Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Garden Secrets

Are you looking for some gardening tips this spring? In this 1982 Polaroid snapshot, Fessie Pennington gives away the secret to his successful gardens. Epsom salts. That's right. Seems that Epsom salts contain two important minerals, magnesium and sulfur, that are beneficial to flowers and vegetables. Fessie swore by the use of Epsom salts for his tomato plants, and truthfully he had some of the better looking tomatoes in the county.

The Epsom salts can be mixed with water (1 tablespoon salt to 1 gallon water) and sprayed on the plants, or it can be added directly to the soil. As an added bonus, after working in the garden all day, you can soak your tired feet in a soothing solution of hot water and Epsom salts.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Jerome and Erah Wilemon family

The Wilemon and Dulaney families both lived in northeastern Itawamba County, often within shouting distance of each other, and needless to say, several marriages took place between the families. Pictured below is the family of Jerome Wilemon and Erah Beasley. Jerome was the son of George Wilemon and Sibbie Dulaney. He was born in 1870 in Arkansas during the brief period of time that his family lived there. Erah, who was born in 1872 in Itawamba County, was the daughter of David Beasley and Elizabeth Sewell. You may remember an earlier post about David.

Jerome and Erah had nine children, but only eight are pictured below. The youngest child, George Earl Wilemon, apparently was not yet born when the photograph was taken. Based on the ages of the children, the photo dates about 1910 or so.

Front row: Floyd, Jerome, Jesse, Earnest, Erah, Esbie
Back row: Leonard, Edgar, Esker, Minnie

Jerome and Erah's children were:

1. Minnie Jane, b 1892, m Curtis Carpenter
2. D. Edgar, b 1894, m Vada Belle Shields
3. Romie Esker, b 1895, m Ophie Hood
4. James Leonard, b 1898, m Effie Mae Gann
5. Jesse V, b 1902, m Mary Opal Dulaney (daughter of T.A. "Bunt" Dulaney)
6. Esbie, b 1904, m Henry Wilson
7. Floyd, b 1907, m Vida Dulaney (daughter of James Henry Dulaney)
8. Earnest, b 1909, m Ruby Dulaney (daughter of James Lewis Dulaney)
9. George Earl, b 1912, m Ovilene Robinson (granddaughter of T.A. "Bunt" Dulaney)

Leonard's son, Romie Wilemon, provided the above photograph to Don Dulaney during a recent visit. Romie is pictured below with his wife, Dorothy, who also happens to be a Dulaney descendant. Dorothy is descended from Henry Davis Dulaney and Minnie Mae Whitehead. Itawambians are generous people, and folks like Romie and Dorothy have been very generous in sharing their time and memories with us. Nice people, indeed.

Romie and Dorothy Wilemon

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Jackson and Melissia Sloan

Jackson Samuel and Melissia Caroline, my great-great grandparents, were residents of the Peaceful Valley community of Itawamba County. Their grave marker in Carolina Cemetery, pictured above, tells us the year of their deaths but no month or day. Recently, it occurred to me that I could order their death certificates to find out Jack and Melissia's full dates of death. And so I did.

The death certificates came this past week, and I was pleasantly surprised at what they revealed. In addition to their dates of death - August 13, 1930 for Jack and February 25, 1933 for Melissia - I found out that Jack was born in Bedford, Alabama on October 14, 1853. I already knew he was born in Lamar County, but now the community has been identified, plus I now have his date of birth! Previously, I had relied on census records which had the month right but not the year. Jack died at 7:45 p.m. of cardio-nephritis, and his death certificate was signed by Nabors & Sloan, M.D.s of Nettleton, Mississippi. This little bit of information tells me that Jack's son, Dr. William Alfred Sloan, was practicing medicine in Nettleton in 1930 with Dr. Nabors. Finally, Jack's mother's maiden name was identified as Irvin. Both Irvin and Lowery have been found as her maiden name so this appears to narrow it down. Since the 'informant' for the death certificate was Jack's widow, Melissia, the information should be reliable.

Melissia's death at 3:35 p.m. was caused by arteriosterosis and uremia, and her death certificate was signed by her son W. A. Sloan, M.D. whose address was given as Caledonia, Miss. Apparently Dr. Sloan had moved to Caledonia in Lowndes County between 1930 and 1933. Melissia - spelled thus on her death certificate - was born in Mississippi (Itawamba County as a matter of fact) to Jesse and Fannie Potts. Informant for Melissia's death certificate was J.E. Burdine, apparently James Elvie Burdine, her grandson. He was only 22 years old which explains why some items on the death certificate are missing, such as Melissia's date of birth and her mother's maiden name. Thankfully, I have both of those.

I have a first-hand account from my Aunt Tootsie for her Granny's death. The community was alerted to her impending death by Aunt Zadie Blake who was taking care of Granny at her home. According to Aunt Tootsie, who was about six years old at the time, Zadie was a "hollerer," and by the tone of her voice, the family knew that Granny's death was near and so everyone started for her house. Tootsie remembers irons being heated in the fireplace and placed at the foot of Granny's bed to keep her warm.

