Olden Times Revisited
W. L. Clayton's Pen Pictures
"If I had the pen of a ready writer," Clayton wrote, "enabling me to give a pen-picture of the appearance of the virgin forests in these olden times, covered with the upstretching trees, with occasional vines entwining them from top to bottom, loaded with wild grapes or luscious muscadines, and the plains and hillsides waving with beautiful wild flowers, it would read like a fairy tale. " Olden times take on a nostalgic glow in these "pen pictures" of early days in Northeast Mississippi. The chivalry, the tall tales, the Indian lore, the social customs, and the local characters portrayed here provide intimate descriptions of how people lived in Lee and Itawamba counties during antebellum times and during Reconstruction.
Washington Lafayette Clayton reflected over such scenes of his life and wrote these pen pictures nearly a century ago as reminiscences of better times. In sixty-five articles originally published in the Tupelo Journal in 1905 and 1906, he recorded the life of the Southern frontier of 1840 to the 1860s. These records, preserved here in one volume, are valuable resources for historians, for descendants of Mississippi pioneers, and for those who wish to perceive the nature of simpler times.