Travelling by Trolley in Mississippi: Summit-McComb

Today’s post is Chapter 10 in our series re-printing Frank Brooks’ “Travelling by Trolley in Mississippi: Stories about Streetcars,” originally published in 1983. View other posts in the series at the “Streetcars” tab.


Mississippi’s streetcar lines included a small operation in the McComb area. A letter from Mr. C.H. Douglas, mayor of McComb, November 25, 1960, states that streetcars operated between McComb and Godbold’s Wells, located east of Summit. He said the cars traveled from downtown McComb on North Broadway, crossed the Illinois Central tracks, pass through Summitt, and turned east to Godbold’s Wells. I gather an extension was also begun southward to Fernwood and Magnolia, but this was World War I, which stopped all further progress, and probably stopped the motor line, too. Summit Sentinel, July 7, 1910: “The Motor Line works to perfection. July 4th the crowd was handsomely transported from Summit over the lines of the motor line.”

According to the Centennial issue of the Summit Sun, April 10, 1958, (presented to the Texas Division by Mary Dawson Cain, editor): Godbold’s Wells, Summit’s famous watering place, was chartered in 1873 under the name “Summit Mineral Wells Co.,” and many tales are told of it, including the picture showing Frank James, brother of Jesse James, who lectured there before an audience of 8,000 people on July 4, 1910.” Another “tale told” concerns, who dumped 500 pounds of Epson salt and 3,000 pounds of rusty scrap iron into a third well? Instant mineral water! (This was told to us as the truth.)

My efforts to acquire additional information about the McComb area operation have met with practically no success.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Frank A. Brooks, Jr. has loved trains and streetcars for as long as he can remember.  He and his wife Jo Anne are parents of 2 children and grandparents of 4.  During his active ministry of  43 years in the Presbyterian Church he served in Kentucky, Mississippi, Virginia and Arkansas.  In retirement, Dr. and Mrs. Brooks live in her hometown Corinth, MS.

Categories: Architectural Research, McComb, Summit

5 replies

  1. I am starting a new Mississippi magazine with a historical theme. Part of the first issue addresses Prospect Hill. I would like to use one of your photos if you don’t mind. Of course I would give you credit


  2. I have a picture of my uncle Kit Dalton on July 4 1910 along with Frank James and Ted Blackmore at the introduction on July 4 1910 Summit Mississippi.

    My e mail is :


  3. recently acquired an old restaurant menu titled “Godbold Wells”. “Where you get good things to eat at popular prices”. So I think the assumed name of Godbold’s Well might be inaccurate. It also has with it what may be a round trip trolley car 25 cent ticket, “McComb City to Godbold Wells”. It is rectangular and pink in color. A roast beef “sanwich” was only 15 cents! Bring back the good old days!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Dr. Brooks – or, more precisely, his source – refers to “streetcars” but does not state whether the Summit and McComb Motor Line used electric streetcars (“trolleys”) or “something else.” Evidence suggests that it was “something else.”

    A “WikiTree” biography of Dr. Valentine (“Vol”) Simmons (1871 – 1948) mentions that he was one of three “joint owners” of the motor line, and the resort.

    (URL: ; the information about the motor line is credited to the web page of the McComb City Railroad Depot Museum; URL:

    The WikiTree page includes a link to a newspaper photograph, “Driving First Spike” (URL: ; click to enlarge.) This photo has an inset, showing a train – that appears to consist of two old horsecars pulled by a small steam locomotive (far left).

    Neither the “First Spike” photo nor the “train” inset shows any trace of an overhead contact system (no surprise in the case of the “First Spike” photo).

    In addition, “Motor Line” was a term used during the late 19th and early 20th centuries to describe local rail lines worked by small steam locomotives (another term was “Dummy Line”). I have never seen a reference to an electric streetcar company that used the phrase “Motor Line” in its company title.

    The Summit and McComb Motor Line was, apparently, not included in the U.S. Census Bureau’s 1912 survey of U.S. street railways. My estimate of annual passenger traffic ca. 1912 was “very roughly” 10,000 per year.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. When i was a pre-teen, i was told by Frank Witchman,
    Summit barber, that as a kit, playing in his day’s barber shop, that the James Brothers came there for haircuts.


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