MS Roots

January 1, 2011

2011 Research Goals – The Hill Predicament

I have thought for a long time today about what to do with the Hill family research. It became clear very early that my present day HILL family was actually the SAMPSON family in 1900 and 1910. When my grandfather married my grandmother in 1925, his name was recorded as L C HILL not L C SAMPSON.

The question that has nagged me has been at what point did the children of Rosie SAMPSON decide that they were changing their last name? All five children, John, L C, Gothie Lee, Mary B. and Diana would use the name HILL for the rest of their lives. Their children and their children’s children are HILL to this very moment.

The Outside Children – My father used this term when I discovered that John Lacy HILL, his grandfather, was actually married to Ellen EDGAR and not this grandmother, Rosie Lee SAMPSON. He said that his father and aunts and uncles were the outside children meaning that they were born outside the bonds of matrimony. Do I dare study the HILL family? “We should leave this alone.” answered my uncle.

Just Looking – Initial research into the HILL family of Oktibbeha County yielded a few interesting names: Jesse, Ben, John, Roman, Caleb. Interesting. In the early 1980s, my aunt met a woman who told her that her grandfather (John Lacy HILL) had four brothers named Ben, Jesse, Roman and Caleb. We recorded this information in the program guide for the HILL / WRIGHT family reunion. The 1910 Census enumerated the household of Rose SAMPSON with four children, John, L C, Mary B. (the B stands for Bennie) and Jesse.

Tangled – After interviewing several family members, I learned that no one discussed the family history or familial relationships. Quoting my cousin, Joyce, “Back then if someone said they were your cousin, you just said okay. You learned not to ask questions.” I did a little more digging and found separate lives for John Lacy HILL and Rosie Lee SAMPSON. Living in close vicinity up to the 1920s but not connecting in any records so far. “We should leave this alone”, answered my uncle to a question I had not asked this time.

Looking for Rosie Lee SAMPSON – I have decided to let the HILL question wait for a little longer, while I search for Rosie Lee SAMPSON. Where was she from? Who were her parents? Her siblings? Did she really have 7 children and I can only account for 6? Certainly these aren’t incendiary questions to ask.

We should leave this alone.

December 24, 2010

Family Recipe Friday – Teacakes

Filed under: family history,Hathorn,Hathorn family recipes — by tmailhes @ 4:29 pm
Tags: ,

My grandmother and two aunts made teacakes all the time. They didn’t eat cookies or have other desserts in the house besides homemade ice cream. I don’t think my mom ever made them, but she had a recipe in her cookbook.

1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
3 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

There were no directions included with the ingredients, but here is my best shot. Mix the dry ingredients and then the wet ingredients. Kneed the mixture and roll into balls on a greased cookie sheet. Cook for about 15 minutes on low heat.
The result is large cookie that is more spicy than sweet. I may give this a try on one of my more adventurous cooking days.

December 23, 2010

Thriller Thursday – They come to say their good-byes

Filed under: Covington County,family history,Hathorn,Prentiss — by tmailhes @ 2:15 pm
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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.

December 20, 2010

2011 Research Goals – W. Arthur HATHORN and Idella GRIFFITH

At some point in 1905, 25 year old William Arthur Hathorn married 14 year old Idella Griffith. Why? An obvious answer is that their first child was also born in 1905; however, the age difference is still extreme.
To this union would be born 9 children.
2011 Research Goals
1. Find the parents of Idella Griffith
a. Unable to locate Idella Griffith in census of Covington County, Mississippi or surrounding counties prior to 1910.
b. Idella died in 1962, her death record should still be on file with the Vital Records Office of the Mississippi State Department of Health.
2. Verify her age at time of marriage
a. Unable to locate a Covington County marriage record for William Arthur Hathorn or Idella Griffith.
b. Will check Lawrence County, Simpson County and Marion County for a marriage record.
3. Document birth and death dates for each of 9 children
4. Obtain marriage records for each of 9 children
2011 Research Writing
Complete biographical sketch of Arthur and Idella Hathorn. They will be the beginning or ending of the story of my branch of the HATHORNs in Covington County,Mississippi.

