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W. P. A. History of Pontotoc County, Mississippi

Chapter IV:  FLORA

Flowering Trees

Until the past few years the Pontotoc Public Square and the courthouse yard were well shaded with magnificent forest trees; but with the exception of one these have all succumbed to the ravages of time.  The HEAVEN tree, a gnarled, knotted, and shriveled relic of a hallowed past, stands on the southeast corner of the public square , bravely blooming for the spring and summer seasons, and shedding its foliage for the autumn, a "sere and yellow leaf," while winter finds it bleak and barren hulk of ancient splendor..

Two or more of the heaven trees stand beside the street in front of the ante-belllum I. P. Carr home, on South Main Street.  These trees were planted in the early 1850s by the late Colonel O. C. Carr, when he was a young man.

A number of beautiful MIMOSA trees, both in the woods and in cultivation, bloom throughout Pontotoc County.  Two lovely specimens grow in the Confederate Park, and a group of these young trees also grow in the yard of John Henry Anderson, on South Main Street.

Many Mimosa trees grow on Pearson hill, two miles south of town, where the first Presbyterian church of Pontotoc was built.  The largest collection of these trees is to be found ten miles south; and one west of Pontotoc on State Highway 41, on the old Joe Edwards place, where groups of these trees make an exotic border for the denser green of the unenclosed forest trees.

JUDAS and DOGWOOD trees bloom prolifically throughout the woods in Pontotoc County during the months of March and April.  The most beautiful display of these spring blooms is to be found in the woods on each side of the b=Bankhead Highway, two miles e east of Pontotoc, and extending for more than a mile.  Here a riot of white and plum colored flowers each year herald the authentic opening of spring is this section of the country.

Another section where dogwood and redbud grow profusely is in the Wilson woods, two and a half miles north of town; dogwood in particular grows so bountifully that one hill, which is easily visible from the road, has been given the name "Dogwood Hill".  Here the "checkered sun and shadow" on the white flowers and the surrounding cool green make beauty that is startling.

Throughout the ridge section of the county many beautiful flowering LOCUST TREES grow.  West of the ridge these trees are rare.  one of the finest forest of locust in the county is on Seale Harris' place, one-half mile west of Toxish Church, fifteen miles south of the town of Pontotoc.  Another fine grove is on the T. B. Wilson place, three-fourths of a mile north of town, and directly west of the house.  In the spring of the year the air is laden with the heavy sweet odor of the blossoms of these trees.

An interesting comment has been made that the finest specimens of the CHINABERRY trees in the county  are to be found on the places where South Carolinians settled.  Whether it could be proved that these early pioneers brought along their trees with their chattels and families is a question, but the idea is pleasant to contemplate.  It is a fact that the settlements of Chesterville and Cherry Creek contain beautiful specimens of chinaberry trees, and that the pioneers of these two neighborhoods were all from South Carolina, many of them from Laurens County.

Fine Specimens of CATALPA trees stand in the following locations:  One on the back lot of Mrs. Walter Bandridge, one block south of the courthouse; a group in the pasture of Mrs. Tom Donaldson, one and one-half blocks southeast of the courthouse; one on  the back lot of Mrs. Will Mauldin, South Main Street, one-half block south of the courthouse;  one on the front lawn of John Henry Anderson's residence, three doors south of the Presbyterian church, on South Main Street; a fine specimen on the back lawn of Chickasaw College; and one on the back lawn of Dr. Frank Carr's residence across the street from the public school.

At the old Jack Abernathy place, on the Carmargo Road, there is a catalpa tree that measures thirteen feet in circumference.  Near the catalpa tree there are two BOIS D'ARCs of extra large growth.  The larger has a circumference of twelve feet and is said to be the largest tree f its kind in Pontotoc County.  (1)

(1) Will H. Warren, Pontotoc, Miss.  R. F. D. 4

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