Saturday, December 19, 2015

First Christmas School Program

Grandson Jace is in the green sweater. This was his first Christmas school program. His little group jingle bells to a non-traditional Christmas song this granny can't remember.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Wordless Wednesday
McDaniel Brothers

Demetrius and Martin Luther McDaniel III

How do the boys connect to my family?
The brothers' great grandaunt Mary Lou McDaniel married my cousin, Frank Scott.

Photograph courtesy of Anthony Neal, Sr

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Tombstone Tuesday and the Shotgun

The double shotgun house has been demolished. It sat on the edge of a well known cemetery in Jackson, Mississippi, Greenwood Cemetery.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Ora Coleman Lee

Notice the outhouses, clothes waving in the wind, and the houses in the background. Ora was likely born in Lincoln County, Mississippi. She and the family she created lived in Winnsboro, Louisiana. She was the daughter of Henry Coleman, Sr, and Florence Washington. She married John Emanuel "Manuel" Lee.

How does Ora Lee connect to my family?
After the death of Ora's father, her mother Florence married James "Jim" Scott.
Jim Scott was the son of James Pearly Scott, Sr., and Viola Markham.
Viola Markham Henderson and my great grandfather, Monroe Markham, were siblings.

Picture Courtesy of Ivy Lee, Grandson of Ora

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Sunday Obituary
Geneva Scott Smith 1928-2015

Geneva Smith, 88, of Grand Rapids went to be with her Lord on Sunday, November 22, 2015. She will be lovingly remembered by her children Lula Faye Smith, Lois (David) Foster, Doris Smith and Brenda Smith Cunningham, son Charles Smith; thirteen grandchildren, forty one great-grandchildren, a host of family and friends.

How does she connect to my family tree?
Geneva was the daughter of Frank Scott and Mary Lou McDaniel
Frank Scott was the son of James Pearly Scott and Catherine M Markham
Catherine Markham Scott and my great grandfather, Monroe Markham, were siblings.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Work on Negro School to Start Soon

The Alexander High School Football - Big 8 Champions 1939 of Brookhaven, Mississippi, standing in front of a building, which might be the new one referred to in the newspaper article below. The start of the new building was in 1936.

The next big project up for the WPA will be the negro school building, which will cost over $35,000 according to present estimates. It will be a modern, brick veneer building and one that should be a credit to the community. Work should be underway in the next two or three weeks.

The present school is badly in need of replacing and there are few who do not rejoice with our colored friends in the fact that this dilapidated building is to be replaced with an attractive, efficiently planned one.

1st row - George Evans - trainer, Earl Dickson, J.C. Blackwell, Willie McDaniel, Lamar Lenoir, John Dow, Mack Smith - trainer

2nd row - Leroy Wilson, John Collins, Joseph Levi, Leander Wells, Willie McGee, David Crump, James Crump

3rd row - Robert Wesley, Edward Spencer, Frank Cook, David Smith, Murray Crushon, Roscoe Brown, Jack Evans, Charles Hunter, Robert Green

4th row - Coach Robert Wolf, H.E. Brown - trainer, James Albert Davis, Robert Johnson, Sterling Culver, Gerald Smith, J. May, E.W. Wesley, Woodrow Coleman, Robert Green, Tommy Hill - trainer, and Head Coach C.N. Buchanan, and J.W. McDaniel, J. E. Smith

Photograph Courtesy of Lincoln-Lawrence-Franklin Regional Library
100 South Jackson Street
Brookhaven, MS 39601

Lincoln County Times
Jan 11 1936
Brookhaven, MS

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Veteran's Day - 2015

Mozell Ball
World War II
Son of Alex Ball and Adla Jackson
Husband of Lue Dora Coleman
Husband of Mary Elizabeth Williams

How does Mozell Ball connect to my family tree?
Lue Dora Coleman, Mozell's wife, was the daughter of Smylie Coleman and Joanna Benson.
Smylie Coleman was the son of Henry Coleman and Eudora "Dora" Markham.
Eudora Markham Coleman and my grandmother, Alice Markham Marshall, were sisters.

