By MATT CRANE
Starkville residents will have the chance to discover their city’s roots as the 175th Birthday Committee hosts “A Mayhew Mission Picnic” Friday.
Participants are asked to meet at the Starkville Public Library at 5:30 p.m. to begin carpooling to the site of the Mayhew Mission, and are encouraged to bring chairs and a picnic dinner.
Starkville businessman Jack Forbus will lead a presentation about the mission and the founding of Starkville.
Forbus said the event pairs well with Thursday’s tour of the Bardwell Home and his presentation will showcase the founding of the mission and the work they performed.
“Bardwell was one of the the first missionaries that help established the Mayhew Mission,” he said. “The Bardwell family is the only founding family still alive and doing well in this county.”
Forbus said he became interested in the early history of Starkville while doing research about the earliest days of the First Presbyterian Church.
“There was a book written about the first 100 years of the First Presbyterian Church that started when they laid the first foundation of the Mayhew Mission in 1821,” he said. “The mission disappeared between 1832-1834 when the Choctaw left on the Trail of Tears.”
Forbus said the Mayhew Mission featured a total of 18 buildings featuring houses, blacksmiths and churches to name a few.
“In 1834, they began tearing down the buildings and using the lumber to build buildings in Boardtown,” he said. “The town was very small back then with maybe 250 people.”
Forbus said the First Presbyterian Church is still responsible for the maintenance of the Mayhew Mission cemetery, and he is hopeful those in attendance Friday will gain insight to the history of their city and county.
“Some of the founding families in this county are very interesting, and I think we ought to know the history and historical significance behind it all,” he said. “I think it’s important to know how we got there and where we came from because otherwise, you don’t know where your roots are.”
Forbus said the site of Mayhew Mission lies just over nine miles out of Starkville, and hopes people will be interested in learning new facts about the city’s history.
“It’s interesting to ask, ‘How did we get here’ and ‘How did we do this,’” he said. “Things change, and it’s amazing to see what used to be.”
“A Mayhew Mission Picnic” begins Friday and participants are encouraged to gather at the Starkville Public Library at 5:30 p.m.
For more information, call 662-323-3322 or 662-324-1507.