Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!!

1188 Cottage Drive
Greenville, Mississippi
c 1964

Friday, October 30, 2009

William Tillman Bishop, Citizen

Upon his return home to Bexar, Alabama, William Tillman Bishop found his county and state to have been ravaged by the effects of the war. Although no major battles took place in this part of the South, there were atrocities committed nonetheless. Both sides killed and robbed each other in service to their respective causes. Bitterness and hard feelings remained among friends, neighbors and families. Several men that had supported the Union were treated as traitors, especially those that had participated with General Sherman in his march through the South destroying and pillaging communities as they went. These families often moved away, usually west to Arkansas, Texas or Oklahoma.

While William was away at war, his son James Buchanan "Buck" Bishop, died. Upon Willilam's return, he and Sarah had seven more children: Paul, Timotheus Valentine, Jemima Francis, Theodoria Agnes Jane, Sarah Adeline "Sallie," Martha and Lucille. Paul became a physician, never married, and died at an early age of 34 in Arkansas. Timotheus, known as Timothy, served as a tax assessor for Marion County and also as a teacher before becoming a physician and moving to Texas. He died there during the influenza epidemic of 1918.

In 1867, Loyalty Oaths were required to be given before men were allowed to register to vote. The list for Marion County includes 903 names of men who signed such loyalty oaths to the Federal government. William T. Bishop's name was not among those men.

Despite his experience and the chronic ill health that resulted from malnutrition and poor diet during his imprisonment, William T. Bishop did not shrink from life. The Vernon Pioneer newspaper reported on May 26, 1876 that the Democratic party of Marion County elected delegates to the State Democratic Convention of 1876. William T. Bishop was one of the delegates elected and was instructed to vote for the nomination of George S. Houston for Governor of Alabama. When the Marion County courthouse was destroyed by fire on March 30, 1887, W. T. Bishop, as a County Commissioner, served on the committee that oversaw the building of a new courthouse for the county. Records indicate that on one occasion he was allowed $4.20 for one day's service and 24 miles travel for his commissioner duties.

William Tillman Bishop died October 1, 1891 when he was 68 years old. The newspaper reported his death: "The people of Marion County will regret to learn of the death of Mr. W. T. Bishop, which occurred at his home last Thursday night. We extend to the bereaved our sincere sympathy." William was buried in the Bishop-Gann Cemetery south of Bexar just off County Road 33. There are fairly recent stone markers placed in this cemetery for William and Sarah Bishop and for Dr. Paul Bishop. Ann McDonald Bishop, the first wife of W. T. Bishop, is also believed to be buried here but no marker exists for her grave.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

William Tillman Bishop, Immortal 600

In a letter home dated September 8, 1864 from Morris Island, off the Charleston, South Carolina coast, William T. Bishop wrote that he is "not very well at present but able to be up." He noted that there are "600 of us placed here under fire of our guns" and that "the cannons are rearing all round us constantly." He indicated hope "that we will not be kept here long" and that "we will be exchanged before many days." In the letter, William stated that he had been in prison for "going on 2 years" and in closing, William wrote "may the richest blessings of heaven rest on you all is the sincere prayer of your unworthy husband until death."

After three weeks on the island, on September 22, the prisoners were once more loaded onto the Crescent City, a move that led them to hope an exchange of prisoners was imminent. It was a false hope, however, as they were herded back onto the island the next day, the reason for the move being so that the Federal officials could search the camp for contraband. After 45 days of serving as human shields, the remaining soldiers, weak and suffering from disease, were transferred out of the miserable conditions on Morris Island to a prison camp at Fort Pulaski at Savannah, Georgia on October 21, 1864. Remarkably, not one prisoner had died from gunfire although four died from disease.

They arrived at Fort Pulaski in tattered clothing, many barefoot, and suffering from dysentery and malnutrition. Of the original 600, only 520 remained. Forty-nine were hospitalized, 4 escaped, 6 were sent to a convict prison for attempted escape, 13 were missing, 4 were buried on Morris Island, 2 were exchanged, and 2 had signed an Oath of Allegiance to the Federal government. It is remarkable that 598 Confederate prisoners had refused to sign the Oath, an act that would have released them from imprisonment and the torture they had endured.

The conditions at Fort Pulaski were not much better. The prison camp was overcrowded, the rations poor, and the fort was cold and damp. To relieve some of the overcrowding, 197 of the original 600 prisoners were sent to prison facilities at Hilton Head. Unfortunately, the conditions at Hilton Head mirrored those at Fort Pulaski.

