Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Martha C. "Mattie" Moxley

Martha, or Mattie as she was called, was the daughter of Henry Thomas Moxley and Martha Arminta "Mint" Sibley. She was born in February 1880 in Alabama, probably Franklin County, and in December 1899 she married Richard Nathaniel "Dick" Dulaney in Itawamba County. Mattie and Dick had eight children together.

Dick was the son of James M. Dulaney and Mary Elizabeth Senter.

Since Mattie's sister, Alice, married Dick's brother, Thomas "Bunt" Dulaney, the children of the two couples were double first cousins.

Here is the couple in the 1900 census:

1900 Census
Itawamba County, Mississippi
Richard Dulaney 25 MS MS MS born Feb 1875, married 0 years
Martha C. 19 AL AL AL born Feb 1881, 0 children, 0 living
(living next to his brother and her sister, Thomas A. "Bunt" and Alice Moxley Dulaney)

Although Dick died in 1927 at the age of 51, Mattie lived to be 81 years old at her death in October 1961.

Monday, June 29, 2009

It's tomato time!

It's tomato time in Mississippi. Before long, there will be more tomatoes than we know what to do with. If you followed the garden secret posted here back in the spring, you may have a bumper crop of large, juicy tomatoes. I thought I would share this photo of some tomatoes that Fessie and Beck grew in their Peaceful Valley garden once upon a time. These tomatoes were gathered and stored in a cool spot on the floor of their house until they could be eaten or canned.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Robisons of Illinois and beyond

Not all Robinsons stayed in the South. Like a lot of families in Itawamba County - far more than I ever realized - there were strong feelings and divisions over the Civil War. The Robinsons were no exception, and the William R. Robinson family was one such family that apparently sympathized with the Union. It appears that way, at least, because the last record we have of them in Itawamba County is the 1860 census and then we find a couple of William's sons in Massac County of southern Illinois. At least one son, Marion, who is pictured to the left, is believed to have served in the Union Army, in Company D, 20th Regiment, Illinois Volunteers.

I have yet to figure out just how Marion's father, William, fits into the larger Itawamba Robinson family but that statement is true for several of the Robinsons in early Itawamba County and Marion County of Alabama. I think I know which Robinsons are not connected, but I can't determine exactly how the others are connected to each other. At least not yet, but I'm working on it. Based on his age, William was probably the son of the Revolutionary War soldier Matthew Robinson of Abbeville District, South Carolina.

Anyway, back to Marion. I was scanning the message boards a couple of years ago and came across a post about Marion Robison. Some of his descendants were seeking information as to his parents and siblings. All they knew was that both of Marion's parents were born in South Carolina and that he likely had a brother named Ellis. After checking my records, I determined that Marion and Ellis were very likely sons of William R. and Lindsey/Linna Robinson, late of Itawamba County. An e-mail or two later, descendants of Marion were connected back to their roots in Itawamba County and I had some new cousins and some old photos.

Here is the last census found for William and his family in Itawamba County:

1860 Census
Itawamba County, Mississippi
Bexar post office (indicates family was living along state line)
Wm. R. Robertson, 60 SC, farmer
Linna, 50 SC
Roda C. 30 AL
George L. 28 AL
John R. 18 AL
Sarah A. 16 AL
Wm. W. 15 AL
Elizabeth J. 14 AL
Marion G. 12 AL
Ellis N. 9 AL

next door was son:
James J. Robertson, 22, born MS
wife Elizabeth, 22 born AL
Jno W. 1, MS

I've been unable to locate this family in the 1870 census, but there are marriage records in Massac County, Illinois for both Marion and Ellis who apparently married sisters of the Faughn family in 1872 and 1873, respectively. Both Marion and Ellis are found in the 1880 census living in southern Illinois. Other than their brother, Matthew, I've been unable to find anything on the rest of the family so I have no idea what happened to them. Hopefully, some information will turn up in the future.

Massac County is located in the extreme southern tip of Illinois, just across the Ohio River from Kentucky.

Marion died in Wichita, Kansas in 1912 while brother Ellis died after 1920 in probably Oregon and Matthew died after 1900 in probably Missouri. Note that this family spelled their surname as 'Robison'.

I'll post more on William R. Robinson later.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Henry Ellis Johnson, Jr. family

Henry was a younger brother to my husband's great-great grandfather John Norman "Jack" Johnson. Like most of the Johnsons, he made his home in the Mud Creek area of northern Itawamba County. Henry's family suffered several years of tragedy during which his wife, Nancy, died as well as several of their children. I don't know the causes of their deaths, but it seems as if each year brought additional grief.

According to cemetery records for Mt. Vernon Cemetery, the young son of Henry and Nancy, Henry Ellis Johnson III, died in 1905. Henry's wife, Nancy, died in 1911 at the relatively young age of 53. The next year, daughter Taxie died. Then in 1914, son Sam died. In 1918, another daughter Maudie died. As to Henry Jr. - he lived to be 73, dying in 1929. His wife was Nancy Agnes Cromeans, daughter of Jackson Cromeans.

