Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Floyd Marion Robinson familiy

I'm going out on a limb here and say that this is a picture of Floyd Marion Robinson with his first wife, Lucy Tecusia Grady, and their children.    Lucy died in 1906, and it seems that the children pictured here would be their daughters, Carrie Charlotte and Clela Tecusah, who were the oldest two children (three previous children died as infants) born to Floyd and Lucy, along with their younger brothers Guyle Juston and George Samuel.   Another son, Ralph, would have been born after this photograph was taken. Now just who is who, I couldn't say, but would love for someone to confirm or correct my assumptions.  

Lucy was the daughter of Samuel Grady and Tecusia Smith.

After Lucy's death, Floyd remarried to Hattie Spearman, but the ages and gender of their children don't correspond with those in the picture.   Plus, the photograph appears to have been made in the early 1900's decade.

If you missed it, click here for an earlier post from last week that included a picture of some of Floyd's other children.

Below is a photograph of Hattie Spearman Robinson with one of her children, but unfortunately the identity of the baby was not known to Uncle Lawson Robinson who was the one who identified most of the old pictures in his mother's trunk sometime before his death in 1971.   His sprawling handwriting is across the back of many of the photographs.   Wasn't Hattie a beautiful woman?

Monday, August 30, 2010

Old Bankhead Highway

 Family lore indicates that George Emerson Robinson and his three older sons - Gideon, Leonard and Floyd - helped build part of the original old Highway 78, known as Bankhead Highway.   Supposedly, they were part of the team that built the stretch of highway from Bull Mountain bottom to the Alabama state line.     Since George died in 1907, it is unlikely that he was involved in the paving of Bankhead Highway but he very possibly could have been responsible for part of the upkeep and maintenance for the dirt road the preceded the paved one.

There's another story, too, that I remember my father telling, about his Uncle Louis Robinson who organized the first "sit-down strike" in Itawamba County for higher wages.   Seems that Uncle Louis was part of a crew working for Granddaddy E.A. "Rip" Harbor who had the contract to build part of the new Bankhead Highway.   According to Daddy, Uncle Louis and the rest of the striking men got their raises.

Last week, my mother and daughter Rebekah were returning from a foray to Vernon, Alabama and took the "scenic" route back to Itawamba County.   The pictures shown here were made by me during other travels, and it seems that I am always struck by the beauty and simplicity of this early highway and the trees that now line its path.   Last week was no exception, and as we crossed the state line from Alabama where the highway has been repaved with asphalt into Mississippi where the old concrete highway can still be seen, the canopy of trees over the highway was a welcoming sight.

For more reading on the Bankhead Highway in Itawamba County, you might enjoy this post in 2007 by Bob Franks at Itawamba History Review.    Over at American Roads, there is additional information about the history of the entire Bankhead Highway.  I had no idea that the highway was a transcontinental highway.   What a big deal for a transcontinental highway to come through Itawamba County!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Memories of 1973

Check out http://www.ambrosia-vintage.com/shoes/back-to-school/to see what Rebekah has posted.   Talk about flashbacks!   Those pictures come from a summer vacation to Nashville in 1973 where we cluelessly blundered right into the second annual Fan Fair (the first one held in June), an entertainment/autograph/exhibit fair hosted by the Country Music Association.  We had no idea that there was such an event, but once in Nashville we quickly took advantage of our situation.   Looking back, it was pretty amazing at the access the fans had to the country music stars of that time.  I can't remember who all we saw perform or how many autographs we got (wish I knew what happened to those autographs!), but it was pretty impressive.  Today, the annual event is known as the CMA Music Festival, and the experience is not quite the same as it used to be.   Of course, I was horrified at the time that someone would find out that I was watching country music performers!   My allegiance was totally to rock and roll.   "Satin Sheets" and "Harper Valley PTA"?   Horrors!   (Confession here: At the moment, I am listening to the Honky Tonk Tavern channel on satellite radio.  No lie.  I'm waiting for Jeanne Pruett's 1973 hit "Satin Sheets" to play any minute now.)

In 1973, Opryland was also in its second year, and it was the real reason for our trip to Nashville, although I think my parents snuck in a trip to the Parthenon too, for a little cultural lesson.  You might notice my Number 18, red and blue, Ole Miss jersey.  

If you read Rebekah's blog post all the way through, you saw her references to school days in good ole Itawamba.     She recalls the smell of Dial liquid soap at the old Fulton Grammar School, but she didn't mention the smell of oiled wood floors which seems to be what most people remember about the school.   Out of the six in our family, only me and my daughter, Alysson, didn't attend FGS.   We both moved to Fulton during our junior high years, and I regret that I cannot place myself among the thousands of students that passed through those old halls. 