The prisoners at Fort Pulaski endured one of the coldest winters on record for Savannah. Thirteen men died under the poor living conditions there. For 42 days, the rations consisted solely of moldy cornmeal and soured onion pickles. The commander of Fort Pulaski attempted in the beginning to treat the prisoners as humanely as possible, even sharing the rations provided for his own troops, but his superiors, upon learning of this, forbade the commander from continuing his humane treatment of the prisoners.

The following March the remaining men were put on board a ship and sent to City Point, Virginia where they remained imprisoned on the ship for a while. They were in such poor physical condition as to be an embarrassment to the Federal officials who had so loudly denounced the conditions at the Southern prison camp at Andersonville. Before releasing or exchanging the prisoners, the Federal government felt the need to fatten them up. Once more, these men were sent to the prison at Fort Delaware. Here, another 25 died. The last men of the Immortal 600” were finally released in July 1865, three months after the surrender at Appomattox. William Tillman Bishop had spent two years in various prison camps under extremely poor and inhumane conditions, but he lived to return home to his family.

The use of the 600 officers as human shields is one of the most barbaric episodes of the Civil War. These "Immortal 600”" were victims of a cruel policy of retaliation that began when the Southern commander over Charleston received Union prisoners into the city to relieve overcrowding at the Andersonville prison camp. The Union prisoners were placed in the old jail and in Roper Hospital upon their arrival into Charleston. Unfortunately, these locations were also in an area that had received artillery fire from Union troops stationed at Morris Island. In retaliation, Union officials moved some of their prisoners to a hastily-built stockade in front of their gun battery on Morris Island. While the Union prisoners were ensconced in a city of several square miles, their Southern counterparts were held in an open one-and-a-half acre pen on a small island directly in front of Union cannons.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

William Tillman Bishop, Human Shield

Within a year's time, from his capture by Union forces in June 1863, William T. Bishop was held in prisons in Illinois, Ohio, Maryland and Delaware. His ordeal was long from over.

From the prison at Fort Delaware, William was transferred to the Steamship Crescent City. On Saturday, August 20, 1864, six hundred Confederate prisoners were ordered to board the steamship. These six hundred men later became known as the "Immortal 600."

William wrote a letter home, dated August 29, 1864, while on board the Crescent City, in which he noted that he was being sent to Morris Island "to be put under the fire of our guns" at Charleston. He wrote that he was still "alive and among the living" but "not well" and that "it is generally believed that we will go on threw (sic) with an exchange." Apparently William still believed that he and the other men would be part of a prisoner exchange. Earlier in August, rumors spread throughout Fort Delaware that 600 men were to be sent home as part of an exchange with Union prisoners. Then, on August 20th, the 600 prisoners were placed on the Crescent City, a side-wheeler bound for Charleston. This seemed to confirm the rumors.

Charleston at the time was held by the Confederacy but had been under bombardment by Federal troops for over a year. The bombardment began during the middle of the night on August 22, 1863 when mortars were fired into the residential and business sections of downtown Charleston, forcing residents to flee the city. The bombardment of Charleston continued for 567 days. The mortar shells were being fired from Morris Island, an island four miles south of the city at the mouth of the Charleston harbor. It was to this island that the 600 Confederate prisoners were taken on September 7, 1864.

Upon arrival at Morris Island, the prisoners were placed in front of the gun battery used by the Federal troops to fire upon Charleston. This meant that the prisoners were caught between opposing cannon fire from both directions. Occasionally some shells would burst overhead and rain down fragments upon them. The constant sounds of artillery whizzing overhead and crashing around them both day and night were unnerving to the prisoners. Adding to the misery was the lack of blankets, forcing the men to sleep directly on the sand and subjecting them to sand fleas and mosquitoes. During the day, the September sun beat down upon them. In retaliation for the poor treatment Union prisoners were receiving in Southern prisons, the rations for the men on Morris Island were meager.

For William T. Bishop, life as a POW continued to worsen. More tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

William Tillman Bishop, POW

In the book by Forrest Reed, Itawamba: A History, my grandfather Luke Robinson noted that his great-grandfather William Tillman Bishop was captured by Union soldiers and kept prisoner for more than a year, until after the war ended. This is true, and there is even more to the story of his capture and imprisonment as we shall see.

The website for the Marion County Historical Society indicates in a county history that Union troops identified as "Wilson's Raiders" burned much of the area around Bexar during the war, and this was likely when William was taken prisoner. Union prisoner records show that he was captured on June 20, 1863 at "Baxter" (actually, Bexar) in Marion County. Miss Elliott Key, a long-time Marion County teacher, wrote in her memoir: "There was a large body of Federal Troops. These were real Federal Cavalry. They had some prisoners they had taken about Bexar. One was Squire Bishop. This raid was entirely unlooked for." It is possible that some of William's unionist relatives knew of his whereabouts and alerted the raiders.

