Monday, August 31, 2009

Picking at threads

1773 map of provincial South Carolina

One of the reasons for the lack of recent posts to this blog is that I have been out of town quite a bit for the past couple of weeks with trips to South Carolina and New Orleans. Throw in a family reunion this past weekend, and all of a sudden there is no time for posting to a family history blog. Traveling is time consuming, of course, but coming home with several pounds of photocopies and new books creates additional work of assimilating the new information into my database of ancestral families of both mine and my husband's. And, this results in less time for blogging.

I liken genealogical research to pulling at threads to unravel a patchwork quilt. It can be a tedious process, pulling one thread at a time. Sometimes pulling a thread will get you nowhere, but if you keep pulling long enough, the quilt will eventually (hopefully!) unravel. The trip to South Carolina was merely pulling at threads. Unfortunately, on the Robinson side nothing unraveled, and I'll just have to select another area of the quilt to pick at and maybe next time something will turn up for that family. On the other hand, enough threads were pulled for the Sloan and Clayton quilts to actually get somewhere, and I am in the process of pulling information together and analyzing it to get those families a couple of more generations back. That's a good feeling.

One of the things I've learned in genealogical research is that it is the layering of information collected over time, either by yourself or by competent fellow researchers, that provides the best results for compiling family histories. I owe a huge debt to family historians from generations back, and I know that I will never have all of the answers for the families that I research, yet there will be something of value that I can pass on to future historians. A small piece of information added as a layer today may yield significant answers years from now, and I've learned that sometimes what you don't find can be just as important as what you do find. Genealogists must be patient. A good historical and geographical perspective is also an absolute must if you want to discover all that you can about your particular ancestor. The recent trip to South Carolina certainly proved that for me.

Picking at threads is the fun part for me, but the real work - the grunt work, you might say - starts when you get home and have to put it all together.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Dulaney Reunion 8.29.09

Dulaney descendants gather in Mt. Pleasant Cemetery
August 29, 2009

It has been a busy couple of weeks, but hopefully things will settle down and I can get back to regular posting to this blog. Yesterday was the Dulaney Family Reunion, and by everyone's account it was a huge success. Don Dulaney was the mastermind behind the planning for the reunion, but he had lots of help from his brother Ken and loads of other folks that rolled up their sleeves and pitched in. Everyone wants a repeat reunion next year, same time and same place, so mark your calendars now for the last Saturday of August. Below are some more pictures taken at the reunion by my daughter Rebekah. In addition to a table loaded with all kinds of great tasting dishes, Dulaney descendants also enjoyed a wonderful slide show presentation put together by Don that traced the history of the Itawamba Dulaneys and included many old photographs of Dulaney ancestors.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Itawamba tree planters

Left to right, in this undated photograph: unknown (maybe county agent?), Floyd Wilemon, Cotton Dulaney, Albert Sartin, Melvin Dulaney, Lemois Johnson, Graden Byram, unknown, Hershel Senter, and Jack Chilcoat.

Looks to me as if these men were getting ready to plant trees or maybe posing for an Arbor Day picture for the newspaper?

Cotton and Melvin were sons of James Henry "Jim" Henry while Floyd Wilemon was married to their sister, Vida. Graden Byram was married Sammie Lane Dulaney, daughter of Wylie and Anna Moore Dulaney. Sammie worked for many years at the county's ASCS office so perhaps she was behind the tree planting! Hershel Senter was the son of Nervia Mae Dulaney and her husband Jesse Alvin Senter. Lemois Johnson is connected to our family from the 'other side' as the grandson of Jack Norman Johnson and Amanda Bowen.

Don Dulaney turned up this photo during a scavenger hunt, but real thanks goes out to "Cousin Rita" who restored the photograph by digitally removing some stains. Also, Royce Robinson helped to identify the men. Truly a group effort by fellow Itawambians! If anyone knows who the two unknown men are in the photo, please let me know.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Valentine & Savannah Dulaney

Itawamba County News
March 24, 1921
Burntfields News
Mr. Valentine Dulaney intends to plant corn next week. Also, Mr. Frank Graham’s boys and Mr. Vanhoozer. Mr. Vanhoozer rolled logs last week and only just made a beginning on his logs. He has some logs.

