The "Peavine" branch of the Yazoo and Mississippi Valley Railroad met the Memphis to Vicksburg mainline at this site. From the late 1890s through the 1930s, the "Peavine" provided reliable transportation for bluesmen among the plantations of the Mississippi Delta. Charley Patton made the branch famous through his popular "Pea Vine Blues."
Peavine Branch Prior to the late 1800s, most of the Mississippi Delta region was covered by swamps, thick forests, and canebrakes. Early plantations were established in areas less prone to flooding, and lumber companies used the Delta’s waterways to transport their products to the Mississippi River and on to distant destinations. However, these efforts were complicated by flooding, seasonal shifts in water levels, and the need for expensive dredging.
A solution came in the form of railways, which were first introduced in the 1870s and criss-crossed the Delta by the early 1890s.The railway system allowed cotton production to flourish, with many plantations served by small lines. One of these was the Kimball Lake Branch, known locally as the "Peavine
The line ran from Dockery Plantation, where Patton lived, and then ten miles west to Boyle, where it connected with the "Yellow Dog" (the local slang name for the Y&MV line), which led to Cleveland and points beyond. The term "peavine" was commonly used for railways that followed indirect routes, resembling the vines of the pea plant. Wisconsin-based Paramount Records’ advertising department used a drawing of an actual pea plant to promote Patton's record.
"Pea Vine Blues" is one of many blues songs about railways–a popular metaphor for escape as well as the primary means by which African Americans left the South during the Great Migration. The song’s meaning was clear to Delta residents, but obscure to others. Patton's song inspired other recordings on the "peavine" theme by artists including John Lee Hooker, Big Joe Williams, Mississippi Fred McDowell, Charlie Musselwhite, and Rory Block, among others. The leading Japanese blues record company named itself P-Vine Special in 1975 and reissued all of Patton's recordings on CD in 1992.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Arts, Letters, Music • Railroads & Streetcars. In addition, it is included in the Mississippi Blues Trail 🎶 series list.
Location. 33° 42.248′ N, 90° 43.612′ W. Marker is in Boyle, Mississippi, in Bolivar County. Marker is at the intersection of T M Jones Highway (Mississippi Route 446) and North Tims Street, on the right when traveling west on T M Jones Highway. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Boyle MS 38730, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 3 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Amzie Moore (approx. 2˝ miles away); Amzie Moore Home (approx. 2˝ miles away); The Cleveland Depot (approx. 2.7 miles away); Hill Demonstration School (approx. 2.8 miles away); Delta Blues Inspires W.C. Handy (approx. 2.8 miles away); David R. Bowen (approx. 2.8 miles away); The Enlightenment of W. C. Handy (approx. 2.8 miles away); Bolivar County Veterans Memorial (approx. 2.8 miles away).
Credits. This page was last revised on December 5, 2020. It was originally submitted on November 20, 2020, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. This page has been viewed 39 times since then. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on November 20, 2020, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. 4. submitted on December 5, 2020, by Tim Fillmon of Webster, Florida.