MS Roots

November 19, 2011

Zana Hathorn found in Lawrence County, MS

Zanie Hathorn Entry

I needed to get reorganized in my search for Mahala Hathorn. I had gotten sidetracked with other family searches and writing about genealogy. Mahala was still as she was at the beginning of the year – a labor contract with unidentified persons signed with N.C. Hathorn. So I set about this past week to review her information and revise my research plan.

Sidetracked again – a clue about Zana Hathorn. An alert on my Family Tree Maker dashboard showed that someone had linked the 1870 Census for Zana Hathorn to Zanie Hawthorne in their family tree. I tried not to click the link. I knew where this was going to lead.

A little background – Zana Hathorn was listed in the 1870 census in the home of Isaac and Mahala Hathorn. She was 17 at the time. I had been unsuccessful in finding her after this census. I also knew that in 1900, Mahala and Isaac would be the caregivers for two children – John and Anna Holloway. The three candidates for their mother were – Zana, Ann or Matilda.

Clicking the link – Zana Hathorn was listed as being married to Henry Thomas. She was found in the 1900, 1910 and 1920 census in Lawrence County. Still missing though was information about her whereabouts after 1870 to 1900. Per one of the family trees, Zana Hathorn had children prior to her marriage. I then went to the Lawrence County Enumeration of Educable Children found on Familysearch.org and found her in 1892 with 3 children – Lear, Vandy? and Willie. Willie Hathorn would become Willie Thomas. The other two are still unknown.

Making the decision – I have decided not to follow Zana for the moment. I have written her here so that I will not forget and plan to revisit her next year if I have finished with Mahala. So till next year, Miss Zana Hathorn.

May 12, 2011

Wednesdays and Barbecue

Each Wednesday, barbecue is served in the cafeteria at work. I have worked there for five years and the Barbecue Wednesday has been in existence for the last three. Today it made me laugh.

I thought about the first family cookout that my husband ever attended with me in Prentiss, MS. Cookouts were nothing special for the Hathorns. We had random cookouts for anywhere from 20 to 50 cousins, aunts and uncles all the time. The men grilled and the women made potato salad, egg salad, green salad, cornbread, baked beans and the desserts. Only water and tea (sweetened of course) were served around the table. There was usually a tree with a cooler under it that held the beer. That was just the way dinner was served in the summer.

I told my newlywed husband that we were going to Prentiss, MS to visit my grandmother and that most likely there would be a cookout. He looked worried. The idea of an interracial couple in a small town in Mississippi didn’t make him feel all warm inside. I told him that he was being ridiculous. The whole trip to Mississippi, he kept asking if everyone in my family knew that he was White and that they were cool with that. I kept saying yes, but he didn’t believe me.

The day of the cookout, my family welcomed him with open arms. He looked a little more comfortable as the day got started but kept his seat next to me and my grandma. My cousin yelled, “Food’s ready, y’all” and a rush of people gathered around the food table with plates. A cousin said to Paul, “Baby, we made you gumbo. It’s not the best, but I think it’s all right.” He thanked her politely, but didn’t move from his seat.

My grandma leaned over to me and whispered, “Get Paul a plate.” I then turned to Paul and said, “Get your plate.” And for the first time since I was a very small child my grandmother pinched me under the table – hard! She whispered again, “Don’t embarrass me. Get Paul a plate.”

Well, with those instructions, what could I do? I got food for Paul and my grandma and myself. My grandma smiled and Paul grinned. I mouthed “Never again” and he laughed. We still talk about that day almost 16 years later when I was disciplined by my grandma as 22 year old married woman.

May 1, 2011

Surname Saturday – Thompson

I am working on finding the family of my 3rd great grandmother, Mahala Hathorn. I decided to try to locate the other people listed with Mahala on a Freedmen’s Bureau Labor Contract in the 1870 census.

Living a few houses down from Ike and Mahala Hathorn was Reddick and Jane Hathorn. This Jane Hathorn was a close match for the Jane listed with Mahala on the Labor Contract. Two children Zana (also the name of Mahala’s daughter) and Rich are listed as living in the household.

I searched for the Reddick/Jane Hathorn household in the 1880 census with no luck. I widened my search to the entire state of Mississippi and then to the nation. Had the entire family been wiped out? I searched the 1900 and 1910 censuses – nothing. Then I got frustrated. Then I got creative with my search criteria.

I found the family. The Reddock/Jane Thompson household. Still listed in the household were Rich and Zana. They were Thompson now. Five other children had been born in the 10 years between the two censuses. Did any of them ever know that they were once Hathorn? I left a note for future researchers who may be wondering how the Thompson family suddenly appeared in 1880.

Tomorrow, I’m so happy to be heading out to the library. I have the Hathorns and the Thompsons and the Griffiths and the Lowes and the Loflins and the Draughns to research – trying to figure out how we all fit together.

April 17, 2011

2011 Genealogy Goal #2 – Mahala

My second genealogy goal this year was to take one step back past 1870 for the Hathorns, namely Mahala. I had followed her through the census with various names, a range of ages and fluctuating races. She was recorded as Haley, Holly and Mahala. Her birth year was recorded from 1830 to 1843. Sometimes, she was listed as Black and sometimes she was mulatto. But she there from 1870 to 1910 with a family that I could document.

