Friday, September 30, 2011

Sloan Family Reunion

Jack & Melissa Sloan

Sloan Family Reunion
Saturday
October 1st
Peaceful Valley
Itawamba County, Mississippi

Bring a covered dish, we eat at noon.
Music and Fellowship!
Come join us!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

William Sloan - Kershaw County

William Sloan, died 1906 in Itawamba County
It seems pretty certain that my Sloan family of ancestors came from the area of what is now Kershaw County, South Carolina.  Kershaw County was formed out of Kershaw District, and in earlier times this area also known as Craven County, St. Mark's Parish or Camden District.  During a visit to Columbia, South Carolina last week, I was able to make a quick afternoon run over to the town of Camden, the county seat of Kershaw County.    The Camden Archives is a wonderful facility and has a great collection of books and reference materials for the genealogist.  My mother and I were here just a couple of years ago, and I knew it would be worth a trip over from Columbia.

Two years ago, Momma and I were in a grab and run session at the courthouse in Kershaw County.  We grabbed the index books, found deed books with the surnames we were looking for - Sloan, Irvin and Lowery, and started copying records.  It wasn't until we got to our hotel room, several hours away and later that night, that we settled in and started going through our mountain of copies. Lo and behold, my mother found a deed from Samuel and Mary Sloan where they were conveying land that had been previously deeded to Mary, as daughter of Peter Rush.  Voila.... we just learned Mary's maiden name and her father's name!  Unfortunately, we were across the state and couldn't go back to research the Rush family.

This time, I didn't have enough time to go to both the archives and the courthouse.  At the archives, I revisited some of the same files and information as I did before and also looked at new sources.  One of the things I found was an abstracted record dated 1752 in which William Sloan - probably the namesake of the William Sloan pictured above - petitioned the the colonial government of South Carolina for land.   The petition indicated that William "came lately from Virginia" with his "wife and five children."    Wonderful information - now I just need to figure out where in Virginia that William lived before moving to South Carolina.  I've got a few leads though.

Back to Mary Rush Sloan's father, Peter.  I've discovered that Peter Rush moved from Philadelphia to Charleston, South Carolina shortly after his marriage to Catherine Plains.   Peter was said to have been loyal to the Crown during the Revolutionary War.  A 1799 record shows that he bought 150 acres of land on a branch of the Wateree River in Kershaw County.  The deed indicated that Peter was a ropemaker.  In 1803, Peter received a grant of 200 acres on the same branch, and in 1805 Peter deeded 50 acres of his land to his daughter, Mary Rush.   It was this tract that Mary and her husband, Samuel Sloan, sold in 1819.

Peter was of German ancestry.  The Rush surname was likely Anglicized from Rausch, Rusch, Risch or some other variation.  So far, there's been no identification of his parents.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Coffee Cousins

 
    Cousin Don Dulaney shared a book with me recently:  Tennessee Cousins, A History of Tennessee People.   As I was thumbing through it late one night when I couldn't sleep, the name Coffee caught my eye.  Mike's GGGGgrandmother was Allie Coffey; she married John Mills in 1804 in Wilkes County, North Carolina and later moved with their family to the North side of Clinch Mountain in Hawkins County, Tennessee (later Hancock County).   Allie and John's grandson, William Orville Mills, came to Itawamba County about 1877.


Allie Coffey's (you'll find the surname spelled Coffee and Coffey) father was Ambrose, son of James Coffee and Elizabeth Cleveland.  In the Tennessee Cousins book, on page 560, there is a transcribed letter written by Ambrose Coffee's brother, Rice, to Jefferson Coffee, son of Ambrose.   Rice Coffee wrote the letter to his nephew in response to Jefferson's request for information about his ancestral history.  In the letter, Rice related that his parents were James Coffee and Elizabeth Cleveland, and that his grandparents were John Coffee and Jane Graves.   Rice stated that Jefferson's father, Ambrose, was born in 1762 in Albemarle County, Virginia, and in addition to Rice and Ambrose, there were brothers John, Archelaus, James, Reuben, Eli, Joel and Lewis.    Rice also remembered Jefferson's maternal grandfather, Jesse Moore, the grandfather of Allie Coffey Mills, who served in the Revolutionary War.

Curious about the Jefferson Coffee, Alley's brother, who wrote to his Uncle Rice, I did a little research.  It seems that Alley had at least four brothers who moved to Hinds County, Mississippi, and the surrounding area, in the beginning years of Mississippi's statehood.  
 
Thomas Jefferson Coffee moved to Mississippi where, in 1831, he served as representative for Rankin County.  By 1837, Jefferson had become a senator in the Mississippi legislature.  In addition to his political career, Coffee was a lawyer and planter, owning large plantations near Brandon and in the Mississippi Delta in Bolivar County.  Supposedly, Thomas Jefferson Coffee ran against Henry S. Foote for the Whig party's nomination for Governor, but lost by one vote.   After a duel in which he wounded his opponent, Thomas and his family moved to Texas and died there in 1858.

Another brother of Alley was George Washington Coffee, also a notable fellow.  He served in the Mexican War while a resident of Brandon, Miss., apparently earning him the title of Major.  Newspaper reports indicate that Major George Coffee was killed "justifiably" by his brother-in-law in 1840.  Although George lived at Grenada, in what was then still Yalobusha County, the town of Coffeeville was not named after him.

Hiram Coffee attained a great deal of wealth after his arrival in Mississippi.  At his death in 1836, he left his widow a legacy of $20,000 and left his half-brother $15,000.  A lawsuit involving the mismanagement of his estate wound up in the Supreme Court, and records indicate that Hiram's estate was possibly defrauded of  $65,000.  That's quite a sum of money for those days. 

The fourth brother of Alley Coffey Mills who moved to Mississippi was James Madison Coffee who supposedly died in 1873 in Mississippi, although I've not been able to find much about him.     Another brother, Holland Coffee, was quite well-known as an Indian trader on the Red River in the Texas frontier.  Holland served as the first representative from Fannin County to the Congress of the Republic of Texas.  He died in a duel/fight with his niece's husband.

Alley died in Hawkins (now Hancock) County, Tennessee between 1852 and 1860. 

I wonder if Orville knew about his great-uncles and their connection to Mississippi, the state that Orville adopted along with his new bride's family in the 1870's?  Did he know that his own uncles, Hiram and Thomas Jefferson and Holland, were named after his mother's brothers?

Monday, September 26, 2011

Sloan Reunion - 2011

Jackson Samuel Sloan and Malissa Caroline (Potts) Sloan





Make plans to attend the 2011 Sloan Family Reunion this Saturday, October 1st, in Peaceful Valley, Itawamba County.   Descendants of William Sloan will gather on for a day of food and fellowship at the Blake Greenhouses on land formerly owned by William's son, Jackson Samuel Sloan.   Bring some covered dishes and your old photographs and lots of family stories, and join us! 

