Saturday, February 28, 2009

Same Barn, Different Snow

Same barn. Different Snow. What does your yard look like this morning?

Fessie's barn:

Luke and Pearl's house

This is a photo of Luke and Pearl's house probably in the mid to late 1940s. The Robinsons purchased this house in 1935 from Sam Mayhall for $550, and it was located along what was then Bankhead Highway but is now old Highway 78. At that time the home was on the outskirts of the town of Fulton. See the yucca plant by the driveway? I can remember that plant being there at least into the 1980s. And you can't really tell much about it, but there is a magnolia tree that appears in the photo to have just been planted in the front yard.

The original home was a simple four-room house, and over the years Luke and Pearl remodeled it and added on. A major remodel, including exterior brick, was done in the mid 1960s, as evidenced by the newspaper clipping below in which Pearl's yard received Yard of the Month. In 1971, after we moved back to Fulton and occupied the house, my parents did another remodel to accommodate our family's needs, and other, smaller changes were made throughout the years. The house was sold in 2006 following my father's death. It had been in the family for seventy years.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Three Pennington Sisters

Jo Ann, Brenda Kay and Betty Jean Pennington
Daughters of Fessie and Rebecca Pennington

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Loyd pottery markers patented June 10, 1879

The last pottery marker is believed to be a Loyd original while the one pictured above it was likely manufactured by the W. D. Suggs pottery shop under license from the Loyds. Most of the markers that are found in Northeast Mississippi and Northwest Alabama were produced by potters other than the Loyds, and by comparing the two photos above you can tell the difference between them. Typically, you will find Loyd-produced markers with the small leaf design at the top of the marker. Based upon the cemeteries I have visited in the area, original Loyd markers are hard to find, but every once in a while you will stumble across one in an unlikely place. Compare the markers above with those recently posted that have verses, age information, and more elaborate decorative items, and you realize how special and unique the versed markers are.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Jesse Gordon Pennington

Jesse Gordon Pennington was the oldest child of William Hugh and Ethel Dee (Sloan) Pennington, born on March 2, 1907 in Itawamba County. He married Grace Cornelia Brasfield, of the Pearce Chapel community near Smithville, on December 12, 1925. Grace was the daughter of Benjamin and Selener Kennedy Brasfield. The couple is pictured above with their son Bobby Gene Pennington in a photo taken about 1945 in front of the Fessie Pennington home. Another child, Loraine, died of pneumonia when she was six months old.

After their marriage, Jesse and Grace farmed near his parents and grandparents in the Peaceful Valley, but according to Bobby Gene, Jesse wasn't a very good farmer and so the young family moved to Smithville where Jesse helped his father-in-law build houses. Eventually, Jesse's skill as a carpenter became well-known and he was approached by Gilmore-Puckett Lumber Company. Jesse provided the crew while the lumber company provided the materials. Soon, people were demanding homes built by Jesse Pennington even though they were priced higher. Bobby said that Jesse's houses cost more because Jesse insisted that each sawed joint look as if it grew together.

For recreation, Jesse loved to fox hunt. He said that the barking of his hounds as they chased their prey was music to his ears. He had a dog pen full of fox hounds and a trailer that he used to carry the hounds behind his car. The hunt usually began before dark when Jesse would take his dogs and meet up with fellow hunters. A fire would be built, and the hounds let loose. It wouldn't be long before the dogs caught the scent of a fox and the "music" would begin. Often, the men would leave their dogs as the night wore on and return in the morning to find them waiting by the trailers.

After one such Saturday evening in August 1961, Jessie went back to the woods to pick up his dogs and trailer. Coming home, he had a head-on collision with another vehicle on the road north of Pearce Chapel in Monroe County, and was instantly killed. Although it was a tragic death, Jesse died doing what he loved, with the music of his dogs not long in his memory.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Charlotte A. Purnell, 1846-1873

Recently I was visiting my Aunt Coleen Robinson, when she disappeared into her bedroom and brought out the pen and ink drawing you see below. I couldn't have been more amazed or delighted than if she told me I had won the lottery. The drawing was of Charlotte "Charlottie" Purnell, my great-great grandmother.

You can do the math as to how old the drawing is because Charlotte died in 1873. The original drawing is rather large - about 16 x 20 - but I was able to place the portion you see below in my scanner for scanning (yes, I had my laptop and scanner with me!). As you can tell, the original image is not in good shape although for its age it is pretty darn remarkable.

Below is the colorized version of the drawing. Uncle Buddy and Aunt Coleen took the original to a photography studio and had a photograph taken and the image colorized. While I am thankful to have both, the colorized version is an interpretation, and it is nice to have the original for comparison. The ear jewelry is fascinating, and I've learned that long, dangling earrings were popular in the early 1870s. The hairstyle is rather funky, but that too can be attributed to the style of the times. During the late 1860s and early 1870s, women usually wore their hair pulled back and close to their head, but often would create little puffs of hair on either side of the face that would cover or partially cover their ears. Later on, the hairstyles would become much more elaborate, but generally before about 1875, women pulled their hair back in a simple style. The tie seems to be an unusual adornment for a woman during this period, and I've been unable to find any references for such a style.