1900 Census
Itawamba County, Mississippi
Henry Johnson 44 MS NC AL miller, born April 1866, married 23 years
Nancy 42 MS AL AL wife, born May 1868, 8 children, 8 living
Maud 21 MS, daughter, born Nov 1878
Ila 20 MS, daughter, born Apr 1880
Sam 17 MS, son, born Sept 1883
Sallie 15 MS, daughter, born Nov 1884
Taxey 13 MS, daughter, born Sept 1886
Naty 9 MS, daughter, Apr 1891
Ellis 7 MS, son, born Nov 1892
Hester 3 MS, daughter, born May 1897
(next door: John and Bettie Thornton)

1910 Census
Itawamba County, Mississippi
Lowery Store - precinct
Henry Johnson 53 MS NC AL farmer, first marriage, married 32 years
Nancy 51 MS Unk MS first marriage, 10 children, 8 living
Watna 30 MS daughter (must be Mary Illa)
Sam 26 MS
Sally 24 MS
Tasie 21 MS
Nettie 18 MS
Hester 13 MS
Ely 11 MS

1920 Census
Itawamba County, Mississippi
Lowery's Store
Henry Johnson 63 MS NC AL farmer
Sallie 33 MS daughter
Nettie 27 MS daughter
Ester 22 MS son (this is daughter Hester)
Eli 18 MS son

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Edgar & Minnie Johnson Beam

Minnie Johnson was the granddaughter of Henry Johnson and Sarah Ingle, both early Itawamba County settlers. Henry Johnson was born about 1810-1812 in Cumberland County, North Carolina and came to Itawamba County around 1840. It has been said that Henry's father and brother also came to Mississippi with him but went back to North Carolina after a short time here. Henry stayed, as did his sister, Mary Jane, who married Gray Partin.

Minnie's parents were Thomas Jefferson Johnson and Laura Elizabeth Jamerson. Laura's father (also named Thomas Jefferson!) was a Delaware native who moved to Alabama, then to Itawamba County around 1855 or so.

Elbert Edgar Beam was the son of Samuel Thomas Beam and Nancy Jane Cromeans. Click here for a picture and post about Nancy and her sisters. The Beams came to Itawamba County from Georgia, arriving a little bit later than the Johnson and Jamerson families. Edgar's grandfather was Elijah Feaster Beam, and family legend indicates that he caught cold while hunting in a snowstorm and died from choking.

While the Beams lived closer to the Salem community, the Johnsons and Jamersons and Cromeans settled to the west of Salem around the Mud Creek area of northern Itawamba County. Many descendants of these families are buried at Sandy Springs Church, including Edgar and Minnie.

1920 Census
Itawamba County, Mississippi
Copeland precinct
Edgar E. Beam 39 MS GA MS farmer
Minnie 35 MS MS MS wife
Meardy 14 MS son
Mittie 13 MS daughter
Narcie 9 MS daughter
Irena 7 MS daughter
Carl 4 MS son
Ivy 5 mo MS daughter (listed as daughter, but actually was son!)

In addition to the children shown in the census household above, Edgar and Minnie also had sons Wencil and Wilbert, born in the 1920s, and a daughter Aucy who died as an infant.

Let's count the connections my immediate family has to Edgar and Minnie and their extended families. Minnie's uncle, John Norman "Jack" Johnson, was my husband's great-great grandfather on his paternal side of the family. Minnie also was the great-grandmother of Don Dulaney, first cousin to my husband on his maternal side of the family. Minnie's aunt, Betty Johnson, was my daughter-in-law's great-great-great grandmother. And those are just the Johnson connections! I think I'll stop there!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Onady Randolph Mills with children

Onady Randolph Mills is pictured here with three of her children: Clinton, Henry and Beatrice. Click on the 1963 photo for a larger image.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

A day in Itawamba County

We spent most of the day in Itawamba County Saturday where I took the following photos. Also had a great meal at Comer's Restaurant about the middle of the afternoon. Pretty good day even if it was hot!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Ellis Jury Pennington, 1898-1979

Uncle Jury was Fessie's uncle but he was more like a big brother, being just fourteen years older. Jury was raised by Fessie's father, William Hugh Pennington, after the death of their parents, Jim and Laura, of galloping pneumonia around 1903 or 1904. The 1910 census shows Jury and his brother Joseph living with Hugh and Dee Pennington. It wasn't long after that they two brothers were shamed into leaving Hugh and Dee's home when a relative pointed out that they were able-bodied young men who could support themselves. Jury and Joseph left in the middle of the night, without telling anyone, and went to Texas where some Pennington relatives lived. Hugh and Dee were sick with worry until word came back as to the whereabouts and safety of the brothers. Eventually, both Jury and Joseph came back to Itawamba County, at the urging of Hugh and Dee although Joseph later returned to Texas with his bride and made a home in Tarrant County. Jury, however, stayed in Itawamba County the rest of his life.

