Thursday, July 30, 2009

Reunion of the descendants of Thomas Dulaney and Rhoda Thrasher

For the first time in a long time, there will be a Dulaney Family Reunion held this summer in Itawamba County. You do not want to miss it. Obviously, if you are a Dulaney descendant you are invited to attend. If you are not a direct Dulaney descendant but have a connection to the Senter, Wilemon, Chilcoat, Johnson, Moxley, Brown, Hood, Tucker, Robinson, Works, Digby, McNeece families (among others!) then you are most likely an indirect descendant of the Dulaney family and are invited to attend. If you live east of the Tombigbee River, chances are that you have a Dulaney connection somewhere in your ancestry. When you get right down to it, everyone is invited to attend!

There will be dinner on the ground at Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church on Saturday, August 29th, across from the cemetery where generations of Dulaneys are buried. Come about 11 o'clock for fellowship, we'll eat at noon. Price of admission will be a covered dish and your favorite beverage; ice will be provided by Dulaney's Grocery. You also will want to bring your lawn chairs.

Don Dulaney has arranged to have computers, scanners and copiers on hand to make copies of any old documents or photographs that folks may have. There are plans to publish a family history of the Itawamba Dulaneys so it is important to collect as much of the history as we can before it disappears altogether.

The photograph above depicts some of the grandchildren of Thomas and Rhoda Dulaney. Rhoda, along with sons John, Alfred and Gilbert and daughters Elizabeth and Nancy, came to Itawamba County about 1833 and were among the first white families to settle in the area following the removal of the Chickasaw Indians. Today, there are hundreds of Itawambians who descend from Thomas and Rhoda.

Hope to see you there! If you have any questions, please contact Don Dulaney at 662-322-0466.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Clay Schoolchildren

I'm guessing that is a young Lowell Dulaney third row, center.
Are there any others that can be identified in this photo of
classmates at Clay School in Itawamba County?

Lowell is the son of Lawrence O. Dulaney and Pearl F. Johnson,
and the father of Ken, Glenn, Don and Crystal.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Musical Family

The Johnson family was a family of musicians. Any time two or more Johnson siblings gathered, music was bound to happen. Pictured above are brothers Vonnie, Donnis, Adron and Earnest Johnson in a photo taken about 1935. Donnis's daughter, Glenda, recently provided me with a treasure trove of photographs, and I love this one. The brothers are children of Fisher D. Johnson and Nora T. Thornton. Not pictured here is another brother, Julius.

Family reunions, Sunday afternoons, birthdays. Any occasion was an excuse for the Johnson family to get together and play music. Actually, there didn't really need to be an occasion. Glader Johnson Mills's daughter, Vera Mae, said that Fisher and Nora often had dances at their house in which they would roll back the rugs, clear out the furniture, and make a pallet in another room for the kids to sleep on. Then the singing and dancing would begin and last all night.

Fisher Johnson apparently was a buck-dancer extraordinaire. Buck-dancing is a form of dancing that is similar to clogging in which the knees are slightly bent and the dancer's arms and legs are rather loose. It is truly a southern Appalachian dance and has been said to be a fusion of Scottish, Irish, Black and Cherokee cultures. A fiddle was usually involved in the high-energy buck dance. Picture a tap dancer or clogger, without the taps, shuffling his or her feet to music of a fiddle.

When Fisher was about 80 years old, he performed in a talent show at Fairview School. He cut loose on the stage with a buck dance, and the crowd loved it!

Nora Thornton Johnson had a beautiful voice. According to Vera Mae, Nora sang in the choir at Sandy Springs Baptist Church for several years. Her brothers, Ira and Thomas, could sing as well. People would come from miles around to hear them sing bass. All of the Thorntons could sing, she said.

The daughters of Fisher and Nora were musical as well. They could play a piano or organ by ear. Hum a tune for them, and they could play it back for you. Vera Mae said that her Aunt Syble could "make music on a tin bucket." Her mother Glader particularly liked playing the organ. When she and husband Henry moved to Nettleton with their young family in the 1940s, her organ wouldn't fit on the wagon and had to be left behind. In later years, Glader would play the piano at her children's homes, often at the request of her grandchildren.

Dorothy Johnson Taylor loved to dance too, and was adept at dancing the Charleston. Dorothy tried to teach Glader how to dance, but Glader preferred knitting and crocheting to dancing.

