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Released September 7, 2004

By Rebekah Ray and Daphne Alford

HATTIESBURG - A Hattiesburg automobile dealership is showcasing an antique car with an interesting past to help educate history students at The University of Southern Mississippi.

Once owned by New York hoodlum Bugsy Moriarty, the 1923 Hudson Super 6 is on display at Daniell Motors, located at 1500 Broadway Drive in Hattiesburg. The rare aluminum-bodied antique car, which bears a noticeable dent in the right front fender, is equipped with all its original parts - a wooden steering wheel, greenish-gray interior, rear privacy curtains and flower vases mounted on the inside door panels.

An article published April 24, 1974, in The Journal Era in Berrien Springs, Mich., reported the car was hidden behind a fake wall in a New York warehouse where it was discovered in near-perfect condition in 1959.

"It cranks and runs," said auto dealer Steve Daniell, who now owns the car. "It's probably was one of the most original ones left. It's never been messed with."

The family of Southern Miss doctoral student Jay Washam, who died in an automobile accident on Aug. 15, 1994, near Seminary on U.S. Hwy. 49, donated the automobile to the USM Foundation to fund the Jay Washam Award for Excellence.

"Jay knew this was going to be his car," said Dr. Clint Washam of Daphne, Ala. "After my son's death, we wanted to use it to endow a scholarship bearing his name. It was about the only material thing that was left of Jay's dreams. We're so glad it can help other scholars achieve their dreams through the study of history."

The Washam Award is given annually to a Southern Miss history student in recognition for the most scholarly dissertation. The award was originated by former department chair Dr. Orazio Ciccarelli and support has continued through present department chair Dr. Charles Bolton.

"The scholarship has been given, in small amounts, since 1997," said Bolton. "The sale of the car has endowed the scholarship and will allow the department to offer a larger award.

"We are honored to have a scholarship named for Jay Washam, a young man whose potential as a historian was tragically cut short. The endowment in his name will assist future generations of aspiring professional historians at The University of Southern Mississippi achieve their goal of obtaining a graduate degree in history."

This past July, the Washam family traveled to Hattiesburg to sign the car title over to Steve Daniell and meet the Daniell family. Daniell, his wife, Madelene, their daughter, Sarah, and her husband, Erik Piazza, are all Southern Miss alums. Their son, Breck, is a William Carey graduate.

"My family and I thought this would be a tremendous way to help future history students at the university," said Steve Daniell. "We're glad Daniell Motors can help advance the Jay Washam Award for Excellence this way."

The public is invited to view the antique car during business hours, where donor cards are available to make a donation to the endowment.

For more information or to contribute to the Jay Washam Award for Excellence, call Kristy Gould, development officer in Southern Miss' College of Arts and Letters, at (601) 266-5922.


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September 9, 2004 1:12 PM