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Fate of Po’ Monkey’s hinges on settlement of estate

By JACK WEATHERLY

There are two questions about a historic Delta juke house:

1.) Can Po’ Monkey’s work without Po’ Monkey?

2.) Can the house be moved from the cotton field where it sprang up in the rich soil and culture of the Delta?

Willie Seaberry, aka Po’ Monkey, died July 14, 2016. He had a life estate at the shack.

Seaberry’s heirs own the distinct and colorful contents in the Bolivar County shack and the equally artful signs on the outside.

The Hiter family owns the shack about a mile outside of Merigold (population roughly 400) and the land it sits on, which is part of their large farming operation.

Andrew Westerfield, attorney for the Hiter family and 45-year mayor of Merigold, said that he is simply waiting on the Seaberrys to reach a settlement.

Meantime, Merigold will hold the second blues festival on the anniversary of Seaberry’s death, which the town declared Po’ Monkey Day.

The first festival was well-attended, Westerfield said.

Preserving Po’ Monkey’s is important for the Delta culture because of the dwindling number of such places, Westerfield said. It is on the Mississippi Blues Trail, a key tourist component in the state.

Daniel Morris, attorney for the Seaberry heirs, said settlement of the estate is a matter of a few weeks away.

Park Hiter, manager of the Hiter Farms Partnership, said there has been discussion of moving the shack into Merigold.

He said any move such as awaits the estate settlement.

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