The death certificates provided nice surprises, and now I can't wait to order certificates for some of my other ancestors.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

F. M. Pennington


When this photo was taken, the Pennington mailbox was located across the road from the house. A gravel road, no less. What memories this old mailbox stirs up today! I snapped this picture for a photography class I was taking at I.J.C. at the time, not knowing that thirty years later I would be so glad that I did.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Willam M. Evans homeplace

I'm guessing - have no proof - that the home pictured below belonged to William M. Evans, my great-great-great grandfather. The original photograph was among the possessions of Thusie Evans Robinson, my great-grandmother. I am not even sure that the photographs are of the same house, perhaps the first one is a view from the rear of the house?

William M. Evans was one of the largest land-owners of Itawamba County, owning four thousand six hundred acres in 1891. In "Goodspeed's History of Mississippi" William is referred to as "one of the self-made, wealthy men of the county." Born in Georgia in 1818, he met and married Sarah Pearce, daughter of James Madison Woods Pearce and Elizabeth Skinner, in Paulding County. William was the son of William Evans and Sela Dunn who died in Madison County, Georgia before 1840.

Between 1845 and 1847, William and his brother, Thomas, left Georgia for Alabama and Mississippi along with their wives and their wives' families, the Claytons and Pearces. The Pearces settled in Marion County in what became Pearce's Mill although some Pearces later moved to near Mantachie in Itawamba County. William and his brother Thomas bought land in eastern Itawamba County along the border with Alabama. If you drive east along U.S. Highway 78, the interchange with Miss. Hwy. 23 is part of the original holdings of the Evans family. Thomas and his children left for Texas before 1880 although some of his descendants still live in Itawamba County and are connected to the former Evans Lumber Mill.

Interestingly, the Evans family, unlike many large land-owners of the time, owned no slaves, according to the 1850 and 1860 Slave Schedules.

Sarah Pearce Evans died in 1863, probably during childbirth with her son . William, who served Itawamba County as supervisor in the 1880s, died in 1896. William and Sarah's children were: Martha Ann, b 1845, married Talmon Harbor; Elizabeth, b 1847, married James Harbor; Sela, b 1848, d 1863; John Thomas, b 1850, married Elizabeth Ann Bishop; Susan Florence, b 1852, married Henry J. Robinson; William D., b 1863, married Mary E. Unknown.

If anyone has any information about these photographs, or the Evans family, I'd love to hear from you!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Dinner on the Grounds

Dinner on the ground at Enon Primitive Baptist Church, about 1970,
before the kitchen and fellowship hall were built

Having visited several of Itawamba County's cemeteries in the past couple of years, I've collected quite a few photographs of the tables that were once used, or perhaps still rarely used, for "dinner on the grounds" following church services. In earlier times, church used to be an all-day event, typically with preaching in the morning followed by a noon-day meal, then more preaching or perhaps singing, but always with lots of fellowship in between. This was in the days before churches built kitchens and fellowship halls. Now, the use of outdoor tables has diminished or altogether stopped. Itawamba County still has quite a collection of tables, although I wonder how many of them are still being put to good use.

Some of the tables are in cemeteries without an accompanying church, such as Bourland's Cemetery, and those tables would be used following Decoration Day services. Following a sermon or some hymns, it was time to pull weeds, replace flowers, and in some cemeteries, scrape the ground of every blade of grass. The meal usually preceded the sermon, and this was the perfect occasion for women to show off their latest recipes and best dishes.

Liberty Cemetery, typical construction, wooden frame
covered with chicken wire

Sturdy concrete table at Burnt Fields Church and Cemetery

Covered table at Benefield Cemetery

Kennedy Chapel, wood top

Mt. Carmel Cemetery

Bourland Cemetery, table to rear of covered meeting

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Peter and Cornelia Wallace family

Peter Franklin Wallace was the son of Augustus M. Wallace and Abigail Weaks. He married the daughter of Samuel Branch Moore and Frances Jane Galloway, Cornelia Agnes "Neely" Moore, in Itawamba County on January 21, 1880, and they had six children who lived to adulthood.

1910 Census
Itawamba County, Mississippi
Greenwood precinct
Peter F. Wallace 58 MS TN U.S. farmer, married 30 years
Neeley A. 55 MS NC U.S. , 8 children, 6 living
Alma A. 25 MS daughter
Francis E. 23 MS daughter
Jeanne F. 21 MS son
Dazzie 17 MS daughter
Azzie 15 MS daughter

Not listed in the above household is their oldest child, James Davis Wallace. Four year old Estle died in 1902 while another child died in 1881 as an infant.

Full names of the children of Peter and Cornelia are:

James Davis Wallace, b 1882, married Lillie Daisy Gillentine
Alma Ann Wallace, b 1884, never married
Ethel Lee Wallace, b 1887, married Walter E. Wood
Jeanne Franklin Wallace, b 1889, married Lillie Spradling
Dazzie Sue Wallace, b 1892, married James Arthur Davidson
Azzie Wallace, b 1895, married Jesse Elbert Carroll

Peter died in 1911 and Cornelia in 1934; both are buried at Keys Cemetery in Itawamba County. Thanks to Brenda Franklin Moore for sharing the photo of her great-great aunt's family.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

David Beasley

It is hard to imagine just how much our ancestors moved around back in the old days. Without our modern travel conveniences, it would seem that they would want to stay in one place. Roads as we know them were nonexistent. Travel was slow and full of dangers. Yet, our ancestors traveled and moved with much more regularity than we would think. David Beasley is a good example of this.