Itawamba County News
March 8, 1923
Burntfields News
Mr. Volentine Dulaney has made a new garden and lot fence. He is Mr. Dulaney up here.
Working in the timber business is all the go these days. The go-up in lumber is getting a move on the mill men. I don’t know what this county will do when all the timber is gone. It will be a lonesome time when there are no mills a-blowing, whips a-popping and driver’s calling to their teams.

Fulton News Beacon
Thursday, February 1, 1940

Volentine Dulaney, age 65, passed away suddenly of a heart attack at his home nine miles northeast of Fulton Tuesday night. Mr. Dulaney was well known over the county having spent his entire life in the Fairview community where he owned and operated his farm.

* * *

Valentine Dulaney was the son of Alfred "Babe" Dulaney and Lucinda Alabama "Allie" Chilcoat. He was born February 15, 1870 and died January 31, 1940. His wife, Savannah Roberts, was born January 15, 1870 and died October 11, 1943. Their grandson, Paul Dulaney, provided this photograph of his grandparents to Cousin Don Dulaney recently. Thanks for sharing!

Don't forget - the Dulaney family reunion is fast approaching. It will be held at Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church on Saturday, August 29. Bring a covered dish and join us there!

Friday, August 21, 2009

South Carolina trip

In case you've been wondering where I've been, I'll tell you. My mother and I are finishing up a trip to South Carolina, visiting libraries and archives in several counties as well as the state archives in Columbia. This has been a working trip - no shopping and sightseeing, unless you count the history books I bought at the Ninety-Six National Historic Site where Matthew Robinson fought in the Revolutionary War battle there.

The main reason for the research trip was to find additional information about the Robinsons who left Abbeville District, South Carolina for Tennessee, Alabama and Mississippi in the 1820s. Unfortunately, nothing turned up despite visits to the Abbeville courthouse, library and Erskine College in nearby Due West. The very nice librarian at Erskine College was a big help, contacting church archives and authorities about Little Mountain Presbyterian Church in Abbeville County, where I believe my Robinsons attended, but no early minutes are to be found.

There is good news, however, because we hit pay dirt on the Sloans and Claytons! More information will be forthcoming on the South Carolina roots of those Itawamba families. It will take a while to assimilate the new information in my database of families.

The picture was taken in the Abbeville courthouse, probate clerk's office. The courthouse at Abbeville burned several times, and all land records are destroyed, the main reason for the brick wall for my Robinsons. Some of the probate records remain, but not many. Pictured is a probate document in which William Barksdale applied for administration of the Estate of William Parnell (Purnell, Pernell) in November 1819 in Abbeville District. Matthew Robinson was the surety for Barksdale's bond. William Purnell was the father of Samuel Morris Purnll, and grandfather of Charlottie Purnell who married George Emerson Robinson. The Purnell and Robinson families were intertwined in both South Carolina and Alabama. In addition to the 1819 record in South Carolina, there is also a record in Lawrence County, Alabama in October 1823 where William Barksdale goes to the courthouse there and files with the court as administrator for the Purnell estate and assigns power of attorney to William "Roberson".

I was hoping to find answers to the following questions about this document. What was the name of William Purnell's widow? Was she a daughter of Matthew Robinson? Who was William Barksdale, and what was his relationship to the orphans? I suspect Barksdale was their step-father and guardian since the young children lived with him in Alabama. How did William Purnell die? I had found earlier where the unnamed widow received a small military pension in lieu of bounty land, and this indicates that he died while in the military service of the United States, possibly the War of 1812 or more likely in one of the Indian Wars. Who is William Roberson who is assigned power of attorney in Alabama? How is he related to the James Robinson who married Patsey Purnell in Lawrence County in 1826? Is Patsey the daughter of the deceased William Purnell? Are James and William sons of Matthew Robinson? Does anybody out there have any answers!?!

