For some time now, I have searched for facts about an old limestone mine, or quarry, located west of Okolona, south of Hwy. 32. I know it was there – it was begun about 1916-17 and was a project of the “Mississippi Penitentiary Board”. Seems there was a deposit of limestone there and farmers throughout the country were being urged to use crushed limestone on their fields to enrich the soil. State prisoners operated the ‘mine’ where the limestone was crushed and loaded on boxcars to be taken to various destinations for sale. I would search awhile, get tired of the hunt then go on to something else. Recently in my search of old newspapers I kept getting a hit on “limestone” but not the rocks – but what we need to be drinking every day.
I kid you not. It will, as they used to say, cure anything that ails you! I did find one article that gave more of a historical/scientific view of it. It said that “the largest and least expensive source of phosphate is obtained by mining and concentrating phosphate rock from the numerous phosphate deposits of the world. Some phosphate rock is used to make calcium phosphate nutritional supplements for animals. Virtually all common fertilizers today have an “N-P-K” rating. Phosphate is the “P” and it helps plants capture the sun’s energy and begins the photosynthesis process.”
Now, on to the more interesting uses of limestone. An ad in 1917 reads “Drink Hot Water Before Breakfast Every Morning”. Continuing, it reads “Why is man and woman half the time feeling nervous, despondent, worried, some days headachy, dull and unstrung; some days really incapacitated by illness. If we all would practice the drinking of phosphated hot water before breakfast, what a gratifying change would take place. Instead of thousands of half-sick, anemic looking souls with pasty, muddy complexions, we would see crowds of happy, healthy, rosy-cheeked people everywhere.”
The next paragraph was not so appetizing to read, but for what it’s worth: “The reason is that the human system does not rid itself each day of all the waste it accumulates under our present mode of living. For every ounce of food and drink taken into the system, nearly an ounce of waste material must be carried out, else it ferments and forms ptomaine-like poisons in the bowels, which are absorbed into the bowels.”
And did you know you had “sluices” in your system? Neither did I until I read an ad in the Winona Times dated 25 February, 1921. The ad read that we could “open sluices of the system each morning and wash away the poisonous stagnant matter.” Continuing, the article reads: “Those of us who are accustomed to feel dull and heavy when we arise; splitting headache, stuffy from a cold, foul tongue, nasty breath, acid stomach, lame back, can, instead both look and feel as fresh as a daisy always by washing the poisons and toxins from the body with phosphate hot water each morning.” I am sure I did not need to know that I had all these conditions ‘cause this ad continues by telling me that this phosphated water “cleans out all the sour fermentations, gases, waste and acidity and gives one a splendid appetite for breakfast and it is said to be but a little while until the roses begin to appear in the cheeks.”
Then, an ad in the Winona Times on April 8, 1921, we are told if we “wake up with a bad taste, bad breath and tongue is coated; if your head is dull or aching; if what you eat sours and forms gas and acid in stomach, or you are bilious constipated, nervous, sallow and can’t get feeling just right, begin inside bathing. Drink before breakfast a glass of real hot water with a teaspoon of limestone phosphate in it. Or if you want to “feel like young folks feel, like you felt before your blood, nerves and muscles became loaded with body impurities, get from your pharmacist a quarter pound of limestone phosphate which is inexpensive and almost tasteless, except for a sourish twinge which is not unpleasant. Just as soap and hot water act on the skin, cleansing, sweetening and freshening, so hot water and limestone phosphate act on the stomach, liver, kidneys and bowels.”
In the Vicksburg Herald on March 15, 1918, we are told if we want to feel as “fine as the proverbial fiddle, we must keep the liver washed clean, almost every morning, to prevent its sponge-like pores from clogging with indigestible material, sour bile and poisonous toxins, says a noted physician. Oddly enough, we are not told who this noted physician is. This ad goes on to say “if you get headaches, it’s your liver. If you catch cold easily, it’s your liver. If you wake up with a bad taste, furred tongue, nasty breath or stomach becomes rancid, it’s your liver. Sallow skin, muddy complexion, watery eyes all denote liver uncleanliness. Of course the ad goes on to tell us if we will just drink that glass of hot water with a teaspoon of limestone phosphate every morning, all our medicinal problems will vanish.
Now I ask you – why is it that we of the present generation have missed out on this wonderful bit of knowledge? What happened to it? Was it so effective and wonderful that those who came before us drank all the available limestone phosphate up, glass by glass all across this country and left us to our present misery? And another thing, as I read these ads, first from local newspapers, then I began to search and search. I found, from about 1916 to at least 1935, these ads appeared in EVERY state in this nation, plus Manitoba, British Columbia and Saskatchewan in Canada, Northern Ireland, Ireland, Scotland and England! Somebody was making a tub full of money from the lowly limestone phosphate. Who knew?