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Floyd Marion Robinson's children

Yesterday, I posted a picture of Lon Napolian Robinson as a young boy.   Above is another photograph that Thusie had in her trunk, one of her brother-in-law's children.   Her brother-in-law was Floyd Marion Robinson, the brother of Thusie's husband, Gideon.  The back of the photograph indicates that the young boy on the left is Ralph, son of Floyd and his first wife, Lucy Grady, while the infant in the chair is Lon, son of Floyd and his second wife, Hattie Spearman.   The third child is unknown, but based on the ages of Ralph and Lon, it would appear that the child could be either Faye Robinson Chamblee or Toomer LeeRoy Robinson, both children of Floyd and Hattie.

Altogether, Floyd had eight children by his first wife Lucy (three died as infants) who died in 1906, and six children by his second wife Hattie.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Cemetery Cousins

You just never know who you will run into at a cemetery.  At the recent Decoration Day at Providence Cemetery north of Tremont, I met several Davis cousins but wasn't expecting to see a Robinson cousin there.   Joe Robinson, shown with me above, is the son of Lon Napolian Robinson, the young boy in the older photograph.    Lon's father, Floyd, and my great-grandfather, Gideon, were brothers, and my genealogy program indicates that Joe and I are first cousins, twice removed.   Our common ancestor is George Emerson Robinson and his wife, Charlotte Purnell Robinson.

My mother, who was at the cemetery with me, said that as soon as she saw Joe she knew he was a Robinson!

The picture of Lon, above, was found in Thusie Evans Robinson's trunk along with several other old photographs of the Robinson family.   I am so thankful that Momma Robinson kept those photographs and that her granddaughter Lucy passed them on to me.   It is nice to make those Itawamba connections!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Oscar Steele and Florence Dulaney

After reading an earlier post, Cousin Don Dulaney remembered sharing the above photograph of Oscar Steele and Florence Dulaney with me. The photograph, which was originally shared with Don by Karen Blue, is a perfect follow-up to the posts last week.   Karen's grandfather, Charlie, was Florence Dulaney Steele's brother.

Oscar Steele was the son of Joshua Taylor Steele and Melvina Raper while Florence was the daughter of Joseph Benjamin Dulaney and Martha Johnson. Oscar and Florence had thirteen children: Martha Melvina, Rhoda Velmer, Cecil, Norma Ester, Clyde, Berlin, Exie, Trumal McCleland, Ralph Wayne, Willa Dean, Emma Jean, J. T., and Grady.

In the 1930 census, the family can be found in Mississippi County, Arkansas:

1930 Census
Mississippi County, Arkansas
Clear Lake
Oscar Steel 47 MS MS MS farmer, married at age 23
Florence 40 MS MS MS, married at age 18
Roda 19 MS
Cecil 17 MS
Norma 15 MS
Clyde 13 MS
Exa 10 MS
Mack 8 MS
Ralph 5 MS
Willa Dean 8 MS
Emma Gene 1 1/2 MS

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Birthday boy!

Happy Birthday to my husband. Wasn't he a cute little boy? This photo was taken behind his Granpa Henry Mills house near Fairview. See the washpot in the background? We have it on our back porch, as a coffee table with a glass top.

Happy Birthday, Mike! I love you!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Mother and son

This is a beautifully colorized photograph of my Uncle Buddy (Lowrey Marlin Robinson) and his mother, Thusie Evans Robinson, my great-grandmother. The mother and son are posing in front of Thusie's crepe myrtle bush at the Robinson home just outside the town of Fulton at the time. I'd say the picture was made in the early 1930s. Uncle Buddy, who was named for two of his uncles - Lowrey Evans and Marlin Robinson - graduated from I.A.H.S. in 1931. He married Coleen Tamsie Cummings on October 19, 1935.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Excuse the shameless promotion, but.....

.... my younger daughter, Rebekah, has launched a new website this summer that many of you may find interesting. I am not the only member of the family that is obsessed with old "things." While my particular infatuation is old photographs and family history, Rebekah's passion is vintage clothing, and she has turned that passion into a business with her online vintage clothing store. Check it out at www.ambrosia-vintage.com. And you may want to follow her blog at www.ambrosia-vintage.com/blog. Hope you find something you like.

