It will always be ‘the home place’

Published 6:00 am Sunday, February 7, 2016

Tucked away in west Oxford off County Road 105 lies the West Spring Hill community that runs from Highway 6 north to almost Sardis Lake.

One of Lafayette County’s less developed areas, all you’ll find in West Spring Hill are homes, largely still owned by the original families who moved to the area in the early 1900s.

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“There was a general store but the owner, Newell Jones, he passed away about three years ago,” said Margrette Vaughn, who lives at the end of County Road 173.

“This is the home place here,” she said. Her current home was built on the property in 1973.

Vaughn’s father, Willie Robinson, owned a good bit of the land around County Road 173 at one time before the Federal Housing Authority bought a good bit of it up to build homes for the African American community.

“My grandfather owned about 100 acres,” Vaughn said. “I don’t know who he purchased it from.”

Vaughn said her family has lived in West Spring Hill since about 1923.

Like much of Lafayette County, West Spring Hill residents were largely farmers in the mid 1900s.

“We were all brought up on a farm,” Vaughn said. “We grew mostly cotton and corn. We got behind the mules and things like nobody else. Everyone who lived here farmed. Some did sharecropping.”

Vaughn, 75, said she was told County Road 173 was going to be named Robinson Road before most of the county roads were converted to the number system for the 911 system.

“They never did bring a sign out here,” she said.

Sign or no sign, most West Spring Hill residents still call it Robinson Road.

Growing up, Vaughn said there were only about three houses on her road, which is now lined with single-family homes — some trailers, some are simple concrete block homes and some are larger, more “fancy” homes.

Once just a farming community, some of the families who gained financial prosperity in later years remained in West Spring Hill.

“We all know each other,” Vaughn said. “We still got some of the older folks. A lot of them have passed now, but their children and grandchildren are still living here.”

Vaughn, one of seven siblings, still has most of her family living nearby and not many days go buy when there aren’t several children playing outside on the cul de sac, with their families barbecuing and enjoying their time together.

“See we can do that here in the county,” said Vaughn, who expressed some concern about rumors the city of Oxford may one day annex West Spring Hill. “The city got a lot more rules against cooking outside and having fires.”

Quiet neighborhood

Vaughn said her neighborhood is a quiet one, even though it has grown quite a bit over the years.

“It’s always been a quiet community,” she said. “Most everyone gets along. As we were growing up, we always took care of each other. They’d check on the sick and take care of them.”

West Spring Hill has two churches, West Spring Hill Baptist Church and Beverly United Methodist Church.

Vaughn remembers walking to both churches while growing up.

“We didn’t have automobiles back then, we’d walk and go with grandma to Beverly church,” Vaughn said.

Build a park?

Courtney Hodges grew up in West Spring Hill and even though he now lives in Taylor, he said he comes over to West Spring Hill almost daily to visit with family. He’d like to see the area get some attention from county representatives.

“We need to build a park out here,” he said. “There’s nothing for them to do.”

He would also like to see the roads paved and striped “like in the white communities.”

“They got the pretty roads with lines,” he said. “When it rains, you can’t see these roads.”

Part of County Road 105 was recently asphalted but it didn’t go all the way down the road.

“Most of the roads are just dirty, broken up, roads,” he said.

The children of West Spring Hill attend Oxford city schools even though the community is outside of the city limits.

Vaughn attended West Spring Hill School which was torn down in the 1950s.

“My brothers and sisters attended Oxford Training School,” she said.

Oxford Training School was later named Central High School.