The blend of Johnson and Thornton genes has produced talented musicians in several generations of Itawambians. One such musician is Jackie Johnson who is the proprietor of the Tombigbee Jamboree in Fulton. Jackie's daddy is Earnest, the little fellow on the right in the above photograph. In 1969, Jackie and my husband, along with the female members of the Fulton Junior High School ensemble, cut an album. A pretty dang good album too. Jackie played the guitar while Mike played the mandolin for the ensemble.

As for Vera Mae, she says that the music gene passed her by, but her children and grandchildren carry it on.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Loaf of bread and some milk

Itawambians Woodrow Dulaney, Carson Loden and Cecil Benson are captured in this photograph taken in the 1960s. The photo was shared by Ricky Beasley. I love the details that are found in the photograph: the neatly shelved merchandise, the gas heater and wood floors, the Burroughs adding machine or cash register, the black rotary dial telephone. Cecil's hand is holding a cigarette, and next to the telephone are a couple of boxes of Blue Ribbon cigars. I recognize the box because my granddad used to smoke the same brand, and my grandmother used the empty boxes to store various items. Click on the photo to make it bigger and see what you can spot.

Anyone recognize the store?

Friday, July 24, 2009

Saturday nights

While our generation spent Saturday nights watching television ("Live from New York....It's Saturday Night!"), earlier generations of Itawambians spent their Saturday nights gathered around the radio listening to the Grand Ole Opry on WSM-Radio out of Nashville. The Grand Ole Opry has entertained thousands of households across the rural South since its inception in 1925. The show gots it name from a radio announcer's introduction one night, "We have been listening to the Grand Opera for the past hour, now we will present the Grand Ole Opry."

Queenie Clayton Davis was a huge fan of the radio show. Sometime during World War II, she sent off for a picture of the Opry cast. Purina Mills, the major sponsor of the show at that time, responded with the above photograph along with a letter, both of which were in Ma Davis's trunk at her death in 1974. The form letter thanked Queenie for her interest and then stated:

In these times all efforts must be bent toward the one job we have ahead of us - the winning of the war. While there is a lot of fun in our program, it is really dedicated to the task of urging feeders all over America to produce more food ... more food for our armed forces ... food for our fighting allies ... and food for ourselves.

To accomplish this, have good stock, use good feed, and practice good sanitation and management so as to make every pound of feed you use do the best possible job. Your Purina dealer will be glad to help you with your management and sanitation problems and will do his best to supply you with Purina Chows but, if he should be temporarily out of stock, remember the demand is greater than the supply.

Remember Secretary Wickard's statement "Food will win the war and write the peace."

Very truly yours,
Purina Mills

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Birthday Boy

Fessie was born 97 years
ago today - hard to believe.
Here is Fessie holding
me as a baby in 1957 or 1958.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Luke and Pearl... courting at Blue Mountain College

While Pearl Cofield was a student at Blue Mountain College, she was courted by her future husband, Luke Robinson. My grandparents were Tremont natives and both of their families attended Tremont Methodist Church where Pearl played the organ. Luke's cousin, Ross Robison, remembers watching Luke walk by his house every Sunday after church to visit Pearl, who lived near Ross (Ross's mother and Pearl's uncle/surrogate father were siblings, children of Talmon Harbor and Martha Ann Evans).

I'm pretty sure that this photograph was taken at Blue Mountain. Pearl attended there in 1926 and 1927 when it was primarily a teachers' college for women. Upon graduation she taught school back in Itawamba County although I've been unable to find out exactly where.

Luke and Pearl were married December 27, 1929 in Itawamba County. Pearl's niece, Maxine Stone Johnson, recalls that the couple "ran off" to get married. Maxine was visiting at her grandmother's when Luke and Pearl arrived, announcing their marriage. I found their marriage license in the Itawamba courthouse which shows that they received their license and were married both on the same day. The couple were married by T. L. Oakes, Minister of God.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Fred and Annie Maye Stone

Fred Ray and Annie Maye were children of William Gayland Stone and Mary Pearl Evans of Itawamba County. The Stone and Evans families were prominent members of the Tremont community. William was the son of John Henry Stone, Jr. and Florence Emmaline Cowden while Pearl was the daughter of John Thomas Evans and Elizabeth Ann Bishop.

