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Remembering Vicksburg’s first dentist

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Foster Lightcap was Vicksburg’s first dentist. According to the 1860 City Directory, his office was located on the west side of Washington Street.

Tragically, Lightcap was killed at the age of 55 in the shelling of Vicksburg by Admiral Farragut’s ships in 1862.

Foster Lightcap’s tombstone in the Cedar Hill Cemetery.

He had two residences, one in town and a plantation on Halls Ferry Road called Magnolia Hall. During the Siege of Vicksburg, Magnolia Hall was confiscated by Union forces for use as a hospital. This being one of three major Union hospitals, many soldiers died there.

The soldier’s graves were dug in various places, as there was not a central area for burial. Some were buried in an old cemetery behind the house, and some alongside Halls Ferry Road, which must have been a sight for civilians traveling the road.

Magnolia Hall burned soon after the war, and in 1930, the land was purchased for Waterways Experiment Station.

The painting of Lightcap hangs in the Old Courthouse Museum, and Lightcap Boulevard is named after him.

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Claiborne County sheriff appointed the first female chief deputy in the county

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Standing is Sheriff Edward “Moose” Goods, who is pictured with his Chief Deputy, Christy Sykes (photo courtesy Port Gibson Sheriff's Department)

Story by Emma Crisler, editor, The Port Gibson Reveille

As 2020 arrived and both county and city boards met for the first time Jan. 6, not only were there new people sitting in every supervisors’ seat in the Matt Ross Building in Claiborne County, but changes had come to people working for the county as well.

In the sheriff’s department, not only was Sheriff Edward Goods the new sheriff but the chief deputy also had changed. The sheriff had selected Christy Sykes, the first woman chief deputy in Claiborne County.

Goods and Sykes had several connections including that they attended the Law Enforcement Academy together. They also worked together for 13 years at Alcorn State University.

As the Sheriff stated, he had observed her intelligence and noted the training courses she had passed, many of which would be useful if she were hired in his department.

“Chief Deputy Christy Sykes is the backbone of my department,” Goods said. “I’m the politician.” But most of all “I can trust her — a very important matter.

Chief Deputy Sykes

Sykes will receive her fourth degree from Alcorn State University later this month in athletic administration and compliance. Earlier, she earned degrees in criminal justice, workforce education, and an athletic management degree covering health, votec and technology.

She is the wife of Robert Sykes and the mother of three children, a daughter and two sons ranging in age from 6 to 16. Her parents are Harry and Shirley Williams (deceased).

Claiborne County Sheriff’s Department

The chief deputy said she interviewed for a job locally and put together a portfolio. She intended to keep her job at Alcorn and take on a job at the sheriff’s department, not knowing that Sheriff Goods was going to pick her as his chief deputy. As it turned out, she had also worked under former Sheriff Frank Davis when he worked as chief of police at Alcorn, and she knew some of the Claiborne County deputies from Alcorn.

Since she began her job, Sykes said they had dealt with some cases that were left over from the previous administration. There were also a few murders, petty crimes, cyberbullying and more domestic abuse that might be caused by the pandemic.

“But crime is down right now,” she said.

Sykes sees a few differences between her earlier law enforcement jobs and the one she has now.

At Alcorn, there were long hours to handle big events such as football game days, she said, but now, “I’m on call all the time.”

She added that people in law enforcement need to have their job in their hearts — some might call it complete dedication.

Fifteen deputies work full time or part time in the sheriff’s office with a “great auxillary,” she said.

During this first year, Sykes said they are trying to do things differently, especially on the technical side. They want to use computers to record everything instead of hand writing every action they take on a case.

She also mentioned bringing the 911 system up to date as an essential project.

Communication skills are also important.

“People will listen if you talk to them, and they will do what you ask of them,” she said. Keeping your ears open is also vital.

“Mrs. Sykes likes to be in the background,” Sheriff Goods said, but according to Sykes, “I can come out when needed.”

“I like to empower people, and I want to show this community that a female can do this job,” Goods said.

We wish Chief Deputy Christy Sykes much success in her important job working for Sheriff Goods and hope both will maintain their jobs keeping Claiborne County safe for a long time to come.


A version of this story appeared in The Port Gibson Reveille newspaper, and is reprinted here with permission.

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VHS ninth grade basketball coach Williams leads young players to win

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Julius Williams (photo by Keith Phillips)

Vicksburg High School ninth grade head basketball coach Julius Williams has a history of leading young players to win.

Williams was born and raised in Crystal Springs, Mississippi, where he played football for Crystal Springs High School and graduated in 2000. He went on to play for Copiah-Lincoln Community College and West Virginia State University.

Williams finished his bachelor’s degree at Jackson State University in 2008 and began coaching football at Vicksburg Junior High that same year. He received his master’s degree from Alcorn State University in 2011.

He remained on the football coaching staff until 2015 when he was named as the VJHS head basketball coach for the 2015-16 school year and had a 19-1 Little Six Championship season.

After his successful season at the junior high, Williams was brought to Vicksburg High School by former VHS coaches Dellie C. Robinson and Kelvin Carter.

“I would like to thanks coach Robinson and coach Carter who stuck their necks out for me and trusted me,” Williams said. Williams also credited his wife Melissa and their two kids for his success.

Williams has been the ninth grade head coach at Vicksburg High since 2017 and has had winning seasons ever since taking over. His team this year is undefeated with an 8-0 record.

“My goal is to make every player a better man and human being,” Williams said.

Williams also works with the varsity basketball team with coach Carter, which has a 1-1 record. They start playing again in December.

Williams and his ninth grade players will play Clinton next Monday as they will strive to remain undefeated.

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10-year-old Addie G. Clay killed a big buck Saturday

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Vicksburg resident Addie G. Clay killed a big buck Saturday, marking her first kill of deer hunting season.

Clay is 10-years-old and in fifth grade at St. Francis Elementary School in Vicksburg. She is known as both a great and athletic student.

Clay got the kill in Issaquena County hunting with her dad Robert Clay. In addition to getting this amazing buck Saturday, it was the anniversary of her first kill exactly three years ago.

 

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