Find a Grave - Mozell's Headstone

Photograph courtesy of Cory Broadnax
Private Collection of Jurlean Coleman Thomas

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Grant and Mary Lyons Markham
b. 1868

Grant Markham 1868-1947
Son of James Markham and Marilda Whitney

Mary Lyons 1868-1940
Daughter of John Lyons and Fannie

The couple's children were:
Addie, Susie, Lillie, Clara, Lucile, Rosa, Ora, Olian(Otis), and Bertrand.

How does the couple connect to my family?
Grant Markham was a brother to my great grandfather,
Monroe Markham.

Photograph Courtesy of Otis Markham, Jr
Direct Descendant of the Couple

Monday, November 2, 2015

Obituary of Ada Bessie Henderson Banks

Katie, Ada, Roosevelt, and Jean

Ada B Banks was born September 17 1919 to the late Walter, Sr., and Pinkie Markham Henderson.

She confessed Christ at an early age and was a faithful and dedicated member of the Zion Chapel AME Church.

She met and married Gilmore W Banks and to this union four children were born.

Ada was called home to receive her wings on Tuesday, October 20, 2015.

Ada was preceded in death by her parents Walter, Sr and Pinkie Henderson; her husband, Gilmore W Banks; 5 brothers, Lee, Alustra, Evan, Herman and Walter, and 1 sister, Lenora H Bell.

She is survived by and will be deeply missed by her brother, Willie Lee Henderson (Luvenia); children, Katie Dillion, Roosevelt Banks, and Irma Jean Banks; 11 grandchildren; 35 great grandchildren; 10 great great grandchildren and a host of nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.

How does Ada connect to my family?
Ada's mother Pinkie Markham Henderson was the daughter of Jacob Markham and Caroline Johnson.
Jacob Markham and my great grandfather, Monroe Markham, were brothers.

Photograph Courtsey of Nathaniel Thomas

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Wordless Wednesday
Charlie Benson 1878 - 1962

Son of James Benson and Laura Mae Pierce
Husband of Lula Young and Dora Henderson
Father of Joanna, Nannie, Nathaniel, Louada, R W, Laura, Charlie Ray, and Helen

How does Charlie connect to my family?
Charlie's daughter, Joanna, married Smylie Arthur Coleman.
Smylie was the son of Henry Coleman and Eudora "Dora" Markham.
Eudora and my maternal grandmother, Alice Markham Marshall, were siblings.

Photograph courtesy of Cory Broadnax
Direct Descendant of Charlie Benson

Monday, October 26, 2015

Negro Woman Beaten to Death
Officers Believe
June 1936

Cleo James, 25, negress, who was found in a serious condition on railroad tracks just north of town several days before died yesterday in the King's Daughters hospital from head wounds. At first negress claimed she had been struck by a train but Chief-of-Police Smith learned that she later told friends she had been violently beaten by George Humphreys, a negro with whom she had been going and was thrown on the tracks by him following the beating.

Humphreys is in jail here charged with murder.

Cleo's death certificate lists the cause of death , struck by locomotive at Brookhaven, Miss.

How does Cleo James connect to my family tree?
Cleo's accused murderer is on my tree. George Humphrey's descendant married into my Markham family. There are four George Humphreys on my tree, not sure which one is the accused.

Newspaper article from:
Lincoln County Times
Thursday June 18 1936
Brookhaven, Mississippi
Microfilm Number: 30718
Microfilm found at Mississippi Department of Archives and History

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Rehobeth Methodist Church
circa 1839

This church is located in an area where once wealthy slave owners were not timid in displaying their wealth. Church attire was a concern among members. Wealthier women wore their New York fashions and silks in contrast to their poor sisters who dressed in their long black calico dresses and bonnets. Should they had hid their wealth?

The church is located in rural Copiah County on Barlow Road in the Barlow Community.

