Josie Wilson and her new husband moved to Richton, Mississippi in the spring of 1915. Like so many towns built around the sawmills that sprang up during the timber boom, Richton was a small primitive place with no paved streets or sidewalks. In this episode, Wilson remembers how the townspeople were scandalized when she sat with the men at the drugstore soda fountain. When her first child was born nine months to the day they married, she was jokingly thankful the baby had not come early and further damaged her reputation.
Wilson and her husband Lemual purchased the local newspaper soon after moving to Richton. She explains how publishing the paper created connections and opportunities within the community. After Lemual developed a heart condition and was no longer able to work, Josie and her son pitched in to keep the newspaper going. She recalls bartering their printing services in exchange for her daughter’s college tuition.
In her 1973 interview, after 50 + years of publishing the Richton Dispatch, Josie Wilson looked back with pride on their accomplishments. She described how they invested their money, not in the stock market, but in their family and community.