In addition to Fred and Annie Maye, there was another child of the family, Julia Grace, who was not yet born when this photograph was taken. Since Fred was born in August 1901 and Julia was born in July 1904, you can guess that the photo was taken about 1902 or 1903.

Annie Maye, who married Mautimer D. Robinson, grew up to be a family historian and is well-known for her history of the Stone family, a copy of which I found at the research library of the Daughters of the American Revolution in Washington, DC. In her history, she wrote about her father: "William Gayland Stone was a merchant and farmer. He was a life-long resident of Tremont, Miss. At the time of his death, at the age of 31, he was studying to become a Methodist minister. He died August 24, 1908 and is buried in the Stone Cemetery at Tremont beside his wife, Mary Pearl Evans Stone, and two sons, Fred Ray, and an infant son."

Annie Maye was only nine years old when her father died. Her grandfather, John T. Evans, was appointed guardian for the Stone siblings in this 1908 court filing:

Itawamba County, Mississippi
Chancery Court
Minor Heirs of William G. Stone, deceased
Guardian's Bond
J. T. Evans, principal, and C. M. Robinson, L. Q. Stone, in the amount of $250
September 30, 1908
M.D.L. Spearman, Notary Public
(Note: C. M. Robinson was Carlton McKindrey Robinson while L. Q. Stone was Lucien Quincy Stone, a brother to William.)

John T. Evans made an annual accounting each year to the court for the financial affairs of the children.

Itawamba County, Mississippi
Motion Docket Book B

In Re Guardianship of Annie May Stone, Fred Ray Stone and Grace Stone, minors, J. T. Evans Guardian, Fred #1229, Grace 1229A, Annie May 1229B
Now comes the above named Guardian J. T. Evans and moves the court to approve his 1st annual acct. in each of the above named minors, Annie May Stone, Fred Ray Stone and Grace Stone. J. T. Evans

The Estate Packets (1229, 1229A, 1229B) found at the Itawamba County courthouse contain the accounting made by J. T. Evans as guardian for his grandchildren. Below is the accounting for Annie May Stone for one year. The other children had similar accounting and amounts.

Annual Accounting, October Term 1909
Beginning amount on hand as per Inventory $125
Interest on same since Jan. 2d 1909 to date $ 9.68
Balance on hand Oct. 11, 1909 $134.68
No disbursements by guardian

Fred Ray Stone died in Florida in 1960 while Julia Grace Stone, the wife of Earl Underwood, died in Itawamba County in 1976. Annie Maye Stone, the oldest of the siblings, died in 1979.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Death Angel took Dear Granny

Fulton News Beacon
April 1933

The death angel visited the home of Mrs. Joe Blake the 25th of February and claimed as its victim, Mrs. Blake's mother. She made her stay on earth 81 yrs, three months and four days. Had been in feeble health for several years with paralysis. She leaves three daughters and four sons, also a host of relatives and grandchildren to mourn her going. But I say to them, mourn not for her, for I feel assured she is at rest. She was a true and faithful wife and mother, and was loved by everybody who knew her. She united with the Missionary Baptist Church at an early age. The funeral service was conducted by Bro. Rogers of near Amory, and he spoke many comforting words to the relatives and friends. She was laid to rest at Carolina Cemetery under a beautiful mound of flowers.

'Tis hard to give up the ones we love so well and need the most, but God knows best, and we must be submissive to His will.

Rest in peace Dear Granny, your memory shall never fade. We think of you in silence, no eyes can see us weep. Many a tear we shed, while others are asleep. Sleep on Dear Granny, and take thy rest, we all loved you, but God loved you best.

She is gone but not forgotten, for her memory will always linger around the grave where she rests.

Written by a friend,
Sally Burdine

* * * * * * *
Sally Burdine was the wife of John Burdine and the daughter of George T. Wamble. In the 1930 census, she was living with her husband and children very close to the Sloan and Blake families in Peaceful Valley. Sally's brother-in-law, Ben Burdine, was married to Melissa's daughter, India.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Tramps in Itawamba County

During the Great Depression, tramps were not an uncommon sight in Itawamba County especially along the major roads such as Highway 78, commonly known then as Bankhead Highway. Lots of people were afraid of the "tramps," as the unemployed homeless men were called. My great-grandmother, Thusie Evans Robinson, was among those who feared tramps. She would tell her grandchildren, "Don't you talk to strangers. Tramps will take you off and kidnap you." Thusie and her husband, Gideon, lived just off of Bankhead Highway on land that is now the Willow Road subdivision in Fulton.

