Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Year's Eve

You may remember the post from just a few days ago about Rook-playing traditions. Here is a picture from a New Year's Eve several years ago, but this card game looks more like the card game of Thirty-one, also called Knock. We had a family tradition of gathering at Big Daddy's house on New Year's Eve, a house that no one lived in but was fixed up for occasional family gatherings. The house only had four rooms and was heated with two fireplaces, but it was just big enough for a fun evening of cards, appropriate drinks, entertainment and fireworks at midnight. Hopefully, tonight we will have a more toned down version of this family tradition.

Big Daddy's house no longer stands, a victim of termites, but Fessie and Beck's old house is just down the road and has plenty of room and there will probably be some card games and fireworks. Maybe some of the old stars will show up for repeat classic performances.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Pennington Christmas Party, 2009

The Pennington family held its annual holiday party the Saturday before Christmas, and for the first time in many years we were joined by Bobby Gene Pennington, now of Georgia. He is pictured below with his Aunt Tootsie (right) and his Pennington cousins (Brenda, Jean and Jo), the five being the only true Pennington-born folks at the gathering. The rest of us were descendants, significant others and friends.

A Pennington Christmas wouldn't be complete without Aunt Tootsie's wonderful ham and Beck's coconut cake, prepared by her daughter Jo Ann and decorated just like Beck would have done, with splashes of color, and transported in Beck's old cake carrier. Finally, it wouldn't be Christmas without bingo, and this year we had a record number of bingo prizes to play for, along with a brand new bingo cage that made Rebekah's job easier in managing the game.

The party was held at the Cardsville volunteer fire department's nice facility, near Peaceful Valley in southern Itawamba County.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Rook - an Itawamba pastime

Rook is a card game that has been enjoyed by many Itawamba families, and our family is no exception. My husband and I both grew up in long-time, Rook-playing families and have fond memories of watching our elders play Rook and later, when we became old enough, joining in the Rook games ourselves. While I can't say that our kids have witnessed the same volume of Rook-playing that we did as youngsters, they have been exposed to the game. This Christmas we started what I hope to be a new family tradition in our family's holiday celebration: games of Rook, although actually it would be a repeat of a tradition that existed years earlier. We've also introduced the game to the "significant others" in our family so we now we can have several tables of Rook going at one time.

The "new" tradition got me wondering. Just how common was the game of Rook in Itawamba County? An informal poll reveals that at one time Rook was enjoyed by many families although more recent generations of Itawambians either have not been taught the game or have chosen other gaming alternatives such as Blackjack or Texas Hold-em, probably due to the influence of casinos. Plus, there is always competition from hand-held video games, so Rook-playing (or any game of cards for that matter) may be a dying art. What a shame! How I wish that my children could have witnessed the masterful and nuanced Rook play of Fessie Pennington, Clarence Wardlaw, Lawrence Dulaney, Paul Mills and others, although I am thankful that they did get to play Rook with my father before he died and also on occasion still play the game with their grandmothers. Does every Itawamba family have their own Rook legends?

A bit of research revealed that our version of Rook is a variation on the game of Kentucky Discard Rook called the Red One, in which the red one card is added to the deck as a thirty-point card, making a hand of Rook worth 150 points. Every family seems to have their own "special" version of the game however. I don't know about most family games of Rook, but we never consulted the rule book. Therefore, whenever folks from different families get together for a game of Rook, it always helps to hammer out the common rules before beginning the game. Some families allow "shooting" for 500 points, some don't. Some allow "shooting" but only during the bidding process and before looking at the widow, or nest of cards. Some families are most strict about reneging (playing the wrong card). You get the picture. Establishing common rules before beginning the game can save some hurt feelings later on!

I've also learned that Rook cards were introduced in 1906 as a Christian alternative to standard playing cards which included face cards, thought to be inappropriate and associated with gambling. A deck of Rook cards includes numbered cards, eleven through fourteen, in the place of the jack, queen, king and ace cards of a standard deck. Instead of a joker, there is a card with a rook, a member of the crow family of birds. Thus, the name Rook.