The probate document that is pictured indicates that the citation for administration of the Purnell estate was posted at Little Mountain Presbyterian Church. This requirement for public notice is similar to what we require today, but instead of newspapers, the public posting took place in the neighborhood of the deceased, usually a church or store if not near the courthouse. It was this bit of information that led me to look closely at the Little Mountain church to see what records might be available. This church was organized in the late 1700s although it wasn't until several years later that it became formally recognized. It is located in the area where Matthew Robinson owned land in Abbeville County so it is likely that he attended church there.

Monday, August 17, 2009

John Goodwin Swartz Myers' log cabin

John Goodwin Swartz Myers was born December 26, 1834 in South Carolina, the son of George and Leodicia Conwill Myers. He came to Itawamba County in 1858 with his widowed mother and siblings in a wagon train of settlers from Newberry District, South Carolina. This caravan, which also included the Shumpert and Elliott families, stopped and settled in the Carolina community of western Itawamba County. It is likely that the families in the caravan followed the migration of Joseph Goodwin Conwill and his wife Mary Shumpert who came from Newberry to Itawamba County in the 1830s.

According to a granddaughter of John Myers, the five families of the caravan bought 160 acres each of adjoining tracts of land. The men then went together and built log cabins for each of the families. One of these log cabins was purchased by my husband and me in 1976, disassembled and moved down the road from Carolina to the Peaceful Valley community where the logs were reassembled in a little "holler" of land on Pennington-Sloan property.

In 1860, the census-taker found the Myers family in Itawamba County:

Richmond post office
John Myers 25, single, farmer, born South Carolina
Lodica Myers 59, born South Carolina
Mary 28, born South Carolina
Joseph 22, single, house carpenter, born South Carolina

Neighbors were David and Isabella Shumpert, Ephraim and Elizabeth Wiygul, Rhoda Shumpert, and John and Susan Adderholt. In the previous 1850 census, the Myers family can be found enumerated in Newberry, South Carolina.

John Myers was appointed postmaster in 1861 at Bolands, a community now extinct but formerly existed in the Carolina-Evergreen area of Itawamba County, and also served as justice of the peace. John married Mary J. Shumpert. His brother, Joseph, never married and died during the Civil War. The Myers family still has a diary and some letters that Joseph wrote back home to his mother before his death.

John died September 25, 1927 and was buried in the Shumpert-Myers Cemetery near his original home in Itawamba County. Below is a picture of John, provided to us several years ago by his granddaughter Mrs. R. P. Rainey, daughter of John Elliot Myers.

As indicated above, the logs from the Myers log cabin were disassembled for the move, but only after first being numbered and color coded by my husband in order to facilitate reassembly in their new location. It was a hot summer day that bicentennial year of 1976 when the logs were slowly and tediously moved via trailers. Several tires went flat before the heavy logs could be unloaded near their destination.

Below, my mother and Aunt Tootsie look over the reassembled logs from the cabin's interior. The reassembly and subsequent roofing of the cabin was supervised by my grandfather Fessie Pennington, a retired carpenter. Notice in the bottom photograph that the chinking of the logs had begun. By this time, my husband was in law school and had little spare time to work on the cabin. It wasn't until the mid-1980s that the cabin was finally finished, complete with a stone chimney, sleeping loft and a front porch. Later, a kitchen was added to the rear along with a great room, but the front room of the original cabin is everyone's favorite part.