Uncle Buddy and Aunt Coleen Robinson lived closer to the highway than Thusie and Gid, his parents, and so they came in contact with tramps quite often. Aunt Coleen recalls that she fed many tramps who stopped by their house. Sometimes she would give them food in a brown paper bag but other times, when Uncle Buddy was there, the homeless person would be invited in to eat. It wasn't always just men either. Aunt Coleen said that she would never forget one cold winter's night when a man and two children stopped by to ask for food. The man's wife had just died, and he was trying to get his children back to his wife's family. Uncle Buddy wound up giving the man his coat in addition to some food for his family.

Uncle Buddy and Aunt Coleen didn't have much themselves - they were just starting out and had two small children - but they were very generous with what they did have.

Most tramps were transient, just passing through, but others were homeless people who lived around the area. Aunt Coleen remembers one such homeless person. She always saved the slop (i.e. food scraps) for Thusie's hogs. One day, as she was taking the bucket of slop out her back door and down the trail to Thusie's house, a tramp raised up out of the bushes and scared her to death. She threw the bucket of slop and ran back to the house. She later found out that the man was a local tramp who traveled and lived around the area. The man was just taking a nap on the Robinson homeplace. Everybody knew him. Aunt Coleen said the tramp would work a little, save his earnings and beg for his food and clothes. When he died in the hospital, he had $600 in cash among his possessions.

I wonder if there are other stories about tramps in Itawamba County during the Great Depression?

Friday, July 17, 2009

Beck's corn

Looks like Beck had some mighty fine looking corn that summer. Notice that she wrote "this is my corn" on the Polaroid photo! (That peanut patch ain't too shabby looking either!) Earlier this week, I saw some corn crops that looked almost as good as Beck's. In our neck of the woods, we've had just a perfect combination of rain and hot days to make really pretty corn. After years of over-boiling and under-boiling corn on the cob, this summer I've given up on the boiling and have started cutting off the fresh kernels and cooking them with a little butter and salt in a cast iron skillet. Yum.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Farmers' Union Telephone Company

Itawamba County News
October 14, 1909
Farmers' Union Telephone Co. Hold Important Meeting

Quite a number of the stockholders of the Farmers' Telephone Co. met at the court house here last Saturday and transacted some business of importance. This system was instituted west of the river not long ago, and it has been extended until their lines cover considerable territory in the county, and it keeps expanding, which has called for some constitutional changes.

$7.50 buys an interest in the line, and each individual buys a phone, and the $7.50 is spent in constructing and maintaining the line. No assessment has yet been necessary for this purpose.

The following is part of the business transacted at their last meeting.

We, the committee appointed to divide the Union Telephone System into voting precincts, beg to submit the following report:

(1) On the east side of the Tombigbee river we designate two, as follows: Fulton and Tilden.
(2) On the west side of said river we designate eight, as follows: Bethel, Fawn Grove, Shiloh, Friendship, Mantachie, Greenwood, Evergreen and Ballardsville.

N. T. Clayton, Chairman
M. M. Gray, Sec't'y

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Pa Davis

James Kelly Davis loved dogs, especially white spitz. In this 1945 photo, he is holding a couple of white spitz puppies in front of the old Bean homeplace in Peaceful Valley. The little girl on the porch is his granddaughter, Brenda Pennington. Another granddaughter, Jo Ann Pennington, shared some memories of Pa Davis with me earlier this year.

Pa slept in a nightgown every night, usually made out of bleached fertilizer sacks. Each night he would wrap his head up in a special scarf, covering his ears. The scarf was like a night cap but scarf-like.

Pa Davis had to have biscuits with every meal, never cornbread. Ma made her biscuits each morning with lard and buttermilk, and leftovers went into the "warming cabinet" or were kept on the table under a cloth until supper time. When he ate, Pa would take a biscuit and put part of it under his plate in order to make his plate slant downward. The Davis dining table always had Dixie Queen maple syrup. Ham, bacon and sausage - all cured at home - were commonly found too but bacon was called "side meat" not bacon.