Ellis Jury Pennington was born May 18, 1898, the youngest child of James J. "Jim" Pennington and Laura Stewart. At the time, the family was living in southeastern Itawamba County, along the Monroe County line at Lost Corners. Likely, Uncle Jury was named for Yates Jury Conwill who was a neighbor as well as father-in-law to Jury's sister Eula.

In December 1919, Jury married Mary Elizabeth "Bess" Patterson and they raised eight children. Uncle Jury died October 7, 1979 and was buried at Bourland's Cemetery.

Jury and Bess made their home in the Cardsville community of Itawamba County, just up the road from Peaceful Valley. He often would drive his tractor to Fessie's house for a visit, and it was on one such occasion that the above photograph was taken.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Glader and Nora

Glader Mae Mills is pictured above with her mother, Nora Thornton Johnson, at the Johnson home up the North Road across from the old Ryans Well school house, now the area's community center. I'd guess that this photo was taken in the late 1970s. Nora died in August 1979 so it would have been before then.

Glader's husband, Henry, died of a heart attack in 1963 at the age of 53. After Henry's death, Glader moved into an apartment that her son Paul had built onto his house near Fulton. Glader lived here until her father died in 1971. After Fisher's death, Glader moved back home with her mother and cared for her until Nora's death in 1979. At that time, Glader moved in with her daughter Vera Mae.

Nora's kitchen had a homemade table with two benches on either side. My husband remembers sitting on those benches, which were backless. There was also a wood-burning stove in the kitchen. The house was heated with a coal-burning fireplace in the front room. This coal fireplace was still being used at the time Mike and I were married. Outside, there was a shed on the left side of the house that was covered in flattened tins of Prince Albert tobacco cans. Since Mike doesn't remember either Nora or Fisher using tobacco, the tins likely came from Uncle Joe Johnson who lived with the couple for several years. Joe was Fisher's older brother who never married.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Walter Griffin 1892-1978

The little boy in the photograph below is Walter Griffin, husband to Sederia Johnson. Aunt Sederia provided this photo to my husband several years before her death (she was nearly 100 years old when she died in 1999, dying three months before her 100th birthday). The photograph was likely taken around 1900 when Walter would have been seven or eight years old.

Yesterday's post was a picture of Sallie Evans Griffin, my husband's great-great-great grandmother. Walter was her grandson, son of John Harvey Griffin and Mollie Sisk, and he married another relative of my husband's: Sederia Johnson, who was a sister to Fisher Johnson, my husband's great-grandfather. Fisher's wife, Nora Thornton, was Walter's first cousin. These families all lived in the Mud Creek area of northern Itawamba County, north of Ryans Well.

Here is a young Walter Griffin enumerated in his parents' household in the 1900 census:

1900 Census
Itawamba County, Mississippi
Mud Creek precinct
John Griffin 40 MS MS MS born Sept 1859, married 19 years, farmer
Moley (Mollie) D. 35 MS TN TN born July 1864, 7 children, 7 living
Haraby 17 MS born March 1883 (Harrison)
Valentine 15 MS born June 1884
Maxey L. 12 MS born March 1888
Clifford 11 MS born May 1889
Walter 7 MS born Sept 1892
Clovis 5 MS born Feb 1895
Claudy 3 MS born May 1897

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Sarah "Sallie" Evans Griffin

Sarah E., or Sallie, was the daughter of John A. Evans and Mary Ann "Meeky" Crawford. She was born in South Carolina on August 30, 1834, and as a little girl, moved to Mississippi with her parents. In 1853, Sallie married James C. Griffin, also a South Carolina native. James was the son of James and Rachel Griffin.

The Evans, Griffin and Crawford families lived in the area known as Mud Creek in Itawamba County near the Tishomingo County line, moving there about the same time, around 1838-1842.

Sallie and James had been married just a little over eight years when he died in 1862, leaving Sallie with two young children. A third child died the same year as James. Both father and son were buried at Sandy Springs Cemetery in northern Itawamba County.

Sallie's daughter, Nancy Elizabeth or Bettie, was born July 30, 1857. Bettie married John T. Thornton in December 1874 - to read more about Bettie and John check out this post from April. Sallie's granddaughter, Nora Thornton married Fisher Johnson and their daughter Glader was my husband's grandmother.

Sallie was nearly 90 years old when she died March 16, 1924. She is buried at Sandy Springs Cemetery.