Happy shopping!!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

A Sad Good-Bye

Most readers have by now learned of the untimely death of Terry Thornton, fellow blogger, genealogist and Itawambian. Terry's death has taken us all by surprise, and he will be sorely missed. Terry loved his heritage, and fortunately for us he shared this love with others. In case you didn't see his obituary, you can read it here on the last post of Terry's Hill Country HOGS Webpress.

Saturday, August 21, 2010


I have it on good authority, from Mr. Don Pate, an avid Itawamba historian and genealogist, that Oscar Steele was known as Bud. (See previous post here.) Oscar was married to Florence Dulaney, daughter of Joseph Benjamin Dulaney and Martha Johnson, and thus would have been a brother-in-law to Charlie Dulaney and uncle to Vastel, Clothel, Clastel, and Vecil who were pictured in front of Oscar "Bud" Steele's house in the previously posted photograph. Viney Steele was Oscar's oldest daughter, Martha Melvina Steele, born in 1909, while Exie Steele, also shown in the photograph, was Viney's younger sister, Exa Fain Steele, born in 1920.

Thank you, Don, for sharing this information. I always hate posting photographs when I don't know all of the folks pictured.... doesn't quite seem right to not acknowledge each and every one.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Tremont Ladies

Basil Earnest shared this photograph with me earlier this year. The lady on the left, in the rear, is Mary Pearl Evans Stone, but the other ladies are unidentified. One might suggest that the older woman in the photograph was the mother of the three younger females, however, the older woman pictured here is not Elizabeth Bishop Evans, mother of Mary Pearl Evans. The other females do not appear to be Mary Pearl's sisters either, one of which would have been my great-grandmother Thusie Evans Robinson.

Mary Pearl Evans was married to William Gayland "Willie" Stone, son of John Henry Stone, Sr. and Florence Emmaline Cowden. It is possible that the older woman in the photograph is Florence Cowden Stone and the other young ladies could be some of her daughters.

Mary Pearl Evans was born in 1879 to John Thomas Evans and Elizabeth Ann Bishop, and died in 1930. Her daughter was Basil's mother-in-law, Annie Maye Stone Robinson.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

James Luke Robinson, born August 17, 1933

Fulton News Beacon

Fulton Grammar School
Honor Roll
January 30, 1941
Second Grade - James Robinson

Daddy would have been 77 years old today.... hard to believe it has been five years since his death.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Charlie & Zora Hood Family

Charles C. "Charlie" Dulaney and Zora Hood were both Itawamba natives and lifelong residents of the county. Charlie, the son of Joseph "Joe" Benjamin Dulaney and Martha Ann Johnson, was a family historian who passed his love of history down to his children. Zora was the daughter of Rev. Joshua Hood and Elizabeth "Betty" Swindle.

This photograph was provided by Charlie and Zora's daughter-in-law, Mary Johnson Dulaney who was married to Clastel Dulaney. Her notes indicate that the photograph was made in front of the "old Bud Steele house" in Itawamba County.

Identified in the photograph are: Zora Hood Dulaney, standing left rear, holding Clothel Dulaney. The other lady is identified as "Vine" Steele holding "Baby" Steele. The children standing in front are Exie (assumed to be a Steele), Vastle Dulaney, Clastel Dulaney and Vecil Dulaney. Based on Clothel's birth date, it would appear that this picture was made about 1922 or 1923.

I need some help here if anyone knows anything about the Bud Steele family and who Vine/Viney Steele and Exie were.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Dog Days of August

Boy, it's been hot around here lately!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Sawmill Operation - early 1900s

Rhonda Umfress Johnson, a descendant of Nathaniel Clayton and Martha Bowen Clayton, e-mailed this picture of a sawmilling operation. The photograph was found at her grandparents' house by her mother, but nothing is known about the picture. It was just among their possessions with no names or notes accompanying it. Cousin Rita is working on restoring the image, a tedious task, but I wanted to go ahead and share it in its original shape and will later post the refurbished image.

The photograph is so rich in details. If you click on the image you can get a better look. What a crowd that gathered for the photograph! Notice the children all lined up in the front row? The younger children appear to be barefoot, and one little girl seems to be picking her nose! Were all of these men millworkers? Note that all of the males, even the boys, have a cap or hat on their head while none of the females do. There is one small dog in the front and several large oxen in the rear.

A couple of men are on horses, and there appears to be wagons built for use on rails, probably a temporary line of rails was built to carry the cut logs out of the forest and the wagon of logs was pulled by a team of horses. Maybe the oxen were used to carry the cut timber to the sawmill for logging? You can see the yokes on the oxen. Pretty neat.

The picture shows steam or smoke coming out of the sawmill hut, or maybe it is dust?

