Rosealba still lives in fond memory

Editor’s note: Roselaba was located where Trent Baker has his photography studio. His studio is a replica model of Mr. C.W. Bolton’s home. This excerpt is from the WPA manuals published in the late 1920s and is taken from the MS Gen website which is maintained by Peggy Young and Marka’ Bland Baldwin. See more history at msgw.org/pontotoc/

ROSALBA, A Memorial Site was the title of an article written by C. W. Bolton and published in the Pontotoc Sentinel, May 13, 1926:

"The Rustic Inn, at Rosalba Lake, now stands on the spot where old Rosalba Mills originally stood, and the little mound in front of it is the one used as a driveway up to the front door of the mill for unloading sacks of grain to be ground. That is still being kept as a monument, to mark where the old mill once stood, proud of the distinction of being the only flour mill for fifty miles in every direction, excepting a few little water mills. The patronage was so heavy at one time that people coming to the mill would have to camp out and wait for days for their turn to have their wheat ground into flour, seconds, shorts and bran. In fact, it was necessary for farmers wishing wheat ground to register a week or ten days ahead to be able to get their grain unloaded into the mill. The mill had a capacity of 700 bushels daily and ran day and night, from one o'clock Monday morning to noon Saturdays, when the machinery was stopped for repairs and to enable the miller to sharpen the French bull millstones, which were 4 and 1/2 feet in diameter with three sets to be sharpened weekly.

The engine for running the mill was first used to run a cotton gin in Georgia, which was owned and operated by Colonel Richard Bolton's father, Edwin H. Bolton, and a partner. In 1830 this gin was dismantled, the engine bought by Colonel Richard Bolton, and moved to Pontotoc County. It was used to run what at that time was considered a big sawmill. with Edwin C. Bolton, Colonel Richard Bolton's brother, as manager of the plant.

In the 1850s the machinery was moved to the Bolton plantation, 2 miles east of Pontotoc, and established as a combination sawmill and flouring mill. Here it received the "Rosalba" name which means white rose, the name being suggested to Colonel Richard Bolton, by the profusion of beautiful white roses that grew on his estate. This mill was operated until the surrounding country quit raising wheat in sufficient quantities to make it profitable. A modern ginnery was then installed and operated for many years; later when this too became unprofitable it was dismantled and the timbers used to build tenant houses on the farm.

The mill supplied the merchants in many of the nearby towns with flour for their customers. The flour was sacked in half and quarter barrels; sacks made of domestic and branded with the name of the mill and the grade of flour. Flour was shipped as far as Mobile, Alabama, and Cairo, Illinois. Ox teams hauled the product from the mill to the railroad and other points, being the surest mode of hauling, due to poor roads." 

Rosalba is still in possession of the Bolton family and is now used for recreational purposes. It is a matter of pride to the town that this playground has remained in the same family since pioneer days, and that it has been directly connected with local history.

Clarence Bolton, government meteorologist, has built slides and swings for children, placed canoes on one of the lakes, and cleared the larger for swimming purposes; there is a caretaker's lodge on the grounds where picnickers may buy cold drinks and confections.

The land surrounding the lake is of interest to botanists, as an unusually large variety of wild flowers has received protection there. Here, squirrels and other wild animals are safe.

Also the place is known for the Rock Quarry Hills.  They are composed of calcium silicate rock, which is found in large quantities.  It is a very hard, flinty rock which is splendid for building houses or roads. Clarence Bolton, by permission of the highway commissioners, Robbins and Boone, sent fifty pounds of this rock to the highway department at Washington for analysis, and the test showed it to be a high grade calcium silicate rock, suitable for house and road building.  Major Ellis, Federal highway engineer, at Muscle Shoals, Alabama, stated that this was the only rock of this grade found in the south, and three or four of the eastern states.  He further stated that he had used this rock in France during the World War in building highways for the army, and that it was the most satisfactory highway building rock he had ever used.  It not only made a permanent road surface, but would set up in twenty four hours so that traffic could pass over it.  In this rock formation a great variety of curiously-formed sea shells and unclassified fossils are found.

While Rosealba was famous for the fragrant roses that grew on the plantation, it wasn’t the only place that flowers grew profusely in Pontotoc County. 

Are are some flowers that grew wild back in the late 1920s.

Many flowers adorn the hillsides and meadows of the county, as well as the yards and lawns of many homes.  Flowers here are typical of those that grow elsewhere in Mississippi. Here are some of the flowers you might find growing wild.

Wild Phlox with blue and delicate pink flowers, grow in leaf mold through the county; the pink in the w e stern part of the county, and the blue, in the eastern.

The Yellow Lady’s Slipper is rare in this section.  Its blossoms, shaped like a Dutch shoe, are yellow splotched with purple.  It is found in wooded or damp places in the eastern part of the county.

Snake Root a bright red trumpet, glows in damp, shady places.

Single Wild Iris, three petals with a yellow center, is found in damp places, often on stream banks.

Forget Me Nots, tiny sky-blue flowers with yellow centers, grow anywhere in the county.

Dandelion has fluffy yellow flowers; it grows anywhere in pasture, field, or garden.