"Rehoboth was Methodist church about four miles northeast of Somerset. The Taliaferros, Browns and Hawkins, and we went there on Sundays to church, and a good many other people...I think she (Cousin Melissa Taliaferro) always wore those "party dresses" to church for Bertha remembers her at Rehoboth in a light green silk with bare neck and arms."
Edwina Burnley Memoirs

Melissa Ann Brown Taliaferro

How does this church connect to my family?
The Taliaferro and Brown families, who were members of this church, were slave owners of members of my family.

Melissa Brown Taliaferro's husband, Richard H Taliaferro, owned 44 slaves; father Edwin Rice Brown owned 190 slaves, per the 1860 Copiah Slave Schedule.

Melissa's picture is courtsey of Suzanne Brown.
Religion in Mississippi

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Sunday Obituary
Maggie Lean Smith

Maggie Lean Scott was born on December 26, 1927, in Caseyville, Lincoln County, Mississippi. She was the first born child of Rev Perlie Scott and Fannie Thomas Scott. Zion Chapel AME Church was where the family worshiped. The church also served as one of the elementary schools of the community. As a rural farming area, Caseyville children could only go so far educationally. In her early years, the family joined the Triumph Holiness Church where her father became a minster and later the pastor.

At the age of 16, she married her childhood friend and neighbor, Robert Lee Smith. She recounted that as they played together as little children, Robert would pull her hair and say to her, "When we get grown, I'm gonna marry you." After marriage, they moved 40 miles away to Natchez, Mississippi, where they lived, worked and purchased a home. Maggie worked as a domestic housekeeper and cooked at a local restaurant while Robert worked at a mill. No children were born to this union, but many sisters, nieces and nephews "married out of their house." They were a couple who totally loved, honored and took care of each other. They ere friends from childhood to the end.

In 1953, Robert and Maggie moved from Natchez to Racine, Wisconsin, where they lived and worked until moving to Chicago. In the Windy City, Maggie worked at various jobs in the shoe and garment industries. Later she worked at Allied Radio and then at the Mason Elementary School (Chicago Public Schools) from which she retired.

In 1954, Maggie joined Holy Temple Church of God in Christ under the pastorate of Bishop E Lenox. She served the congregation in many capacities including kitchen coordinator and chairperson of the beautifying committee. Sister Maggie, as she was called, was also instrumental in the establishment of a fund to assist and aid assistant pastor, Elder Ardail Allen, who was gravely ill, and his family. This support continued several years after his death.

Sister Smith remained active and loyal to the church throughout the ministries of Pastor James E Lenox and Pastor Lamont Lenox. While unable to regularly attend church services due to illness in the last few years of her life, she continued to faithfully pay her tithes and fervently pray for her pastor and the entire congregation.

One of her greatest passion was working in her community on Chicago's west side. She served as the President of the 4200 West Cullerton Block Club Council. As a dedicated community activist, she initiated and participated in countless activities ti improve her neighborhood and beyond. Maggie Smith worked diligently for the campaign to elect her godson, the later Alderman Jessie Miller to the Chicago City Council. Her heartfelt love and concern for family, church, and community was evident in her words, thoughts and deeds. Her loving presence will bee missed.

Maggie was preceded in death by her loving husband, Robert Lee Smith; parents, Rev Perlie Scott and Fannie Thomas Scott; her sister, Pearlean Williams; grandson, James E Scott, Jr, and her brother, Jimmy Scott. She was called home to be with the Lord on Sunday, August 30, 2015 around 6pm leaving to cherish and carry her legacy: loving son, Elder James E Scott, Sr (Loretta); two granddaughters, Caretta and Ashley Scott; great granddaughter, Ruth Scott; three sisters, Gladys Fulton (Chicago), Margie R Alston (Chicago), and Fanny Mae Bracey (Brookhaven, Mississippi); one brother, Cent Elmer Scott (Kansas City, Kansas); godchildren, Jure Mae Blakley (California), Cyrus Mitchell (Natchez, Mississippi), Martin Luther McNair (Indiana), Yvette Wilson (Savannah, Georgia), Ruth Rice (Chicago); The Greater Holy Temple Love Family and a host of other relatives and friends.