For New Year's Eve, Pa always got a stick of dynamite. He would stay up until midnight, put the stick of dynamite in an iron pipe and light it. Aunt Jo said she usually could be found under the bed at midnight with her ears covered.

Pa did not cuss at all. Neither did Ma. They loved their grandchildren and enjoyed having them visit. Sunday was family time, and their children and grandchildren would come by after church for visiting and a family meal.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

John Stonewall Davis

John Stonewall Davis was born May 15, 1886 in Itawamba County, the son of James William Anderson Davis and Annalizer Morrow. John and my great-grandfather, James Kelly (Jim) Davis, were brothers, John being the younger of the two. There is a story that my mother told me about the two brothers. As teenagers, the Davis brothers were picking cotton when John spotted a lizard crawling by, picked up the lizard and threw it at Jim who was deathly afraid of lizards (something he passed along to my grandmother, Beck). In retaliation, Jim picked a green cotton boll and thew it at John, hitting him on the head. It must have hit John just right because it knocked John completely out. He never threw another lizard on Jim again!

In his early twenties, John left Mississippi to go work in the coal mines in Walker County, Alabama.

Itawamba County News
September 10, 1908
Local News

Mr. John Davis, who is working in the coal mines near Kansas, Ala., is visiting relatives here this week for a few days.

By 1910, John was married to Lula Mae Fikes and living in the Carbon Hill community of Walker County, Alabama. In 1918, his World War I draft registration card indicates that he was working as a coal miner for "Davis and Bowrey" in Carbon Hill. I don't know who the Davis of "Davis and Bowrey" was - it possibly could have been John himself. John's brother-in-law and sister, Lan and Lizzie Davis Spencer, also were living at Carbon Hill where Lan worked in the coal mines as well.

John's draft registration indicates that he was of medium build, had black hair and gray eyes.

John and Lula had at least two children, Glen Davis and Irene Davis.

Within the next decade, John had moved on, probably to Kentucky, because he is not found living in Walker County, Alabama in the 1930 census. I found Irene as a thirteen year old living with her aunt Anna Johnson in 1930. I don't know what happened to her mother and brother. John eventually wound up as a coal miner in eastern Kentucky and married to a woman named Marie.

John came back to Itawamba County for visits. He apparently was known to be a sleepwalker, and during one visit he kicked out the window at Pa Davis's while sleepwalking. Family lore indicates that John stayed in a lot of "trouble" and may have been associated at one time with Pretty Boy Floyd, although that story can't be corroborated. Once when visiting kinfolk in Fulton, John insisted on hiding his car inside a garage where it couldn't be seen. He also had a wooden leg, something that probably added to his reputation but most likely was due to a mining accident.

John died in Kentucky in 1958.

John Stonewall Davis, right, at work in Kentucky with some of his fellow miners

John and Marie Davis

John Davis standing in his garden in Kentucky.
Note the railroad and coal car behind him.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Family Vehicle

The first vehicle that Fessie and Beck bought for their family was an old red Dodge truck, pictured above. They bought it following Fessie's return from World War II. Although Beck could drive the flatbed truck, she was not the most confident driver. Once, as Dr. Tubb of Smithville was speeding along the gravel road, probably on the way to a house call, Beck ran his car off the road when she nervously met him in her red Dodge truck! Driving on wooden plank bridges across the old Tombigbee River was also an adventure. Occasionally the red truck would stall out going through the flooded river bottom on the way to or from Beck's parents who lived on the other side of the river at Tilden.

Wonder what the gas mileage was for that old truck?

Momma, tell me the name of the dog that is peering out of the window. Bootsie?

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Edgar & Minnie Beam

There was a previous post about Edgar and Minnie Beam found here, accompanied by a photograph of the couple in their much younger years. The photo below was taken much later, probably in the late 1930s or early 1940s. Edgar died in 1944.

