MS Roots

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 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.

August 18, 2010

Marriage Records and Surprises

Filed under: Hathorn,mississippi family history,Prentiss,Uncategorized — by tmailhes @ 3:16 am

I was very excited when the library called to tell me that the microfilm from the LDS library was in.  I had requested the colored marriage records from Jefferson Davis County 1939 – 1954.  I was sure that I was going to find my grandparents marriage records and hopeful that I would find records for my great – aunts, Elma and Christine.

I looked immediately for Abraham Graves, my grandfather, and found nothing.  I then scanned the brides’ names just to see if I could find my two aunts.  And there was the name – Thelma Hathorn.  My grandmother’s name.  The groom was Eddie Hugh Johnson.  The record showed that on 15 February 1947 Thelma Hathorn, daughter of Arthur Hathorn of Prentiss, MS, married Eddie Hugh Johnson, son of Jim Johnson of Mendenhall, MS.  My first surprise – my grandmother had a first husband!? Still waiting on a call from the cousins to see if anyone remembers this or if this something that has been conveniently forgotten.  I have yet to find the marriage record for my grandparents.

I continued scanning the brides’ names and found my two great-aunts.  Elnora “Elma” Hathorn married Joe Burkhalter on 1 March 1949.  She was 26 and he was 55.   The age difference was amazing because the vast majority of couples in the records were only 2 or 3 years apart in age.

Christine Hathorn married Mack Durr on 18 August 1951.  She is listed as 25 years old and he is 26 years old.  But my great-aunt was born about 1916, she would have been about 35 years old at the time of the married.  I wonder if his age had been miscalculated as well?

Upcoming interviews will focus on these three men.  If my grandmother was married in 1947, when did she marry my grandfather and have my mother and uncle between 1948 and late 1949?  Why did Elma marry a man twice her age?  Did Christine knowingly marry a man 10 years younger? And what happened to the marriages? Death? Divorce?

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.

April 7, 2010

The Mysterious Mr. Hill

I have only two memories of my grandfather, L C Hill.

I remember being a very small child with my cousins in a rose garden.  Grandfather Hill appeared and yelled, “You, chaps, get out of Miss Matt’s roses!”  I started to cry and he yelled again, “Miss Matt!  Miss Matt!”  My grandmother came over and picked me up saying, “It’s alright, Mr. Hill”  She let me drink one of her special glass bottle Cokes kept in a refrigerator in the carport .

I remember his funeral and holding tight not to my parents, even though I was really scared, but to my grandma because she was crying.

On the journey to find my grandfather,  I haven’t learned much.  I joked with my father recently that his father may have been a time traveler appearing in the census record only in 1930 and in two moments in the mid 1970s.  What I have learned has been confusing because it is contrary to our oral tradition and written notes in the family bible.

I am even more determined now to find out who was the mysterious Mr. Hill.

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.

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