Charlotte A. Purnell was born April 21, 1846 in Alabama, probably near the Moscow community in present-day Lamar County, to Samuel Morris Purnell and Sarah A. (last name unknown). She was one of eleven children, most of them girls. Her older brother, William Wilson Purnell, was a medic in the Civil War and afterwards ran a poorhouse in Lamar County with his wife. They had no children. Her younger brother, Marion Sampson Purnell, moved to Alcorn County with his family before heading to Texas where he died in McLennan County in 1930. His wife was the former Mary Frances "Mollie" Rayburn of the Toccopola community Pontotoc County. I have no idea how they met and married in 1877 when Marion lived in way over in Alabama and she lived near Pontotoc. That is just one mystery of several related to the Purnell family.

Family history indicates that Charlotte was born at Counce, Tennessee (between Shiloh, Tennessee and Corinth, Mississippi) although census records prove otherwise. However, in the 1870 census the Samuel Purnell family was living in Hardin County, near Counce. There is also a family story of our ancestor George Emerson Robinson being nursed back to health by a local family after being wounded and left for dead during the Battle of Corinth during the Civil War. I suspect that the family was the Purnell family who would have been known by George to be living in the area because of their shared family connections back in Alabama. The rest of the story would be that George fell in love with young Charlotte during his recovery and upon his discharge he returned and married her. They had three young sons, one of whom was my great-grandfather Gideon C. Robinson, before she died September 4, 1873 near Tremont. She is buried at Mt. Pleasant Methodist Church Cemetery.

Charlotte's father, Samuel, moved to Alabama about the same time as several Robinson families, and it is believed that his father was William Purnell (or Parnell) who died in the War of 1812 or one of the Indian conflicts about that time. Court records have been found in Lawrence County, Alabama as well as Abbeville District, South Carolina that indicate a William Barksdale to have been administrator for the estate of William Parnell with a Matthew Robinson serving as surety for his bond. The estate records refer to Parnell's war service and mention a pension but do not give specifics. Although I can't prove it just yet, I believe that William Purnell's widow may have been a Robinson, and she likely remarried to William Barksdale.

Samuel had two siblings: Matthew Robert Purnell and Martha Ann Purnell. Matthew was married to Ann, and they lived for a time near Smithville in Monroe County before moving to Calhoun County after 1870 where he died about 1893. Samuel's sister, Martha Ann, or "Patsy" as she was called, married James L. Robinson on October 17, 1826 in Lawrence County, Alabama, and they raised at family near Moscow and Pine Springs in Lamar County. I'd love to hear from anyone who has information about any Purnell, Barksdale or Robinson families of this era and locations.

Samuel and Sarah are last found in the 1880 census living in Lamar County with their youngest child, Marion S. Purnell, and his family. I have no idea when Samuel died or where he is buried, but I stumbled upon a cemetery record in Alcorn County for his wife Sarah who is buried in Lebanon Cemetery west of Corinth. Apparently she moved to Alcorn with her son Marion where she died June 19, 1890 and was buried next to a child of Marion and Mollie.

Monday, February 23, 2009

"He sleeps beneath his native earth"

The pottery marker below was made for eighteen year-old Stephen D. Loyd in 1880 by his father, William Payne Loyd, or perhaps by his older brother, William Dickinson Loyd. Both father William and son William were potters and had patented this particular type of tombstone, made from pottery clay, in 1879. Actually, according to Stephen's tombstone, he was eighteen years, six months and three days old at the time of his death. He was the youngest child of William and his wife Thursa. Just a year later, his brother William Dickinson Loyd also died. The brothers are buried next to each other.

This verse appears on Stephen's marker. From my research it does not appear to be original as the verse shows up on other cemetery markers throughout the country, and I even found it in a 1909 newspaper published in New York with the verse attributed to "a friend." It must have been a tedious process to stamp or imprint the words onto the marker, and I wonder if some sort of lead types were used, similar to the old typesetting ways of newspaper printing back then. This is the only cemetery in which I have found such verses on the Loyd markers. Like the decorative motif at the triangular top of the marker, the verses are unique.

In the photograph of the full grave, you can see the footmarker which is labeled S.L.L. for Stephen Loyd's initials. I don't know what the middle initial stands for; Stephen was named after his uncle, Stephen Carroll Loyd, who is buried in the Pine Springs Cemetery near Detroit, Alabama, with a Loyd pottery marker. The tombstone gives Stephen L. Loyd's date of death as March 26, 1880. Interestingly, the 1880 census includes his name in his parents' household although a line is drawn through it. The date at the top of the census page is June 15, 1880.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Elby and Ethel Davis

Corporal Elby W. Davis is pictured here in his World War II uniform with his wife, the former Ethel Langley. Uncle Elby was nearly thirty-seven years old when he volunteered for service on April 26, 1944. My mother remembers the family talking about how Uncle Elby couldn't stand to be home while everyone else was off fighting. So he joined the Army and served about eighteen months, being discharged on November 14, 1945. Elby saw action in the Battle of the Philippines as well as at Okinawa and was awarded two bronze stars.

