Tuesday, May 3, 2016

1918 A Bad Year
Luther Coleman vs Eddie Coleman

Luther and Eddie's youngest daughter, Amy Victoria Coleman Beard
Photograph Courtesy of Eddie Beard

The year 1918 was a bad year for the Luther Coleman family. The family began the new year, Jan 19, with the premature birth and death of a baby boy. The eldest son shot his six year old sister, 21 Jul, after they were left alone without adult supervision. Luther Coleman, and his wife Eddie Roberts Coleman separated in December. Luther had an ongoing relationship outside of the marriage. The deaths of two children in 1918 were likely the straw that broke the camel's back in the dissolution of the marriage.

Luther Coleman married Eddie Roberts on Christmas eve, 1905, in Lincoln County, Mississippi. The couple had six children: Lula Mae, T. C., George, S. A., Amy Victoria, and Willie.

A bill of complaint was made against Eddie, 05 Mar 1920, claiming she had deserted the marriage for more than two years, lived separately from her family in Bogalusa, Louisiana. Luther wanted a divorce and the custody of his four children who were in his custody.

Three children were listed in the 1920 census living with their paternal grandmother, Amy Markham Coleman: 13-year-old Lula, eleven-year-old TC, 7-year-old George. Amy was four, maybe with her mother.

The children's grandmother died 04 Mar 1920, which likely spurred Luther to file for divorce and custody.

Eddie claimed she was not living in Bogalusa, she lived with her mother, Sallie Roberts, less than 2 miles from Luther and the children. She claimed he was cruel and inhumane, did not provide for her, and was guilty of adultery. She left her home because of inhumane treatment. She wanted to dissolve the marriage, custody of the children, alimony, and attorney fees

Luther was a farmer, with access to 53 acres. Eddie said he made large crops, which brought in good money.

Eddie, 35, was living with her mother per the 1920 census in Lincoln County.

The couple's marriage legally ended 26 Apr 1920. Eddie was granted custody of the minor children. Luther was ordered to aid in the children's support and given the right to see the children at reasonable times. He was also ordered to pay the attorney fees for Eddie's attorney.

How does the family connect to me?
Luther Coleman was the son of Anthony Coleman and Amy Markham.
Amy Markham and my great-grandfather, Monroe Markham, were siblings.

Lincoln County Chancery Court Record
Case Number: 4265
Microfilm Number: 12876
Microfilm found at Mississippi Department of Archives and History

Read the newspaper article concerning S. A.'s death here, read additional information here and more here.


  1. 1918 certainly wasn't a good year. So much pain and tragedy endured by the whole family. I especially feel bad for the children.

  2. Yes, 1918 was a horrible year for the family. I hope they were eventually able to gain some sort of peace and move on.

  3. Andrea and Kristin, The remaining children had a loving and close relationship and were able to move own and became productive citizens according to a direct descendant of the family.

  4. Talk about a tragically rough start to the new year! You mention that the remaining children led good lives. This includes the young shooter? So he remained at home or in the community?

  5. Yes, the young shooter remained in the home and yes, he was close to his siblings. The separation of their parents, separation from their parents, removed from their home to live with paternal grandma likely bonded the siblings. If cruelty and inhumane treatment was a part of the family's life prior to the divorce, the children probably were better, surrounded in love in the house of their maternal grandmother and mother.