Red and White Clover thrives in sunny places.

Jack-In-The-Pulpit is found in shady places in the eastern section of the county.

Paw-Paw has dark red, almost black, blossoms which form a cup; they grow in all creek bottoms.

May Apple has a small white, waxy bloom, located between leaves where a lemon-like fruit comes; it is found in  moist places and meadowlands.

Indian Paint Root, with a small, orchid like blossom, grows in woody places.

Solomon’s Seal has dingy little white cylindrical flowers hidden beneath the leaves; it is found in moist places and meadowlands.

Bluets, very tiny daisies, almost the first thing to bloom in spring, have blossoms of four petals; it grows to a height of one to three inches on pasture land and open fields.

Trillium has three purplish-brown petals.  It reaches a height of six to fifteen inches and thrives in moist, rich soil.

Mouse Eared Chickweed has pale orchid, very tiny flowers on fragile stems; they are found  everywhere in the county, mostly in yards and fields.

Ladies Tresses produce tiny white flowers on slender green stems.  Waxy petals  turn back, revealing a center like a child's face; they grow on hillsides and in hollows.

Blue-Bottle, a purplish-blue flower, on stem similar to hyacinth, is found on dry soil.

Sheep Sorrel, a small pale-pink blossom, has a leaf similar to the shamrock, and has an acid taste.  It grows on hillsides.

Daddy-Shame-Face is a small white flower, peculiar in that the leaf closes when touched; it grows in the eastern part of the county in sandy-clay soil.

Indian Pink, a brilliant scarlet, on the order of a small carnation, grows on hillsides, in woods, in the eastern part of the county.

Elm Root, a delicate pink and white blossom, thrives in rich hillside leaf mold and grows mainly in the eastern section of the county.

Spring Beauty, a small, dainty flower of pale rose pink thrives in moist, sunny woods.

Trailing Arbutus flowers are small, rose pink, and grow in clusters; the leaves are evergreen and heart shaped.

Wild Honeysuckle is sweet-scented flowers which range in color from deep pink to white.  These are found chiefly in the western part of the county in open woods.

Wild Violet, one of the first flowers of spring, has purple blossoms and heart shaped leaves; they grow in moist meadows and woods throughout the county.

Swamp Buttercups have five petaled flowers of yellow; they grow in moist places everywhere in the county.

Marsh Marigold, producing gold colored flowers  with five petals, is found in marshes.

Skunk Cabbage flowers are pinkish lavender set inside a green and purple hood.  The leaves are short-stemmed and appear after the flowers have started to fade.  They grow in swamps.

Rue Anemone is pink outside, white inside, and blooms in clusters; they are found in partially shaded places everywhere in the county.

Swamp Rose has shell-pink to dark rose with yellow centers, which grow in clusters; found in swampy places.

Shinleaf has a white bloom-cluster near the end of a tall stem.  It grows along creek banks in woods throughout the county.

Thistle has powder puff flower of yellow and purple, with briars on leaves and stem; they grow on pasture lands.

Indian Pipe is often called ghost-flower, because of its white appearance in dark woods.  The flower grows on end of stem and turns downward; it feeds on food prepared by other plants.

Jewelweed flowers are pale yellow, dotted with brown.  It is often called "touch-me-not" because of its pods curling up  and exploding when touched.  It is found in moist, shaded places.

Butterfly Weed or milkweed blossoms are orange-red in color, and grow in clumps in pastures and prairie lands.

Water Lily blossoms have waxy white petals with a yellow center.  The leaf serves as a barge on which the bloom floats on the pond or slow moving water.

Yellow Pond Lily blooms are small with red disc centers; the leaves are kidney shaped; they grow in still and slow-moving streams.

Wild Hollyhock blossoms are purplish-white; they are found in valleys and marshy places around Pontotoc.

Blue Lupine blossoms, shaped like a pea bloom, varying in color from violet to purple, grow in profusion in sandy fields.

Wild Sage blossoms are lavender, and although smaller than snapdragons they resemble them in shape.

Azurea has purple blossoms on tall stalks; they are found in marshes all over the county.

Black-Eyed Susan has yellow flowers with black centers.  They grow along roadsides.

Cattail has a brown fluffy flower (it is a spike at the top of the plant); it grows in marshy places, also in the prairie section of the county.

Wild Aster blooms in purple clusters and grows in fields and along roadsides, usually in company with goldenrod.

Field Daisies have yellow flowers very much like the black-eyed susan except they have yellow centers; they grow in fields and along roadsides all over the county. (Ed. Note: these are coreopsis, they bloom from early September until frost)

Bouncing Bet flowers are rose-pink, clustering at the stem ends; they are found in waste places.

Wild Carrot flowers are white and lacy, sometimes called Queen Ann's lace; it grows in waste places throughout the county.

Blue Vervain flowers are small, purple in color, and grow on slender spikes, with lance-shaped leaves; they are found in damp places over the county.

Purple Geradia has bright purple flowers with long narrow leaves.

Jewel Weed flowers are pale yellow, dotted with brown.  It is often called the  "touch-me-not.”

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