The Yazoo & Mississippi Valley, also known as the
Peavine, Railroad connected Grenada and Greenwood and led to the development of Holcomb.
The original line, begun in 1885, ran 15 miles from Greenwood to Parsons. The Parsons
station was built in 1886, making Parsons a major cotton shipping point. Grenada
merchants, scenting lost business, were behind extension of the line to Grenada in 1900.
Taking advantage of this line, Holcomb quickly became a shipping and ginning center.
The line ran until 1947, when, on April 10, the Potococowa levee broke above Avalon and
washed away a railroad bridge. The bridge was never replaced, and service ended.
Travel in the area was first by trail, then dirt road, then gravel. A highway was paved
from Grenada to Holcomb in 1948. Grenada merchants fought extending the paving to
Greenwood for fear of lost business, delaying that stretch of paving until the early
1950s. Bridges were often the weak link. In 1947, the old iron bridge between Holcomb and
Oxberry fell in, for a time forcing long detours through Grenada, Rosebloom and Cascilla
and separating the Holcomb-Oxberry community.
Electricity came to Holcomb in the years shortly before 1920. D.L. Holcomb and his son
Ed Holcomb set up a Delco electric plant to light their homes. Some of the stores also
installed units. In 1927, Mississippi Power & Light Co. extended electrical lines to
Early residents had their own wells, either hand-pumped or artisian. With the advent of
electricity, electrical pumps came into general use. Town sewers and a public water system
were much longer arriving -- in the 1990s.
Holcomb's first telephone was a simple line "handing up in the tree limbs" in
the 1920s providing service only between D.L. and Ed Holcomb's homes. In the 1930s, a
public line reached Holcomb, and there was one phone, a crank wall phone in Joe Harris's
store on Main Street. Residents used that phone free for "local" calls in the
Grenada service area.
In the late 1940s, 8-party lines were established, opening a new communications era in
sometimes unintended ways, including frequently overheard personal calls. All calls were
placed through an operator.
Television arrived in 1947. Craig Mullen had the first set, and poor reception was no
deterrent to viewers. Young Judy Hayden, fascinated at the phenomenon, sat watching it
"snow" as static scrambled the picture. The early stations were in Memphis,
Tennessee, 100 miles north, then, a few years later, in Greenwood, 26 miles west. Few in
today's cable era can imagine how rapt the audience was despite the awful reception and
extremely limited programming.