History of Chulahoma
by R.B. Henderson
The South Reporter, Holly Springs, MS, November 25, 1965
The village of Chulahoma is on Highway 4 near the Tate County line. It is a clean and prosperous little town, rich in historical memories. The town was settled before the Chickasaw Indians have moved to the west and it prospered from the beginning. When the county was formed in 1836, it was a strong contender for the county seat but lost to Holly Springs by only a few votes.
Chulahoma owed its establishment to its strategic location on the Old Memphis Road. This road began when various trails south of the Tallahatchie River merged for the crossing of the river at Old Wyatt. After crossing the river, the road continued northward along the ridge through Chulahoma thence through Byhalia into Memphis, the most important town in the territory ceded by the departing Indians. That section of the old road that traverses the present City of Memphis is known as Chulahoma Avenue. The fertile bottom lands of Cuffawa and other creeks in the Chulahoma area have always produced abundant crops and kept the community prosperous.
Chulahoma reached the hey day of its prosperity during the 1840s and 1850s. At one time it had about 30 stores, a postoffice, a tailor shop, undertaking establishment, cotton gins, grist mills, churches, a Masonic lodge and also Chulahoma College for Girls. This became a very famous institution for learning for girls and young women and was in session for many years. Chulahoma was the home of many wealthy families with aristocratic background and the stately Southern society was a social center. During the antebellum years there were mail routes to Memphis and south to Oxford via Old Wyatt. There was also a horseback route to Holly Springs over which three trips a week were made.
For several years during the antebellum period, there a stage line originating in Collierville, Tennessee which ran to Old Wyatt via Hudsonville and Holly Springs. It returned to Collierville via Chulahoma and Byhalia. Despite the fact that Chulahoma missed being the county seat and also that it failed to get a railroad. It remained a prosperous inland town until the War Between the States. Chulahoma was ravished by federal troops during the War and a large part of the town was burned. A heavy skirmish was fought at Chulahoma between Confederate cavalry under General Chalmers and brigade of federals under Col. Hatch in 1863. Chalmers had raided Tennessee and had retreated when attacked by superior force of federals. Another sharp skirmish was fought at Old Wyatt but Chalmers succeeded in getting his forces across the river.
In retaliation for the raid Hatch burned both Old Wyatt and Chulahoma on his way back to Tennessee. After the close of the War the town gradually rebuilt itself but it never regained the size and splendor of antebellum years. Population shifts and other changes seemed to hold it down. However, Chulahoma was the trade and social center of a most fertile farming area and was exceeded by no other community in culture and social graces. The construction of Highway 4 some years ago gave Chulahoma an all weather road to east and west connections and was a great boost to the economy of the community. Chulahoma has produced many prominent citizens of Marshall County and many of its sons and daughters have become outstanding citizens in many varied places of the State and Nation.
Submitted by E.R. Palmer Jr.
"The South Reporter"
Old Semi-Monthly Report Recall Memories of Pretentious Village in the Days Before the Civil War
It will be news to many people of this generation, even in Marshall County, that Chulahoma once boasted a school for young ladies with a roll of several hundred students--the Baptist Female Seminary.
Chulahoma--the Indian name for Red Fox--was pretentious village in the old days before the Civil War, surrounded by prosperous plantations.
Planters in Marshall County were ambitious for good school advantages for their children, and especially for their daughters and this demand called into being good schools all over the county, which drew patronage from other parts of the State.
Some of them were St. Thomas Hall and Chalmers Institute for Boys, and Holly Springs Institute and Franklin Female College for girls, in Holly Springs; Sylvestria Academy near Hudsonville; Marshall Institute near Mt. Pleasant and a school connected with the old Episcopal Church at Early Grove; Byhalia Institute and the Baptist Seminary at Chulahoma. It is the latter institution which prompts this story.
Mrs. Lucy E. Jobe, who was born near Chulahoma but now lives on Rt. 4, Byhalia, brought to The South Reporter office Saturday a time worn semi monthly school report given by her mother, who was then Miss Elizabeth Wall, by the Baptist Seminary of Chulahoma, and was for April and May 1853. Her record was good.
Three Wall brothers cam from North Carolina and settled in the southern part of Marshall County--Wall Hill was named for Billie Wall and located on his land.
The Baptist Female Seminary was conducted by Joseph R. Hamilton, principal, under the auspices of the Coldwater Baptist Association. He and his able faculty were from Ohio.
