Mississippi Moment: Remembering Gordon Cotton

Mississippi Moment

VICKSBURG, Miss. (WJTV) – Gordon Cotton of Vicksburg passed away recently. He was the long-time curator of the Old Courthouse Museum and an endless source of story material.

Gordon and I grew to be good friends over the decades. The very first time I called him was to see if he would take me to one of the last surviving siege caves in Vicksburg, so I could do a story about it. I had never met him and never talked to him before, and he didn’t own a television at the time, so he didn’t know me. He had been working about three weeks straight every day of the week and was about to have his first day off that Saturday, and it was the day I wanted to go see the cave.

Gordon told me very quickly that there would be very few reasons that would get him to come back into town on his first day off in nearly a month. Going tramping through the bushes and climbing hills to find a crumbling cave wasn’t one of the reasons that interested him.

Over time, we laughed a lot about that first phone conversation. As far as being helpful, any time I ever called Gordon, he was most helpful.

I would ask a question about something I was working on, and he would start off every conversation saying, “Well, I don’t know every much about it, but…,” and then 45 minutes later, he’d still be telling you what it was he ‘didn’t’ know.

Gordon was a historian, a teacher, a write, a fan of sacred harp singing and relished the best of the hold days. He had a thousand stories, several of which you’ve seen over the years either on 12 News, Mississippi Roads, Public Broadcasting or read in the Vicksburg newspaper.

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