140 A BICENTENNIAL HISTORY OF MISSISSIPPI CROSSING THE MISSISSIPPI The new Vicksburg bridge was completed in 1973. It was built so closely to the existing US-80 bridge, the pilings aligned precisely. This was necessary so the barges and tugboats carrying goods on the river could easily pass beneath both bridges. Jerry Clower is also a famous writer from the Lower River, but is more known for his skills as a comedian. Jerry Clower was born in Liberty on September 28, 1926. He graduated from high school in Amite County in 1944 and then proceeded to join the navy. After being discharged, he earned scholarships to Southwest Mississippi Community College and Mississippi State University. After graduating, Jerry joined the workforce and was always entertaining his coworkers. One of his friends suggested that he record an album with some of his routines, and Jerry decided to make an album under the Lemon label. Clower earned the title of Country Music’s Funniest Man with his albums Jerry Clower from Yazoo City Talkin’, From the Mouth of Mississippi, Clower Power, and Live in Picayune. Clower also was an author of many books. He was a member of the Grand Ole Opry until he died and made more than thirty-two recordings. One of the oldest college preparatory schools in the nation was located in the Lower River. Chamberlain Hunt Academy (CHA) was founded in 1830 as Oakland College. The college was closed during the Civil War but reopened as Chamberlain-Hunt Academy in 1879 in Port Gibson. From 1915 to 1971, Chamberlain-Hunt Academy was run as a traditional boys military prep school. In 1971, the academy began to transition into a more civilian way of life. These changes allowed females to be admitted and gave more day students the opportunity to attend. In 1996, Chamberlain- Hunt Academy was reorganized with new ownership. The new trustees and administrative team made the school all- male, all military, and mostly boarding. They also incorporated Christian values into the curriculum. Chamberlain-Hunt Academy closed its doors in 2014. The Lower River counties continue to flourish with many industrial and manufacturing plants. Anderson-Tully was founded in 1889 as a vegetable crate manufacturer in Benton Harbor, Michigan. Shortly after, operations moved to Vicksburg. The Vicksburg location is a shipping hub that utilizes railroad and river traffic. The river soil and long growing season allowed for a variety of hardwoods. As the company grew in recognition in the national marketplace, doors were opened for sawmill expansion. This made Anderson-Tully known worldwide. By 2006, the company managed more than 300,000 acres of timberlands in Mississippi, Arkansas, and Louisiana. The sawmill complex in Vicksburg produces 68 million feet of hardwood annually. Another mill that is located in the Lower River is Netterville Lumber Company. Fred Netterville Lumber Company began in the small community of Buffalo (eight miles north of Woodville) in 1952 when Fred Netterville returned home after college and purchased his father’s small sawmill. Fred’s son, Charlie, joined the team at Netterville Lumber in 1980 and this duo helped grow the company to its current success. After Fred passed away in 2000, Charlie took over the business and his two sons, Matthew and Seth, plan to help their father carry on the Fred Netterville Lumber tradition of excellence. Netterville Lumber offers a wide range of hardwood and lumber products, including red and white oak, ash, poplar, and cypress woods. The International Paper Mill in Vicksburg opened in 1967. The mill is located on 1,200 acres that are adjacent to the Yazoo River. The mill employs approximately 315 people and produces containerboard, linerboard used in boxes for industrial packaging, and medium corrugation inside boxes. The International Paper Mill in Vicksburg ships various products by railroads and trucks and uses outdated cottonseed inventory as a fuel source. This minimizes landfill usage in the area. In 2012, a major economic development project was completed when C Spire Wireless and Telepak Networks, Inc. opened an operations center in Meadville. C Spire Wireless is the largest privately held wireless provider in the United States and owns approximately half of the complex for its customer billing operations. Telepak Networks is a full-service provider of internet, telecommunications, and PHOTO BY GREG CAMPBELL