David Beasley was born in North Carolina. His tombstone in Jefferson County, Alabama indicates his year of birth was 1816, but the 1900 census gives his age as 93 years old which places him as being born in 1807. Safe to say, he was born between 1807 and 1816. In 1850, we find David in Barnwell District, South Carolina, married to Dicey and with three children. By 1860, David was in Coosa County, Alabama where he had joined his father and mother, Henry and Charlotte Beasley, who were living near the Mt. Olive community. David's wife in this census is Eliza A., and there are two new children in the household.

The next decade's census finds David living in Lawrence County, Alabama - clear across the state. David's household has grown tremendously with nine children now living with him. His wife's name is Eliza B, but she appears to be a different Eliza. Family researchers indicate that she is Elizabeth Sewell, previously married to a Phillips. That explains the rapid expansion of the household and the varying ages of the children in 1870.

By 1880, David had moved to Itawamba County. Eleven children now grace his household, several shown to be step-children with the last name of Phillips. The 1890 census is missing, but in 1900 we find David living in Jefferson County, Alabama. He and Elizabeth, who interestingly enough is shown with an occupation of 'midwife,' were living in their daughter's household. David died in December 1900 and was buried in Moncrief Cemetery in Gardendale, Jefferson County. He left several adult children behind in Itawamba County however, and many of his descendants call Itawamba home today, including Ricky Beasley who shared this photo with Don Dulaney.

Census records give us a glimpse of a person's residence only every ten years, and it is highly likely that David lived in other places in between the censuses. But one thing is certain: the evidence shows that David was a highly mobile person during his long and very full life.

1850 Census
Barnwell County, South Carolina
David Beasley 30 SC
Dicey 25 SC
Eliza 7 SC
Josephine 6 SC
John 3 SC

1860 Census
Coosa County, Alabama
Mt. Olive post office
Living near Henry & Charlotte Beasley, both 73 years old and born in North Carolina
David Beazley 46 NC farmer
Eliza A. 42 SC
Josephine 16 SC
John 12 SC
Sarah A. 6 SC
Jefferson 5 SC

1870 Census
Lawrence County, Alabama
Courtland post office
David Beasly 54 NC farmer
Eliza B. 34 AL
Josephine 15 AL
Wm. B. 15 AL
Margaret 10 AL
Martha 8 AL
Amos 6 AL
Alexander 8 mo AL
Sarah 17 AL
Martha J. 9 AL
Nancy 8 AL

1880 Census
Itawamba County, Mississippi
5th Supervisor's District
David Beesly 73 NC NC NC farmer
Bettie 45 AL NC GA housekeeper
Jane 18 NC NC SC daughter
Nancy 15 AL NC SC daughter
Josephine Phillips 23 AL AL AL step-daughter
Margaret Phillips 18 AL AL AL step-daughter
Martha Phillips 16 AL AL AL step-daughter
Amos Beasley 14 AL NC AL son
Viola Beasley 13 AL NC AL daughter
Marshall Buzley 10 AL NC AL son
Era Buzley 6 AL NC AL daughter
Luceller Buzley 5 MS NC AL daughter
Jasper Phillips 1 MS TN AL no relationship given

1900 Census
Jefferson County, Alabama
Precinct 22
David Beasley 93 NC NC NC born May 1807, farmer, “father-in-law”
Elizabeth Beasley 63 AL NC GA born Dec 1836, midwife, “mother-in-law”
In household of:
John B. and Lusell Nickless

Thank you, Ricky, for sharing your family photographs with Don. Ricky is descended from two of the three original Dulaney brothers who moved to Itawamba County in the 1830s: two ways from brother Alfred and another way from brother John. I bet if we kept looking, there would be a connection to the third brother, Gilbert. Ricky Beasley probably has more Dulaney blood that most Dulaneys!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Shirley Evans Kent

Mildred Shirley Evans was one of three children born to Fletcher Lowry Evans and Leola Palestine Chamblee. A fourth child died as an infant. Shirley was born May 13, 1913 and was married to Gilmore Lavern "Vern" Kent about 1930. After her death on August 7, 1991, Shirley was buried next to her husband in the Tremont Cemetery.

Shirley's father was the brother of my great-grandmother Thusie Evans Robinson. Their parents were John Thomas Evans and Elizabeth Ann Bishop. Shirley's mother was the daughter of Benjamin Chamblee and Telitha Webb.

Here is Lowry in the 1910 census, living at home with his parents:

1910 Census
Itawamba County, Mississippi
Beat 4, Tremont precinct, Russellville Road
John T. Evans 60 MS GA GA farmer
Elizabeth 61 AL U.S. U.S. wife, 7 children, 6 living
Lowry 26 MS son, no occupation
Rosa 22 MS daughter
Lillie 21 MS daughter

And here is little Shirley's first census enumeration in 1920:

1920 Census
Itawamba County, Mississippi
Beat 4, Stones Crossroads precinct, Amory Road
(living next to John T. and Elizabeth Evans)
Lowry Evans 38 MS MS AL farmer
Palestine 20 MS U.S. U.S.
Shirley 6 MS daughter
Bessie 4 MS daughter
Johnnie 1 MS son

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Spring planting

Millard Mills, left, with a neighbor boy, Gene, getting his crops planted. I don't know much about farming, and even less about farming in the 1930s and 1940s, but it looks like Millard is using a device to level out the soil and remove rocks and lumps while Gene has the planter that contains seeds.

