150 A BICENTENNIAL HISTORY OF MISSISSIPPI The Carters purchased thirty hogs and a few head of cattle and settled into a life of farming and herding, which typified the life of the early settlers in the region. By 1822 the farm produced both corn and cotton, the two main crops of the region. The Carter’s property was along the more fertile river bottomlands, which made the land more productive than the sandy soil, which covered a majority of the rolling hills of the Piney Woods. The selection of this property allowed them to participate in an evolving market economy by growing the two most marketable crops in the region. Corn was the most important crop in the Piney Woods, planted in large quantities across the state and throughout the South. The great advantage of corn was its versatility; it served both as a subsistence crop for food for people and livestock and as a cash crop. Corn had a multitude of uses for the antebellum household. As a foodstock, corn was prepared in a variety of ways and was a staple of the Southern diet. Fresh sweet corn was eaten after roasting the ears, or the kernels could be scraped off the cob to produce cut corn or creamed corn. Corn could be ground into cornmeal or grits for consumption or turned into mash to produce corn whiskey. Antebellum residents utilized the shucks and cobs of the corn as well. Shucks served as dolls GOLDEN EAGLES In 1910, the Mississippi legislature founded Mississippi Normal College as the state’s first tax-supported teacher’s training school. The school’s five original buildings were constructed on 120 acres of cut-over timberland in Hattiesburg. Its first class in 1912 consisted of 227 taught by seventeen faculty members. In 1940, the name was changed to Mississippi Southern College. In 1962, it became the University of Southern Mississippi. The nickname “Golden Eagles” was adopted for the athletic teams in 1972. PHOTO BY GREG CAMPBELL