Out Of The In-Crowd?

In my day, Ramsey Lewis’ song “I’m In With The In Crowd,”

I go where the In crowd goes ..I know what the In crowd knows.”

was popular and is still enjoyed today. The lyrics have kept a shine because they touch something basic in all of us.

We live for human connection.

We greatly desire relationships because they increase our confidence and self-esteem. They make us feel important, worthy, and connected. We all need others to help us develop our personalities and grow intellectually.

At the same time, both adults and children

have experienced  being intentionally left out, discounted or ostracized. This intentional behavior in which a group or individual excludes and ignores another group or individual is present nearly everywhere. Ostracism causes real pain because our basic needs for belonging, self-esteem, control, and recognition is thwarted. Research suggests that the absence of close social bonds is strongly linked to depression, unhappiness and other troubles.

The psychological experience of being ostracized is painful.

It dramatically raises anxiety levels and causes depression and despondency. Physical pain is often present because ostracism activates the part of the brain that handles pain management.

Ostracism causes many people to withdraw from social connection and activities that they previously enjoyed and feel isolated and lonely.

Children as young as 5 are sensitive to being excluded.

This suggests we recognize early, even the subtlest indications of rejection. And according to Rachel Watson-Jones, researcher in the psychology department at the University of Texas at Austin, “Humans have an evolutionary prepared ostracism-detection system.”

For kids on the playground, adults in the workplace, or couples who employ the silent treatment

when they have disagreements, being left out affects the brain. When it comes to dealing with ostracism, there’s a whole package of behaviors, thoughts, and perceptions people use to try to improve their chances to get included. Even young children will change their behaviors in an attempt to mimic the group’s rituals in order to re-affiliate with the group. “Whether it’s the way they dress, play, eat, or activities in which they participate, a child will imitate the behavior of others to make it look like they are part of that group.” says Watson-Jones. They may go out of their way to please. Others get on the outs by trying too hard to be funny, being a spoil sport, demanding inclusion or becoming angry when things don’t go their way. Some people try to force others to pay attention to them. Some people crave connection so strongly they make bad choices and chose to be with people whose values are inconsistent with their own.

The depth and gravity of ostracism are usually not understood.

Generally, people are likely to discount, minimize and invalidate the pain others feel from ostracism. “Some ostracized people will act out in inappropriate ways to try to get those ostracizing them to notice them any way they can, because, negative attention feels better than no attention. In the most extreme cases, ostracism can lead to violence or suicide.” says Cristine Legare.

As a new school year begins, you may negate Ramsey’s lyrics

You ain’t been nowhere till you been in with “In” crowd.”

We may enjoy but, we don’t need the “In” crowd. However it’s important to keep a watchful eye to help people being ostracized and move to prevent those who may ostracize others.

What’s A person To Do?

  • Chill out. It’s counter productive to react by arguing, begging, crying, or pleading to be included. These behaviors invites more rejection.

  • Encourage people to be good sports. People who struggle socially often have a hard time coping with winning and losing. They may argue, cheat, shove, or become very upset if things don’t go their way. These behaviors spoils the fun for everyone.

  • No one needs to be funny to fit in. When attempts at humor are even a little bit “off,” they’re not funny; they’re annoying.

  • Learn how to join in. Compliments (“Nice shot” or “Good Job or Looks like fun”) work better than criticism. People who are rejected often push too hard, too soon, at trying to connect.

  • The greatest threat occurs when people are ostracized by a love relationship, a relative, or a friend. Make sure you’re not doing that.

  • Out of the “In” Crowd? No worry. The research shows that having one good, close, friend is sufficient for most of us.


© Rachell N. Anderson, Psy. D. August 31, 2016


Dr. Rachell Anderson is a native of Tunica, a licensed Clinical Psychologist, a Professor Emeritus and author. She taught at the University of Illinois and ran a Private Clinical Practice in Springfield, Illinois for many years. She now lives in Tunica and writes with the Tunica Chapter of the Mississippi Writers Guild in Tunica, Mississippi. Check out her website at WWW.drrachellanderson.com for more articles and books she has written.


Photo “Teenage student Writing on book” by Ambro, courtesy of Free Digital Photos

And We Cry Timber! (Part 3)

Rails extended into undeveloped forest areas where timber was harvested,

creating, in turn, new fields for farmers to plant. Lumber and cotton mills sprang up all over Lauderdale County causing growth and wealth to the smaller communities outside Meridian, such as Suqualena and Pine Springs where cotton and timber were abundant. Dummy lines, which connected to the main rails, ran from Meehan’s Cotton States Lumber Company into the woods around Collinsville and also from Clarke County’s Long Bell Lumber Company into the southeastern corner of Lauderdale County where Whynot and Causeyville reaped the rewards of the timber boom. The harvest was a special event relished by all and log rollings were the main attraction.