Under our family rules, the "Red One" catches the Rook Bird. A real learning moment presents when a mischievous youth plays his Red One to capture his Mother's Bird, "setting" her for good measure. Shirley sent Mike to bed on more than one occasion for pulling this trick.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Family and Friends

Sorry for the lack of posts, folks. Christmas activities are taking first place on my to-do list, and there doesn't seem to be enough time to squeeze in a post or two. I'll have more time after Christmas to get back to Itawamba Connections, but right now the focus is on friends and family. Last Friday was Cousin Sue's 80th birthday luncheon, then it was an evening with long-time Itawamba friends that included dinner and tickets to see Scrooge, the musical. Saturday rolled around, and it was time for the annual Pennington Christmas party, held at the Cardsville Volunteer Fire Department. This year we were fortunate enough to have Cousin Bobby Gene and his wife Vivian join us all the way from Georgia, but unfortunately Cousin Shelia had an emergency appendectomy the day before so we were missing a few of her family. Hopefully, I'll get pictures posted soon from our get-together, which included great food, fellowship and bingo! Following the Pennington party, my family spent the night down the road in Fessie and Beck's house. We enjoyed more fellowship with multiple games of Rook. Tomorrow, after a morning at work, I'll be taking Cousins Sue and Lucy to visit Aunt Coleen in Fulton. It's the people in your life that make the holidays memorable. The blog can wait. In the meantime, here is a photograph from a Pennington Christmas in 1963 or 1964, at Aunt Tootsie's house.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Double take!!

I did a double take when I came across this image recently. One of the things I've learned in doing genealogy research is that it never hurts to go back through your family information, over and over again. What may not have been pertinent to your research at the current moment may prove to be a significant key a few months, or years, later. The above image was photographed some time ago when it was shared by my Aunt Coleen, who will be 96 in January. She wrote down her husband's family tree several years ago whenUncle Buddy was still living. Although I wasn't re-visiting my Robinson information when I came across the image recently, I did pause to look over the information once again, and did a double take!

There, at the top of the paternal family branch, was the full name of Charlottie Purnell's mother! Her surname is shown as "King" which I had never seen before! I knew from census records that her name was Sarah A. but had no idea as to her maiden name. Obviously, when I scanned the information I was focused on other family lines and thus was not interested at the time in Charlottie's parents. Since then, however, I've been at a brick wall as to the Purnell family. This small bit of information could open other doors in my research. I'll keep you posted.

I am also reminded of how I found Sarah A. King Purnell's dates of birth and death. My husband has business trips to New Orleans once or twice a year, and although New Orleans is a great town to visit with lots of interesting things to see and do, there is only so much repetitive sight-seeing one can take! So during one such visit, I checked out the genealogy section of the New Orleans Public Library. As genealogy collections go, this one is not that great, although if you had ancestors with a connection to New Orleans (and I don't) then it would be a good resource. I was flipping through a book on Mississippi cemetery transcriptions, checking out my usual surnames, and to my surprise found a listing for Sallie A. Purnell, wife of S.M. Purnell, buried in Lebanon Cemetery in Alcorn County! Here was my Sarah! I had lost track of her after the 1880 census in which she and her husband was found living in Lamar County, Alabama with their son and son's family (darn that missing 1890 census!). Her son, Marion Sampson Purnell, moved to Alcorn County, Mississippi by 1887 because his daughter Rayma was born there. Apparently, Sarah (and possibly her husband, Sam) moved there too. She was buried next to her grandson, Herbert Purnell.

