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.


Anonymous said...

Mona, it makes me wonder of Napoleon Bonaparte Johnson could also have been named after Dr. Napoleon Bonaparte Warren. The Warren plantation was just northwest of the Johnson land and Dr. "Boney" (as he was called) Warren delivered lots of babies in the area. Also if my memory serves me correctly, wasn't Napoleon Bonaparte Johnson dragged to death by a mule in 1931? I recall a front-page article in the Fulton News Beacon from 1931 of a Johnson man (and I think it was Napoleon) getting tangled in the mule's gear while clearing land and was dragged like a hundred yards. I'll have to check the newspaper again to be for sure.

Bob Franks

Mona Robinson Mills said...

Bob,I bet you are right regarding the source of this Napoleon's name. It hadn't occurred to me, but I thought it was a bit too late in the 1890s to be honoring the French dictator (although when it comes to names, folks in Itawamba County throw caution to the wind!). I had not heard about the death-by-mule incident either - hope you find the article! Thanks for commenting!

Don Dulaney said...

Mona,Bob I would like to know more about Napoleon Bonaparte Warren and if there is a connection. And the Mule story is one that needs to be told. I wish you two would teach a class! Maybe use the ole Normal Institute building. LOL. Great Post!

Richard said...

i think his uncle may have also been Napoleon Bonaparte Johnson, known as "Poley."