After capture, William was sent to the Union prison camp at Alton, Illinois. He spent some time in the prison hospital, suffering from chronic diarrhea, before being transferred to Johnson's Island on August 6, 1863. Johnson's Island is a small island located in Lake Erie off the coast of Sandusky, Ohio. It was a prison camp operated exclusively for Confederate officers, and as a First Lieutenant, William T. Bishop qualified for housing there.

In a letter dated October 20, 1863, William wrote from Johnson's Island that he expected to spend the winter there as he did not believe "there will be an exchange agreed upon shortly." He noted that he was sending his wife a ring "that I have made for you which I want you to wear in remembrance of me." Prisoners often had much time on their hands, and to fill their time they made rings out of the materials on hand, including mussel shells, bones, and rubber, to send to their families and friends back home.

The prison camp at Johnson's Island was newly built for the war, and the green lumber than enclosed the prison blocks shrank as it cured, creating many gaps. W. T. Bishop likely felt a brutally cold draft through those gaps during the winter as the winds blew off of Lake Erie. However, compared to later prison housing for William, the prison at Johnson's Island was luxury accommodations.

In February 1864, William was transferred to Baltimore to the prison at Point Lookout, located on the tip of a peninsula where the Potomac River meets the Chesapeake Bay. Sitting at sea level, barely above high tide, the camp saw every extreme of weather, and due to poor drainage, polluted water was the norm. Although the capacity of the camp was 10,000 prisoners, it housed over 20,000 at its peak. William's transfer to Point Lookout seemed to indicate that a prisoner exchange was imminent, however that was not to be the case. It was about this time that the Union and Confederate armies stopped their prisoner exchange programs.

Records at the Point Lookout camp include a sutler's receipt dated March 12, 1864 issued to W. T. Bishop by L. H. James, sutler. A sutler was essentially a traveling salesman who visited prison camps to sell various goods to prisoners. Tobacco was a popular item as were patent medicines (usually 40% alcohol), coffee, sewing kits, and suspenders for the illfitting prisoner trousers.

Early in 1864, shortly after William arrived at Point Lookout, camp officials received instructions to present a questionnaire to the prisoners. The questionnaire included four questions, composed by President Lincoln himself, to be asked of each prisoner at the camp. Some 8,000 prisoners were interrogated to determine their allegiance to the U.S. Those prisoners who demonstrated allegiance by answering correctly and then signing an oath were drafted into service by the Union. About one in eight prisoners took the oath, and by late April they were on their way to the frontier to fight hostile Indians. W. T. Bishop refused to take such an oath and instead of fighting Indians or fellow Southerners, he was sent to Fort Delaware on June 23, 1864.

Fort Delaware was located on a small, marshy island in the middle of the Delaware River off the coast of Philadelphia. Overcrowding was a problem, and diseases such as smallpox and dysentery were common. Swampy conditions led to infestations of rats, lice and mosquitoes carrying malaria. But perhaps the greatest hardship was the starvation diet imposed upon the prisoners. In retaliation for the treatment of Union prisoners in Southern prison camps, the officials at Fort Delaware reduced the rations of its Confederate prisoners. Because of the inhumane conditions that existed, Fort Delaware accrued a reputation as being one of the worst Union prison camps.

One prisoner wrote that he was so nearly starved that he went from weighing 140 pounds to 80 pounds. Rations were usually one-fourth to one-half pound of bread twice a day, occasionally an Irish potato, and about one mouthful of meat some days. The "soup was slop… filled with white worms a half-inch long." Water was another problem, often putrefied and contaminated with tadpoles, dead fishes and leaves, the smell of which was "enough to revolt the stomach." Adding insult to injury, the commander of the prison, General Albin F. Schoepf made life even more miserable for the inmates. Schoepf was a socialist from Hungary who participated in the socialist revolution in 1848 in Europe. Called "General Terror," he was dreaded by the Confederate prisoners whose diaries told tales of his ordering the shooting of a prisoner who moved too slowly and other horrible stories. Schoepf and his assistants delighted in eating fresh fruit in front of the prisoners and watching them scramble for the peels that were thrown their way. Occasionally Union soldiers would yell "rat call" and prisoners would scramble for rats that the soldiers would throw down to them. The lucky prisoners would clean their rat, soak it in salt water and fry it up. The rat was "tender and not unpleasant to the taste."