Millard was the son of Jesse and Onady Mills.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Napoleon Bonaparte Johnson

This couple was identified as Napoleon Bonaparte Johnson and his wife, Texie, by Mike's mother, Shirley Dulaney Mills. Shirley's mother was Pearl Johnson, and Napoleon would have been Pearl's second cousin.

Napoleon Bonaparte was the French emperor whose name is synonymous with power and military genius, and he obviously was admired by many Itawambians because there are several men in the 1800s who were named after the Frenchman. Often, these men would wind up with the nickname of "Boney" - not a very dignified name for such a grand icon of history.

Napoleon Bonaparte Johnson was born January 31, 1890 and died about 1931, which makes me wonder if perhaps the photo above could be mis-identified. Napoleon definitely had died before his father, William Albert Johnson, whose 1949 obituary indicated his son Napoleon was deceased.

Texie was Texie Idora Wheeler, daughter of Roland V. Wheeler and Sarah Jane Moore. She was born October 18, 1890 and died December 3, 1958.

If anyone has any information about this photo or this couple, I'd appreciate being contacted.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Fifty-three years ago

Pa Davis on the front porch of his house with his
beloved dogs. Pa was a fan of Spitz-type dogs.
March 1956
James Kelly Davis

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Homemade markers - Salem Cemetery

When we enter a cemetery, most of us naturally look at the tallest monument in the cemetery, or perhaps the most elaborate markers catch our eye. Salem Cemetery, in the northeastern part of Itawamba County, has the distinction of having the tallest monument in the county. When I visited there a few weeks ago with our dog Rupert and Don Dulaney, the tall Copeland monument certainly got my attention, but it was the large number of homemade markers that caught my eye.

The marker above appears to be a slab of slate with the initials "P H Hall" carved into it. The P could be an R however. Hall family descendants may have a better idea as to who this marker belongs to, but census records from 1930 indicate it could be Patty H. Hall, wife of Charlie M. Another possibility is the 76 year old Robert H. Hall, living next door to Charlie and Patty. Or the grave's occupant could have died much earlier than 1930.

The homemade marker below is a nice, solid concrete slab that has stood up well over the past 105 years, and there is enough information on the marker to determine that it belongs to Ruben R. Hubbard. In the 1900 census, a 47 year old R.R. Hubbard was living with his wife Sara J. and children, George, Martha, Mary, Wallis, Francis and 'Epil', in the Lowery-Copeland-Pleasanton precinct. Sadly, this family lost their husband and father just four years later. Note the carved inscription "In God We Trust." The phrase first appeared on the 1864 one-cent and two-cent coins but did not appear regularly on coins until 1908 following a major redesign of American coinage. What a nice touch to Ruben's marker.

Without family records, there is no way of knowing who the homemade marker below belongs to. The initials of "J.W." appear clearly, but there may be a third initial of "E" at the end. No other information is discernible on the marker.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Nathaniel "Nate" Dulaney

One of Itawamba's fighting citizens during World War II was Nathaniel "Nate" Dulaney, the youngest son of Richard Nathaniel "Dick" Dulaney and Martha C. "Mattie" Moxley. Nate served in the army, enlisting on October 24, 1942. He was married to the former Annie Pearl Waddle, daughter of George Nathaniel Waddle and Nettie Jane Johnson.

Nate was known in Itawamba County for his ability and luck as a fisherman, particularly for crappie.

Nate died in July 1978, but Annie is still living and provided these photos of Nate to Don Dulaney.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

St. Patrick's Day Greetings

St. Patrick's Day is one of those mindless sort of holidays. Wear the traditional green and salute your Irish heritage, right? A few years ago, my husband made the observation that we really ought to be wearing orange instead of green, to reflect our heritage. Orange is the symbol of Irish Protestants while green represents Irish Catholics. Most of us in the rural South come from Scotch-Irish ancestry with strong Presbyterian roots that branched off into Baptist and Methodist faiths and later others, once upon American soil. The Irish Catholic heritage in the U.S. is primarily from migrations during the 1800s following the potato famines in Ireland, and with the majority of the migrations to the large urban areas in the northeast (think New York and Boston).

The Scotch-Irish (or Scots-Irish) were Scots who migrated from Scotland across the narrow channel to Northern Ireland, encouraged by the English crown to 'plant' themselves among the 'wild Irish' people. With the promise of better land and a better life (a recurring theme in early Scotch-Irish migration), Scots left their native country in droves during the 1600s. It was a win-win situation, at least at first. The pesky Irish were a constant thorn in England's side. England couldn't devote its full attention in its wars with Spain and France - both Catholic countries - when Ireland, also Catholic, was attacking it from the rear.

What a brilliant idea, then, to transplant the Scots, who were also trouble-makers for the English along its border with Scotland, to Ireland. The native Irish were thus pushed out of Northern Ireland by the English and replanted with the Scots, who by their natural aggressive and possessive nature, fought with the Irish to keep their new lands, keeping the Irish occupied within their own boundaries for a few years. What may have seemed to be a brilliant idea at the time had serious consequences for generations to come, and many of us recall the violence and terrorism that plagued Northern Ireland up until just recent times.