Friday, September 23, 2011

Sunday Dinner Guests

Home of John Gainey Sloan, built 1935, burned 1952

Itawamba County Times

March 21, 1946
New Bethel News
Sunday dinner guests in the J. G. Sloan home were: Mr. and Mrs. Woodford Grace and son, Tomasette of Memphis, Mr. and Mrs. Coy Bean and sons, Joel and Charles and Mrs. Nancy Bean of Cardsville. Others visiting were: Miss Clara Nell Pennington, Mr. and Mrs. Luther Sloan, daughters, Ruth and Maecile, Mr. and Mrs. William Newton and children, Mrs. Boyd Allen and son of Aberdeen, Mrs. Elva Burdine, Miss Audie Neal, Mr. J. E. Newton, Mrs. Lawrence Cox, Miss Jessie Ellen Sloan, Mrs. Shellie Lindsey, Mrs. Ogal Sloan and Mr. Aqulis Sloan.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Jeff Owens - 111 years old

This is fun!  Here's another newspaper article found at the Library of Congress:  Chronicling America website.

From the Anderson Intelligencer (Anderson, South Carolina), December 8, 1870
--The Iuka (Miss.) Gazette says there is a man living in Itawamba County by the name of John Owens, who was 111 years old on the 15th day of October last.  He was born in North Carolina, and has resided in North Mississippi for the last forty years.   Has has been twice married, the last time he was ninety-four years old.

Now!  Who is John Owens?  I found the following gentleman in the 1860 census:

1860 Census
Tishomingo County, Mississippi
Highland post office
John Owens 98 NC farmer
Sallie Owens 50 TN 
John L. Hancock 20 AL farm laborer
Josiah Hancock 17 AL farm laborer 

I couldn't find the elderly man in the 1870 census, but some of this year's census for Itawamba County has been lost.  There are several of my ancestors living across the northern part of the county that I can't find in the 1870 census.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Gen. Winfield Scott's sister

Here's another story found on the Library of Congress, Chronicling America website.

As reported in the Anderson Intelligencer (Anderson, South Carolina), February 21, 1861:

Gen. Scott and his Widowed Sister
A sister of Gen. Winfield Scott, now a widow, and in reduced circumstances, is in Itawamba County, Miss., dependent upon a son-in-law for support.  The editor of the Mississippi Baptist says that he conversed with her concerning her illustrious brother, when she informed him that Gen. Scott had long since disowned her by neglect, and that he refused to answer her letters, asking for aid in poverty. 

Does anyone have information about this sister of the famous U. S. General, Winfield Scott, who served in the War of 1812, the Mexican-American War, and as a Union officer in the Civil War.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Family of Boys - Itawamba - 1909

Recently I came across the wonderful Library of Congress webpage, Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers.  This site has over 4,000,000 pages from several newspapers.... digitized! .... from 1836 to 1922.  To test out the efficiency of the search engine, I merely put "Itawamba" in the search field and was instantly rewarded with some pretty cool results.

An interesting find was the news of nine children being born to one Itawamba family in three years.  This story was reported in the August 10, 1909 issue of the Hopkinsville Kentuckian newspaper, copied below.

Nine Children 
Born to One Mississippi Family in Three Years

In the past three years the stork has made successive visits to the home of an Itawamba, Miss. family.   The first time two boys were left, the second time three, and a few days ago four boys were left, making nine boys for three visits.  All the children are living.

Who was this Itawamba family?  I had to keep looking, but it didn't take long to find out.  In the Paducah (Kentucky) Evening Sun, July 13, 1909, the same story was reported but gave the name of Frank Sallis as the proud father.  I couldn't find this family in the 1910 census in either Itawamba or Monroe (The Sallis-Silas family lived in the southeastern corner of Itawamba but also over the line into Monroe County).  Has anyone heard this story?

Friday, September 16, 2011

Happy Birthday, Bobby Gene Pennington!

 
Bobby Gene won't be eighty for a few more days yet, but we're headed to Georgia for his birthday celebration this weekend and I wanted to get birthday wishes posted before we left.   Above, Bobby Gene is pictured with his birthday cake along with his grandparents, Dee and Hugh Pennington, and cousins Gary, Betty Jean and Jo Ann.   Looks like there are ten candles on that cake, dating the photo as being made in 1941.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Maggie Adams Robinson, 1921-2011

Aunt Maggie was my great-uncle Louis Robinson's wife.  She died this week at the age of 90, leaving one daughter, Nell, pictured in her arms above.  I believe the photograph was made during World War II for Uncle Louis who enlisted in the Army at the age of 35 and fought the Japanese on islands in the Pacific.   Wasn't Aunt Maggie a beautiful woman?   She was a beautiful person on the inside as well.  I learned today that her full name was Maggie Martha Ann Adams, named for both of her grandmothers:  Maggie Young Adams and Martha Ann Graham Dulaney.   Maggie was the daughter of Oscar Adams and Mary Elizabeth Dulaney.

Elvis Connections and Wesson Women

I've posted quite a bit in recent weeks about the Bowen family, in large part due to a recent connection made with some fellow Bowen descendants and cousins.  Thanks to them, I've been able to fill in gaps in my family database and learn some very interesting information.

Many of you are familiar with the fact that Elvis Presley, although born in Lee County, has several generations of ancestry in Itawamba County.  Lots of Itawamba folks claim kin, and are kin, to Elvis.  My husband is related to Elvis through two families (four if you count the maternal lines, and you should) - the Hoods and the Warrens.  Minnie Mae Hood (Elvis' grandmother) was a second cousin to Pearl Johnson Dulaney, Mike's grandmother.  Minnie Mae, who married Jessie "Dee" Presley, and Grandma Pearl shared a common ancestor in Joshua H. Hood, and his wife Margaret Johnson, who came to Itawamba County after 1850 from St. Clair County, Alabama.  The other shared connection with Elvis is via the Warren family, through S. John Warren as the common ancestor.  Just through the Hoods and Warrens alone, many Itawambians can claim kinship to Elvis.

Some of you are familiar with the fact that Rosella Presley, Elvis' great-grandmother, never married, yet had nine children. (Odd to think about it, but Elvis really has (had?!) no Presley Y-DNA. Many believe his Y-DNA would show that he was a Wallace.)  Here is the rest of the story about Rosella, and my connection to her, and thus to Elvis.