How does Maggie connect to my family tree?
Maggie's father was James Pearlie Scott, Jr.
James Pearlie was the son of James Pearlie Scott, Sr., and Catherine Markham.
Catherine Markham Scott and my great grandfather, Monroe Markham, were siblings.
Maggie was my maternal 2nd cousin 1x removed.

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.

Newspaper Article Detailing the Crime

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.

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.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Henry Israel
Warrant Sound and Slave for Life

Henry Israel was an arm baby, four months old when he was sold to David Buie in 1837. His mother Ann was 16 years old; she was youthful and fertile. She could endure the long trip from Virginia and ahead of her were years of work and child bearing. David Buie paid $800 for mother and child in Natchez, Mississippi.

The Natchez Daily Courier
November 6th 1855

"I had one child Henry Israel when I came from Virginia. Mr. Buie bought me and him at Natchez." Ann, Henry's mother

Received of David Buie eight hundred dollars in full payment for two negroes, to wit, Ann 16 years of age and her child four months old, both negroes. I warrent(sp) to be sound, and slaves for life.
Theophus Freeman
Teste - Neil Buie

If they traveled by land, Ann and infant son would have been part of a coffle. A coffle was a convoy of slaves, mostly chained or roped together. The average coffle consisted of between 30 and 50 people. Men were placed in front, followed by women without children, children who were able to walk, and lastly, women with infants and small children who had to be carried. Major traders would have as many as 300 people. Determine by the destination, traveling 20 - 25 miles per day, the trip could take up to eight weeks.

"I can see de tragic sight, yet, of my people, chained together by deir han's in pairs, lined up in a long row, wid men leadin' 'em, and men at de end of de line takin' 'em to de auction-block." Ex-Slave, Foster Weathersby in Simpson County, MS

Traveling by water, they probably left Norfolk, VA, on a steam brig, navigating the Atlantic around the Florida Peninsula into the Gulf of Mexico. The brig would continue up the Mississippi River to the docks at New Orleans. Slaves destined for the Natchez market were transferred to steamboats for the remainder of the trip. The steam brigs were equipped to carry between 75 and 150 slaves, normally operated between October to May to avoid excessive heat in the tightly packed slave quarters aboard ship.

Once they arrived in Natchez, Ann, baby Henry and the others in their group would be groomed, well fed, and given new clothes for preparation of their impending sale.

"When dey got to Natchez de slaves was put in de pen 'tached to de slave markets. It stood at de forks o' St. Catherine Street an' de Liberty road. Here dey was fed an' washed an' rubbed down lak race hosses. Den dey was dressed up an' put through de paces dat would show off dey muscles. My pappy was sol' as a twelve year old, but he always said he was nigher twenty." Ex-Slave, Isaac Stier of Jefferson County, MS

Charles S. Sydnor’s book, Slavery in Mississippi, described The Forks of the Road Slave Market as follows: "A short distance out of Natchez in the angel of two roads were several low, rough, wooden buildings, that partially enclosed a narrow courtyard. In front of it usually found the saddle horses of planters or of the traders; inside were the Negroes awaiting sale. The entrance of a planter was a signal for the Negroes to line up, the men on one side and the women on the other."

The slave merchandise would be told how to show themselves off, to look cheerful and to speak up. The slaves would be formed into companies, according to size; the men, women, and children into separate groups. With this arrangement, the families among the group would often see the last of each other in this dreaded showroom.

Ann does not mention in her depositions, given in her son's Perry's pension case, if others of her family were sold along with her.

Next post: Ann and Henry arrive on the Buie plantation.


How does Henry connect to my family?
Henry Israel shared the same plantation with members of my family.

Additional source - African American Migration Experience - The Domestic Slave Trade

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Wordless Wednesday
Henry and Naomi Adams Pierce

Naomi Adams (1891-1965) and husband Henry Pierce (1886-1971)

How does the couple connect to my family?
Their son Julius Pierce married my 2nd cousin, Ernestine Coleman.
Their daughter Helen Marie Pierce married my 2nd cousin 1x removed, Paul Scott.