The transplanted Scots did not intermarry with the Irish or in any way assimilate with them, even after several generations. The Scots' Presbyterian faith was strong and played a huge role in preventing the merging of the two peoples. For the generations born on Irish soil, they were neither Scots nor Irish, but Scots-Irish. In the early 1700s, migration of these Scots-Irish began into the American colonies, primarily into Pennsylvania where the Quaker authorities were tolerant of all religious faiths. Ultimately, the Scots-Irish made their way down into Virginia and the Carolinas when those lands opened up for settlement.

If you've ever asked an older relative about their ancestry, they may have replied that they were of Irish heritage. And in most cases, that would be a half-truth, a history handed down through the generations that "their people" came here from Ireland. This is the case with my grandfather, Luke Robinson, who indicated in the 1966 book "Itawamba-A History" by Forrest Reed, that the Robinsons were Irish. The other half of the story is our Scottish heritage and its Orange Protestant background.

So wear your green today, but most of us might want to consider adding some orange too.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Loice Britton Dulaney

If I were to ask you if you remember Loice Britton Dulaney, you would likely say "who?" But mention Doc Dulaney, and it is a different matter altogether. Whether from the grocery store that he operated, or from the schoolhouse or basketball court, or from church at East Fulton Baptist Church, most people knew Doc Dulaney. My introduction to Doc, excuse me - Mr. Dulaney - was in the eighth grade math class at Fulton Junior High School after we moved from Greenville to Fulton in December 1969. I quickly learned that the paddle he kept in his desk drawer was not just for looks although let me hasten to add that I never was on the receiving end of it. Doc kept strict order in his classroom, but he had his lighter moments too. I can picture him with a twinkle in his eye and a smile creasing his eyes. His expession in the above photo is one I remember well.

Loice Britton Dulaney was born March 1, 1913. He was the son of Joe Abb Dulaney and Vonnie Senter and a direct descendant of early Itawamba settlers Alfred Dulaney and Rachel McNiece as well as Alfred Aven Senter and Elizabeth Sharp. When Loice was a little boy, he contracted polio, and the doctor who treated him nicknamed him "Doc," telling him that he would grow up to be a doctor one day. The nickname stuck.

Doc married Flossie Elizabeth Riley, the daughter of Clifford Riley and Dellie Gillentine of Peppertown, and they had two children: Prebble Jean and Doice Wade. Although Doc died in 1975, Flossie is still living. Doice is keeping the family tradition going by operating Dulaney's Grocery, an Itawamba landmark at the intersection of Highway 25 and Old Highway 78.

The photograph is of a young basketball team coached by Doc Dulaney at Clay. See the "C" on the uniforms? If you click on the photo to enlarge it, you can read the names listed at the bottom of the young boys. A young Lowell Dulaney is pictured on the bottom row, second from the right, and it was his daughter-in-law who provided the photo. Thanks, Toni, for sharing!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Drury A. and Rachel Moxley

Drew and Rachel Moxley are buried in a small cemetery in northeastern Itawamba County, their graves marked by homemade stones. Although the markers appear rather crude, I feel that they have a special character. Their uniqueness draws you to them in a cemetery filled with similar-looking grave markers, and I find them to be honest and straight-forward.

Drew and Rachel didn't have any children so there were no descendants to buy them a nice tombstone when they died between 1920 and 1930. Someone thought enough of them however to at least mark their burials in Martin Cemetery.

Drew was the son of Austin Smith and Emily C. Moxley. Austin, who was born in Virginia, is found in the 1850 census as a schoolteacher in Fayette County, Alabama. He died before the 1860 census, leaving a widow and five children. Drew was one of the children. Henry T. Moxley, the father of Alice Moxley and father-in-law of Thomas "Bunt" Dulaney, was another. Thus, my interest in the Moxleys. Other children were Joseph, Richard and Mary.

Rachel, who was born around 1852, was the daughter of Calvin Martin and Elizabeth Sample. A marriage record dated April 26, 1888 has been found in Itawamba County for Rachell Martin and D. A. Maxby.

1900 Census
Itawamba County, Mississippi
Bounds Crossroads
Drewey Moxley 46 AL VA AL, farmer, born Feb 1854, married 12 years, owns land
Rachel 48 MS TN blank, born Mar 1852

1910 Census
Itawamba County, Mississippi
Bounds Crossroads
Drew A. Moxley 53 AL VA AL farmer, married 21 years
Rachel E. 56 MS U.S. U.S., 0 children, 0 living

1920 Census
Itawamba County, Mississippi
Copelands precinct
Drue Moxley 63 AL AL AL, farmer, rents
Rachel 68 AL U.S. U.S.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

A Fishy Post

Fessie and catfish, 1950s
Time to sneak another fish picture into the blog!

Friday, March 13, 2009

A bit further south than usual

I had forgotten about the photograph of this house, but I quickly recalled it when I passed by the house pictured in the photo this past Saturday. It was the curly-que porch brackets and the skinny columns that caught my attention.

The photograph, which was in Grandma Mills' photo album when she died, appears to have been taken in the 1940s. Grandma is Glader Mills, the daughter of Fisher and Nora Johnson, and when I showed the photo to some of Fisher and Nora's grandchildren, they recognized the house as being located across from the small grocery store near the Ironwood Bluff bridge. I knew exactly which house they were talking about.

