Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Year's Eve

You may remember the post from just a few days ago about Rook-playing traditions. Here is a picture from a New Year's Eve several years ago, but this card game looks more like the card game of Thirty-one, also called Knock. We had a family tradition of gathering at Big Daddy's house on New Year's Eve, a house that no one lived in but was fixed up for occasional family gatherings. The house only had four rooms and was heated with two fireplaces, but it was just big enough for a fun evening of cards, appropriate drinks, entertainment and fireworks at midnight. Hopefully, tonight we will have a more toned down version of this family tradition.

Big Daddy's house no longer stands, a victim of termites, but Fessie and Beck's old house is just down the road and has plenty of room and there will probably be some card games and fireworks. Maybe some of the old stars will show up for repeat classic performances.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Pennington Christmas Party, 2009

The Pennington family held its annual holiday party the Saturday before Christmas, and for the first time in many years we were joined by Bobby Gene Pennington, now of Georgia. He is pictured below with his Aunt Tootsie (right) and his Pennington cousins (Brenda, Jean and Jo), the five being the only true Pennington-born folks at the gathering. The rest of us were descendants, significant others and friends.

A Pennington Christmas wouldn't be complete without Aunt Tootsie's wonderful ham and Beck's coconut cake, prepared by her daughter Jo Ann and decorated just like Beck would have done, with splashes of color, and transported in Beck's old cake carrier. Finally, it wouldn't be Christmas without bingo, and this year we had a record number of bingo prizes to play for, along with a brand new bingo cage that made Rebekah's job easier in managing the game.

The party was held at the Cardsville volunteer fire department's nice facility, near Peaceful Valley in southern Itawamba County.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Rook - an Itawamba pastime

Rook is a card game that has been enjoyed by many Itawamba families, and our family is no exception. My husband and I both grew up in long-time, Rook-playing families and have fond memories of watching our elders play Rook and later, when we became old enough, joining in the Rook games ourselves. While I can't say that our kids have witnessed the same volume of Rook-playing that we did as youngsters, they have been exposed to the game. This Christmas we started what I hope to be a new family tradition in our family's holiday celebration: games of Rook, although actually it would be a repeat of a tradition that existed years earlier. We've also introduced the game to the "significant others" in our family so we now we can have several tables of Rook going at one time.

The "new" tradition got me wondering. Just how common was the game of Rook in Itawamba County? An informal poll reveals that at one time Rook was enjoyed by many families although more recent generations of Itawambians either have not been taught the game or have chosen other gaming alternatives such as Blackjack or Texas Hold-em, probably due to the influence of casinos. Plus, there is always competition from hand-held video games, so Rook-playing (or any game of cards for that matter) may be a dying art. What a shame! How I wish that my children could have witnessed the masterful and nuanced Rook play of Fessie Pennington, Clarence Wardlaw, Lawrence Dulaney, Paul Mills and others, although I am thankful that they did get to play Rook with my father before he died and also on occasion still play the game with their grandmothers. Does every Itawamba family have their own Rook legends?

A bit of research revealed that our version of Rook is a variation on the game of Kentucky Discard Rook called the Red One, in which the red one card is added to the deck as a thirty-point card, making a hand of Rook worth 150 points. Every family seems to have their own "special" version of the game however. I don't know about most family games of Rook, but we never consulted the rule book. Therefore, whenever folks from different families get together for a game of Rook, it always helps to hammer out the common rules before beginning the game. Some families allow "shooting" for 500 points, some don't. Some allow "shooting" but only during the bidding process and before looking at the widow, or nest of cards. Some families are most strict about reneging (playing the wrong card). You get the picture. Establishing common rules before beginning the game can save some hurt feelings later on!

I've also learned that Rook cards were introduced in 1906 as a Christian alternative to standard playing cards which included face cards, thought to be inappropriate and associated with gambling. A deck of Rook cards includes numbered cards, eleven through fourteen, in the place of the jack, queen, king and ace cards of a standard deck. Instead of a joker, there is a card with a rook, a member of the crow family of birds. Thus, the name Rook.

