MS Roots

November 29, 2011

The land records of Isaac Hathorn

Filed under: Uncategorized — by tmailhes @ 4:13 am
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I am up way past my bedtime this evening measuring the size of rock candy.  It’s a science fair project for my procrastinating daughter.  While I was waiting for the alarm to go off to signal the final measuring of the evening, I decided to input some information about Isaac Hathorn.  Isaac is my 3rd great grandfather, the husband of Mahala.

Isaac Hathorn is listed as the owner of the following plots of land:

  •  4     7N         19W       ST STEPHENS   41.96 acres signed on 11/01/1897
  • 14    7N         18W       ST STEPHENS   80 acres signed on 6/16/1906
  • 14    7N         18W       ST STEPHENS   40 acres signed on 05/10/1881 (pictured)
  • 12    7N         18W       ST STEPHENS   40.17 acres signed on 8/12/1901  

I have no idea what any of that means except that at some point the Hathorns owned some land!  I discovered something else that I need to study and make a note to ask my Hathorn cousins if anyone lives on this land today.  Could it have been where the “old house” was?  The “old house” was a place referred to by my dad when he tells us about courting my mother.  Image


November 26, 2011

Don’t Shoot, Aunt Thelma!

Filed under: Hathorn,mississippi family history,Prentiss,Uncategorized — by tmailhes @ 3:51 am

This is Robert Hathorn’s story.  

There are some things that you need to know about my grandma to appreciate this story.  She lived with her two sisters off an unpaved road in the middle of nowhere.  She went to bed at 11:30pm just after the Johnny Carson Show on weeknights and at 10:30pm on weekend nights just after the News.  There was a storage room in her carport that held tools, a freezer and a container of gasoline.  She owned three guns – a .22, a .38 and sawed-off double-barreled shotgun.  And she was an excellent shot.

So on to cousin Robert’s story…

It was late, late round about two o’clock.  I didn’t have enough gas to make it home so I pulled in to Aunt Thelma’s.  I cut off the car lights and eased the car down the road to just in front of the carport.  I walked up into the shed, turned on the light, got the gas can and walked out.  Didn’t think nothing about it.

I’m putting the gas in the tank and BAMM!  Let me tell you, I hit that ground.  I felt the hot wind whirling round that bullet. I’m laying there in the gravel.  You know wasn’t nothing but sand and rocks in front of the carport.  I got a mouth full of sand and I’m trying to talk to her. Another crack.  BAMM!  This time that bullet skidded across the roof of the car.  

I got my breath and I yell, “Don’t shoot, Aunt Thelma!  It’s me, Robert.  It’s me, Robert.”  I’m calling her y’all and praying at the same time.  

Then I hear Aunt Christine.  “Shoot him, Thelma.  I’ll drag him under the carport.”  My right hand to God, Aunt Christine said that.

I’m still talking telling them it’s me.  Aunt Thelma says, “Stand up boy!”  I get up with my hands up.  My legs just a shaking.  Aunt Thelma and Aunt Christine standing on that side porch with hedges.  None of them got their glasses on.  Aunt Thelma holding that double-barreled shotgun on me like she in the movies, man.  You know she held that gun high up against her shoulder.  I’m just praying there’s enough light she can make me out.  

Finally, she drop that gun down and laugh.  “Boy, that’s a good way to get killed.”

Aunt Christine starts walking in the house and turns around and says, “Scaring folks in the middle of the night.”  I’m thinking I’m the one shaking and can’t get my hands down.  Let me tell you the next time I needed gas in the middle of the night,  I pulled over and slept in the car.  I waited till first light and rang the doorbell.


November 24, 2011

The Thanksgiving of he Woman Who Made the Cakes

Filed under: Uncategorized — by tmailhes @ 12:15 am
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Each Thanksgiving  Eve, my mother and great-aunts would crowd into the kitchen and begin baking.  They made cakes, pies and cornbread for dressing.  My brothers and I would crowded at the counter with a spoon waiting to lick a mixing bowl.  Thanksgiving was always a great meal prepared by great cooks.  

Then there was the Thanksgiving that Cousin Alma came to visit.  I don’t yet know the exact relationship of Alma Hathorn to my grandmother and her sisters.  She was called “cousin” and she lived in Prentiss, MS.  For some reason that I don’t remember, Cousin Alma came to our house in Jackson, MS for Thanksgiving.  

In sharp contrast to my grandmother, she was a quiet woman who smiled without showing any teeth.  My grandma had a loud rolling laugh!  She was sharp-tongued and sharp-witted. I remember that my grandmother talked and Cousin Alma mostly nodded assent.  If Cousin Alma disagreed, she would shake her head and say, “Now, Thelma”.