While Uncle Elby was stationed at Okinawa, he visited the grave of his brother-in-law, Tom Mitchell, who was killed by Japanese machine fire on April 6, 1945.

Elby Davis was the son of James K. and Queenie Clayton Davis, and was born May 25, 1907. He died in Zion, Illinois in 1967.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Paul and Vera Mae

This is one of my favorite pictures of Paul and Vera Mae. Paul - my husband's father - died in 2005, just a couple of months before my own father died. Vera Mae, Paul's younger sister and only sibling, still lives in Itawamba County, and I have her to thank for sharing this photograph with me. It was taken about 1941 or 1942. Isn't Vera Mae darling in this photograph? She was such a cute little girl.

Looks like the siblings may have been on their way to school.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Mystery Photograph

I need help with this photograph which was in my grandmother's possession at her death. It appears to have been made in front of the old Fulton Grammar School, but when and for what occasion? I don't see any males in the photo, and the girls all appear to be dressed in white. My grandmother, Rebecca Davis Pennington, was born in 1916, and if she is in the photograph, I can't pick her out.

Any ideas?

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Lizzie Lee Davis Spencer

Lizzie Lee Davis was born May 5, 1893 in Itawamba County, the daughter of James William Anderson Davis and Anna Elizabeth "Anna Lizer" Morrow.

In the 1910 census, we find a 16 year old Lizzie L. in the household of her parents who were living on the Fulton-Amory Road in Beat 5 of Itawamba County. Not too far away, living next door to Lizzie Lee's brother, James Kelly Davis, was 24 year old "Arlanda" Spencer. Lan was living with his older brother, Trannie, also on the Fulton-Amory Road (now Highway 25 South).

After their marriage, the couple moved to Alabama although from the census record below it appears that they spent some time in Florida because three year old George was indicated to have been born in that state. Lizzie and her family didn't live too long in Alabama because the 1930 census shows them back home in Itawamba County.

Lan and Lizzie Lee are buried in Fulton Cemetery. Lan was born October 7, 1885 and died April 15, 1962, and his parents were William T. and Mary E. (Burch) Spencer. Lizzie Lee died August 5, 1971. Her brother, James Kelly Davis, was my great-grandfather "Pa Davis." In fact, Pa named a daughter Lizzie Lee after his sister.

Lizzie Lee's grandson, Jim Spencer, shared this photo with me. Jim, the son of Fred and Pattijo Carroll Spencer, lives in Jackson.

1920 Census
Walker County, Alabama
Carbon Hill
Lan Spencer 34 MS MS MS miner, coal mine
Lizzie 26 MS AL MS
Earline 7 MS
Paul 5 MS
George 3 FLA
Lucille 1 yr 1 mo AL

1930 Census
Itawamba County, Mississippi
Beat 5, Fulton-Smithville Hwy, Road #25
living next to Lizzie's father and siblings
Lan Spencer 46 MS MS MS farmer, married at age 28
Lizzie L. 36 MS AL MS, married at age 18
Earlene 17 MS
Paul 15 MS
George D. 13 MS
Loucille 11 MS
Martha E. 9 MS
Jamie F. 3 MS

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Spring brings renewal and remembrances

These hardy little creatures pop up about this time each spring and with them comes the promise of renewal and the happy remembrance of a special loved one.

Ora Lee (Warren) Randolph died in 1975, but each spring her family fondly remembers her when they see these grape hyacinths in bloom. Ora loved to garden, and she kept her front yard swept and scraped clean of weeds and grass. Flowers were another matter, however, and Ora had beds of blooms with winding paths throughout the yard. Over the years, these grape hyacinths have crept from their original spot in Ora's yard. As her great-granddaughter tells it, "We treasure these little guys, you should see us gingerly mowing around them when the plants begin to grow each spring. When they first push up from the ground it's a little hard to tell if it is a wild green onion or a grape hyacinth. The grape hyacinth has darker foliage,but if we ever doubt which it could be.....well, we leave it."

Like several Randolph and Mills families, Ora and Allen left Itawamba County for Monroe County in the 1930s. So if you want to see Ora's grape hyacinths, you will have to go to Nettleton.

Ora Lee was the daughter of James Rooker "Jim" Warren and Harriet Elizabeth Miller. Jim's father is believed to be Alexander, son of S. John Warren, an early Itawamba settler and large landowner. Ora was married to Allen Randolph, son of Henry Randolph and Rachel Fowler, and brother to Onady Randolph, my husband's great-grandmother.

