Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Lydia Ann Minyard Hood

Lydia Ann Minyard Hood lived her entire life in Itawamba County. The first record we have of Lydia is the 1870 census in which she is listed as six-year old "Lidda" in the household of her parents, Thomas and Martha Minyard. The next record is her marriage record filed in the Itawamba County courthouse that indicates she was married to Harrison H. Hood on February 26, 1880. Later that year, the newly married couple was enumerated in the 1880 census as living next door to Lydia's sister, Georgia, who was married to Harrison's brother, John.

Not much is known about Lydia's father, Thomas Minyard, who was 57 years old when she was born in 1863. The 1870 census indicates that he was born in North Carolina, and his gravemarker at the Hopewell Cemetery in Itawamba County tells us that he was born August 13, 1806 and died July 25, 1878. It has puzzled me that the Minyard family lived west of the Tombigbee River in the area around present-day Hopewell-Keyes Cemetery yet Lydia Minyard met and married Harrison Hood who lived east of the Tombigbee River around Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church. Also, Lydia's sister Georgia married a Hood. How did it happen, that in 1863 when the county was essentially split by the Tombigbee River, the Minyards and the Hoods knew each other well enough for marriages to take place between the families - especially since neither family had been in the county very long?

There is one clue that could explain the mystery. When searching for Thomas Minyard in the 1860 census, there is only one close match - a household for a 53 year old Thomas Minyard in St. Clair County, Alabama who was born in North Carolina. This is undoubtedly our Thomas, but the name of his wife is shown as Leanna in the census record, not Martha, although her age and place of birth match her information from the 1870 census. The Hood family came from St. Clair County in Northeast Alabama to Itawamba County around 1856. It is possible that the Hoods and the Minyards knew each other in St. Clair County, and their friendship continued after the Minyards moved to Itawamba County sometime after 1860.

Even less information is known about Lydia's mother, Martha. Her maiden name is not known to us, but Hood descendants claim that she was full-blooded Cherokee. If you look closely at the face of Lydia Minyard Hood, above, you can see that this claim has serious merit. In addition, there is something else to back up the claim of Indian ancestry. Researchers of the St. Clair County Minyards indicate a close relationship between the Minyard family and Sequoyah, the Cherokee who is credited with the creation of the Cherokee alphabet. It is said that one of Sequoyah's daughters married a Minyard, and while this marriage may not have been proven, it is known that Sequoyah moved to to present-day Northeast Alabama which, at the time of his move, was still part of the Cherokee Nation.

Martha's maiden name may have been Leslie/Lesley. Leslie family researchers indicate a marriage record between a Martha Leslie and a Thomas Minyard in St. Clair County for August 31, 1858. This Martha was the daughter of Wilson Lesley who moved to Itawamba County and is found there in the 1860 and 1870 censuses, living on the western side of the county. As we all know, Lesley is a surname commonly found in the Dorsey area of Itawamba County.

The plot further thickens. Martha Lesley's brother, Elijah, was married to Martha Ann Truss who was the daughter of Rev. James Truss and Priscilla Dulaney of St. Clair County. Yes, one of those Dulaneys. Priscilla's nephews were John, Gilbert and Alfred, who were sons of Priscilla's brother, Thomas.

More research is necessary but it appears that the Minyards, Hoods and Dulaneys were connected, either superficially or to a greater degree than previously thought, in both St. Clair County, Alabama and Itawamba County, Mississippi.

Back to Lydia -- she lived to be 82 years old. She died September 8, 1945 and was buried at Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church Cemetery. For more information about Lydia, read these previous posts: Lydia Hood with Children, Harrison and Lydia Hood, and A Photogenic Family. Plus, here is a picture of Lydia with her son and his family.

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