Under our family rules, the "Red One" catches the Rook Bird. A real learning moment presents when a mischievous youth plays his Red One to capture his Mother's Bird, "setting" her for good measure. Shirley sent Mike to bed on more than one occasion for pulling this trick.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Family and Friends

Sorry for the lack of posts, folks. Christmas activities are taking first place on my to-do list, and there doesn't seem to be enough time to squeeze in a post or two. I'll have more time after Christmas to get back to Itawamba Connections, but right now the focus is on friends and family. Last Friday was Cousin Sue's 80th birthday luncheon, then it was an evening with long-time Itawamba friends that included dinner and tickets to see Scrooge, the musical. Saturday rolled around, and it was time for the annual Pennington Christmas party, held at the Cardsville Volunteer Fire Department. This year we were fortunate enough to have Cousin Bobby Gene and his wife Vivian join us all the way from Georgia, but unfortunately Cousin Shelia had an emergency appendectomy the day before so we were missing a few of her family. Hopefully, I'll get pictures posted soon from our get-together, which included great food, fellowship and bingo! Following the Pennington party, my family spent the night down the road in Fessie and Beck's house. We enjoyed more fellowship with multiple games of Rook. Tomorrow, after a morning at work, I'll be taking Cousins Sue and Lucy to visit Aunt Coleen in Fulton. It's the people in your life that make the holidays memorable. The blog can wait. In the meantime, here is a photograph from a Pennington Christmas in 1963 or 1964, at Aunt Tootsie's house.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Double take!!

I did a double take when I came across this image recently. One of the things I've learned in doing genealogy research is that it never hurts to go back through your family information, over and over again. What may not have been pertinent to your research at the current moment may prove to be a significant key a few months, or years, later. The above image was photographed some time ago when it was shared by my Aunt Coleen, who will be 96 in January. She wrote down her husband's family tree several years ago whenUncle Buddy was still living. Although I wasn't re-visiting my Robinson information when I came across the image recently, I did pause to look over the information once again, and did a double take!

There, at the top of the paternal family branch, was the full name of Charlottie Purnell's mother! Her surname is shown as "King" which I had never seen before! I knew from census records that her name was Sarah A. but had no idea as to her maiden name. Obviously, when I scanned the information I was focused on other family lines and thus was not interested at the time in Charlottie's parents. Since then, however, I've been at a brick wall as to the Purnell family. This small bit of information could open other doors in my research. I'll keep you posted.

I am also reminded of how I found Sarah A. King Purnell's dates of birth and death. My husband has business trips to New Orleans once or twice a year, and although New Orleans is a great town to visit with lots of interesting things to see and do, there is only so much repetitive sight-seeing one can take! So during one such visit, I checked out the genealogy section of the New Orleans Public Library. As genealogy collections go, this one is not that great, although if you had ancestors with a connection to New Orleans (and I don't) then it would be a good resource. I was flipping through a book on Mississippi cemetery transcriptions, checking out my usual surnames, and to my surprise found a listing for Sallie A. Purnell, wife of S.M. Purnell, buried in Lebanon Cemetery in Alcorn County! Here was my Sarah! I had lost track of her after the 1880 census in which she and her husband was found living in Lamar County, Alabama with their son and son's family (darn that missing 1890 census!). Her son, Marion Sampson Purnell, moved to Alcorn County, Mississippi by 1887 because his daughter Rayma was born there. Apparently, Sarah (and possibly her husband, Sam) moved there too. She was buried next to her grandson, Herbert Purnell.

