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?