Thursday, July 29, 2010

Allie's Education - Getting the Sheep Skin

Cousin Allie received all the education she could in Caseyville. She finished the 8th grade, repeating the grade twice, not from necessity but because she loved school. Allie wanted more education, she knew she didn’t want to stare behind the rump of a mule for a good portion of her life. Anxious to leave the “sticks of Caseyville,” she asked her father for his prayers and his permission because that was all he had to give.

Getting those eight years was difficult. Allie was sickly, sometimes too ill to attend school. Her father had asthma which got worse the older he became. Allie and her siblings had to help with the farm duties which contributed to them not being able to regularly attend school. They persevered. All of her siblings completed high school with the exception of one brother who left school to financially support the family. Two out of the seven obtained master degrees.

After receiving her father’s prayers and permission, Allie moved to the nearest town with a high school, Brookhaven, MS, where she lived with her Uncle Willie and Aunt-Cousin Fredonia, sharing a bed with their daughters Joyce and Willie Mae. Allie would arise every morning to bake a pan of biscuits, fry meat and put on hot coffee. Aunt Fredonia “took in laundry” and Allie would help Fredonia, earning an occasional 25 cents. She was not asked to perform these chores. She came with no money to pay for their hospitality, so, this was her way to give back.

Offered a job to do housekeeping and cooking for a family who had a general store, Allie accepted the position having spent two years with her family. Although it was in the sewing room, Allie had a bed of her own. She was pleased.

The family she worked for was kind to her; they provided what her family could not. The lady of the house would give her “piece goods.” Allie would take the fabrics to her sister Evie who was an excellent seamstress. The pieces of fabrics would be turned into slips, underwear, blouses and skirts. The family not only provided a job, shelter and clothing but they also encourage her to continue with her education.

Allie graduated from high school during the presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt. She would continue on to receive two years of college education through a program of FDR.

Allie’s story continues…

Allie's Birth

Monday, July 26, 2010

Madness Monday - Killed His Sister

The home of Luther Markham, colored, near Montgomery was the scene of a tragedy Saturday when the 9 year old son of Markham shot his 6 years old sister, resulting in her death Sunday. It seems the five children of the family were at home alone. The boy was reproved by his sister who threatened to "tell Pa," whereupon he seized a rifle and attempted to shoot the girl. Failing, he took down the shotgun, loaded it, and deliberately fired, inflicting the fatal wounds.

What to do with a criminal of that age is a puzzle to the authorities. Too young to be sent to penitentiary and no juvenile reformatory.

Lincoln County Times
July 25, 1918
Page 4
MS Department of Archives and History
Microfilm Number: 30698

You would think that a madness of this type would be remembered by the family, it was not. I haven’t found a family member who remembers Luther or his family. Luther was my mother’s 1st cousin twice removed; maybe, there was too much distance on the family tree. If it was not for this newspaper article, I would not know Luther Markham lived at least to 1918.

The only record I can find for him other than this article is the 1880 census. Luther is a 7 year old in the household of his parents William aka Alexander and Sally Markham. I can’t find a marriage record for Luther, nor do I find him as an adult in his own household, nor do I know the names of the children mentioned in the article. A death certificate was not found for the sister.

Looking over this article is inspiring me to take another look at this family. Hopefully, I can find the names of the children so their names can be remembered.

Part 2

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - School Children

This photo was taken somewhere in rural Copiah or Lincoln County, Mississippi, before 1925.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday - Buried Near Enslavers

John Coleman Bryant
Born About 1795 - Died 05 April 1875
Robinson Cemetery
Jefferson County, MS
Epitaph - "Farewell John Bryant, Tho Lost to Sight to Memory Dear"

Read more about John at this site - Bryant - McDaniel Family of Franklin and Jefferson Counties, MS.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Allie Mae's Birth

Mamie Culver Markham and Evie Markham

My life line in my hand is getting shorter, I won’t be here long is what Cousin Allie Mae said to me the last time we talked. I suppose when you are 98 years young, you know the sand in the upper hour glass is nearing empty. She often greets me by saying I am still here, which I think is a surprise to her that she is still here.

