Sunday, November 30, 2008
Saturday, November 29, 2008
Another light cruiser, the USS Birmingham was ordered to assist the Princeton, but efforts to save the ship were in vain as fires continued to burn and reach the cache of torpedo warheads. A huge explosion erupted just five hours after the initial hit, and 903 sailors were killed, most of them on board the Birmingham which suffered extensive damage itself. Finally, orders were given to scuttle the Princeton.
Papaw recalled the tragedy several years later in the safety of his living room. A destroyer, the USS Irwin, was called upon to torpedo the Princeton after it was determined that the ship could not be saved. The first torpedo fired by the Irwin missed the Princeton entirely. So did the second one. When the third one was fired, it ran true for several yards toward the Princeton before making a U-turn back toward the Irwin. Papaw showed us with his hands how the erratic the torpedo was and said that the Irwin had to outrun its own torpedo. His own ship and others had to manuveur violently to evade the errant torpedo.
Friday, November 28, 2008
My grandfather was thirty-one years old with a wife and three young daughters when he walked to Fulton from his home in Peaceful Valley to enlist in the Navy on February 2, 1944. Fessie was home on break from his work in the shipyards of Mobile, Alabama. By the end of the month, he was in Navy "boot camp" in Bainbridge, Maryland and by mid-May Fessie was in the Pacific participating in airstrikes against Japanese strongholds.
I can't help but wonder what went through his mind as he traveled by train and bus, and then later by ship, to places he had never seen or ever thought about seeing. Our country asked a lot of men like Fessie . They left the comfort of their homes and families, experienced the atrocities of war, and returned home to business as usual to pick up their lives right where they left off.
Like many other mothers, Ethel Dee Sloan Pennington, had more than one son to worry over during World War II. In addition to Fessie, his brothers Gaylord and Frelon also fought in the war.
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Fisher D. Johnson and
Nora Thornton Johnson
Fisher's nephew, Randal Owens, told us that Fisher's middle initial stood for "Demarcus" which is probably correct since Fisher's son Julius has a middle name of Marcus.
As for Nora's name, it was actually pronounced Norie. Cousin Randal has a story about her name too. Seems she and Fisher got into an argument with Fisher implying that Nora wasn't as smart as he was. Nora said, well you're so smart you didn't even know my real name when we got married. What is your real name, Fisher asked. Toliethel, she replied. Fisher, who apparently had quite a wit, said, "Well, if I'd known your name was Toliethel, I wouldn't have married you."
I'm not sure if Toliethel was Nora's real name. Most records, including social security, show only Nora, but the 1930 census lists her as Nora E. Maybe her name was Nora Ethel?
Fisher was a playful, fun-loving character in contrast to the serious-minded Nora.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Uncle Millard was a sweet, gentle person like most Mills men. He was the oldest child of Jesse Thomas Mills and Onady Randolph, born January 24, 1905. Since Millard looks to be about 8-10 years old in this picture then it is possible that the baby could be Clinton, Burl or Herschel, his youngest siblings (just guessing).
Millard married Syble Johnson, daughter of Fisher D. Johnson and Nora Thornton, on November 6, 1927. When he died on February 8, 1991 he was buried in the cemetery at Jones Chapel outside of Nettleton, Mississippi where he had lived and worshiped for many years.
There is something about Millard in this photo that reminds me of my husband's boyhood photos, not too surprising since everyone says that Millard and his brother Henry looked a lot alike.
Monday, November 24, 2008
The little girls on the front row are Margie Mills, Vera Mae Mills, and Judy Mills.
Standing in the rear are Ruby Mills, Charles Mills, Etoye Johnson, Eldred Mills, Paul Mills and Buster whose last name I do not know.
Etoye Johnson actually is a granddaughter, not a great-grandaughter, being the youngest child of Nora Thornton and Fisher D. Johnson. Margie, Judy, Ruby, Charles and Eldred are children of Millard Mills and Syble Johnson while Vera Mae and Paul belong to Henry Mills and Glader Johnson. Millard and Henry Mills were brothers who married sisters Syble and Glader.
Grandma Thornton was born July 30, 1857 to James C. Griffin and Sarah E. "Sallie" Evans. She married John T. Thornton, son of Green B. and Mary Thornton, on December 23, 1874. Betty died May 2, 1952 and is buried at Sandy Springs Cemetery.
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Lawrence Evans Robinson, front, with Mautimer Robinson. Although Mautimer was four years older than Lawrence, he was Lawrence's uncle. This picture was likely taken before the two young men were drafted for World War I. Lawrence didn't return from the war, instead he died in France in 1918.