Rosella and her sister, Rosalinda, were the daughters of Dunnan (sometimes found Dunnam or Dunning) Presley and his wife, Martha Jane Wesson, whom he married in August 1861 in Itawamba County.  Some folks say that Dunnan had another wife and family in Tennessee.  When the Civil War broke out, Dunnan enlisted but subsequently deserted both his unit and his family.  He apparently never returned to the area, and his family was left to fend for themselves.  Martha Jane remarried in 1868, to William Marion Steele, but unfortunately for her small daughters, Martha Jane died before 1870.  For a time, Rosella and Rosalinda lived with their step-father, but upon his remarriage, they went to live with their grandmother, Millie Bowen Wesson.

Martha Wesson Presley was the daughter of Edward Wesson and Emily "Millie" Bowen, and I'm related to both of her parents.  Emily Bowen was the sister of my GGG grandfather, John Henderson Bowen, while Edward Clanton Wesson was the much younger brother of my GGGGG grandmother, Nancy Wesson.  Here is where is gets interesting.

Nancy Wesson, my GGGGG grandmother, who was Martha Wesson Presley's aunt, apparently had three children out of wedlock:  Nancy Jr., William, and Rose (possibly the namesake for Rosella).  Nancy Jr. married Elias C. Putman, and their daughter Zinny married John Henderson Bowen, my GGG grandfather.  The Wessons, Putmans and Bowens were all very connected in North Carolina, and later Itawamba County, along with the Lyles, Roberts and Bookout families.  Siblings Edward Clanton Wesson and Nancy Wesson had a sister, Rebecca Pearson Wesson, who was the common law wife of William Bowen, the father of John Henderson Bowen.  You may remember reading about Rebecca and Martha in an earlier post to this blog.   Rebecca Wesson moved to Itawamba County with William Bowen and their five children around 1848, and William's children with Martha followed shortly thereafter, after Martha died in North Carolina. 

Nancy, Edward, and Rebecca were the children of James Wesson and Ann Clary, Virginia natives who died in North Carolina.  Other siblings were Henry, Patsy, Clara/Clarymon, Luke and William.  We know their names from the 1815 will of their father James, whose will was recorded in 1826 in Rutherford County, North Carolina.  From the will, we learn that James Wesson had a nice estate for his time:  several tracts of land, and enough cash to leave adult daughters Patsy and Nancy $30 each.  Money was directed to be set aside for the education of his younger children, Rebecca, William and Luke.  In addition to Rebecca and Nancy, their sisters Patsy (Martha was her real name, Patsy her nickname) and Clara also had children out of wedlock.  
What was it about this family?  It couldn't have been poverty, as evidenced by the will of James Wesson.  It doesn't appear to be lack of education, since his will mentions the continued education of his younger, school-age children.  This was a family that obviously valued education.  It is a puzzle to me.  I suppose that the stigma of having out-of-wedlock children was lessened somewhat when it was a generational family practice!  Those Wesson women must have been something else!  And now you know the rest of the story about Rosella Presley and her nine, out-of-wedlock children.  Many thanks to Marilyn Dickson who provided much information and helped me sort through these families.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Treasures shared by a Cousin


My mother and I recently visited with Marilyn Dickson, a cousin on the Bowen side of the family.   Marilyn was kind enough to welcome into her home a couple of complete strangers that she had met over the internet, and then she proceeded to share information and stories with us.  We are most blessed to have such a cousin, and hope to return the favor one day soon.

Marilyn is descended from William Bowen and Rebecca Wesson, while my mother and I descend from William and his first wife, Martha Overby.  Marilyn, and her cousin, Mary Spivey, have been very generous in the sharing of their research and collection of old photographs of the Bowen family.

During our visit with Marilyn, she disappeared into another room and brought out this beautiful dough bowl that was handmade by William Bowen for Rebecca, his common-law wife.    Pictured left is my mother, holding the bowl crafted by her GGG grandfather.   Marilyn said that through the many years of use a hole had been worn in the bottom of the dough bowl, and her father attempted to repair the hole by adding a new piece of wood. 
Marilyn's great-grandmother, Mary Bowen Brown, who was the daughter of William and Rebecca, purchased the dough bowl at the 1890 estate sale of Rebecca Wesson Bowen.   She paid 30 cents for "1 Bread Tray & Sifter" at the sale held November 1890.

 


Marilyn also showed us framed pieces from a coverlet and quilt hand made by Mary Bowen Brown.   Mary spun the thread and wove the coverlet, and also made the quilt by hand.

Thank you, Marilyn, for your wonderful hospitality.  I hope we get to meet again sometime this fall for another visit.
  

Monday, September 12, 2011

William Bowen Estate


William Bowen moved to Itawamba County around 1848 or so.  He is listed in the 1850 census of Itawamba County with his "second" family, while his wife Martha and children of his "first" family are still living in Cleveland County, North Carolina.   You will have to read an earlier post of the Rebecca-Martha story to catch up with this family if you haven't already done so.

Martha Bowen died in 1854, and she was buried in her church cemetery, Pleasant Hill Baptist Church, in Cleveland County.  After Martha's death,  her children, with the exception of daughter Lavinia ("Vaney") who never left North Carolina, moved to Itawamba County.  Her children were Emily "Millie" Bowen Wesson, John Henderson Bowen (my GGG grandfather), Lavinia "Vaney" Bowen Wear, William Darden Shelton Bowen, and James Young Bowen.

I've got some more digging to do in the courthouse to come up with the early land deed records for William Bowen, but early census records seem to indicate that he lived northwest of Fulton.  The 1860 census shows a post office address of Pleasanton, and neighbors in the 1850 census (Alfred Dulaney and others) support the theory that William initially lived a bit further north than his residence when he died.

William died in 1888 without a will, and his son Richard administered the estate.   Probate records show that William owned the Southeast Quarter of Section 12, Township 10, Range 10 East as well as about 60 acres across the northern part of the Northeast Quarter of Section 13, Township 10, Range 10 East.  I've drawn off the approximate location of William's land on a topography map of Itawamba County, and as you can see, it was located just east of Nita Lake and encompassed part of today's four-lane Highway 78 where it crosses over Nita Lake Road.   Mt. Pisgah Church, where so many of the Bowen families worshiped, is located south of the location of William's land, although this was not the original location of Mt. Pisgah Church.   The above map shows Old Mt. Pisgah Cemetery located west of Nita Lake - does anyone know anything about this cemetery?

William's land was sold at public auction, in order to equitably divide his estate among his heirs, and the two tracts of land were sold to John Roberts ($450 for the larger tract) and O. B. Cowden ($100 for the 60 acre tract).

There is no record of where William (or Rebecca) was buried.  Could they be buried at the Old Mt. Pisgah Cemetery?  Or where they buried in the Bowen Cemetery that was tragically bulldozed over several years ago?