Amy Randolph, Ora's great-granddaughter, provided both the photo and the memories.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Allen Randolph and Ora Lee Warren

Allen Randolph and Ora Lee Warren were married around 1909. They fell in love at a young age - he was seventeen and she was fifteen when they married - but their marriage was a long-lasting one. They had been married sixty-five years when Allen died in 1974.

Both Allen and Ora were native Itawambians. He was the son of Henry Randolph and Rachel Fowler while Ora Lee was the daughter of James Rooker Warren and Harriet Elizabeth Miller. As you can see from the census records below, Allen and Ora lived near Kirkville and Marietta in extreme northern Itawamba County. However, in the late 1930s, they moved their family to Nettleton along with other Randolph and Mills families, and this is where you will find many of their descendants today.

Their great-grandaughter, Amy Randolph, shared these photos of Allen and Ora. Thanks, Amy!

Allen R. Randolph was born September 15, 1890 and died June 10, 1974. Ora Lee Warren Randolph was born April 6, 1894 and died August 20, 1975. They both are buried at Jones Chapel Cemetery near Nettleton.

1920 Census
Itawamba County, Mississippi
Kirkville precinct
Allen Randolph 27 MS GA MS farmer
Oria 25 MS MS MS
Pearlie 10 MS
Rader 8 MS
Bessie 5 MS
Ellis 9 mo MS
Katie Randolph 64 AL GA TN widowed, step-mother

1930 Census
Itawamba County, Mississippi
Beat 2 Russelville & Baldwyn Road
Allen R. Randolph 38 MS MS MS farmer, married at age 17
Ora 36 MS MS MS, married at age 15
Rada 18 MS daughter
Bessie 16 MS daughter
Ellis 11 MS son
Dellis 9 MS son
Tamage 6 MS son
Georgia 4 MS daughter
Earmie 2 MS daughter
Allen Jr. 1 mo. MS son

Monday, February 16, 2009

William Payne Loyd, Itawamba Potter

There's a story behind these lovely and unique cobalt blue designs, and if you will patiently follow the story below, you'll understand how they came to be atop a desolate hill in Itawamba County.

William Payne Loyd was brother to my great-great grandfather, Isham James Loyd. The Loyd family came to what was then Marion County, Alabama from Lincoln County, Tennessee just after 1840. Charity Payne Loyd, widowed a few years earlier, led her family of nine children - that's right nine - from Tennessee to Alabama. The youngest child, Elizabeth Merinda, was barely a year old, maybe two. Charity's oldest child was William Payne Loyd, named after her father. Middle child was my ancestor, Isham who dabbled in pottery, but not to the extent of his older brothers.

William Payne Loyd married Thursa Martin in Lincoln County on April 12, 1840, and shortly thereafter they joined the other members of the Loyd family on their trek to Alabama where they settled around Pine Springs, near Detroit in present-day Lamar County. I've often reflected on the strength of Charity Loyd to move away from her own mother and brothers, with her very young family of nine children, to a new and distant place. She must have been well-loved and well-admired because she had many descendants named after her. She died in 1858 and is buried at Pine Springs Cemetery.

Back to William, however. His wife Thursa may have been the daughter of George W. Martin. In the 1850 census, there were a couple of potters living next to Charity Loyd at Pine Springs: George W. Martin and Barton (Britton?) Weeks. George was living in Lincoln County, Tennessee - same as the Loyds - in the previous 1840 census, and there is a record of a George Martin buying land from Charity's brother-in-law, William White, in Lincoln County.

William Payne Loyd moved his family to Winston County, Mississippi where they are found in the 1850 census. His occupation is given as potter in the census, and living with the young family was another potter, F. G. Hendricks. Around 1856 and 1858, William was joined in Winston County by his brother, Lawson Lancelot Loyd, also a potter. Although William did not stay in Winston County, Lawson did. He died there in 1880, and his descendants continued making pottery for at least another couple of generations. In fact, one of Lawson's children married into another family of potters, the Stewarts, and one of Lawson's grandchildren can be found in the 1820 census living next to the widow of Biloxi's now-famous "Mad Potter," George Ohr.

By 1860, William was in Itawamba County living near Tremont, and again his occupation is given as potter. There were several pottery operations along the state line during the latter part of the 1800s, but William Payne Loyd and his son William D. Loyd were known for their patented gravemarkers. Prior to the availability of the Loyd marker, families had to create their own crude markers, or if they had the money, they could order a marker from out of the county and bear the additional expense to have it shipped to them, sometimes from as far away as Mobile. The gravemarkers created and produced by the Loyds were both affordable and accessible to most everyone, and even today, over hundred years later, their markers appear brand new. Unfortunately, the clay material of the markers made them more prone to breakage from lawn mowers and tree limbs so finding a perfect Loyd marker can be uncommon.

