Thursday, May 31, 2007

WPA Historic Records Survey: Interesting Old Homes of Itawamba County

Some of the more interesting documents for Itawamba County research are found in the Works Progress Administration Historic Records Survey for Itawamba County . During the 1930s WPA workers went around the county gathering material relating to the history of the county. The report of several hundred pages consisted of old county records, biographies, stories of the Civil War, old family letters and one section entitled “Interesting Homes of Itawamba County.” The excerpt below is about the old Cummings home, known as Sunny Dell, located north of Fulton on a hill overlooking Cummings Creek. The old antebellum home was destroyed by fire around 1920.

“The home of ‘Uncle Mac’ Cummings, one of the most beautiful private dwellings in north Mississippi, was located one mile from Fulton on the road leading north. This twelve room house had eighteen windows, twelve glasses 18x20. Glass was cut by hand. Six rooms were 20x20 feet. There were twelve fireplaces in the house. All lumber used was ripped sawed by hand and dressed by hand. The home was surrounded by oak and hickory trees. The front yard consisted of one-half acre. Native wild flowers and shrubs were on every side of the house.

The floors, windows and panels were made of virgin pine and fitted together with square finished nails that were polished. The doors were made of dressed oak and the grain was plainly visible. The walls were plastered and splits were made from heart of cypress. The brick used for the foundation were molded by hand. All work on the home was done by slaves. The construction covered a period of five years and was completed in 1856. Even with all the work done by his slaves and a very large part of the lumber from his own land, the building cost Mr. Cummings five thousand dollars.”

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Life on the Tombigbee: Floods and Dry Floods

The Tombigbee River begins in the wild northern regions of Itawamba County and flows south all the way to the Alabama River and then on to Mobile, Alabama. Since the founding of Itawamba County in 1836 the river has been an important part of the lives and livelihood of many. Tons of Itawamba hill country cotton have been shipped downriver that ended up finally at the port of Mobile.

The river bottom lands have been some of the most productive lands in Mississippi’s hill country for generations, but with cultivating these productive rich lands comes a price - that of the flood.

Tombigbee floods have been mentioned in historical accounts in Itawamba County since the 1830s. Josiah Hinds, who kept a journal during the beginning days of the county wrote of those floods, mentioning riding his horse through miles of flood waters in the Tombigbee bottomlands to reach Fulton, the county seat, from his plantation west of the river.

One quite rare occurrence I’ve heard talked about from my childhood days was the “dry flood.” A dry flood was, when upriver, a heavy thunderstorm would produce torrential rains, but downriver there would be no rain – as a matter of fact, the scorching Mississippi summer sun would be shining. My grandfather along with my father as a young boy, farmed the rich river bottomlands and I have heard them mention the “dry flood” on several occasions. My dad said the sun would be shining where they were tilling the soil but off in the distance to the north, many miles away, they could see the lightening from a storm and in the back of their minds knew they could stand a chance of being caught in a dry flood if they toiled in the fields too much longer. On one account he said they were plowing the fields and the water starting rising over the river banks. They quickly unhitched their mules, but before they could get out of the Tombigbee bottom land, water was already nearly waist high.

When I was a kid, river floods were quite common. During 1955, the spring river flood tore the Fulton levee apart at the foot of River Hill west of the river channel. For weeks, folks who lived on the west side of the river had to take a boat to their jobs in Fulton. During the early 1960s I recall the part of Fulton under the hill was bad to flood. Just north of Fulton, Cummings Creek emptied into the Tombigbee. When Cummings Creek and the Tombigbee flooded, it created massive amounts of water along Main Street under the hill. I remember once, the Ford dealership having to move all their new automobiles from the flood waters to dry ground uptown. That whole part of town would be flooded including the McKee Tourist Court motel, other businesses and the Bell home (pictured above).

I have not heard a dry flood mentioned in years and Tombigbee floods in Itawamba County today are not as severe as they once were, thanks in part, to the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway being cut through the county east of the river. Now all the tributaries east of the river empty into the waterway rather than the old river channel.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Walker Bridge: An Old Bridge Spanning the Tombigbee River

Walker Levee Bridge has connected the rich flatlands of northwestern Itawamba County with the rugged hills of Ryan’s Well community for generations.. The Tombigbee River runs the length of the county north and south forming a natural barrier for travel during the 19th Century. The whole length of the county had but a handful of crossings for horse and wagon travel. Walker Bridge was one of those crossings which included the Fulton Ferry, Beans Ferry, Ironwood Bluff crossing and Barr’s Ferry. The iron bridge at Walker Levee replaced an older wooden bridge in 1923 and that same 1923 bridge spans the Tombigbee today.

Walker Levee Bridge, or as locals call it - Walker’s Bridge was named for the John Walker family who owned a plantation west of the river. John Walker and his wife Catherine moved from Alabama to Itawamba County during 1839 where he had been purchasing property since 1836. They brought their slaves and children - Frances, Martha, Benjamin F.., George B., John, Nancy Ann and Moses L., with them to Itawamba County and another child, Mary Katherine, was born after arriving in Itawamba County.

By 1850 Walker had acquired 3,000 acres of rich Donnivan Creek bottom land near the headwaters of the Tombigbee River. The Walker House, which was built well before the Civil War was a combination plantation home, grocery and ordinary that was operated by the Widow Walker until well past Reconstruction days. The old home is still standing less than a mile west of Walker Levee Bridge. John Walker, who was born June 19, 1799, died on his plantation in Itawamba County on March 15, 1860, and Catherine, his widow, died on August 18, 1885. Both are buried in the old nearby Gilmore Chapel Cemetery.