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Remembering 9-11-2001: Guest Post by Bettye Stone Woodhull

I am honored that Cousin Bettye shared the following memories with me, and delighted that she agreed to share them with you.  Bettye has a wonderful gift for writing as well as an astounding memory, and I'm blessed that she has shared both with me throughout the past couple or three years.  Thank you, Bettye!

A word about the picture.  I snapped this photograph of the World Trade Center twin towers during a river cruise on the night of June 9, 2001; however, this wasn't the picture I went looking for to accompany Bettye's story.   Somewhere, I have a clear photograph of the twin towers of the World Trade Center, made from the top of the Empire State Building, on the day of June 11, 2001, exactly three months before the terrible events of September 11, 2001. 

WHERE WERE YOU ON SEPT. 11, 2001?

The early days of Sept. in years past has held special memories for me, some happy and some sad. My future husband was home on leave while we planned our wedding to be in October 1951. My daddy, Leon Stone born in Bexar, AL and living in Winfield had driven to work the morning of Sept. 9, 1957 when he suffered a fatal heart attack in Guin, AL as he turned the key to open up for the day. We had returned for to our home in South Bend, IN the morning of Sept. 8th after completing the mission that my dad had sent us on – to drive to Norfolk, VA to kiss his third grandson good bye for him – he knew his time here was running out and he couldn’t do it himself. For the next 50 years, early Sept. saw our children growing up, attending schools and colleges and honeymoon’s plus the grandchildren beginning to create the cycle all over again with their parents. We lost our mother-in-law in Sept. 1983 in the midst of weddings and honeymoons, the same year all three sons chose to marry.

Early Sept. 2001 quickly became a week of sadness and disbelief. I believe it was Sept. 8th that our former neighbor boy and our youngest son’s playmate ( a young married father by now) and a co-worker were working on his car late into the night and were murdered as they sat in the office trying to figure out what to do next. During that week, Ron took the garden hose to his beloved Volvo to clean the engine compartment, getting water into the smog pump. He managed to get it to the foreign car repair shop for repair with me following behind that morning, Sept. 11, 2001. That first airplane had just hit the first tower and the employees were watching spellbound as he walked in to drop the vehicle off. I picked him up and we drove down the street to a neighborhood cafĂ© for breakfast, across the street from the murder location that was still busy with police that morning. The Today show was getting all the attention of customers and employees as we entered to see this frightening happening while everyone was trying to figure out how or why a small airplane had flown into the World Trade Center Tower. The second tower had been hit before we completed our breakfast to return home where we sat glued to the TV sets in disbelief of what, why or how this could have happened.

In your own way, don’t forget to give thanks to those who have kept our country safe these last ten years – a good habit to adhere to is to make sure you offer a “thank you for your service” to every person you see in military uniform – they do appreciate those kind words.

Bettye Stone Woodhull

Friday, September 9, 2011

The Potter's Wheel - Folk Tales of the Bigbee Valley

Earlier this year, a group of committed Itawambians formed The Potter's Wheel, an organization focused on collecting and telling the story of our county's history, culture and folklore.   The name was chosen because of Itawamba's heritage of being at one time one of the largest producers of pottery such as churns and jugs.  Plans are in the works to interview old-timers and others in our county to gather information and tales about growing up in Itawamba County as well as stories that may have been passed down from earlier generations.  Eventually these collected stories will be turned into a drama production that will include songs and dance.

As a fund-raiser, The Potter's Wheel is sponsoring a "variety show" at the Old Fulton Grammar School this Saturday evening at 6 p.m, "The Potter's Wheel Celebrates the Arts."   Admission is $7 at the door, $5 for pre-purchased ticket - quite a bargain, in my opinion.  Discounted student tickets are available, and preschoolers are admitted free.  This show will exhibit artwork from Itawamba-connected artists, including paintings and pottery, as well as musical entertainment.    From 6 until 7, there will be a reception whereby attendees may browse the artwork and mingle. Some of the art will be available for sale, with proceeds donated to The Potter's Wheel.   At 7 p.m., patrons will move into the auditorium where they will be entertained by several musical acts and even a comedy troupe.

Please come out and support this wonderful project.   Donations are tax deductible to the non-profit organization if made through the CREATE Foundation.   You can read more about the group and the Saturday show at the Potter's Wheel website.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Richard Henry Bowen family

Richard Henry "Dick" Bowen was the son of William Bowen and Rebecca Wesson.  In some family trees, you may find him as the son of William Bowen and Martha Overby, but this is not true.  You can read more about Rebecca and Martha at one of my earlier posts to this blog.

R. H. Bowen has been in my thoughts lately because I've been slugging through the transcription of his father William's (my GGGG grandfather) probate records, provided courtesy of Marilyn Dickson.   William died intestate (without a will) in April 1888 at the age of 89, and his youngest son Richard H. Bowen was appointed administrator of the estate.  Richard also was appointed as guardian for his mother, Rebecca, who was adjudged to be mentally incapable of handling her financial and personal affairs (she was 85 years old).   Rebecca herself died before her husband's estate was settled which wasn't until October 1891.  My GG grandmother, Martha Bowen Clayton, received a grand 1/8th share of $14.25; she and her siblings were entitled to a share in their grandfather's estate due to the death of their father in 1881. 

Marilyn Dickson and Mary Spivey shared the photograph of Richard H. Bowen and his family, pictured in front of the store that R. H. Bowen operated.  The probate proceedings indicated that R. H. Bowen Store extended credit to William Bowen for the purchase of lumber, blacksmith tools and other items prior to William's death.    Then, at William's death, R. H. Bowen "sold" to the estate, items to prepare the coffin (velvet, lawn material, tacks, etc) and to prepare the body (cologne, handkerchief, neck tie).
The invoice header indicates Tremont, Miss. as the location for the store, however, I believe  that the store was located southwest of Tremont, just east of what is known as the Nita Lake Road.  Records show that in 1873, R. H. Bowen was given permission to build a mill on Curtis Creek (now, known as Lick Skillet Creek, a branch of Bull Mountain).  Another possibility for the store would be due south of Tremont, along or near Hwy 23; records show that R. H. Bowen and Benjamin Webb started a mercantile business together in the early 1880's in the community of Whitney which was located below Tremont near and/or along James Creek.   R. H. Bowen secured a post office for his store in 1887, the post office operating for two years under the name Zoyd.   Another post office was established by R. H. Bowen, in 1889, named Bowen, with Mary R. Bowen (Richard's oldest daughter) as the first postmaster and Robert Bowen (Richard's oldest son) serving as a postmaster 1894-1895.   If anyone has information on the definite location of this store, please let me know.  There may have been more than one location.

