All Aboard: The Old Firehouse Museum’s Train Show Returns

For Immediate Release:

Contact: Alfred Byrd, Old Firehouse Museum Board Member 601-928-8089 or 601-928-8164

All Aboard: The Old Firehouse Museum’s Train Show Returns

The Old Firehouse Museum’s train show will again be held in the Historic Depot in Wiggins on Saturday, April 16, 2016.  The fun and festivities will start at 9 a.m. and end at 2 p.m. Participants may set up their trains Friday, April 15, 4-6 p.m. or Saturday, April 16, 8-9 a.m.  All types of trains are welcome.  The show celebrates the railroad and showcases model trains from the collections of citizens of Wiggins and Stone County.

“If it wasn’t for the railroad, we wouldn’t be here” is an often heard refrain at the Old Firehouse Museum.  The railroad, originally the Gulf and Ship Island Railroad was built through the county in 1896 and was instrumental in the county’s economic development.  This is one reason the museum hosts the train show and another is that most everyone loves model trains.

In addition to the large collection of locally owned model trains that will be on display, there will be presentations, hands-on activities for children, musical entertainment and a motorized trackless train ride around the Depot grounds.

David Price, a noted and favorite railroad historian, and Jerry Lachaussee, author and retired railroad dispatcher,will again present interesting train lore and stories for the train enthusiast that will be attending.  The museum will display photos and other train related artifacts from its collection.

The Historic Depot was originally rebuilt in 1912 after the first depot was destroyed by fire in 1910. In 2000, the building was moved to its current location.  Restoration of the Depot was completed in 2005.

The Old Firehouse Museum, dedicated to collecting and preserving the history of Stone County, is located next to the Wiggins City Hall, 117 North First Street, and is open Wednesdays and Thursdays 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.  The museum is supported and funded by the City of Wiggins and contributions from volunteers and visitors.

Stone County turns 100 in 2016 and will be celebrating our centennial all year with events and activities that highlight our past, our citizens and a look to our future. Come join us as Stone County honors its 100 years and plans for the next 100 years.

Fun Fact: Cucumber Growth Encouraged

From Stone County Enterprise, February 15, 1928 (An announcement)


We have examined and considered the America Pickle and Canning Company proposition to the farmers in the Wiggins Territory and give it our endorsement and support.

We urge every farmer in the Wiggins territory to put in some cucumbers for the factory


Fun Fact: The Scarecrow Convention

Wiggins is in the midst of a “scarecrow event” called THE SCARECROW CONVENTION (This is also known as “Scarecrows on the Hill”.  This event is now three years old and headed up by “The Pine Hill Ladies (Mary Webb, Nina Shaw, Ruth Ford, Norma Batson, Christa Tanner Seals, Carole, Edyth Baer, and Mike Cain.)

Many of the scarecrows reflect on Stone County history.  Rosie, the Riveter, pictured below, represents women from our community who were real-life Rosie’s at the Pascagoula Ship yard during WWII.

The other photo is old Fine Engine #3, the icon of The Museum.

Fun Fact: Jed O’Neal

Jed O’neal came from a long line of Stone Countians. His grandfather Van O’neal donated 40 acres of land to help establish the Harrison County Agricultural High School (HCAHS). Over the years. HCAHS became first Perkinston Junior College and later the Perk Campus of Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College.

Jed’s parents, Ford and Jewel O’neal were well known Stone County folks. Mom Jewel for years taught in the Wiggins and Stone County Schools.

Perhaps one of the best examples of the initiative within Stone County folks is the story of how Jed got the new steeple for the Little Creek Baptist Church in the Ramsey Springs Community from the manufacturer to the church.  Smile as you read the story here.

Jed Oneal Obit

Fun Fact: Wiggins Fire of 1910

A History of Towns & Communities in Harrison & Stone Counties Mississippi

Compiled by LeRoy F. Eastes

In January , 1910 , there was a serious fire in the business district of Wiggins.  Three city blocks were consumed, while other buildings were dynamited to prevent the fire from spreading.  At 11 o’clock in the morning, a raging wind from the northwest swept the fire through the business center of the town, causing a property loss between  $100,000  and $150,000.

