The Town of Doddsville
Our thanks to Mayor Torey Bell Sr for the following information and photos.
Click on photos for larger images.
has a New Town Hall located at 3077A Highway 49, Doddsville,
and a Community Center located at 133 Eastland Street
Mayor Bell and new attorney -- 2005
Newspaper Articles Around and About Doddsville
Sunday Conversations with Mayor Torey Bell -- The Cleveland News Leader - Online Edition, March 19, 2006, by Robert Smith
Doddsville Community Center Dedication -
History being made in Doddsville (reconnecting the Eastland
name to Doddsville)
-- Torey Bell Sr.
DODDSVILLE, five miles south of Ruleville, is one of Sunflower Countyís smallest municipalities and the last to be incorporated. Yet, it is better known throughout the country than any other place in the county because it is the home of United States Senator James Oliver Eastland.
Senator Eastland was born in Doddsville in 1904; this statesman-lawyer-planter in 1976 stood in first place in seniority in the United States Senate. With a career beginning in 1941, Senator Eastland represented Mississippi government longer than any other person in the State's history. He also served as Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, where he set another record in being only 51 years of age when he assumed post.
The Senatorís grandfather, Oliver Eastland, brought a large tract of land near Doddsville in 1888, and his father, Attorney Woods Eastland of Forest, supervised the clearing of this forested real estate for use as farm land. Although he lived in Forest, young Mr. Eastland had spent a good bit of time in Doddsville where the plantation, acquired by his grandfather and increased in size by his father, was being farmed by a manager.
The Dodds brothers, who came to the Mississippi Delta from Hickman, Kentucky, gave their name to the little village that became Senator Eastlandís hometown and are known as its founders. These two brothers, Jim and Sid Dodds hauled logs in 1888 on a wagon for $1.25 a day. In 1891 they invested in Sunflower County property, buying considerable acreage around Baltzer and 107 acres where the town of Doddsville now stands.
The land brought by Oliver Eastland in 1885 was also in the vicinity of Standing Stump, but it was west of the river. Each Spring when the water was high, boats from Vicksburg could navigate as far as Standing Stump Ferry. This boasted a post office, located in the Doddsí commissary. James F. (Jim) Dodd was appointed Postmaster and the mail was brought from Shaw.
The Yazoo Delta Railroad was built from Moorhead to Blaine in 1897 and completed to Ruleville the next year. The Dodds brothers secured a station on their place and changed the name to Doddsville. With the facilities of a depot and a railroad, Doddsville attracted a few settlers, enough to qualify for incorporation as a village. No records can be found in the Secretary of State Office, but according to hand down history, Dr. W. T. Love was the first mayor. Lots were sold, and by 1898, there were five stores that were owned and operated by Walter Bailey, R.E. Dodds Brothers, A.J. Weissenger, J.B. Hill, and Stubblefield and Ellis. In November 14, 1898, the Sunflower Lumber Company was founded. Officers of this firm at the time were E.B. Wade, president; G.G. Wade, vice-president; and S.L. Dodds, secretary-treasurer.
In 1896, the Dodds had bored an artesian well. Later Doddsville Water Plant was established as a stock company, the participants being Dr. J.E. Coleman, J.A. Sykes, M.M. Fisackerly, E.L. Coleman, and Dr. W. H. Weeks.
Because of the rapid growth, by 1920 Doddsville was ready for incorporation as a town, and on September 17 of that year the Charter was signed by Governor Lee Russell. Mr. Townsend was the first mayor under the new status, and other officers were M.M. Fisackerly, W.F. Patterson, J.A. Sykes, Dr. W.H. Weeks and E.L. Pearson, Alderman; S.P. Strickland, Marshal; and J.T. Coleman, Secretary-Treasurer. A salary of $1.00 a month for alderman and $3.00 for the mayor.
In 1922 the population was estimated at ď400 or 500". The first book of minutes of the proceedings of the town officials has been lost, and the second book begins with February 1, 1938.
In lieu of a City Hall the Doddsville Land and Mercantile Company store was used for meeting. Still the town has yet to be able to establish a City Hall. The City Hall is now located in the Old Health Department Building, just off Highway 49 South, owned by Sunflower County and is Sunflower County's local precinct for voting.
In 1952, the Board had a jail built at a cost of $1,180.00, plus the installation of cells. On April 2, 1963, a $33,000.00 bond issue was approved in a special election, and with the assistance of a federal grant, a community water system was installed.
In 1923, Doddsville flourished with a hotel and rooming house, two good Chinese groceries, two drug stores with licensed pharmacist, a dress shop, and a cafe. Doddsville also claimed four doctors, five passenger trains a day, a school, two churches, a womanís club, and in later years a garden club with about 35 members.
The Town of Doddsville was predicted to grow
even greater in size within 5 years but it has done the opposite. But yet today, a young mayor and his aldermen struggle to
keep alive that which was such a successful community and well known all over
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