Last week, I began preparing to research the community of Hollidays Creek as a slave owning community. I had two clues that may lead me to the former owner of Mahala and decided to follow what I had. My first clue was the chosen surname of the family – Hathorn. There were Hathorns listed in the 1860 slave schedule for the near vicinity of Hollidays Creek. My second clue was a Freedmen’s Bureau Labor contract dated 1865 between N.C. Hathorn and several freedmen. The freedmen were listed as follows:

Laborers:
Gerry – 24; Mahala – 22; Lucy – 21; Calvin – 18; Jane – 15; Rachael – 14; Bertro – 12; Ann – 11
Dependents:
Sanco – 26; Henry – 6; Willis – 5; Jack – 4; Unreadable; Easter – 1

The name Sanco stood out for me for two reasons – 1) He was listed with the children and 2) I had seen his name in my review of the 1870 census. Further research found him living in 1870 and 1880 with the family I had identified as the possible slave owners of Mahala. He was also listed in a family tree on ancestry.com. His father was named as N.C. Hathorn. I immediately contacted the owner and received the response below:

Hello. I will be happy to tell you what I know about Sanco. I am not sure of birth or death dates, so the birth date is from the census, and I have really guessed at his death. In 1870 he was living with his half brother, Samuel Baskin Hathorn and they were about the same age. In 1880, he was living with his half sister, Sarah Hathorn & husband James “Jim” Clark. These were my G Grandparents. Apparently, Sanco always knew who his father was and after the Civil War, he refused to leave. My knowledge of him comes from my grandfather, Grover Cleveland Clark, who called him what all the family called him, “Uncle Sanco”, and they knew his story. He lived in the house with them and helped with house chores and Sarah’s children. Remembering the stories my grandfather told of him, leads me to think that he was a “childlike” person. He would get mad about things and expected to go everywhere with the family and to be treated as family. Once he was not envited to a wedding and he was so mad about it. They brought him some of the wedding cake and he would not eat it. He said “I don’t want no old cold cake”. My grandfather would tell this and laugh and laugh.

I never heard anything about a girl friend or relationship, so do not know if he had children. I do not think he ever lived away from the Clarks. As with many Hathorns, he had horrible arthritis and crawled on his knees in later years, unable to walk. ( Sarah also had arthritis and was an invalid, bed-ridden for some years before her death.) They said he used two long cow leg bones for crutchs as they were the right length for him. That was one of the things my Grandfather told–Uncle Sanco would hit them with the bones if they misbehaved, so they tried to stay far enough away to avoid being “disciplined” with the bones. From all that I heard, he really loved Sarah and looked out for her.

After this email, I am now more inspired to research Mahala and our kin. I can’t make any claims now as to the relationship between Mahala and Sanco and the Hathorns and the others listed in the labor contract, but I know that it can be figured out with some work and guiding voices like this one!

March 14, 2011

Matrilineal Monday – Thelma and Elna and Christine


My grandmother, Thelma Hathorn Johnson Graves (pictured on the left), and my aunt Elenor “Elna” Hathorn Burkhalter (pictured on the right) were always together. My aunt Christine Hathorn Durr, the third member of this trio, is probably hiding away from the camera. My Nanny and Aunt Elna were the ones out front. They laughed loudly, smoked cigarettes and drank beer. Aunt Christine was quite reserved in contrast. She would rarely speak in public. She never drank beer or alcohol or smoked cigarettes. The youngest three sisters of the Hathorn family. The secret keepers.
As I have embarked on the family history journey, I’ve uncovered bits of the secrets that they kept. But no ultimate Truth to date.
My grandmother had a first husband, Eddie Hugh Johnson. I found the marriage certificate. A cousin told me that she seemed to remember that someone had said that my grandmother had been married once before my grandfather but she couldn’t remember what happened to the man.
My Aunt Elna was married to a man named Joe Burkhalter. Again I found a marriage certificate. Again a cousin says that she seemed to remember a marriage, but she couldn’t remember what happened to the man.
My Aunt Christine was married to a man named Mack Durr. Yes, I found a marriage certificate. Yes a cousin says that she remembered something. This time, however, I found the niece of Mack Durr. A fellow genealogist who was able to give me a little more of the story of this woman with whom I had lived my childhood and adult life through 2008.
Oh, the things they kept!
My latest challenge? Those cousins who remember a little of this and a little of that have asked if I could find their father’s father. This is the big secret of the family. The eldest daughter of Arthur and Idella Hathorn had a son out of wedlock. This son was raised as the youngest child of Arthur and Idella. It wasn’t until he was 65 and applying for benefits that he discovered that his biological mother was his sister.
Of course, my cousins asked my grandmother and her two sisters for the answers. As my cousin says, “Your grandmother and Aunt Elna and Aunt Christine called us everything but the child of God, so that was the end of that.”
I don’t know if we will find the answers, but I’m thankful for the riddles.

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
Tags: ,

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 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.

March 21, 2010

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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