Sunday, February 28, 2010

Another daughter found

The land deeds that I copied in Lamar County, Alabama turned up another surprise. You may remember the post about William and Caroline Sloan selling their land in Alabama and moving to Itawamba County, Mississippi. Well, I finally got around to transcribing some of the other Sloan deeds and was intrigued by an 1880 deed from Samuel, John, James and Joseph Sloan to their sisters Mary and Elizabeth. In addition to the brothers Sloan deeding "our interest" in real estate to Mary and Elizabeth, there was another grantor listed in the deed: Lucinda Merchant.

Who was Lucinda Merchant? I don't know for sure, but I believe that she was a sister to the above-named siblings, and another daughter of Samuel Sloan and Mary Rush Sloan. Isn't it amazing how a simple deed record can lead to the name of another family member?

I found "Lusindia Marchant" living in Lamar County in the 1900 census, at the Military Springs precinct which is the neighborhood of the Sloan family. Living with her was Mary, daughter of Joseph Sloan, who is listed as Lucinda's niece. Lucinda is 75 years old in this census. Then, in the next census of 1910, she is found as "Sindy" age 85, listed as a sister in the household of Willis Sloan, youngest child of Samuel and Mary Sloan.

Further research in earlier censuses revealed that Lucinda was married to Daniel Merchant, who was much older than she, and they were living in Itawamba County - of all places! - with the closest post office being Van Buren. Neighbors were Wardlaws, Blacks, Conwills. This puts Lucinda in or around Peaceful Valley in the 1860 and 1870 censuses, and provides one explanation for why William Sloan, her brother and my ancestor, moved to that area of Itawamba County. Very interesting, indeed!

Lucinda had two children, both sons born around the 1840-1842. In the 1900 census, she indicated that both of her children were dead, and I suspect that they may have died in the Civil War.

Saturday, February 27, 2010


When Butch Lambert returned from the war, he operated a taxi service in Fulton with his brother Norma. This advertisement of their company appeared in the Itawamba County Times on January 8, 1946. Many folks in Itawamba County remember A. C. "Butch" Lambert. He was a star on the 1937-1941 I.A.H.S. football teams, serving as captain his last two years. After graduation, Butch entered the Navy and served until his honorable discharge in the spring of 1946. Butch then took advantage of the G.I. Bill and entered school at Ole Miss, trying out for the football team, and taking his wife Ida and son, Butchie, with him to Oxford. In August 1946, proud of their native son, the Times reported on the front page of the newspaper that Butch made the squad of 65 on the team, out of 120 men trying out. "You have been selected for your ability and spirit shown in practice," the letter from then Coach H. D. Drew said. Butch also played under legendary coach Johnny Vaught.

Butch was actually born in Tishomingo County, in the former community of Holcut. I say "former" because when the Tenn-Tom Waterway was built in the late 70s's and early 80's Holcut met its demise when the canal was dug to connect the Tombigbee River to the Tennessee River, and the community now lies under water.

Here is the Lambert family in the 1930 census. Sometime thereafter, the family moved to Fulton.

1930 Census
Tishomingo County, Mississippi
Holcut - Beat Three
A. Grady Lambert 30 MS MS MS farmer
Gertrude 26 MS MS MS wife
Norma H. 10 MS son
Aaron C. 7 MS son
Freeda E. 4 mo. MS daughter

Friday, February 26, 2010

Dulaney children

These are children of Cliff A. and Hassie York Dulaney, not sure which ones, possibly Vetress, Juanita and Faye as they seem to be in some of the other pictures of the C. A. Dulaney family. I found the following news article and thought it a lovely bit for a post:

Fulton News Beacon
July 16, 1931

Local Happenings

Miss Jauineta (sic) Dulaney, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. C. A. Dulaney of Fulton, will sing next Saturday night, July 18, 7:30 at WDIX the broadcasting station, Tupelo. The public is invited to tune in and hear her. This is the third program.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Carlton McKindrey Robison family

Pictured above is the Carlton McKindrey Robison family, or at least the first three of five sons born to Carlton and his wife, Mary Myrtle Harbor. The little boy standing between his parents is Ross Collins Robison, who is 96 years young and living in Hernando, Miss. Ross told me that he was named after Congressman Ross Collins who was from Meridian. Congressman Collins was a regular visitor at the Robison house during his trips to and from the capitol in Washington, D.C. Ross said that his mother often provided room and board for travelers in the area.

Carlton was the son of John Taylor Robinson and Mahala Jane Shotts of the Tremont-Shottsville area. John Taylor was the brother of my great-great grandfather, George Emerson Robinson, so Ross and I share a common ancestor in John E. Robinson - Ross's great-grandfather and my great-great-great grandfather. We also share a common ancestor William Evans, again, Ross's great-grandfather and my great-great-great grandfather. William's daughter, Martha, was Mary Myrtle Harbor Robison's mother.

You may have noted that Ross spells his family name as Robison instead of Robinson. As I've learned since doing my family research, our ancestral name can be found spelled as Robinson, Robison, Robertson, Roberson, etc. but we all come from the same line. When I first started researching, I tended to discount the other spellings as not belonging to "my" line but quickly I learned that we are all related regardless. I believe that Ross told me that one of his brothers spelled his name as Robinson.