William was held at Fort Delaware about two months so he did not endure a lengthy torture at the camp, but the conditions ahead of him were about to worsen beyond imagination as he becomes of the Immortal 600. Come back tomorrow for the rest of the story.

Monday, October 26, 2009

William Tillman Bishop, Bexar native

William Tillman Bishop

Born September 25, 1823 Bibb County, Alabama
Died October 1, 1891 Bexar, Marion County, Alabama

William was the son of Ephraim Allen Lewis Bishop and Elizabeth Corley. The Bishop family came to Alabama from the Spartanburg area of South Carolina when new land became available following the War of 1812. Sometime after 1840, several Bishops moved north to Marion County, including my great-great-great grandfather William Tillman Bishop.

William settled at Bexar, near the Mississippi state line. He married Ann Bryan McDonald, of Scottish heritage, in 1848 and the couple had two daughters, Elizabeth, my great-great grandmother, and Mary Katheryn. The little girls were just 2 and 1 years of age when their mother died. Shortly thereafter, William remarried to Sarah A. Johnson, and together they had eight children.

Alabama seceded from the Union on January 11, 1861. W. T. Bishop volunteered for the Confederate army, enlisting on August 16, 1861. He entered service as First Lieutenant under Captain Alexander Helveston, Company G, 16th Alabama Infantry. He was 38 years old. It would be over three years before he would return home to stay, with the last year of his service to the Confederacy being spent as one of the Immortal 600 prisoners of war.

Like many Southern families, particularly those in northwestern Alabama, the Bishops saw brothers on both sides of the conflict. In fact, William appeared to be in the minority in his family. Two of his brothers, two cousins and an uncle all enlisted with the Union. Contrary to the image or perception held today that all Southerners were ardent supporters of the "War of Secession," many in the South either opposed the war or were apathetic to it. In the hill counties of northwestern Alabama, where large slave-run farms or plantations were practically nonexistent, there were strong anti-secession feelings.

The 16th Alabama Infantry was organized at Courtland in Lawrence County just days following the Union army's defeat at the Battle of Manassas, the first major land battle of the Civil War. After the shockingly easy victory by the Confederate forces, many in the South thought that the war could be quickly won, and it was in this environment that William volunteered for duty.

In a letter home dated December 11, 1861, William writes that his battalion was headed to Kentucky with provisions. He instructs his daughters, Elizabeth and Mary, to be "good girls until I get home" and notes that he is happy that his family was able to obtain salt but worries that unusually warm weather may spoil the family's meat. Also in his December letter, William writes that "they hung one of the bridge burners here today." He is referring to a November strike by "Tories" on a number of bridges in east Tennessee. Southerners who were loyal to the Union had organized in the area, and one of their first acts was to set fire to key railroad bridges, thus crippling critical supply lines for the Confederacy. Several of the Southern sympathizers were caught and executed on the spot by hanging. William apparently witnessed such a hanging.

The 16th Alabama Infantry saw action at Fishing Creek, Kentucky and at the Battle of Shiloh in 1862, and at the Battle of Murfreesboro in Tennessee which lasted until early 1863. In June 1863, during an apparent lull in action by the 16th Alabama Infantry between the battles at Murfreesboro and Chickamauga, William Tillman Bishop was captured by enemy forces at his home in Bexar, beginning his sixteen month experience as a prisoner of war.

Tune in tomorrow for more about William Tillman Bishop, one of the Immortal 600 of the Civil War.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

George and Mary Dulaney West

This photograph was shared by longtime Itawamba historian and researcher, Virble Booth. Mary Elizabeth Dulaney was the youngest child of Alfred Dulaney and Rachel McNiece and was just four years old when her father died in 1862. George was the son of John W. West and Elizabeth Robinson. Although the Dulaneys are connected to a Robinson family, Elizabeth Robinson was from a different, unrelated branch of Robinsons.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Lawrence, Pearl and kids

If I am remembering correctly, the kids had been to the fair just before this photograph was taken. Front row: Shirley, Lowell, Frank and J. H. Dulaney. Standing in the back are their parents, Lawrence and Pearl Johnson Dulaney.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Saving The Cedars

My son came in a couple of days ago with a beautiful watercolor print of The Cedars, one of Fulton's oldest surviving homes. I had ordered the print about a week earlier and was surprised when it was personally delivered. Chip was asked to deliver the print to me when he and Jada attended the recent Heritage Day, a fund-raising event held this past Sunday at The Cedars.

