Magazine offers wide array of photos, stories

Published 6:00 am Friday, November 25, 2016

Magazine offers wide array of photos, stories

By John Howell, Publisher

I hope that readers will enjoy reading “The Great Batesville Train Robbery” in today’s Batesville and Beyond, The Magazine, as much as I enjoyed writing it.
The magazine is included with mail subscriptions as special insert in today’s edition, a perk of appreciation for their extended purchase. It’s also available free, as long as the supply lasts, at the newspaper office and at advertisers’ locations.
We call this our Profile Edition. Inside you will find profiles of the first responder community with photos of over 300 firefighters, law enforcement and other emergency personnel. We tried to get photos of every first responder and, as extensive as is the coverage, we probably reached about 85 percent of our goal. People are busy and it is hard to corral them up for photos.
There are also profiles of our communities, profiles of businesses and business people, profiles of youth, sports, etc, plus many more photos and presentations in attractive, colorful ads and stories.
Myra Bean and Margaret Buntin push us to the finish so this magazine finally reaches our readers. They complete the work amidst demands from many other areas of this newspaper. Everyone here, along with a few extras, has contributed something to the magazine. You’ll find them listed on the table of contents page and in story bylines.
Did you know that Panola County has had more football players selected by the Clarion-Ledger for Dandy Dozen recognition than anywhere else in the state? Ike House’s story traces them all, going back to 1990 with North Panola’s Steve Booze and Tony Johnson.
Frances Ashcraft visits our towns and other attractions, sharing her always-positive vision.
Maranda Johnson makes her first sojourn into writing for us, explaining the Pokeman craze that swept through last summer.
Ashley Crutcher discovers what she’s been missing in the outdoors; the ever-popular Peggy Walker shares holiday recipes; a host of young people share their essays and poems.
And much more.
Back to the train robbery. I am indebted to Hollis Crowder for renewing our interest in the train robbery story. Before Hollis retired and moved to Panola County about 10 years ago, the last information on that spectacular robbery came from the late Bobby Carlisle, once Batesville’s pre-eminent historian. Using sources Carlisle cited in his original research, I was able to find more details than I had been previously aware.
My own granddad, the late D. R. Johnson, also contributed. He had been a clerk for the Railway Mail Service at the time of the robbery, working the mail car between Grenada and New Orleans. He knew the mail clerks who had faced the bandits’ rifles.
As soon as the clerks heard gunshots, Granddaddy told us, one of the quick-witted fellows dropped a currency payroll being shipped in that mail car into a waste basket and covered it with trash. Though the robbers apparently carried off quite a bit of cash, they missed the waste basket. Accounts in the Memphis newspapers mention no wastebasket, but they state that one of the mail clerk’s quick thinking had prevented greater loss.
My obsession with this train robbery has left me wondering. Could someone, working with a metal detector somewhere between Shiloh Crossing and the Finch-Henry Job Corps Center, stumble upon the site of the mail and baggage car explosions and locate a silver dollar dated 1913 or before?

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