Signature of Richard Henry Bowen
Richard Henry Bowen was married to Martha Adeline Webb, daughter of William Jefferson "Billy" Webb and Antoinette Reich.  They had eleven children:  Mary (married to Harold P. Maxey), Sarah (married first to William Maxey, then to Willie Mattox), Robert H. (married Margaret Celesta Henderson, moved to Florida, died there in 1951), James William (married first to Lorraine J. Miller, then Vona Mattox), Edgar Trannie (married to Narocia Stone), Nora Lee (married to Ira Dalton Henderson, died young), Sumpter Richard (married Ellie D. Moore), Callie E. (married Roy Wax), Leta (never married, died at age 97 in 1995), John Allen (moved to Greenville, MS and probably died there c1950), Neely (moved to Memphis, died there in 1969).   All eleven children appear to be pictured in the photograph.

Richard died in 1923, either in Itawamba County or Monroe County.  He and Martha were living in Amory, next door to their son James William Bowen, in the 1920 census, and Richard's will is dated 1921 in Amory.   He and Martha are buried in Fulton Cemetery however.

For more information about the Richard Henry Bowen-Martha Adeline Webb family, you can visit this website by David Webb.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Fulton Grammar School 1963-1964

I do believe that there are some familiar faces in this classroom. Although I didn't move back to Fulton until the middle of the 8th grade, some of these "baby" faces look familiar... Leslie Ann Christian, Pam Nanney, Steve Ramey, Jimmie Nell Davis .... how many others can you recognize?

If you think these sweet little schoolchildren have "baby" faces, look at the photograph below of their teacher, Miss Lillian Scott, when she was a baby when in 1919!   And no, I don't know which baby is Lillian and which one is her twin sister, Trillian.  Both were beloved schoolteachers in Itawamba County.  Their mother, Bettie, was a sister to Mike's Great-Grandpa Fisher Johnson.


Monday, September 5, 2011

Barrett Family - Bean Cemetery

It's been a couple of years since our visit to Bean Cemetery, a remote graveyard that is the final resting place of several early Itawamba families who settled in the remote hills and hollers between the Cardsville and Carolina communities.   Maybe this fall we can schedule another visit to the cemetery, which can only be reached by a long walk or by four-wheelers, on private property.

I came across the photos of the grave markers of Mr. and Mrs. William Barrett recently, and thought to myself that they have to be among the oldest folks buried in Itawamba County.   And note when they died - in the 1850's, during the first twenty years of our county's history.  It is somewhat uncommon to find such well-preserved tombstones from this time, mostly because not too many families had the funds to erect grave markers for their deceased loved ones.   Itawamba County was largely a frontier territory, still being settled.  

Who were the Barretts?  I found the following information in the 1986 publication Itawamba County, Mississippi Families (1836-1986), Sesquicentennial Edition, as submitted by Mildred Barrett McMillen.

William Barrett and his two sons were in Itawamba County by 1836 when their names appeared on the Tax List for that year.   Census records indicate that the sons were born in South Carolina, and it is believed that perhaps the Barrett family came from South Carolina via wagon train with several of the neighboring families of this area.  It should be noted that William Barrett would have been around 70 years of age when he moved to Itawamba County to start a new life with his family.

Milly, wife of William, was actually Amelia; her maiden name is not known.  Also buried in the cemetery with William and Milly is their son Joseph W. W. Barrett who died in 1856, and who apparently never married.  Another son, Samuel Wiley Barrett, is believed to be buried in Bean Cemetery in an unmarked grave along with his wife, Eliza Caroline Elmore.  

Samuel and Eliza married late in life, and had two children, Joseph and Callie who were orphaned in 1871 in the lean, post-Civil War years.    Callie married and moved to Texas while Joseph married a daughter of Herman Frank and Mary Ann (Sheffield) Moore, Rebekah Frances Moore, and had several children whose descendants continue to live in Itawamba County. 

Here is the William Barrett family in the 1850 census:

1850 Census
Itawamba County, Mississippi
District 6
William Barrett 84 VA farmer
Samuel W. 47 SC farmer
Joseph W. 39 SC farmer
Eliza E. 36 SC
Neighbors:  Hezekiah Thorn, William Beene, Daniel Black

Friday, August 26, 2011

Uncle Poley

N.A. Johnson and wife Mary

From The Itawamba County Times:
One of Itawamba County's oldest living citizens died May 14, 1955 when N. A. Johnson, better known to his hundreds of friends as Uncle Poley, passed away quietly at his home where he had resided all of his life. He lived in the Pine Grove Community. He was 97. Uncle Poley, as he preferred to be called, was born in Itawamba County on January 29, 1858. He had lived in that community in which he has done so much to promote the welfare and died within a mile of where he was born, before the Civil War. He had been an active farmer until his health began to fail about 20 years ago and he just retired to his home with his son, Duie, and daughter, Betty. He died of a kidney ailment which he had at least ten years. He was a charter member of the Pine Grove Church of Christ. Where the Pine Grove Church of Christ stands today is on land that Uncle Poley gave and it was on this land that he was laid to rest. The deceased is not the only member of his family that has lived to an old age. A brother, Billy, lived to be over 90 and another brother, C. S., who is still living is over 90.

Funeral services were held May 16, 1955 at the Pine Grove Church with burial in the Pine Grove Cemetery. Pallbearers were Olun Dulaney, Marvin Dulaney, Dow Fikes, Grady Spencer, Clastle Dulaney and Dalton Wilson. Uncle Poley was preceded in death by his wife, Mary Elizabeth Johnson. She died in 1940 and was buried 15 years ago this month.

Survivors included a son, Duie, of the Pine Grove Community, eight daughters, Miss Betty Johnson of the Pine Grove Community, Mrs. Noon Reich, Mrs. Mittie Williams, Mrs. Ollie Tucker, Mrs. Arvella Dulaney, all of the Pine Grove Community, Mrs. Ommie Kurkendall of Fulton, Mrs. Evie Wilson of Fulton and Mrs. Costa Wilemon of Fulton. In addition he leaves a brother, C. S. of Pine Grove and a sister, Mrs. Annie Williams of Pine Bluff, Ark. He also leaves 11 grandchildren, 18 great grandchildren and 3 great great grandchildren.

* * *
Napoleon A. Johnson was the son of Stephen Johnson and Harriet Caroline Pierce, natives of North Carolina who moved to Itawamba County around 1855 or so from Wake County.   Stephen and Harriet's oldest son, John, did not have the good fortune to be as long-lived as most of his siblings or his parents.  He died at the age of 55, in 1907.  John's son, Nathan, however, lived to be 81 years old when he died in 1967.   Nathan's daughter, Pearl, was my husband's grandmother.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Happy Birthday, Cowboy!