Next time I see Aunt Coleen, you can believe I'll ask her about Sarah A. King!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Ma Davis and her cat

I came across this picture the other day and thought that in the interest of fairness, there should be a post of Ma Davis and her cat. There was an earlier post about Pa Davis and his dogs. Queenie Victoria Davis is holding a mighty big cat in this photograph taken in front of the Davis house at Tilden.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Pennington siblings

A rare early photograph of the Pennington siblings, taken about 1940 I'm guessing. Please correct me, someone, if the date is wrong. The only sibling missing from the picture is Frelon who enlisted in the Army in July 1940, and it is probable that he was in the service when this photograph was made. Perhaps the photo was taken to send to Frelon? What we do know is the location for the photograph - it was taken just to the right of the house of Hugh and Dee Sloan Pennington, the siblings' parents. And you can just barely make it out, but they are standing in front of the Pennington storm cellar. That old storm cellar was used, "remodeled" of course, up until the early 1980s. After Fessie's tour of naval duty in the Pacific during World War II, which included a typhoon or two, he came home with a new appreciation of thunderstorms and the safety provided by the family's storm cellar. I passed many an electrical storm in that cellar, but I have to say that I was more afraid of the snakes and critters that might have been hiding there than I was of the storm itself.

Pictured above are Pennington siblings Jesse Gordon, Fessie Manuel, Vivian Irene, Gaylord , Mavis Maxine and Clara Nell (Tootsie).

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Bath time!

Lots of babies have been bathed in the Pennington kitchen sink although not all have had their picture taken at the time. The first picture below (guess who?) was made in 1957 or 1958 and the second one in 1984 (guess who?). Same sink, twenty-seven years later. The sink is still in use although not in its original location, and no babies have filled its basin in a long time, but I bet one day a third generation will grace the sink and a snapshot will be taken of the momentous occasion.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Uncle Luther and his foxhounds

Luther Anderson Sloan is pictured above with his foxhounds. Uncle Luther lived in Aberdeen, on "Silk Stocking Row" in an old antebellum house, and it appears as if this picture was made there in his backyard. Wonder what his neighbors thought about those hounds?!

Luther was the youngest son of Itawambians Jackson Sloan and Melissa Potts and was raised in Peaceful Valley. He was born in 1894 and died in Aberdeen in 1973.

Monday, December 7, 2009

John Ed Warren and Sallie Holcomb

John Ed Warren, Sallie Holcomb Warren holding Eugene
Daughters Bertha and Eva
Sons Arlander, Melvin and David
Another son, Edgar, died as a young boy

John Ed Warren married Sarah A. "Sallie" Holcomb, daughter of David G. Holcomb and Penelope Bottoms on March 15, 1887. The couple's marriage bond and license are on record at the Itawamba County courthouse, and I was surprised to see that James M. Dulaney was on the marriage bond. James M. Dulaney was not a contemporary of John Ed Warren's nor was there a family relationship between the two men. I wonder if perhaps James was sort of a surrogate father to John Ed, whose own father died in a Union prison camp in 1864 when his son was only three years old. The Dulaney and Warren families were officially united in 1912 when John Ed and Sallie's daughter, Bertha, married Jim Dulaney, the grandson of James M. Dulaney and the son of Thomas Aron Dulaney and Alice C. Moxley.

Marriage Bond
Itawamba County, Mississippi
John Ed Warren & James Dulany, are held and firmly bound, in the sum of $100. The condition of this Obligation is such, that, whereas, a marriage is shortly intended to be celebrated between the above bound John E. Warren and Miss Sallie Holcomb. Now, if there be no lawful cause to obstruct the said Marriage, then this obligation to be void, otherwise to remain in full.
March 14, 1887
John E Warren
J. M. Dulany

Before me, J. M. Walker, Clerk of Circuit Court, this day personally appears John E Warren and made oath that John E. Warren and Miss Sallie Holcomb have arrived at the statutory age for the contraction of marriage, to-wit: 21 years and 18 years respectively, and further, that there exists no legal cause or objection to the marriage of the said John E Warren and Miss Sallie Holcomb. March 14, 1887
J. M. Walker, Circuit Clerk
John E. Warren

To any Judge, Minister, Justice, or other person Lawfully authorized to Celebrate the Rites of Matrimony: You are hereby Licensed to Celebrate the Rites of Matrimony between Mr. John Ed Warren and Miss Sallie Holcomb and for so doing this shall be your warrant. Given under my hand and official seal, this 14th day of March in the year of our Lord, One Thousand Eight Hundred and 87. J. M. Walker, Clerk