Next time I see Aunt Coleen, you can believe I'll ask her about Sarah A. King!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Ma Davis and her cat

I came across this picture the other day and thought that in the interest of fairness, there should be a post of Ma Davis and her cat. There was an earlier post about Pa Davis and his dogs. Queenie Victoria Davis is holding a mighty big cat in this photograph taken in front of the Davis house at Tilden.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Pennington siblings

A rare early photograph of the Pennington siblings, taken about 1940 I'm guessing. Please correct me, someone, if the date is wrong. The only sibling missing from the picture is Frelon who enlisted in the Army in July 1940, and it is probable that he was in the service when this photograph was made. Perhaps the photo was taken to send to Frelon? What we do know is the location for the photograph - it was taken just to the right of the house of Hugh and Dee Sloan Pennington, the siblings' parents. And you can just barely make it out, but they are standing in front of the Pennington storm cellar. That old storm cellar was used, "remodeled" of course, up until the early 1980s. After Fessie's tour of naval duty in the Pacific during World War II, which included a typhoon or two, he came home with a new appreciation of thunderstorms and the safety provided by the family's storm cellar. I passed many an electrical storm in that cellar, but I have to say that I was more afraid of the snakes and critters that might have been hiding there than I was of the storm itself.

Pictured above are Pennington siblings Jesse Gordon, Fessie Manuel, Vivian Irene, Gaylord , Mavis Maxine and Clara Nell (Tootsie).

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Bath time!

Lots of babies have been bathed in the Pennington kitchen sink although not all have had their picture taken at the time. The first picture below (guess who?) was made in 1957 or 1958 and the second one in 1984 (guess who?). Same sink, twenty-seven years later. The sink is still in use although not in its original location, and no babies have filled its basin in a long time, but I bet one day a third generation will grace the sink and a snapshot will be taken of the momentous occasion.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Uncle Luther and his foxhounds

Luther Anderson Sloan is pictured above with his foxhounds. Uncle Luther lived in Aberdeen, on "Silk Stocking Row" in an old antebellum house, and it appears as if this picture was made there in his backyard. Wonder what his neighbors thought about those hounds?!

Luther was the youngest son of Itawambians Jackson Sloan and Melissa Potts and was raised in Peaceful Valley. He was born in 1894 and died in Aberdeen in 1973.

Monday, December 7, 2009

John Ed Warren and Sallie Holcomb

John Ed Warren, Sallie Holcomb Warren holding Eugene
Daughters Bertha and Eva
Sons Arlander, Melvin and David
Another son, Edgar, died as a young boy

John Ed Warren married Sarah A. "Sallie" Holcomb, daughter of David G. Holcomb and Penelope Bottoms on March 15, 1887. The couple's marriage bond and license are on record at the Itawamba County courthouse, and I was surprised to see that James M. Dulaney was on the marriage bond. James M. Dulaney was not a contemporary of John Ed Warren's nor was there a family relationship between the two men. I wonder if perhaps James was sort of a surrogate father to John Ed, whose own father died in a Union prison camp in 1864 when his son was only three years old. The Dulaney and Warren families were officially united in 1912 when John Ed and Sallie's daughter, Bertha, married Jim Dulaney, the grandson of James M. Dulaney and the son of Thomas Aron Dulaney and Alice C. Moxley.

Marriage Bond
Itawamba County, Mississippi
John Ed Warren & James Dulany, are held and firmly bound, in the sum of $100. The condition of this Obligation is such, that, whereas, a marriage is shortly intended to be celebrated between the above bound John E. Warren and Miss Sallie Holcomb. Now, if there be no lawful cause to obstruct the said Marriage, then this obligation to be void, otherwise to remain in full.
March 14, 1887
John E Warren
J. M. Dulany

Before me, J. M. Walker, Clerk of Circuit Court, this day personally appears John E Warren and made oath that John E. Warren and Miss Sallie Holcomb have arrived at the statutory age for the contraction of marriage, to-wit: 21 years and 18 years respectively, and further, that there exists no legal cause or objection to the marriage of the said John E Warren and Miss Sallie Holcomb. March 14, 1887
J. M. Walker, Circuit Clerk
John E. Warren