Other communities enjoyed the benefits of timber, cotton, and rails,

according to Paths to the Past, such as the predominantly African American community called Wilsondale, named for Professor Thomas Jefferson Wilson, and Chunky Station where McDonald and Company turpentine distillery had operated, along with several sawmills.  T. J. Bostick manufactured the wood by-product, turpentine, which he sold at his Causeyville General Store.

As reported in Mississippi Forests and Forestry, an 1884 survey had predicted that the Mississippi pine forests

would survive for at least 150 years. Between 1880 and 1888, 86.8% of the purchases of 5,000 or more acres of federal land were to northerners, representing 889,259 acres sold to the 134,270 acres that had been purchased by southerners.

The twentieth-century, Meridian had been linked to the nation by the rails and this drew the attention of timber magnates. The market for timber from the district’s thick pine forest developed and reached prime consumer prices before 1910.  Responding to the discovery of the area’s abundant forest, many large, wood product companies quickly began multi-faceted operations in the region.  But by 1911, the northern wood product companies had monopolized the timber market, setting whatever prices they wished and without regard for replanting practices. Though the timber industry was a source of wealth for Lauderdale County and created many jobs, absentee owners were motivated by the quick profits from clear-cutting. This greed caused major erosion problems. Two-thirds of the timber in and around Yazoo, Copiah, Rankin, Madison, and Hinds counties were depleted and around the areas around Meridian that lay within five miles to eight miles from the railroad were stripped clean When timber resources were exhausted, timber companies laid off employees, pulled up stakes, and headed to the American Northwest, leaving Lauderdale County stripped of its timber lands. Meridian’s rail business slowed to a crawling pace.

Many of Lauderdale County’s communities died that had thrived during the boom years and left barely any evidence of their existence, such as Bullards, My, and Coonville. Those that didn’t die suffered greatly and would never see the “boom” years again.  While these mill towns disappeared, others towns like Laurel, Hattiesburg, and Meridian survived.

Because of its distrust of Northern industry greed, industries not supported by Mississippi capital were discouraged in Lauderdale County.

From 1915 to 1920, the last of the state’s forests were depleted and King Cotton was thwarted by the blights of the boll weevil.  By 1925, lumber production in Mississippi had reached its apex forcing most large companies either out of business as well as exhausting all timber supplies.  Even though in 1926, the Mississippi legislature passed an act that required the approval of the State Forestry Commission on all land purchases for national forests, the dire circumstances of the depleted forests set the stage for the national financial crisis of 1929, plunging Lauderdale County into an economic dormancy that would last for years.

On January 19, 1932, during the worst depression in American history, reformer and progressive conservative Martin S. Conner was inaugurated Governor of Mississippi. He tackled a $13 million deficit.

“We assume our duties,” said Governor Conner, according to the Mississippi History Now Web site, “when men are shaken with doubt and with fear, and many are wondering if our very civilization is about to crumble.”

Coming Part 4

by Richelle Putnam

And We Cry Timber! (Part 2)

The Panic of 1837 left the country’s economy in ruins,

severely hampering the cotton trade with federal tariffs and duties. In 1838, almost $7,000,000 of “paper” money was still in circulation. But as Mississippi intensified its efforts in industrial development, by 1840 east central Mississippi’s cotton production had doubled, as had its Negro slave laborers.
In 1850, East Central Mississippi developed it agricultural and forestry resources with cotton gins, sawmills, farm implement manufacturers, grain millers carriage makers, and leather finishers, adding to industrial capital investment. The 1850 Census records for Lauderdale County reveal that the white population was 6,052 and the slave population was 2,661.

The 1850 Agriculture census reveals the following annual statistics for the year ending June 1, 1850:

Acres of improved land: 51,386
Acres of unimproved land: 86,714
Livestock: horses – 2,080
Asses and mules – 418
Milch cows – 4,839
Working oxen – 1,695
Other cattle – 6,580
Sheep – 6,191
Swine – 28,481
Bushels of wheat: 2,808
Bushels of rye: 109
Bushels of Indian corn: 324,459
Bushels of oats: 21,771
Pounds of rice: 102,203
Pounds of tobacco: 1,529
Bales of cotton (400 lbs. each): 4,195
Pounds of wool: 10,500
Bushels of peas and beans: 15,411
Bushels of Irish potatoes: 3,705
Bushels of Sweet potatoes: 111,444
Bushels of barley: 20
Bushels of buckwheat: 150
Pounds of butter: 69,034
Pounds of cheese: 888
Toss of hay: 10
Pounds of hop: 20
Pounds of beeswax honey: 20,344

By 1860, corn remained the major staple crop in Lauderdale County, Mississippi,

enjoying an increase in production of approximately 46-47%. However, from 1850 to 1860 the county’s cotton production rose by astonishing amounts with an enormous increase of in approximately 370%.