Here is Sallie living at home with her parents in the 1850 census:

1850 Census
Itawamba County, Mississippi
District 7
Jno Evans 46 VA farmer $100
Meeky 36 SC
Georgia 19 SC
Sarah 16 SC
Ned 15 SC
Mary 14 SC
Nancy 8 MS
Frances 6 MS
Rachael 4 MS
Meeky 2 MS

And here is Sallie with her husband and children in 1860:

1860 Census
Itawamba County, Mississippi
Fulton post office
James Griffin 28 SC farmer 300/150
Rachel 65 SC
Sarah 24 SC
Elizabeth 2 MS
John 1 MS
Davis Jones 21 SC farmer
Neighbors: Archibald P. Griffin, George W. Crawford, Wesley Graham, Catherine Johnson

Here is a widowed Sallie, with son John and mother Meeky:

1880 Census
Itawamba County, Mississippi
Sarah Griffin 44 SC SC SC
John 21 MS SC SC farming
Meekie Evans 61 SC SC SC mother

In the 1910 and 1920 censuses, Sallie was living with her daughter Bettie and her family in the Towery Store precinct in the Mud Creek area.

Monday, June 15, 2009

James F. & Rhoda Dulaney Tucker

James and Rhoda Tucker are photographed here with their children, a daughter-in-law, son-in-law, and three grandchildren.

Rhoda, daughter of Gilbert Dulaney who was one of the original Dulaney brothers who migrated to Itawamba County shortly after 1830, was married to James F. Tucker, son of Silas Monroe Tucker, in December 1873. Rhoda is pictured second from left on the front row, holding her granddaughter Zora Digby. Her husband, James, is seated next to her on the front row. To Rhoda's left is her daughter, Mittie Bell, who was married to George Washington Digby. Mittie Bell is holding her son Walter. Next to Mittie Bell is her "double" sister-in-law, Bettie Digby Tucker, who was Mittie's husband's sister and Mittie's brother's wife. Bettie is holding her daughter Cora Mae Tucker.

On the back row are James and Rhoda's daughter, Rebecca; son, Thomas Arlandgo Tucker; son-in-law George Digby; and son, William King Tucker, who was married to Bettie Digby. George and Bettie Digby were siblings, children of George Washington Digby and Nancy Elizabeth Martin.

Now, let's add some relationships to this family. As usual with this part of the county, there are some Dulaneys involved.

The little girl on the front row who is not facing the camera is Zora Digby. Zora was married to George Thomas West, son of George Westley West and Mary Elizabeth Dulaney (daughter of the other Dulaney-immigrant brother, Alfred). Zora's brother, Walter, is being held by his mother. In addition to Zora and Walter, Mittie Bell and George Digby had four other children who were not yet born when this photograph was taken: Dexter, Eckford, Otis and Hollis.

Walter Digby, the baby in the photo, was married to Lucile Chamblee, and they had two children: Mittie Jane and Eugene. Eugene Digby is a well-known Itawambian - as pastor of East Fulton Baptist Church, he married me and my husband!

Rebecca, daughter of James and Rhoda Tucker, married Charlie Luther Guntharp in1903. Son Thomas "Tommy" Arlandgo Tucker married Ollie Johnson, daughter of Napolian A. Johnson and Mary Elizabeth Lester (and granddaughter of Stephen Johnson and Harriet Caroline Pierce, great-great-great grandparents of my husband).

Thanks to Larry Digby for sharing this photograph with Don Dulaney.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Fessie and Beck and their "adjustments"

Fessie was a firm believer in chiropractic medicine. He and Beck headed to town every week for their 'adjustment' at the chiropractor's office. Fessie suffered from emphysema while Beck had bad headaches, and they both felt that the adjustments they received were beneficial to their health.

Fessie's father, Hugh Pennington, was also a big fan of 'adjustments.' There was an elderly black man by the name of Shumpert in the Carolina community who was known as a kind of local doctor, and Hugh would take his wife Dee in their wagon to see him. Hugh watched as Dee received her chiropractic massage, or adjustment, and after several sessions, learned how to give Dee an adjustment himself. Hugh also gave adjustments to Dee's brother, Gainey, after Gainey suffered a stroke. Every evening after working in the fields, and after supper, Hugh would walk to Uncle Gainey's house to give him an adjustment.

No wonder, then, that Fessie was a believer in chiropractic adjustments. After a chiropractor opened an office in Amory, Fessie would drive Beck and his elderly father there for occasional adjustments. It wasn't until the 1970s however that Fessie and Beck began their regular visits to the chiropractor, visiting Dr. Herbert Brewer and later Dr. Tom Morgan inVerona. Fessie even participated in a testimonial advertisement for Dr. Brewer, below, in which he testified as to the benefits of spinal adjustments for his shortness of breath. He provided a similar newspaper testimonial for Dr. Morgan regarding the improvement in his sinusitis after regular chiropractic adjustments, an embarrassment for his daughter who was a nurse for the local ear, nose and throat clinic!