Teb Thornton is the very talented Fulton artist (and my Aunt Coleen's grandson-in-law!) who created the limited edition print, which is signed and numbered. The print is a bargain at just $100. In addition to the good feeling you get from contributing to such a worthy cause, your $100 is also tax deductible. Because there are only 100 of these beautiful prints, you will need to place your order now to be assured of getting one.

The Cedars was originally a dog-trot house built by Pleasant Cates around 1860. W. L. Gaither bought the house in 1901 from the Cates family, and more recently its owner was the Fulton United Methodist Church who gifted the house to a nonprofit group organized to save the house from demolition. A special website, Itawamba Heritage, has been created by Terry Thornton to publicize and document the group's effort to move and restore The Cedars, and you can read about the house and the group's activities thus far by clicking here.

For more information about the Cates-Gaither house, please read Bob Franks' post at Itawamba History Review.

I can't wait to get my print framed and hung on the wall. With Christmas approaching, I think the prints will make wonderful gifts so keep them in mind.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

William Sloan, died Aug. 17, 1906, Age 107 years

That's what his tombstone in the Carolina Cemetery says. William Sloan died on August 17, 1906, and if 107 years old at his death, he was born in 1799 and thus would have lived in three centuries. Quite an unusual feat for sure.

At the Sloan Family Reunion this past Labor Day, I was thrilled when this photograph of my great-great-great grandfather was shared. Without a doubt, William is the oldest ancestor for whom I have a picture. Doesn't he look old? Really old? I can only speculate when the photograph was made, but it was probably around 1900-1905. The copy that was shared with me had some damage, but Cousin Rita fixed it right up.

Family lore indicates that William was a merchant marine who sailed the seven seas from his home in South Carolina, before moving to Alabama and Mississippi. Many of his seafaring tales that were told to his children and grandchildren have been passed down through the generations. His father, Samuel, was a cooper by profession and at one time there was a violin made by Samuel that was in the possession of his descendants.

The Sloans moved to Alabama from Kershaw District, South Carolina, although they may have also lived in Charleston at some point. I've been unable to pin William down in the 1830 and 1840 censuses. His daughter Louisa was born about 1834 in Alabama so we know the family should be in Alabama for the 1840 census. There is a record for a William Stearn (but looks like could be Sloan) in Fayette County, Alabama that is a close match, and we know that Samuel Sloan was living in Fayette County when he received a land patent for land in Marion County.

William was married to Caroline Irvin. The death certificate of their son, Jackson, indicated that his mother's maiden name was Irvin. Also, long-time Sloan family researcher, Una Sloan Newton, great-granddaughter of William and Caroline, indicates Caroline was an Irvin. Some researchers have Lowery as Caroline's last name, probably due to the April 18, 1835 issue of the Camden Journal (of Kershaw County, South Carolina) that references the marriage of Mr. William Sloan to Miss Caroline Lowry. The Lowerys and Irvins and Sloans lived near each other in Kershaw County, and there were several marriages among the families. I suspect that the newspaper may have erred in Caroline's last name. It is possible that Caroline Irvin was a second wife for William Sloan, due to the newspaper's marriage date of 1835 and the date of William's first child, Louisa, who was born August 28, 1834.

In 1860, William and his family were enumerated in the Fayette County, Alabama census:

1860 Census
Fayette County, Alabama
Western Division
living next to father and siblings:
William Slone 48 SC farmer, real estate 260/personal property 300
Caroline 35 SC (born 1825, note daughter Louise was just 11 years younger)
Louise 23 AL
Elizabeth 22 AL
Sintha 19 AL
William 16 AL
Mary 14 AL
Eleander 12 AL
Eliza 10 AL
John 8 AL
Caroline 6 AL
Dickson 4 AL (This is actually "Jackson")
Jeremiah 1 AL

By 1870, William had moved his family to Itawamba County. Caroline died in May 1880.

Census records for William place his year of birth variously from 1800 to 1812. His last census, in 1900, gives a May 1807 birthdate for him, but it also lists Alabama as his birthplace which is definitely wrong.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

India Sloan Burdine Pennington

India was the daughter of Jackson Samuel Sloan and Melissa Caroline Potts. That's India's picture above, cropped out of a family photograph taken about 1905. Aunt Indie was married first to Ben Burdine who died in December 1914 from injuries received in a saw milling accident near Amory. There was one son from this marriage, James Elvie Burdine. In 1921, India married once again, to Robert Manuel Penningon. Uncle Robert was the younger brother of India's brother-in-law (her sister's husband) William Hugh Pennington. The couple had been married nearly two years to the day when their son Charles Overton Pennington was born on February 10, 1923. Unfortunately, India did not live but a couple of months after giving birth. After India's death, her infant son was taken in by her sister Dee Sloan Pennington who raised and took care of him like her own son until his father remarried and was able to to care for him.

