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Book Cover for: Miss Lyla's Papers: A Posthumous History of Iuka, Mississippi - Tales with Native American Roots, Civil War Battles, and Healing Mineral W, Lyla Merrill McDonald

Miss Lyla's Papers: A Posthumous History of Iuka, Mississippi - Tales with Native American Roots, Civil War Battles, and Healing Mineral W

Lyla Merrill McDonald

In 1924, Mrs. Lyla Merrill McDonald wrote the quintessential local history of Iuka, Mississippi, entitled, appropriately enough, Iuka's History. One hundred years later, she expounds on that story with a full-color and illustrated book, Miss Lyla's Papers, published posthumously on Valentine's Day of 2024, the 125th anniversary of her marriage to Tom McDonald. In a way, this is a love story by a local historian who adored her community and everything about it.

You'll discover heritage-rich stories from northeast Mississippi, passionately revealed through the eyes of Miss Lyla, compiled from a collection of her unpublished manuscripts, research notes, and personal archives. You'll witness frontier life with early American Indians and pioneers, trails that became the Natchez Trace, and Steamboats on the Tennessee River that gave birth to Eastport, which rapidly grew into a hub of commerce. Rail travel took over the task of moving goods, and the birth of the railroad town of Iuka brought about the demise of Eastport, which pulled up roots and moved to this town where churches, businesses, and schools sprang up around the old Indian mineral springs and the railroad.

But that only scratches the surface of the treasures you'll find here. There's the Civil War, resort towns, educational and Normal institutes, hotels, a host of influential and famous personalities, Woodall Mountain, state parks, the national Build a Better Community Contest winner, and there's even the story of how 'Miss Lyla's Papers' came to be.

Miss Lyla gave her neighbor a box containing her precious papers and a lifetime of writings. Years after her death, that jumbled box of documents found its way into the thoughtful hands of Billie Burke Thomas, who, on and off, worked for decades to put them in order. After Billie's death, her sons, Eddie and Frank, unearthed that box and resumed the work.

The Brothers began trying to piece together one chronological history from the mountain of work their mother had organized, telling each of Miss Lyla's stories and anecdotes only once. It was nearly impossible, for Miss Lyla could wind a good tale, so good that it was hard to snake pieces out. In Miss Lyla's Papers, sometimes, her stories overlap. Sometimes, they repeat. And sometimes, they light up like fireworks.

The Thomas Brothers are glad once again to let Miss Lyla speak in her own words and tell us "how it was back then." That being said, Eddie is quick to add, "I believe I would be misrepresenting what is presented in this book if I didn't say that after years of work and research and getting to know Miss Lyla quite well through her words, I find her extremely fond of her community, so much so that many times when she had the chance to make it look better, she did. She was a cheerleader. Miss Lyla quoted few sources and was often prone to exaggeration. She could stretch a good tale. Sometimes, she was careless. Other times, I'm not sure, but I am sure that disregarding these papers because of their faults instead of sharing them would be a travesty, if not a sin. For the most part, this is a spot-on history of Iuka, Mississippi and its surrounding areas. Read, but understand what you are reading."

Miss Lyla left no bibliography or footnotes, only a box of fragile paper that, after a century, has turned golden brown, or maybe I should say has turned golden. If you will, picture her in the dim light of the McDonald home, writing from her heart and memory with pencil, pen, and typewriter; this is Miss Lyla's Papers.

Mrs. Lyla M. McDonald (1876-1962) was Iuka's revered historian and a dedicated community leader, remembered fondly for her passion for local history. Her legacy endures like a Happy Valentine's Day.

Book Details

  • Publisher: Pearl Street Publishing
  • Publish Date: Feb 14th, 2024
  • Pages: 318
  • Language: English
  • Dimensions: 8.50in - 5.50in - 0.67in - 0.81lb
  • EAN: 9781885154712
  • Categories: United States - State & Local - South (AL,AR,FL,GA,KY,LA,MS,