Sherman’s march to the sea during the Civil War annihilated the economic wealth of Mississippi, burning fields, leaving charred cotton in his wake, destroying railroad tracks, and looting farmhouses. At the end of the war on May 8, 1865, the people of Lauderdale County faced devastation.

During reconstruction there was extreme poverty.

Property was confiscated for taxes and divided among various tenants. Most were never regained by the original owners. Pioneer Manufacturing Cotton Mill, which had been established in 1863 and burned by Sherman troops, was rebuilt in 1867. By 1879 Mississippi’s economy showed evidence or rallying, cotton production rising to its approximate pre-war production of nearly one million bales. “White gold” returned as king to Lauderdale County and surrounding counties. The Meridian Cotton Exchange and Board of Trade was formed in 1873 and by 1880 Meridian was a major center for packing and distribution of cotton and soon to be the largest city in the State of Mississippi.

The nineteenth century saw the forests of Lauderdale County become a major resource

rather than a hindrance to settlers who had had to clear the way for farmland. An 1881 map of Mississippi forests revealed mixed longleaf and hardwood forests covering most of Lauderdale County and extending northward into Kemper County. Meridian became the largest yellow pine and hardwood market in the State of Mississippi. According to Paths to the Past, lumber companies expanded and this provided new jobs to residents. Timber magnates such as M. R. Grant and companies such as Meridian Lumber Company became large lumber producers in the South. Meridian Lumber Company also manufactured other products from timber, such as blinds, doors, and sashes. Meridian streets filled with resident shoppers and hotels filled with travelers. During the late 1870s, cotton and timber competed for the crown in Lauderdale County.

Coming: Part 3


by Richelle Putnam

Small Town Memories

One morning, as I was returning home after taking my sons to school,

I happened to notice a herd of cows standing in the field by the road.  Seeing the early morning sun glinting off of their backs was one of those moments that make you stop and think about the beauty of simple things.  As I drove along, I suddenly thought of my grandmother.  She and my grandfather owned a dry good’s and grocery store in a small southeast Mississippi town.  In what little spare time she had, MeMe liked to paint.  I remembered how one day she challenged me to look and really see how many different shades of green I could find in the early Mississippi spring.  There was the bright lime green of the new leaves and shoots, all the way to the dark, forest green of the ever-present kudzu and tall pine trees.

This memory led me back to remembering the crisp fall afternoons of my childhood.

On Thursday afternoons all the stores in town closed at noon. On those clear, cool afternoons my grandmother liked to work in her yard and I would often “help” her.  I mostly loved playing in the big yellow, orange, green and brown magnolia leaves as she raked.  For me, fall always meant that the excitement of  the annual county fair and Halloween were just around the corner.

I have so many happy memories of growing up in that small town…

memories of loving grandparents that I saw everyday, parents who were always there, and a familiar town where we were free to roam.  There was always something to do, from getting a coke float at Bristow’s Drugstore soda fountain, to going down to the feed store right before Easter to look at the “Easter biddies”.  They were dyed in lovely pastel colors and although I wouldn’t condone it today, they were magical to me as a child.  Somehow, we always managed to come home with a couple in a little box with air holes punched in it, much to my mother’s dismay.

It was a childhood I wish I could give my own children.

It was Halloween Carnivals, Christmas parades, and basketball games in an old sweaty gym where the whole town turned out to watch their team.  There were summer evenings where the adults fried fish and French fries and put them in big brown paper bags, while we ran around in the dark yard playing chase and freeze tag.  Summer meant there were long summer days spent reading books from the bookmobile, swimming (which was a special treat) or exploring the “woods” behind our house on my pony.   Best of all was our annual trip to the gulf.  We always stayed on Okaloosa Island and always at the Blue Horizon Motel.  Vacation seemed to begin when we reached the Mobile Causeway and stopped at Palmer’s or The Seahorse restaurant for lunch.  I can remember how excited I would get when we got to Pensacola and I caught my first glimpse of the gulf.  Summer seemed to last forever.

My children can’t imagine how we survived

without video games, Nickelodeon, Lego’s and other facets of their 90’s childhood, but I know that we didn’t miss out on a thing in those simple, wonderful days of MY childhood.


Kay Kelly grew up in State Line and Waynesboro and graduated from the University of South Alabama with a degree in Educational Media. She recently retired from the Mobile Public Library. She lives in Mobile with her husband and one very neurotic rescue dog.

And We Cry “Timber!”