December 19, 2010

Sunday’s Obituary: Ella Rose (Nell) Hathorn

In Loving Memory of Ella Rose (Nell) Hathorn
August 27, 1942 – January 29, 1996
Ella Rose Hathorn was born August 27, 1942 in Covington County, MS to the late Johnny and Viola Sullivan.
Ella Rose united with Friendship Baptist Church at an early age. She attended the Covington County Schools.
She married the late Mr. James Hathorn in 1963. She later attended the Mt. Harmony and Mt. Carmel Missionary Baptist Churches. She worked at H&P Sales and Groceries and Polk Meats for many years.
She was called home on Monday January 29, 1996. She is preceded in death by her parents: Mr. and Mrs. Johnny Sullivan; one brother: Ellis Sullivan; her husband: Mr. James Hathorn.
She leaves to cherish in loving memory John L. Fairley, two sons: Le John Fairley and Richard Lee Winters; one daughter: Kemeka Fairley, all of Prentiss, MS; five sisters: Georgia Simmons of Jackson, MS, Johnnie V. Joshua, Christine Brewer of Prentiss, MS, Brenda Jones and June Harris both of San Jose, CA; four brothers: Marcellus Magee of Chicago, IL, John Magee of Gulfport, MS, Willie Sullivan of Hazelhurst, MS and Robert Sullivan of Prentiss, MS; four aunts: Myrtle McLaurin of Milwaukee, WI, Mattie (John) Mayes of Springfield, MA, Mae Helen Powell of Chicago, IL, and Tina McLaurin of Gulfport, MS; one uncle: Sonny McLaurin of St. Petersburg, FL; her mother-in-law: Mrs. Lola Fairley of Prentiss, MS; and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.

December 13, 2010

Mystery Monday – Hager Lowe

I was so excited to quickly find my maternal 3rd great grandmother, Harriet and her family. All I knew about my grandmother’s grandmother was that her name was Harriet. After finding the HATHORN family in the 1870 Census, I scanned the next few families and found Harriet LOFLIN. I was able to verify that Harriet HATHORN had once been Harriet LOFLIN when I received my great-grandfather’s SS-5 application letter. His parents were listed as William HATHORN and Harriet LOFLIN.

I was busily entering my new found information into my database when I took a closer look at the census record. The 80 year old woman Hager LOWE was not associated with the house below her name but with the LOFLIN household. Had I found my maternal 5th great-grandmother?

Is she related by blood to Jerman LOFLIN? Is she related by blood to Marandy LOFLIN POSEY?
Was she actually born in Mississippi as it is enumerated in the 1870 Census? Had she been of the first slaves in the colony established by the French in 1719?

Hager LOWE has presented a challenge to me and I am very glad to work on her story. After having living perhaps 80 years in bondage, she deserves to have her story told.

December 12, 2010

William Arthur Hathorn, Sr – A Quiet Man

Filed under: family history,Hathorn,mississippi family history — by tmailhes @ 6:26 pm

Arthur Hathorn, better known as Papa, was by all accounts a quiet man. He was born in 1880, in the little community of Hollidays Creek, MS to William Hathorn and Harriet Loflin Hathorn.
The son of former slaves, he received no formal education. He taught himself to read and began teaching his community to read. After long hours of working in the cotton fields with his family, he would invite the community into in his tiny home and teach passages from the Bible. His favorite passages have been lightly underlined in his Bible.
My cousins say that by the time he passed away in 1966, he was known in the community as a former grade school teacher. Those who came after the days in the cotton fields probably never knew the type of “school” in which he taught.
“I barely remember his voice now. He just didn’t talk much”, said Comel Hathorn.
When Comel Hawthorn was growing up she believed that Arthur Hathorn was her grandfather. He was her father’s, Toxey Hathorn, father.
In the 1930 Census, the Hathorn family is enumerated with Arthur Hathorn as the Head and Idella Hathorn as the Wife. There are several children living in the home including Toxey Hathorn who is enumerated as a 4 year old son.
It wasn’t until the early 70s, that the quiet man’s secret was revealed. He was not the father of Toxey Hathorn. He was his grandfather. Arthur and Idella Hathorn had raised their grandson as their son and apparently had never said a word. After Comel and I reviewed the 1930 Census record, she remarked that this lie was so old that everyone had just accepted it as Truth now.
What other secrets had this quiet man kept? We may never be so lucky to find a record of them, but the search continues.