India Sloan Burdine Pennington is buried at Carolina Cemetery in Itawamba County.

Monday, October 19, 2009

An Affair to Remember

When these two got together, anything could happen. From the boxes laying around, it looks like a post-present unwrapping Christmas party about 1980 or so. Pee Wee (my father, left) and Fessie (his father-in-law) could always be counted on to liven up any party. We sure miss those two.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Another Young Man

Luther Anderson Sloan

Luther was the "baby" son of Jackson and Melissa Sloan. He was born October 10, 1894 in the Cardsville community of Itawamba County, one of eleven siblings, and died in August 1973 in Aberdeen, Monroe County, Mississippi. As a young man, Luther was known to be rowdy. Or maybe more than rowdy as there are lots of "Uncle Luther" stories. Seems Luther was always getting into some trouble or another. He was married first to Emma Delia Bourland with whom he had two children, Senter and Carrie Avonell, and second he was married to Beulah Viola Hickman. Luther and Beulah lived on "Silk Stocking Row" in an old antebellum home in Aberdeen and raised their family of seven children.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Young Man Johnson

A very young Fisher D. Johnson. The expression on Fisher's face is serious although from what I've been told, Fisher was actually a very lively person. Fisher was the son of John Norman "Jack" Johnson and Angeline Amandaville Bowen, and as you can tell from the photo he was quite the catch for Miss Nora Thornton. Fisher's granddaughter, Glenda Johnson, shared this photo of him with us.

Thanks, Glenda!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Ryans Well Schoolhouse c1947

Norma Wallette provided this photograph of Ryans Well schoolhouse that was taken about 1947. Her aunt, Quinnie Watts Johnson, is standing fourth from the right in the plaid jacket. Quinnie is married to Earnest Johnson, baby brother of Glader Mae Johnson Mills. Thank you, Norma, for sharing with us!

Click on the photo for a better look. Love those large windows!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Estate of Alfred Dulaney

Alfred Dulaney, one of the three original Dulaney brothers who settled in Itawamba County in the early 1830s, died in 1862. He was 53 years old at his death on February 9, 1862, and I believe that he may have died from injuries or an illness received during his brief stint of service during the Civil War.

Alfred enlisted in the Army of the Mississippi on February 8, 1861 at Saltillo, which was then part of Itawamba County. His discharge papers indicate that he served as a private in Captain James G. Bullard's Company B of the 10th Regiment of Mississippi. The papers further show that Alfred was born in the State of Tennessee in 1808. He was five feet, nine inches with blue eyes and a dark complexion, black hair mixed with gray at the time of discharge. He was by profession, a farmer.

The discharge papers were dated July 19, 1861 and signed by James G. Bullard, Commanding Company, and R.A. Smith, Col. Comg, 10th Reg, Miss Vol. Alfred was discharged prior to the end of enlistment period "by reason of disability (See Surgeons certificate)." Within seven months of his discharge, Alfred had died.

Capt. Bullard's company, known as Ben Bullard's Rifles, were among the first soldiers sent out from Mississippi for the Confederate cause. When Florida seceded from the Union, federal troops at Fort Pickens near Pensacola refused to surrender their fort. President Jefferson Davis requested 1,500 men from Mississippi be sent to Florida to provide assistance in removing the Union's presence in that state. Alfred and the rest of his regiment arrived in April 1861, shortly after President Davis's request, but it wasn't until October that the Confederate troops attacked Fort Pickens. Alfred's discharge papers are dated in July therefore he likely contracted a disabling illness that forced an early discharge. His age could have been a contributing factor.

In the February term of Probate Court in 1862, letters testamentary were granted to John Dulaney, Thomas Dulaney and Henry Dulaney. This was a formal process that granted these men authority to administer the last will and testament of Alfred Dulaney. There is no record found of the will itself, likely having been lost over the years. The three men named in the record were probably the elder sons of Alfred.

Click on the image of the record for a closer look.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Fulton Telephone Company

February 26, 1925

Fulton Telephone Co. to Connect with Cumberland

Sometime during December, the exchange of the Stantonville Telephone Company at Tupelo was completely destroyed by fire, causing complete loss of switchboard and all apparatus connected with the exchange. Since then the people of the Fulton territory have been unable to get very much service in Tupelo.