To any Judge, Minister, Justice, or other person Lawfully authorized to Celebrate the Rites of Matrimony: You are hereby Licensed to Celebrate the Rites of Matrimony between Mr. John Ed Warren and Miss Sallie Holcomb and for so doing this shall be your warrant. Given under my hand and official seal, this 14th day of March in the year of our Lord, One Thousand Eight Hundred and 87. J. M. Walker, Clerk

In Virtue of a License from the Clerk of the Circuit Court of said County of Itawamba, I have this day celebrated the Rites of Matrimony between Mr. John Ed Warren and Miss Sallie Holcomb. Given under my hand and seal, this 15th day of March, 1887. B. F. Casey, M.G. Recorded this 5th day of Sept, 1887. J. M. Walker, Clerk

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Cofield-Loyd Marriage License and Bond

Click on the marriage license for a better look. John R. Cofield and Dollie Loyd applied for a marriage license on September 7, 1899 - which was on a Thursday that year. They were married by J. R. Holliday at Dollie's parents' home, Isham and Rachel Loyd, who lived in the Bull Mountain, or Newberg, community in Marion County, Alabama. Looks like they married on a Sunday. The marriage bond was obtained by John R. Cofield and R. N. Terrell (likely Robert N. Terrell, who later served as circuit court clerk for Marion County. Looks like the marriage bond cost a whopping 50 cents.

Friday, December 4, 2009

1951 I.A.H.S. Graduating Class

Click on the photograph for a larger image. The young man in the center, highlighted with gray tones, is my father, James Luke Robinson. I also picked out Noma Davis and Travis Staub. You might recognize others. Let me know if you do.

UPDATE: Frank Davis is second from left on the second row.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Daniel Dove Dulaney

Daniel Dove Dulaney, pictured above, was the youngest child of James M. Dulaney and his wife, Mary Elizabeth Senter. Next to Dove in the photo is his wife, Elizabeth Sula Brown, daughter of Andrew Lafayette Brown and Talitha "Cumi" Stephens. Another one of Andrew and Cumi Brown's daughters, Mary Ophelia, married Dove's brother, James Robert Dulaney.

It is said that Dove once commented that his initials stood for "Dead, Damned and Delivered."

Dove was a Baptist preacher, and at one time served Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church near his home in eastern Itawamba County. It is in this church's cemetery that he and his wife are buried, along with a host of other Dulaney and Brown family members. Dove died in 1957 while visiting his son in Birmingham. Sula died in 1976.

In addition to being a preacher and a farmer, Dove also was an early telephone man, as evidenced by the following news article from 1909.

Itawamba County News
November 4, 1909
Local News
Mr. Dove Dulaney was here Monday, and got specifications to construct a telephone from Fulton northeast, through his community.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

If these stones could talk...

The old homeplace of Sam Cofield still exists although it is in very bad condition. The log walls have been covered up with paneling, and this has provided some protection, but it's just a matter of time before the wonderful old house is gone forever. The stone chimney is still standing, rather proudly, although it seems as if the chimney and the house are propping each other up. The stones have such a history ... if only they could talk, what stories they could tell! And that old tree! Can't you imagine Sam's children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren playing under its shade?

Sam Cofield was my grandmother Pearl's grandfather, and he played an important part in her life following the death of his son, her father.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

F.J.H.S. Memories

Seated or kneeling: Lorraine Maxcy, Hermine Graham and Janice Thrash
Second row: Mildred Gibbs, Letha Comer, L.A. Pearce, Eupal Thornberry and Faye Ellen Digby
Back row: Dexter Digby, Billy Todd, Loice Dulaney, Lawrence Williams and Marles Cromeans

If you attended Fulton Junior High School, these faces and names should be familiar to you. The occasion may have been the retirement of Miss Hermine Graham, a longtime Itawamba County educator who was the daughter of A.D. Graham and Verdie Clifton. Miss Hermine was afflicted with polio as a young girl, but her disability didn't stop her from becoming one of our county's most beloved teachers. She wound up her teaching career at Fulton Junior High School where she served as a librarian, and this is where my fond memories of Miss Hermine come from.

