Dyson Letter

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 15, 2008

Batesville Street names should also honor Finch, Newsom

After my preacher husband, Ken Dyson, and I left Batesville, we traveled all over the United States doing gospel evangelism. As we entered many states and towns/cities, we noticed they proudly displayed signs if there was a person from their town/city or state that was a political figure. Just to name a few: Ken Gray of the small town of West Frankfort, Ill. served in Congress.

Enter the state of Illinois and you will notice one hundred miles of Hwy 57 beginning at Cairo, Ill. has been named, “Ken Gray Expressway.” In the town of West Frankfort there is a street named “Ken Gray Boulevard.” The road leading into Rend Lake is “Ken Gray Drive.”

Cross the Mississippi into Arkansas and the first sign you will see is “The Home of Bill Clinton.”

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

In Memphis, there is a section of Interstate 55 honoring Martin Luther King, Bill Morris Parkway and others.

In our town of Batesville, I’ve noticed the streets. “House and Carlson,” “Martin Luther King,” Dr. Stone,” “John R. Lovelace” and many others, all of which is well deserved. We all appreciate what they did for the town and people of Batesville.

It concerns me that there is not more recognition given to two more people who blessed the town of Batesville.

Number one: Cliff Finch. We should still feel honored that one of our own was the governor of the state. Many of us went to the governor’s mansion in Jackson and spent the night and was given the “royal treatment” while Cliff was there. He was a friend to everybody. He made everybody feel like you were his very best friend. He not only used his influence to help people in the state of Mississippi but also other states where he was needed. Cliff always had a firm handshake, a big smile and a unique “backward” laugh for everybody.

To my knowledge, there is only one building named in his honor. On Eureka Street, “The Cliff Finch Building.” Unless you are looking for it, you pass without notice. When one thinks of Batesville, he should immediately know that it is the hometown of the once governor of the state of Mississippi. It speaks well of us to have produced such a person. Let’s be proud and let the world know!!!!

Number two: Rev. Mike Newsom.

Even though it has been 17 years since his passing, his influence still remains. He was a friend to the city of Batesville.

If anyone needed a visit in the nursing homes, he was there even without an invitation.     

For a special need, he would send up a prayer.

Anyone in financial trouble, just let him know and there was immediate help. Someone in jail needing counseling, Bro. Mike was the one to call. Need a taxi… Just call… There was no charge. Anyone coming through Batesville and needing lodging… Bed and breakfast free just for calling.

He once told an out of state person, “When you come through Batesville, Mississippi, stop and ask the first person you see if they know me and if they say they do not, please, ask them their name and phone number and send it to me. I want to meet them. They just might need me sometime.”

What a servant of God and this town!

/s/Mary Newsom Dyson