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Home: Regional: U.S. States: Mississippi: Attala County

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Searching for copy of "Buford" by Millard Fillmore Williams of Attala County
Posted by: Dennis Boswell (ID *****6534) Date: April 03, 2003 at 11:36:25
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I am most interested in locating a copy of a book the title of which is "Buford." It was written by Millard Fillmore William of Attala County. For your information, he was Blanche Colton Williams father. "Buford" is the story of a rural school teacher in the latter part of the 19th century in Attala County. Following are some related facts concerning both Blanche Colton Williams and her father, Millard Fillmore Williams. This information was not prepared specifically for an Attala - savy audience, but was sent originally to my local librarian in support of an inter-library loan request. That is why some things are explained that would otherwise not require explanation to anyone familiar with Attala County and its history.

1. Millard Fillmore Williams familiar name was "Peter." Don't ask me how "Peter" connects with his given name, but I have many references, including several written by his daughter, Blanche Colton Williams (a noted US short story author), that validate that Millard Fillmore Williams went by "Peter" when addressed by his friends.

2. His daughter, Blanche Colton Williams, was one of Mississippi's outstanding educators for a long period of an active and productive life. Her father was also a teacher in Attala County. He taught in rural schools and later in Sallis, Attala County, Mississippi. Sallis is a small community also located in Attala County. Until writing this to you, it had not occurred to me to contact the public library in Sallis to see if they might have a copy of "Buford." In fact, I don't even know if Sallis has a public library. I doubt it.

3. Blanche Colton Williams was schooled in Mississippi State College for Women which was established in 1920. In 1974, MSCW was renamed Mississippi University for Women (1-662-329-4750).

4. Blanche Colton Williams finished MSCW, taught for six years at Stanton College in Natchez, Mississippi and from 1904-1907 taught at Grenada College also in Mississippi. I mention these two schools because I have not contacted them yet.

5. A little more on Blanche Colton Williams (since so much is known about her and so little about her father). She was awarded a fellowship by her alma mater and studied at Columbia University, receiving her M.A. in 1908 and her doctorate a few years later. She also studied in Chicago, at Harvard and in England. In 1910 she began teaching at Hunter College in New York City where she continued to advance until in 1926 she was made head of the department of English and remained there until her retirement in 1939. I have already contacted Special Collections Dept at Hunter College, but not the English Department.

6. Shortly before she passed away in 1944, Blanche Colton Williams made generous gifts of over 600 volumes to Delta State Library and to MSCW she gave a portrait of George Elliot (about whom she authored "George Elliot, a Biography," in 1936) and over 1,000 books, many of the annotated first editions of her own many short stories. As I mentioned, I have contacted the Special Collections Depts in both MSCW (now Mississippi University for Women) with no results. Perhaps you have a "back door" into both institutions?

7. The exact passage from which I learned about "Buford" was found in a Blanche Colton Williams biography which I located in the Attala County Library. It reads,

"Her father was Millard Fillimore (notice the extra "i" in Fillmore, but that is the way it is typed). Better known as Peter. He spent his youth on a farm near Kosciusko. Before he was 10 years old he heard the guns of Shilo and Corrinth (another misspelling) and he was aroused to anger that such a war could happen to his beloved South. After the downfall of the Confederacy, he built the basis of an education on which he rose high among school masters of his day. An essay he wrote on "Education, the Only Answer for the South" was widely published. His story "Buford" written at the turn of the century has found its way into our English Composition books and also into stories for College classes. I mention this because the story was written here in Kosciusko and pictures the life of the Mississippi rural teacher in the closing decades of the 19th Century."

Should any of you who subscribe to ATTALA-L have any ideas on how to locate a copy of "Buford" I would be eternally grateful if you would share that information with me.

It is my own guess that somewhere, on some dusty bookshelf or in some steamer trunk in Attala County, there is today a copy of "Buford" just waiting to be found. I wonder whose bookshelf or steamer trunk that might be?

As always, thank you very much. I do appreciate your help.


Dennis K. Boswell
301 Crow Canyon Drive, Folsom, CA 95630

Telephone: (916) 987-3599
Fax: (916) 987-3555

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