This photograph is part of a collection of Graham family history owned by Dianne L. Robinson, daughter of Johnie G. Robinson, Jr. and Lenell Maxcy. Lenell's mother, Lorraine, was the daughter of Cicero Lafayette Graham and Maude Johnson.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Three of a Kind

Aron Dulaney, Trannie Wilemon and Nate Dulaney

Aron and Nate were both sons of Richard Nathaniel "Dick" Dulaney and Mattie Moxley while Trannie was their third cousin and son of William R. Wilemon and Minerva J. Hood. Looks like the fellows are posing with boutonnieres on their shirts.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

"Most Interesting Couple"

June 18, 1908
Itawamba County News

"The most interesting couple which has ever come under our observation were married at the Methodist parsonage, Marietta, Miss., on Tuesday p.m., June 9, 1908.

The bride, Miss Lou Nabers, of near Kirkville, Miss., resembled a little queen. The bright face, calm expression, and self composure with which she seemed so richly endowed revealed to those who witnessed the solemn ceremony's character of the rarest type. She was interesting - being only 4 feet, 8 inches in height.

The groom, Mr. J. M. Burnett, though smaller than the bride, only measuring 4 feet, 2 inches, was possible no less interesting. He had that congenial look that manly expression so characteristic with all true Americans.

Their departure from this parsonage was made soon after the ceremony. They boarded the evening train at Baldwyn for Bristol, Tenn., a thriving city, where Mr. Burnett is engaged in the mercantile business.

May the pathway of this little couple be stewn with flowers of th emost fragrant kind and may their lives be so useful that they will ever merit the care of Him who doeth all things well."

Sam S. Sargent

Friday, November 27, 2009

Table of Plenty

Thanksgiving 2009

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

For most of us, Thanksgiving is a day of gathering with family and giving thanks for the blessings we have received over the past year. In Peaceful Valley, the day is also synonymous with deer hunting. Used to be, the opening day for deer season was the day of Thanksgiving, but this year the season opened up last Saturday. We usually have a noon meal so that the hunters can take a mid-day break and get back into the woods. This year will be no different: dinner will be served at Aunt Tootsie's at noon tomorrow and I'm looking forward to traditional Pennington fare, including Tootsie's baked ham. Beck is no longer with us, but her coconut cake will probably make an appearance via the hands of her daughter Jo Ann, and her dressing will also be reproduced, probably by daughter Jean. Good eats for sure!

Here is a scene from the past - Fessie got a nice-sized whitetail deer that year. Wonder if that is the same deer whose head peered down from the Pennington living room wall for years and whose nose always sported a red foam ball at Christmas, a la Rudolph?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Itawamba Coon Hunters

These photographs provided by Terry Wilemon are a wonderful glimpse into a favorite pastime of Itawambians - coon hunting. Even I have been on a coon hunt or two in the hills of Itawamba County during my lifetime! Obviously, these men were pros as evidenced by the number of coon tails they have collected. Dewey Napoleon Johnson, who is Terry's uncle, is standing to the left in the top and bottom photos.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Sharing Cousins

Sisters Mauvilla Williams and Mary Williams, shown here, were daughters of Randolph Henry Williams and Mittie Ann Johnson. Randolph and Mittie had five daughters in all: not pictured are Ora, Cora and Mauveline. Mauvilla and Mary were the youngest two.

Terry Wilemon recently shared some wonderful photographs of his mother Coster Johnson's family. Although Terry could identify most of the people in the photographs, he directed Don to Mary Williams Dulaney who is the little girl pictured in the above photograph. Mary is now 88 years old but she very quickly and easily identified the remaining photos. When she got to this one, she exclaimed "why that's me!" Wasn't she cute with her necklace and boots?

