Friday, May 29, 2009
In his book, Rev. Jones has chronicled the Methodist Church's growth in the Mississippi Territory that later became the State of Mississippi. He begins his chronicle with Bishop Asbury's appointment of Tobias Gibson of South Carolina, as a missionary in the territory, and he traces Mr. Gibson's travels throughout the area. According to Rev. Jones, it was Tobias Gibson's successful missionary work that resulted in the establishment of the first Methodist church in Mississippi. The church was located in Washington, near Natchez, and the original congregation was comprised of ten members, 8 whites, and 2 "colored."
Although the book is first and foremost a history book, it also provides a wealth of information about families who were involved in the establishment and growth of Methodism in Mississippi. If you are researching your family history in Mississippi, this book may be helpful in your search. Families mentioned in the book include Gibson (South Carolina and Mississippi) Callender, Jonathan Coleman Jones, Corey, Goodman, Griffin, Griffing, King, Ogden, Swayze, Taylor, Gabriel Scott, Randall Gibson, John Folkes, and Lorenzo Dow.
I highly recommend reading this book. Whether you are interested in the History of Methodism in Mississippi or in tracing the history of your family in Mississippi in the years before statehood, this book is a must read. Within the book's pages, Rev. Jones has included information about families who were involved in the early Methodist movement that may not be found elsewhere.
Thursday, May 21, 2009
"Goodman native, Lincoln historian dies
The Associated Press • May 19, 2009
NEW YORK — David Herbert Donald, a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian of the Civil War and American South whose expertise on Abraham Lincoln brought him a wide general audience and reverence from his peers, has died.
Donald died of heart failure at
“Of course, I am devastated,” said his wife of 54 years. “He was a wonderful husband and father and he had a spectacular career as a teacher.”
A professor emeritus at
An award was even named after him, the David Herbert Donald Prize for “excellence in
In 2005, Donald was the first honoree.
He was working on a “character study” of John Quincy Adams at his death, his wife said. “He was a very hard worker, and his family, his writing and teaching were his life in that order,” she said.
Donald published his first Lincoln book in the late 1940s and kept at it for more than 50 years, going back on repeated vows to move on to another subject. His books included “
Some reviewers, however, faulted Donald for insisting on “the essential passivity” of Lincoln, an interpretation that The Washington Post’s Jonathan Yardley found contradicted by the president’s “determination and vigor” in carrying out his decisions.
Donald, the grandson of a Union cavalry officer, was not a
He majored in history and sociology at
“The man who interviewed me told me I could have the job and I went to gather whatever I had and started to follow him out of his office,” Donald recalled during a 2005 interview with The Associated Press. “He said, ’You forget your hat.’ And I said ’I don’t wear a hat.’ And he said, ’You teach in my school, you’ll wear a hat.’ So I didn’t take the job.”
Donald looked instead at graduate schools. His academic adviser at Millsaps was too busy to help, so Donald wrote his own recommendations and was accepted into the
“I looked into my admissions file and it said, ’Admit this man. He has excellent letters of recommendation,”’ Donald told the AP.
Having grown up in a segregated town, he was interested in race relations and planned to study the post-Civil War era. But he also needed money and found a job working as a research assistant to a leading
For decades after
Donald’s mentor encouraged him to write about
Donald’s reputation grew throughout the next few decades as he carefully picked apart the
During his AP interview, Donald acknowledged that he, too, had changed his feelings about
“When I started out, I wasn’t interested in Lincoln, and frankly found him a tiresome old fellow who was rather long-winded, told too many stories, was kind of a rough, frontier sort,” said Donald, who dismissed more recent theories that Lincoln was gay or chronically depressed.
“As I grew older, I realized the jokes and stories he told were really very funny and they always had a point to them. And I watched the way he worked with people and what an extraordinarily adept politician he was. ... He was much more sensitive and human than I had thought before.”
