It’s Sunday and the weather is good. There won’t be too many more days like this so Sterling was itching to go driving. He finished helping his dad and it was only noon so we took off. No particular destination in mind, just happy to be driving.
We took a winding road, a couple of turns and then we were near the town of Chunky. I had read something pretty neat about Chunky some time ago so I thought this might be a good time to try and find the approximate location. According to a PDF file that I found on the Internet that was titled: The History of Chunky, Mississippi by Terry T. Lange, once upon a time the road that we were on was traveled by a notorious gangster. For this one, I actually want to quote the paper word for word.
” In the early 1930s, Cob Brothers’ Construction Company came in and put down a strip of concrete six feet wide and called it a highway. It went from the Lauderdale County line to the town of Newton. When they started paving between Hickory and Newton, I got a job as night watchman for 40 cents an hour. I very well recall one morning about 4:00 a.m. I had a barricade up at Potochitto Swamp where they had just paved, and I saw a car coming toward me. I had a coal oil lantern that I started waving to make the car stop, but I soon realized the car had no intention of stopping. I jumped off the road and let him go. The car ran over the barricade and onto the fresh concrete, cutting tracks through the concrete. When the car got to the mixer, it went off the road, around the mixer, and kept going toward Newton. About a half hour later, the night watchman from Newton came by with Mr. Cob, the contractor, and told me who the car belonged to. Lord have mercy! It was John Dillinger and his gang, armed with tommy guns. They told me he had just held up a service station in Meridian, one at Newton, and had gone on toward Jackson. If I had known it was Dillinger, Potochitto Swamp would never have held me! I was so scared that I told the contractor he would have to hire another watchman. I was finished as of that minute.” Terry T. Lange, The History of Chunky, Mississippi
Can you imagine!! The swamps would have been dark and spooky enough without having a run in with John Dillinger! As we drove down the road it was all too easy to picture the scene. I even took a picture of one of the swamps by the road to illustrate.
I am sure that time has changed a lot of the surrounding countryside. The road that once was a major highway is now one more victim to time and progress…the Interstate has made travel smoother and easier and now bypasses towns like Chunky. The history that can be found in these out of the way towns is very interesting. I have another bit to share with you tomorrow, one more well known.
Until then, enjoy your day, and I hope you get the chance to take a side trip to somewhere unexpected…you never know who has been there before you!