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Books donated to the library offer glimpse of long-ago time

A turn-of-the-20th century murder and subsequent local trial are central events in a book recently donated to the Lincoln County Public Library by the wife of the late author.

Barbara Rushing of Shreveport, La., said her late husband Troy E. Rushing’s book, “Hominy Ridge,” begins with a murder that took place in a community near Brookhaven and also goes on to cover the trial that followed in the early 1900s in the city. The trial drew crowds to Brookhaven, Barbara Rushing said.

The book follows its central character, Zaddie Chisholm, wife of the murdered Bill Chisholm. As her story unfolds. Zaddie deals with tragedy and works to find new strength and courage.

Although some of the events in the book are historical, the story is a fictionalized account. “Troy’s great-grandfather William Rushing’s daughter’s husband was the one murdered. Troy did not use her real name; the name Zaddie was his own grandmother’s name,” Barbara explained.

“He just used the murder as the takeoff for developing a story with characters of his own making. Two of his grandsons are in the book as well as his nephew, who was the prosecuting attorney for the trial. So it does not follow the real people,” Barbara said.

“He received a great deal of joy writing Hominy Ridge and developing the characters …. He was proud of his ancestors from that area of Mississippi.”

In addition to two copies of “Hominy Ridge,” Barbara Rushing also donated two copies of her husband’s life story, “Hupcap Biscuits and Corncob Wars,” published in 2006. He completed “Hominy Ridge” on Oct. 4, 2008, and looked forward to it being widely read, she said. He died three weeks later.

“He knew during the two years of writing that he was dealing with his own death,” Barbara said. “He had to write lying down with a computer he built over him.”

Troy Rushing was born in 1935 in rural Winnsboro in Franklin Parish, La., living through tough economic times. He graduated from Baskin High School and attended Louisiana State University on a basketball scholarship. He worked 30 years as a senior research chemist for Pennzoil.

The author’s wife donated two copies of each of his books to the library in April in her husband’s memory. Both books also are available on www.amazon.com as well as digital download.

Barbara said she visited Brookhaven last year to do some genealogy research, and “a man I met in the library there … gave me directions to go out to Hominy Ridge east of Brookhaven; but I didn’t get to do that yet.

“Troy would be so pleased just to know that folks in that area got to read the story.”