Mary is the widow of Clastel Dulaney, the son of Charlie C. Dulaney and Zora Hood. Because the Johnson, Dulaney and Hood families are involved, there is a three-point connection between my husband and Mary. Mary's mother and my husband's great-grandfather James Nathan Johnson were first cousins, both descendants of Itawamba settlers Stephen Johnson and his wife, Harriet Caroline Pierce. Mary's mother-in-law, Zora Hood, was a first cousin to my husband's great-grandmother, Alma Hood. Mary's husband, Clastel Dulaney, was third cousin to my husband's great-grandfather, Jim Dulaney.

Don't you just love Itawamba connections?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Edwin Eugene Gray

Edwin Eugene Gray was one of two sons born to Agnes Mae Robinson and her husband, George Edwin Gray. Edwin's younger brother was George Casey Gray. Their mother Agnes was the half-sister of my great grandfather, Gideon C. Robinson.

Edwin was born on November 19, 1910 in Tampa, Florida. Apparently, the family had moved to Florida due to the health of George Gray. I found the following excerpt published in the February 29, 1912 issue of the Itawamba County News: "Mr. G. E. Gray returned from Florida today where he has been for the past few weeks on account of his health. He is preparing now to go to Florida to make that his future home." However, the family did not stay in Florida; they returned back to Itawamba County to live.

Edwin served in World War II: Fulton News Beacon - January 1943 - Our Boys In The Armed Services. "Ready to begin their basic training course at Fort Knox, Ky., are: Pvt. Efford Lee Johnson, Pvt. Cecil Raymond Wilson, Pvt. Edwin E. Gray and Pvt. Archie A. Christian."

Edwin was married to Mary Ruth Brasfield of Smithville, and they had two sons. He died on June 3, 1982 and was buried at New Bethel Church Cemetery in Smithville.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Back from War

The Johnson boys were back from war in this photo taken about 1945 or 1946. Fisher and Nora Johnson were proud of their sons who very ably served their country during World War II. Kneeling are Adron and Earnest Johnson and standing behind them are Vonnie, Donnis and Julius Johnson.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Four Generations

Four generations are pictured here at the Evans homeplace south of Tremont. Seated are Pa and Ma Evans - John Thomas Evans and Elizabeth "Bettie" Bishop Evans - and standing behind them is their grandson, Lawson Robinson, and their daughter, Thusie Evans Robinson. The children in the photograph belong to Lawson and his wife, Lucille Hathorn: Guy Hathorn Robinson is being held by his father, and Evagene Robinson is being held by her great-grandmother.

Lawson's youngest daughter, Lucy, shared this photograph with me. It was probably taken in 1928 just after the birth of Lucy's sister Evagene. Pa Evans died the following year in December.

Lucy remembers her father telling her that as a young child he pulled on Pa Evans' whiskers and played with Pa's gold watch. J. T. Evans was very proud of his grandson's love of learning, and in his store he would place his young grandson on a barrel and have him show off his spelling abilities for the customers.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Sloan Siblings and a Cousin

A smile came to my face when I saw this picture. There are not too many photos of Clara Nell Pennington as a young girl, and even fewer of her in a dress! Yet, there she stands, front left, in this photograph of Sloan siblings.

Tootsie, as everyone calls her, is the daughter of Hugh and Dee Sloan Pennington and my great-aunt. She grew up in Peaceful Valley surrounded by her Sloan cousins, and it was at a recent Sloan family reunion that Lee Sloan shared this picture of his family. Pictured on the front row with Tootsie are her cousins Una (who this month, at the age of 90-something, shared some of her life experiences with students at IAHS) and Grace, along with Una and Grace's mother, Dora Ridings Sloan. On the back row is Troy Newton who married Johnnie Sloan, and sisters Dorothy and Afton, also daughters of Dora and John Gainey Sloan. Not pictured here are brothers Acqulis, Johnnie, and Shirley ("Squire") Sloan.

The Sloans were and are musically gifted. Tootsie has fond memories of hearing the Gainey Sloan family play music on their front porch. Someone would whistle a tune and after a short time listening, others would join in with their instruments. Tootsie could sit on her front door steps and hear their music from just down the road.

