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:  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!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Austin S. Moxley - what happened?

The Moxley name is not a common one in our area.  It is fair to say that if you live in NE Mississippi or NW Alabama, and have a Moxley ancestor, you probably are a descendant of Austin Smith Moxley.  Austin appears to have been the only Moxley who settled in this part of the country.  What brought him so far from his native Virginia?  We will probably never know for sure.  Like so many of his contemporaries, Austin was probably drawn by the lure of newly settled lands where opportunities and fresh starts availed.

We know Austin was an educated man.  The 1850 census for Fayette County indicated "schoolteacher" as Austin's occupation.    He left generations of descendants who were educators as well.  Moxley School in eastern Itawamba County received its name from sons and grandchildren who taught school.

Austin apparently was well-liked and well-respected.   Surviving records show that he was elected Justice of the Peace at least twice.  

Unfortunately, Austin's time on earth was not long; he died at the age of 30 of unknown circumstances, leaving a widow, four sons and a daughter.  Did he die of natural causes?  An illness?  Probate records include bills to the estate for medical services that indicate Austin was under a doctor's care for most of 1855, with daily medical visits from October 14 through October 21, when a visit to the "death bed" was referenced.  It appears that Austin died on October 21, 1855 from a chronic disease or illness rather than a sudden death.

A few records survived the disastrous 1866 fire at the Fayette County courthouse as well as other fires that destroyed most of the county's early public records.  In addition to the 1846 and 1847 officers bonds that I posted earlier on this blog, one 1848 deed record and several pages of probate records were found for Austin S. Moxley.

On December 15, 1848, Austin S. Moxley and his wife, Emily C. (Sims) Moxley, for five dollars, conveyed one square acre of land lying in the Southwest corner of the East half of Section 16, Township 15, Range 16 to Arthur Young.   The conveyance deed was witnessed by Isaac Green, Justice of the Peace, and recorded on January 9, 1849 in Record Book E.O. Vol. 6, pages 136 and 137 by John C. Moore, Clerk.

No will has been found for Austin.  Probate records exist at the Fayette County courthouse although they appear to be incomplete.     I doubt a will was prepared even though records seem to show that Austin would had have time to get his finances in order.  The reason I suspect there was no will is that an Administrator of the Estate of Austin S. Moxley was not appointed until September 1856 at which time an inventory of the previously "unadministered" estate revealed notes and accounts due to Moxley totaling $327.34.  Unfortunately, there were claims against the estate of $507.33 filed during the January 1857 term of court, and the administrator of Moxley's estate, Thomas P. McConnell, asked the court to declare the estate insolvent. 

The Letters of Administration appointing Thomas P. McConnell as administrator, and the subsequently filed inventory, schedules and the final settlement are recorded in Probate Court Record Book 1-A, pages 123-126.   The same record book, on pages 445-454, includes details of the receipts and claims of the estate, dated from 1856 through February 1857.

From here, the records appear confusing, and this is why I believe there are missing probate records.  In March 1857, a Final Settlement appears to have been filed by Thomas P. McConnell, administrator, on behalf of the A. S. Moxley Estate.  Yet, in 1861 there is yet another filing for the estate, found in Probate Record Book 11, pages 18-19, of a partial settlement.  In addition, at the same time, R. Allen Smith is appointed Guardian ad Litem to protect the interest of the minors at a hearing to be held August 1861.    This is the last probate record found for the Estate of Austin S. Moxley.    No minors were named in the record, and no record or minutes were found for the subsequent August hearing. 

In the 1860 census, Austin's widow and children were living in the household of John A. "Stuckey" in Franklin County, Alabama.  Apparently, the Moxley family had left Fayette County and moved northward to Franklin.   Mrs. Emily C. Moxley, Austin's widow, and John A. "Sturkie" were married April 10, 1866 in Madison County, Tennessee.  Emily's oldest son Henry T. Moxley, age 22, served as bondsman on the marriage license.  

