated in a beautiful valley, among the noble Sipsey hills in Monroe County, eighteen miles from Aberdeen with which it is in communication by a hack line over an excellent hard, dry highland road. Signed, Mrs. D. Crenshaw."
Aberdeen Examiner, Aug. 9, 1876--"The water from the springs are great for the following diseases: piles, chronic diarrhea, dyspepsia, scofula, female diseases of all kinds and kidney diseases. Room and lodging $1 a day per person." Mrs. D. Crenshaw and Company.
Aug. 9, 1878--"The springs are still owned by Mrs. D. Crenshaw and Miss Ellen Creushaw as proprietors, Dave Crenshaw, Manager."
Aberdeen Examiner, July 22, 1885--"Vacationers at Greenwood Springs this week were R. L. and Lee Ransom, G. W. Sherman, S. H. Watkins, B. B. Sale and B. Y. Watkings."
Aberdeen Examiner, July, 1898--"Mr. Robert Maynard was among the campers at Greenwood Springs. Mrs. E. P. Thompson and her niece anticipate a visit there. Col. Henry Easter tells us there are now over 100 guests at the springs and Dr. Broyles is sparing neither time nor money to show guests a marvelous .time. There are no health giving springs in the state that cancompare to Greenwood Springs."
Around 1884-1885, the survey and clearing of right-of-way for the K.C.M. & B. railroad began. Many men were employed on this project. In addition to tents, many of the men boarded out in the community and eventually several of these men married local girls. Late in 1887, the first train came to Amory and through this community to the state line.
In 1880, a two and one-half acre plot of ground was deeded to the Methodist Church by a Mr. Jaudon. Mrs. Charlotte Lambert was the trustee. The membership built a frame building and it was used by both Methodist and Baptist for worship and as a public school. It was called Quincy Chapel and was the center of community gatherings for many years. This same year the resort hotel was leased to J. L. Flannigan and in 1885, was opened by A. E. Flannigan. The Flannigans served meals and some accommodations to the R. R. men but the large hotel was hard to heat and they catered mostly to summer guests.
The Quincy Chapel Methodist Church was located about one mile south of the springs on the Aberdeen, Russellvi!lc, Ala. Road. Some years later, Mr. J. W. Wood gave a plot of ground to the Baptist on which to build a church. This church was known as Evergreen Baptist Church. School was held there one year to accommodate a crippled child.
In the early 1900's, a new school was built on the north-south road that ran through the community. The community had grown in population and a larger building was needed to accommodate. the students.
With the coming of the R. R. the center of the community shifted to near the Railroad .depot and the village became officially known as Greenwood Springs in honor of its first settler. Dan Crenshaw, a planter and D. Bowen, a sawmill' owner, built nice homes nearby. The Postoffice was in Dr. Broyles' General Store and he was postmaster. Dan Crenshaw also built a Gen. Mdse. Store. Some enterprising resident built a cotton gin and E. F. Hendrix had a large sawmill in the area.
In 1898, Dr. H. F. Broyles bought the spring resort and other properties near the railroad. He was born near Hamilton, Miss. Nov. 4, 1065, the son of E. S. and Fanny Moore Broyles. He graduated from Miss. A. & M. College, Vanderbilt University and received his Medical degree from Tulane University. He later married Laura Booth and they had two childrgn; a girl and a boy. He was health officer of Monroe County'for six years, a member of the state legislature from 1892-1904 and again 1908-1912. In 1912 he was elected to the state senate but did not live to finish his term of office. Dr. Broyles modernized the hotel and the area surrounding it. It soon became known for its beauty and hospitality far and near. The passenger trains brought in guests daily and Doctor Broyles, himself, often met the guests in a surrey drawn by two beautiful black horses. It has been said that on one occasion he was rushed and did not have time to change into fresh clothes before meeting the train. Always in a hurry, he was driving fast when one guest reached over and tapped his shoulder saying, "When we reach the hotel, I shall report you to Dr. Broyles for reckless driving." There never was a town at the springs, but after the coming of the Railroad , Greenwood Springs was incorporated by the legislature. Its charter called for a mayor and aldermen but for some obscure reason, elections were never held, so the town was never chartered.
The hotel was located in a hidden valley, two miles n.w. of the railroad. It consisted of fifty guest rooms, a large dining room and two long halls, running lengthwise and crosswise through it. Where these two halls came together there was a very large space and the office was located there. The dining room was just off this large area. This was often used for gatherings, dances, etc. There were also five cabins scattered over the hillsides. They were usually filled with vacationers.