I've visited with Ross a few times, and he is sharp as a tack. Along with his brothers, Ross graduated from Mississippi State University where he received a master's degree in dairy production. He worked for a time as a county agent before moving to Hernando where he was put in charge of developing dairy farms to meet the growing need for milk and dairy products for Memphis and the surrounding area.

Sitting on the horse on the left is Roy, second oldest, and sitting on the horse on the right is Ray, the oldest son. Roy served many years as supervisor of Itawamba County's Farm Security Administration. Another brother, Ruble, was not yet born when this picture was taken, and a younger brother, Rex, died when he was only ten years old in 1928. This picture was likely taken about 1915 or 1916.

Itawamba County Times

August 1, 1946

Robisons Enjoy Family Reunion at Tremont Home

Mr. and Mrs. C. M. Robison of Tremont enjoyed having all their children and grandchildren present for their first family reunion on Sunday, July 28th. A picnic lunch served down on the old Johns Creek was enjoyed by all. Their children and families are Mr. and Mrs. Ray M. Robison, Rud, Carl D., Charlie, Sidney and Mary Ann of Tupelo; Mr. and Ms. Roy F. Robison and Sammie Joel of Fulton; Mr. and Mrs. Ross Robison and Joan and Nancy Ruth of Decatur, Miss.; and Mr. and Mrs. B. R. Robison and Martha Carolyn of Tremont, Miss.

Guests were Mrs. Bunyan Hartsell of Santa Rosa, Texas, Mrs. Hattie Parish of Smithville, Mrs. Lillie Spearman of Tremont and Mr. and Mrs. Quinn Smith of Amory.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Joab Washington Davis

Maybe one day I'll have an actual picture of Joab Davis, but for now all I have is this picture of his tombstone which is located in Providence Cemetery north of Tremont. Joab was the half-brother of James William Anderson "Billy" Davis, my great-great grandfather. Uncle Joab, as my mother remembers him being called, lived near Providence Baptist Church where he was a member his entire life.

Joab and Billy's father was Jesse Davis, who is also buried at Providence. When Billy's mother died while the family was living in St. Clair County, Alabama, Jesse remarried to Mary C. Johnson Caldwell, a widow. Joab was the first child born to Jesse and Mary, and there was about nine years' difference between the two half-brothers. Altogether, Jesse had eighteen known children from his two wives, although several children died before reaching adulthood, and one son died in the Civil War.

In the September 2, 1971 issue of the Itawamba County Times, Miss Zereda Green had this to say about Uncle Joab in her weekly column:

"Mr. Joe Abb Davis, a Sparks Baptist preacher of the Rara Avis community would come to court and sit on one of the front seats. When the lawyers would start arguing a case, Mr. Davis would ease over to Judge Long and say, "Judge I heard a good joke the other day" - tell him the joke low enough to not disturb anyone and they would chuckle over it. In a short time, the judge would untangle his long legs, come down out of the stand and go over to Mr. Davis and tell him a joke. Mr. Davis would usually go home about noon on Tuesday and then the Judge would begin hurrying the lawyers around about their cases - then they would say "I wish Joe Abb had stayed and kept the Judge in a good humor."

Sounds like Uncle Joab was an entertaining sort of a fellow. All of the census records show that he was a farmer, but Miss Zereda's article indicates that he was a preacher too, although I don't know what she meant by a "Sparks" preacher. Also, the following news item from the 1910 newspaper indicates that he was a preacher.

Itawamba County News
July 28, 1910
Eld. Joe Abb Davis, of Rara Avis, has been assisting in the meeting at White Church this week.

For those of you who may not know, White Church is the former name for East Fulton Baptist Church, where I happened to be married to my present husband some thirty or so years ago.

Joab died in 1946, and in his obituary, copied below, I was surprised to learn of another brother! Nathaniel T. Davis was the last child born to Jesse Davis, born when Jesse was 65 years old. How did Nathaniel get left out of the Davis family tree? I haven't found Nathaniel listed anywhere as a child of Jesse, and would never have known about him if I had not seen Joab's obituary. For one thing, Nathaniel was born in 1881, just after the 1880 census. The 1890 census was lost so there is no record of him there, and in 1900 his widowed mother was living with her daughter with no sign of Nathan.

Joab's obituary provided more information that I was even looking for - again, another example of the importance of newspapers in genealogical research!

Itawamba County Times
July 25, 1946

Joab Davis Dies of Heart Attack Past Thursday

Joab W. Davis, prominent farmer of the Tremont community, died at his home on Tremont, Rt. 1 of a heart attack the past Thursday at 7 p.m. He was 79 years old.

Funeral services for the deceased were held on Sunday morning at 10 o'clock at Providence Missionary Baptist Church near Tremont with Rev. Gar Parker in charge assisted by Rev. Rupert Powell, Hester Underwood and Rev. B. C. Chism. He had been a member of the church where he was buried since childhood.

Surviving are a brother, Nathan Davis of Texarkana, Ark.; a daughter, Mrs. Mellie Sanderson of Paducah, Texas, Mrs. Ophelia Grissom of Red Bay, Ala., and Miss Evia Davis of Tront, and four sons, Clifton Davis of Pocohontas, Ark., Oscar Davis of Wichita Falls, Texas, and Garvin Davis and Flavous Davis of Red Bay, Ala.