After receiving the Loyds received a patent for their unique design of gravemarkers, other pottery operations in the area began turning out these markers. One way to distinguish the Loyd-made markers from those made by other potters is by the design the Loyds put at the triangular top of their markers. The photos above are wonderful (and rare) examples of Loyd markers, and after finding them in an abandoned graveyard, I just had to share them with you. The beautiful cobalt blue design and lettering on these markers look as if they were just produced yesterday instead of 130 years ago.

To read more about this family's invention, please see Bob Franks' interesting article at the Itawamba County Historical Society's webblog. Terry Thornton also has great information about the Loyds and other Itawamba potters at his Hill Country blog. Thank you, Don Dulaney, for providing the photos when my camera's battery died.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Chicago Mill and Lumber Company

When my daddy graduated with an accounting degree from Mississippi State, he moved his young family from the red clay hills of northeast Mississippi to the flat delta town of Greenville where he had taken a job with Chicago Mill and Lumber Company. Here is young James Luke Robinson standing outside the company's local office building, probably around 1962. Chicago Mill moved into the area to take advantage of the diverse hardwoods that populated the Mississippi, Louisiana and Arkansas deltas in the early 1900s. Like most timber companies of the time, they bought up vast tracts of land, harvesting the timber and transporting it to company-owned mills before manufacturing the lumber and shipping it out to lumber yards, either by barge or rail. Located in a port town, the Greenville location played an important role in transporting timber and lumber up and down the Mississippi River.

Hermann Paepcke, a German immigrant, started the lumber company in 1892. Headquartered in Chicago with its major operations at Cairo, Illinois, the company located the mill at Greenville sometime before 1927, the year of the Great Flood. The mill's 110-foot high smokestack was partially destroyed by flood waters that year. After a long life, the Greenville location closed its doors at the end of 2008, having already shut down most of the mill's operations some time before. The building pictured above has been long gone, although the tall smokestack in the background was still standing during my last visit to the Delta town.

Perhaps the most well-known story surrounding the Chicago Mill and Lumber Company involved its role in the extinction of the ivory-billed woodpecker. Or, I should say, near extinction, because after after a sixty-year period, this species of bird was discovered alive and well in a remote part of the Arkansas delta in 2005. You may remember the media coverage surrounding the discovery.

The ivory-billed woodpecker disappeared after its habitat was destroyed by the logging frenzy in the early twentieth century. In 1943, a small population of these birds, perhaps seven pairs, was found in the Singer tract (so-called because it was once held by the Singer Sewing Machine Company), an old-growth forest in Louisiana owned by Chicago Mill and Lumber Company. Despite pleas by the National Audubon Society, four Southern governors and numerous federal agencies, the lumber company refused to halt its logging operations, and within a year, the forest disappeared and with it, supposedly the last ivory-billed woodpecker. Go here to the Smithsonian Magazine's website to read more about this fascinating story.

There are estimates that nearly 17 million acres of forestland were lost in the lower Mississippi River floodplain, primarily due to timber harvesting by companies such as Chicago Mill and from the conversion of forests to farmland. Efforts are underway today to reclaim and reforest as much of the delta floodplain as possible. Can you imagine our Mississippi delta full of trees instead of fields of cotton or corn or rice?

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day

May you find true love and never lose it.

J. K. and Queenie Davis, 1956, married 53 years

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Anna's Story

Anna Papanek was just nineteen years old when she crossed the ocean alone on the ship USS Europa in 1939. The ship's manifest indicated that she was born in Brezova, Slovakia. Brezova is a small town in the Czech Republic, situated in the western foothills of the Little Carpathians mountain range; it has a population of less than 6,000 people, most of them of Lutheran or Roman Catholic faith.

Anna sailed from Bremen, Germany and landed in New York City on March 20, 1939. Her father, Stephen, sent her to the United States to escape the growing hostilities in Europe after the Nazis came to power in Germany.

Once here, Anna went to night school to learn English, quickly obtaining both her United States citizenship and a nursing degree. Six years later, almost to the day, on March 4, 1945 she enlisted in the Women's Army Corps, a branch of the regular Army. Her enlistment papers indicate that she was a resident of Essex County, New Jersey and that her occupation was midwife or practical nurse.

Four years later, on March 2, 1949, Sgt. Anna Papanek became the bride of fellow soldier, Sgt. Roy Murl Walker, in Munich, Germany. The photo you see above is of the happy couple flanked by Anna's maid of honor, Margaret Nemeth, and Roy's best man, M. Sgt. Jessie Whitlock. Murl was an army medic, and he and Anna met at a hospital, fell in love, and arranged to be married by a justice of the peace.

After completing their military service, the couple returned stateside where they both worked at Walter Reed Army Hospital in Washington, D. C. Eventually, they returned to Mississippi, Murl's home, and opened a grocery store. I'm sure many of you will remember seeing Murl and Anna at Walker's Big Star in downtown Fulton.