Here is their family in the 1930 census:

1930 Census
Itawamba County, Mississippi
Beat 1
Edgar Beam 50 MS GA MS farmer, married at age 24
Minnie L. 45 MS MS MS, married at age 19
Meardy W. 25 MS son
Narcy M. 19 MS daughter
Irene N. 17 MS daughter
Sally O. 14 MS daughter (listed as daughter, but actually was Samuel C., son)
Thomas 10 MS son
Delta W. 7 MS son
Wilber T. 2 MS son

Their neighbors were Anthony T. & Mary Beam, D. Harvey & Ada Beam, Spurgeon & Cleo Holcomb, David W. & Rada Graham, Drew & Eula Taylor.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Jesse V. & Noda Jones Taylor

Notie Jones Taylor is pictured above with a couple of her daughters, Viola and Carrie. Notie was the daughter of William F. Jones and Nancy Griffin and was a first cousin to Bettie Griffin Thornton, my husband's great-great grandmother. She married Jesse Vernie Taylor in 1897 in Itawamba County, and they had six children together before Vernie's untimely death in 1918 during the height of the influenza epidemic in the United States. Both Notie and Vernie are buried in Sandy Springs Cemetery near where they lived.

Any speculation as to the lumber that is stacked up in the photograph? Perhaps this is lumber that is going into a new house for the family?

Thank you, Don Dulaney, for sharing the photo.

1910 Census
Itawamba County, Mississippi
Jessie V. Taylor 38 MS Unk Unk farmer, married 13 years
Notie L. 33 MS MS MS wife, 6 children, 5 living
Viola 11 MS
Eva 9 MS
Cora 6 MS
Dewey L. 4 MS
Linny V. 2 MS

1920 Census
Itawamba County, Mississippi
Lowery's Store
Notie L. Taylor 43 MS MS MS, widowed
Viola 20 MS
Dewey L. 13 MS
Lina 11 MS
Carrie 4 MS

1930 Census
Itawamba County, Mississippi
Noda L. Taylor 54 MS MS MS, widowed, married at age 20
Viola 31 MS, single
Lena 21 MS, single
Corrie 14 MS
Gratis U. Segars 14 MS AL MS, nephew

Friday, July 10, 2009

Martha Fatina Thornton Morgan

Nora and Fatina Thornton were daughters of John T. and Bettie Thornton, with Fatina being thirteen years older than Nora. Fatina moved to Texas with her husband and children sometime around 1915 and made her home in that state until her death in 1962 in Fannin County.

Martha Fatina Thornton, standing behind Nora in the photo to the left, was born February 17, 1878 in Itawamba County. She married Nathan Luke Morgan, son of Joseph Wilkes Morgan and Sarah Anne Olive, on January 23, 1898, also in Itawamba County, and they had six known children.

Fatina died in Bonham, Fannin County, Texas on August 30, 1962. She was buried Grove Hill Cemetery next to her husband Luke who died in 1941.

Note that although Fatima (with an 'm') is the more common spelling, Fatina's name is consistently found with an 'n' instead. Her death certificate indicates her name was Martha Fatina.

Mississippi Marriages, 1776-1935
Name: Miss M. F. Thornton
Spouse: N. L. Morgan
Marriage Date: 23 Jan 1898
County: Itawamba

1900 Census
Itawamba County, Mississippi
Mud Creek precinct
Nathan Morgan 21 MS GA MS born June 1878, married 3 years
Fatiney 22 MS AL MS born Feb 1878, 1 child, 1 living
(NOTE: census indicated 1 child living yet no child listed in household)

1910 Census
Itawamba County, Mississippi
Lowery's Store
Living near John T. Thornton
Luke Morgan 32 MS MS MS farmer, married 12 years
Fatina 32 MS MS MS, 6 children, 5 living
Gohie (as transcribed by census) 10 MS son
Luna 8 MS
Fatina 5 MS
Amber 3 MS
J. P. 1 MS

1930 Census
Fannin County, Texas
Hickory Creek-Bailey Road
N. L. Morgan 52 MS GA TN farmer, married at age 19
Fatina 51 MS MS MS, married at age 18
Luner J. 27 MS
Amber D. 23 MS
J. P. 20 MS son
Konard 18 MS son
Exa L. 15 TX dau (indicates family moved to Texas 1912-1915)
Sedera 11 TX dau

Thursday, July 9, 2009

The John T. Thornton Family

Thanks to Jane Thornton Fielder for sharing the above photograph of the John T. and Bettie Thornton family. The photo is precious because it gives us an image of a young Nora Thornton, my husband's great-grandmother. We have several pictures of an older, married Nora but this was the first time we saw her as a young woman. Nora's brother, Willie Pascal Thornton, is Jane's grandfather. The Thornton family lived near the Mud Creek area of northern Itawamba County.