Hawkins Funeral Home of Fulton was in charge of the arrangements.

Itawamba County Times
July 25, 1946
Bounds X Roads News
A large crowd attended the funeral of Mr. J. W. Davis at Providence Cemetery on Sunday. He will be greatly missed by relatives and many friends.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Fulton Grammar School

Yesterday an open house was held for the newly refurbished old Fulton Grammar School, which was closed as a school facility in 1999 when the new Itawamba Attendance Center was built. My son, Penn, was in the class that has distinction of being the last fifth grade class in the old building and the first sixth grade class in the new building. Like many Itawambians, our family can claim three generations who were educated in that grand old school - my father, my husband and my brother (no, I never walked those halls as a student, having moved back to Itawamba during my 8th grade year), and my three of my children.

Ceilings have been raised to their former height, windows reglazed, new bathrooms installed, walls painted, and the original hardwood floors refinished (just imagine how many children's feet have skipped over those boards), plus central heating and cooling installed. The auditorium's curtains were in shreds, but they have been replaced with lovely new curtains (although without the initial F.G.S. that adorned the original ones).

The community really deserves much credit for not only saving the old Grammar School, but restoring it in such a wonderful, impressive way. Many citizens and businesses came together and donated labor, time, and services, but in my humble opinion, it is unlikely that the building would have been saved, or restored to the extent it has been, without the leadership of Sharion Aycock.

There is still more to be done as not all classrooms have been restored, and there is still a wish list of projects, so additional donations would be appreciated. If you get to town, go by and take a look at the old grammar school yourself.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Lamar County Connections

I spent most of Friday morning in the Lamar County courthouse. It is hard work, and the old records books are heavy and usually dusty, but the pay off is usually good as land records and deeds can provide a lot of information. William Sloan was enumerated in the 1860 census for what was then the western district of Fayette County. In 1867, this part of Fayette County was split off, along with a southern portion of Marion County, to form a new county named Jones County, after a prominent settler of Fayette County. Jones County only lasted a few months and was abolished altogether in November of that same year. In 1868, a new county was formed again out of Fayette and Marion counties, and this time Sanford was selected as the new county's name, in honor of H. C. Sanford of Cherokee County, Alabama. If you search for ancestors from Lamar County in the 1870 census, you must remember that at that time, the county was named Sanford. It became Lamar County in 1877, named, oddly enough, after Mississippi's senator from Oxford, L. Q. C. Lamar, who was greatly admired throughout the South at that time.

Back to the courthouse. The record room yielded several deeds for this family, and I'm still sorting them out. I'll also need to make a trip to the courthouse in Fayette County to investigate earlier deed records. What I learned on Friday is that William Sloan, and wife Caroline, sold 40 acres located in Section 27, Township 14 South, Range 16 West (the top arrow) in 1869 to his brother, Samuel Sloan. Shortly thereafter, the family left for Itawamba County where they are found enumerated in the 1870 census. In 1872, another forty acres was sold to brother Samuel, ocated in Section 34, Township 14 South, Range 16 West (the bottom arrow).

William's land was located in the Bedford community of Lamar County, also called Military Springs at one time, and was just northwest of the town of Vernon. William's son, Jackson, was born in 1853, and according to his death certificate, with information provided by his wife, in Bedford, Alabama. So now I know exactly where my great-great grandfather was born, although a trip to the exact area will have to wait for another day. It is nice to have a map to provide the visual clues. My map is much larger than the one you see, so don't worry about my figuring how out to get there. I've got it marked.

Now I've got to look at the deeds of William's siblings to see where all they lived. As an interesting note, there are no descendants by the name of Sloan left today in the area. Several of William's siblings did not marry, and the of the ones that did, only Joseph had any children. The "last Sloan standing" was Joseph's son, Samuel R. Sloan, who died in 1959, and his will left all of his property to his daughter-in-law, Mae, who was the widow of his son Cleveland C. Sloan.

Bo Morris, local Lamar County historian, once told me that Sam Sloan was an industrious fellow who owned quite a bit of real estate, but never owned an automobile (he died in 1959). Bo's grandfather once overpaid Sam 14 cents, and Sam walked two and a half miles - one way - to repay the 14 cents.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Supervisor's Certificate

In 1955, my grandfather Luke Lee Robinson was elected supervisor for the Fifth District of Itawamba County. Nearly one hundred years earlier, his great-grandfather, William M. Evans, served in the 1880s as supervisor for the Fourth District of Itawamba County.

Luke had to defeat incumbent Leon Berg Davis for the post. Uncle Berg was my great-great uncle on my mother's side. I remember my father telling me about his daddy running against the father of one of his close friends, Frank Davis. My father missed the 1955 campaign and election due to being away for military service at the time, but I think the two men - Luke and Berg - had previously competed for the same post. Berg served three terms as supervisor.

Luke published the following thank you ad in the Itawamba County Times:

"To the People of the Fifth District:

From the bottom of an humble heart, I thank you for the splendid vote given me on August 23.

Friends, it will be my aim during the next four years to render you the service such as your vote of confidence merits.

It makes no difference to me how you voted or where you live I want to be the Supervisor for the entire district.