Donald married Aida DiPace in 1955 and had one child, Bruce Randall. The Donalds moved to
In addition to his wife and son, Donald is survived by two grandchildren. Graveside services at
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
The photograph above was taken at one of these events. This particular gathering occurred on the occasion of my great-grandmother's 80th birthday. The place is Goodman (Holmes County) Mississippi, in the yard between my great-aunt Stella Branch Young's home and the home of her mother, Claudia Baldridge Branch, my great-grandmother. The time was a Sunday afternoon in late summer of 1956. My great-grandmother is pictured in the front, on the right, seated between two of her daughters. It appears that she is holding a wrapped birthday gift in her lap. My mother and I are pictured to the left, sitting next to each other, and my father is standing to the right in the back of the picture.
Sunday, May 17, 2009
Sunsets of my youth
Landscapes still remembered
Not forgotten in my view--
Promising my plight
I pledge thy podium
Oh tonight--thy pulpit is my might--
Longin' for a laurel world
No speech--no sound-no curse--
A vestige of pious realms
No ignorance--yet verse--
Sonnets on a sunset
Float to truthful plains--
Never waving--constant course
Oh, venue long remain--
Horizons of my heart
Oh, faithful one who speaks--
Tread me not on paradox
But pay my toll to seek---
by Eddie Draper
Friday, May 15, 2009
Actually, "Being Dead is No Excuse" is not the complete title of the book reviewed here today. The entire title is "Being Dead Is No Excuse: The Official Southern Ladies Guide to Hosting the Perfect Funeral." Written by Gayden Metcalfe, a lifelong Southerner from Greenville, Mississippi, and Charlotte Hays, the book is a humorous look at Southern culture and customs, beginning with Chapter 1, "Dying Tastefully in the Mississippi Delta." With an emphasis on preparing the perfect food to pull off a near perfect post-funeral send-off, each chapter of this book by Metcalfe and Hays blends a uniquely Southern recipe with charmingly comic advice for ensuring a memorable funeral reception. Numerous statements that may often cause the reader to laugh out loud are found throughout the book's pages, such as "Nothing whispers sympathy quite like a frozen-pea casserole with canned bean sprouts and mushroom soup."
Published by Hyperion Books in 2005, the book contains descriptions of local customs that are frequently laced with humor. One example is a discussion of the keen sense of competitiveness between Southern women of different faiths where funeral food preparation is concerned. These discussions leave the reader to wonder the answer to an inevitable question, such as, do the Episcopal ladies make better funeral food than the Methodist ladies?
While the book is a hilarious narrative that mixes Southern etiquette, political incorrectness, and down-home honesty, it is also worthy of adding to any one's recipe book collection. Its pages include some well-known Southern dishes such as fried chicken, a variety of congealed salads, the ever-popular deviled eggs, and a number of casseroles prepared with canned soup. One of the "soup casseroles" includes a particularly popular dish made with frozen potatoes and canned Cheddar Cheese soup, commonly known in Southern food circles as "Funeral Potatoes."
I purchased a signed copy of this book at my favorite Pentimento Books in Clinton, Mississippi, and I enjoyed it so much that I have since given copies as gifts to several friends who have roots in the Deep South. Two other books by Metcalfe and Hays that you may also enjoy are Some Day You'll Thank Me for This: The Official Southern Ladies' Guide to Being a "Perfect" Mother, and Somebody is Going to Die if Lilly Beth Doesn't Catch That Bouquet: The Official Southern Ladies' Guide to Hosting the Perfect Wedding.
I sincerely hope you enjoy reading "Being Dead is No Excuse...." as much as I did, and I wholeheartedly recommend adding this one-of-a-kind book to your own collection. But I must caveat my recommendation with this warning: You may laugh out loud so much that your ribs will be sore the next day - mine were!
