WPA History of Lamar
FORESTS, FLORA, AND FAUNA
One of the most beautiful and
impressive scenes to the tourist coming through the county is the
tall stately pines of the forests of Lamar County. The large oak
trees that are nearly evergreen are seen on the streets and are
an attraction to everyone. There are numerous other trees in the
forest which one delights to look upon, marvel at their color and
pause to wonder as the perfume of the Magnolia blossoms and many
other native flowers fill the air.
in rich flats near water have pink flowers that are very
YELLOW JESSAMINE grows on vines near creeks and has yellow
fragrant flowers that bloom in spring.
GOLDEN ROD is most generally found in old fields along fence
rows, weed like, and covered in yellow flowers which appear in
SWEET WILLIAM is found on the hills, blooms in spring and grows
about two feet tall.
DAISIES grow in hollows, bloom in spring, and have white petals
with yellow centers.
VIOLETS bloom in spring on the hills and in damp places. Purple
violet is usually found on the hills and white violets in damp
BUTTER CUPS are a yellow cup-like flower and grow in damp marshy
places. They bloom in spring.
JOHNNY JUMP UPS are small blue flowers to be found in fields and
on roadsides and blooms in spring.
MOUNTAIN LAUREL is a pink and white flowering bush that grows in
the edge of branches and blooms in the summer.
GRANSON GRAYBEARD is sometimes called the fringe tree because of
the fringe-like white appearance. It blooms in spring and grows
in the edge of creeks and branches.
BEAR GRASS is a prickly bush with a cluster of bell shaped white
flowers. It grows in old fields.
BLACK-EYED SUSAN is a yellow daisy with a black center. It grows
in old fields and on roadsides.
WILD POPPIES are dark rose colored flowers that bloom in the
summer in the woods and are cup shaped.
SNAP DRAGONS are multicolored, grow in the woods, and bloom in
WATER LILIES grow on ponds and in still pools of water, a
delicate white flower with yellow center floating on top of the
water. They bloom in spring and summer.
BLUE BELLS are blue and bell shaped and grow wild, blooming in
WISTERIA are lavender or orchid colored and fragrant and grow as
a bush or vine.
POISON IVY is pink, blooms in summer, and grows in swamps.
FLOWERING BAY grows in creeks and low places and resembles the
MAPLE is a small bush with yellow blossoms.
RED BUD is a small bush with redbud flowers that bloom in
FLOX is different colored flowers, grows in the woods and blooms
CAT TAILS are two varieties; A grass and a long stemmed yellow
topped variety that grows in water.
DAFFODILS are yellow fragrant flowers that bloom in spring.
INDIAN PIPES are a small white flower, shaped like a pipe, and
BABY BREATH is a small dainty white flower.
WILD IRIS or flag, all colors, bloom in spring.
YELLOW JASMINE is a bush trailing small yellow flowers, with a
fragrant odor and blooms in spring.
MAY POP is a vine that grows in fields and has white and blue
LUPINES grow on a stem with blue bell shaped flowers
WILD ASTER, a purple flower, blooms in autumn.
WILD PINKS bloom in the fall.
Other wildflowers are FERNS, YAUPON, WILD VERBENA, DEVIL WOOD,
MAYHAW, SLAE, AND COSMOS.
common in old fields, is cut for golf club heads, shutters and
CHERRY is found in old fields. It has very little economic value.
HUCKLEBERRY never grows so large and has no economic value.
MAY HAW grows in ponds. The fruit is very yellow. It is used for
CRABAPPLE trees do not grow so large. The fruit is used for
jellies and is very sour.
CHINQUAPIN has no economic value.
WILD MULBERRY is found around old fields and has no economic
HICKORY bears a very hard nut. It is not very extensive. Its
economic value is limited to its wood.
BLACKBERRY vines are extensive throughout the county. The fruit
is good for jams or jellies.
WILD PLUMS are found in Lamar County around old fields. They are
valuable for preserves and jellies
WILD LOCUST grows around old fields, bears fruit, has no economic
FRUIT ORCHARDS IN LAMAR COUNTY
On almost every farm in Lamar County there is a number of fruit
bearing trees. The trees to be most extensively found are peach,
pears, plums, grapes, and some apples, apricots, quince and
HOUSTON BASS of Lumberton has the largest peach and pear orchard
in Lamar County. He has forty acres in pears and thirty acres in
peaches. In 1936 he sold 7,000 bushels of pears to trucks from
Texas, Louisiana, (illegible) and Mississippi. Three carloads
were shipped to Iowa. He sold 6,000 bushels of peaches, three
carloads with 1500 bushels to the car went to Memphis, Tennessee,
two carloads to northern markets. This fruit is a cash crop.