Again, let me say, Thank you Friends."

Friday, February 19, 2010

Tremont Methodist Church

This is a photo that I absolutely LOVE. It was shared with me last month by Basil Earnest, husband of Annie Stone Robinson who died in 2005.

Annie Stone Robinson Earnest and my grandfather, Luke Lee Robinson, were doubly kin, not too unusual for folks in Itawamba County. Annie Stone (this was what she was called, to distinguish her from her mother who was Annie Mae Stone Robinson) was married to Luke's uncle Mautimer D. Robinson. Plus, Annie Stone's grandmother, Pearl Evans, was Luke's aunt. This gives me a double connection to Annie Stone Earnest too.

Back to the picture. The couple is Walter Dow Stone and Alice Marquilla Evans. Alice was a sister to Pearl Evans Stone, the grandmother of Annie Stone Earnest, and also a sister to Thusie Evans Robinson, Luke's mother. I don't know which child the couple is holding, but it could be their oldest son Hugh who became Luke's future brother-in-law (there's another connection for you - Annie Stone's first cousin married the sister of Luke's wife). However, since Hugh was born in 1897, and this picture is probably post-1900, it is most likely a later child of Dow and Alice's in the photograph.

The best part of the picture, to me at least, is what is pictured in the background. Basil told me that the building is the old Tremont Methodist Church. You may remember previous posts of the Johnson family with the old Piney Grove Church in the background. It's kind of like getting two-for-one in an old picture!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Bobby and Warnie Hood

Pictured above are Robert Washington "Bobby" Hood and Warnie Dulaney Hood. Warnie was the oldest child of Thomas A. "Bunt" Dulaney and Alice C. Moxley while Bobby was the son of Robert A. Hood and Martha Belinda Moore. Bobby and Warnie were married on March 12, 1905 by his uncle, Rev. Joshua Hood, a well-known Church of Christ minister. They had five children together: Ivy Alice, who married Claude Graham; Horace, who married Beatrice Guntharp; Beval, who married Edith Wilson; Ross, who apparently never married; and Verbal, who was married to Loyd Thomas.

Ona Rea, daughter of Horace and Beatrice Hood, shared the drawing below of the old homeplace of Bobby and Warnie.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Davis Brothers

Fellow Davis family descendant, Melissa White Harwell, shared this picture of the Davis Brothers with me recently, and I was thrilled to receive it. My great-grandfather, James K. Davis (of the Valentine's Day post) is seated to the far right. Melissa's grandfather is Leon Berg Davis seated to the far left. In the middle seat is brother John Stonewall Davis who became a coal miner and died in Kentucky. Standing behind are brothers Dew Boyd Davis, left, and Jesse McGee Davis, right. These men were sons of James William Anderson Davis and Annaliza Morrow. Now I am on the lookout for a similar group picture of the sisters in this family which would include Anna Luna Davis, who married George W. Myers; Lizzie Lee Davis, who married Lan Spencer; and Hettie Anderson Davis, the baby of the family who married Elva Cleveland Mason.

I would guess that this picture was made just after the turn of the century. Dew was born in 1895, and he looks to be about five or six years old, maybe seven. J. K. Davis was the oldest son in the family, and he was married in November 1903 to my great-grandmother, Queenie Victoria Davis.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

From Logs to Lumber

In keeping with the log theme, here is Dick Wilemon driving a early vehicle, apparently transporting lumber probably created from a portable sawmill. I believe Dick to be Walter E. Wilemon, son of Thomas J. Wilemon and Netha Jane Dulaney.

The above advertised "half-ton chassis" appeared in the 1931 Fulton News Beacon in an ad for Cowden Chevrolet. The illustration looks similar to vehicle above, although not quite. Perhaps the pictured vehicle is a Ford!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Fancy meeting you up here!

Velma Johnson and Dewey Johnson are both seated on a huge log. They were first cousins - she was the daughter of Charles Steven Johnson while Dewey was the son of Napolian A. Johnson. The Johnson families lived in the Piney Grove community of eastern Itawamba County, probably where this photograph was taken. Mrs. Mary Dulaney, niece of Dewey Johnson, provided the identification of the cousins.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day

James Kelly & Queenie Victoria

As a Valentine's Day picture, it just doesn't come any better than this. I used this same photograph for last year's valentine post, and there is no way to top it: Pa and Ma Davis holding hands. My photograph collection has become quite large, and would you believe that this is the only "holding hands" picture I could find from this era or earlier? Love it!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Olympic Torch Passes Thru Fulton

The year was 1984, and the summer Olympics were being held in Los Angeles that year. Sometime in the middle of a hot summer night (or early morning!), the Olympic torch passed through Itawamba County and was greeted by crowds of enthusiastic Itawambians. According to Wikipedia, the Olympic Torch relay began its journey in New York City and covered 9,320 miles before concluding in Los Angeles. The relay had 3,616 runners that carried the torch, including the fellow you see above.

Thanks to Wilda Senter Ivy for sharing her photograph collection with me recently. The photos above came from her, and as the XXI Winter Olympics begin this weekend in Vancouver, a beautiful city, it seems appropriate to remember Fulton's small part in the 1984 Olympics. Also, some of you may remember when the Croatian rowing team came to Fulton in the summer of 1996 in advance of the Olympics held in Atlanta that summer. The team used the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway for their rowing practices. Small world, isn't it?