Today, our son Penn lives in the log cabin while attending school. I am sure that John Myers would be pleased that his family's log cabin is being put to good use. Interestingly, there is a connection to the Myers family other than through the log cabin. John Myers' son, George, was married to Anna Luna Davis, daughter of James William Anderson Davis and Annalizer Morrow, and sister to my great-grandfather James Kelly Davis. I find this interesting because these two families lived in separate parts of the county, one in Carolina-Evergreen and the other in Tilden-Fulton, separated by the Tombigbee River. Like the Myerses, the Davises were also from Newberry, South Carolina originally, but the Davis family left Newberry around 1800.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Angora Goat Farm in Itawamba County

Itawamba County News
September 10, 1914
Local Column

There is an angora goat farm in this county. Col. W. A. Bean of Amory and Mr. Willis Harrison of Tilden have a small herd on Mr. Bean’s farm near Tilden. The enterprise is now only in the experimental stage, but our western relatives and friends tell us this is a great stock country.

The above newspaper article is quite interesting. Angora goats in Itawamba County!! In 1914!!

I believe Col. W. A. Bean to be William A. Bean. In the 1910 census, there is a thirty-seven year old William A. Bean enumerated as a lodger in the household of William A. and Edna Morris of Amory. Mr. Bean's occupation was given as lawyer, general practice. Being married to a lawyer myself, and having a couple as children, it makes perfect sense that a lawyer would invest in some angora goats. A quick Google of William A. Bean indicates that he also owned an early newspaper in Amory and was a native of Itawamba County, having been born in the Cardsville community.

Col. Bean's business partner in the angora goat farm endeavor was Willis Harrison who can be found in the 1910 census living in the New Salem community of Itawamba County as a thirty-eight year old farmer. His family included wife Ida, and children Ralph, Fred, Ruby, Ruth, and Tom.

According to Wikipedia, angora goats were introduced in the United States in 1849 when provided as a gift from a sultan from Turkey. The goats originated from the Ankara (Angora) region of Turkey, thus their name, and they are grown primarily for their fleece, called mohair. The Civil War destroyed most of the large flocks of angora goats in the south, but eventually their numbers increased, particularly in Texas which is today the second largest producer of mohair fleece in the world.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Clifford & Hassie Dulaney

Clifford Aaron Dulaney, Sr. was the son of John Alfred Dulaney and Willie Lee Woodard, and the grandson of James M. Dulaney and Mary Elizabeth Senter. John Alfred was Bunt Tom's brother. Note Cliff's middle name of Aaron? That was the middle name of Bunt Tom whose full name was Thomas Aron Dulaney.

Cliff married Hassie Mae York, daughter of John Harmon York and Mary Elizabeth Martin, and my records show that they had seven children.

Below are some 'clippings' from early newspapers.

November 4, 1909
Itawamba County News

At the home of the bride's parents, near Friendship, Mr. Clifford Dulaney and Miss Hassie York were married last Sunday, Supervisor J. T. Dulaney officiating.

The groom is the oldest son of Mr. John A. Dulaney, who lives a few miles north of town, and is a model young man, and the bride is a beautiful young lady, worthy of any compliment we could bestow. May their happiness ever increase through life.

July 16, 1914
Itawamba County News
Local Column
Mr. Cliff Dulaney left Wednesday to take a course in learning to repair automobiles.

June 19, 1924
Itawamba County News
Local Items
Mr. and Mrs. C. A. Dulaney’s little daughters, Vetress, Juanita and Faye of Jonesboro, Ark. are visiting their grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. John A. Dulaney and Mrs. Mary E. York.

Friday, August 14, 2009

George Emerson Robinson - old homeplace

Pictured above is the old George E. Robinson homeplace north of Tremont along Cotton Gin Road. This picture was taken several years ago by his great-granddaughter, Lucy Robinson, and unfortunately, the house is no longer standing today. George returned from the Civil War to his native Marion County, Alabama but moved across the state line to Itawamba County with his new bride, Charlotte Purnell. George and Charlotte had three sons before her untimely death in 1873: Floyd, Gideon (my great grandfather), and Leonard. George subsequently remarried to Virginia Alice Downum and had nine more children. When George's younger daughters nagged him to move closer to "town" (i.e. Tremont), George sold this house and 200 acres of land in 1902 to W. H. Weeks. It is a beautiful piece of property.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Itawamba Cousins Returned from War

