As a citizen of Crawford, Lowndes County, I find myself questioning the new generation of the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Department. I’ve set back idle watching as change has took palce and ask myself where are the black deputies? We have a black Deputy in our West Lowndes School and I’ve heard there is also a black Deputy in Caledonia School. There’s only one black deputy in patrol and he is a Lieutenant working night shift. All together there are 5 black deputies and approximately 30 white deputies. I tell you, I miss Sheriff Butch Howard. I hope Sheriff Arledge didn’t bring the old school Trooper mentality with him. The new Sheriff has made many mistakes other than not hiring any black road deputies. One of the greatest professional at the Sheriff’s Department ex-chief Deputy Greg White is wasting his talent at the Airport. Wright is a season veteran in Investigation and was recently in the paper for solving a string of burglaries just by driving home. The two senior Lieutenants were placed on night shift and stuck in a broom closet to work out of. Don’t believe me; go take a look for yourself. Wonder was that by choice? Why remove great assets of the Sheriff Department. I tell you why old school, kissing butt politics and the good old buddy, buddy, system. The only smart choice of hiring was Narcotic Commander Bobby Grimes. Maybe he should run for Sheriff? It’s bad to say but the Chief Deputy Miley seems to run the department. Chief Deputy Miley’s brother was a high ranking trooper and also a good buddy with the Sherrif. I’m sure if this letter makes it to the paper the High Sheriff will have a meeting and tell his guys to keep their mouth shut or if they’re not happy they coudl leave. Morale is low at the Sheriff’s Office but do to being afraid of getting fire Deputies sit and take it. Everyone should be treated right and with respect, right is right and wrong is wrong. The Sheriff has the right to hire and fire as he pleases. That’s understandable but don’t lie to the same people who supproted you and got you in officer. Just as he was elected in office the doors amd votes can swing the opposite way. If the Sheriff intends on running for office again he needs to make some changes because the Lownes County public is talking and taking notice.
Every American knows the destruction wreaked by tornadoes. Many destroy lifetimes of family keepsakes, relics, and records. Many of the courthouses I visit contain unique records that help us recreate our ancestors’ lives and sometimes identify missing ones, but a special form of tornado is striking these records nationwide. Instead of high winds these silently kill our nation’s historical records in different ways: humidity, heat, light, and physical handling.
Courthouse staffs under various clerks of the courts do their best to prevent damage from both forms of tornadoes. Most frequently used records are in air-conditioned vaults. These eventually fill to capacity, and older, lesser-used records tend to leave first. Some come to rest in the courthouse basement, its attic, or even its old, unused jail. Others head for old business warehouses or whatever nearby structure can be bought or leased. Climate control in many of these is far from desirable, so many record books and original documents face shortened shelf lives, deterioration, and the trashcan.
Heavily used records, vaulted or not, suffer from repeated physical handling. More often than not, courthouse staffs resort to laminating them as time and funding permit. Laminating a document temporarily reduces the handling problem, but the chemical bonding that occurs between document and plastic is life-shortening.
The process can be slowed by digitization of records, underway in several courthouses, but I find them focusing on present-day records, digitizing older records as time and funding permit. Some higher level court systems have the resources to send their oldest case files to official repositories, like special collections at large universities or state archives. At the county level, microfilming usually conducted by outside entities has been an alternative.
That said, I had yet to see an entire series of records archived at the county level by any combination of digitized and microfilmed media—until I came to Lowndes County, Mississippi. Yours is a stunning example of what can be accomplished when public and private funding and planning jointly and properly preserve your historical treasures. Archiving material is expensive and success depends on private patrons’ donations. The results are impressive. For example, among its many holdings, your Billups-Garth Archives housed in the Columbus-Lowndes Public Library now holds the Chancery Court’s original probate case files stretching to the county’s formation in 1830, and the county’s earliest surviving tax records. When your archivist Mona Vance allowed me to examine some of these I was thrilled at their fine condition. Compare that with another county (in another state) where a few thousand probate case files dating only to the 1870s rot in an old courthouse jail cell, and roughly another fifteen hundred are missing.
Collaboration between your courthouse and archives seems a win-win situation for both. The public, too, clearly benefits. Preservation by professional archivists extends the life of courthouse records, and the clerks of two courts gain vital vault space to preserve the next wave of present-day records. Indeed, as I researched records of four other nearby courthouses, by comparison the Lowndes Chancery and Circuit Court vaults are notable examples of organization and easy accessibility, with room to spare. (By the way, the Clerks of Court staffs at every Mississippi courthouse I visited on this trip were a pleasure to work with.)
Historical research in Lowndes County is enriched further by the support of the local community and its businesses. I had the unique pleasure of staying a week in the Amzi Love-Lincoln Homes Bed & Breakfast owned by Sid and Brenda Caradine. Imagine coming “home” at night following their local dinner recommendations (every one of them ‘spot-on’) and reviewing pre-Civil War records in surroundings built in the same timeframe.
Thank you. I’ll be back, Lowndes County, Mississippi. Stay the course and keep the lights on for me.
Philip Adderley, Certified Genealogistsm, Shreveport, Louisiana.
[CG or Certified Genealogist are service marks of the Board for Certification of Genealogists, used under license by Board-certified associates after periodic competency evaluations, and the board name is registered in the US Patent & Trademark Office.]
This past Friday, I received a call from a former co-work of ” The Commercial Dispatch”, asking me why my son (Tevin R. Oglen) was going to trial. I was shocked and was wondering myself, because, I know after seeing his lawyer, Mark G. Williamson ,Friday May 31, 2013 at the Lowndes County Courthouse for my son’s plea date in regards to the case of Karen Winters, nothing had changed.
The court did however set new plea date for Wednesday, August 7, 2013 at 9:00 a.m. For the record he is not having a trial, he has never changed his mind. Now I spoke with Slim Smith, the Managing Editor for Commercial Dispatch and his words were ” they got the info from court and that my son’s lawyer was coming in to talk with them.”
So, I called my son’s lawyer he said no truth to any of what Slim said, he was not going to discuss Tevin’s case with the Dispatch at all and for me not to listen to any of it.
(Reporter) Sarah Fowler knows me and before writing that up, she could have called me and asked me any questions. The article was a lie!
I also sent a copy of the letter from Mark G. Williamson for Tevin’s plea date, not trial date.