Today is Mike's birthday, and since Mike became a Grampa Mills himself this year, I thought I'd share this picture of him with his Grampa Mills from 1962.    Thankfully, Mike has given up red cowboy hats and holsters, but he does have cattle and a rancher's hat.  Below is one of his heifer Highlands during one of this past winter's snows.



Monday, August 22, 2011

David Holcomb, died on the 22nd day of July, 1902

Who was David?  Sometimes you just gotta break it down, starting with generations you know and remember.   Laura Bertha Warren married James H. "Jim" Dulaney, and they were my husband's great-grandparents, parents of Lawrence Orr Dulaney.  Laura Bertha (that's how I think of her, but she may have been called Berta for all I know) was the daughter of John Ed Warren and Sarah A. "Sallie" Holcomb.   Sallie's parents were David Holcomb and Penelope Bottoms, both natives of Marion County, Alabama.   David's date of death was unknown to us until today -- all I knew was that he was no longer found in census records after 1900, so I figured he died before 1910.  Now I know the rest of the story.

My morning at the Itawamba Courthouse was going to brief.  I had specific citations and documents that I was to pull and then leave with them.  Of course, that didn't happen, and I got caught up with Chancery Court Minute Books 8, 9 and 10.  Without an index, these books (about 500 pages each) had to be paged one by one, but it was well worth the effort.

In Chancery Court Minute Book 9, I found the following (now, you understand my mission was to find my Bowen family estate papers, but you can't just ignore another family when it jumps up and slaps you!)




(page 364)
August 30, 1902
Vacation term

In Re Estate of David Halcomb, Deceased
To the Hon. H. L. Muldrow Chancellor of the 1st Chancery District of Miss:  The undersigned petitioner would respectfully state and show unto Your Honor:  that David Halcomb died at his home in Itawamba County, Miss. on the 22nd day of July, 1902 and that your petitioner has been duly and legally appointed administrator of the estate of said David Halcomb deceased:  That said David Halcomb had at the time of his death a growing crop of corn and cotton and that he left no one on the place to take care of, gather and market said crop and that it is greatly to the interest of said estate for some one to be appointed to gather said crop.  Therefore your petitioner asks Your Honor to give him an order authorizing and directing him to take cahrge of said crop and to gather and dispose of said crop or assist of said estate.  And as in duty bound will ever ... etc.
(signed)  D. W. Baldridge
Sworn to and subscribed before me the 22nd day of August, 1902.
(signed)  J. A. MacDougal C Clk
The prayer of this petitioner is granted and the authority requested is given.
August 30, 1902
(signed) J. LO. Muldrow

David Holcomb, at the time of his death, had no sons around to help get in his cotton and corn.  It's pretty amazing that David had a crop at all, being that he was seventy years old!    David's older son, Seth Thomas Holcomb (husband of Sarah Ann Nanney) died in 1900.   Zachariah, the younger son, had moved to Texas before 1900.    I guess the son-in-laws had their own crops to get in.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Tammy Wynette, Itawamba Native

Not only can Itawamba claim birth-rights to Jimmie Lunceford, world-renown jazz musician who was known as the King of Swing, but also to the father of the King of Rock and Roll, Vernon Presley.  On Thursday afternoon, homage was paid to another Itawamba native....  the First Lady of Country Music, Tammy Wynette.


A Country Music Trail marker honoring the music legend was unveiled at Tremont Town Park amid a large crowd of friends, kinfolk and other fans.   Tammy was born Virginia Wynette Pugh, just down the road from where the marker was erected, and she attended Tremont High School, adjacent to Tremont Town Park.   Several of Tammy's (or Wynette, as they knew her by, pronounced win-NET) childhood friends and relatives spoke of their memories growing up in Itawamba County with Tammy, but the special treat (for me) of the event was the appearance of Earl "Peanut" Montgomery, famed songwriter, and his wife Charlene, who toured and sang backup for Tammy.  Montgomery has to be one of the top country music songwriters.   Perhaps you remember George (Jones, of course) and Tammy's hit, "We're Gonna Hold On"?  What about "What's Your Momma's Name, Child" by Tanya Tucker?  Earl Montgomery's songs have been recorded by all the greats:  Dolly Parton, Barbara Mandrell, Hank Williams Jr., and many others.  For a complete list, check out this website:  http://www.sweetwaterrecords1.com/songs.htm.  Earl and Charlene shared stories about Tammy (and George), recalled visits to the Tremont area with Tammy, and entertained the crowd with a couple of songs.  Everyone really appreciated their taking time to drive to Tremont for this special event; you could tell how much they loved the First Lady of Country Music.




Thursday, August 18, 2011

Emily C. Sims Moxley Sturkey


When Austin Smith Moxley died in 1855, he left a widow and five children in what was then Fayette County, Alabama but now is part of Lamar County.   His widow, Emily C. Sims, apparently was one tough lady, based on tales passed down by her great-grandchildren and others.  She is pictured above with two of her sons, Henry T. Moxley and Joseph D. Moxley, and some of her grandchildren.  The photograph was a wonderful find in the book by James J. Steward "A Crown Awaits", a biography about Luther A. Moxley, Henry's youngest son and Emily's grandson, who was a well-known leader in the Church of God of Prophecy from the 1920's until his death in 1979.

Based on the estimated ages of the young boys in the photograph, I'd say the photo was made about 1901 or 1902.   Henry's wife, Martha Arminta ("Mint" or "Mitz") Sibley, died August 13, 1900 of typhoid, and she is not pictured in the photograph.  Luther A. Moxley was born in 1893, and he doesn't appear to be over ten years old here.

 The head piece that Emily is wearing is one occasionally found in photographs of really old women.  I know nothing about fashion history, but I think these sort of hats or head coverings were popular a long time before this photograph was made!   Emily's great-grandchildren remember seeing both this photograph and their great-grandmother wearing the head covering, which they described as sort of a scarf with a bow right up on top.

Emily C. Sims (unknown at this time what the "C" stands for) was born in June 1826 in Alabama.  Her parents are not known, but she is connected in some way to Drury W. Sims who was in the area at the same time.   Emily's husband Austin had extended credit to Drury W. Sims, as indicated in probate proceedings.    Drury was born c 1800 so he would have been of the right age to be Emily's father, or perhaps he was a much older brother.  It should be noted that Emily named one of her sons Drury.   Emily consistently indicated in censuses that her parents were born in South Carolina, and census records for Drury W. Smith and his wife Elizabeth consistently indicate they were born in South Carolina.