Lawrence Evans Robinson was born October 13, 1896 and died November 16, 1918. Mautimer Dewitt Robinson, Sr. was born October 1, 1892 and died March 31, 1975. Both men were raised at Tremont which is where this photo was most likely taken. Mautimer was married to Annie Maye Stone, daughter of William Gayland Stone and Mary Pearl Evans. Annie Maye was my first cousin, twice removed, through the Evans family, while Mautimer was my great-great uncle through the Robinson family. A double connection to this family!
Friday, November 21, 2008
It is believed that Clayton was referring to a Broadhead Skink. A University of Georgia website indicates that these skinks are sometimes called scorpions and mistakenly thought to have venomous sting. Broadhead skinks are not extinct although perhaps the skinks that Clayton saw were of a different, larger variety that are now extinct.
How would you like one of these to drop out of tree on you?
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Buried here with I.C.A. Northington are his wife, Arminda, and daughters Mary and Cederah.
I.C.A. Northington was born in 1821 in North Carolina. His family came to Alabama around 1836, settling around Sipsey Creek in present-day Lamar County. This is where I.C.A. and his wife, Arminda C. Lockridge, were living when the War Between the States broke out. The Northingtons supported the Confederancy and somehow incurred the wrath of Union sympathizers. The family of Andrew Jackson Northington had their home and livestock destroyed. I.C.A. Northington took his family and fled north to the secluded Bull Mountain hills near Shottsville, hoping to escape the hostilities. Unfortunately, a band of Tories found the family and murdered them.
True story or not? I found the story in a couple of different publications, most notably Lamar County, Alabama, A History to 1900 by Rose Marie Smith. The date of death on I.C.A.'s tombstone is January 19, 1863 while the date of death on his wife and daughters' tombstones is August 8, 1863. So if the tombstones are correct, the family did not die together. Of course, we've all seen instances were tombstones were wrong. What is true, however, is that the people of Marion and Fayette counties (Lamar was not yet a county) were sharply divided over the war, and these sentiments often led to violence. It truly was a civil war, brother against brother.
I.C.A.'s tombstone has the following inscription: "God in his wisdom has recalled, though the body moulders here, the soul is safely in heaven." Arminda's tombstone appears to read the same. Three surviving children were raised by family members, including a son Henry who is buried at Mt. Pleasant Methodist Cemetery in Itawamba County.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
What a piece of history that Jesse captured for us!
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Aero squadrons were initially part of the U.S. Army, organized under its Aviation Section, there being no such thing as the Air Force at that time. The first aero squadron was formed in 1913 - talk about cutting edge technology, when World War I broke out in 1914, there were no military aircraft anywhere in the world. The U.S. jumped into the conflict in 1917, but it wasn't until the following spring that it actually entered the battle zones of the war. By November, the war was over. Still, in that short period of time, the aero squadrons had downed 756 enemy aircraft and 76 enemy balloons, and Itawambian Jesse Moore played a part in those statistics.
One can just imagine what young Jesse Moore saw and experienced during his war-time service in the ground-breaking aviation branch. Actually, we don't have to imagine too much because Jesse left several photographs, now in the hands of his granddaughter, Brenda Moore Franklin, formerly of Frog Level, Itawamba County, Mississippi and now living in Oxford. Thanks to her for sharing.
Monday, November 17, 2008
Sunday, November 16, 2008
The Dulaneys were among the first white settlers to Itawamba County. Bunt's grandfather was John Dulaney who, along with his brothers Alfred and Thomas, moved into Itawamba County just after 1830, buying land ceded by the Chickasaw Indians in 1836. Most, if not all, of the Dulaneys in Itawamba County today are descended from one of these three men.
Thanks to Don Dulaney for sharing the photo with us.
Saturday, November 15, 2008
My connection to this family? Let me count the ways! Kate's father, Henry Johnson Robinson, was brother to George Emerson Robinson, my gg-grandfather. Kate's mother, Susan Florence "Sukey" Evans, was sister to John Thomas Evans, my gg-grandfather. Kate's brother, Lucian Gaines Robinson, was married to Theodoria Agnes Jane Bishop, daughter of my gg-grandfather William T. Bishop. Morman's Uncle Carroll Stone was married to Moran Parthenia Stone, sister to George Emerson Robinson, my gg-grandfather. Morman's Aunt Missouria Elizabeth Stone was married to Luther Loyd, brother to Mary Malinda "Dollia" Loyd, my great-grandmother.
