ELVIS This statue on the grounds of Elvis Presley’s birthplace in Tupelo is a life-sized portrayal of how the famous musician would have looked at age thirteen. Born into poverty, Elvis would become one of the most recognized and celebrated musicians in the world. In 1945, Elvis made his first radio appearance and when he was ten years old he won second place at a Mississippi-Alabama talent show. In 1948, Elvis moved to Memphis with his family and during July 1954, he released his first single. Elvis went on to sell more than 500 million records worldwide and helped revolutionize the music industry. His is known as the King of Rock and Roll. Elvis died from a heart attack on August 16, 1977. general for the Chickasaw cession after the Pontotoc treaty. Gordon and Bell acquired more than six hundred 640-acre sections at an average cost of $10 per section. The government’s asking price when the official bidding opened was $1.25 per acre or $800 per section, eighty times what the speculator partners had paid. Most of the good land had been sold before the government’s sale began in 1836. The Chickasaw had negotiated the right to reserve sections for members of the nation. Naturally they chose the best land, which they often sold to Bell and the agents of other dealers who plied the Chickasaw with a tide of whiskey that washed over the Chickasaw nation after the treaty in 1832. Planters seeking to relocate to Mississippi with cash bought the best land from the early operators in 1835. Companies with heavy investors in New York and Boston also participated in the government sale taking the majority of what was left. The New York and Mississippi Land Company purchased 20 percent of all the 6 million aces. The yeoman farmer or the landless migrant usually had to buy from the companies or from shrewd, connected traders such as Bell. Initially, the government had accepted the shaky paper currency that undercapitalized state banks had flooded the market with, but by the beginning of the second land sale in September, the government demanded gold or silver, which only the major out-of-state land companies had on hand. The panic of 1837 depressed the market and further reduced the likelihood that an ordinary farmer could acquire land within the former Chickasaw nation. The soil in the Northeast Corner of Mississippi did not attract most planters. Only the strip of black prairie and the bottom land along the region’s streams provided good cotton land. The land companies did not intend to lose money by selling in a depressed market so they held on to their undesirable land waiting for better times. The companies, for example, held 55 percent of the Pontotoc Ridge and 35 percent of Tishomingo County. The poor yeoman farmer, or the landless one, had three choices when they arrived in the newly opened frontier in northeast Mississippi: squat on company land that lay idle; buy the poorest land and try to wring an existence out of it; or leave. The government continued selling the least desirable land at lower prices. In 1839, a farmer could buy what the PHOTO BY GREG CAMPBELL 396 A BICENTENNIAL HISTORY OF MISSISSIPPI