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Carroll County was not the only area of Mississippi that experienced this mass migration to Texas, as evidenced by information posted on a blog entitled authored by Vickie Pounders Everhart. Vickie, a Native Texan, is a descendant of a family whose ancestors moved to Texas from Oktibbeha County, Mississippi around 1869. The blog includes the results of Vickie's research about these Mississippi ancestors who settled near what became the town of Burleson, Texas, now a bustling suburb off I-35 about 15 miles south of Fort Worth. I encourage you to visit Vickie's beautiful and informative blog, "Be-Not-Forgot," to learn more about this Mississippi-Texas connection. Self-described as the "keeper" of her family's history, Vickie is not only a historian and a blogger, she is also the administrator of a MyFamily.com website name "Us Mississippians," developed as a gathering spot to "collect and share" information from descendants of those who migrated from Oktibbeha County, Mississippi in 1869.
In the summer of 2000, Vickie wrote to the Lee County (Texas) Historical Commission advising the group of the existence of her website and the responses she had received from descendants of the Mississippi group who now live throughout the nation. In her letter, Vickie also offered information about an oral account by her great-grandmother, Mollie West Nettles, to her granddaughter, Ruby Nettles Vance, of Lexington, Lee County, Texas, about life in Mississippi during the Civil War. The following information was originally published in the April 19, 1979 edition of The Giddings Times News in Lee Co., Texas. The article was written by Ruby Vance, nee Nettles, of Lexington, Lee County, Texas, and the publication date was timed to coincide with that year's annual Lexington Homecoming:
"Miss Ruby is a granddaughter of Mollie, the original narrator of this family saga. If Miss Ruby and/or y'all prefer to use her 1979 article as she originally wrote it, then just ignore parts 1, 2 and 3 from me, and I'll send you an Alternate Nettles-West Story for Lee County History. In introducing her little Grandmother's story one afternoon in the summer of 1932, this writer visited her aging grandmother for the purpose of taking notes on some of the Civil War stories she had heard her tell all her life. We hope in sharing these with you that many of you will do likewise. . . .' There are an inestimable number of persons with Lee County connections who descend from Civil War-era residents of Oktibbeha Co., Mississippi. Andy Monroe, descendant of Cecelia Parker Sikes, nee Perry, has observed that many of the folks on the 1850 Oktibbeha County census who later wound up in Texas, were earlier in North Carolina."
Part One of Mollie's story tells of her childhood memories of life in and around Oktibbeha County during that time period. Vickie's entire letter to the Lee County Historical Commission can be read on her "Gone to Texas" website.
Some of my own Porter relatives, Elizabeth Jane Allen Porter, the widow of my great-great grandfather, James M. Porter of Attala County, and the children born during this second marriage, also moved to Texas after her husband died. Interestingly, this family settled near Cleburne, Texas, in Johnson County. Allegedly, Elizabeth had relatives who already lived near Cleburne, which is barely a dozen miles away from where Vickie's ancestors from Oktibbeha County had already settled. According to my own research, the descendants of the children born during James M. Porter's second marriage multiplied in number, and many of them still reside in places throughout the State of Texas.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
"Home of a chief, it stands today, in dignity and pride.
The towering pine, and sturdy oak, as sentinels beside.
A monument it is, to him whose loyal hear ne-er swerved
From duty to the tribe he loved and, ever faithful, served.
Its pillared halls and lofty towers are symbols of his thought,
As beauty, majesty, and grace, were by his wishes wrought.
The name, 'Malmaison,' he bestowed, implies the tie that bound
Him to the country of his sire, tho' here a home be found.
And from that country, too, he chose his furnishings with care,
Brocades, for draperies and couch, and gold encrusted chair,
And candelabra, wrought with skill, with waxen tapers bright,
That made a scene of beauty, with their softly glowing light.
Carpets so velvety and soft, no foot fall e'er was heard,
And paintings, beautiful, and rare, were fashioned at his word.
All these have been preserved with care, tho' many years have past,
Since he left his loved Malmaison, Mighty chieftain to the last.
But Time, relentless vandal, hastens onward in his flight,
And destroys with ruthless fingers, beauty, majesty and might.
Unless the strong oppose him, and with zeal his ravage mends,
And ever watchful of his craft, deter him in his ends.