Many thanks to Bettye Woodhull, granddaughter of Morman and Kate Stone, for sharing this photo.
Boy, are we connected! As Bettye said, if we keep digging up ancestors, we might discover that we are half-sisters!
Morman and Kate are pictured in front of their home in Bexar which was purchased from Ophelia Stone Moorman, widow of Dr. A. L. Moorman, sometime after Dr. Moorman died which was in 1922. The house was originally built in the 1850s and acquired by the Moormans much later. It was the Moorman family that added a front room to the house, a room that Bettye remembers quite well.
There were four windows in this room, with two of the windows having deep window sills, perfect for little girls to crawl up and play in. According to Bettye, she loved to play in these "window seats" which were duplicates of the ones found in Dr. Moorman's office. She remembers being told that the front room had been used as a "play room" for Dr. Moorman's daughters, Jessica (born 1884) and Corrine (born 1891), and this further intrigued Bettye. All of the windows and doors had heavy, carved rope moulding. The tall ceilings (12-14 feet) had a stenciled motif while the lower walls were covered in dark wood paneling.
Thanks to Bettye for sharing her memories and the photo. These are such important things to preserve.
Morman Bonaparte Stone was born April 26, 1879 to John Henry Stone and Amanda Clementine Wiginton. He died February 19, 1953. Leona Kathryn "Kate" Robinson was born May 11, 1880 to Henry Johnson Robinson and Susan Florence "Sukey" Evans. She died January 19, 1967. Both are buried at Bexar Methodist Church Cemetery.
Friday, November 14, 2008
The Cofield-Cockrell Cemetery in nearby Marion County is a small one and like many older cemeteries, not easy to get there. It involves parking and walking. That said, it is well worth seeking out. The handful of graves are situated in a small copse of trees. Moss covers several graves that are marked only by plain stones; these graves are said to belong to a black family. The only graves with substantial markers are those of the Cofield and Northington families. More about the Northington family later.
I'm not sure why the cemetery is called Cofield-Cockrell (sometimes found Cockrell-Cofield) since there are no headstones here for anyone named Cockrell. Sam Cofield's wife was Zilpha Cockrell, daughter of Tobias and Abigail Cockrell, and I've speculated that perhaps they are buried here in unmarked graves. (FYI: A couple of Tobias's brothers, Jordan and Elum, lived across the state line over in Itawamba County.) Zilpha's obituary from 1900 indicates that the cemetery was formerly known as Shady Grove.
Unfortunately, this is one of those cemeteries that will require regular maintenance to prevent it from being overtaken by the surrounding woods. Cousin Hunter Stone has been responsible for most of the upkeep in recent years. Hunter's mother was Ruby Cofield Stone, daughter of John R. and Dollia Cofield. Ruby grew up in Tremont and married Hugh Stone.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
My great-grandfather was John Richard Cofield whose tombstone is pictured here. Both he and my great-grandmother, Dollia Loyd Cofield, died while quite young, leaving five small orphans one of whom was my grandmother, Pearl Cofield Robinson.
John and Dollia (pronounced Dollie) were both raised in the Bull Mountain area of Marion County, near the Itawamba County line. Dollia's parents were Isham and Rachel Loyd whose pictures were posted earlier on this blog. John attended Birmingham Dental College where he received his degree in 1900, and shortly thereafter the young family moved to Hackleburg, and subsequently to Haleyville, where John practiced as a dentist. As you can tell from his tombstone, John died in 1910 when he was 35 years old. Family lore indicates that it was kidney disease that killed him. His obituary provided that he had been suffering for two years before his death, and the doctor treating him said that in his thirty years of experience he hadn't witnessed anything like it.
John and Dollia are buried in the Cofield-Cockrell Cemetery near Shottsville in Marion County. This cemetery is located not far from the old Cofield homeplace, presumably on what was land belonging to Sam Cofield, John's father. John has a beautiful stone marker that depicts various church steeples at the top with an open Bible. The inscription on the marker reads, "He has gone from his dear ones, his children, his wife & Sam, he willingly toiled for, and loved as his life. Oh God: how mysterious and how strange are thy ways, to take from us this loved one in the best of his days."
Although I can't say for certain, I believe that Isham Loyd, John's father-in-law, wrote this poignant verse.
Dollia died a couple of years later in 1912 with an official cause of death listed as pellagra (that's a post for another day!) but her daughter Ruby said it was from a broken heart. After Dollia died, the five Cofield orphans were divided up. The two boys went to live with their grandfather Sam Cofield while the three girls moved to Itawamba County to live with their aunt, Vannah Cofield Harbor, who lived at Tremont. My grandmother was not quite six years old at the time of her mother's death, and I've often wondered about the impact such a tragedy had on her and her siblings.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Newburg Cemetery is a tiny cemetery located along Highway 19.