These three young Itawambians were recently returned from military service during World War II when this photograph was snapped. Pictured left to right: Donnis Johnson, Ceburn Thornton and Ray Thornton. These men were cousins, all grandsons of John T. Thornton and Bettie Griffin. Donnis Johnson was the son of Nora Thornton Johnson and her husband Fisher. Ceburn was the son of Thomas Thornton and Maybelle Franks while Ray was the son of Ira G. Thornton and Narcie C. Franks. Ceburn and Ray were actually double first cousins because their mothers were sisters.

Donnis G. Johnson served in the U. S. Army as a Technician 5th Class, the highest grade for the rank of technician. A T/5 soldier was properly addressed as corporal. Raythel Lewis Thornton enlisted in September 1942 in the U. S. Army for the duration of the war. Ceburn O. Thornton enlisted in the Air Corps of the regular Army in December 1945. His enlistment record indicates that he was assigned to the Hawaiian Department.

Donnis's daughter, Glenda, provided me with this photograph of the cousins. Thank you, Glenda!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Making Sorghum Molasses

Jesse Pennington and Larry Brasfield are taking a break and posing for the camera in this sorghum cane field. Sorghum cane was first imported into the United States around 1857 from Africa and almost immediately became a popular crop for southern farmers. Before frost, the canes would be cut, the leaves stripped and the head cut from the canes to remove the seed heads. Next, horse(or mule)-powered mills would be used to squeeze the juice from the canes. The juice was then cooked down to a syrup, and any debris was removed and fed to livestock along with the crushed cane. The whole affair was often celebratory in nature, marking the transition between seasons. Sometimes neighbors would join in, especially if the sorghum mill was a portable one that moved from community to community.

Because sorghum making was typically done only once a year, there was little chance for the average farmer to become proficient at it. For that reason, there was often an experienced miller who would go around to the various communities and farms with a portable mill. Although the sorghum cane itself was fairly dependable as a crop, molasses-making was less so. Farmers had to know when the cane was ready for processing because "green" cane made "green" molasses which did not have a good flavor. And if a frost came before harvesting of the cane, then the resulting molasses could be bitter. In addition, the sorghum syrup had to be closely watched to avoid scorching. A sorghum miller that produced good results was often highly sought after.

Purists will tell you that molasses is an incorrect term for the sorghum syrup, but that is how I have always heard it referred to - either as just plain molasses, or sorghum molasses. Molasses, however, is a by-product of sugar cane not sorghum cane. The black sorghum syrup was a replacement on the Southern farm for sugar which was considered a luxury as it was expensive and often difficult to obtain. If honey was unavailable, then the farmer's family would be without a sweetener. Sorghum cane allowed farmers to be more self-sufficient.

Hat tip to Bobby Gene, son of Jesse, for providing the interesting photo!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Thomas Aron Dulaney - a correction

You've seen this face looking out at you from this blog recently, and if you missed it, you can read about the buggy wreck here. I need to make a correction, however. Thomas A. Dulaney's middle name was not Alfred. My mistake was in copying other researchers' work and not verifying his full name. In census, newspaper and land records, there was only a middle initial of "A" to be found. The assumption was that the "A" stood for Alfred, so named for Alfred Dulaney and Alfred Senter. But actually, Thomas's middle name was Aron according to his death certificate. I had sent off for his death certificate back in the spring and had received it but not updated my records. The death certificate indicates that Tom died of carcinoma of the glans penis, a fairly rare form of cancer. He was 85 years old when he died on December 12, 1941. Dr. W. L. Orr signed the certificate. Interestingly, Bunt Tom's grandson Lawrence Orr Dulaney was named after Dr. Orr.