Mississippi! Tis your duty, it should be your joy and pride
To honor that great Chief, Leflore; make the honor nationwide,
And preserve Malmaison ever, as a symbol of his worth;
A tribute to his loyalty, in the land that gave him birth."
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
"Historic Malmaison, show place and shrine for tourists, lies a smoldering ruin today following a fire at 8:30 last night which completely destroyed the mansion of Greenwood Leflore, last chief of the Choctaw Nation of Indians. Origin of the fire is unknown, but it is surmised that it must have started from a defective chimney in the building. Mrs. F. R. Montgomery and sister, Miss Florence Ray were at home with Mrs. W. C. McDougal and daughter, Isabel, as guests.
The group said that they heard someone upstairs, and Miss McDougal went to the front door and discovered that the building was burning. The noise they heard is now thought to have been timbers falling. Alarm was given by the shooting of pistols and five Negroes answered the call and managed to save a small amount of the furniture, including the table in the living room. A silver coffee pot, a silver pitcher and a few glasses and chairs were saved, but the greater part of the furniture, including the bed room furniture, historic pictures, draperies, silverware and china was destroyed in the blaze.
No water was available and nothing could be done to save any part of the building. One carriage shed was burned, but the carriage in which Greenwood Leflore rode to Washington from Malmaison for his historic visit with President Andrew Jackson was saved.
Malmaison was occupied as a residence by Mrs. Montgomery and Miss Ray, and the property was owned by them and their sisters, Mrs. P. H. Brown of Batesville and Mrs. C. C. Pardue of New Orleans. All are great-granddaughters of Greenwood Leflore.
Malmaison was one of the show places of Mississippi. It was a great tourist attraction and was visited annually by hundreds from all parts of the United States. Around it clung the memories of the transition of Mississippi from Indian territory to its present status. It was Greenwood Leflore as Chief of the Choctaws who signed the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek, which provided for the Choctaws ceding their lands to the United States and moving to the Indian Territory, now a part of the state of Oklahoma. Leflore remained in Mississippi on his estate, which at its greatest, comprised 15,000 acres, dreamed of erecting a handsome house in keeping with the times and his own status as one of the greatest planters of the south.
Near the middle of the nineteenth century, there came to Mississippi from Georgia, a young man, James Harris, an architect and builder. He is described as being of great physical strength, an athlete, graceful and handsome in appearance and of modest and courteous demeanor. The wealthy planters of the South were then in a golden age of prosperity. Their cotton was a source of riches. It was grown by slave labor. The white men were almost princes of the blood, surrounded by their retainers, secure in their strongholds of caste and station. They entertained with lavish and prodigality. They hunted, fished, gamed and feasted. Gentlemen drank deeply, but remained gentlemen. Most households had their vintage wines and stronger liquors mellowed in the oak. It became the fashion to build splendid mansions in keeping with the wealth and standing of the planters, where the generous hospitality, which was an outstanding characteristic of their time and class, might be dispensed without stint.
James Harris made a specialty of the construction of these palatial houses. They were built usually of wood, the heavy timbers hewed by hand and the other lumber brought from some local sawmill. A corps of trained slaves under the supervision of Harris and his expert assistants performed the work, to the most delicate on interior finishing and decorative paneling. The houses he constructed have hardly been excelled for strength, symmetry, spacious convenience, beauty and stability. They were the largest ever built in Mississippi, and some of them are standing today as solid, true and well-preserved as when constructed more than three-quarters of a century ago.
Greenwood Leflore had dreamed of a wondrous manor house, and in James Harris he found his builder. The haughty chief of the Choctaws had been a life-long admirer of Napoleon Bonaparte, in whom he saw the same indomitable spirit, the ambition of power and love of great achievement that he himself possessed. When Napoleon divorced Josephine, Greenwood Leflore’s admiration for the Emperor changed to disdain. But Josephine continued to be his heroine of romance, a martyr to man’s inhumanity like Joan of Arc, as long as he lived.