Photograph Courtesy of Nathaniel Thomas

Sunday, April 19, 2015

School Boy Died after Making Fire in Stove with Coal Oil

Sunday School Class with a stove in the background to the right

Was this the first time he made a fire in the church stove, or one of many? Deacons and older teenage boys of congregations usually had the job of making a fire in the stove so the congregation could arrive to a warm church.

On Sunday morning, February 14, 1943, John Walter Hilliard made a fire using coal oil in an African Methodist Episcopal (AME) church in Brookhaven, Lincoln County, MS.. The fire burned the right side of his body, head, back and face. He developed pneumonia and died less than two weeks later on February 23, 1943.

John was born in May 1932, to John and Carrie Hix Hilliard in Lincoln County, MS. He was 10 years old at the time of his death.

I couldn't find any census information on the family. Found was one line from a 1929 Jackson, MS, city directory for Rev John Hilliard and his wife Carrie. The older John's occupation was pastor of an AME church. It is feasible John Walter was a member of the family business.

Research did not connect this family to Hilliard cousins of Lincoln and Franklin Counties, MS.

John Walter Hilliard's Death Certificate

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

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Wordless Wednesday
Gladys Coleman Roy & Sons
circa 1959

Gladys Amanda Coleman Roy and sons
James and Joe

Gladys was the daughter of James E Coleman and Mamie Bryant
Wife of Joe Eddie Roy
Mother of Joe, Jr., James and Jerry Roy

Picture Courtesy of Lisa Roy

How does Gladys connect to my family?
Gladys' grandmother, Mary Ann Markham Coleman, and
my great grandfather, Monroe Markham, were siblings.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Who'd Thought It Church

Who'd Thought It Church, yes, that was the name of the church. When I saw the name written on death certificates, I thought sure someone had drunk too much corn whiskey when the name of the church cemetery was recorded.

Speaking with a descendant of those buried in the church cemetery, she confirmed that this was indeed the name of the church in its earliest history. It is speculated the people in the community was surprised the Negroes had organized a church, thus the name, Who'd Thought It Church.

Gallman Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church is the current name of the church. It is located in Gallman, Copiah County, Mississippi. Family members currently attend the church.

Photographs Courtesy of Gabriel Harvey

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Sunday Obituary
Mrs Jimmie Leola McDaniel Sanders

Mrs Jimmie Leola Sanders was born to Preston and Revellar McDaniel on Dec 3, 1920, in Union Church, Mississippi. She was one of seven children and was youngest of her siblings.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Paris Sanders, Sr; her father, Preston McDaniel; mother, Revellar Ephraim; brother, Roosevelt McDaniel; sisters, Bernice, Mary Lou, Annie Mae, Willie Mae, Jessie.

She attended Mount Moriah Elementary Junior High.

Jimmie Lee received Christ at an early age and rededicated her life on September 12, 2012, at 5:15 p.m. She was a faithful member of Bethel AME Church. In 1962, she united with Bethel AME Church and served in many capacities such as Stewardess Board member, Anna Belle Harris Missionary member, Class Leader, and member of the Mississippi Club.

Jimmie Lee was employed as a lead cafeteria worker for over 30 years, at the Terminal Annex United States Post Office and retired in the early 80s.

Jimmie spent endless hours assisting with the care of her grandchildren: Beverly, Anthony and Quantrell. She loved her family and was an excellent homemaker, always ready with special dish of comfort.

On December 20th, 2012, after months of illness, God took the spirit that he gave Jimmie; for the believers, we will see her again.

To cherish her memory are her children - Paris Jr, and Velma Lee; grandchildren - Beverly, Anthony, and Quantrell; great grandchildren - Paige and Austin; daughter-in-law - Marie; granddaughter-in-law Brooke; nephew - Robert Scott; nieces - Annie Mae Thomas, Geneva Smith; a host of relatives and friends.

How does Jimmie Lee Sanders connect to my family tree?
Jimmie's sister Mary Lou McDaniel married Frank Scott.
Frank Scott's mother, Catherine Matilda Markham Scott and my great grandfather Monroe Markham were siblings.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Hartley Siblings Died of TB - April 1927

A separate room outdoors, isolation unit for tuberculosis patient in the backyard of her family's home on La Delta project. Thomastown, Louisiana

Pulmonary tuberculosis is a contagious disease spread through the air via cough, spit,sneezing. If the disease is left untreated, 50% of the infected die. The classic symptoms of active TB infection are a chronic cough with blood-tinged sputum, fever, night sweats, and weight loss (the latter giving rise to the formerly common term for the disease, "consumption").