After Emily was widowed in 1855, at the age of 29, she moved her children to Franklin County, Alabama, possibly to be near her family.   Drury W. Sims was enumerated in Franklin County in the 1840 census and in neighboring Marion County in the 1850 census.    Strangely enough, in the 1860 census, Emily "Moxley" was listed in the household of John A. "Stuckey" along with her five children.  Emily and John were not married - they did not marry until 1866 in Madison County, Tennessee.  John was a couple of years younger than Emily but apparently Emily outlived him by over twenty years.   His date and place of death are not known.   His last name has been found as both Stuckey and Sturkey, but Emily's grandchildren and great-grandchildren called her Grandma Sturkey.

Emily was apparently quite a character.    One of descendants was quoted as saying the "meanness" came from the Sturkeys - meaning her!

A story about Emily has been passed down in the family.   One of her sons (not known which one) was in trouble with the law for killing a man over in Freedom Hills near Russellville in Franklin County, Alabama.   When men came to her house looking for her son, they hid out underneath the house to eavesdrop.  Emily could hear the men under the floor boards and see them through the cracks in the floor.  Casually, she put on a kettle of water to boil as if to make coffee or tea.   When the water came to a boil, she took the kettle and poured it on the floor above where the men were hiding.  The men left and never came back.

I've looked long and hard for Emily and her husband in the 1870 census but without result.  In 1880, they are living in Cross County, Arkansas with her son Drury Moxley and granddaughter E. C. Haley.  By 1890, Emily was apparently widowed.  She was shown on the 1890 Itawamba County Tax List, Fulton voting precinct, Mrs. E. C. Sturkey.  In the 1900 census, Emily was living with her son, Henry, in the area of Bounds Crossroads; she was 73 years old and widowed.   In the 1910 census, Emily continued to be shown living in Henry's household.  

Moxley graves at Bounds Cemetery
Emily died between 1914 and 1920.  Her great grandchildren have recalled her death, remembering the loud breathing, heard all over the house, and then the silence when she died "in her sleep."   One referred to her loud breathing as a "death rattle."    

No grave marker has been found for Emily C. Sims Moxley Sturkey, but her great grandchildren, who remember when she died, tell us that she is buried at the cemetery at  "Bounds Crossroads" next to their Grandpa Henry.   The Moxley graves at Bounds Cemetery are surrounded by a brick border, but there is only one headstone within the plot, that of Henry and Martha Moxley that has the inscription "They were the sunshine of our home."  Others known to be buried in the Moxley family plot are Henry and Martha's sons, Granville, Addison and Melvin.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

James Luke Robinson, born August 17, 1933

Remembering my daddy who was born 78 years old today.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

W. M. Robertson = Matthew W. Robinson

Several Robinson families with South Carolina roots settled along the MS-AL state line during the early years of this area's settlement.  More likely than not, they were related to each other - cousins, brothers and such.  The problem for me, and others who are descended from these Robinsons, is that although we know they are related, we just don't know the specific relationships.  Complicating matters is that the surname can be found spelled Robinson, Robertson, Robison, Roberson and other various ways, but this is not an indication of separate, unrelated families.  In fact, even with just one person, you will find their Robinson surname spelled all of the ways I've listed.   Not any one of the variant spellings is the "correct" one.  

How do we know that certain families are related, even though we don't know how?   Proximity to each other, property transactions between them, witnessing each others' deeds and wills, use of the same given names over and over through generations, common migratory patterns from area to area, intermarriages with the same neighboring families.  These are some of the clues that indicate a common ancestry.

Matthew W. Robinson was one of those men that almost certainly one "my" set of Robinsons.  He was born about 1802-1810 in South Carolina, married to Anna G. Liddle (or Liddell, which is a significant name back in Abbeville District, South Carolina).     It is possible that he is a brother to my GGG grandfather John E. Robinson, who was born 1808 in South Carolina and died near Tremont in 1896.  Matthew and John could be sons of John and Elizabeth Robinson who were in Lawrence County, Alabama in 1825.  John died 1825-1826, and Elizabeth moved with the rest of the Robinson families to what was then Marion County but is now the Pine Springs area (across the state line from Smithville) in present-day Lamar County (later, most of this group moved to the Tremont-Shottsville area).  Another possibility is that Matthew was the son of Matthew M. and Sarah Robinson, a couple born 1780-1790 in South Carolina and found in extreme southeastern Itawamba County adjacent to the area where Matthew W. Robinson lived for several years.  If you are interested in a more indepth discussion, please e-mail me.  I have a large amount of information to share.  My gut feeling is that Matthew W. Robinson was the son of John and Elizabeth, and the nephew of Matthew M. and Sarah. 

On our visit to NW Alabama a couple of weeks ago, we stopped at Newburg Cemetery where my GGG grandparents Isham and Rachel Loyd are buried.  Had to say hello, you know?  (Does anyone else have this affliction?)   While at the small cemetery, I snapped pictures of grave markers with intentions of posting them on the Find-A-Grave website.  Surprise!  There was a nice marker for W. M. Robertson, the only Rob*son marker in the cemetery.  Who was this fellow?  


The clue to the identity of the person buried in the grave marked W. M. Robertson is the date of death, March 12, 1891.  This is the same date of death found in the probate records for Matthew W. Robison (note the different surname spellins), husband of Anna Liddle.  Further, there is a newspaper item in the Hamilton Times issue dated March 19, 1891 which states, "Mr. Mat Robinson, aged 91 years, died at his home on Bull Mountain on last week."  (Again, a different spelling)  

There are other connections.  Matthew W. Robinson's daughter, Elizabeth E. "Betsy" Robinson, wife of Royal Newton Clay, has a granddaughter buried in the same small cemetery.   Matthew W. and Anna Robinson sold their property in southern Itawamba County in 1867, and in 1868 purchased land in Marion County on a branch of Bull Mountain Creek north of Shottsville near the Newburg Cemetery.
From this evidence, we can safely conclude that W. M. Robertson and Matthew W. Robinson are the same person.   

The date of birth on the grave marker for W. M. Robertson is August 16, 1796.   The source document for this date is not known to me.  Government census records are inconsistent as to the year of birth for Matthew W. Robinson, showing between 1802 and 1810.  Even the newspaper account indicates 1899-1900 as year of birth, based on age at death.   Age inconsistencies are not that unusual for this generation which grew up without many written records during a period of great growth and transition for our country.  Bibles and other documents with significant dates, if they existed at all, were often lost due to fire or frequent moves.  

Nearby grave marked by stone
Matthew W. (We don't know what the "W"stands for, but the initial is used often in the records, probably to avoid confusion with the older Matthew) Robinson has two sons buried near his former home Itawamba County, in Hopewell Cemetery, John Marion Robinson and Matthew Dixon Robinson (surname as spelled on their stones).    At the time of his death in 1891, Matthew's wife Anne was still living.  Her burial place is not know, but is suspected to be one of the unmarked graves nearby the W. M. Robertson marker.  Matthew and Anne's youngest daughters, Elvira Malinda and Linna Arrana, never married, and they are likely buried in unmarked graves nearby as well.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Henry T. Moxley, part two

Henry T. Moxley married Martha Arminta Sibley about 1868 in probably Franklin County, Alabama.

