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Tutwiler, Mississippi is a small town in northwestern Tallahatchie County, Mississippi. The community was named for Tom Tutwiler, a railroad engineer, who made his headquarters seven miles northwest of Sumner, around which the town was developed. The first building in Tutwiler was a two-story railroad depot, the upper floor of which was used as a public school. Soon afterward, H.B. Fitch build and ran a store nearby, while his wife ran the school. The town was incorporated in 1905. The Illinois Central Railroad crossed at Tutwiler, running from Yazoo City to Lambert, and the company built a railroad yard in Tutwiler. A high school was constructed in 1928, and the town enjoyed a short period of rapid growth until 1929 when the Illinois Central Railroad moved its railroad yard to Clarksdale. Compounded by the Great Depression, this began a period of decline that lasted a few decades. Since 1970, the town has been experiencing steady growth, however. Reportedly, Tutwiler is where W.C. Handy discovered the Blues in 1903, while on a train platform in town. Legend has it that he heard an itinerant Bluesman playing slide guitar and singing about “goin’ where the Southern cross the Dog,” a reference to the junction of the Southern Railway and the Yazoo and Mississippi Valley Railroad, farther south. A Mississippi Blues Trail marker was erected on the site in 2009. Tutwiler was also the home of the Blues musician, Frank Stokes. In northwestern Mississippi, Tutwiler is seventy miles south of Memphis Tennessee. Nearby communities include Baltzer, Claremont, Counts, Dublin, Longstreet, Mattson, Minot, Rome, Roundaway, Sumner, and Webb. Clarksdale, Mississippi is fifteen miles north-northwest of Tutwiler.

 

 

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