It was with Dr. Morgan that Fessie and Beck developed a relationship that exceeded the normal doctor-patient bond. There was rarely a visit to Dr. Morgan's office that didn't include gifts of tomatoes, watermelons or corn, or perhaps a coconut cake - not just for Dr. Morgan but for his staff as well. The weekly visits were social events as much as anything, although Dr. Morgan saw Fessie through a bad case of shingles and as well as some significant back problems. When Fessie was diagnosed with lung cancer in late 1984, Dr. Morgan had by then moved to Georgia although he continued to keep in touch with the Pennington couple. In a letter to Fessie and Beck following Fessie's cancer diagnosis, Dr. Morgan wrote, "There are no finer people or patients I have ever known, than you all. I always thought I could keep you healthy forever."

There is one final story to be told about Fessie and Beck's weekly visits to receive their adjustments. In 1979, on their way from Peaceful Valley to see Dr. Morgan in their red pick-up truck, they were hit by a train at the track crossing in Verona. The train pushed or dragged the pick-up about a mile down the track before the train could come to a full stop. Thankfully, Fessie and Beck suffered only minor bruising and injury (nothing a good chiropractic adjustment couldn't cure), but their pick-up was a total loss. Although it was a scary event at the time, later there was some good-natured laughter about it. Below is a picture of the site of the train wreck taken not long after the occurence of the crash.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Effie Anthem Dulaney

Itawamba County News
February 23, 1911

A Lovely Mother

On the 17th of February the death angel came and claimed our dear aunt, Effie Anthem Robinson, and took her away to that blessed home above. It seems sometimes that trouble is more than we can ever bear, but let us have that sweet consolation: "There is a day coming when we can meet our loved ones and say farewell to all trouble and sorrow." We know it is hard to bid farewell to loved ones who are going from us, but God knows that and we must submit.

She was born on the 25th day of May 1874. Maiden name was Dulaney, being the youngest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Dulaney. She was happily married to W. S. Robinson on the 15th day of October 1893, who died the 26th of May 1900, after the death of her husband she lived with her brother H. D. Dulaney until her death.

She professed a sweet hope in Jesus, and joined the Missionary Baptist Church at Mt. Pleasant the 18th day of October 1893 and lived a zealous and devoted member until death.

She leaves three little boys, Henry, Edd and Will, a good and precious mother, two brothers and four sisters and a host of relatives and friends to mourn for her. I believe that she was prepared to meet death, and while we are mourning the absence of dear aunt Effie, she is now numbered with the precious angels of "paradise."

None of us ever attain the height of perfection in this life, but this noble woman was ever so near the foot of the cross that there is not even a shadow of doubt in the minds of her many friends, but that she has entered that rest which awaits the people of God.

To the grief-stricken children we can only say, that she is living anew in the home that God has prepared for her. Live close to God and some bright day you will meet her where parting will be never.

She was buried in the Mt. Pleasant cemetery, Saturday evening, Bro. Benson conducting the services.

G. L. Dulaney

Pictured above:
Front: Ed Robinson, Effie Dulaney Robinson, Mary Jane Priddy Dulaney,
Henry Davis Dulaney holding Walter,
Minnie Mae Whitehead Dulaney holding Noonan, Etress Dulaney
Back: Will and Henry Robinson, Charlie Dulaney, Ethel Dulaney

The photo above was taken about 1908. Upon her death in early 1911, Effie's three orphaned sons were raised by her brother, Henry Davis Dulaney and his wife, Minnie Mae Whitehead. Effie and Henry Davis Dulaney were the children of Henry Dulaney and Mary Jane Priddy.

Effie Dulaney was married to William Sydney Robinson, and they had the following children:

* Henry Dayton Robinson -married Maudie A. Dulaney, daughter of Thomas "Bunt" Dulaney
* James Edward Robinson -married Vonnie D. Dulaney, daughter of Thomas "Bunt" Dulaney
* William Sydney Robinson, Jr. -married Leliar Belle Dulaney, daughter of Richard Nate Dulaney

Maudie and Vonnie were sisters to James H. "Jim" Dulaney, my husband's great-grandfather.

The obituary was likely written by Effie's nephew, Gilbert L. "Gib" Dulaney, the son of Alfred Thomas Dulaney.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Sarah Ann Ford, wife of David Mattox

I was over at New Salem Cemetery in southern Itawamba County a couple of weeks ago and photographed this gravemarker for Sarah Ann, wife of David Mattox. Why I even photographed this marker, I do not know. There were certainly many other markers in the cemetery. What I didn't know until tonight is that Sarah Ann was the daughter of George Ford and Nancy Middleton and the sister of Mary C. Ford, my great-great-great grandmother. Another sister was Annalizer Ford, namesake for my great-great grandmother Annalizer Morrow Davis.