Emily Moxley Sturkey moved to Arkansas by 1880 where she, her husband John, son Drury and granddaughter "E. C." were listed on the Cross County census in the Brushy Lake township.    By 1890, Emily is once again widowed.  Her name shows up in the 1890 Tax List for Itawamba County:  Mrs. E. C. Sturkey.   She last appears in the records in the 1910 census, living with her son Henry.  She was 83.  No death record has been found for her.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

My Dog Skip

 By Cousin Don Dulaney  

    Skip was the last dog I remember Papaw Dulaney owning. His attention from the family was the result of his affection for corncobs.  Papaw had trained him to retrieve or find one, and it provided much entertainment at the Dulaney family gatherings. However, what I remember was the gleam in Papaw's eyes when he focused on the little fiest dog. Seems like Papaw was happiest when he was working with animals, and I believe that his love for them came from his dad James (Jim) Henry Dulaney. Jim was a country veterinarian, and Lawrence picked up the trade and was the last of a breed in Itawamba County. All of Lawrence’s grandchildren at one time or another accompanied Lawrence on a visit to doctor an animal. My best memory would probably have to be the first time I saw him insert his arm, up to his shoulder, into a heifer to turn a breached calf about to be born. This was quite a sight for a nine year old little boy.
    I have often wondered why every old farmer had a dog. After I started thinking about Skip and Lawrence together, it started to come into focus. Lawrence wowed all of us with his squirrel hunting skills and his ability to not only see talent in his choice of dogs, but how to train that dog to perform the given task. Even today, during whatever brief encounters I have with my Dulaney cousins, those squirrel hunting trips with Lawrence and his squirrel dogs are always a topic. You never shoot a nest.  If the tree is hollow, you can always smoke the squirrel out.  The art of having someone “turn the squirrel” by walking around the tree, and the act of shaking vines - these are just a few of the things Lawrence left in my generation’s memories. I was much older, and Lawrence had passed on, before I realized the true values Lawrence found in these little creatures.
    A dog was just as important as the Jersey milk cow or the hog raised for slaughter. To understand Skip's true value, you have to picture the family farm that provided the character our dear Ole Itawamba has today. For example, the trip to the barn was an every morning and every afternoon event, to milk the cow and gather hen eggs. Like many farms, the path to the barn was littered with old iron plows, or maybe stacks of old wood, or maybe empty canning jars that Johnson grass had overtaken. Skip, our fearless hero, spent much of his time putting himself in harm's way, sniffing out dangers such as snakes or controlling the rat population. The farms were dark at night with scarce lighting.  However, the family dog provided not only an alarm to the sleeping farmer, he also kept danger at bay until the farmer could assess the situation. If it was helping put meat on the table, such as deep fried squirrel head, or going head-to-head with a rattlesnake, a dog truly was farmer’s best friend.   

    Lawrence did as his father and grandfather did; he became a master in finding the full potential in his dogs. The value Lawrence found in Skip involved all these things, however the gleam in his eye came from unquestioned loyalty and from the nonjudgmental ear little Skip provided, not to mention the one quality Lawrence probably valued above all others  -- that was the fact that Ole Skip never talked back.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Country Roads Take Me Home

On a drive through the back roads of Itawamba County, Mississippi and Marion County, Alabama this past Wednesday afternoon, Mike and I were exposed to some mighty pretty scenery.   We were delighted to find this wonderfully preserved dog trot, a perfect example of a typical Southern home a hundred years ago.  The house and grounds, even the out-buildings (every Southern farm had addition to the barn you'd likely find chicken house, smoke house, outhouse, corn crib, pig pen etc) are being meticulously kept up.  No one appears to be living in the house, but I can just imagine someone in the family lovingly taking care of the property.    It was a beautiful old homeplace in northern Marion County.

Mike and I like to meander on country roads, and until the advent of smart-phone technology and the use of GPS on our cell phones, we'd usually get lost.   We still do when the signal from the nearest tower disappears, and I no longer have use of my cell phone and its useful GPS mapping application (as happened on Thursday during our drive through the Sipsey Wilderness and Bankhead National Forest, but that's another story).   We weren't lost however when I snapped the photograph below.   The land along the MS-AL state line between Itawamba-Marion and Itawamba-Lamar and Monroe-Lamar counties is amazingly beautiful.  This area is very remote with very few (good) "back" roads connecting the counties, but if you have the time to meander you will be rewarded with great scenery.  I snapped the photograph below not long after we crossed Hurricane Creek into Marion County.  There are many beautiful coves and pastures and bottom lands if you just get out and wander around.  You could probably say I was in between families at the time the photo was made - George Emerson Robinson on one side of the state line on Cotton Gin Road, and Isham James Loyd in Bull Mountain bottom on the other side in Alabama, and Jesse B. Davis smack dab in the middle around the corner from Providence Church.    Go a little further south, and there's William T. Bishop along the state line in Bexar.  I like to think that maybe they were watching and smiling.