Pictured in front of the house is Glader's sister, Dorothy, who was married to Lawrence Taylor. The boys in the photo are their sons. The Taylors, along with the Johnsons, were families that lived in the Ryans Well community of Itawamba County. Dorothy and Lawrence were a bit further south than usual when they lived in this house across from Son Webb's grocery in Peaceful Valley.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Senator Stennis comes to Itawamba County

Senator John Stennis visited Itawamba County during a re-election bid in 1976. Mike had the opportunity to serve as his host during that visit, taking Senator Stennis on a tour of the county. Pictured with Mike and Senator Stennis is Martin Sheffield, an employee of the Itawamba County Times. Yours truly took the photo during a stint as editor of the junior college newspaper.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Daffodils in the arms of a young girl is the image that appears on this Bank of Amory postcard with a 1910 copyright date. The postcard is just one of the items found in the scrapbook of memorabilia and photographs of Jesse Davis Moore. On back of the postcard is a friendly note of an unsigned writer to Miss Myrtle Moore.

Myrtle was Jesse's little sister, and she was born in 1905. Since the note references "school being out" the note appears to be written between 1910 and 1920. The note is not dated, and there is no postmark. Its sender perhaps associates with the little girl on the front of the card.

Frances Myrtle Davis was the youngest child of Charles Davis Moore and Elizabeth Simmons.

1910 Census
Itawamba County, Mississippi
Greenwood precinct
Charlie D. Moore 48 MS NC AL farmer
Lizzie 49 TN TN TN wife
Audie 17 MS son
Jesse 15 MS son
Louzette 11 MS daughter
Myrtle 4 MS daughter

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Moonshine in Itawamba County

This is a scene out of the 1940s - a moonshine operation in Itawamba County busted by the sheriff, who is pictured in the photo. The fellow sitting to the left of the sheriff is James O. Shaw. Moonshine stills existed throughout Itawamba County for most of the 20th century although as the century progressed the moonshining operations died out, probably due to the fact that liquor became legal in Lee County. Even into the 1960s however, sheriffs were continuing to raid moonshine stills in the back country of Itawamba County. Occasionally the sheriff would place the raided stills on the courthouse lawn for all to see, especially when election time was nearing!

Operators of moonshine stills weren't always looked down upon. In fact, in early Scotch-Irish communities, the distiller was usually a respected member of the community, both socially and in the church. The copper worm used in the distillery process was a valuable item, and I've seen copies of wills where the copper worm was included as a bequest.

James Shaw was born December 16, 1895 in Itawamba County and died March 1971 in Itawamba County. He was the son of Mack Shaw and Sina Earnest.

After finding the photo on ancestry.com, I contacted the poster, Aimee Smith, who graciously allowed me to post it here. The original photo belongs to her mother.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Mad Dawgs and Itawambians**

Once upon a time, mad dogs roamed Itawamba County. A rabid fox or coon was often the source of the disease in dogs who would get bit or attacked during a hunt or chase. Everyone has seen the movie "Old Yeller" and remembers the classic rabies symptom - foaming of the mouth and aggressive behavior. Such signs struck fear in our Itawamba ancestors. Today, most dogs are vaccinated for the rabies virus and thus the horrific disease is pretty much a thing of the past. At one time however, "madawgs" were a common occurrence in the rural South. Ask some of your older ancestors if they have any mad dog stories. I bet they do.

In his book "This Old House," Randall Owens tells about an experience he had with a mad dog while growing up in Itawamba County in the early part of the twentieth century. On the day the mad dog showed up at his house, Randall was doing some chores at the barn when his father sent him back to the house for some water. He took his time getting back to the house, and as he stepped onto the porch, Randall noticed all the doors were fastened shut. Suddenly, his mother opened a door, grabbed Randall and pulled him into the house. He had just missed the mad dog by seconds, his delay in getting to the house probably saving his life. Randall says in his book that boiled water was used to scald and scour the area contaminated by a mad dog's saliva and that bare feet weren't allowed to touch the area where the mad dog had been until a thorough cleaning took place.

Royce Robinson remembers a "madawg" (say it real fast) story from his childhood. The dog belonged to his cousin Hite Dulaney who had put the dog up because it had been acting strangely. Hite's brother, Quit Dulaney, later went out to feed the dog, and thinking that the dog appeared okay, he turned it loose.

According to Royce, the mad dog came to his house and attacked his sister, Ruthal, tearing her dress. His uncle Will Robinson tried to shoot the mad dog, but his gun misfired. "The dog got my brother Cutaw down and bit him about thirteen times, once in the face. My Mommy, Vonnie, beat the dawg off of him with her shoe. The dog then went to Voy Works' house where it bit Voy's son, Teldon. I don't know whatever happened to the dog." Royce also said that he remembered that Teldon died from rabies, and that may be true because Teldon's tombstone indicates that he died when he was fourteen years old in 1938.

Royce, the son of James Edward "Ed" Robinson* and Vonnie D. Dulaney, shared his story recently during a visit with Don Dulaney. Not only did Royce's father Ed marry a Dulaney, but Ed's mother Effie was a Dulaney. She was descended from Alfred Dulaney while Ed's wife Vonnie was descended from John Dulaney. Also, Ed's brother Henry married a Dulaney - Maudie, Vonnie's sister. Whew! Alfred, John and Gilbert Dulaney were among the first white men in Itawamba County, and all of the local Dulaneys today can trace their heritage back to one of these brothers. The percentage of Itawambians who are connected to one of these Dulaney men is quite high, particularly in the east side of the county.