When the planter sought a name for his manor house, he decided on the name of the chateau, ten miles west of Paris on the Seine, where the unhappy “Widow Beauharnais” lived from 1798 to 1814 and where she died. The original Malmaison was also once the home of Cardinal Richelieu. So Greenwood Leflore’s great house was called Malmaison. It was the largest dwelling house that has ever been erected in Carroll County. It was still an imposing edifice, with its wide galleries, many balconies, lofty chambers, spacious halls and beautiful hand carved oak paneling.
Most of the furnishings were brought from France. The silver, glass and china, imperial in its magnificence, came in sets of twelve dozen. The furniture was made by special order. An example was the marvelous drawing room set of thirty pieces, of solid mahogany, finished in genuine gold and upholstered in priceless silk damask. It is said that the Duchess of Orleans tried to purchase the set before it was shipped to America and, failing, ordered a duplicate set for herself. Then there were beautiful mirrors, tables, large four-post beds of rosewood with silken and satin canopies, and four tapestry curtains depicting the four places of Napoleon and Josephine-Versailles, Malmaison, Saint Cloud and Fontainebleau. The furnishings were planned for the entertainment of two hundred guests at a time, and it is said that Greenwood Leflore was in his happiest mood when his home was filled with friends.
The mansion was occupied by Greenwood Leflore until his death in 1865 and by his descendants until it was destroyed last night.
Malmaison was endangered by fire several times during the War Between the States, for Greenwood Leflore, having taken an oath of allegiance to the United States as chief of the Choctaws, covenanting that he would never take up arms against the United States, kept that pledge during the great civil strife. Many of his buildings were burned, but the great mansion survived, and Greenwood Leflore kept his peaceful relations with his neighbors who respected his position.
Malmaison perpetuated the glory of the ante-bellum times. It maintained the legends, which are history. It shed the glow of halcyon days, upon the later times. These things were instantly caught by those who visited the ancient site. But the shrine is gone, and there is a mass of blackened ashes and only the old carriage house and the Leflore family graveyard to mark the site."
Sunday, May 10, 2009
Yesterday, one of my daughters and her fiance invited his mother and me out for brunch. During the meal we talked and exchanged gifts and cards. This particular daughter always gives me cards that contain lovely verses from the heart that are appropriate to our mother-daughter relationship. Since we are both sentimental people, studio cards or other funny cards have never been the type special occasion cards we have ever given each other. Yesterday, my gift bag contained two cards. Since my daughter has a six-year old son, I thought the smaller envelope was from him. But as I read the lovely verse in the card contained in the larger of the two envelopes, my daughter warned me the smaller envelope contained a "funny" card. And it did. This is what the front of the smaller card said: "You told me that just because everyone else is jumping off a bridge doesn't mean that I have to. I know you didn't think I was listening......." On the inside, the sentence continued with "but see......I didn't jump off!"
The saying above is one of many simple warning statements said by mothers everywhere, including me. I refer to these motherly warnings as "Mom-isms." My daughter certainly heard her share of "Mom-isms" from me over the years, including the one about jumping off the bridge. I learned most of my "Mom-isms" from my own mother, who had said them repeatedly to my siblings and to me while we were growing up. A typical "Mom-ism" begins with "If you do that, (blank) will happen." or "When you say that (blank) will result," or "Just because (blank) is doing (blank) doesn't mean you have to do (blank) too." Having six children of my own, including four teenagers at one time, definitely allowed me ample opportunity to perfect my own repertoire of "Mom-isms."
On Mother's Day today, for those of us who are fortunate to have mothers still living, it is the perfect time to reflect on all the special moments we had with them over the years. But it is also a day for us who have been blessed with children to think about the memorable years and the special times we spent with them while they were growing into the men and women they are today. And maybe, just maybe, it was one of those "Mom-isms" that kept my daughter from "jumping off the bridge."
Thursday, May 7, 2009
Yesterday, I passed along the "One Lovely Blog Award" to Vickie at BeNotForgot. Vickie responded with a most gracious thank-you post that included this special badge she made for me to show her appreciation for the award.