Gainey was Dee Sloan Pennington's brother, and the two siblings lived within shouting distance of each other in Peaceful Valley along with other siblings and their families: Luther, Zadie, and Cliff. Today, only Dee and Zadie's grandchildren live in the area and few signs remain of the many Sloan households that populated the little holler at the foot of Burdine Hill.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Johnson Family

Verdie Mae Johnson is standing in front of a Howard Johnson's sign in the 1960s. Verdie, the daughter of Nathan Johnson and Alma Hood, was probably wondering if perhaps there was some family connection with Mr. Howard Johnson.

The Howard Johnson motel chain was started in the 1950s by Howard Deerling Johnson who had found success in his native Massachusetts with his "28 flavors" of ice cream in the 1920s and later with a chain of family restaurants in the 1930s. By 1954, Howard Johnson's company had 400 restaurants in 32 states, mostly franchise operations. Building on this success, the company opened its first "motor lodge" in Savannah, Georgia. The distinctive sign that Verdie Johnson West is standing in front of became a familiar site for many Southern families during their motoring vacations. It was a special treat in the 1960s to stay at a Howard Johnson's Motor Lodge, or it's competitor, Holiday Inn. I'm sure many Itawambians remember trips to Memphis or to the beach in the 1960s that included a stay in one of these motels.

Verdie was 98 years old when she died earlier this year, and at the time of her death, she was the oldest member of East Fulton Baptist Church. Verdie married late in life, to Alfred West, who preceded her in death. Her sister, Pearl Johnson Dulaney, was my husband's grandmother, and they were two of ten children, the other Johnson siblings being: Claude, Troy, Euple, Telsie, Hollis, Louise, Mazietta and James.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Mother and Daughter

Noma Davis DuBoise had this photo in her collection of family pictures that she recently shared with me and my mother. I've titled it Mother and Daughter because it is a picture of Queenie Victoria Clayton Davis and her daughter and my grandmother, Rebecca Davis Pennington. Looks like they are shucking some ears of corn. Queenie must have been visiting the Pennington farm that day since she and her daughter are standing by the Pennington smokehouse. I'm struck by how much my grandmother looks like her Aunt Lizzie Lee Davis Spencer in this picture. Oh, and look at Queenie's feet - she's barefoot!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Henry Pennington - South Carolina to Alabama

Henry Pennington was born in South Carolina about 1812-1815 and died in Lamar County, Alabama about 1888. He never made it to Itawamba County, but his sons did and thus began a connection of many generations of Penningtons to Itawamba County. When Henry died, he was buried on his land that was located between Sulligent and Vernon, but unfortunately the family's land was lost following his death.

I can only speculate, but courthouse records indicate a promissory note in the amount of $97.03 was issued by Henry on January 23, 1885 to W. L. Morton & Co. Advertisements in the Vernon newspapers from the 1880s show that Dr. W. L. Morton owned a drug store there. It was a common practice for physicians to acquire land by taking a deed of trust from patients unable to pay their bills. A $97.03 medical bill would have resulted from a significant medical service.

Following foreclosure on the family's land in 1889, all four of Henry's sons moved to Itawamba County where they are found on that county's tax rolls in 1890. In addition to James, there were sons Greenberry, Aaron and William Giles Pennington who moved across the state line into Mississippi, although William Giles did not stay in Itawamba County - he returned to Alabama. The Pennington brothers lived in the Lost Corners area of southwestern Itawamba County.

When Henry's grandson, Lamar Pennington, was still living, back in the early 1980s, he took my mother to the "lost" and overgrown gravesite of Henry Pennington, and with my father's help, they cleared and cleaned off the burial ground. Three graves were revealed and found to be covered with a thin layer of crumbling concrete in which someone had long ago written the names of Henry, his first wife Susan Jane Lusk, and a granddaughter Docia Guyton. Not too long ago, the Lamar County Genealogical and Historical Society erected a monument and surrounded the grave site with a wire rope to protect it from machinery and future intrusions.

