Home - Breaking News, Events, Things-To-Do, Dining, Nightlife


Discover Mississippi: 50-year time capsule to be opened in Mendenhall

  • The event will be part of the Grand Finale of the Simpson County Bicentennial Celebration.

Have you ever put together a time capsule? If so, what were some of the items you placed inside? Did you include a selfie picture, a newspaper or your favorite magazine, a coin, your favorite recipe, an award, and a letter to a loved one? The list is endless.

If you were to bury a time capsule now, what type of container would hold your items? Whatever the size, it needs to be waterproof. There are ideas and ways to build one on the internet, or the simple way is to purchase one like this on Amazon. It is a waterproof stainless steel capsule container that is lockable.

But you must think larger if you are doing a time capsule for a county. What about a burial vault?

Fifty years ago, on August 3, a time capsule was buried on the Courthouse lawn in Mendenhall. Before the event, citizens were encouraged to write a message to their descendants on the unique Sesquicentennial stationery created for this momentous occasion. Those wishing to participate paid $2 for a letter-size envelope. If it was larger than the standard size, the rate was $5. In 1974, Wilbert, a manufacturer of vaults and urns in Jackson, donated the vault to the event.

The guest speaker for the celebration was Representative Sonny Montgomery. The vault was buried on the Courthouse lawn facing Main Street, and a granite marker was placed on top. 

Now it is time to unearth the time capsule. You are invited to witness and participate in the event. If you have ties to this county, you might receive a Sesquicentennial letter from a family member or friend. The grand finale will be held on July 4. The festivities begin at 9 a.m. at the Simpson County Courthouse.

Bicentennial Celebrations from April to July

January 23, 1824, is the official date of the founding of this south-central Mississippi county. It was named for Josiah Simpson (1787-1817). He was a Pennsylvania native, educated at Princeton, and served as a territorial judge in Mississippi from 1812 to 1817. He lived near Natchez and was a member of the Constitutional Convention of 1817.

Mendenhall is the county seat and where the grand finale will be held. Other towns comprising the county are Magee, D’Lo, Braxton, Pinola, Harrisville, Weathersby, Sanitorium, and Westville. Many of the towns have had festivities over the past few months.

The 200th Birthday Bash began with a kick-off on January 27, 2024, at 11 a.m. at the historical Simpson County Courthouse. It was a day of speeches and a luncheon at the Church of Mendenhall. The McAlpin House of Magee provided food. There was music by Dixie and Becky McCoy with Tim Avalon. In the afternoon, there was cake and a silent auction. The day concluded with coffee and an open house at the Simpson Historical and Genealogical Society.

The Bicentennial Executive Committee and others have worked hard to offer events documenting the county’s history and providing fun family events throughout the spring and into the summer. The following is a list of some of the events and their locations, along with additional information tidbits. You might glean ideas for your county’s upcoming birthday celebration.

On March 30 a county pageant was held, offering eleven categories for children aged 0 – 12 months to women ages 60 and up. Tiffany Kinslow was chosen to be the Bicentennial Queen. She was born, raised, and resides in the county, and has been in several leadership roles. For example, she served six years as Director of the Simpson County Development Foundation.

The Choctaw Heritage was observed April 13 through 27 in Magee. It included:

  • April 13 – Choctaw Parade and Fair
  • April 14 – ‘Sunday at the SAN’
  • April 16 – Prayer Breakfast
  • April 18 – Art Show and Book Signing held at the Ural Everett Park
    • Some of the authors who participated in this event were John Shivers, Sarah Ashlyn, Katrina Rankin, Bobby Ducksworth Foster, Carrie Bevell Partridge, and Nathaniel Little.
  • April 21 – Personalities of the Past Skit: “A Walk Through History,” held at the Magee Community House.
    • The day also included Historic Home Tours of the Boarding House, Caughman House, Home of Sue Honea, The McAlpin House, and the Presbyterian Church. The day concluded with afternoon tea at the McAlpin House.
  • April 23 – “Peril on the Pearl ~ Grierson’s Fiery Rampage through Simpson County during the American Civil War” was held at the Co-Lin Simpson County Campus.
    • The guest speaker for this event was Jim Woodrick, author and Civil War Historian. Guest author was Grady Powell.
  • April 24 – Historic Cemetery Tour and Talk Around the Table with Walt Grayson. The table discussion centered on Magee’s history.
  • April 25 – “Threads of Time” Fashion Show, held at the Magee Community House.
  • April 27 – Magee’s Grand Finale featured the band FADE 2 BLUE, food trucks, axe throwing, gaming truck, and more.

Pinola was the site of a program on the heritage of Simpson Central School and the origin and evolving of the New Hymn High School and its name changes throughout the years. The Simpson County Bicentennial Celebration Day was also in Pinola, sponsored by the Pinola Historical Society Braxton held an open house in the Braxton Community Center and Town Museum. “The War Years” was presented at D’Lo Methodist Church. 

A parade of cars was held in Mendenhall, presented by the “Friday Nights on Main” Club. Harrisville History Day included the “History of the Harrisville Ballfield,” along with games, crafts, and food vendors.

“History of the Blues in Mississippi” was presented by Simpson County Historical and Genealogical Society, and a presentation on Civil Rights in Simpson County, followed by a panel discussion. 

Art in the Park was held at Alice Davis Park, and a fashion show, “Glamour to Groovy” with runway royalty, was held on the Simpson County Courthouse Steps. This unique event featured the following women: Miss Mississippi 1975 Mollie Magee; Miss Hospitality 1981 Patra Massey; Mrs. Mississippi 1983 Kathy Mullins; Miss Mississippi 1986 Kim McGuffee; Miss Hospitality 1991 Toni Price; Miss Hospitality 1996 Kristy Earles; Mrs. Mississippi International 1997 Glenda Barnett; and World’s Universal MS 2015 Grecian Barnett. That is a lot of royalty from one county!

A “Dinner at Dusk” was held under the dome, on the lawn of the Simpson County Courthouse in Mendenhall, and a Main Street historical presentation and character narrative tour was also held in Mendenhall, with refreshments served in front of the Revolving Tables restaurant.

The Next Fifty Years

What will the next fifty years hold for Simpson County? Indeed, they will have to figure out what to call it. Will it be their Semiquincentennial, Sestercentennial, Quarter Millennial, or the Big Two-Five-Oh? The words all mean the same thing—250 years.

Hopefully, the area will continue to grow socially and economically. And just like today’s residents, future residents will come together to celebrate and remember their heritage and the legacies of family, friends, and the founders.

Another time capsule for 2074 is to be buried sometime this fall. Check the website and Facebook page for additional information.

Read original article by clicking here.

Local Dining Stream

Things To Do

Related articles