Friday, February 12, 2010

Men on a Log

I can't begin to date this photograph of what Don and I have come to call "men on a log." It could be anywhere from the 1920s to the 1940s, so anyone with any ideas please jump in with your comments. If I had to guess, I'd say probably 1920s to early 1930s. As cotton crops began to be destroyed by the boll weevil, small farmers in Itawamba County turned to selling timber to generate income for their families. Portable sawmills aided their efforts, as did a huge market for Itawamba's timber.

Don has been able to identify a handful of the men in the photo. One man was particularly easy to identify, and that is Don and Mike's great-grandfather, James Henry "Jim" Dulaney. Jim was named after both of his grandfathers: James Dulaney and Henry Moxley. He is the third seated man on the first log, from the left.

To identify others, Don turned to Mrs. Mary Dulaney who has been invaluable in recognizing and identifying familiar faces in many older photographs. So far, we know that Napoleon "Poley" Johnson is seated on the second log on the far right of the photo. Dick Wilemon has been identified as the second seated man on the first log, from the left. Lawrence Tucker is the first seated man on the second log, from the left, and Dewey Johnson is the third seated man on the second log, from the left.

Terry Wilemon provided the photograph.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Clover Ridge School

According to Miss Zereda Green, in one of her 1966 newspaper columns, "These Things I Remember," there were 77 schools in Itawamba County for the 1919-1920 school term - 70 schools for white students and 7 for "colored" students. The majority of these schools had only one or two teachers, most just one. Laura Wallace shared the above teacher's contract for F. D. Wallace, her husband's grandfather. Mr. Wallace was employed for the 1924-1925 school year at the Clover Ridge School at a salary of $72 per month, but note that if the number of students at the school went below 35, his salary dropped to $68.

Where was the Clover Ridge School? Probably close to the location of Clover Ridge Cemetery which is today located just off of the Clay-Tilden Road. I found this description in the July 30, 1908 issue of the Itawamba County News:

"We have a good school at Clover Ridge, average about 70 scholars. A good school is a great blessing to any community. We should keep our boys and girls in school all the time that we can spare them from our business at home."

I don't know when the school at Clover Ridge was closed down. During the early 1920s, officials began to consolidate the number of schools in the county. By 1930, there were "only" 50 schools. It wasn't until 1959 that we got the number of county schools down to its present number, with the exception of the school at Houston which was subsequently consolidated with Mantachie.

Thank you, Laura, for sharing this bit of Itawamba history with us. If anyone has any history of the school or community at Clover Ridge, please add a comment.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

In Memory of Mrs. Lydia Ann Hood

I found this sweet memorial to Lydia Hood in the February 21, 1946 issue of The Itawamba County Times. Obituaries were becoming more and more common by that time, but still, most newspapers did not carry death notices of all deaths of the county's citizens. Today, information for obituaries is collected by the funeral home and distributed to the appropriate newspapers. In early days, any obituaries that appeared in the newspaper were written by the publisher or editor of the newspaper based on information he (or she) had collected. If you are looking for an obituary for an ancestor and do not find one, it pays to look well beyond the death date for "memorials" or "tributes" that were written by a loved one and submitted for publishing in the local newspaper. I've even found tributes that appeared a year later. These articles usually contain lots of good genealogical information not found elsewhere. In Lydia's memorial, I found out that she had a third given name, Rebecca, that I did not know. There is also indication that she had suffered for years from the effects of a stroke.

The tribute was written by her youngest child, Eula, who was married to Wister Curtis Conwill. The Conwills made their home in Dorsey.

Lydia was the daughter of Thomas and Martha Minyard, who moved to Mississippi from St. Clair County, Alabama. She was married to Harrison Hood, son of Joshua and Margaret Hood, who also moved from St. Clair County to Itawamba County. Lydia and Harrison were grandparents of Pearl Johnson Dulaney, my husband's grandmother.

* * *

Itawamba County Times
February 21, 1946

In Memory of Mrs. Lydia Ann Hood

Mother Lydia Ann Rebecca (Minyard) Hood was born August 27, 1863 and on Sept. 8, 1945 God in his wisdom saw fit to send his holy angel into our home and call from our midst a kind, gentle, sweet and loving mother, at twenty minutes after 9 o'clock of that morning the still small voice whispered, child come up higher and rest from your sufferings, making her stay on earth 82 years and 12 days.

For many years she had been afflicted, and for six years confined to her bed and very patiently and without suffering even though for some time she could not move hand or foot, she had lived in our home a little more than twenty years and God in his mercy saw fit to bestow upon us such blessings as would permit us to provide for her ever comfort for which we are indeed thankful to God and have no regrets concerning our efforts to care for her in her declining years, everything was done for her that loving hands could do.

Many times we have talked with her concerning scriptures in the Bible and she seemed to enjoy our little effort in explaining them to her, according to the Bible and according to the evidence she gave us, God had taken away that hard and stony heart and given her a heart of flesh and she is now basking in the sunlight of God's eternal love on the sunny banks of sweet deliverance where there will be no more sorrows pain nor death and troubles and trials will be no more.