June 10, 2010

7 Acres in Black Jack, MS

There is a deed in the Oktibbeha County courthouse  that shows ownership of seven acres of land in the community known as Black Jack.  My dad remembers visiting his Uncle John in a house that used to  sit back up in these woods.  This is where his father, L C Hill, grew up and spent his childhood.

L C Hill was a stern disciplinarian, a hard worker, a hard drinker and could tell a man’s character by the state of his shoes —  L C’s were always well polished.  L C Hill would preach tirelessly to his children about the importance of your family — that they were your refuge in this world.  Yet he rarely spoke of his father or his mother saying only that his father’s name was John Lacy Hill and his mother was Rosie Sampson.  Over the years his two sisters and two brothers would move from Oktibbeha, but would return to see their brother frequently.

And then there is this deed to a childhood home purchased by Rosie Radcliff.

The Federal Census of 1900, showing John Lacy Hill as the Head of his household with his wife Ellen and his daughter.  They have a boarder, Rosia Sampson.

The Federal Census of 1910, showing John Lacy Hill as the Head of his household with his wife Ellen and three children.  Roscia Sampson is shown living a few houses away with a son L C Sampson.

While searching through records in the Mississippi Archives this weekend my aunt said, “No wonder he didn’t talk about these people.  Daddy wouldn’t have approved of this.”  But I think he would have approved of the relationships among his 6 surviving children because they visit each other often and love each other fiercely.

March 21, 2010

Sentimental Sunday- She’s Up to Something

This is my mother, Abelene Graves

“She’s up to something” – this is perhaps the only thing that my father and my grandmother agreed on prior to my mother’s death in March 1990.

My mother was born Abelene Graves on 11/21/1949.  It was soon realized that she was not like everyone else.  She was smart to the point of my grandmother’s exhaustion always wanting to know why.

To my grandmother’s dismay, my mom wanted to attend Jackson State University more than 60 miles away from home and live on campus.  My grandmother agreed on one condition that she would pick up my mother every Friday after classes and she would spend every weekend in Prentiss, MS.  Imagine how hard it was for my parents to date.  My dad said that a date was sitting in my grandmother’s living room watching t.v. with the family.  My grandmother would tell him to leave about 10pm and walk him to the door.  He would wave good-bye to my mom. They eloped in 1970.

My mom caused another uproar after her elopement when she changed her name to Toni.  She had always felt that Abelene was not a good name for her. She had been named after her father, Abraham.

It wasn’t only inside the family that my mom was “up to something”.  In the mid 70s, she cut her hair into a short fro and was the talk of the office in which she worked.  Later, she grew out the fro and dyed her hair honey blonde and then changed it to a bright auburn.

I remember that she was always doing something new from welding abstract sculptures to painting watercolors of magnolias.  There was a corner in kitchen that was always filled my mom’s latest hobby.

It has been 20 years since her passing, but our family is filled with stories about a mom that was sure that she could do anything.

Surname Saturday

Filed under: family history — by tmailhes @ 12:06 am
Tags: , , ,

How fitting that on Surname Saturday, I would receive new surnames to aid in my searches.

I received a copy of my great-grandfather’s social security application today.  It confirmed my suspicion from the 1880 and 1900 census that Arthur Hathorn, my great grandfather, was the son of William and Harriet Hathorn.  The application has also provided me with Harriet’s maiden name – Loflin.  I was hoping for this piece of information.

I received a call from my dad this morning.  He was very excited to have found the obituary of his father’s  last sister.  However, we were both confused about what we thought we knew of the family.  My grandfather, L C Hill, and my great-uncle, John Hill, are both listed as brothers who preceded my great-aunt in death.  Daddy and I knew this.  To cherish her memory are William Harris (brother) and Betty Jean Harris (sister) of South Carolina.  Daddy and I were both floored.  There had never been any mention of any other siblings in the Hill family.  We will be sorting this out in my visit to Mississippi shortly.

To Date I am researching the following names

  1. Hathorn – Covington County, Lawrence County, Jefferson Davis County (MS)
  2. Griffith, Griffin – Covington County, Lawrence County, Jefferson Davis County (MS)
  3. Loflin – Covington County, Lawrence County, Jefferson Davis County (MS)
  4. Graves – Covington County, Lawrence County, Jefferson Davis County (MS)
  5. Hill – Oktibehha County (MS)
  6. Wright -Oktibehha County (MS)
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