There was a large pavillion, 50' x 150', with polished hardwood floors. Dances were held here regularly and were enjoyed by both young and old. Music was furnished by both imported bands, and local musicians. The pavillion also served as a place for conventions, organizations, meetings, etc. The spring water analysis showed traces of iron, magnesium, sodium, iodine, etc. It was protected by a small pagoda surrounded by benches where the weary could pause to drink the cool mineral water. When the springs became "Camp Christian", a huge bell was placed on a tower near the springs, to toll out the hour for meal. Quite naturally, such a resort called for a lot of supplies. Fresh vegetables, milk, butter and eggs were purchased locally but there were other items that had to be obtained elsewhere, so the village sprang up with the coming of the railroad in 1887.
The village was really booming until an incident occurred that not only stunned the local people but the surrounding area as well. A feud had been brewing for sometime between H. F. Hendrix, a sawmill owner, and Dr. Broyles over property rights. Mr. Hendrix had built a dam across the Ball Branch without Broyles' consent.
On September 16, 1913, Dr. Broyles took his ax and cut the dam. As Broyles, ax in hand, came to the bridge across the branch, he came face to face with Hendrix. A few heated words took place; suddenly Hendrix drew his pistol and shot Broyles. Broyles, in the throes of death, lifted his ax and came down on Hendrix's head with it. They fell across each other dead.
Mrs. Broyles lived on at the hotel for awhile, then sold the property to A. C. Canttell. The Broyles property, near the R. R. was sold to L. J. Northington. Mr. Northington soon built a store, dealt in gen. mdse. and operated the gin. He had his land farmed, also. Then came World War 1, followed by the "Roaring Twenties". The village was once again on the boom. Willie Pickle had a general store and operated a planing mill. The Abrams Bros. had a large planing mill near the R. R. tracks. Stanley Crenshaw was the R. R. depot agent and it was a busy place. During this ten year period of time a large handle mill was in operation. The gin ran day and night during the Cotton season and the hammer of the "Village Smithy" rang throughout the village. Dan Crenshaw was still postmaster. C. B. Kinard, taking advantage of the good economy, built an auto repair shop and a small store across the road from his home.
In 1923, a large consolidated school, elementary and secondary was built just south of what is now Hwy. 278. H. L. Baker, was the first principal. Evergreen Baptist Church had long since ceased to exist. Dr. J. M. Walker of Aberdeen, recognizing the need of the people, erected a tent and started holding revivals and regular church services in 1922, under his leadership, the members built a frame structure on land donated by L. J. Northington. After the new church was built on the highway in 1968, the old church building was converted into a Church Fellowship Hall.
Mr. Cantrell lived at the 'hotel. It was while he lived there that it caught fire and burned to the ground. He built a new building, similar in size and structure to the old one, on the same site. This hotel did not possess the grace and charm of the Broyles hotel. Many of the beautiful trees were burned and died. After Mr. Cantrell's death it was purchased by Mr. H. M. Blair in 1929. He and his family made their home in the building ,and did much to improve the grounds and accommodations. lie advertised rooms and meals for $2 per day and rent of cabins cheap. The main attraction now was hunting and fishing. Wild game abounded in the surrounding woods and the resort owned a large lake well stocked with fish. These were the depression years and people had very little money to spend for recreation, too, highways and automobiles caused people to spend their money in more glamorous places.
Businesses began to falter. Both Northington and Kinard went out of business. Pickles' store burned and the Brannon-Todd store was the only one left in business. Mrs. Pauline Huff had been appointed postmistress. She built a new home and moved the P. O. into one of the rooms built for that purpose.
In 1933, the highway began cutting right-of-way for a section of Hwy. 278, to extend from what is now Prothro's store to Gattman. This project gave work to many people of the community. The west section of the road was not completed into Amory until 1940.
Soon after this, we were plunged into World War II. The schoool burned and was replaced by a larger, new one. Many young men were drafted or volunteered for the service. Among these were Erie Riggan, the post master. Mrs. Louise Faulkner acted as temporary postmistress until Mr. Riggan returned.
Mr. Northington had built a large two-story building to be used as a store and a rooming
house. During the construction of the highway he did a thriving business but later, jobs became scarce and he closed out. During this period of time many residents moved away to find employment on government projects.
The Brannon-Todd survived the depression yearsˇ Mr. Brannon died and about 1945, Mr. W. A. Todd decided to retire and move to Arnory. He sold the store and business to Troy Thomas. Mr. Thomas later sold the .business to Mrs. Clint Jaudon. She operated the storeˇ for awhile and then sold or rented to the Gerald Talbots and later to Harold Scott. The business closed for good in the late 1950's. In the early 60's the dwelling and store building burned to the ground.