Bennie Hite Dulaney and William Quit Dulaney were second cousins to Royce and sons of Alfred Thomas Dulaney, Effie's brother.

Voy Works was actually Cecil Voyed Works who was married to Mary Girtrue Dulaney, daughter of Richard Nathaniel and Martha "Mattie" Moxley Dulaney. Another daughter of Richard and Mattie, Leliar, was married to Will S. Robinson, i.e. Uncle Will in the above story. Girtruee and Leliar were Royce's second cousins.

*Note: This set of Robinsons is apparently unrelated to my family of Robinsons, their being descended from Samuel Robinson out of Franklin County, Alabama whose father Jesse was born in Virginia.

**With apologies to Joe Cocker.

Back row: Voy Works, Girtrue Dulaney Works, Glenda Works, Loyd Robinson, Leliar and Will Robinson
Front row: Lauree, Cecil and R.A. Works; Rudolph Robinson
Girtrue and Leliar were Dulaney sisters.

Sunday, March 8, 2009


Mattie Alvaretta Dulaney and Doc MacDougal Brown

There have been many marriages between the Browns and Dulaneys in Itawamba County. One such union was between Mattie Alvaretta Dulaney and Doc MacDougal Brown. Alvaretta was the daughter of James M. Dulaney and Mary Elizabeth "Betty" Senter. She was not the only child of James and Betty to marry a Brown; in fact, her sister Mary E. married Tobe Brown; her brother James Robert married Mary Ophelia Brown; and her brother Daniel Dove married Elizabeth Sula Brown. That certainly made for easy decisions over which family to spend Christmas with!

Doc Brown was 98 years old when he died in 1957. His obituary indicates that he served many years on the school board for Itawamba County and helped oversee the consolidation of the various county school districts during his service. Alvaretta died in 1947. They are buried at Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church.

1900 Census
Itawamba County, Mississippi
Doc M. Brown 42 MS TN TN farmer, born Dec 1858, married 8 years
Alvaretta 33 MS MS MS born Aug 1866, 4 children, 4 living
J. Hollice 7 MS born Feb 1893
James Q. 5 MS born Mar 1895
Ellis D. 2 MS born Mar 1898
Clovis 3 mo MS born Mar 1900
Walter Stone 16 MS born Apr 1884 "hired hand"

Not yet born in 1900 were children Harvey Woodson Brown (1903) and Lula Mae Brown Cantrell (1906).

Hat tip for this photo goes to Mary Lilly Black who very nicely shared it with Don Dulaney.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Henry Mills, Grandfather

Mike was born in the naval hospital in Charleston, South Carolina where his father was stationed in 1956. After Mike's birth, Henry Mills traveled to Charleston to check on his new grandson and to make sure that Paul and Shirley knew what they were doing. Pictured above is Henry leaving the young family's apartment after his visit; he's heading out to catch a bus back to Itawamba County. There aren't too many photos of Mike's grandpa Henry so this one is treasured. Henry died in 1963 of a heart attack and was buried at Sandy Springs Cemetery.

Friday, March 6, 2009

William Lawson Robinson, 1899-1971

William Lawson Robinson, my grandfather's older brother, was a United Methodist minister who served his north Mississippi congregations for over thirty-six years. While attending Mississippi Agricultural and Mechanical College, he committed to enter the ministry, and in 1923, when the above photograph was taken, Lawson was admitted on trial into the North Mississippi Methodist Conference. This was the same year that Lawson was graduated from Miss. A&M.

Uncle Lawson's first appointment was to Ashland, and that is where he met his future bride, Lucille Hathorn, a teacher at the local school who was from nearby Oxford. Lawson and Lucille were married in 1926, and they had six children and forty-five years together before his death in 1971.

Lawson held his first revival meeting at Tremont in August 1924. It was a homecoming of sorts for Lawson who grew up near Tremont and attended the local schools there. His notes indicate that Rev. L. Betterton was the pastor at the time of the revival with seven members being received into the church and three babies baptized. The babies were the first baptisms performed by Lawson, and they were: Harry Stone, son of Dr. and Mrs. J. H Stone,;and M.D. Jr. and Annie Stone, children of Mr. and Mrs. M. D. (Mautimer DeWitt) Robinson.

During his career, Lawson served as Superintendent of the New Albany District of the North Mississippi Conference, and in 1953 he received a Doctorate of Divinity from Millsaps College. In addition, he served on various boards and commissions and as trustee for both Millsaps and Rust Colleges.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Thomas Minyard, father of Lydia

Lydia Ann Minyard married Harrison H. Hood, son of Joshua H. and Margaret Hood, on February 26, 1880. Lydia's grandaughter was Pearl Johnson Dulaney, my husband's grandmother. I've found where several researchers indicate that Lydia's maiden name was Maynard instead of Minyard, however it seems that evidence points more strongly that she was a Minyard. The 1870 census for Itawamba County includes a six year old "Lidda" in the household of Thomas and Martha Minyard.