The Gulf Island Ship Island depot and Peoples Bank were destroyed.  Other businesses wiped out included, but were not limited to: Wiggins Mercantile Co.,  Foote & Bond Mercantile Co., W.W. Burnette & Co. (mercantile), The Burnette Hotel,  the Schwartz Dry Goods Company store,  two livery stables (owned by L.W. Davis and D.J O’Neal), and several small grocery stores  including Lindsay & Co. and Wiggins Grocery Co.

Three box cars were sent to Wiggins to be used as a temporary depot following the fire.

Fun Fact: Wiggins Presbyterian Church

From the 100th Anniversary Booklet (2007)

“When the sizzling summer sun arose over Wiggins on July 12, 1907, there was no Presbyterian church in the town, nor had there ever been.  But, there were Presbyterians; devout, faithful, hard-working Christian men and women who had a determination to live for Christ in the tiny saw-mill town.

On this particular day the fervor of Wiggins Presbyterians had reached a new high.  They had just experienced ten days of special meetings which were conducted by Evangelist J.F. Eddins and held in the Methodist Church.  So great was their zeal for God that before the sun set, their mountain top experience was climaxed by the organization of  The Wiggins Presbyterian Church with twenty-two charter members enrolled.  Eighteen were received by letter from other churches, two upon profession of faith and two upon reaffirmation of faith.  Seven children were baptized.”

So the church was born and was destined to become an effective witness for Christ in the community and state.

Fun Fact: Cicero E. Cunningham

We are the collective histories of our families. David Cunningham provided these photos of a business card that his Grandfather, Cicero E. Cunningham, made for his shoe store. that was located at the bottom of Pine Hill. Cicero Cunningham also wrote the poem on the back of the card.

The other photo is of his shoe collection. It has nicknacks of shoes, and baby shoes of different family members and of Ms. Belle Ingersoll, who played piano as background for silent movies.  The case with the shoes was always in the store and in his cobbler shop that was across from the store, next to the theater. Many of you will remember this, from going into the Cunningham Shoe Store during your childhood.

Fun Fact: Reverend Thomas Price Memorial Cemetery

The Reverend Thomas Price Memorial Cemetery is located west of Wiggins off of old Highway 26 on Thomas Price Cemetery Road. Approximately 1/4 mile away is Dale Cemetery. Both are the final resting places of many prominent settlers in what became Stone County.

Surrounded by beautiful pasture land with Red Creek running through it, this land, settled in 1818-1819 by John Dale, Maria Dale Price’s father, has been continually occupied by the family.  Thomas Price’s father, Jonathan, migrated with his family, including your Thomas in 1820. Thomas and Maria had nine children. Once of those, Theodocia, married James Batson. These descendents continue to live on and work this land.

This memorial documents their history. Several other gravestones in the cemetery document, in similar fashion, their continuation of the family.

Fun Fact: Emilie Stapp

Emilie Stapp
Emilie Stapp

Emilie Blackmore Stapp, an American children’s author and philanthropist, and her sister, Marie Graham Stapp, were women with a mission. Their lives are documented in an extensive collection of lively correspondence and letters, published and unpublished manuscripts for children’s stories in books, periodicals, and newspapers; original plays, illustrations and publicity materials; and, personal items, such as photographs of friends and notables, fragile scapbooks documenting Emilie Stapp’s from 1904 through the time of her death in 1962 can be found in the de Grummond Children’s Literature Collection at The University of Southern Mississippi, McCain Library & Archives.

The Stapps lived in Indiana, Iowa, Massachusetts, and finally in Mississippi during a significant historical period, covering two world wars and the tumultuous Jim Crow era. Emilie Blackmore Stapp probably was years ahead of her time in her work with children of all races and creeds, raising funds for two World Wars, and other philanthropic efforts.  Some of these, commencing soon after their arrival in Wiggins, include deeding the land and facility for the Women’s Club of Wiggins, donating over 4000 books to establish the first lending library in Stone County, and funding construction for a new post office.

The Stapp sisters bought a farm they named Friendship Farm out Highway 26 East.  There  they established a pecan orchard and built their homenamed The Dolls’ House. The home received its name from a rare collection of over 400 dolls of historic significance, that the Stapp sisters acquired from their world travels and prominently displayed there during their lifetimes.

You will be hearing more about Emilie Blackmore Stapp in the months ahead as The Old Firehouse Museum and The Stone County Arts Council jointly will celebrate her life and accomplishments in several very distinct ways. You will not want to miss those events so stay tuned for dates to be published!