Tuesday, March 14, 2017


Sharkey County, Mississippi

In the book It Came from Memphis,  Robert Gordon forwards one explanation behind the band name for Tav Falco and the Panther Burns: 
“The band’s name reflected the lore surrounding Panther Burn, Mississippi.  This town was menaced by an elusive wild beast that, when finally cornered, was set aflame.  Its dying shrieks so horrified the citizens that they named the community for it.  The moniker was appropriate for” Tav Falco’s assembly of musicians, The Panther Burns.
It's not clear where this lore came from--perhaps the mind of Falco himself--but below is some historical information regarding the actual naming of the town.

Population in 1987: About 100 families

Industry: Panther Burn Co., a plantation with about 6,500 acres of farmland growing cotton, soybeans, rice and wheat. The plantation employs 60 to 150 people, depending on the season.

Settled: 1832 Government: The area is not incorporated so there is no local governing board. The area is under the jurisdiction of the Sharkey County Board of Supervisors.

Name derivation: There are several theories on how the community got its name. Some believe panthers once roamed in great numbers in the woods. When the area was cleared for farming, panthers were seen running from the burning piles of trees. In some reports, panthers were killed in the fires. Others believe the community received the name because of the numerous panthers in the area and because "burn" in the Scottish dialect can mean swampy.

Of Note: The last reported panther sighting near here was about five years ago by farmers. 

(Jackson, MS) Clarion Ledger, Nov 1, 1987.