Mother dear has gone
A voice we loved is stilled
A place is vacant in our home
That never can be filled

How we miss you mother dear
Since you went away
The days so sad and lonely
As we go on day by day

We know if you could speak
Dear children do not weep
Mother's in the arms of Jesus
In a quiet and peaceful sleep

But some day we hope to meet you
On that bright and happy shore
Where we'll sing God's praise forever
And our trials all are o'er.

We sincerely and deeply appreciate every kind deed and word by friends during the illness and death of mother, also we sincerely appreciate the beautiful flowers as a token of love, but the kindness our friends have shown us we treasure as a very beautiful memory. May God's richest blessings be upon each one who by word or deed lent a helping hand.

W. C. Conwill
Eula Conwill

Monday, February 8, 2010

William Albert Johnson

William Albert "Sonny" Johnson

Itawamba County Times
February 14, 1946

W. A. Johnson, 90, Celebrates Quiet Birthday, Feb. 6th

W. A. Johnson, one of Itawamba County's oldest and most prominent citizens, celebrated his 90th birthday on Feb. 6, 1946 at his home on Fulton, Rt. 3.

Mr. Johnson came to Itawamba County with his parents from North Carolina when a child of two years, and was still a child when the Civil War brought strife between the states. He remembers much of the reconstruction days during his childhood while attending school near Ole Gum Church, where he learned "reading, riting and rithmetic" under the late and beloved John Patton.

He was married in 1876 to Miss Aquilla Jane Buchanan at the Ole Gum Church, to which union was born nine children, all of whom have been prominent in the affiars of the county. Mrs. Johnson died in 1944.

Of the nine children, seven are still living as follows: Mrs. Ida Chamblee of Fulton Rt. 1, D. S. Johnson, Miss Nollie Johnson, Allen Johnson and Kelly Johnson of Fulton Rt. 3, Mrs. Bessie Pierce of Fulton Rt. 1, and Mrs. Dezzie Steele of Santa Rosa, Texas. The two children who have died were: Mrs. Ella Wheeler and N. B. Johnson.

A true farmer all of his life, Mr. Johnson couldn't resist the temptation to pick cotton the past fall. He enjoys being up and about his farm throughout the year.

Being ninety years of age does not keep Mr. Johnson from enjoying his daily and weekly newspapers, nor does it keep him from enjoying and spending many leisure hours in reading the Bible, of which his favorite book is the Psalms.

Two brothers, N. A. Johnson, age 88, and C. S. Johnson, age 76, live on adjoining farms, where the three have spent practically all of their lives.

* * *
W. A. Johnson's brother was John H. Johnson, who was the oldest child of Stephen Johnson and Harriet Caroline Pierce. Unfortunately for John, he didn't have the long lifespan of his brothers. John died at the age of 55, but his son James Nathan Johnson inherited the long lifespan of his uncles as he lived to be 81 years old. Nathan's daughter, Pearl, was my husband's grandmother.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Little Homsie

Cousin Don and I have seen the little tombstones at Mt. Pleasant for the three small children of Thomas A. "Bunt" Dulaney and his wife Alice C. Moxley and have wondered about their sad departures. Jesse died in 1904 at the age of three, Homsie was four when he died in 1908, and Hinsey was two when he died in 1912.

Itawamba County News
October 8, 1908
Local News

A five year-old child of Mr. and Mrs. T. A. Dulany died last Saturday, only living about four hours after it was considered dangerously ill. The News tenders sympathy to the bereaved parents.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Pvt Harlon Jamerson

Private Harlon Wilburn Jamerson

Fulton News Beacon
July 3, 1941
List of Boys Reaching 21 Who Registered Tuesday for Draft
Harlon Jamerson, Fulton, Rt. 2

Fulton News Beacon
April 15, 1943
Reunion at Mrs. N. M. Senter's Sunday
Friends and relatives of the Senter family gathered at the home of Mrs. May Senter, Sunday, April 11th, in the honor of the home-coming of her daughter and son-in-law, Pvt. and Mrs. Harlon Jamerson of Macon, Ga.

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Harlon was the son of Edgar Ellis and Martha E. Jamerson and the husband of Jessie Bane Senter. After his return from World War II, Harlon worked at the Itawamba County Hospital and served as President of the North Mississippi Executive Housekeeping Association for many years. Harlon also was a member of the American Legion Post 59. This wartime picture of Harlon was shared by his widow, Mrs. Jessie Senter Jamerson, who is the daughter of Jesse Alvin Senter and Nervia May Dulaney. Mamaw Jessie is also the grandmother of my daughter-in-law, Jada.

Thanks goes out to Cousin Rita who retouched the photo to take out its wrinkles and "love lines" from handling.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Gid's Travels

One of the things I've learned from perusing early Itawamba County newspapers is that my great-grandfather Gideon C. Robinson was a constant traveler. I'm grateful to the small tidbits, or social items, found in most small weekly newspapers for the wonderful information they contain. You know the kind of items I'm talking about: "Mr. and Mrs. John Smith visited his parents, Mr. and Mrs. John Smith, Sr. last Saturday night." Pretty boring stuff, at least to everyone except genealogists, but every once in a while you get lucky, and the social item may provide better information such as a hog killing, sickness in the family, or a marriage.