Isham's obituary in the Marion County newspaper reads as follows:
"On last Sunday night at the home of his son Luther Loyd in South Hamilton, Isom J. Loyd passed to his final reward. He was born on January 23, 1831, and died November 7, 1915. He was married to Rachel Young on October 12, 1858. He leaves three children, Luther Loyd, Mrs. J. L. Shotts and Mrs. J.A. Davis, and several grandchildren. Mr. Loyd lived the greater part of his life on his farm on Bull Mountain, but after the death of his wife some years ago he has spent most of his time in Hamilton with his son and daughter. Mr. Loyd was a man of strong convictions on all subjects, and could always give a good reason for the faith that was in him. To the bereaved relatives of the deceased, The News extends words of sincerest sympathy.
Funeral services were held at Newburg Church in the presence of a large crowd of sorrowing relatives and friends on Thursday."
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
1880 Census Lamar County, Alabama
John H. Young 30 MS KY AL physican
Harriet L. Young 18 AL AL AL wife
Rufus B. Cody 21 boarder, attends school
Thomas Betts 14 servant, works on farm
1900 Census Hill County, Texas
John H. Young 50 MS KY AL born Oct 1849, widowed, physician
Hattie 19 AL born Sept 1880
Maud P. 17 AL born Nov 1882
Momie E. 15 AL born July 1884
Bessie C. 14 AL born Feb 1886
Lizzie A. 12 TX born Mar 1888
Henry G. 10 TX born Jan 1890
Wanona B. 9 TX born Feb 1891
Chester G. 7 TX born Nov 1892
John D. 5 TX born Nov 1894
Etta Nichols 26 single, boarder AL AL AL born Feb 1874 (This must be the same Etta who was the wife in the next census, below.)
1910 Census Hill County, Texas
John H Young 60 MS AL AL 2nd marriage, physician, gen. practice
Etta M 36 AL KY AL wife, 1st marriage
Maud R 27 AL
Morrie E 5 AL
Elizabeth A 22 TX music teacher
Henry G 20 TX
Maud B 18 TX
Clayton G 17 TX (must be Chester)
John P 15 TX
Johnie Gilliams 27 boarder, dry goods sales lady
Allie Walden 19 servant, private family
Mable Walden 17 servant, private family
Pellie R Walden 1
1920 Census Hill County, Texas
John H Young 70 MS KY AL postmaster
Mary Young 45 AL AL AL
Maud Young 36 AL public school teacher
Momie Young 34 AL public school teacher
Blanche Young 28 TX public school teacher
Monday, November 10, 2008
Isham Loyd was a character. I never met him, of course, but that is the picture I have of the man. He and Rachel had a farm near Bull Mountain Creek in northwest Marion County, Alabama. In addition to a community store, they had a cotton mill, grist mill, flour mill, blacksmith shop, a pottery kiln, and carding factory. Isham was instrumental in obtaining a post office for Bull Mountain and served as its postmaster. He helped build a combination church and school and served as a teacher for the school and secretary for the church board.
He was active politically and a regular contributor of many long articles to the county newspaper, The Marion Herald. His articles were very often quite lengthy and never shy of an opinion. Several articles exist in old bound newspaper records found at the courthouse in Marion County. Two articles from newspaper issues on August 25, 1887 and November 10, 1887 have been found and copied. These articles are primarily diatribes against Wheelers.
Wheelers were supporters of the Agricultural Wheel, a farmer’s organization that believed agriculture represented the wheel that moved the economy. Wheelerism began in the late 1870s and early 1880s in Texas and Arkansas and quickly spread across the rural south. Its roots can be seen in the Grange society movement and its demise in the merger of the Wheel into the Farmers’ Alliance and ultimately the Populist party.
Isham wrote and spoke out against the Wheelers because of perceived failings on several points. First, Isham believed that the Wheelers weren’t being truthful in their claim that they were not a political organization. As he pointed out, had the Wheel been a pure farmer’s organization he would have approved of their efforts. Isham was particularly peeved that Wheel supporters formed alliances with the Republican party, the post-war party responsible, in his view, for high tariffs and oppressive laws. These alliances led to the defeat of many leaders of the Democratic party, a party which Isham felt better represented the poor white farmer of the south. Isham also was suspicious of the farmers’ cooperatives pushed by the Wheelers. These cooperatives purchased goods in bulk and supposedly sold them to its members at discounted prices.
