Sunday, July 26, 2015

Sunday Obituary
The Voice of Copiah County
Abt 1920-2015

On Wednesday, January 14, 12:40 p.m. at the University Medical Center in Jackson, MS, God saw that the hills were getting harder and harder to climb. He gently closed Wilmer's loving eyes, and whispered softly, come home my child.

Wilmer was born to the late William (Bill) and Alice Lofton Durr on Dec 12th some many years ago in Copiah County. He was the 4th of five children born to this union, three preceded him in death. Other siblings preceded him in death: Albert Durr, Mike Durr, Eudell, and Ella B. Wilmer attended Pine Leaf Elementary School. After becoming an adult, he united in holy matrimony to the late Rosie Mae Childs Durr in 1937. To this union seven children were born, one preceded him in death, Dennon.

Wilmer served in the United States Navy. After returning from the Navy, he furthered his education at the Antioch Baptist Church. He worked numerous jobs, Britts Motor Company, Hazlehurst Public Schools as a bus driver, Hardy Wilson Memorial Hospital where he retired as an orderly. Wilmer was a spiritual DJ for 50+ years at WMDC and WOEG radio stations in Hazlehurst. He also managed and organized the gospel group known as the Christian Travelers.

Wilmer joined the Providence Baptist Church at an early age. He served as Sunday School superintendent, a Sunday School teacher, and he also sang in the choir. He served as a deacon 60+ years.

Wilmer leaves to cherish his memories three daughters: Dorester, Emma Shirley, Dora Lynn (Darrell) of Jackson, MS; three sons: Wilmer L (Geraldine), William Charles of Detroit, MI, Rickey (Felicia) Brookhaven, MS; one brother, Lorse Durr (Annie B); one daughter-in-law Bettie R Durr, Hazlehurst, MS; sisters-in-law; Elma L Shannon, Brookhaven, MS, Charlie M Sheperd, Detroit, MI, and brother in-law Eddie F Shannon, Detroit, MI; 24 grandchildren, 33 great grandchildren, 12 great great grandchildren, a host of nieces, nephews and acquaintances.

Wilmer was born about 1920 per census records.

How does Wilmer connect to my family tree?
Wilmer and my paternal grandfather, Mike Durr, were brothers.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Cousins Spending Time Together on a Summer Day

Allura Freeman Wade and Bettie McDaniel Neal

The joy seen on their faces is priceless. I think this was the first time the cousins met. One lives in Arizona and the other in a Chicago suburb. They share a set of 2nd great grandparents, John Coleman Bryant and his wife Elizabeth McDaniel.

John and Elizabeth were slaves in Franklin County, Mississippi. The couple had two sons to survive to adulthood and produce children. One son chose to use the surname of his mother's slave owner, John McDaniel; the other son chose to use the surname his father used, which was Bryant.

How do the 2nd cousins connect to my family tree?
Their 3rd cousin, Mary Lou McDaniel, married my 1st cousin 2x removed, Frank Scott, Sr.
Their 3rd cousin, Mamie J Bryant, married my 1st cousin 2x removed, James Coleman.

Photograph Courtesy of Anthony Neal, Sr

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Wordless Wednesday
Sidney Winston Davis

Daughter of Andrew and Mary Peach Demyers Winston
Wife of Cyrus Davis
Mother of Malissa Taliaferro, Robert Jiles, Ella Davis, Charles Davis, Eliza Davis, Smith Davis, Mattie Davis, and John Davis

Death Certificates for Sidney Winston Davis, Syrus Davis and Smith Brown Davis

Photograph Courtesy of Beverly Smith

Sidney is my 1st cousin 3x removed.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Kisanna Middleton Jones - Her Story

Picture from St Luke Cemetery - Franklin County MSGHN

Kisanna/Cassandra Middleton Jones was born between 1833-1845 in Franklin County, MS, on the Columbus Grissom/Grisham's farm. Kisanna's parents were Wilson and Fannie Carnell. The Gisham's farm had a total of 9 slaves in 1860. As soon as she was capable, Kisanna's responsibility was to nurse the sickly mistress of the household, Mary Grisham.

After the War, Kisanna remained on the plantation where she married another of the Grissom's slaves whose surname was likely Middleton. Casandra along with three other freedmen were named on a Freedmen's Bureau labor contract with C. K. Grisham, dated September 12, 1865.

I couldn't find Kisanna in 1870, but she (Cassandra Middleton) was found in 1880 living alone with her four sons: Walter Gainer, 14; Preston Middleton, 10; Joseph Middleton, 7; and Jesse Middleton, 3, in the Cains community of Franklin County, MS. Kisanna worked as a house servant for the William McDonald family and her son Walter was a farm laborer. None of the children attended school and no one in the household could read or write.

Kisanna Middleton married Elbert J Jones, 04 Dec 1899, in Franklin County, MS. His children and hers are all living together in 1900. Elbert owns his own farm free of mortgage. His sons are working as farm laborers and daughter is a day laborer. Kisanna and her children are not listed with occupations. The family is living next door to Dan Buie and his family. According to Kisanna's slave narrative, Kisanna and her family worked for the Buie family. No one in the household had attended school and no one could read or write.

Preston Middleton, Kisanna's eldest son is listed as blind in the 1910 census, living with his mother and her husband Elbert. In 1920, the Middleton's household is full with Kisanna's son Preston, Elbert's son Ebby, Ebby's wife and seven children. Other members of the family are living near them.

Elbert died Dec 31 1928. Kisanna is living with her two sons in 1930. Joseph Middleton is divorced, 56, head of the household and is farming on his own account. Preston, who never married, and Kisanna are unemployed. On 29 Nov 1937, Kisanna died over the age of 100 years. She is buried in the St Luke Church Cemetery in Franklin County, MS.