Anna was ever the patriot and never missed an opportunity to fly the flag of her adopted country. Although Murl is still living, Anna passed away in 2000. Anna's story seems appropriate as we approach Valentine's Day and remember her love for her country and for Roy Murl.

Thusie and 'Em Kids

At least a couple of weeks each year, if not more often, Thusie had all of her grandchildren come for a visit. My father, who lived next door and was an only child, was always excited when 'em kids, as he called them, showed up at his grandparents' house. Thusie had a rule that 'em kids had to entertain themselves outside, and that suited them just fine! They had the run of the Robinson farm which is today located in the subdivision down Willow Road in Fulton. No television, no video games, no computers - nope, all they had were trees, creeks and some perhaps some geese and chicken to chase - but 'em kids had a ball together!

Pictured with Thusie above are her grandkids, standing behind her, left to right: Lucy, Sue, Evagene, Guy Hathorn, and Larrie (all siblings and children of William Lawson Robinson and Lucille Hathorn). In front, left to right: Jo Ann Robinson, with her baby brother Lowrey Marlin Jr. in Thusie's lap, and then my father, James Luke Robinson. Jo Ann and Lowrey were children of L. M. "Buddy" Robinson and Coleen Cummings. Three of Thusie's grandchildren were not yet born when this photo was taken about 1937.

Thusie, or "Grandmomma Robinson" to her grandkids, was Arthusa Parneshia Robinson. She was the daughter of John T. and Elizabeth Evans of Tremont, and was married to Gideon C. Robinson.

Her grandchildren Lucy and Sue live near me in Oxford, and I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know them. They have very generously shared their family stories and pictures with me, and I'll be forever grateful . 'Em kids are special people!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Someone's Mother

On a recent cemetery junket along the Mississippi-Alabama state line with fellow cemetery junkie, Don Dulaney, we found the above grave marker. Don took me to Old Temple Cemetery, or Pate's Temple Cemetery, in northeastern Itawamba County. The cemetery is located high atop one of this area's tall hills. What a view during this time of year! And in the summer, it is easy to image the trees surrounding the the small cemetery, providing privacy and coolness.

Although Pate's Temple Cemetery is an old cemetery, this marker for "Mother" appears to be more recent, although still not new by any means. Someone obviously went to a lot of trouble and effort to place this tribute to their mother. Unfortunately, there are no other grave markers around to tell us who "mother" was, and sadly, there are more unmarked graves in this cemetery than there are marked ones.

View beyond cemetery

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Buckner and Emma Loden

Juddah Buckner and Emma C. Loden
with daughter, Lora

You can learn a lot from census records; each one is a snapshot of a family on a particular date every ten years. It is a fascinating glimpse into our family's past. From the four decades of census records below, we know where Buck and Emma were born, where their parents were born, how many children they had, when they married, where they were living, even Emma's maiden name by the fact that her brother was residing with the couple during one particular census period. The Loden and Sheffield families are well-known in Itawamba County. See how many names you recognize below.
Census records are released every ten years, and we should expect to see the 1940 census released next year. Wonder what it will tell us about Buck and Emma's family?

1900 Census
Itawamba County, Mississippi
Beat 3
Buckner Loden 23 AL AL AL farmer, born July 1876, married 2 years
Emma Loden 19 MS AL MS, born April 1881, 2 children, 2 living
Lora, daughter, born Jan 1899
Clepton, son, born Apr 1900
Samuel Sheffield, brother-in-law, 22 AL AL MS, no occupation, born Nov 1877

1910 Cenusus
Itawamba County, Mississippi
Beat 3, Greenwood Community
Buck Loden 33 MS AL AL, farmer, married 12 years
Emlie 28 MS MS AL, 7 children, 7 living
Lora, daughter, 11
Clenton, son, 9
Lila, daughter, 8
Corrine, daughter, 6
Jasper, son, 4
Fannie Lee, daughter, 2
Adolphus, son, 9 mo.

1920 Census
Itawamba County, Mississippi
Beat 3
Juddah B. Loden, 44 MS AL AL, farmer
Emma 38, MS MS AL
Robert C., son, 19
Lila, daughter, 18
Corinna, daughter, 16
Jasper N., son, 14
Fannie L., daughter, 12
Adolphus L, son, 9
Glen C., son, 8
Pauline C, daughter, 7
Audie M., daughter, 5
Emma L., daughter, 2
J. J., son, 2 mo.

1930 Census
Itawamba County, Mississippi
Beat 3, Greenwood & Dorsey Road
Juddah B. Loden, 53 MS AL AL, farmer, owns farm, married at age 22
Emma C., 48 MS MS AL, married at age 17
Adolphus L., son, 20
Glen C., son, 19
Pauline C., daughter, 17
Audrey M., daughter, 15
Emma L., daughter, 12
James J., son, 10
Rachel B., daughter, 8

Monday, February 9, 2009

Icie Minim and Tula Aminee Malloy

Aminee and Icie were sisters, the only children of John Thomas "Tom" Malloy and Laura Elizabeth Pennington. These sisters never married; they lived long lives and took care of each other. Aminee was 87 years old when she died in 1990, and Icie was 92 years old when she died in 1997.