Henry Pennington
Born 1812
Died Oct(?) 1888

Docia Guyton

Susan Jane Pennington

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Time for Another Fish Picture ...

.... this time from the Davis and Pierce families. Looks like it was a lucky day for fishing! Just look at those catfish! In the middle of this crowd of folks and fish is Lizzie Lee Davis Pierce, and she looks thrilled with the day's catch. Standing on the right is her husband, Yancy A. Pierce, and between Lizzie Lee and Yancy is Ethel Langley Davis, Lizzie Lee's sister-in-law who was married to Elby Davis. The couple on the left are Pierces, but I'm not sure of exactly who they are, possibly Yancy's brother and sister-in-law.

The photograph was undoubtedly taken by an Itawamba County Times photographer. It looks to me as if the fishermen drove up to the rear of the Times building in Fulton with intentions of getting their picture made. Notice the trunk of the car open in the background?

So many of Itawamba's citizens found their way over the years to the Times offices in downtown Fulton to have their picture taken with fish they caught, snakes they killed, cabbage they grew, and deer they killed. Such photographs really captured an era, and kudos belong to Delmus Harden and his staff at the Times who patiently took photographs of Itawambians with dead animals or monster vegetables and then published those photographs in the newspaper. I'd be willing to bet that every Itawamba family has one or two such photographs tucked away in drawers or closets.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Pearl's first class

I've been intrigued by this photograph for some time. Obviously, this is Pearl Cofield's first class, but where did she teach? That's been the question since I came across the photo of my grandmother a few years ago. Pearl Cofield received a teacher's certificate from Blue Mountain College in 1928, and the State of Mississippi issued her a license that was valid for three years. But where did she teach? I thought I would find the answer at the Mississippi Department of Archives and History when I searched the microfilm holdings at their very nice facility in Jackson, but nothing turned up there. Then, yesterday at the Itawamba County Library, I found a compilation of Itawamba County schoolteachers prepared by Wendall Brown, and there was my answer. For the 1928-1929 school year, Pearl Cofield was one of eleven teachers who taught school at Tremont. Her sister, Pauline Cofield, was listed as teaching at Kirkville that same year.

Since Pearl's name was not listed as teaching the following school year, I assume that she only taught that one year. She married my grandfather, Luke Robinson, on December 27, 1929, and shortly thereafter the State of Mississippi changed its licensure requirements to require additional coursework which Pearl never completed.

So now we know. Pearl is standing to the right of her students in front of the school building at Tremont.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Funeral of Mary Elizabeth Lester Johnson

Terry Wilemon was kind enough to share these photos of his grandmother's funeral in 1940. Mary Elizabeth Johnson was the daughter of James Isham Lester and Sarah U. Gaither, and she married Napoleon A. Johnson, son of Stephen Johnson and Harriet Caroline Pierce, on January 13, 1880. They had nine children: Minerva Caroline, Mittie Ann, Bettie, Omie, Arvilla, Evie, Dewey (the only son!), Coster and Ollie. The photographs below are rare in that they show the funeral from beginning to end and demonstrate burial customs and practices during the mid-20th century in Itawamba County. Mary was buried at Pine Grove Cemetery, on land that she and Napoleon had donated to the Pine Grove Church of Christ many years earlier.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

My, how time flies!

Seems like it was just yesterday that you were running away from home!
Happy Birthday, Rebekah!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Coster Johnson

What a cute little girl she was! Coster was the daughter of Napoleon A. "Poley" Johnson and Mary Elizabeth Lester. You may remember another Napoleon Johnson who was killed when he was drug by a mule (read about it here). Boney was the son of William Albert "Billy" Johnson and was named after his Uncle Poley.

Coster was born June 27, 1900 so it would appear that the photo below was made about 1903 or 1904. She was married to Everett Linwood Wilemon, and they had two children - Terry and Jerry Wilemon. Terry shared this photograph and others with Don Dulaney. Thanks, Terry!