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At Dockery Plantation, the real home of the blues

Dockery Plantation, between Cleveland and Ruleville, Mississippi on state Highway 8, was established in 1895. It is and will be historically remembered as a major dissemination point for the blues, at its beginnings. Charley Patton lived there, and a number of musicians who learned directly from him learned there or in that area. The plantation headquarters is largely intact and is being preserved, and the store is being restored. With a state Blues Trail Marker by the back building (below), it invites folks to walk through the main buildings.

These are some iphone photos from a bright late-March day.

 

5 comments to At Dockery Plantation, the real home of the blues

  • Scott Barretta

    The service station in the top photo has been respectfully restored over the last couple years by Bill Lester, a professor of art at Delta State who lives on the grounds of Dockery. Both the large Coke sign in the top middle of the facade and the gas pumps were originally from Dockery, though had ended up in other hands over the years; Bill was diligent in tracking them down. The other signs, including ones you can’t see, are also from the same era.

    The inside of that building, which housed the business office, still contains many original pieces of vintage office machinery and decor, and another room is now equipped with kitchen equipment donated by Viking Range. The restoration is being supervised by the non-profit Dockery Foundation, who intend to turn the office/service station into a visitor’s center. It’s already being used for meetings and in at least one instance a book signing.

  • Scott Barretta

    Here’s the link for the Blues Trail marker at Dockery: http://www.msbluestrail.org/blues-trail-markers/birthplace-of-the-blues

    In nearby Boyle there’s a marker for the Peavine railroad, which stopped at Dockery, and was celebrated by Charley Patton.

    http://www.msbluestrail.org/blues-trail-markers/peavine

  • Scott Barretta

    Here’s a video and lyrics to Patton’s Pea Vine Blues

    I think I heard the Pea Vine when it blowed
    I think I heard the Pea Vine when it blowed
    It blow just like my rider gettin’ on board

    Well, the levee sinkin’, you know I, baby…
    (spoken: Baby, you know I can’t stay!)
    The levee is sinkin’, Lord, you know I cannot…
    I’m goin’ up the country, mama, in a few more days

    Yes, you know it, she know it,
    she know you done done me wrong
    Yes, you know it, you know it,
    you know you done done me wrong
    Yes, you know it, you know it,
    you know you done done me wrong

    Yes, I cried last night and I ain’t gonna cry anymore
    I cried last night an’ I, I ain’t gonna cry anymore
    ‘Cause the good book tells
    us you’ve got to reap just what you sow

    Stop your way o’ livin’ an’ you won’t…
    (spoken: You won’t have to cry no more, baby!)
    Stop your way o’ livin’ an’ you won’t have to cry anymore
    Stop your way o’ livin’ an’ you won’t have to cry anymore

    I think I heard the Pea Vine when it blowed
    I think I heard Pea Vine when it blowed
    She blowed just like she wasn’t gonna blow no more

  • a friend of the law

    The last photos depicts an area used as a stage, upon which blues musicians (such as Charlie Patton) would perform for the community residing on and near the Dockery Plantation. I am told it was the site of many gatherings/parties during that early blues era.

  • Cbalducc

    My cousin Joe Alan Sherwood helped painted the old general store before he died of cancer in 2010.
    The gravel road leading south of Dockery was built on the old Peavine railroad right-of-way. I knew a man (now deceased) who remembered seeing a train there. The railroad was abandoned in the early 1930s. God bless.

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