History of the Office of District Attorney for the First Circuit Court District
The Alpha House
Our office is extremely fortunate to call the former Alpha House our home in Tupelo. The home was built in 1910 by M.E. Leake, who, along with R.F. Goodlett, operated Leake & Goodlett Lumber Co. The home was severely damaged in the 1936 tornado, but was one of few homes left standing, and was used as a hospital for those injured in the storm.
But the use of the turn-of-the-century home by the District Attorney’s office came from a series of unfortunate events. Tupelo’s Alpha House Home for Boys ceased to operate from the home in late March of 2013, after 40 years of dedicated service. Changes in placement preference of children away from group homes to relatives or foster care made the decision by the Alpha House board and officers unavoidable. Several items remain displayed in the home to remind us of its former use as a home for neglected boys, including a photograph of its long-time director, Jerry Clayton.
Lee County, the owner of the home, and former District Attorney Trent Kelly worked together to secure the home for use by the Office of the District Attorney.
Our Corinth Office
The Office of the District Attorney for the First Circuit court District has a rich history in Corinth. Noah S. “Soggy” Sweat, from Corinth, served as District Attorney from 1956 through 1962. In those days, the District Attorney was not full-time and the office was typically operated from the attorney’s private law practice. Sweat was a judge, law professor, and state representative as well as District Attorney, but is probably most well-known for his “Whiskey Speech” in 1952 given on the floor of the Mississippi State Legislature.
Jack Dody served as District Attorney from 1963 to 1968. Dody’s office was in Pontotoc, but the office returned to Corinth when Neal Biggers became District Attorney in 1968 and served until 1975, at which time he went to the Circuit Court Bench as Judge. Biggers was later appointed to a seat on the United States District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi by President Ronald Reagan.
Glen H. Davidson served as interim District Attorney in 1975 and was later nominated by President Reagan to the United States District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi in 1985.
Johnny Young from Corinth was elected District Attorney in 1975 and maintained an office in Corinth during his entire tenure through 2011.
Trent Kelly was elected District Attorney in 2011 and served until June of 2015 when he was elected to the United States House of Representatives in a special election. John Weddle was appointed interim District Attorney at that time and was elected in November, 2015. Trent Kelly Maintained an office in Corinth as does John Weddle to this day.
- Parsons, Ginna (2011, April 5). Houses with history: 1936 tornado destroyed, damaged many older homes. Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal
- Elkins, Chris (2012, December 10). Alpha House Home for Boys in Tupelo to close doors next year. Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal