THE LOWER RIVER 121 year, the Homochitto Lumber Company built the town of Bude on the Mississippi Central Railroad as a mill town. By 1937, according to Roxie native W. W. Davis, two-thirds of the people in the western half of Franklin County were associated with the lumber industry. It was not until 1925 that the lumber industry reached Claiborne County on a large scale. In 1924, the Port Gibson Veneer Company, specializing in the manufacture of boxes, crates, hampers, and furniture veneer, was established. The presence of this new local market for lumber on an industrial scale encouraged the formation of the Port Gibson Lumber Company a year later. In 1931, the Port Gibson Veneer Company merged with other mills and wood products factories in southern Mississippi to form the Southern Package Corporation. By the mid-1930s, the company’s Port Gibson plant was making the veneer for the cabinets of Philco Radios. The era of industrial logging began in the Lower River counties as the era of the steamboat was drawing to an end. Railroads could transport cargo faster and cheaper once insurance, storage, and drayage costs were factored in. By 1886, the railroads had taken over most of the river cotton trade between Memphis and New Orleans. After the turn of the century, cargo hauling on the Mississippi was increasingly done by barges pushed by towboats. In 1900, there were seventy-three steam-powered towboats on the lower Mississippi River hauling 1,704 tons of cargo and 195 paddle-wheeler steamboats hauling 18,227 tons of cargo. In 1910, there were 178 steam-powered towboats on the lower Mississippi River hauling 7,234 tons of cargo and only seventy-three steamboats hauling 9,483 tons of cargo. These figures do not include gasoline-powered towboats, which were growing in numbers by 1910 and would eventually replace their steam-powered counterparts altogether. World War I brought huge demand from theAllied war effort for the cotton and timber the railroads, steamboats, and barges carried. Prices for both commodities soared. The Lower River counties also sent a generation of young men off to fight overseas.At least one of that generation, Cedric Fauntleroy of Church Hill in Jefferson County, joined the fight even beforeAmerica entered the war.After the sinking of the Lusitania in 1915, Fauntleroy enlisted in the French Foreign Legion. Later, he transferred to the Lafayette Escadrille, a flying squadron ofAmerican volunteers fighting under French command. He was credited with four kills on the western front, one short of becoming an ace.After World War I ended, he joined the Kosciusko Squadron and fought with otherAmerican volunteers for Poland in the Russo- Polish War. In one incident, he prevented a detachment of Cossacks from blowing up a Polish troop train. He survived both his wars and returned safely to Mississippi. When World War I ended, so did the huge demand for cotton and timber. This lower demand coupled with new foreign competition brought on an economic slump both worldwide and in the Lower River counties. Cotton producers were hit especially hard. In April 1920, inflated wartime cotton prices crashed. By April 1921, they had fallen from 38.5 cents per pound to 9.8 cents per pound. The most precipitous drop was between July 1920 and December 1920, when the price fell from 37 cents to 13.7 cents a pound. The cottonseed industry in the Lower River counties was also hard hit. Between May 1920 and December 1920, the price for cottonseed in Mississippi dropped from $70.70 per ton to $21.30 per ton. Twenty years of mostly low cotton prices followed. Adding insult to injury, the farmers also suffered from a renewed boll weevil infestation due to a long season of wet weather. Renewed need for cooperation in hard times spurred the formation of a new farmers’organization to replace the now defunct Farmers’Union. On October 20, 1922, representatives of newly organized Farm Bureau county locals founded the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation. The first order of business was to revive the Farmers’Union efforts to organize cooperatives for the buying of necessities such as seed and fertilizer and for the selling of their crops. The goal of the Farm Bureau’s first drive to sign up farmers for its new cotton pool was ten thousand contracts statewide. Jefferson County was the third Mississippi County to exceed the assigned quota. By this time, the Delta had long since surpassed the Lower River counties as the major cotton-growing region in Mississippi, but that dominance depended on flood control along the Mississippi River and its tributaries. The Delta was part of the Vicksburg District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which was responsible for flood control in that area. In 1930, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers completed construction on its new U.S. Waterways Experiment Station in Vicksburg, which included a hydraulic laboratory for studying problems related to river and harbor improvements. The money and jobs the U.S. Waterways Experiment Station brought to Vicksburg were more welcome than usual. By 1930, the Lower River counties were in the throes of the worst depression in American history, a The era of industrial logging began in the Lower River counties as the era of the steamboat was drawing to an end.