Allie Mae was born to poor parents in the rural south where farming was what most did. Allie’s parents sharecropped before owning their own land. Both parents worked in their rented fields and to make extra money they worked in neighbors’ fields, doing whatever was necessary.

On the morning Allie Mae was born, her father Octavis was raking hay for Prentiss Buie about 2 miles from their home. Prentiss Buie was the last son of the slaveholding family. Octavis and his siblings maintained a relationship with the Buie family throughout their lives.

Octavis Markham

Mamie, Allie's mother, was home with two young children when her labor pains began. Thinking quickly, Mamie sent Evie who was 4 years old with a note to the nearest neighbor, requesting she sends one of her workers to notify Octavis the baby is coming.

Octavis drops his rake and runs home to hitch the horse and wagon, going for the midwife. By the time he gets back with the midwife, the mother and new baby are on the floor welcoming him home. Allie Mae Markham was born September 29, 1911 in rural Lincoln County, Mississippi.

Allie Mae is my mother's first cousin

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Treasure Chest Thursday - Living Treasure

Allie Mae Markham Moncrief, a Living Treasure

Cousin Allie Mae is 98 years young. This photo was taken the year she and I met for the first time when she was 88. She is my living treasure with a clear mind and a wonderful memory of details. She was born in 1911 in Caseyville, Lincoln County, MS to Octavis Markham and Mamie Culver.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Waiting Monthly

This is a funeral home receipt book for my great grandparents Monroe Markham b. 1852 and Mary Byrd Markham b. 1855. Monroe was born in then Copiah County, Caseyville, MS, on the David Buie Plantation. I think Mary was born in Franklin County, MS, but I am not sure. The receipt book is special to me because it once was held by their hands. Monroe and Mary are my mother's grandparents.

I can imagine them putting their coins in a small bowl on the fireplace mantel waiting for the representative to come for his monthly visit. The receipt book was probably kept in a desk draw. He would greet them as Uncle Monroe and Aunt Mary. They may have offered him a cup of coffee, a glass of cold lemonade. They may have talked about the weather, crops, the row of pecan trees, dying and death, or the pretty flowers in the yard. He would carefully mark the receipt book and they would carefully put it back in the envelope and place it back in the desk draw until his next visit.

Recording of their payment begins 29th of October 1931, almost eighty years ago. Every page is neatly filled showing their faithful payments. The family paid $1 monthly for a family plan. The family consisted of Monroe, his wife Mary, and their three unmarried daughters Mary Jane, Beatrice and Inez. When heaven called the spirit home, the body would receive a casket valued at $100, a robe and hearse services.

Monroe died before this booklet was completed. He died 04 Jan 1932. You can see on the front cover where a line is drawn through his name and Mary's name is written above his as she now becomes the head of the household. The last payment in this receipt book was 31 Dec 1934.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Jehu's Garden

Jehu Marshall
1928 - 2002

I never knew Uncle Jehu to have a garden until he was a man in his late sixties, early seventies. As a younger man with a whimsical smile, he loved a cold beer and the ladies. He was not the settle me down kind, he was seek and you might find kind. He never married nor had children. My childhood memories of spending time with him are few. He would dart in the middle of the day for a quick visit, gone by nightfall. When my mother was told he was gardening, she was not a believer. How could he have a garden when he could not stay in one place long enough to collect gardening tools.

After a logging accident that caused nerve damage to his left hand and the illness of his companion, Uncle Jehu settle down in her house, on her land. He could now be found. He returned to something he was familiar with, to something his mother had taught him. He became a gardener.

How green did his garden grow or how well was the garden doing was the question my mother would ask the relatives. Uncle Jehu's gardens grew well. He loved growing cabbages, mustards, turnips, and collards, vegetables that required a good piece of ham hock or a smoked turkey part. He would also grow okra and tomatoes. Winter, spring or summer, we could count on him having a green vegetable he would happily share with us when my Mom and I would visit him in Brookhaven, MS.

Jehu was my mother's brother, her only sibling. He had a stroke in 2000, died in 2002.