The published articles reflect a well-read man who quotes from different newspapers and articles from across the nation. They indicate he was a student of history and opposed big government. He was a proponent of states’ rights and opposed Federalism, railing against former President John Adams and his alien and sedition laws. The articles also indicate Isham was a man of strong opinion and beliefs and was unafraid to give voice to them. This is a trait found in many of Isham's descendants today.
Isham and Rachel are buried at Newburg Cemetery near their former farm along County Road 19 near Bull Mountain Creek. Rachel died at the age of 74 on December 12, 1912 while Isham was 84 years old when he died November 7, 1915.
Sunday, November 9, 2008
Pictured here are grave markers that are believed to be Loyd originals. William Payne Loyd and his son William D. Loyd were potters, and they patented this unique grave marker on June 10, 1879. Most of the markers that are found in northeast Mississippi and northwest Alabama were actually manufactured by potters other than the Loyds. Those manufactured by the Loyds have the leaf symbol on the marker. For more on the Loyd markers, see Terry Thornton's blog. Bob Frank's blog has information on the patent that the Loyds obtained for their marker design.
Saturday, November 8, 2008
Friday, November 7, 2008
This photo is of Mary Pearl (Evans) Stone and her children, Fred Ray Stone, Annie Maye Stone, and Julia Grace Stone; it was likely taken about 1910 or so. Pearl Evans, the daughter of John Thomas Evans and Elizabeth Ann Bishop, married William Gayland "Willie" Stone in 1897. He died just eleven years later in 1908 at the age of 31.
Annie Maye Stone, their daughter, wrote an important family history of the Stones who settled around Tremont in Itawamba County and Shottsville of Marion County, Alabama. She was married to Mautimer Dewitt Robinson, son of George Emerson Robinson and his second wife, Virginia Alice Downum.
I am connected in two ways to this family - once through the Evans as Pearl was sister to my great-grandmother Arthusa. And again through the Robinsons - Mautimer was half-brother to my great-grandfather Gideon who was married to Arthusa. If I look a little bit harder, I bet I'd find another Itawamba connection.
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Son Webb's Store was just one of many little country stores that were scattered around Itawamba County. A close-up of the store, left, shows it during a 1974 flood. My Aunt Tootsie said that the store was prone to flooding when the Tombigbee River got out of its banks at Ironwood Bluff. She remembers wading into water in the store. Son and his wife Verna lived in the back of the store, and when the water started rising they would put as much of the merchandise that they could up on blocks.
The store served mainly as a gathering place for the community, a place to buy crackers and a coke and talk about crops and the weather. According to Aunt Tootsie, Luther Reich built the original store and Otis Reich took it over. Otis built a home across from the store that it still standing today, although not in great shape. This home replaced a much older, two story home located on the same property. The Reichs eventually closed the store, and it was re-opened at some point by Son Webb.
Son was not his real name; it was Cullin. The 1930 census shows a Cullin E. Webb, age 27, born in Oklahoma with wife Vernie and a son named J. W. Aunt Tootsie remembers other children as well: Paul Ray, Marcelle and Polly.
The store closed sometime after 1975. What I remember most is a small sign nailed to a tree outside the store. It read, "Peaceful Valley - Where the roses never fade." I'd love to have a good photograph of the store if anyone has one.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Vivian is buried at Sandy Springs Cemetery in Itawamba County.
Saturday, November 1, 2008
Pictured at left is a photo taken in the 1930s of a baptism either at Mud Creek or Bennett's Pond in northern Itawamba County. The photo was in the possession of Glader Mills, Mike's grandmother, and was graciously provided to us by Aunt Vera Mae Mills Holcomb, Glader's daughter. Vera Mae indicated that the scene was of her father Henry's baptism. Since providing us with the photo, I've learned that there are several copies out there. Upon showing it to our daughter-in-law, Jada Jamerson Mills, she immediately recognized it as being a framed photo on her grandmother's bedroom wall. This photograph is also displayed in the Sandy Springs Baptist Church fellowship hall.
For some reason, I'm thinking that the baptism took place at Mud Creek, but this conflicts with Glader's Bible, left. Her Bible indicates that her husband William Henry Mills was saved in 1939 at Sandy Springs and was baptized at Bennet's Pond. But note that Glader indicates that she was baptized at Mud Creek in 1934.
So which is it? Glader at Mud Creek in 1934? Or Henry was Bennett's Pond in 1939?
Where was Bennett's Pond?