MR. JIM FILLINGAME of Oloh had six acres in Elbert peaches. This
fruit is sold to local market in Columbia, Mississippi. Last
season the fruit from these trees netted Mr. Fillingame the sum
of $500. This orchard furnishes a cash crop for the owner and
when canned or dried is also of economic value.
MR. J. T. TANNEHILL of Purvis has 40 acres in pears and 20 acres
in peaches all varieties. Like the other orchards this one means
a cash crop to the owner.
MR. ALFRED THOMPSON in the Grove community seven miles west of
Purvis, Mississippi has a Youngberry vineyard. The vineyard
consists of two acres and has quite an interesting history. Mr.
Thompson went to visit one of his cousins that lives in the Rio
Grande Valley and on his trip he saw quite a number of Youngberry
vineyards. He asked if the berries would live in other sections
of the country. A man explained how they could be cultivated and
marketed. When he returned home the first thing he did was to
clear a place for a vineyard in an old pond in the field, because
the place was damp. The berry plants are set out in the fall,
three feet apart, fertilized with a good grade of fertilizer and
wound around a wire frame that goes from one end of the row to
the other end. The berries get ripe the first of May. The berries
are gathered when ripe and placed in pint cups and quart cups. He
sells them to local markets and some to northern markets. One
year he received a cash profit of $500 from the berries.
VICKERS PLANT FARM
The Vickers Plant farm, located southeast of Oloh in a tract of
1000 acres of cut over land, rented from Ross J. Beatty of
Chicago by H. J. Vickers of Forrest County. He has planted about
500 acres in Tung oil trees and is planning on planting the
entire 1,000 acres in Tung oil trees.
LAMAR SOIL IS IDEAL FOR TUNG OIL TREES
Climate in This Section Assures Abundant Crop From Cultivated
Possible That $95.00 Per Acre Profit Can Be Made
Will Lamar County, Mississippi take advantage of its natural
endowment in climate and soil to reap its share of this wealth?
Tung Oil in Mississippi is no longer the speculative hazardous
undertaking it was five years ago. The crop of this year and for
years to come can be carried to market and sold for cash.
Small plantings of ten acres can be made to yield more per tree
than a large planting because individual attention can be given
in connection with correlative crops on the same ground.
To the far-seeing Mississippi farmer would it not appear that
perhaps one hundred man hours of labor per year, invested in
$5.00 per acre land, and yielding $100.00 per acre per year
without other investment and with only a five year wait for
results would be a thoroughly sound investment.
In five years time some thousands of acres of Tung trees, planted
about 100 trees per acre, have come into bearing. These trees
were carefully tended, plowed and harrowed, but not necessarily
fertilized, for the first three years. No plant diseases or pests
have yet been known to attack Tung oil trees. Authorities cannot
say why but the fact remains. Perhaps it can be attributed to the
poisonous or nauseating nature of the oil.
The interested reader should not draw the conclusion from this
article that all he has to do to raise Tung oil is to stick a
seed in the ground and let it grow. It would probably grow a few
inches and stop. Rather follow this procedure: write your State
Plant Board at Starkville, Mississippi, where the chief field
supervisor is located, and ask his advice as to the selection of
proper soil and care of young Tung trees. Then, purchase selected
pedigreed nursery stock from your local growers who can guarantee
growing stock with a history of heavy production. Do no be afraid
to pay a fair price. Then follow instructions and put in at least
ten hours per acre per year in intensive cultivation on each acre
Before closing this article it is well to consider a few
pertinent facts as to competition and demand. First, let us state
without reservation the demand for Tung oil will increase in
America faster than the supply. This can be assured because the
vast paint industry is now willing to advance the applications of
Tung oil to its formulae because it can in a few years see
independence from an uncertain Chinese supply.
Contrary to common opinion Tung oil is still just as
indispensable to China as it has always been, according to Mr. L.
Ching Hee, the largest Chinese exporter of Tung oil.
BIG TUNG AND PLANT FARM OPENED
The Vickers Plant Farm, consisting of 1000 acres, 500 of which is
being used for raising truck plants, such as tomatoes, peppers,
cabbage, etc., located 12 miles northwest of Purvis on the Purvis
and Oloh Road, is now in the midst of its busiest season.