Kisana Jones' Death Certificate


Workers Project Administration Slave Narrative
Kisanna Middleton

Kisanna's mother was a slave belonging to Columbus Grissom. Kisanna was born on this plantation about 1834 as a slave. As soon as she was large enough she began helping in the Grissom home. Mrs. Grissom was ill much of the time and Kisanna nursed her and cared for her as long as she belonged to the Grissoms. Kisanna married one of the slaves on the Grissom plantation, but she continued her work at the house.

When the slaves were freed they did not know where to go or what to do with their new found freedom. Kisanna and her husband stayed on at the plantation and worked for wages for several years. During this time her first husband died. She then moved about from one plantation to another for several years and worked as share cropper.

Kisanna married again and moved to the Dan Buie place in District 5. She helped in the house here and nursed the Buie children. She had several children of her own and these boys helped rear the Buie children.

Kisanna and two of her sons now live near the old Buie home. Kisanna is blind and very feeble. She can hardly walk for she is bent and crippled. She has only a few kinks of white hair left. Her oldest son is blind and has a long white beard. Her baby son is more than sixty years old. These three live in an old tumbled down shack; neither of the boys are married.

They like to talk about their masters and old slave days when they were well cared for and happy.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Memorial Day 2015
Homer Markham

Homer Markham was born about 1893 to William Markham and Mary Howard, in Lincoln County, MS. He was a teacher and farmer. Basic training was at Camp Grant, near Rockford, Illinois. He served as a cook during World War I. Homer was injured and spent time in a Tennessee hospital for disable soldiers. He returned home to Brookhaven, MS, where he married Mary Louise Tillman Harris. No children were born to the union. Homer died 02 Sep 1929, from his injuries.

Photograph from Find a Grave

Homer was my 2nd cousin 2x removed.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Wordless Wednesday
Cora and Frederick Watson

Cora 1895 - ? ~ Frederick 1877 - 1931

Two of their daughters married brothers, my Markham cousins.
Rayfield Markham married Arzetta Watson 04 Nov 1947
Thallious Markham married Celestine Watson 13 Jan 1948
Both marriages occurred in Lincoln County, MS.

Photograph courtesy of Lauren Dixon, the couple's great granddaughter

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Ann and Henry
They Survived

Henry's Daughter, Narcissus Israel Wooley

In May 1837, four months old Henry Israel and his 16 year old mother Ann, arrived on the Buie Plantation in Caseyville, Lincoln County, MS. At the time of their arrival, David Buie, their owner was about 20 years old and unmarried. As an eligible bachelor, David was probably preparing for his future household and bride by purchasing a pair of slaves who would deliver years of service.

The Buie family arrived in the Natchez District between 1805-1810 from North Carolina. They left the Upper South where land was becoming scarce with the divisions of estates and their families began to look westward to the new Mississippi Territory where the land was available.

Reverend C. W. Grafton wrote of the early life around the area. "Everything was young, bright, fresh, and full of life and vigor. The country abounded in game and the streams in fish. The lowlands and sometimes the hills were covered with crane brakes. Farming was an easy matter at that day. Burn away the brakes and plant your corn and you would be sure of an harvest."

I have often wondered how slaves coped after they were sold. I remember reading that some of them felt being sold from place to place as a death. Those they left behind were dead to them.

Henry and Ann were members of a busy household. They helped a young couple realize their American dream. David Buie married Jane McLaurin in 1840, purchased acres of land and by 1850, he owned 30 slaves. The number of slaves held steady in 1860, 31 slaves. Henry, his mother Ann and her husband Jack Buie would be included in that number. Ann had several more children, some did not survive childhood.

Henry and Ann probably worked the fields and where ever needed.

The family did not sit passively when an opportunity to fight for freedom came. Henry's brother Perry Buie served with Company K, 58th Regiment, United States Colored Infantry. His mother described Perry as 5 feet 4 inches tall, heavy built, copper or "ginger cake" complexion, eyes black and rather large. Perry enlisted 27 Aug 1863, died 02 Oct 1863 of measles contracted in the service at Natchez.

George Thomas, Henry's sister Rhoda Buie's husband, enlisted September 18, 1864, in Company F, 58th Regiment Infantry. George at the age of 27 heard that General Grant had taken Vicksburg, left Natchez, traveled over sixty miles hiding in cane brakes and fields to reach Vicksburg and join the Yankees. George enlisted under the alias of George Washington and was discharged for disability May 10, 1865. After discharge, he returned to Caseyville, married Rhoda Buie and father at least 10 children.

Henry married Martha Ann Henderson, they eventually owned their own farm. Martha was likely a second wife. The 1870 census has Henry recorded at 31 years of age with wife Martha, 25 years of age. The children in the household were: Lily, 17; Phoebe, 10; Sarah Jane, 5; Narcissus, 4; and Martin, 2. They are living and working on the farm of David Buie. No one in the house can read. All the children are gone, in 1880, except Carey who was 12. Henry and Martha have only a nephew in the household with them in 1900. Henry is not found in 1910 and by 1920, Martha is a widow living in the household of her daughter Narcissus Wooley.

Ann died sometime in late 1896 or early 1897 as she was dropped from the pension rolls June 1897 for failure to claim pension. Henry died between 1900-1920.

Ann and Henry survived slavery, lived several decades in freedom. They have many descendants, some of which are my cousins.

Henry's children married:
Sarah Jane Israel married Joe Buie
Narcissus Israel married Melvin Wooley
Martin Israel married Mary Thompson
Carey Israel married Celia Culver
Lily and Phoebe's spouses are unknown.