Panola Co Historical & Genealogical

History of Sardis Dam (1935=Upstream Work)

History of Sardis Dam (1935=Upstream Work)

(Interview with Wilton & Juanita Wooten)

AMONG THE FAMILIES whose fathers worked in the clearing of timber from the Upper Tallahatchie River bottom in order for the waters of the Sardis Lake Reservoir to take over in a feasible manner so
the control of waters in the upper Tallahatchie could be accomplished were Anglin, Gordon, Maples and Ruby.

From the Rock Hill, commonly called, “Big Rock Hill” area, came Mr. Robert (Bob) Ruby. His wife, Robbie Anglin Ruby, and he would appreciate the new wages furnished those working on behalf of the planned reservoir (Sardis Lake Dam). This work would help the ‘Twin Ditches Project’ to work.

The Dam would become a reality by 1940 and the new Governor Paul B. Johnson, Sr. would come to celebrate and speak at its official opening. Till then, the work had to be done. Some hearty men made it happen. Their hours were filled with much toil mixed with sweat in the sultry
bottom land along side the Tallahatchie River.

Mrs. Ruby had come from a family which saw 13 children pitch into the work about the place in her own family of Anglins. However, she and Mr. Bob would have
nine (9);—4 sons and 4 daughters would survive childhood. Of the daughters, Juanita married Wilton Wooten whose own mother’s family were Maples from the Harmontown, Teckville Landing (by the way, it’s still listed this way on the Corps of Engineers official names) and Bucksnort areas. The Wootens lived in Nesbit, MS. for many years, but, have recently relocated to their daughter’s, Fay, area in Tullahoma, TN.

Other daughters were Louella Ruby Pennington of Memphis, TN., Estelle R. Howard and Lucille Hood of Phillip, MS. The sons are ‘Boots’ Ruby of Harmontown, MS. (who for years came to Batesville for work everyday; and, he is quite a fine worker himself!)

Other sons are Royce Ruby of Harmontown, MS. Two sons are deceased: Rex Ruby, who died just a few years ago, and E. C. “Chub” Ruby who passed away several years ago. The family of these men made possible an efficient waterway.

When 1936 rolled around, the years of ‘flooding out’ would begin to become a thing of the past. The water would be controlled from upstream. But, it would take the work of timbercutters like Bob Ruby to make the region feasible for the Sardis Dam project.

Many things have happened at the Sardis Lake Upper Areas since those days—baitshops, a new blacktop highway connecting Como, MS to Highway 7 at a midway point between Oxford, MS. and Holly Springs, MS., as well as a ‘catfish hut’ or two which have sprung up offering good catfish frying and hushpuppies on a Friday or Saturday night!

But, the joy of a working man whose timber cutting brought extra moneys to the family brought a happy shout back in the 1930’s on the Upper Lake!!


Even as ‘The History of Sardis Dam’ was printed last year, we asked for others to add to the story. Thanks to the Wootens for their recollections. Now, it is
another readers turn. Come forth with a story or two about those who worked to bring about Sardis Dam. Before it’s too late, write down some recollections. We’re not looking for such a definitive story. That will come when all the ‘popular recollections’ are compiled. Help us out with those recollections which are precious nuggets of history which unless you tell it, it will not be known beyond your lifetime.
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