“We’re gathering pictures especially of old buildings in the city to give a history of Canton and the families of the area. We want to make a last appeal for more pictures. We want family pictures, street scenes, buildings, reunions and school pictures.” Said David Shore, of the Historical Society.
Shore said that the society had gathered more than 250 photographs for the project.
Thomas Vinson said that Canton was founded under the name “Boyd’s Landing” by Abraham Boyd, a pioneer within the state, and one of the early magistrates of Trigg County. “Canton was an important port on the Cumberland River before the Civil War. It handled most of the traffic on the river and had a number of industries. There were slaughterhouses, warehouses for tobacco. Most Cumberland River traffic was handled there on its way to Memphis or New Orleans.”
Gillis Bridges said that the importance of Canton faded with the Civil War. After the Union Army blockaded many of the transportation routes and waterways of the Confederacy, Canton saw little traffic. “After the war, railroads and then highways were used to move goods quickly, and Canton’s prominence faded.”
A riverside town, flooding was a way of life for the residents of Canton. Bridges’ mother, Hilda Williams Bridges recalled rising waters against the hill her family’s house was built on, in 1929. “We watched the water rise, and thought it would get in our house,” she said.
The Great Depression inflicted hardship on the community, but a hardy folk, the Canton citizens survived.
“If you worked hard enough, you didn’t go hungry. Most people had farms then,” said Mrs. Bridges.
Vinson explained ‘30’s era commerce. “Farmers would sell tobacco for money, and corn was fed to livestock. People would slaughter hogs and cure hams at home, which they would swap for groceries.”
Mrs. Bridges added “We had what you would call a gristmill in Canton, we would have to get flour from Cadiz, but there was corn and corn meal in town.”
Like most small communities, Canton has figures in history that stand larger-than-life. The Historical Society collectively recalled Francis Cunningham Wallace.
For the rest of this story, read this week's Cadiz Record.