Saturday, June 03, 2006

It Was the Third of June . . .

. . . another sleepy, dusty Delta day. . .

Bobbie Gentry [nee Roberta Lee Streeter] wrote those words forty years ago about the Mississippi Delta. She was born in Chickasaw County, Mississippi, and went to school in Greenwood, LeFlore County, before moving to California at age 13.

The Delta is home to many people named Manson, Bowie, Birdsong, and Gines.

This third of June won't be exactly sleepy or dusty out here in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, but it'll be hot . . . and ain't nobody out "choppin' cotton" or "balin' hay"!

Another Neat Little Site: Corpus Christi Public Libraries

For a small institution in a relatively small city, this site is surprisingly rich. My favorite part is the searchable Obituary Index, which is maintained in cooperation with the Corpus Christi Caller-Times. The index has over 200,000 names with the dates that funeral notices or obituaries [and sometimes both], appeared in the Corpus Christi newspapers. The index lists the page number of the paper where the information appeared. The Libraries' Local History Department has microfilm of the newspapers from which patrons may read the actual story. But here's the cool part: the Local History Department will scan and e-mail requested obituaries! There is a limit of two requests per month--perfectly reasonable. They'll also photocopy and send via the Postal Service up to five requests per patron per month.

The Obituary Index consists of two parts: indexed obits from 1950 to 2006; and a "select" index covering the years 1883 to 1903. The select index includes not just deaths, but births, marriages, divorces, and articles about the African-American community in Corpus Christi.

The earliest Corpus Christi newspaper, the Caller, was founded in 1883. It merged with the Times in 1920 to create the present day Caller-Times. The paper has local news from Corpus Christi and Nueces County, as well as Aransas, Refugio, and San Patricio counties.

In the Libraries Obituary Index, I found that the paper published the obituary of Uncle Sam on July 4, 1951! No need for alarm, however; the decedent was my dad's uncle Sam Bryant.

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