For some time a deal had been pending between the Stantonville Co. and the Cumberland Tel. Co. whereby the Cumberland people were to purchase and take over all property of the Stantonville Co., at Aberdeen, Amory, Tupelo, Booneville, Corinth and other points and operate only one exchange at these places instead of two as has been the case. Of course, this will be the Cumberland exchange.

The fire at Tupelo has hastened this deal for the Tupelo exchange and the Stantonville people will cease to operate their exchange there sometimes during the month of March.

The Cumberland Telephone and Telegraph Company are installing a large and modern switchboard and we are advised that when it is completed the Tupelo exchange will be the finest and most complete in the state.

Elsewhere in this issue will be found Mr. Fain's letter to the subscribers of the Fulton Telephone Co. and to all others who have occasion to use the telephone. After March 1st, charges will be made for all calls through the Tupelo exchange. This is nothing new at other places for all out-of-town calls are charged extra to the subscribers.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Fessie's barn
salt sack

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Handsome Couple

Wasn't this a handsome couple? Floyd Wilemon and Vida Chesteen Dulaney were married November 8, 1931 in Itawamba County. He was the son of Jerome W. Wilemon and Erah Charlotte Beasley while Vida was the daughter of James Henry "Jim" Dulaney and Laura Bertha Warren.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

J. T. Evans of near Tremont

John Thomas Evans

Itawamba County News tidbits

May 7, 1908
Local News
Mr. John Evans and daughters, of new Tremont, were here last Friday.

May 13, 1909
Mr. J. T. Evans and his little grand daughter, Miss Annie Stone, were here Tuesday. Mr. Evans is one of the fourth district's best citizens and has been in the mercantile business for several years. His many friends there are always glad to see him.

May 16, 1913
Mr. J. T. Evans, merchant south of Tremont, fourth district, was here Monday on business.

October 23, 1913
Mr. J. T. Evans, farmer and merchant who lives near Tremont, and on one of the best farms we are told on Bull Mountain, was here on business last Friday.

May 7, 1914
Local Column
Mr. J. T. Evans and grandson, who live near Tremont, were here last Saturday.

May 6, 1915
Local News
Mr. J. T Evans of Tremont was here on business Saturday.

July 21, 1921
Local News
Mr. J. T. Evans of Tremont was here Monday. He has been in feeble health for some time, and says he never expects to be much more account, and that he has made up his mind that he is ready to go when the Lord wills. [Note: John Thomas Evans lived another eight and one-half years after making up his mind that he was ready to "go." He died in December 1929.]

March 20, 1924
Misses Grace Stone and Jewel Robinson spent Saturday night with the grandparents Mr. and Mrs. J. T. Evans.

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.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Van Buren School

Not great images, I know, but these are photographs of photographs of the Van Buren school in Itawamba County. I found the images at the Itawamba Historical Society's library in Mantachie several months ago. The Van Buren school was closed around 1959, the victim of consolidation. School consolidation was nothing new in Itawamba County. In 1919, there were 77 county schools. Ongoing consolidation whittled down that number to 43 in 1929 and 28 in 1939. When Van Buren school was closed in 1959, there were only 8 remaining county schools plus the Itawamba Agricultural High School which was then under the direction of Itawamba Junior College. We are operating pretty much under the same set of consolidated schools now, in 2009, as we were in 1959 with the exception of the school at Houston in northwestern Itawamba County which was subsequently consolidated with Mantachie. Plus, the colored attendance center in Fulton was integrated during the 1960s.

Information about school consolidation was taken from Miss Zereda Greene's newspaper column that appeared in the Itawamba County Times on February 10, 1966. Copies of her columns can be found in the library of the Historical Society. Miss Zereda noted in her column that with school consolidation came the need for school buses to get the children to schools that were further away. These early school buses were usually of wood and made locally, she said, and originally the bus routes were bidded out. It wasn't until 1952 that the county took over the bus routes after purchasing all-steel buses and hiring the drivers. There is a picture of an early school bus here in a previous post about Bettie Griffin Thornton.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Alfred Thomas Dulaney 1858-1928

Alfred Thomas Dulaney was the oldest son of Henry Dulaney and Mary Jane Priddy. He was named for his grandfathers, Alfred Dulaney and Thomas Jefferson Priddy, Sr., when he was born September 26, 1858. The Dulaney and Priddy families were early settlers in Itawamba County.

Alfred Thomas, who was known as "Blind Tom," married Martha Jane Beasley, daughter of David Beasley, in 1883.

