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John McCain's Natchez memories, Mississippi roots recalled
from Staff Reports - NEWS
August 29, 2018 - ListenUpYall.com

By John Mott Coffey

NATCHEZ, Miss. – Mayor Darryl Grennell and the Board of Aldermen paid tribute Tuesday to John McCain, who has family roots in north Mississippi and expressed fond memories of visiting Natchez as a child.

In his 1999 memoir “Faith of My Fathers,” McCain noted that his family when he was young took cross-country trips to “locations that offered a site of historical significance” or natural beauty. One of those places was Natchez.

“I recall being greatly impressed with Carlsbad Caverns, the Grand Canyon,… the high bluffs and Civil War history of Natchez, Mississippi” and other travel spots, McCain wrote. “They were all memorable events in my childhood, and I recall them today with gratitude.”

Grennell acknowledged this as he and Natchez aldermen held a moment of silence in McCain’s honor at the outset of Tuesday’s city board meeting. He was “a true statesman,” Grennell said.

The U.S. senator from Arizona and 2008 Republican nominee for president died Saturday at age 81.

The son and grandson of Navy admirals, McCain lived in many places as a child while his father served various military assignments. However, his family roots in Mississippi go back deep to 1848, according to information provided by McCain’s book and his 2008 presidential campaign.

His admiral grandfather – John McCain Sr. – grew up in Carroll County and attended the University of Mississippi. While the elder McCain went on to the U.S. Navy Academy and never returned to Mississippi to live, his grandson paid visits to the old family home.

“As a young boy, I spent a couple of summers in Mississippi visiting my Uncle Joe,” McCain said in 2008. “My father’s naval career required us to move frequently, but here I could imagine what it must have been like for the McCains who came before me to be so connected to one place.”

McCain’s old family home was Tetoc plantation in Carroll County. He recalled “many happy summer days in outdoor recreation on the property.”

In “Faith of My Fathers,” McCain noted family members served in Mississippi’s Confederate army during the Civil War after the state seceded from the Union to preserve slavery. While his family was tied to the South, McCain wrote that he didn’t consider himself a southerner.

“Despite my Confederate ancestors and my family’s Southern origins, my heritage was perceived as rootless and not particularly distinguished – a perception confirmed by my conspicuous lack of a Southern accent.”

There are two military facilities in Mississippi called McCain.

Meridian Naval Air Station’s field is named after the late senator’s grandfather, an admiral who led an aircraft-carrier fleet during World War II. The younger McCain served at Meridian NAS as a flight instructor in the 1960s.

Camp McCain in Grenada County is a National Guard base named after Henry McCain, the senator’s great-great uncle and the Army general credited with organizing the first-ever military draft in World War I.

 




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