Sarah Ann Ford was born November 2, 1819 in Tennessee, probably Lincoln County. She was married to David Mattox who was born April 1815 in Chatham County, North Carolina. There are several Mattox family graves in the New Salem Cemetery.

Mary, who was the baby of thirteen children, married John Morrow on August 24, 1856 in Itawamba County. John's first wife, Denicey Spencer, died an early death and John married young Mary Ford who was living nearby. Mary was sixteen years younger than her husband John. When she died in December 1924, Mary was the last sibling left. Both she and John are buried in Maxey Cemetery near Tilden.

The Ford family moved to Itawamba from Lincoln County, Tennessee. In addition to Sarah, Mary and Annalizer, George and Nancy Ford had the following children: Jennet, Richard Barnard, Thomas Middleton, Charles M., George M., William H., Nancy L., Tabitha Elizabeth, John W., and Daniel N. Ford. George and Nancy are supposedly buried at Union Grove Cemetery at Tilden - looks like I'm going to have to make another trip down Highway 25 to get a photograph of their grave.

1850 Census
Itawamba County, Mississippi
Eastern division - District 7
George Ford 54 VA farmer $1000
Nancy 54 SC
George 22 TN teacher
William 21 TN farmer
Eliza 20 MS
Nancy 18 TN
Tabitha 16 TN
John 15 TN farmer
Daniel 13 TN
Mary 11 TN

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Fessie and snakes

Other than a bad thunderstorm with lightning, due to his being in a typhoon on a battleship in the Pacific during World War II, I don't know what Fessie was scared of. It certainly wasn't snakes. He had a healthy respect for poisonous snakes, but he wasn't scared of them. I can remember a particular time when he was playing with a chicken snake, just irritating the fool out of that snake, and the snake was absolutely furious with Fessie and kept lunging at him. I was watching from a safe distance and was terrified. My fear of snakes came naturally, from my father who was scared of snakes. Fessie got a big kick out of his son-in-law's fear of snakes. You can just imagine the ribbing my father took from Fessie.

You've seen lots of pictures of Fessie with fish, dogs and deer - now here's a couple of pictures of Fessie with snakes. The rattlesnake in the second picture is, of course, dead. The rattlers were always cut off of the dead rattlesnakes and kept in a drawer in the dining room buffet table. Scary but fascinating items to the grandchildren.

Once, Fessie came in from a morning of working in the fields, carrying a sack of peaches. He handed the sack to Beck who was thrilled to get them, envisioning a peach cobbler for dessert for that evening's supper. She was not amused when she opened the sack of peaches to find an angry chicken snake! I imagine that Fessie didn't get any supper that night!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Look! An automobile!

In 1909, an automobile was an exciting thing to spot in Itawamba County. A rare occurrence indeed, so rare that the presence of an automobile in the county merited a special mention in the local newspaper, or sometimes two mentions. The May 12, 1910 edition of the Itawamba County News had the following blurb under the news for Cardsville, "An automobile passed Bean's Ferry Sunday afternoon en route from Tilden to Tupelo." In another section of the newspaper, the auto was mentioned again and gives us more information, "Three gentlemen from Tupelo came over in an automobile Sunday to Tilden, and were conveyed from there to Tremont to take part in an unveiling of the monument erected by the Woodmen of the World to the memory of J. B. Harbor. They returned Monday afternoon."

Below is the monument that was the reason for the automobile's visit. One thing is confusing, however. Why did the men travel from Tupelo to Tilden, and then get picked up and transported from Tilden to Tremont? Why Tilden? Why not cross the Tombigbee River at Fulton?

Jim B. Harbor's monument is located in Mt. Pleasant Methodist Cemetery east of Tremont. He was the son of Talmon Harbor and M. A. Lyle, and was married to Selina Elmira Stone, daughter of Carroll M. Stone and Moran Parthenia Robinson. Moran was a sister to my great-great grandfather George E. Robinson.

Obituary: James B. Harbor, son of Talman Harbor, ex-supervisor of the fourth district, died after a lingering illness, breathed his last Tuesday of this week, and his soul was wafted on spiritual wings to that endless rest so beautifully described in God's inspired word to sinful humanity. Deceased was a man of middle age and a member of the Mt. Pleasant Methodist Church, and his presence and influence for good will be missed in the community. He was buried Wenesday in the Mt. Pleasant ( Methodist ) Cemetery. His pastor, Bro. Devanport, conducted the services.

(taken from Itawamba Settlers, Summer 1988, page 106)

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Cromean sisters and one in-law

Seven Cromeans sisters pose for a photograph taken in the early 1900s at Sandy Springs Baptist Church in Itawamba County. Also included in the photograph is one sister-in-law. These women were daughters of James and Sarah Tittle Cromeans of the Ryans Well community. Jim and Sally were early immigrants to the extreme northern part of Itawamba County, arriving around 1840 or so. Jim was the son of Andrew Cromeans who was born in 1783 in Caroline County, Maryland and Nancy Mears. Both Andrew and Nancy are buried in Duke Flats Cemetery in Itawamba County.

