THE CAPITAL AREA 225 Area residents felt from state Democrats. The political strength of small farmers in the Capital Area persisted as agriculture remained the dominant source of wealth and income well into the twentieth century. By the 1910s, Copiah County was the leading tomato producer in the state. Tomato clubs in the area encouraged young women to educate themselves on efficient production and preservation methods. Agriculture remained critical in other counties as well. In 1920, Yazoo had farm property within its boundaries that totaled $23,015,000, while cash crops totaled $6.8 million. Diversification in health, industry, and transportation also made robust contributions to economic development in the state and placed the Capital Area within wider streams of progressive change. Labor patterns in the Capital Area soon connected Mississippians with national reform movements. Yarn mills in Yazoo County, for example, drew attention in 1911 when photojournalist Lewis Hine reported that a majority of the workers were under the age of sixteen. Under the directive of the National Child Labor Committee, Hines’s images helped galvanize the national child labor reform movement, which culminated in the passage of the 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act. Jackson experienced dramatic growth during the first two decades of the twentieth century. Its population tripled between 1900 and 1910. Undeveloped land between the downtown center and the State Insane Asylum filled in during those ten years and expanded Jackson’s residential and business communities well beyond downtown. Property values increased, and when a new capitol building opened in 1903 there was serious discussion about shuttering or demolishing the old capitol and selling the now-valuable land. Instead, in 1906, the legislature agreed to lease the building to the Mississippi Industrial Exposition Company to use the site for a state fair. For six years, the old capitol served as fairgrounds for only one week in late October or early November. Rooms in the Capitol served as music and exhibit halls. Once the lease expired in 1912, the building was abandoned and fell into disrepair. The growth of state agencies, however, required more office space than the new capitol building could accommodate. To meet the needs of a rapidly expanding government, the state legislature approved renovation of the old building in 1916, thus preserving it for future generations. Despite some economic progress in the Capital Area, however, it mostly remained steeped in poverty throughout the early decades of the twentieth century. Malnutrition, contagious diseases, and poor sanitation WITCH OF YAZOO When much of Yazoo City burned to the ground in 1904, residents blamed the fire on the “Witch.” The legend of the Witch of Yazoo continues to haunt the Yazoo City cemetery, as a grave with chains around it attracts many visitors during the year. Locals say the witch was a woman who had been luring fishermen to their deaths. She sank to her death in quicksand after warning the sheriff that she would return in twenty years to carry out her revenge on the townspeople. The fire occurred twenty years later. Though reports say the fire started in the kitchen of a bride preparing food for her wedding, locals claim it was the witch. Legend also has it that when all the chains around the witch’s grave break, she will return to exact revenge on the town once more. The Witch of Yazoo became famous in Willie Morris’s book published in 1971, Good Old Boy. Willie Weaks Morris was born in 1934 in Jackson and moved to Yazoo City when he was six years old. Morris started his career as an independent writer after he resigned from his job at Harper’s Magazine in 1971. His writings deal with his life experiences in the south. He has written many books, including North Toward Home, Yazoo, Good Old Boy, My Dog Skip, and The Last of the Southern Girls. Three of his books have been made into movies. JoAnne Prichard Morris married Willie Morris in 1990. Willie died in 1999 and his wife published his book Taps posthumously. PHOTO COURTESY OF JACK BALES