1900 Census
Itawamba County, Mississippi
Fulton post office
Alfred Dulaney 41 MS AL MS farmer, born Sept 1858, married 17 years
Martha J. 39 AL SC AL, born Jan 1861, 8 children, 7 living
Gib 15 MS born July 1884
Henrietta 13 MS born Feb 1887
Cleophas 11 MS born Mar 1889
Annie A 9 MS born Dec 1891
Thomas R. 7 MS born Mar 1893
William Q. 4 MS born Mar 1896
Ben H. 1 MS born Nov 1898

1910 Census
Itawamba County, Mississippi
Fulton-Red Bay Road
Alford T. Dulany 51 MS AL MS farmer
Martha J. 49 AL SC AL
Cleovis 21 MS
Rex 17 MS
William Q. 14 MS
Bennie H. 12 MS
Jennie L. 8 MS

In addition to the children named in the above two census records, Alfred and Martha had a daughter, Loraine, and a son, Lucius, who died as infants.

Alfred died April 2, 1928 and was buried at Mt. Pleasant Baptist Cemetery.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Samuel M. Davis

Samuel McGee Davis is buried at Providence Cemetery in Itawamba County. Providence Cemetery is a lovely cemetery located across the road from Providence Church, just north of Tremont along Providence Road. He was born in Gwinnett County, Georgia, the fourth child of eleven children born to Jesse Davis and Elvira McGee.

Samuel fought in the Civil War, enlisting while the family was living at St. Clair County, Alabama. He joined the war effort in 1861 when he was just 17 years old and served until he was discharged due to a disabling injury a year later. After regaining his health, Samuel re-enlisted and served with the 58th Alabama Infantry until being transferred to the command of Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest. He served until the end of the war.

Annals of Northwest Alabama
History of Marion County
pages 268-269

"Samuel M. Davis, born in Gwinnett County, Georgia, in 1844, was the son of Jesse Davis and Elvira McGee. In the Civil War he served with the St. Clair County 58th Alabama Infantry, Bates Brigade, Stewart's Division, Buckner's Corps, and saw service at Chickamauga and Missionary Ridge, the conflict was so bitter that many had to be left without a Christian burial. "Sherman was so close behind us that we could not stop," mourned the old Confederate. Later he was transferred to the command of General Nathan Bedford Forrest. To his last day, he talked about "The Wizard of the Saddle." After Appomattox, Samuel M. Davis, like thousands of defeated Southern veterans, returned to his home. It was a wilderness of weeds and brambles. His cattle and personal property were scattered to the four winds and he had no money, no food, no help, except his own faith in his strong arms. He bought a little farm on Bull Mountain Creek among the hills of Marion County, and married Emily Lacy."

1880 Census
Marion County, Alabama
Beat 3, Township 9 Range 15
Samuel Davis 36 GA NC NC farmer
Emily J. 36 AL GA GA
William C. 12 MS GA AL
Luler E. 10 MS GA AL
Jesse A. 8 AL GA AL
Emmer J. 6 AL GA AL
Sheriff 2 AL GA AL son

Based on the above census record, the family moved from Itawamba County, where they were found in the 1870 census, to just across the state line in Alabama around 1871 or 1872. William C. Davis, the twelve year old son in the above household, grew up to become Lieutenant Governor of Alabama. Read more about him here.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Jim and Bertha Dulaney with younger sons

James Henry "Jim" Dulaney and his wife, Laura Bertha Warren, are pictured with the youngest three of their eight children. Back row, left to right: Clester T. "Cotton" Dulaney, Clarence Edward Dulaney, and Lester "Leck" Dulaney. Clarence was the baby of the family, born in 1931, so it would appear that this photograph was taken around 1938. Actually, Jim and Bertha's daughter died in October 1938, and likely the photograph was taken after her death.

Thursday, October 1, 2009


At the recent Dulaney family reunion, folks opened up their photo albums and shared their precious family pictures. This photograph, shared by Linda Watson, really caught my eye. There is just something special about pictures that were taken with a family's mule.

Pictured above are Jettie Tucker Dulaney and her husband Woodrow Wilson Dulaney. Standing to the right is Woodrow's sister, Maudie Dulaney Robinson. Maudie was sixteen years older than her baby brother Woodrow. They were the children of Thomas A. "Bunt" Dulaney and Alice Moxley. Woodrow's wife, Jettie, was the daughter of Monroe Tucker and Alsie Bell Dulaney.

Woodrow was named, of course, after Woodrow Wilson, our 28th president. He was so named because his father thought that Woodrow Wilson was our greatest president.

Maudie's husband was Henry Dayton Robinson, son of William Sydney Robinson and Effie Anthem Dulaney.

The mule's name and bloodlines are unknown!