Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Wordless Wednesday
Hannah and Granddaughters

Hannah Jane Wilcher Kelly
Front Row: Jessie Mae and Jocy
Back Row: Annie Ruth and Mickey

Picture Courtesy of Deborah Wright

How does Hannah connect to my family?
Hannah married Lewis Durr Kelly.
Lewis brother, Pearly Kelly, married my second cousin 1x removed Arnetta Byrd.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Three Brothers Married Three Sisters

Archie Hilliard
Born about 1874
Three brothers married three sisters. The brothers were the sons of Alexander Hilliard and Leitha Culver. The sisters were the daughters of James Coleman and Mary Ann Markham. They were born and raised in Lincoln County, Mississippi.

The three couples produced 25 double first cousins.

Archie Hilliard, Sr., (1874-1960), married Lucy Coleman (1874-1942), 13 Dec 1895, in Lincoln County, MS. Their children were: Archie, Jr., Lamar, Edward, Grover, Bessie, Lessie, Deforest, Jessie Mae, and Beasley.

John Hilliard (1870 - ?), married Levanna Coleman (1876 - ?), 12 Dec 1895, in Lincoln County, MS. Their children were: Ontee, Anna/Amizone, James, Gertrude, Mary, and Artimessia.

Versie Hilliard (1879 - ?), married Mary Coleman (1884 - ?), 13 Dec 1900, in Lincoln County, MS. Their children were: Estelle, Lucille, Luther, Versie, Jr., Garvey, Alma, Clifton, Marion, Mildred, and Mary.

Photograph Courtesy of Cherri Herring
How do the couples connect to my family tree?
The sisters' mother, Mary Ann Markham Coleman, and my great grandfather Monroe Markham were siblings.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Wordless Wednesday
Addie Markham Lenoir

Daughter of Grant Markham and Mary Lyons
Wife of Oscar Lenoir
Mother of Archie Johnson and Lamar Lenoir

How is Addie connected to my family tree?
Addie's father, Grant Markham, and my great grandfather Monroe Markham were brothers.

Photograph Courtesy of
Lincoln-Lawrence-Franklin Regional Library
100 S. Jackson St
Brookhaven, MS 39601

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Swift Justice
Negroes Lynched in Mississippi

Rape is a horrible crime. All perpetrators should be fully prosecuted under the law. Justice in this case was swift, without a trial, and no jury of peers, which is what I wish they had.

Negroes Lynched in Mississippi
Brookhaven, Miss, Aug 22 - The three negroes, Dick Cooper, Anthony Grant and Silas Johnson, who, at 3 o'clock on Sunday morning last, forcibly entered the residence of Mrs. Burnley and violated her person, were taken from the jail at 4 o'clock this evening and hung by the citizens, about 1,000 of who were present. Johnson was captured on Sunday. The other two were captured at Trenton, brought here this morning and lodged in jail. They confessed their guilt on the gallows.

Alton Telegraph, 27 August 1874, Page 2

Maria Burnley was the wife of Edwin Burnley, who owned Somerset Plantation. Edwin's daughters, Edwina Burnley and Bertha Burnley Ricketts, wrote the memoir describing their family and their childhood at Somerset plantation, near Hazlehurst, Copiah County, MS. Their father, Edwin Burnley (b. 1798), moved to Mississippi from Virginia in 1832 and married Maria Louisa Baxter (1820-1907) of Persippany, N.J., in 1852. The couple married in 1852, together they had five daughters: Jean, Hardenia, Fannie, Bertha, and Edwina.

How is Somerset connected to my family?
Virgina Williams/Taylor was a slave of Somerset. She married John T Demyers, my 2nd great grandmother Alice Demyers Overton Usher's brother. The Burnley family also owned an Overton family whose connection to my 2nd great grandfather, Dave Brown Overton, is unclear.

Friday, July 31, 2015

The Obituary of
Hannah Gary Overton Spencer Lyons

Hannah Lyons of Hazlehurst died March 8 1992, at her home.

Funeral services were held at 2 pm, Saturday, March 14, at Sardis M B Church with the Rev Henry Kelly officiating.

The daughter of the late Tom and Betty Weathersby, she was born April 14, 1895, in Copiah County.

Survivors are two sons, Ed Overton of San Palo, Calif, and Clyde Spencer of South Bend, Ind: a daughter, Bessie Bradley of Hazlhurst: and a host of grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Interment was in Sardis Cemetery with the House of Peoples Funeral Home in charge of arrangements.

How does Hannah connect to my family tree?
Hannah married my paternal grandmother's brother, Edgar Overton. Hannah's sister, Mary Gary, married my paternal grandmother's brother, Harmon Usher.

Hannah's photograph courtesy of Albert Benjamin Spencer, Jr
Hannah's Headstone
Obituary from Copiah County Courier Newspaper

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Hannah is still Hannah no matter the Surname

The process of documenting a woman's life can be like trying to find a needle in a haystack when her surname changes. Hannah had several different surnames during her lifetime.

Hannah was born to Thomas/Tom Gary, maybe Weathersby or Jones, and Bettie Thompson, April 1895, in Copiah County, MS. Twenty years old, Thomas Gary is living next door to a Stephen and Hannah Jones who are old enough to be his parents. I suspect Stephen and Hannah, or one of the two, are his parents. More research is needed to verify the theory.

Hannah Gary is a five year old in 1900. She is living with parents Thomas and Bettie Gary; siblings: Willie, Mary, Thomas, Jr., and Bettie Jean. Shortly after her 15th birthday, she married my paternal granduncle Edgar Overton, 11 Aug 1910, in Copiah County.

The Gary family was not found in the 1910 census, nor was Edgar Overton. Edgar and Hannah Overton are found in the 1920 census with their children: George, David, E J, Richmond, Jones Sam, and Mary. The marriage didn't last much longer. Edgar died 10 Aug 1923.

Albert Brown Spencer's wife Mary died in May of 1923. Widow Overton and widower found solace with each other, married about 1925. They had two children together, Bessie and Albert. Hannah Spencer became a widow again. Albert B Spencer died 06 Apr 1927.

Two husbands dead less than five years, Hannah raised her children from those relationships. The Overton and Spencer children are in the household with their mother in 1930 and 1940 censuses.

Hannah's last husband was Washington Lyons. Hannah Lyons outlived another husband. Washington died 21 Sep 1990. Hannah died 08 May 1992. Hannah died in Copiah County, MS.

I followed Hannah by following her children. Searched her death date, was not successful because I was looking for Hannah Spencer. I found Hannah Lyons on an Ancestry tree with the same set of parents named on my family tree. Found her on Find a Grave and searched for an obituary to verify it was the same person, she was.

How does Hannah connect to my family tree?
Hannah married my paternal grandmother's brother, Edgar Overton. Hannah's sister, Mary Gary, married my paternal grandmother's brother, Harmon Usher.

Hannah's photograph courtesy of Albert Benjamin Spencer, Jr
Hannah's headstone photograph from Find a Grave

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.