Friday, August 31, 2012

Minnesota's story

What happened to Minnesota, daughter of Jemima Robinson and David M. Purnell?  Before the contact by Dean Howell Page, the last known record was of Minnesota living with her grandparents, Henry J. and Catherine Robinson, during the 1900 census.

According to Dean, her husband's aunts, with whom she spoke, recalled her as Minsy.   Her full name was Easter Catherine Elizabeth Minnesota Purnell.  She was apparently named for her grandmother, Linia Catherine Emerson Robinson, and her great-grandmothers, Easter Robinson Emerson and Elizabeth (maiden name unknown) Robinson.  Easter is a family name that goes back to South Carolina, and probably to Scotland.  Easter (namesake of Easter Robinson Emerson) is believed to be the wife of Matthew Robinson, the father of many of the Robinson men found in early Marion County, Alabama and Itawamba County, Mississippi.  She was the daughter of James Liddell and Easter Porter, both thought to be Scots-Irish who came to Maryland or Delaware from Scotland and migrated down into Virginia and then Abbeville District, South Carolina.  Easter was the Scottish pronunciation of the name Esther, thus you will often find it both ways.

In the 1910 census, Minnesota was 32 years old and single, living with the family of her aunt, Sarah E. Purnell Robinson.  Minnesota's father, David M. Purnell, was Sarah's brother. Sarah was married to John E. Robinson, son of David Matthew Robinson and nephew to Minnesota's grandfather, Henry J. Robinson. (Note:  This is a different John E. Robinson from the one married to Rachael Reed Emerson.)   In the 1910 census household, Minnesota was listed, or transcribed, as Misnus Powell.

In the 1920 census, I never would have found her although she was right under my nose!  Minnesota married around 1913 to Harrison Brown, and their only child, Viola, was born a year later.  Harrison and "Easter M." (her name in the census record) were living next to my great-great grandfather, Samuel L. Cofield, between the Shottsville and Bexar communities.   Further, Harrison Brown's World War I draft registration card indicates that he was employed as a farm worker by Sam Cofield!  (The Cofields were my grandmother Pearl's family while my grandfather Luke was a Robinson -- two unrelated families.)

A bit more digging turned up Minnesota's obituary, as extracted and posted on the Itawamba County genforum website.  Minsy died in 1957 and was buried in the cemetery at Shottsville.  Her daughter, Viola, married Dewey Gullick and lived most of her life near Tremont.  Viola and Dewey were members of Asbury Methodist Church, and they are buried in the church cemetery.

And that, my friends, is the rest of Minnesota's story.  As I've often said, genealogy is like picking at the loose threads of a quilt.  Sooner or later, if you pull at enough threads, the quilt will unravel to show what's underneath. 

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