The 1860 census has the following household for the family who were indicated to be living near Ryans Well in Itawamba County:

James Cromeans 55 AL farmer with $400 real estate, $250 personal property
Sarah Cromeans 40 AL
Thomas 19 AL
Loveda 13 MS
Thomas 12 MS
Elizabeth 10 MS
Nancy 8 MS
Lidia Ann 7 MS
Eona 5 MS
Kiza E. 7 mo. MS

Pictured above
Front, left to right: Sarah Sawyer Cromeans, widow of brother Joe; Betty Cromeans Taylor, Lovie Cromeans, Henrietta Cromeans Cooper
Back, left to right: Drusilla Cromeans Lindsey, Kizzie Cromeans, Lonie Cromeans Spencer, Nancy Cromeans Beam

The sisters' brother Joe died in 1894 while another brother, Tom, died in Oklahoma in 1895. Another sister, Ann Cromeans Morgan, was sick and thus was not present when this photo was taken.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Robinson Family Reunion - 19 years ago

Last time the Itawamba Robinsons got together for a reunion, it was 1990. Hard to believe that was nineteen years ago! I wasn't there, but I do recognize some familiar faces in the photographs below. The reunion was held at Mt. Pleasant Methodist Church just east of Tremont. The church cemetery at Mt. Pleasant contains the graves of John and Rachel Robinson and dozens of their descendants. Thanks to 'cousin' Cindi in Corinth for sharing these photos with me.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

John Thomas Evans

John Thomas Evans
April 2, 1850 - December 15, 1929

Death of Mr. John Evans
Itawamba County Times

Mr. John T. Evans, who had lived for many years about two miles south of Tremont, died Sunday night. Mr. Evans had been in feeble health for the past several years, and down about helpless for about three weeks before death relieved him of his sufferings.

He was an old respected citizen of that section and when we first formed his acquaintance nearly thirty years ago. He was honest and firm in his convictions, and did not hesitate to state his position on any subject when questioned. He and Dr. J. M. Walker and others of the age of men who lived back some twenty-five years ago were great friends. We are sorry to learn of his death.

The body was laid to rest in the Asbury Cemetery, near where he had lived and labored so long. Of his immediate family, his wife, one son and one daughter survive him, the other children having married and moved off from the home. He was a faithful member of the Methodist Church, and the preacher always had a hearty welcome at his home. Such men will be missed when they are gone, and we wish the world was filled up with characters such as we always took Mr. John Evans to be.

John Thomas Evans is buried in Asbury Cemetery, but this is the cemetery of the old Asbury Methodist Church, not the present one. The former church burned sometime after 1900, and a new church was built at its present location on Highway 23 south of Tremont. The old cemetery is now on private land, not accessible by car but only by foot. When I was there earlier this year, some kind person or persons had cleared out the abandoned cemetery. The cemetery is also known as the Gilmore-Evans Cemetery or Old Asbury.

John was the son of William M. Evans and Sarah Pearce, and he was married to Elizabeth Ann Bishop of the Bexar community.

According to his grandson, Lawson Robinson, John T. Evans sang "Oh, Happy Day" and "Nearer My God to Thee" on his deathbed and is said to have prayed the following prayer: "Lord, draw near and take me into Thy possession." Lawson was the oldest grandchild of John T. Evans and was a Methodist minister, of which John was quite proud being the stout Methodist he was.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Itawamba Connections in Texas

We Itawambians have many, many relatives - some distant, some not - who left God's Country and moved to Texas. After the Civil War, there was a large exodus of folks to Texas, causing the famous 'Gone to Texas' signs to appear all over the Deep South. This wave of migration to Texas probably peaked some time before 1900, but kinfolk continued to move west well after that (hi, Uncle Frank!). Hill County, Texas appears to have been a popular destination for the citizens who lived along the Mississippi-Alabama stateline in Itawamba, Marion and surrounding counties. I've been really amazed at just how many of my own family lines moved to Hill County. From there, they dispersed to other parts of Texas.

The photo above includes a young Romie Wilemon, left, holding an unknown child (either a little girl or a very pretty little boy!). On the right is Don Wallace holding Roger and Patsy Wallace. Don was married to Henri Ellen Wilemon, a first cousin of Romie. Henri Ellen's parents were George Earl Wilemon and Ovalene Robinson while Romie's parents were Leonard Wilemon and Effie Mae Gann. Earl and Leonard were brothers, sons of Jerome Wilemon and Erah Charlotte Beasley.

The Wallaces moved to Lubbock, Texas before 1960 but still maintain their Itawamba connections. Roger and Laura Wallace, now of Midland, provided the photo. Thanks for sharing!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Four Senters

Seated for a photograph at this 1966 family get-together were (left to right): Oma Senter Dulaney, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Jefferson "Tommy" Senter, and Alberta Chilcoat Senter.