So there. As Don Dulaney would say.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Van Buren School Play

Brenda Pennington and Tommy Cooley are dressed for a school play
at the Van Buren School in this photograph taken about 1949.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Senter brothers

Willie Bryan Senter, left, and James Junior Senter, right, were the youngest children of James Robert "Jim" Senter and Alberta Chilcoat. Other children of the couple were Opal, Glader, Cecil, Glen, Ruth and Vela. The young child in the photograph has been identified as Madie, probably Madie Green, the boys' cousin who was the daughter of Glader Senter Green.

Jim and Berta lived up the North Road. Jim's father was T. A. Senter, long-time Chancery Clerk for Itawamba County, and his mother was Susan Rebecca "Becky" Woodard. Berta's parents were Benjamin Patton Chilcoat and Nancy Beasley.

Thanks to Alan and Jeannette Dulaney for providing this photo to Don Dulaney.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

B. C. Senter's Grocery Store

Love this photograph! There are so many wonderful details like the Fab and Tide laundry detergent boxes and the bins of potatoes and onions. Bennie Cecil Senter was for many years the proprietor of a grocery store located "up the North Road" in Itawamba County. Senter's grocery was a popular stop for folks traveling between Fulton and the northern reaches of the county.

Cecil was the son of James Robert "Jim" Senter and Alberta Chilcoat and the great-great grandson of Alfred Aven Senter, an early settler of Itawamba County and ancestor of the many Senters that populate the county today. Cecil was married to Tula Blaylock, and they had three daughters: Jimmie, Clemmie and Nan. When he died in 2002, he was 94 years old.

Alan and Jeannette Dulaney graciously shared this photograph.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Three Rascals

Fessie Pennington, Peewee Robinson, Frelon Pennington

Fessie and Frelon were brothers. Peewee was Fessie's son-in-law as well as my father. His real name was James Luke Robinson, but his in-laws called him Peewee. Uncle Frelon was undoubtedly home for a visit when this photograph was taken, probably around 1980 or so. After retiring from military service, he lived at the Old Soldier's Home (now called Armed Forces Retirement Home) in Washington, D.C. I suspect that some catfish had just gotten cleaned when the men posed for the picture. The propane gas tank was adjacent to the water hydrant in Beck and Fessie's yard and was a handy place upon which to clean fish.

So many things are familiar about this picture. Fessie is wearing one of his usual jumpsuits that came into his favor after a particularly rough case of the shingles one year. His cap was always askew on his head. I can't recall if he only turned his cap that way when his picture was being taken or if it was always that way. Seems to me he purposely turned it to the side whenever someone brought out a camera. Is that a rolled up bag of chewing tobacco in his pocket? Peewee typically kept a dish towel slung over his shoulder to wipe the beads of sweat off his brow. He was rarely found working in his garden without a towel. It was as common of an accessory as his hoe. The cigarette in Frelon's fingers was also a common sight.

Peewee's expression, with his arms stretched around Fessie and Frelon, suggests to me that he was pleased with the day's activities. I bet supper was good that night.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Robinson*Dulaney Wedding Anniversary

Vonnie Dulaney and James Edward Robinson were married about 1920 and had a long, married life together. I believe the above photograph of their wedding anniversary celebration was taken in 1970. Vonnie was the daughter of Thomas Alfred "Bunt" Dulaney and Alice C. Moxley while Ed was the son of William Sydney Robinson and Effie Anthem Dulaney. Bunt and Effie were second cousins. Vonnie and Ed had three children: Ruthel, Royce and Cutaw.

1930 Census
Itawamba County, Mississippi
Beat 5
Highway 25 Road
living near her brother and parents:
Ed Robinson 32 MS MS MS farmer,married age 22
Vonnie 34 MS MS AL married age 24
Rethel 4 1/2 MS daughter

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Gaylord & Orva Rae Pennington

Gaylord Pennington was my grandfather Fessie's brother. Younger brother, by two years. He married Orva Rae Rutledge, the daughter of HenryAllison Rutledge and his third wife, Melissa Booker. Aunt Orva Rae was much younger than her two half-brothers who were born nearly forty years earlier. Henry was 58 years old when his only daughter was born.