It is puzzling to me that the Minyard family appears to be living west of the Tombigbee River, based on their surrounding neighbors, while the Hood, Dulaney and Johnson families lived well to the east of the river nearer to the Alabama state line. How did Lydia meet her future husband? This may be one of those forever-mysteries.

Lydia Minyard Hood

The 1870 census indicates that Thomas was born about 1808 in North Carolina while a much younger Martha, his wife, was born about 1839 in Alabama. There were two other daughters in their household besides six-year old Lydia: Matilda, 11, and Mary, 9. In the earlier census of 1860, it appears that Thomas may have been living in St. Clair County, Alabama. According to the gravemarker below (yes, it is a Loyd marker), Thomas died July 25, 1878. The marker is the only one found for a Minyard in Hopewell-Keyes Cemetery, but it is surrounded by several unmarked graves. The location of a grave for Thomas Minyard in Hopewell-Keyes Cemetery near Dorsey is consistent with the family's location in the 1870 census.

What happened to the rest of the Minyard family? We know for sure that the 9 year old daughter in the 1870 census was actually named Georgia, and she married John Thomas Hood, a brother of Harrison, on October 10, 1879. The 1880 census shows these two couples living next to each other among the Hood, Dulaney and Johnson families in the eastern side of the county. There is a marriage record for a Miss T. C. Minyard to J. F. "Burlism" in 1877 in Itawamba County; this is likely "Tilda Caroline." Another marriage record reveals that the widow, Martha, may have remarried to William Griffin.

Who was Thomas Minyard? We don't really know much about him. We know he was born in North Carolina, and there is some indication that he may be related to a family of Minyards found in early Franklin County, Georgia. Martha was likely a second wife with whom he had three daughters. And as to the Maynard-Minyard debate - either is possible. The name may have been Maynard at one time; in some places, it is found as Mennard or Minnard.

Don Dulaney provided the picture of Lydia Minyard Hood. Don, do you remember who gave you this picture? I also need to credit Bob Franks for telling me about the grave marker for Thomas Minyard, and either he or Don took the picture of the marker you see above.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Ella Pearl Cofield, Blue Mountain College

Pearl Cofield graduated from Tremont High School in April, 1926. While in high school, Pearl was an average student as evidenced by her report card, and not surprisingly, given her love of plants and gardens, Pearl's best subject was botany. The report card was signed by her teacher Mr. W. C. Friday and her guardian E. A. Harbor. Upon graduation, Pearl attended Blue Mountain College where she earned a teacher's certificate in 1928. Mississippi then issued her a license which was valid for a period of three years, and Pearl taught school when she returned to Itawamba County. After the three-year period was up, additional coursework was necessary to renew the license. By that time Pearl was married and the country was in a depression. For whatever reasons, Pearl did not complete the additional courses and thus never taught school again.

The photos of Pearl were taken while she was a student at Blue Mountain College, a small college for women located in north Mississippi. The college was founded in 1873 and became affiliated with the Baptist Convention in 1920.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Cabbage Planting Time

It's cabbage planting time in Northeast Mississippi. Some say it may even be too late. Our local farm supply store had some pretty cabbage plants this week along with six-packs of broccoli and brussels sprouts. Because of space limitations, I had to forego the cabbage but did purchase some brussels sprouts to set out in pots, along with onions and lettuce. Our family has recently become enamored of roasted brussels sprouts, thanks to daughter Alysson's instigation. Don't knock them until you try them halved or quartered and oven-roasted with a little salt and olive oil.

Fessie and Beck were more enamored with cabbage, and I'm not sure they ever grew brussels sprouts. Like their watermelons, the bigger the cabbage the better. Cabbage provided the slaw that went with Beck's fried catfish and provided the main ingredient for the sauerkraut that Beck canned every spring.

Below is a picture of Fessie, cap askew as was typical, holding a large head of cabbage fresh cut out of the garden. After Fessie died, Beck and her daughter Jo continued "making the garden" each year. In fact, Beck grew an unusual four-headed cabbage that was pictured in the local Itawamba County Times newspaper. Wonder what Fessie would have said about that!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Cold Enough to Kill a Hog

It's been really cold these first few days of March, cold enough to kill a hog. It had to be really, really cold to kill a hog on the Itawamba County farm. In the days before refrigeration, warm weather would cause meat to easily spoil so farmers butchered their hog just as soon as the weather turned cold in early winter. Most every farm had a smokehouse out back for hanging and storing the family's butchered meat, and a properly cured ham would feed the family for a while.

Fisher Johnson is pictured above with what has to be a prize-winning porker. I bet the Johnson family had ham for breakfast for many mornings to come. But you know, Fisher doesn't look too cold in the picture, and ... are leaves on those trees?

Fisher and Nora Thornton Johnson lived with their family "up the north road" near the Ryans Well community except for a short period of time when Fisher moved his family to near Rockwood in Franklin County, Alabama. Fisher likely worked at the mine that operated there during that period.

1930 Census Itawamba County, Mississippi
Old Pleasanton Road
Fisher D Johnson 39 MS MS MS farmer, rents
Nora E 39 MS MS MS married at age 22
Glada M 16 MS
Julius 14 MS
Dorothy 13 MS
Vannie 9 MS
Donnis 6 MS
Adron 4 11/12 MS
Earnest 3 4/12 MS
Etoy 1 1/12 MS
Robert Pedigo 36 MS lodger, occupation: teamster log team