Pages from the past: Remembering Miss Annie Bell Garner

By CHARLOTTE BUCHANAN COLUMNIST,

100 YEARS AGO,

MAY 1920

EDITORIAL NOTICE BY J. A. RICHADSON:  Say what you want about the automobile, but it has done a great deal for the florists and undertakers.

SOCIETY: Mr. and Mrs. J. W. Pullen and little daughter were in Indianola last Wednesday.

We are in receipt of a wedding invitation for the marriage of Miss Annie Stubblefield and Mr. Harry Golson on June 15 at the First Baptist Church. The wedding of this popular young couple is looked forward to with pleasure.

SCHOOL NEWS: The Indianola High School will hold commencement exercises for the 1919-1920 class. They are Rebecca Gresham, Christine Gilmer, Etta Lang, and Claire Godbold. Judge Elmore of Cleveland will present the commencement address.

50 YEARS AGO,

MAY 1970

FRONT PAGE NEWS: The Delta Council held its annual meeting last Friday. Morris Lewis, Jr. outgoing president from Indianola handed over his gavel to the incoming president, Harris Swayze of Benton. Sunflower Countians who will serve on the Board of Directors are Ted Borodosky, Sidney Levingston and Hugh Arant from Ruleville; W. T. Roberson from Holly Ridge; Frank Brumfield, Joe Baird and Jo Prichard, Jr. of Inverness. Also serving will be Farmer Hamilton, Jr., W. W. Gresham, Sr., W. W. Gresham, Jr., Morris Lewis, Jr. and W. M. Garrard of Indianola.

SCHOOL NEWS: The senior majorettes of Indianola High School were honored with a tea at the home of Semonne Harper. They are Carol Fultz, Cindy Ray and Janice Story.

25 YEARS AGO,

MAY 1995

LOCAL EVENTS: The four-man barbeque cooking team called Backyard Porkers won second place in the annual Frank Carlton Bluegrass Barbeque competition. Team members are Tommy Smithhart, Larry Vance, Johnny Mabus and Tommy Cook.

SCHOOL NEWS: Graduation ceremonies for Gentry High School and Indianola Academy. IA will hold graduation ceremonies on Thursday and Gentry High School on Sunday afternoon. Valedictorian for Gentry is Latrina Hutchins. The salutatorian is Laronda Worship. Indianola Academy’s valedictorian is Trent Barger and Brian Anderson is salutatorian.

SOCIETY: Mr. and Mrs. Curtis Allen Buchanan of Greenville, formerly of Indianola, announce the approaching marriage of their daughter, Kelli to William Branton of Leland. The wedding will take place at the First Baptist Church in Greenville on June 10.

CHAMBER OF COMMERCE NEWS: Miss Tiffany Scott, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Melvin Scott, was crowned Indianola’s Miss Hospitality by the Chamber president, Truett Roberts.

15 YEARS AGO,

MAY 2005

Hundreds attended Sunday’s big gospel sing held at Selecta Motors to enjoy performers like Lee Williams and Cedric Reed, member of the group Ted Mabry and The Spiritual Wonders.

FEATURE: Mrs. Annie Bell Garner, 95 was featured in an article about her lifetime service as a teacher. She was recently honored by Mississippi Valley State University when she was presented the Pioneer Award by President Lester Newman. She started teaching at the age of 17 before teachers had to be certified. She lived in the small community of Sharon near Canton. All her life, she was a strong advocate for education. After she married Jerry Garner, they lived on a farm near Indianola. When harvesting time came, the farm owner informed the workers that children should be in the fields during harvesting months and not in school. This didn’t set well with the spunky lady. Early the next morning, she flagged him down in his pickup as he was coming to the farm and informed him that when his children were in the fields, the farm workers’ children would be in the fields. Needless to say, all the children were in school.

REMEMBERING MRS. ANNIE BELL GARNER: Mrs. Maggie Barnes, daughter of Mrs. Garner, is a retired teacher herself. She retired as a special education and gifted teacher at Robert Merritt Middle School She said that her mother passed away in September of 2005.

“My mother believed in education. Hundreds of children in Sunflower County benefited from her devotion to education. She graduated from Mississippi Valley when she was in her 50s. She not only taught them, she fed, clothed and housed them. It was nothing for us to wake up in the mornings and see classmates on pallets on the floor. She never turned her back on children in need,” Barnes said.

The Garners had nine children and all attended college, several obtaining graduate and doctorate degrees.

“We have many professionals in our family, including teachers, doctors, builders, and others,” she commented.

Barnes not only followed in her mother’s footsteps as a teacher, she too believes in service to her community.

The former member of the Indianola Board of Aldermen is one of the chairmen for the Farmers Market and delivering food boxes to those in need through the Bill Richardson Alliance.

“I enjoy being a volunteer and believe in service to our community,” she said.

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