While researching Samuel Baskin Hathorn, former owner of my Hathorn family, I have found a lot of information that I will sort through over the next few weeks and months. Samuel Baskin Hathorn was born in Ireland and immigrated first to South Carolina and then to Georgia and finally settled in Mississippi in 1818.
I was performing look-ups and typed in the name Samuel Hathorn without birth date information and found the WWI draft card for Samuel Hathorn, born 1894, Black. Of course I checked my database and there was Samuel Hathorn, the 10th of 11 children born to William and Harriet (Loflin) Hathorn. William Hathorn, Sr. had been owned by Samuel Baskin Hathorn.
As I looked through the list of my Hathorn names, I am seeing the same names appear throughout the generations between the White Hathorns and the Black Hathorns. My second great-aunt’s name is listed as Zana and one of Samuel Baskin Hathorn’s wives is named Susannah. There are Matildas, Williams, Jacks and Janes on both sides. It is very confusing to research the family and I have seen family trees that have records for my Jane Hathorn attached to White Jane Hathorn.
WWI Draft Registration Card - Samuel Hathorn
Simply a matter of common names of the era on both sides? I don’t yet.
I spent at least a month each summer with my grandmother, Thelma Hathorn, and her two sisters, Elna Hathorn and Christine Hathorn, in the tiny town of Prentiss, MS. As a teenager, it was very boring. Cable television didn’t reach that far. But when I was young, it was great. There were trees to climb, fields to wander through, watermelon to eat from the vine and tons of cousins to play with. I even had fun picking cucumbers!
The nights, however. The nights were always scary. There were no street lights. Just darkness and nothingness.
I would sleep with my great-aunt, Christine, in her big bed and would snuggle up close to her. I was sure that the fierceness that the tiny woman expressed during the day would protect me through the night.
I was about 6 years old when I began to doubt if this was true.
Flucor Hathorn, the sisters’ brother, died in 1977. I don’t remember his face or the sound of his voice. I only remember the night he passed.
I was sleeping next to Christine when my grandmother let out a painful sound. Not a scream. A loud wail. I was immediately awake and so was Christine. She hurried across the hall to my grandmother’s room. My Aunt Elna was hurrying across the hall as well. She was saying, “Who is it? Who is it?” I sat alone in the darkness, frightened. I listened to their crying and started to cry myself.
Aunt Christine came into our dark room and told me to bring my covers down to the living room. The house was awake, but quiet. I curled up on the sofa and watched as the three of them made breakfast in silence. My Aunt Elma even made teacakes. It was still dark outside.
I can’t remember how long we sat there. It seemed like hours. Finally the phone rang. It was Flucor’s son. Uncle Flucor had passed away in the night. My grandmother said that she was on her way over to sit with his wife. She said, “Flucor told me to sit with Nannie Mae.”
Though I could not express it at the time. I knew that something had happened. Something strange.
As my brothers grew and spent summers with my grandmother, they witnessed these episodes of knowing. We never talked about it.
Except once. When my grandmother passed away. My brothers and I were in her kitchen packing her things away. My brother, the practical, said that maybe we should let Nanny know that we are okay and that she didn’t need to visit us or anything like that.
We all agreed and together we said, “Nanny, we love you. You don’t need to visit us.” We laughed at our silliness. But I was glad we said it out loud.