The Malloys attended New Bethel Baptist Church where Icie played the piano and father Tom led the singing. Tom and my great-grandfather William Hugh Pennington (Icie and Aminee's cousin) used to argue the Bible. Hugh was Primitive Baptist, you see, and attended Emmaus Church just down the road from New Bethel Church.

The Malloys and Penningtons were among several families who came to Itawamba County from across the state line in Lamar County, Alabama. The Malloys were a Scottish family who immigrated to North Carolina before moving westward to Alabama, settling in what was then Fayette County before 1830. There is today a Malloy community where they originally settled. The Penningtons came from South Carolina, also settling in Fayette County before 1830, but their heritage is believe to be of English Quaker.

Aminee and Icie's father, John Thomas Malloy, was the son of John W. and Elizabeth Malloy, while their mother, Laura Elizabeth Pennington, was the daughter of Greenberry Pennington and Kathryn Malloy. I haven't figured out yet how Kathryn Malloy is related to John W. Malloy, but I am certain there is a connection. Both sets of Aminee and Icie's grandparents moved to the Peaceful Valley community of Itawamba County before 1900.

1920 Census
Itawamba County, Mississippi
Cardsville precinct
John T Malloy 41 AL AL MS sawmill laborer
Lanor E 40 AL AL AL
Tula A 16 MS
Icy M 14 AL
John W Malloy 72 father
Marget E Malloy 69 mother

1930 Census
Itawamba County, Mississippi
Beat 3 Barrs Ferry Road
John T Malloy 51 AL AL MS farmer
Laura E 50 AL AL AL married at age 21
Tula A 25 MS (daug) single
Icie M 22 MS (daug) single
John W Malloy 83 AL SC SC (father) widowed

The sisters are buried in Wiygul Cemetery in southern Itawamba County along with their parents.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Watermelons in February

It's been a cold winter, and to give us something warm to think about I've posted the following photographs of .... watermelons! You've seen pictures of Fessie's monster fish and trophy deer on this blog, but he was known for something else - his watermelons.

The Penningtons loved to grow watermelons. Both Fessie and his father, William Hugh Pennington, always had a watermelon patch, and Fessie talked about his great-uncle Greenberry Pennington's watermelons often.

Another Pennington loves watermelons, and that is Fessie's little sister Clara Nell, or Tootsie, as she is known. As a young girl, she couldn't wait for the watermelons to ripen each summer. When Tootsie's impatience got the best of her, she would sneak into the watermelon patch, turn the biggest watermelons over and cut a plug from the bottom of the melon. If it was ripe, she would pull the watermelon and eat it, disposing of the evidence. If the melon wasn't ripe, she would just put the plug back in it and turn it back over. Big Daddy couldn't figure out why his watermelons were rotting in the field until he turned a plugged watermelon over one day. Immediately, he knew that his youngest child had been the culprit.

Fessie took great pride in growing the largest watermelons in Peaceful Valley if not Itawamba County, and he would pile them up under the shade tree in the front yard for people to notice when they were driving by. The picture below of Beck and Alysson was taken underneath this shade tree in 1986 and displays some of Fessie's finest melons.

Fessie was known for what he called his "preacher" watermelons. These watermelons were grown from seeds obtained from Elder Wiley Sammons, a visiting Primitive Baptist preacher at Enon Church. Bro. Sammons was from Tennessee, and he and Mrs. Sammons spent the night with Fessie and Beck during one of the church's association meetings. Somehow or another, the subject of watermelons came up, and Fessie became keenly interested in the huge watermelons that Bro. Sammons said he grew on his farm. On his next visit, Bro. Sammons brought Fessie some of his watermelon seeds, instructing Fessie to not plant the watermelons in the same patch as the other watermelons in order to avoid crossing. Fessie grew his "preacher" watermelons up until he died. I don't know that he sold a single watermelon; he just loved giving them away to friends and family.

As you can tell, the Penningtons were proud of their watermelons. And when their first grandchild came along, they were proud of her too so it was natural for them to kill two birds with one stone and photograph them together! Happy birthday, Alysson!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Lawrence and Dellar

One of the things I remember about visits to Lawrence and Pearl's house was their supply of fresh milk. I don't mean milk from the grocery store with a 'use by' date well into the future. I mean 'milk from the cow that morning' fresh. A peek into the Dulaney refrigerator would yield a gallon jar of fresh milk, and at meals you could find a glass of that milk sitting at Pearl or Lawrence's plate along with a block of butter churned by Pearl to go with her biscuits or cornbread.