Oma and Tommy were children of Thomas Alfred Senter and Susan Rebecca Woodard. Alberta was their sister-in-law, the widow of their brother James Robert Senter who died in 1945. I believe Tommy Senter's wife to be Martha Jane Jamerson although the woman in the photo was identified as "Anna" not Martha Jane. The Senter family is not a direct family line so I cannot confidently identify her.

Oma Senter was married to James Ewing Dulaney, son of John T. Dulaney and Frances "Fannie" Chilcoat. Oma's sister, Vona, was married to Joe Abb Dulaney, son of Joseph Benjamin Dulaney, while her brother, Charlie, was married to Vonnie Dulaney, daughter of Thomas "Bunt" Dulaney. If you are keeping count, those are three Senter siblings married to three Dulaneys.

What makes the Senter-Dulaney marriages so interesting is this: James Ewing Dulaney descends from Gilbert Dulaney, one of the three original Dulaney brothers who settled in Itawamba County in the 1830s. Joe Abb Dulaney, on the other hand, descends from Gilbert's brother, Alfred, and Vonnie Dulaney descends from the third brother, John!

Now, let's add another Senter-Dulaney marriage for this family. A fourth sibling, Jesse Senter, was married to Nervia Mae Dulaney, daughter of Alfred "Babe" Dulaney, who was the son of Alfred Dulaney, and Lucinda Alabama Chilcoat. And, have you noticed the recurring Chilcoat connections with this family also?

Jesse and Nervia's daughter, Jessie Bane Senter, is my daughter-in-law's grandmother.

Charlie Senter's wife, Vonnie Dulaney, was the daughter of my husband's great-great grandfather.

Jesse and Charlie were brothers.

Do you see why I call this blog Itawamba Connections?!

If you are confused, don't worry. When I started this post, I had no idea that I would wind up here! It just started out as a simple picture with four elderly Senters. Thanks goes out to Alan and Jeanette Dulaney for sharing this photo and others with Don Dulaney.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Eddie Aquilea "Rip" Harbor

Known as "Granddaddy Harbor" to my father, Rip was officially a great-uncle rather than a grandfather. However, since Rip raised my grandmother, Pearl Cofield, from the age of about six years old when she and her siblings were orphaned, he was more grandfather than uncle to my father and the other Cofield cousins. Rip was the son of Talmon Harbor and Martha Ann Evans. Because of the Evans connection, Rip was even more than great-uncle or grandfather. He was my daddy's third cousin!

Rip was his nickname. He might have been called E. A. by some folks, but I doubt he was called Eddie or Aquilea. Even his son, also named Aquilea, was called 'A'.

Rip was married to LouVannah Cofield, daughter of Sam and Zilphia Cofield of the Shottsville community over in Marion County, Alabama. They married about 1901 or 1902, and had only the one son although they raised the three orphaned daughters of Vannah's brother John Richard Cofield.

Although primarily a farmer, Rip was also a photographer. Prior to his marriage to Vannah, he traveled to Arkansas and Texas as an apprentice to professional photographer. In the 1900 census, he can be found living in Benton, Arkansas and working as a photographer. Most of the photographs of the Itawamba County family of Harbors that appeared in the book "Harbors in America" were made by Rip and his instructor.

While at the state archives this week, I came across a mention of Rip in an October 1902 edition of the Fulton Herald newspaper.

"Mr. A. E. Harbor of Tremont was an esteemed visitor Tuesday. He has been taking photographs near here."

I wonder if the photograph shown above was a self-portrait.

Eddie Aquilea "Rip" Harbor, born March 8, 1877, died June 1943, buried Mt. Pleasant Methodist Cemetery near Tremont.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Young Fessie

Above is an undated photograph of Fessie Manuel Pennington who was born in 1912 in the Carolina community of Itawamba County. The photograph was recently repaired by 'cousin' Rita who carefully removed the lines and tears that kept the photo from its full potential. Thank you, Rita. Now the only thing that is missing from the photograph is the intense blue of Fessie's eyes.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Vera Mae and Paul as children

Vera Mae Mills is probably two years old in this picture. That would indicate that the photograph was taken about 1939, and her brother Paul would have been about four years old. Paul is my husband's father; he died in 2005, but Aunt Vera Mae is still going strong. We went to visit her a couple of weeks ago in the hospital because we heard a rumor that she was sick, but when we arrived at her hospital room we found Vera Mae sparking with her beau and making plans to attend the Hank Williams, Jr. concert in Tupelo later this month. Vera Mae is a card-carrying member of Hank Jr.'s fan club, and of course, wouldn't dream of missing a concert held this close to home. If you happen to make it to the concert, tell Vera Mae hello for me.