The success of cotton production in the south is actually due to Massachusetts resident and Yale graduate, Eli Whitney who patented his cotton gin invention in 1794. In fact, disgruntled planters designed their own machines after Eli Whitney’s invention with no regard to the violation of Whitney’s patent #72X dated March 14, 1794. According to Mississippi Forests and Forestry even though cotton production greatly improved because of the Whitney’s gin, planters didn’t want to pay the high cost required to use the gin, which had been installed throughout the southern states. The cost for using the gin was two-fifths of the profits paid in cotton itself.

In 1795, John Barclay, a Natchez planter who had seen Eli Whitney’s gin in South Carolina,

and Wilkinson County planter, Daniel Clark, Sr. developed a crude gin much like Whitney’s.  Barclay and Clark’s pirated machine brought mass production capabilities to the cotton industry that would soon dominate commercial agriculture in the Mississippi Territory. Whitney and his partner, Phineas Miller, fought for the patent rights to the cotton gin with costly law suits against the owners of the pirated versions, but a loophole in the wording of the patent, which didn’t change until 1800, seriously delayed the process. Therefore, Whitney never collected the monies due him.

After the War of 1812 and the inauguration of Mississippi into the Union in 1817,

east central Mississippi developed the plantation order of raising cotton, selling it to English markets for approximately ten cents a pound. Two decades passed before the territory improved its cotton production, not due to the gin, but to the early varieties of cotton, such as the Creole strain imported from Siam. Though it was of high quality and yield, it was difficult to pick and subject to disease.  The Tennessee green seed was immune to disease and rot, but deficient in quality and yield.  Around 1820, a type of Mexican cotton characterized by easy-to-pick large open bolls appeared and during the next decade, this strain was crossed with Tennessee green seed, producing a hybrid that flourished throughout the South. This species, later refined by Dr. Rush Nutt and other planters, became known as Petit Gulf Cotton.

Cotton money became as well established as cotton

and in 1822 the legislature established a uniform system for handling this money, which allowed ginners to issue receipts certifying the number of pounds of cotton delivered to the gin. In turn, the receipt was used like money in settling debts or handling other business operations.  Cotton money enabled planters to operate on the basis that cotton would be available in good salable condition at the ginner’s warehouse.

The early 1830’s expansion in the United States was fueled by the widespread construction of new railroads and canals. The government had sold millions of acres of public lands, mostly to speculators who hoped their well-located parcels would increase in value as the railroads and canals drew settlers into the area.

The Tariff of 1833 and government land sales brought wealth into the Treasury’s reserve.

In 1835, President Andrew Jackson paid off the national debt and the American Treasury rapidly accumulated a surplus. Congress passed a measure to distribute the surplus to the states. This surplus was invested in more railroads and canals.

As high cotton prosperity thrived in the mid 1830’s, more and more forests were sacrificed for fields.

Though production of cotton greatly improved and increased, corn remained the principal staple in the south throughout the antebellum period.  Easily grown all over Mississippi, corn was an important food crop to everyone, including hogs, cattle and other types of livestock. The long growing season allowed for two crops of corn to be planted each year, one in early March and the other in late May or June.  Cotton seed was used as a fertilizer and cowpeas were planted between the rows of corn to reduce erosion and add nitrogen to improve the soil’s fertility.

The boom reached its height with a wealth of cheap land, lenient credit prerequisites from state banks, and high prices.

More banks had been established and were issuing notes with no regard for solvency. State government and individuals hoarded gold and silver and used paper notes to discharge debts instead. Thousands of immigrants, planters, farmers, and speculators poured into Mississippi to reap the rewards.

Alarmed by the vast amount of state bank notes paying for public land purchases, before leaving office, President Andrew Jackson issued Executive Order passing the Specie Circular (Coinage Act) that commanded the Treasury to refuse paper notes as payment for such sales. Only gold and silver would be the acceptable payment for government land.

It would be up to Martin Van Buren to carry out that order in early 1837 when he stepped into the new administration and a major bank crisis. Banks began restricting credit and calling in loans while depositors rushed to their banks to withdraw their funds. Unemployment affected the entire nation and food riots broke out in large cities. Construction companies who couldn’t meet their obligations sparked the collapse of railroad and canal projects, and damage to thousands of land speculators. And everyone began to panic.

by Richelle Putnam

Coming: Part II


Jim Dawson, History of Lauderdale County, Mississippi School System, Edited by doug little and Birdie Mae Rogers, 1988 Lauderdale County Department of Archives and History.

Mississippi: a History, John K. Bettersworth, copyright 1959, The Steck Company


A History of Mississippi, Volume I, University and College Press of Mississippi

The Mississippi Territory and the Southwest Frontier, 1795-1817 by Robert V. Haynes





Overall Economic Development Program for East Central Mississippi, East Central Economic Development District, Inc., 1969, Newton, Mississippi

The New Book of Knowledge, Grolier Incorporated, 2001


Photo Credit:  “Cotton Plant” by afrika, courtesy of Free Digital Photos