Wednesday, June 14, 2006

The Peddler Field Phantom

Campfire, MS> Years ago a peddler would bring his wagon to Oxford every year. No one really knew his name and if they did it is lost in history . He would take the wagon road over what is known as Thacker Mountain. He would wind through the small towns of Taylor, Burgess or other little villages that are now gone. He sharpened knives, shovels, hoes and mended about anything from his wagon. He liked to cut across the mountain because in the whole country it was the only place that had a secret little herd of deer, and at this time there were no deer to be found in Lafayette county. People thought he was crazy and a liar, but he always bragged about the one giant buck he could feed from his hand.
One night as he slept in his wagon on the old road, he was ambushed and murdered. Thieves were looking for his hoard of gold they believed he slept on. Passersby found him near his campfire and since no one knew of any family, they buried him in a little open field there and it was known from then on as Peddlers Field. This should be the end of the story but as the years went by rumors spread that the field did not grow up in trees and brush, and that a giant buck deer was seen over and over beside the old grave of the Peddler. Many people came to believe that his spirit had gone into the deer and the old peddler haunted the mountain.
Time moved on and 50 years or so went by. The wagon road was abandoned and the mountain became even wilder until Hershel Howell started deer hunting in the area. He had been raised at Burgess, hunted squirrels and quail before anyone hunted deer in Lafayette County. He knew the country well. He also knew the story of the peddler and where the field was. Years later, he had heard the rumors of a giant buck on the mountain from the old families that he still knew there. During scouting trips he found sign of the gigantic buck and set out to hunt him. It took years of patience, maneuvering and superior hunting skills over the mountain that turned into a total respect between the two warriors, and finally the big buck was right under him and a
perfect shot from a .264 brought him down on a cold winter morning. He says a mist rose from the deer in the shape of an old man and looked at him, then, wafted away as the big buck grew still. Who knows? The Peddler Field Phantom is proudly hung on the wall in his office if you ever get the chance to go by there.

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