Pictured in the photo are: (left to right) front row: James Thornton, John T. Thornton and Elizabeth "Bettie" Griffin Thornton; back row: Carrie Thornton Cromeans, Belvie Thornton Thomas, Oscar Thornton, Lilly May Thornton Russell, Lula Thornton Thomas, Nora Thornton Johnson, Fatina Thornton Morgan, Ira Thornton, Thomas Thornton, Willie Pascal Thornton. Not pictured is daughter Mary Madeline Thornton Franks.

I would guess that the photograph was taken sometime in the 1930s. John T. Thornton died in December 1938 so it was before then. The occasion may have been a homecoming of John and Bettie's son (James) and daughter (Fatina) who had moved to Texas with their families. The family likely gathered for a reunion, and a photograph would have been called for to mark the occasion.

1900 Census
Itawamba County, Mississippi
Mud Creek
Living near John and Amanda Johnson and son Fisher:
John Thornton 47 AL FL NC farmer, born Dec 1852, married 25 years
Bettie 42 MS MS MS, 12 children, 11 living
James 23 MS born June 1876
Fetney 22 MS (daug - must be Martha Fatina) born Feb 1878
Carrie 20 MS born May 1880
Oscar 15 MS born Feb 1884
Marie 14 MS born Oct 1885 (daug - Mary)
Lular 12 MS born June 1887
Willie 10 MS born July 1889
Nola 8 MS born Apr 1892
Thomas 5 MS born July 1894
Lillie 3 MS born May 1897
Irie 1 MS born Oct 1898 (son - Ira)

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Button Box

I came across the above photo at Vintage Moth and it reminded me of the box full of buttons that my grandmother used to have, buttons of all colors, shapes and sizes. She kept her buttons in an empty cigar box of my grandfather's. How I wish I had that box of buttons now! I can remember the drawer it used to be in - the drawer also contained boxes of extra candidate "push cards" of my grandfather's from his campaigns for supervisor in Itawamba County -

Did anyone else's grandmother keep a box of buttons? Does anyone have one now?

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Ride 'em, cowboy!

Today is my brother Kirk's birthday. This picture of him was taken about 1970 during a family vacation to Chattanooga. Ruby Falls, Lookout Mountain, Rock City and Chickamauga National Park - all were (are!) must-see attractions for families in the South. And if time permitted, a quick trip down to Stone Mountain in Georgia was a bonus.

Happy Birthday, Kirk!

Monday, July 6, 2009

William Columbus Davis

Here's a connection to Itawamba County that most folks probably don't know about. Alabama's 11th Lieutenant Governor was an Itawamba County native. Unfortunately, a biography of William Columbus Davis that appeared in Alabama's statistical register indicates that Iuka, Mississippi was his birthplace, a fact that I am pretty sure is an error. There were other errors in his biography as well, such as the statement that his great-grandfather Jesse Davis Sr. was born in England when all other information indicates that Jesse and most of his siblings were born in South Carolina.

William C. Davis was the son of Samuel McGee and Emily Lacey Davis and was first cousin to my great-grandfather, James K. Davis. The 1870 census finds the couple living in Township 9 of Itawamba County with a three-year old William. Although the census indicates that William was born in Alabama, all subsequent census records indicate Mississippi as his birthplace. Further, both William's parents and grandparents lived in extreme northeastern Itawamba County, although his parents later moved across the state line into Marion County (but just barely). Jesse Davis Jr., William's grandfather, and Samuel M. Davis, William's father, are both buried at Providence Cemetery north of Tremont and next to the state line.

Below is an excerpt found online at the website of the Alabama Department of Archives and History, as printed in the Official and Statistical Register, 1927.

Mr. Davis was educated in the public schools of his native state and studied law in the office of Judge Harvey Murphy, Aberdeen, Miss., at which place he was admitted to the bar. He taught in the public schools of Miss. until 1890 when he located to Hamilton, Ala., to practice law. In 1899, he removed to Jasper where he now resides. He was a member of the House of Representatives of the Alabama Legislature from Marion County, 1891-1899, and from Walker County in 1915. He was Solicitor of the 14th Judicial Circuit, 1907-1911, inclusive. He was a Democrat and served his party as a member of the State Commmittee and as Chairman of the Congressional Committee and was active in numerous political campaigns. He was a Baptist, a Mason, and Woodsman.

