Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Monroe Markhan and Family
circa 1920

Monroe Markham b. 1852, and his wife Mary Jane Byrd b. 1855, were my great grandparents. They were the parents of seventeen children, 10 daughters and 7 sons. I think the above picture of the family was taken somewhere around 1920, give or take a couple of years. They also appear to be the same group listed in Monroe's 1920 census household.

The couple's children in their own households around the time this photograph was taken were:

  • James married Anna Culver in 1895
  • John married Ida Blue in 1896
  • Joseph b. 1876, apparently died when he was a child. He was only seen in the 1880 census and does not show in the 1885 or 1892 educable children lists with the other children.
  • Eudora "Dora" married Henry Coleman in 1896
  • Nellie married Clarence Coleman in 1896
  • Octavius married Mamie Culver in 1903
  • Willie Lewis married Fredonia Culver in 1913
  • Ada married Ernest Spencer in 1914
In 1920, Monroe was 68 years old, wife Mary 63, children; Mary Jane 36, Lou Ella 33, Alice 29 (my grandmother), Mattie 24, Samuel David 22, twins Missouri and Beatrice 20, and Inez 17. They could all read and write except for the mother. They were farmers who rented land from the Buie family in Caseyville, MS.

I based the age of the picture on when the last son married and left home.

  • Mary Jane unmarried
  • Mattie married John Vaughn in 1921
  • Samuel David, the last son at home, married Rosanna Thomas in 1922, which is what helps to date the picture. Samuel was a twin, his brother David died shortly after birth. The parents named the twins Samuel and David. They gave both names to the surviving son.
  • Lou Ella married Elijah Howard in 1924
  • Missouri died in 1925
  • Alice married Daniel Marshall in 1927
  • Dad, Monroe died in 1932
  • Mom, Mary died in 1937
  • Beatrice married Silas Johnson in 1938
  • Ina (Inez) died in 1938
I think those in the above picture are: Monroe, Mary, Mary Jane, Alice, Mattie, Samuel David, Lou Ella, Missouri, Beatrice, and Ina (Inez). I am not sure which sister is which.

Photograph courtesy of Rance Brown and Anita Christopher
Direct Descendants of Monroe and Mary


  1. I love to see that everybody except the mother was literate. I guess she didn't have time to learn with all those babies coming and growing. Nice photograph.

    1. Education was important to Monroe. I believe he learned the rudiments of reading and writing during slavery and continue to build on what he had learned.

  2. Beautiful old picture! 17 children...jeez, I cannot image. But they all seem to have flourished, and learned to read and write.

    1. She had the first one in 1872 and the last one in 1903 with a couple sets of twins... They did flourish, farming mostly. Three or four of the daughters taught school and one of the sons gave piano lessons.

  3. Linda, the siblings all resemble and seem to about the same age. The resilience of the mother is a story within itself. I'd give an "eye tooth" to have a photo of one of my great-grandmothers. Saundra

    1. She had them as quick as she could throwing in a couple sets of twins. She was reported to be good at raising all types of fowl. I guess she was the lady to see if you needed eggs or a hen for Sunday's dinner.

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