Approximately 300 employees are busy gathering and packing plants
for shipment to customers all over the country. (From Special
Edition Progressive Citizen, Weekly Lumberton Newspaper, 1935,
The plant farm was only recently cleared up from cut over land,
and this is the first season that they have shipped plants. 500
acres are being cleared and planted with Tung oil trees. It is
developing the Tung oil orchard, but the vegetable plant feature
of the farm is being developed by the manager, Mr. Vickers.
a. National -- none
b. State Parks -- none
c. Forest Nurseries -- none
FOREST TREES AND FOREST TYPES
Conifers (trees bearing cones)
PINE: The Long Leaf Yellow Pine. The most distinguishing
characteristic is its size-stateliness, its long needles and dark
brown, rough bark. Used for lumber, fuel, turpentine, rosin, pine
oil, powder and even the needles are used for basket making.
SHORT LEAF PINE: These pines do not grow as tall and as smooth as
the long leaf pine. They have a short body, swaying limbs, and
CYPRESS: Is not so extensive in Lamar County but is found in the
larger swamps. The needles are short. The cypress is used for
shipbuilding and for furniture and coffins.
WHITE OAK AND RED OAK are extensive in Lamar County and are the
most commercially important of any hardwood.
BLACK JACK OAKS have large divided leaves and are not so
WATER OAKS are nearly ever green with wedge shaped leaves.
FOOT OAK has leaves thick and rough with branches rough and
stout. It is of minor importance, generally fit only for post or
PIN OAK is hard to distinguish from Red Oak and is seldom found
away from deep-rich soil.
LIVE OAK is not so extensive in Lamar County. It has thick low
branches and thick leaves that are ever green. It has no economic
HICKORY'S distinguishing characteristics are its tall stately
body and long leaves. This tree is used in wagon building.
BLACK GUM has lower branches which grow at right angles to the
trunk. It is the first tree to show its fall coloration, a bright
scarlet on the upper surface. The larger logs are used for
furniture, the small for ox yokes and wooden wheels on account of
DOGWOOD is cut for shutters, small handles, and novelty stock.
POPLAR is white, tall and slender. It grows in swampy places and
is economically valuable for lumber.
MAGNOLIA is distinguished by large leaves which are green on top
and brown underneath. The Magnolia is sometimes used for
furniture building. This tree is noted for its large white
WHITE BAY is similar to the Magnolia but has white leaves and is
of lesser significance.
SWEET BAY is also similar. They are of no economic value.
RED MAPLE is common on the wet flats and swamps but is usually
too poor for lumber.
RED BUD is not so common. It is found on our upland ridges and is
hardly ever cut except for fenceposts.
HOLLY is very extensive in swamps of Lamar County. It is cut only
for handle stocks and is used for Christmas Trees.
PAWPAW is confined to loamy ridges and rarely reaches tree size.
It is common as shrubbery and undergrowth.
SASSAFRAS is confined to loamy ridges and is cut and aged for
SYCAMORE is not extensive.
ECONOMIC VALUE OF FOREST
Trees improve and build up the soil. The leaves and small twigs
decompose and form a dark layer of colored vegetable mold which
enriches and stores up moisture. By means of this moisture layer
of mold the binding of the soil by the roots of the woods prevent
floods, gulling, or destroying the land by erosion. Forest trees
serve as shelter for livestock, as a windbreak for buildings, and
a shade against extreme temperature.
The home forest will usually supply the farm needs for buildings,
fences, fuel, repairs or all kinds and the surplus can be sold in
the forms of standing timber, saw logs, posts, poles, cross ties,
pulp wood, fuel wood and blocks. The amount of these is according
to the acreage of the forest.
The farmer sells his timber to the small mill owner in this
county. Sometimes he sells it standing and at other times he cuts
it himself. The timber is cut into logs by two men with a
crosscut saw. Trucks haul the logs to the mill, which is located
as near to the timber as possible. At the mill the logs are made
into lumber and sold to different customers by the mill owner.
If the timber is sold standing it brings the farmer from $3.00 to
$6.00 per log. If he cuts it and hauls it himself, he gets from
$7.00 to $10.00 per thousand for it. The mill owner sells the
lumber to people in the county and also ships or hauls it in
trucks to all the interior cities. He receives from $10.00 to
$30.00 per thousand for it.
There is no organized method in Lamar County for protection of
the woods against fire, fungi, insects, etc. The large land
owners often have men posted to guard and watch. If a fire breaks
out he goes for help and puts it out. The farmer often burns the
woods on his place to kill snakes and other harmful insects.
Improvement in home forestry is not so extensive in Lamar County,
and can be done by cutting out the inferior kinds, removing dead
and dying trees and deformed trees that shade the bottom ones,
also the less valuable kind. Very little reproduction has been
done in Lamar County.
Trees used and best suited to Lamar County on the streets in the
towns of the county are Water Oaks and White Oaks. The kinds that
can be used are Live Oaks, Pecans, Walnut and Magnolias, Tung Oil
and Cedar. The highways of Lamar County are bordered by a natural
growth of trees, as above mentioned.