From looking at Itawamba newspapers from the early 1920s into the 1940s, I've found many items under "local happenings" or other such headings that tell me that Poppa Robinson loved to travel. He visited relatives in Texas, Tennessee, and Alabama on a regular basis as well as friends and relatives much closer to home.

A couple of the items had me perplexed. I didn't recognize the names of the people mentioned in his visit to the Shiloh Park area of Tennessee so this got me to sleuthing, tracking down long-dead people and trying to connect the dots.

Here are a couple of tidbits that got me started:

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Fulton News Beacon
September 15, 1938
Local Happenings
Mr. G. C. Robinson returned Saturday from visits with old friends and relatives in Mississippi and Tennessee. While away Mr. Robinson visited in the homes of Mr. Andy Suggs and Mr. N. O. Dickson of Corinth, Dr. Phillips of Adamsville, Tenn., Mr. John Gray and family of Stantenville, Tenn., and Q. Lanton [actually Cue Blanton] and family of Shiloh Park.

Fulton News Beacon
August 21, 1941
Mr. G. C. Robinson has returned from a visit in Tennessee, where he was a guest of Bill Atkins and Mrs. L. E. Surratt of Selmer, John M. Gray at Stantonville, Leonard Blanton at Shiloh, and Mr. and Mrs. L. W. Snelson, all at Milan.

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The Surratts, Blantons, and Grays were all cousins, I've discovered. Gid's mother, Charlotte Purnell Robinson, died when he was just a little boy, and these cousins were descended from his mother's sisters. These would have been about the only remaining relatives from his mother's family.

Some of the other names I've yet to figure out, but N. O. Dickson of Corinth is one that I do know about, again due to some sleuthing on my part. Noah Orlando Dickson was born in Itawamba County in 1873, five years after Gid was born. I suspect the two men were once playmates. Noah's mother was Hannah Sweat, daughter of Noah Sweat and Elizabeth Jane Hargett. The Sweat and Hargett families were neighbors of Gid's father, George Emerson Robinson, in the area around Providence Church, north of Tremont. In fact, George Emerson Robinson bought 260 acres from Noah and Elizabeth Sweat in 1882, and in 1883 he purchased additional acreage from N.O. Dickson's parents, John and Hannah.

Noah Sweat eventually moved to Alcorn County, along with several of his children, including his daughter Hannah who was married to John Collins Dickson. Hannah and John's son was Gid's friend, Noah Orlando Dickson.

Noah Sweat's son, Laney, also moved to Alcorn County where his son Noah Spurgeon Sweat, Sr. was born in 1892. Noah Spurgeon Sweat's mother was Sarah Elizabeth Roberts, born in 1859 in Itawamba County. Noah Spurgeon Sweat, Sr., a lawyer, had a son, also a lawyer, whom he named Noah Spurgeon Sweat, Jr. Oh, and by the way, Noah Jr.'s mother was an Itawamba native too, Vivien Cayce Dorsey.

Noah Spurgeon "Soggy" Sweat, Jr. was a well-known and well-loved judge and state legislator from Alcorn County, but with deep Itawamba roots. He is perhaps best known for his "whiskey speech" which was included in William Safire's book "Lend Me Your Ears" as a classic example of a speech with political doublespeak. Noah Sweat delivered his speech in 1952 when legalization of liquor was a hot topic in Mississippi. Prohibition had been lifted just a few years earlier, in 1948, when Noah let his views be known on the legalization of whiskey:

"My friends,

"I had not intended to discuss this controversial subject at this particular time. However, I want you to know that I do not shun controversy. On the contrary, I will take a stand on any issue at any time, regardless of how fraught with controversy it might be. You have asked me how I feel about whiskey. All right, here is how I feel about whiskey."

"If when you say whiskey you mean the devil's brew, the poison scourge, the bloody monster, that defiles innocence, dethrones reason, destroys the home, creates misery and poverty, yea, literally takes the bread from the mouths of little children; if you mean the evil drink that topples the Christian man and woman from the pinnacle of righteous, gracious living into the bottomless pit of degradation, and despair, and shame and helplessness, and hopelessness, then certainly I am against it."


"If when you say whiskey you mean the oil of conversation, the philosophic wine, the ale that is consumed when good fellows get together, that puts a song in their hearts and laughter on their lips, and the warm glow of contentment in their eyes; if you mean Christmas cheer; if you mean the stimulating drink that puts the spring in the old gentleman's step on a frosty, crispy morning; if you mean the drink which enables a man to magnify his joy, and his happiness, and to forget, if only for a little while, life's great tragedies, and heartaches, and sorrows; if you mean that drink, the sale of which pours into our treasuries untold millions of dollars, which are used to provide tender care for our little crippled children, our blind, our deaf, our dumb, our pitiful aged and infirm; to build highways and hospitals and schools, then certainly I am for it."

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Judge Sweat delivered his speech at a banquet at the old King Edward Hotel in downtown Jackson, a hotel that has just recently been refurbished and reopened. At the time of the 1952 speech, liquor was still illegal in Mississippi although federal prohibition had been lifted. The state was collecting millions of dollars in black market taxes on whiskey and legislators were fearful of the impact that legalization of liquor would have on the state's coffers, in addition to worries about the moral issues surrounding liquor and how the "folks back home" might feel about a vote in favor of making whiskey more readily available.