In Virtue of a License from the Clerk of the Circuit Court of said County of Itawamba, I have this day celebrated the Rites of Matrimony between Mr. John Ed Warren and Miss Sallie Holcomb. Given under my hand and seal, this 15th day of March, 1887. B. F. Casey, M.G. Recorded this 5th day of Sept, 1887. J. M. Walker, Clerk

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Cofield-Loyd Marriage License and Bond

Click on the marriage license for a better look. John R. Cofield and Dollie Loyd applied for a marriage license on September 7, 1899 - which was on a Thursday that year. They were married by J. R. Holliday at Dollie's parents' home, Isham and Rachel Loyd, who lived in the Bull Mountain, or Newberg, community in Marion County, Alabama. Looks like they married on a Sunday. The marriage bond was obtained by John R. Cofield and R. N. Terrell (likely Robert N. Terrell, who later served as circuit court clerk for Marion County. Looks like the marriage bond cost a whopping 50 cents.

Friday, December 4, 2009

1951 I.A.H.S. Graduating Class

Click on the photograph for a larger image. The young man in the center, highlighted with gray tones, is my father, James Luke Robinson. I also picked out Noma Davis and Travis Staub. You might recognize others. Let me know if you do.

UPDATE: Frank Davis is second from left on the second row.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Daniel Dove Dulaney

Daniel Dove Dulaney, pictured above, was the youngest child of James M. Dulaney and his wife, Mary Elizabeth Senter. Next to Dove in the photo is his wife, Elizabeth Sula Brown, daughter of Andrew Lafayette Brown and Talitha "Cumi" Stephens. Another one of Andrew and Cumi Brown's daughters, Mary Ophelia, married Dove's brother, James Robert Dulaney.

It is said that Dove once commented that his initials stood for "Dead, Damned and Delivered."

Dove was a Baptist preacher, and at one time served Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church near his home in eastern Itawamba County. It is in this church's cemetery that he and his wife are buried, along with a host of other Dulaney and Brown family members. Dove died in 1957 while visiting his son in Birmingham. Sula died in 1976.

In addition to being a preacher and a farmer, Dove also was an early telephone man, as evidenced by the following news article from 1909.

Itawamba County News
November 4, 1909
Local News
Mr. Dove Dulaney was here Monday, and got specifications to construct a telephone from Fulton northeast, through his community.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

If these stones could talk...

The old homeplace of Sam Cofield still exists although it is in very bad condition. The log walls have been covered up with paneling, and this has provided some protection, but it's just a matter of time before the wonderful old house is gone forever. The stone chimney is still standing, rather proudly, although it seems as if the chimney and the house are propping each other up. The stones have such a history ... if only they could talk, what stories they could tell! And that old tree! Can't you imagine Sam's children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren playing under its shade?

Sam Cofield was my grandmother Pearl's grandfather, and he played an important part in her life following the death of his son, her father.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

F.J.H.S. Memories

Seated or kneeling: Lorraine Maxcy, Hermine Graham and Janice Thrash
Second row: Mildred Gibbs, Letha Comer, L.A. Pearce, Eupal Thornberry and Faye Ellen Digby
Back row: Dexter Digby, Billy Todd, Loice Dulaney, Lawrence Williams and Marles Cromeans

If you attended Fulton Junior High School, these faces and names should be familiar to you. The occasion may have been the retirement of Miss Hermine Graham, a longtime Itawamba County educator who was the daughter of A.D. Graham and Verdie Clifton. Miss Hermine was afflicted with polio as a young girl, but her disability didn't stop her from becoming one of our county's most beloved teachers. She wound up her teaching career at Fulton Junior High School where she served as a librarian, and this is where my fond memories of Miss Hermine come from.

This photograph is part of a collection of Graham family history owned by Dianne L. Robinson, daughter of Johnie G. Robinson, Jr. and Lenell Maxcy. Lenell's mother, Lorraine, was the daughter of Cicero Lafayette Graham and Maude Johnson.