Don Dulaney has fond memories of his grandfather's cow, Dellar: "Papaw milked every day, at daylight and just before dark. He always had two or three cows so if one went dry or had a calf, he had a spare. In the fall, Papaw would turn Dellar out in the field after the corn had been gathered, leaving some of the corn on the ground for her. This was good for Dellar but not so good for Papaw. You see, Dellar was bad to get into the cockaburs, and when milk time came she would slap Papaw with her tail!" Don owns the cow bell that used to hang around Dellar's neck.

Lawrence Dulaney was a "country vet." He was self-taught with no formal training, but folks came from all around for him to tend to their animals. This was the usual practice in most rural areas as there were no veterinarians, and farmers commonly tended to their own animals. However, when their more valuable livestock became ill, they turned to their local "country vet" for assistance. This practice continued until the state veterinary licensing board got involved and actively sought to shut down the "country vets."

Friday, February 6, 2009

Harriet Caroline Pierce Johnson 1834-1916

Harriet Caroline Pierce was the daughter of Gibson and Esther Nichols Pierce, born May 15, 1834 in North Carolina. She married Stephen Johnson in 1851 in Wake County, North Carolina. Stephen was the son of John and Nancy Johnson. By 1856, the couple was in Itawamba County with their two small children.

I have a picture somewhere of Harriet's great-granddaughter, Pearl Faye Johnson, in a bonnet much like the one Harriet is wearing. Pearl was my husband's grandmother, and she could sew and craft with the best of them. Harriet was 83 when she died on July 24, 1916. Pearl Johnson Dulaney was 82 when she died December 24, 1997. Imagine the changes each of them saw in their lifetime. I don't think we can equal them today.

The grave marker pictured is from Harriet's grave in Pine Grove Cemetery.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

A Surprise for Fessie

When Fessie came home from World War II, he had a surprise waiting for him. While he was serving in the Navy, off fighting the Second Battle of the Philippines from the U.S.S. Reno, Beck built a house! Here are Fessie and Beck standing in front of their new home after his return from war. During World War II, many women joined the armed forces while others went to work in the factories a la "Rosie the Riveter." A great majority of women, however, were at home keeping the families together and taking care of business. The home that Beck had built would remain the family home until their deaths. Well done, Beck!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Elizabeth Ann Bishop Evans

Ma Evans

Elizabeth Ann Bishop was my great-great grandmother. She was born December 3, 1849 near Bexar, in Marion County, Alabama to William T. Bishop and his wife, Ann Bryan McDonald. Ann Bryan died when Elizabeth was barely two years old, and W. T. remarried to Sarah Adeline Johnson. It has been said that Ann Bryan McDonald spoke with a thick Scottish brogue, and indeed her grandfather Archibald was born in Perth County, Scotland in 1768. The McDonalds were among the Scottish immigrants who found their way up the Cape Fear River in North Carolina where a large contingent of Scots settled in the early 1800s.

Elizabeth married John T. Evans in 1871 in Marion County, and they had seven children, including one who died as an infant. They made their home south of Tremont, Mississippi, not too far from her childhood home in Bexar. It has been said that John adored his wife. Their grandson, Buddy Robinson, said that Pa Evans expected his daughters to wait on their mother, hand and foot, and that Pa Evans himself never let Elizabeth soil the bottom of her feet, carrying her from their carriage to the house.

Elizabeth died August 14, 1936. She had been in poor health for some time following a fall in which she injured her back. She was 87 years old when she died. I have her gold pocket watch, and ever so often I take it out and look at it, and wonder about her.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Another Fish Tale

It's been a while since I've posted any pictures with a deer or fish in them so here's one for you, and there are lots more left! This photo was taken in April 1959. Fessie is on the left, and I don't know who the fellow is with him. Fessie has on his carpenter's overalls, I see. Don't you imagine there were some "good eats" that night in Beck's kitchen? Mmmm.

UPDATE: My mother said that the other person is the photo is probably Dick Pennington, Fessie's cousin. She said that Dick used to come fish with Fessie, and the way he is standing makes her think it is he.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Fulton Little League - way back when

I'd say this picture was taken in the 1940s. That's my father, standing, second from the right, James "Peewee" Robinson. Unfortunately, I don't know any of the other boys pictured with him on the team or anything else about the picture. I need your help! Please let me know if you recognize a team member or have any information. You know, that looks like a young Dude Comer in the middle row, third from the left! Reckon?

Sunday, February 1, 2009


Brenda Moore Franklin shared this photo of her grandfather, Jesse Davis Moore (left) with his pal, Willie Martin. The date of the photo is 1914. Jesse was the son of Charles Davis Moore and Elizabeth Dee Simmons. Willie's parents are not known to me, but I found a Willie Martin in the 1900 census, about the same age of Jesse, and he was in the household of William D. and Florence Martin near the Greenwood community of Itawamba County.