Somebody with more knowledge than I should jump in to explain how this operation worked and give a thorough history. Lots of virgin timber was cut from the forests of Itawamba County and floated down the Tombigbee River to a lumber plant at Cotton Gin Port during the early 1900s. Sawmill camps such as this one sprung up all over the county, and small, subsistence farmers suddenly had another source of income.

Thank you, Rhonda, for sharing the photograph with all of us. Pretty amazing.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Davises of St. Clair and Itawamba

It was a mighty fine reunion of Davis and other assorted kinfolk at Providence Cemetery north of Tremont yesterday. In an hour and a half, I met not only Davis relatives but also Robinson and Irvin kinfolk among the small gathering at Decoration Day. What a wonderful way to spend part of a morning! I also got to meet some "internet cousins" and put faces with names.

Jesse B. Davis was born in 1816 in Pendleton District (Anderson County), South Carolina and died in July 1890 just across the Itawamba County state line in Marion County, Alabama, probably not too far from Providence Cemetery where he is buried. Jesse moved his family to St. Clair County, Alabama around 1858 where he received three land patents for a total of 280 acres of land located in Section 31, Township 15 South, Range 4 E. If you enlarge the above image by clicking on it, you will note that Section 31 is located in the bottom left hand corner, just west of the Coosa River and below Broken Arrow Creek.

The 1860 census indicates that Jesse and family were living near the Broken Arrow township with nearby neighbors of William M. Alverson, Elijah Alverson, Richard Braden and William N. Braden. The previous census of 1850 finds Jesse in Gwinnett County, Georgia while the following census of 1870 shows that the family made it to Itawamba County. That's covering quite a bit of territory.

The community of Broken Arrow obviously took its name from the creek of the same name. After the Davis family left the area and moved to Mississippi, the little community experienced a growth boom due to coal that was found and mined there. In 1883, the Southern Aegis newspaper wrote about Broken Arrow: "This is the coming town of St. Clair county. It is built on wealth. Its hills are filled with coal and covered with timber. A mining town is now going up." In 1890, Broken Arrow's name was changed to Coal City.

Jesse and his family may have also lived close to a community called Trout Creek. Documents found online and published from the 13th Congress, Offers and Contracts 1861-1862, indicates that Jesse bid on a mail route, thirteen miles from Broken Arrow to Greensport, with bidding ending at Trout Creek. Jesse didn't get the initial contract; he overbid the lowest bidder by $37, but six months later, he was awarded the contract. Once a week, Jesse left Broken Arrow on Monday at 6 a.m. and arrived Greensport by 12 p.m. Returning the same day, he left at 1 p.m. from Greensport and arrived back at Broken Arrow by 6 p.m. For this, he was paid $78 per year.

Trout Creek was given its name from a nearby stream that emptied into the Coosa River. The earliest settlers of the Trout Creek area came from Tennessee and later from South Carolina. Mattie Lou Teague Crow, in the History of St. Clair County, writes that "the Baptists had a church during these early years. It was located about three miles from the center of the community, and it was called Providence." [emphasis added] Wonder if this is where our little church in Itawamba County got its name?!

Trout Creek later became known as Ragland, named after a Mr. Ragland who bought up large tracts of land just before the Civil War and began mining coal there.

Jesse's first wife, Elvira, is said to be buried in an unmarked grave in a small family cemetery near Ragland.

I appreciate all of the hospitality shown to my mother and me at Providence Cemetery yesterday and hope to have an opportunity to visit with all my cousins again. Ole Jesse would be proud of his kinfolks gathering, near his grave, in such pleasant surroundings.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Memorial Day

Aunt Tootsie is placing flowers on the grave marker for her parents, William Hugh and Ethel Dee Sloan Pennington. Wiygul Cemetery is holding their Memorial Day activities today (preaching at 11:00 under the pavilion), but there was a buzz of activity late yesterday afternoon as folks cleaned and decorated graves in preparation for today's service. By the way, Aunt Tootsie created that flower arrangement herself as she did for many other Penningtons in the cemetery.

This month is a busy month for cemeteries across Itawamba County as Decoration Day or Memorial Days are held.

Monday, August 2, 2010

It's here!

Exactly one week after the "ships in 24 hours" computer was ordered from Dell, it was shipped to me. I've been busy getting everything copied over to the new laptop and will be back in business soon!

I never heard back from my "feedback" to Dell about my order experience, but I did receive an e-mail from them - before my computer was even delivered - that included a "reminder" for completion of a survey , asking why I had not responded to their "previous" request for the survey. I never received the first request! Crazy!