Vickie's post also included some information about her "Mississippi Connection," and since she does have this kinship tie with the Magnolia State, I thought some of my readers might be interested in visiting Vickie's blog.
Click here to read Vickie's thank you post that also contains a link to information about her 2nd great-grandma, Mollie (West) Nettles (1852-1939) who grew up in Mississippi during the War Between the States.
Thank you, Vickie. You do have "One Lovely Blog!"
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
This morning, I began my blogging day by reading Judy Schubert's Tennessee Memories, a weblog where she posts information about her husband's family. If you have not read Judy's blog, I recommend that you do so. Not only does it contain some beautiful photographs of Tennessee scenery, all taken by Judy, her blog is well-researched and written and is informative and entertaining. I personally think Judy's blog is truly one lovely blog. And her post today says that is just the award that she has received from Becky Jamison who writes Grace and Glory.
I am proud to announce here today that Judy has bestowed this same award on Mississippi Memories. Thank you, Judy, for deeming Mississippi Memories worthy of the "One Lovely Blog Award." And I feel very honored to have received it.
Now one of the requirements of receiving the award is that it must be passed on to seven other bloggers whose sites are worthy of the award. My selections appear below, and I encourage you my readers to take a few minutes to visit each of these "lovely" blogs.
BeNotForgot by Vickie Everhart
Magnolia Mornings by Rita Thompson
Maggie Reads by Maggie
Janinealogy by Janine
Hill Country of Monroe County Mississippi by Terry Thornton
Mississippi Garden by Jon
Little Bytes of Life by Elizabeth
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
According to the 1830 U. S. Census, there were four individuals named "Leflore" who headed households in the State of Mississippi:
Household #1 (Northern District - Carroll County)
Leflore, Greenwood, 50, farmer - real estate valued at 80,000
Leflore, Greenwood, 9
Household #2 (Northern District - Carroll County)
Leflore, Mary, 40, wife
Household #4 (Leake County, Beat 2)
Leflore, Campbell, 22, lawyer
Leflore, George, 22, student
Household #5 (Leake County, Beat 2)
Leflore, A. H., 25
Leflore, Sophia, 23
Leflore, W. R., 3
Leflore, G. A., 1
Household #6 (Southern District - Carroll County)
Enumerated in the household of Martha Terry (44 y/o) and Stephen Terry (52 y/o) were:
Leflore, Greenwood, 19
Leflore, Elizabeth, 13
Leflore, Susan, 11
Leflore, John, 9
Leflore, Josephine, 7
Next: Fire at Malmaison
Friday, May 1, 2009
Although Leflore had always supported removal, after the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek was signed in 1830, he remained in Mississippi on land that he owned. By the mid 1800's, according to some accounts, Leflore owned over 10,000 acres of plantation and timber lands. He referred to his holdings, which included the land, a sawmill, brickyard, and several hundred slaves, as "Teoc Plantation." This area is still known today as "Teoc."
About 1854, Leflore hired an architect named James C. Harris, of Georgia, to design and build his new home, a mansion of Greek revival and Italianate design. Leflore named his family's new home "Malmaison," French for "House of Sorrow," allegedly for the palace in Paris where Josephine lived in exile after having been divorced by Napoleon. Ironically, James Harris would later become Leflore's son-in-law.
According to Patricia Wellborn-Gunter, a Leflore researcher, Greenwood Leflore and his wife, Priscilla Donley, had three children: John Donley Leflore, Jane, and Rebecca. Named for her paternal grandmother, Rebecca Cravat, daughter of Chief Pushmataha, Rebecca Leflore married James C. Harris, the architect and builder of Malmaison. Rebecca and James Harris would later have at least two children. Their daughter, Jane, married John B. Halsey, and one of their sons, Greenwood L. Halsey, was named for his maternal grandfather.
Although some of some of Leflore's descendants undoubtedly are scattered throughout the United States, many of them continue to live in Mississippi.
Next: Leflore Family Members According to Census Records in MS