Gaylord and Orva Rae were married in 1935. They lived in the old Rutledge antebellum home located in the Cardsville community of Itawamba County. This home was a two-story structure started by Orva Rae's grandfather, Alfred Rutledge, prior to the Civil War. Alfred was killed in the Battle of Murfreesboro, and his son Henry finished the house. Sometime in the late 1940s or early 1950s, Gaylord and Orva Rae tore down the antebellum home and replaced it with a modern brick house which is no longer standing. Today, the only sign of the old houseplace are a couple of large trees that mark the spot.

Gaylord began his married life as a farmer, farming the land originally owned by his wife's family. Later, he got a job with the state highway department under Roy Adams where he worked until his retirement. When World War II broke out, he enlisted in the army, joining his two brothers, Fessie and Frelon, in the war effort. Like Fessie, Gaylord participated in the Second Battle of the Philippines although Fessie was a sailor while Gaylord was a mess sergeant with the army.

Gaylord died of colon cancer in 1974. Orva Rae continued to live at their home in Cardsville until her death in 1992. They had one daughter, Gary, pictured with them in the above photograph.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Dr. A. L. Moorman's office in Bexar

Dr. Achilles Lucian Moorman practiced medicine around the turn of the 20th century out of a charming office building located along Main Street in downtown Bexar, Alabama. If you were to visit Bexar today, there would be no sign that a bustling little town even existed, but at one time it was home to several businesses, churches, schools and many fine homes. I can claim kinship to many of the families that once called Bexar home, including my great-great-great grandfather William Tillman Bishop. Bexar was established around 1830, and when the first post office opened there in 1843, the community was named as a tribute to the many men of the area who fought at the battle of the Alamo during the Mexican War.

Dr. Moorman was married to Mary Ophelia Stone, granddaughter of Dilmus J. Stone who has been attributed as the 'founder' of Tremont, originally known as Stones Crossroads. Many Itawambians who lived just over the state line from Bexar were loyal patients of Dr. Moorman. Right across the street from Dr. Moorman's office lived the family of Henry and Susan Robinson. Henry was a brother of my great-great grandfather George E. Robinson, and Henry's wife Susan Florence "Sukey" Evans was a sister to my great-great grandfather John T. Evans. Told you I have some Bexar connections! After Dr. Moorman died around 1922, Ophelia moved back to Tremont and their home was purchased by Henry and Susan's daughter, Kate, and her husband Morman Stone, who was a cousin of Ophelia.

The 1880 census indicates that thirty-two year old Dr. A. L. Moorman was a boarder in the household of Henry and Susan Robinson. He married Ophelia in 1883 in Itawamba County, and they had daughters Corrine and Jessica both of whom moved to Florida. Ophelia was the daughter of John Henry Stone Sr. and Florence Emmaline Cowden, and many of her grand nieces and nephews live in the Tremont area today.

The photographs below of Dr. Moorman's office can be found on the website for the Library of Congress and are part of the Historic American Buildings Collection. They were taken in 1936 by photographer Alex Bush. [Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Historic American Buildings Survey, Reproduction Number HABS ALA,47-BEX,1-] The information that accompanies the photographs at the LOC website indicates that the building is of "folk architecture" and built "approximately 1830." The 1830 date is doubtful as the structures built at that time would have been of crude logs!

Today, the building that housed Dr. Moorman's office is located across the street from the historic Old Jacinto Courthouse in Alcorn County, having been moved there several years ago. Many of the office's architectural details, including the heavy "rope" moulding and deep window "seats," were duplicated in Dr. Moorman's home.

The first photograph pictures the front of the medical office. Note the beautiful trim work! The second photo shows the rear of the building while the next two photographs show the interior. At the time the photographs were taken, the office had been converted to a residence. Although the office was in unkempt condition, you can still see the beautiful craftmanship and details that went into its building.

