MS Roots

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.


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