Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Wordless Wednesday
Aunt Sunaa

This picture was among photos in great grandmother Mary Byrd Markham's collection. On the back of the photograph was written "Aunt Sunaa/Sunny." I have no idea who this woman is. If you recognize her, I would love to know more about her. The photo was likely taken sometime in the 1930s.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Our Cornbread Queen

Mary Markham Wooley McDuffie b. 1882, d. 1938
Daughter of Melvin Wooley and Alice Markham
Wife of John McDuffie
Mother of Rosetta, Ordella, Melvin, Johnnie Mae, and Beatrice

Cousin Mary Markham Wooley McDuffie was the first known woman in our family to use eggs in making cornbread. They say she was a good cook. My mother would make what was called flap jacks by the family. She would use self rising meal and hot water, put spoonfuls in a hot greased cast iron skillet, when browned turn them over and put a lid on the skillet to complete the cooking process. When company was coming, she would use eggs and milk and bake the cornbread in a hot oven.

My favorite recipe for corn bread comes from Sylvia's Family Soul Food Cookbook. This recipe is not for dieters, calorie counting, low fat, no carbs eating folks. I usually half this recipe for my crew.

Sylvia's Steamin' Cornbread
2 cups yellow cornmeal
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup of sugar
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 1/2 cups milk
1 cup vegetable oil
5 large eggs

Preheat oven to 350. Grease baking pan
Mix together dry ingredients in one bowl
In large bowl, beat together milk, eggs and oil
Add cornmeal mixture, stir until combined
Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Mary was my great grandfather Monroe Markham's niece.
Rest in peace Sylvia Woods, restauranteur and author.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Wordless Wednesday
Lillie Belle Markham Thomas

Born about 1922
Daughter of Samuel Markham & Mary L Thompson
Wife of Jeremiah Thomas

Thank you Kristin

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Getting to Know Them

Last summer I surveyed the cemetery of Greater New Zion MB Church, hoping to know my paternal family better. I grew up with my paternal family and felt comfortable that I knew a great deal about their family history. Once I began serious research, I realized how little I knew. By the time of my realization, Dad, Grandma Gert, Uncles Junior and Ike, Aunts Anna, Alice and Rosie were all gone. This past week I have met a wonderful group of cousins from my Demyers side of the family. Meeting them has open new opportunities of research I will pursue.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Wordless Wednesday
Two Men Sleeping

My husband Greg and our grandson Jace
Greg heard me open the door, I told him not to move. He put the goofy smile on his face but I did catch them both asleep.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Sunday Morning People

They look like a group who just finish their Sunday School lesson in a church somewhere in Lincoln County, MS.
Photograph courtesy of Lincoln-Lawrence-Franklin Regional Library
100 South Jackson Street
Brookhaven, MS 39601

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy 4th

My family did not celebrate the 4th when I was a child. It was just another long hot day. I was about nine or ten when I realized for many families it was a day filled with barbeque parties, watermelon feasts, new summer clothes, and fireworks shows. It was not discussed why we didn't celebrate the holiday, it just was.

I wonder if it was because we were African American that we didn't celebrate. Maybe my folks felt like Frederick Douglass.

"What to the American slave is your Fourth of July? I answer, a day that reveals to him more than all other days of the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim. To him your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mock; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your religious parade and solemnity, are to him mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy - a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages. There is not a nation of the earth guilty of practices more shocking and bloody than are the people of these United States at this very hour."
Frederick Douglass - July 4, 1852

Maybe it was because we were southerners. I am a Mississippian.

"In the final days of the siege, the people of Vicksburg ate rats, cane shoots and bark. For 47 days Gen. Ulysses S. Grant ringed the city with 75,000 Union troops. Cannon balls crashed in; the sound of musketry seldom died. Finally the city surrendered. The date was July 4, 1863. After that, for the people of Vicksburg, the Fourth of July was never a day to be celebrated. National holiday or no, banks and stores stayed open in Vicksburg. Firecrackers never popped, skyrockets never tore the night sky." Time Magazine July 09 1945

Maybe it was because the 4th was another summer day; glorious, free from school, fun filled day of your own making. It was just another day to be happy.

My children Joseph and Joy are in above photos.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Rest in Peace Andy

Andy Griffith, sheriff of Mayberry, was one of my favorite television characters of my childhood. I still watch the show weekday evenings. I particularly admire the way Andy was protective of the incompetent, lovable, cousin deputy Barney Fife. Life was never as simplistic as it was portrayed in the program, but how I wish it was. Rest in Peace Andy.

Photograph from Google Images

Monday, July 2, 2012

Amanuensis Monday
Excerpt from the Will of Elizabeth Rice Brown

Elizabeth Rice was born 12 April 1787 in Union District South Carolina. She married Joseph Brown 29 March 1810. They moved to Copiah County, MS, between 1821 and 1824. She died 17 Nov 1855. She had about 19 slaves. A few of her slaves were the ancestors of members of my paternal family.

Here is an excerpt from Brown's will concerning the Sinclair family.
03 November 1855
...To my youngest & beloved son, Hezekiah G. D. Brown...Sinclair, a yellow man aged about forty years and his wife, Kisiah and their children, Isaiah, Jim, Louise (reserving Archy, their youngest child to the singular use & bequest of grandson, Joseph Brown, son of son Hezekiah.

Isaiah Sinclair married my gg grandmother Alice Demyers Overton Usher's sister, Margaret Demyers. Isaiah was born about 1844, died in 1917. Margaret was born about 1845, died in 1936.

Elizabeth Brown's last will and testament was found in Copiah County Probate Court Cases
Microfilm Number: 8183
Record found at MS Department of Archives and History
Federal Pension Records for Dave Overton Brown