Noah "Soggy" Sweat only served one term in the Mississippi legislature, but he was elected and served as a state circuit judge for many years. After he retired from the judiciary, Judge Sweat was a professor at the Ole Miss Law School where he taught my husband in an Ethics class.

Hope you enjoyed this little history lesson. The "whiskey speech" is really a classic - Google it and see just how widespread and well-known it is, and remember that it was written and delivered by a man with really deep Itawamba roots! It even was performed on Johnny Carson's Tonight Show.

Oh, and it was Judge Sweat's second cousin that Gid traveled to see in 1938. Now that's some Itawamba Connections!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Hurry, Hurry, Get Your Kudzu Here!

I've been getting a kick out of reading about kudzu in Itawamba County's early newspapers. There are a lot of articles about the best way to plant kudzu, how to nurture it and get the best yields. Who knew that it would become known as the "vine that ate the south"! Look at this 1942 article in the Fulton News Beacon:

Limited Amount of Kudzu Crowns Can Be Obtained by Farmers

There is a limited number of kudzu crowns available at $7.50 per thousand, plus freight from Meridian, Mississippi, provided you place your order at the County Agent's office by March 7 at 3:00 o'clock. If you are interested in securing kudzu crowns for planting on your permanent vegetative cover you should place your order immediately.

Out of kindness, I left off the County Agent's name.

Nowadays, it seems that our county agents are doing all they can to get rid of the vine.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Elizabeth Evans Harbor

James and Elizabeth Harbor
Mt. Pleasant Methodist Cemetery

Fulton News Beacon

March 5, 1942

Mrs. Harbor, 95, dies at Tremont home Tuesday

Mrs. Elizabeth Harbor, age 95 years, probably Itawamba County's oldest and one of our highly beloved citizens, peacefully passed away at the home of her son, D. Harbor, at Tremont Tuesday afternoon.

She was the daughter of the late William Evans and wife, and widow of the late James Harbor. She had made her home in recent years with her son, D. Harbor, and a daughter, Mrs. Stone.

Interment was in the Mt. Pleasant Cemetery Wednesday afternoon at 2 o'clock with Rev. J. W. Holliday conducting the funeral rites and Senter & Son local funeral directors in charge of arrangements.

One of the county's pioneers, her influence through life has brought much good to many of our citizens today, and the memory of her christian qualities will live on through the years. Hers was a worthwhile and bountiful life.

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I would love to hear from any descendants of Lizzie Evans Harbor and would especially be interested in photographs of her. Lizzie was my great-great aunt and a sister to John T. Evans, my great-great grandfather. I have lots of Evans family information to share!

Jim and Lizzie had four children. Henry died between 1905 and 1910, and his wife Evie died before 1920, leaving three orphaned children: Rex, Beulah and Pauline. Another son, Clovis DeKalb, or "Dee" Harbor, died in 1947. He had two sons: Neely and Robert Evans "Bob" Harbor. Jim and Lizzie's only daughter was Dovie Ethel, who married George Ellion Stone. Dovie and Ellion lived in Itawamba County all of their lives and had four children: Finn, Sam, Erma and Willie Stone. James William Harbor, or "Willie," was Jim and Lizzie's youngest son.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Some day in heaven ....

Dear one, you have gone on and left the rest.
We must be submissive to the Lord's will, for He knows best.
Oh, how we will always miss you for no one can take your place.
Some day in heaven we expect to see your face.

Fulton News Beacon
September 15, 1938

Tilden Works
Tuesday morning, Sept. 6th, we heard the terrible news, the death angels had visited our sister's home and our dear nephew was taken. It was very sad to us. We heard the week before from them and they were well. The Lord needed him and took him to rest in that home he prepared for his children. He was a lover of friends and treated everybody right. All through life he seemed more like a man instead of a little boy. He left many friends here in this world and didn't have any enemies.

We wonder why the Lord called him away when we loved him so dearly. He was taken for some reason. God only knows why. It seems that we can never forget the past while he was here with us because he was always ready and willing to do anything we asked of him. We'll do our best to pass the time awayfor some sweet day we can see him again, even though we didn't get to look upon his face at the funeral on the account of the long journey from Missouri.

He called on the Lord for mercy and ask for a prayer of his mother on his death bed. He died on the way to the hospital with a sweet smile on his face.

His father and mother, Mr. and Mrs. C. V. Works, are christians and trying to raise the little family up right. The family is broken now. He was 14 years of age.

Funeral services were held at Mt. Pleasant, about four miles northeast of Fulton.

Dear one, you have gone on and left the rest.
We must be submissive to the Lord's will, for He knows best.
Oh, how we will always miss you for no one can take your place.
Some day in heaven we expect to see your face.

Written by,
Mrs. W. R. Stevens and Vernie Dulaney

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For more on little Teldon's death, you can read this post about mad dogs.

It is interesting to note that the September 15th edition of the 1938 Fulton News Beacon also included a front page article indicating that "vaccination of all dogs is required by law" and that every precinct in the county would be visited by Dr. J. T. Barrett for the purpose of administering vaccinations to all dogs over the age of six months, at a price of 50 cents per vaccination.