Hartley siblings, Cora and Jewel, were born about 10 years apart; Cora in 1902 and Jewel in 1912. They were the children of Tom and Sarah Coleman Hartley. The siblings mother died in 1914, leaving the young children to be raised by their father and his new wife, Della Wallace, near Crystal Springs, Copiah County, MS.

The father Tom was the first in the family to die with TB. He died 28 Jan 1926. Jewel died 06 Apr 1927; few weeks later his sister Cora died 27 April 26 1927. They were all buried at Gallman Chapel Church Cemetery.

Image from Library of Congress
Tom Hartley and Sarah Coleman Hartley's Death Certificates
Cora and Jewel Hartley's Death Certificates

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Sarah Coleman Hartley

Born in Caseyville, Lincoln County, MS
Daughter of Richard Coleman and Rosetta Ervin
Wife of Thomas/Tom Hartley

Image Courtesy of Dr Debbie Bullock, direct descendant

Sarah's brother, Clarence, married my grandaunt, Nellie Markham.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Richard Coleman of Caseyville, MS

Richard Coleman, daughter Alice, and wife Rosetta

Richard Coleman was born about 1855, raised on the Daniel Buie Plantation with his mother, siblings and several other slave families.

The Buie family were pious Presbyterians, considered plain, unpretending, honest, simple farmers who were not wealthy. The plantation was located in Caseyville, Copiah County, MS. Most of the Buie's slave population grew from within or from natural increase. They would purchase slaves as needed. Daniel Buie owned 83 slaves when he died in 1862, which would classify him as a planter.

Lucinda was Richard's mother. She was born about 1820, maybe, in Virginia. Lucinda stated in a deposition that she was the slave of Daniel Buie since the age of 13, since the mid 1830s. By the time she gave the deposition in 1881, she was known as Old Aunt Lucy. Richard's father was Cupit Coleman who lived on the neighboring plantation of Dougald McMillan. Cupit was valued at $600 on the 1865 inventory and appraisal of Dougald McMillan's property.

Lucinda and Cupit had a dozen or more children. Several were named on Daniel Buie's 1862 inventory list. Richard was a boy appraised at $400.

He was still living with his parents in 1870, married by 1880 to Rosetta Irvin/Erwin.

Richard and Rosetta's children were:
Clarence b. about 1877, married Nellie Markham (my grandaunt)
Sarah b. about 1875, married Thomas Hartley
Richard b. about 1879, married Martha A Dixon
Norris b. about 1881, married Pinkie Henderson
Mary b. about 1881, married Daniel Hilliard
Norah b. about 1884
Emily born about 1887
Liza born about 1888
David b. 1889, married Bettie Sartin, child with Della Wallace
Rosetta b. about 1890, married David Brewer (my 2nd cousin 1x removed)
Letha b. about 1893, married L T Thomas, child with Ellis Johnson
Fannie b. about 1895, married Minor Herring
James b. about 1897
Dock b. about 1898, married Luna Herring
Alice b. about 1900, married Nathaniel Henderson and Archie Hilliard, Jr (my 2nd cousin 1x removed)

Richard lived a quite life as a farmer and preacher. He died 01 Jul 1927 in Caseyville of heart and kidney disease. Rosetta died after 1930.

Image Courtesy of Gertha Hilliard Williams and Alice Hilliard Young
Richard Coleman's 1927 Death Certificate

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Wordless Wednesday
Marie Boyd Gaulden
circa 1966

Marie was born in 1895, Cranfield, Adams County, Mississippi
Daughter of John Boyd and Aileen Calcote
Wife of Frank Gaulden, Jr

Photograph Courtesy of Anthony Neal
Marie was the aunt of Anthony Neal's wife, Bettie McDaniel.