Also in sharp contrast to my grandmother, Cousin Alma could cook.  She was famous at Mt. Carmel Church for her jelly cake.  This was a sponge cake with a jelly filling.  She rolled the cake into a log and spread homemade icing over it.  It was the most delicious non-chocolate dessert I’ve ever had.  She made this for our Thanksgiving.  She also made an egg custard which has set the bar for all egg custards that my brother, Stacy, has ever eaten.  That year, she taught my mother how to make red velvet cake and we were all in heaven.

My father can never remember her name, but routinely he mentions “that woman who made the cakes that year”.  I will remember Cousin Alma always.  The sweet quiet woman who was such a fabulous baker that she impressed a family for over 30 years.

August 27, 2011

Genealogy Weekend – To Do List

Filed under: Uncategorized — by tmailhes @ 3:29 pm
Mattie Wright Hill and L C Hill

I’m taking some time today to get reorganized and really focus. I was on vacation last week and had a lot of fun spending time with family and collecting information. I have photos to scan and documents to transcribe and index. However, none of these things have anything to do with the current projects that I’m working on.

The Seals / Wright Family Tree: I’m spending the afternoon with the Seals and Wright families of Oktibbeha County, MS. I will be organizing existing data and following up with my dad and Aunt Louise that they are indeed recording their stories. I’m also waiting for a response from the Family Reunion committee about putting an asterisk after the surnames to show that Hill / Wright should more accurately be Sampson / McBride. (I don’t actually think that will happen). As you can see from the photo above, I’ve scanned a photo of my Grandma and Granddaddy Hill (check).

African American Special Interest Group: I will be speaking at the September meeting of AASIG, a special interest group of the Dallas Genealogical Society. I am able to present on a family line and can’t decide if I want to present about the search for Jesse Hill, my 4th great-grandfather or Myhalia Hathorn, my 4th great grandmother. I think that both of their stories and the research methods used are very interesting.

2011 Georgia Family History Expo: I will be presenting “Using the Genealogical Proof Standard and U.S. Census Records as a Foundation for Creating an Effective Research Plan” at the expo in Gwinnett, GA. I’m moving this one to the top of the list as my handouts have to be turned in shortly. Last year, I signed up to write for as the Garland Genealogy Examiner. Last month, I received my first check – the minimum $25.00 for a payout. It was only $25.00 but I was so excited. Since, I am super competitive, I’ve challenged myself to get that $25.00 every other month by publishing 25 articles every two months. Today, I will begin writing my articles for next week. The beginning of a month is always easy because I publish about upcoming local genealogical events! I’ll let you know if I get the $25.00 for September.

Okay, maybe I should have called this Genealogy Months…

June 26, 2011

Mid-Year Refocus Part 1

Filed under: Hill Family,Oktibbeha County, MS,Uncategorized — by tmailhes @ 3:53 pm
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Once again, the little family history corner of my living room is a mess. There are papers and books stacked haphazardly in the corner. My projects are swirling around in my mind but I haven’t put them in my OneNote notebooks! So this week, I’m going to get re-organized, re-focused and get to work!

The Hill Family – I want to thank everyone who sent me emails about the Hill Files to nowhere. I really feel energized again about this leg of my journey. I am going to Mississippi in a few days and have already called my aunt and cousin to review some of the clues I received from other family historians. Also, on my task list is to order the birth certificate for my grandfather’s sister, Dina Hill. I never ordered it because I had her death certificate. Then I thought, she is the only child that could possibly have a birth certificate filed near the time of her birth because she was born in 1919. Well after the state requirement for birth certificates! I’m giving it a shot.

The Wright Family – I haven’t explored the Wright family at all. I will continue to collect stories and set up some time to begin record searching once I get to a stopping point with the Hill family.

Rosie Sampson – The mysterious matriarch of the Hill family. I have the List of Educable Children for Oktibbeha County which lists a Rosie Sampson with parent/guardian Neal? Sampson. A definite next step is to locate Neal Sampson in the census. I am waiting for FHL film for marriage records. I believe that she married Otis Ratley/Ratliff in 1919 or 1920.

My goal for today is organize this information in my virtual notebooks and set up my task lists and not to get off track! I’m paying my daughters 50 cents per hour to file and catalog items so we should be able to accomplish this today.

That’s My Mama’s Land

Filed under: Uncategorized — by tmailhes @ 2:19 am

My dad is a wonderful storyteller because you never know when he is kidding. As a young man, he had a heat stroke which paralyzed the lower left side of his face. He has always worn a mustache so that you can’t tell that his whole mouth isn’t moving when he talks. He also received shrapnel to the upper left side of his face during Vietnam so his left eye was left in a permanent squint. All this makes my dad look very serious all the time. You just never know if he is kidding or not.