Now back to the resort property, A church group purchased it from Mr. Blair It then became known as "Camp Christian." The camp was used for the Christian training of both children and adults. The open-air pavillion was used for open-air discussions, games, etc. "Lake Kimmel was used for fishing, boating and swimming. The property again changed hands. The buildings were all torn down and moved away to be used in utility farm buildings.
To paraphrase a great American, "Old resorts never die, they just fade away."
It was during the 60's that we watched on TV, the assassination of a president and men walk on the moon. Some of the young men were in Vietnam, fighting in a very unpopular and gruesome war.
AND THAT'S THE WAY IT WAS, BUT...
Today, in our bicentennial year, with Watergate in the past, the mineral water still bubbles from the earth, the birds still sing and the squirrels continue to play, but this once famous resort spring is no longer a paradise for the weary and thirsty. A large chain is locked across the driveway. It has been purchased by people who have built a two-story lodge on the site of the hotels that were enjoyed by so many.
The dirt road that meandered through the community has been replaced by a hard surfaced road. Beautiful brick homes now dot the countryside.
The pastures, where the cattle once grazed have been plowed under. The cotton and corn fields are planted in soy beans and are plowed with huge tractors and harvested with combines. Most of the timber has been cut into lumber or for pulp wood. '
All of the businesses have long since gone from "The Crossing" as it was fondly called. "The 'Orange Blossom Special" and the "Kansas City Chief" no longer speed through. the hills and across the bottom. As the whistles of these trains reverberated through the countryside, we all knew it was either 12:05 or 3:15 P.M. The odd numbered trains ran east and the even numbered ones ran west. Today, the only trains that run through here are long, long freight trains, pulled by diesel engines. Only two structures remain at this once flourishing place.
The center of activity has once again shifted. This time to Hwy. 278. Sitting on a knoll, in view of the highway is a modern school plant. The school now teaches through the eighth grade. We lost our highschool to Hatley in 1957 but the people of this area are trying very hard to get a high school again.
Our high school graduated a high percentage of boys and girls who succeeded in business, industry, in the services, agriculture and the professions. At present the school employs ten full time teachers and specialists with a regular attendance of 175 and growing.
Recently, two classrooms and a large room to be used as a shop have been added. The shop will be equipped just as soon as the money is available. They have music education once a week for all students, basketball for both boys and girls. Football has been added this year and a football field is now under construction. There is a gym and a teachers' home, used by the school principal. These three buildings make up the school plant. On or near the southwest corner of the school campus is a sizeable community center. Most community gatherings, such as dinners, reunions, club meetings, etc. are held here as well as it serves as the polling place for voters of this area.
Mrs. Mary Thomas, who became Postmistress when Mr. Riggan died, houses the present postoffice in an addition built onto her modern brick home. The postoffice moved to its present location in 1963. At the present time we only have one rural mail carrier, E. M. Kennedy, who serves 439 families, 1500 patrons over a 102-mile route.
Across from the post office, east of the road is our community's only industry, SARA LOU FASHIONS, which began operation in 1974. They are now making jackets for men and employ 140 people.
Just south of the plant and north of the highway is Prothro's Grocery and gas station, operated by Mr. and Mrs. W. C. Prothro. At the present, this is the only store in the community. They handle fresh meat, dairy products and the best in staple groceries.
To the east of the store is a modern health center and next to it is Mize's Flower Shop. Just north of the highway and west of the paved road is a new, modern red brick Baptist Church.
One mile north of Hwy. 278, on the paved community road is the United Methodist Church. It was built in 1927. It only has a small membership. Many members have moved away or are deceased. Plans are underway to make extensive repairs on the building, with the coming of spring.
Until 1927, church services were held in the frame school building, which stood just south of the present church. When services were moved from Quincy Chapel the church became know as the Greenwood Springs Methodist Church.
For many years, the parsonage for this charge of five churches, was in this community but in recent years a modern brick parsonage was built at Gattman.
In 1975, our community became a part of the Quincy Water Assn. We now enjoy plenty of good water.
The Crenshaw Cemetery had to be enlarged and a storm fence was placed around the addition. Thanks to G. D. Bird, a large, new sign for the cemetery was placed on the paved road. At the present time, a survey is being made by airplanes to map the Sipsey River bottom in conjunction with the Tennessee Tombigbee Waterway.
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