Here is an excerpt that appeared in the Itawamba County News that also indicates that William Columbus Davis was an Itawamba native:

Itawamba County News
(Abstracted by Virble Booth)
April 22, 1909

Hon. W. C. Davis who was reared in the eastern part of this county has entered the race for congress in the 6th Ala. District to succeed Capt. R. P. Hobson. Mr. Davis is presently from Jasper, Ala.

To see a picture of the home of William C. Davis in Jasper, Alabama, as well as a photograph of William and his family, check out this Google Books website. The photographs appear in a book about Walker County, Alabama by Pat Morrison.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Every Good Man Needs a Barn

As many of you will remember, when Fessie returned from the war in September 1945, Beck surprised him with a new house that she had built during his absence. If you missed the original post, you can read about it here. Several years later, Fessie built a barn for his farm. An honest-to-goodness, every-farmer's-dream, barn. Pictured below are a couple of images from some old black and white negatives that I found and had developed. In the second photo, Fessie is taking a break from his barn carpentry to pose for a picture. I'm thinking that it was in the early 1950s when the barn was built, and Fessie used it for his cattle farm operations until he got out of the cattle business shortly before his death.

While in Peaceful Valley yesterday for a Fourth of July family fish-fry, I climbed up into the barn and photographed its hay loft and rafters. It had been several years since I had been up in the loft and memories came flooding back of playing up there with my brother and cousins, clambering over the hay bales, usually playing army. Today, the hay loft is being used to store old lumber while its stalls below hold various 'treasures' of Fessie's children. The side wings originally attached to the barn are no longer there, having been removed earlier due to aging and deterioration, but the main barn should last several more years thanks to a recent repairs instigated by my husband. Fessie would be proud to know that his barn is still standing today, sixty years later. Hopefully, it will last another sixty years or longer.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Uncle Sam is one year older.

Itawamba County News
July 9, 1908
The Glorious Fourth

Fulton was very quiet on the Fourth. All the business houses were closed most of the day, and most of the people were gone. Quite a number took their dinner and went to the lake in the bottom in search of fish, and had a very pleasant day.

So far as we have heard the day passed off reasonably quiet throughout the county. But when any day passes off without the moral quietude that should be supreme to all else any day of the year signifies that some one has failed to do his duty. May we all live to see many more Fourths, and may each impress on our minds that by the shedding of the life blood of many of our forefathers, Uncle Sam is one year older.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Summer Get-Togethers

Families all over Itawamba County will be getting together tomorrow for Fourth of July celebrations. Mattie Moxley Dulaney, center, is pictured with her family during a summer get-together several years ago.

Left to right: Unknown, Nate Dulaney and his wife Annie (Waddle), Will Robinson (husband of Leliar Dulaney), Aron Dulaney and his wife Bernice (Sullins), Mattie Moxley Dulaney, Gertrue Dulaney Works, Leliar Dulaney Robinson, and Unknown.

Hope everyone has a safe and happy holiday!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Nathan & Nancy Clayton Welch

Itawamba County News
September 19, 1912

Mr. Nathan Welch and family left last week for Birmingham Ala. where he contemplates working in steel and iron smeltering plant which work he has done there several years ago.

Itawamba County Times
January, 1960

The 53rd wedding anniverary of Mr. and Mrs. Nathan A. Welch of Chattanooga, Tenn., was held in the Tilden Community last Wednesday, January 20, in the home of his brother, J.E. Welch and Mrs. Welch. Mr. Nathan Welch made his home in Itawamba County for a number of years and Mrs. Welch will be remembered as the former Miss Nancy Clayton, a native Itawambian.

* * *

Nathan Asa Welch and Nancy L. Clayton were married about 1907 in probably Itawamba County. Initially, Nathan and Nancy made their home in the New Salem community south of Fulton where both of their families lived, but sometime before 1920 the couple moved to Fayette County, Alabama and then to Birmingham where they are found in the 1920 and 1930 censuses. Sometime after 1930, Nathan and Nancy moved to Chattanooga, Tennessee where they lived until their deaths.

Nancy was a sister to my great-grandmother, Queenie Victoria Clayton Davis. The above photo was among Queenie's possessions.