This is the story he told when I asked about his mother’s family – the WRIGHTs

We all worked in the cotton fields of my mama’s aunt. She was a mean old woman that we all called Aunt Joe. I know that wasn’t her real name but I can’t remember what it was. Anyway, we worked picking her cotton and she would pay my mama and us kids for working. She also had a store that sold planks and other candies and damned if she didn’t make us pay for the stuff too. Then she had a big pear tree and wouldn’t let us have any of the pears off the tree.
Well, I was a bad kid and didn’t do half the stuff I was told to do and didn’t care that I was going to get a beating. So one night, I’m out doing what I want to do and I hear my daddy talking to my mama about Aunt Joe’s land. My daddy said that it wasn’t right that we were working land that my mama had as much a right to as Aunt Joe. That was all I needed.
The next day after picking cotton for a while, I went to Aunt Joe’s store and took a candy plank and walked out of the store. Aunt Joe was screaming and coming after me. I wheeled around and said “I can take what I want. That’s my mama’s land too!” Aunt Joe stopped and walked back to the store. There were plenty people standing around the store. Church folks.
That evening Aunt Joe came to our house and told my mama and my daddy what I did. Daddy gave her money for the candy and walked away. Aunt Joe started yelling at him and Daddy said, “I paid you for your candy.” That was all he said. After Aunt Joe left, my mama beat the Hell out of me. That was the only beating I think she ever gave out. Like I said I was a bad kid.

Mattie Wright was my grandmother. Her parents were James “Mann” Wright and Sallie Seals. James Wright’s mother was Annus McBride. Annus McBride married John Wright after 1880 (after James’ birth). Even though, James Wright’s death certificate lists John Wright as his father, I can’t verify it. Maybe that’s the reason Aunt Joe felt that the Wright’s land was hers alone.

May 16, 2011

Agreement with Freedmen made by T.L.H. Caraway

I was very excited today to have unlocked the secret system of the Freemen’s Bureau Labor Contracts located at the Central Dallas Library. I created my very own index using the index from the Mississippi Department of Archives and History. It was a time consuming process, but in the end it was all worth it. After searching through two rolls in Dallas, I was able to match Dallas #49 to Mississippi #2574. All I had to do from there was to count to the correct contract number.
Here are my results:

Agreement with Freedmen made this 7th day of September 1865 by and between T.L.H. Caraway and Jerman & his family and Amanda of Covington and State of Mississippi;…In testimony whereof the said parties have affixed their names to this agreement on the day & date aforesaid and for the purposes specified.
Names Ages Wages
Jerman 33 Food & Clothing
Marinda 30 Food & Clothing
Hariet 11 de
Amanda 21 Food & Clothing

Harriet is my 2nd great grandmother. Jerman and Marinda are my 3rd great-grandparents. I will be searching probate records for a mention of Caraway or Loflin in the surrounding counties.

April 4, 2011

Finding the Griffiths of Covington County, MS

One of my goals for this year was to complete a narrative sketch of Arthur and Idella Hathorn. They were my great-grandparents. I only have two photographs of them, but the stories of their faith and love of family have provided permanent images in my mind and heart.

Idella Griffith Hathorn was a bit of a mystery. While I knew that she was loved and praised by her daughters and granddaughter as a gentle loving woman. I knew little about her family except that she was a Griffith.

I wasn’t able to locate a family in the census that fit with the age as recorded in the 1910 census for Idella when she was a wife and mother. In the previous census, there was Ida Griffith who seemed too old and Ada Griffith who seemed too young. I wasn’t able to locate a marriage record for Arthur and Idella in Covington County. I ordered Idella’s death certificate and waited.

About two weeks ago, I received Idella’s death record. It listed her parents as Isom Griffith and Mira Smith. The informant was her husband, Arthur Hathorn. She had been listed in the 1900 census as Ida Griffith and that recorded age most closely matched the date of birth recorded on her death certificate. The Griffiths lived a few houses away from the Hathorns and I had seen that record in the census so many times!

I began mapping the Griffith family through census records and checking if any of the records had been saved by anyone else on The 1900 census record for James Griffith, youngest brother of Idella, had been saved to another family tree. I contacted the owner and found my cousin, James!

We talked about Life…how it keeps going. He had always meant to get back to his small hometown to reconnect with the cousins from his childhood, but Life kept happening. He had attended my uncle’s funeral in 1968, but didn’t make it to my mother’s. He had called her “Sis” his entire life and didn’t know that she was known as Toni. We have made plans to have our families meet in the next two weeks. It will be easy since he lives only 20 minutes away! Life.

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 6, 2010

Finding time for my passion

Filed under: Uncategorized — by tmailhes @ 4:02 am

It always happens, life gets in the way of even the activities that I enjoy the most.

It has been months since I have visited the blogging page that I was so excited to start. I haven’t had the opportunity to order a single set of film from the FHL in over a month. I’ve only been to the library to attend a society meeting in the last few weeks.
Where do you find the time?
I’ve come to the conclusion that I have to schedule the time. I manage time for a living so why should I be so careless with the time that is my own?
Easiest time slot for family history writing, blogging and presentation preparation is Sunday nights. The house seems quiet on Sunday evenings after the buzz of the weekend is over.
Wish me luck and look for a Sunday blog next week!

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