When speaking with relatives about family history, I am often told to keep this piece of information between you, me and the gate post. Respecting sensibilities, I will share my family stories entwine with historical events from Copiah, Jefferson and Lincoln Counties, Mississippi, from gate post to gate post.
I live near a Confederate cemetery and have passed by many times, telling myself I will stop when time permits. My people are southerns, tried and true, born and bred southerns. This, too, is a part of my family's story. On Veteran's Day, I decided to visit.
The Confederate Cemetery in Raymond contains the graves of 140 Confederate soldiers who were killed during the battle of Raymond on 12 May 1863, or who died as a results of their wounds. Reading one of the markers, I learn that most of the men who died were from Tennessee and Texas. Union dead from the battle of Raymond were initially buried in the cemetery but later moved to the Vicksburg National Cemetery.
The Confederates failed to prevent the Federals from reaching the Southern Railroad and isolating Vicksburg from reinforcement and resupply. None of my ancestors or the people they knew were involved in the battle of Raymond. They would be in Vicksburg.
Two diarists recorded the murder of William Anderson Killingsworth and the destruction of his home by fire in Lorman, Jefferson County, Mississippi. Slaves of Killingsworth were accused of the murder and setting the house on fire. They were tried, convicted and hung within four months for the crime. While the house was ablaze, unnamed slaves of Killingsworth rescued his body and his three children from the fire.
A motive for the murder is not known, although it was speculated by Killingsworth's descendants that the slaves who committed the crime were field hands, angry with Killingsworth because of his business of tracking and capturing runaway slaves.
Killingsworth owned Richard "Dick" Bailey, the blacksmith, and his wife Maria and their children. They may have helped to recover his body and his children from the burning house. Richard and Maria's descendants married cousins of my cousins.
Diary Entries 1854
July 20: There was an awful murder committed at Killingsworth' s last night. He was murdered by his negroes & the house burned down. He had 4 children but the house was discovered & the children were taken out. Susan Sillers Darden Diary
Thursday July 20, 1854 - This morning 2 o'clock or before Billy Killingsworth murdered by his negroes and his house burned down. Great many people collect. His runaway Jesse suspected. Dr. Walter Wade Diary
Friday July 21, 1854 - People all collect again. Negro boy Albert confess to have seen Jesse murder his master & that he was with him. Caught two of his runaways today, Moses & Lucy. Dr. Walter Wade Diary
Saturday July 22, 1854 - In pursuit of Jesse this morning. Dr. Walter Wade Diary
Sunday July 23, 1854 - Caught Jesse at the bridge between Grand Gulf & Port Gibson. Dr. Walter Wade Diary
Monday July 24, 1854 - Jesse bought back. Acknowledges killing his master and setting the house on fire, and says Albert, Charles and old Bill assisted. Dr. Walter Wade Diary
Tuesday July 25, 1854 - The above negroes sent to jail to await their trial for murder & arson. Many people present and many were for administering punishment in a summary way. Dr. Walter Wade Diary
July 25: They have taken the negroes that killed Mr. Killingsworth; there was four concerned. They are in jail. Susan Sillers Darden Diary
July 26: Mr. Darden went to Fayette this eve; they were trying those negroes; they were all committed to jail. Susan Sillers Darden Diary
Oct. 21: Mr. Darden went to Fayette to serve on the jury to try the Killingsworth negroes. Susan Sillers Darden Diary
Oct 23: Old Jesse & Albert were sentenced to be hung in Nov. For killing their master Mr. Killingsworth. They were trying old Bill & Charles for burning the house down. Susan Sillers Darden Diary
Nov. 21 Our negro man went to Fayette to see Jesse & Albert hung for murdering their master W. Killingsworth, Jesse confessed that he done it all, that no one helped to do it; exhorted his fellow servants to be faithful & do their duty. Susan Sillers Darden Diary
William Anderson Killingsworth was born 1821 in Tennessee, son of Anderson Killingsworth and Mary Sweet. He died 19 July 1854 in Jefferson County. Mississippi. He married Nancy Ann Shaw, daughter of Thompson Breckenridge Shaw and Mary Shaw. She was born 1820 in Mississippi, and died 23 June 1853 in Jefferson County, MS. Their children were Francis, Horace, Valencia, William, and Albert.
Frances was attending school at the time of her father's death; Horace died in 1853; Valencia, William and Albert were the children rescued from the fire.
Mollie Whalam Born in Jefferson County, Miss Died June 15, 1890 "She was a kind and affectionate wife, a fond mother and a friend to all." Buried at Hickory Block Cemetery Union Church, Jefferson County, Mississippi
Mollie Whalum was not found in the census records. The Whalum surname has a variety of spellings, which could be one reason she was not found. A candidate for Mollie is sixty year old Mary Whaland found in 1880, married to Henson who was a widower in 1900.
Almost a year ago, I wrote about my grandmother's long wait for grandchildren. My daughter and son-in-law promised me that they would not make me wait as long as my grandmother to hold the first bundle of love. My first grandchild/son arrived 11/01/11 at 12:13 pm. I wonder what a numerologist would think of those numbers. He weights 7lbs and is 20.8 inches long. I think he is the best baby I have seen in 26 years.