Morman and Kate Robinson Stone's granddaughter has wonderfully vivid memories of Dr. Moorman's former home and office in Bexar, and I invite her to share whatever information she would like with our readers.

1900 Census
Marion County, Alabama
Bexar post office, Beat No. 4
Achilles L. Moorman 57 AL VA AL physician, married 17 years, born March 1843
Mary O. Moorman 39 MS AL AL, born July 1860, 2 children, 2 living
Jessica G. Moorman 16 AL AL MS, born May 1884
Anna C. Moorman 8 AL AL MS, born Aug 1891

Monday, August 3, 2009

The rest of the story

Look closely at these tombstones found at Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church Cemetery in Itawamba County. If you do, you will notice that the both the Rouse couple and the Dulaney couple died in 1922 and 1923. Note also that Edna Rouse was the wife of William J. Dulaney. There is a story here that the tombstones don't fully tell, a story I found recently in the January 4, 1923 edition of the Itawamba County News.

Although the major influenza epidemic that hit the United States and the rest of the world in 1918 and 1919 was undeniably the most deadly of its time, influenza and its secondary infections were prevalent throughout the early part of the 1900s (and earlier, of course). Newspapers in Itawamba County were full of reports of sickness and deaths from these infections. Antibiotics weren't developed and used until the 1930s, and most people - even doctors - did not understand how infections were transmitted. Medical science was just learning about differences between viruses and bacteria. No vaccines existed, and even if they had, there was no system in place to distribute or administer them.

Itawamba County News

January 4, 1923

Influenza followed by pneumonia has resulted in the death of Mrs. W. H. Rouse, five miles north of Fulton, also her daughter Mrs. Wm. Dulaney, who recently returned from Arkansas and who died at the home of her parents. Mr. Rouse and Mr. Dulaney are also very sick there, and there is no one up on the place. Several are sick in the community and the neighbors have had a hard task to render assistance to all. Mrs. Rouse and Mrs. Dulaney were buried first of the week at Mt. Pleasant, it is feared that another death or two may result with the best of attention that can be rendered, however we hope that they will improve and soon be up.

January 11, 1923

Mr. W. H. Rouse and Mr. Wm. Dulaney were buried at Mt. Pleasant last Friday afternoon, making in all five deaths in the two families in less than a week. Four children of Mr. Dulaney survive and they have been moved to their aunt’s home – Mrs. Hood. The many friends of the two families regret very mucyh to hear of the deaths. Mr. Rouse was buried by the Masonic fraternity, he having been a faithful member of the order for many years. Bro. G. W. Gilliland made a very appropriate talk at the church

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Buggy Wreck

Thomas Aron Dulaney was born July 1, 1856 to James M. Dulaney and Mary Elizabeth Senter. Due to an accident in which one of his thumbs was severed, he was known as Bunt or Bunt Tom to friends and family. Some resources indicate his middle name to be Alfred, but his death certificate shows Aron.

In addition to owning a store northeast of Fulton, Bunt was a well-respected Supervisor for Itawamba County. I found the following information in the April 9, 1914 edition of Itawamba County News, a forerunner to today's Times. It provides an interesting glimpse into a day in the life of the fifth district supervisor. The first item appeared under the column for news from the Mt. Pleasant community while the second item was published under the local items column, in the same edition of the paper. Bunt recovered from the accident and lived to be 85 years old, dying in 1941 from cancer.

Mt. Pleasant News
Mr. A. Dulaney, Supervisor from the first district, started to court Monday in his buggy, when his horse became frightened and ran away, threw him out, and dislocated his shoulder.

Local News
Supervisor A. Dulaney started to Fulton Monday morning and on the hill near Dove Dulaney’s his buggy struck a tree while the horse was going at a rapid gate, nd he was found by mail carrier Harden lying where he was thrown, unable to get up. He was carried back home, and it is feared that he is severely crippled.