Martha, or "Mint" as she was sometimes called, was the daughter of Thomas Tanner Sibley and Martha Anne McCollum.  She was born in April 1852 in Franklin County, Alabama.

Henry and Martha used family names in the naming of their children, and this pattern is also seen in some of their grandchildren.  For instance, Milus (or Milas, Milus) appears to be a frequently used family name.   Martha Sibley Moxley had a brother named Milas McCollum Sibley, and I'm sure that Martha's grandson, Henry Milus Moxley, was named for his uncle.  (Note:  Sometimes Henry Milus is found as Minus instead, but this appears to be incorrect although possibly the name was changed inadvertently.)

Henry and Martha's son, Thomas Austin Moxley, was most likely named for each of his grandfathers:  Thomas Sibley and Austin Smith Moxley.  

Emily C. Moxley Holley was named for her grandmother, Emily C. Sims Moxley, but I don't know what the middle initial "C" stands for with either female.   Martha Sibley had a sister named Caroline.

Joseph McCollum Moxley, another son of Henry and Martha's, was named for Henry's brother Joseph plus Martha's mother's maiden name of McCollum.     James Richard Moxley was named for Henry's brother, Richard, with Richard being a well-used given name in the Moxley family.

Perhaps the most intriguing names are those of Addison, Richard, Joseph and Henry Thomas because not only do these names show up in Henry T. Moxley's family as either sons or brothers, but these men were supposedly all brothers of Austin Moxley, and sons of Christopher Moxley and Jane Smith in King George County, Virginia.   The consistent use of these names through several generations, and the link to Virginia, appears to connect our Austin Smith Moxley to this family.   A further tie-in is that Jane Smith Moxley had a brother named Austin Smith, as evidenced by the 1799 will of Thomas Smith in King George County, Virginia.   The only "red flag" that I see is that Jane Smith Moxley, and her husband Christopher, were born about 1775, while our Austin Smith Moxley was born in 1825, meaning they would have become parents around the age of 50.  Possible, but not too common.  Maybe our Austin was their grandson, but there are too many solid points of evidence to ignore the link to this Virginia family as ancestors of Henry Thomas Moxley.

Ervin Moxley, Henry's grandson, shared some family history with Cousin Don Dulaney a couple of years ago.  In this history, Henry's son Luther said that his father told him many times that the Moxleys were descendants of Captain John Smith of Virginia, coming to America from a town in England called Moxley.   Indeed, there is a Moxley town in West Midlands, United Kingdom, but the town does not appear to be older than the early 1800's. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Henry T. Moxley, part one

Henry T. Moxley was born July 12, 1844, and died May 13, 1928.  According to his death certificate, there was no doctor attending Henry when he died although "it was said he had Rheumatism."  Interviews with several of Henry's grandchildren in 2009 provided additional information about his death.    It seems that Henry was an excellent squirrel and rabbit hunter.   Even in his later years, Henry was a good shot.  After the death of Henry's second wife and after he got on up in years (he was nearly 84 when he died), Henry took turns living with some of his children.  Lucky for us, because his grandchildren have wonderful memories from those days of their grandfather that they have passed along to us.  Because of his advanced age, Henry couldn't work in the fields with the rest of the family, but he could still hunt and put game on the table, particularly rabbit and squirrel.   Henry had been rabbit hunting during a cold spell, became ill, and died a few days later.   Place of death on his death certificate:  Bounds Crossroads in Itawamba County.

Henry's death certificate confirms that he was the son of Austin Moxley of Virginia, and that his mother's maiden name was Sims, of Alabama.     The certificate doesn't tell us what the middle initial "T" stands for, and I've not found any other supporting document, but it is generally believed that his full name was Henry Thomas Moxley. 

Austin Moxley was a schoolteacher by profession.    His great-grandchildren have recounted how Austin's son Henry gave the land for Moxley Schoolhouse in northeastern Itawamba County.    Henry's son, Luther, was a schoolteacher at various schools throughout the county before joining the ministry.  Henry's son-in-law, Professor John F. Williams (husband of Florence), was a well-respected educator.  Another son-in-law, Joseph "Joe" Holley (husband of Emily), came from the well-known Holley family of teachers in Itawamba County.  Whether Henry was a schoolteacher himself is not clear.   It is thought that Henry once taught at Moxley School; his death certificate lists "farmer" as occupation.  Henry was said by his grandchildren to have been "smart."

In addition to being smart, Henry apparently was a good story-teller and had a sense of humor as well.   Grandchildren would gather at his knee to listen to his stories.  Henry told them that they were part Indian and entertained them with tales of his adventures with boats and sails "when he was in Virginia."  

Henry also supposedly served during the Civil War.  Could he have been in the Navy?  Some independent records indicate that he was a Unionist, enlisting in the 1st Alabama Cavalry of the Union Army.  I've found no source documents to support this assertion.  There was a Henry Moxley who was an assistant engineer in Union Admiral Farragut's attack on Fort Gaines on Dauphin Island in Mobile Bay.  Could this be our Henry, serving in the Union Navy?  Seems a bit unlikely.

There also is a record of a Henry Moxley who enlisted at Memphis with the 2nd Tennessee Regiment CSA.  We know that Henry's mother remarried in Madison County, Tennessee (just east of Shelby County and Memphis) in 1866, and that Henry's brother Joseph was married there in 1868.    Henry was living in Madison County in 1866 when he served as a bondsman for his mother's remarriage.  Maybe the Moxleys left the volatile Northwest Alabama area where tensions ran high between Unionists and Confederate supporters. 

One other possible record for Civil War service has been found.  An "H" Moxley enlisted as a private in Moreland's Regiment Cavalry, Company F.  From what I've learned about Moreland's Regiment, it was led by Col. Micajah Moreland of Tishomingo County, and many Alabama men enlisted just over the state line in Mississippi.  The geographical location of this Moxley enlistee seems to be more appropriate for our Henry.

There is also the possibility that our Henry could have been "persuaded" to join the Confederate cause, then later changed over to the Union army or navy.  This happened quite often.  More research is needed to determine if Henry T. Moxley served in the Civil War, and in which company/regiment, and for which side.   Henry would have been 17 years old at the start of the war, and it certainly seems likely that he would have seen service, especially a bit later on in the war.   In the South, the conscriptive draft made it difficult, if not impossible, for young men to avoid service, and the local Home Guard units were often charged with making sure every able-bodied male enlisted.

Wouldn't it be fun though, to discover that Henry served in the Union Navy? What a story!