The front page of the report shows a large cut of the building and grounds. The building was a large two-story brick affair, capable of housing a large number of students. Mrs. M.O. Beal of Chulahoma now owns the old square piano that belonged to the seminary, and it is still in use.
These reports were printed by the "Eagle and Equirer Steam Press Print," of Memphis. The Memphis Eagle Enquirer was a paper of considerable importance in this section in those days.
It is a compliment to those old type foundries that modern foundries are today reproducing shaded type such as was used on this old school report.
The Federal armies used the seminary for a hospital for a time during the Civil War and it suffered so from the ravages of war that no effort was made to revive it after hostilities ended and the building was dismantled and the brick sold.
The seminary numbered among its students the maternal ancestry of many families still resident in Marshall County or in adjacent states. The Walls, Alexanders, Cox's, McKie's, Lucas', McAuleys, Harmons, and Falkners. The sisters of the late Sam Pryor were educated there.
The Chulahoma of those days was an aggressive rival of its "seaport", Wyatt, the latter being located at the head of navigation on Tallahatchie River. That may be news to some people--steamboats on the Tallahatchie, touching at a Marshall County landing.
Chulahoma even broke a lance with Holly Springs in the joust for county site.
Another thing that helped put Chulahoma on the map was that at one time it was the highest spot in Mississippi Masonry, had the brightest masonic lodge in the state and furnished a grand master to the grand lodge.
It was Will Henry Cox, a wealthy planter of the Chulahoma neighborhood, who built for his town house one of the show places of North Mississippi of that day.
It is located in Holly Springs on Salem Street and is now owned and occupied by Walter G. Thompson. (Editor's note: This reference is to the home known today as Airliewood.)
Like many of the urban houses of those days the place covered considerable acreage, and the front yard of several acres was adorned with many large native forest trees and the landscape gardener's skill was also invoked.
The house and large stable were lighted by gas, very unusual then, and the house boasted the only bath room in town equipped with running water.
Editor's Note: Our thanks to Mrs. Christine E. Rushing of Byhalia who sent us this clipping from a 1927 edition of The South Reporter. Mrs. Rushing writes, "It was first published by the Memphis Eagle Enquirer in 1853 and re-published by The South Reporter in 1927. Credit is due Mrs. Lynn Gatewood (deceased) who kept the copy and Mrs. Thomas Latimer who loaned it to me. Billie Wall was my great-great-grandfather. Elizabeth Wall is his daughter who married into the Galloway family and my great-grandmother for whom I was named. Mrs. M. O. Beale was my great-grandmother and I've "banged" on the piano. Mrs. Lucy E. Jobe is my grandmother and daughter of Elizabeth (Wall) Galloway."
Submitted by Martha Fant.
History of Chulahoma
Chulahoma, located on a gravel highway, now blacktop, sixteen miles southwest of Holly Springs, was once an old Indian village. The Indians called their town Tucklehoma, in honor of an Indian chief. Tucklehoma was a beautiful Indian name for "red fox". This town was the only large Indian village between Tallaloocia and Old Wyatt. The white men came into the country; began buying land from the Indians and settling. They, the white men, built a town on the same site as Tucklehoma, and as Tucklehoma was hard to pronounce, they called their new town, Chulahoma. Chulahoma grew to be a large town. When the matter of selecting a county site was up in the early days, Holly Springs won over Chulahoma by two or three votes.
In 1861 when war was declared, Chulahoma gave a large number of young men to the cause. A company was formed there. This company was or was part of the 17th Mississippi Regiment. The ladies of Chulahoma made a flag and presented it to the company. Mrs. Larkin Perry nee Texanna Bowen was chosen to present the flag. The soldiers with gallant speech of thanks accepted the flag, and presented to Mrs. Perry a silver cup with this inscription engraved on its side, "Spirit of '76". The courageous soldiers then left to fight for the protection of their beloved South.
After the war, the few survivors returned to their homes to find that their beautiful town practically demolished by the Yankees. This scene suddened every heart, but with courage and fortitude they set to work to rebuild the town.
Chulahoma grew --- and became a thriving town in the early seventies. In the good old days, Chulahoma boasted near her size by mentioning; Baptist Seminary for Women, the Masonic Lodge, Undertakers Establishment, Blacksmith and Taylor shops, two churches, hotels, four saloons, a Saddle Shop (where saddles were made and sold), and a large number of stores. It has been stated that there were once fourteen saloons in Chulahoma, but the writer's contact with two old citizens, see to disclaim this fact, for the emphatically deny that there were ever more than four saloons in Chulahoma.
Submitted by E.R. Palmer Jr.
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