Monday, May 28, 2007

The Civil War: A Fallen Itawamba Soldier's Burial in Atlanta

The following is a portion of a letter that was written to Itawamba County merchant and planter, Alfred Hoyt Raymond of old Van Buren and Verona. His son, Samuel P. Raymond served in Company E (Verona Rifles) of the 41st Mississippi Infantry during the Civil War. He was killed in the Battle of Atlanta during 1864 and was buried in a vacant lot in the city. Raymond hired a man in Atlanta to properly bury his son in a cemetery in Atlanta during 1866. Below is a portion of the moving letter written from Atlanta pertaining to his son’s re-interment.

Atlanta Ga
Aug 25/66

Mr A H Raymond
Verona Miss

I rec’d yours of 21st just last night and today have disinterred the remains of your son and placed them in a neat coffin and deposited them in the north east subdivision of the cemetery by the side of J.T. Terrel’s grave who lived in or near Quincy, Miss. Thinking he was perhaps an acquaintance or friend of your son. You I suppose are acquainted with the family. On the south side of his grave other Mississippians are nearby. A small apple tree stands at the head of the two graves rather between the two. A temporary headboard is put up on which his name only is inscribed. There is not a doubt as to the identity of his remains. Two plank were put down on the bottom of the grave. One on either side and covered over with short pieces of plank. He was enveloped in a colored blanket and no dirt was in contact with his remains…

If you will pardon me for again alluding to an incident that will perhaps dampen his parents eyes with tears of affection I will relate it. A very amiable young Lady, a Miss Kendrick, who lives on an adjoining lot to the one which he was buried was witnessing the disinterment of the precious remains and who seemed deeply moved with feelings of sympathy for parents and with much solicitude had made many inquries as to his age, his place of residence and whether his parents were living, evincing evidences that she fully understood the ties that link the hearts of parents to the memory of departed loved ones and when she saw the remains lifted from the rude grave she involuntarily exclaimed most pathetically and feelingly: “Noble Noble young Hero, he never disgraced his gray jacket.” I allude to this incident that you may know that a sympathising tear was dropped upon his remains by a Lady friend though a stranger to you and to him…

Yours Truly

F.R. Bell

Mr. Raymond

I send you a lock of your son’s hair in a separate envelope or supplemental note as I am not acquainted with Mrs. Raymond’s temperament and not knowing but what other circumstances might forbid the sudden introduction of the hair of her idolized son to her attention.

Yours &c


Source: Itawamba Settlers, Volume XXVI, Number 3, pages 118-119 from a transcription of the letter made from a copy of the original letter housed in Mississippi State University’s Allen Memorial Library. Illustration of a Confederate soldier from the Library of Congress

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Van Buren: Itawamba County's Old River Port Town Revisited

The secluded place is silent now. The only noise is that of a snake sliding into the peaceful Tombigbee River from an old cypress stump, the constant buzzing of summer locusts and the calling caw of a nearby crow perched on a willow tree limb surveying the scene. The only visitor is the occasional hunter.

It is like an oasis, far away from the Twenty First Century. A peaceful oasis where only the sounds of nature are heard.

More than 170 years ago, the place was quite different. It was a bustling little river port on the Tombigbee with more than a dozen stores, a boat landing to haul the cotton from the fertile Itawamba County bottomlands, and a town cemetery where the pioneer citizens of the town were laid to rest. It was the largest village in Itawamba County during 1840.

More than 400 settlers of the Itawamba frontier called this lively village home. The people had named their town in honor of the leader of the United States at the time – Martin Van Buren, the eighth president of the young country.

For many years, Van Buren village has been forgotten. About 1850, the village turned into a ghost town almost overnight. Some people say the railroad built some miles west of the village caused the old river town to decay. People moved west to be near the new Mobile and Ohio Railroad. Others went to the bustling village of Richmond, several miles southwest.

The first owner of the land on record was a Chickasaw by the name of Ish-twi-ah-bah-ka. He sold the land in 1836 to D. Saffrens, a land speculator in the newly opened Chickasaw country. The first person to open a store there was Winfield Scott Chippewa Walker, a nephew of the famous general Winfield Scott. Walker, a colorful merchant, had moved up from old Cotton Gin Port in neighboring Monroe County during 1838 when he opened his store on the banks of the Tombigbee at Van Buren.

The following year W.C. Thomas and Brother also began business there. Soon the place began to prosper because of its location on the Tombigbee River. A Mr. Dines from New York, John W. Lindsey, J.C. Ritchie, H.W. Bates, Elijah B. Harber, Mr. Weaks, E. Moore and R.F. Shannon also began businesss in the village.

Some of the founders of the town were Boling Clark Burnett and his wife Ellen, John R. Wren and his wife Mary, and Thomas G. Wren. These people served as commissioners of the town in 1843.

In an 1843 edition of the Aberdeen Weekly Whig, the following notice appeared: “Boling C. Burnett of Aberdeen acting as secretary, called a meeting of the stockholders of Van Buren at the town of Van Buren.”

An old deed dated October of 1843 found in the county courthouse in Fulton shows that the town was sold in lots. So many lots, in fact, that only one deed was entered in the Chancery Clerk’s office for all the lots.

The 1850 Federal census of Itawamba County shows that Van Buren had around 450 citizens in the town and immediate surrounding community. There was one mechanic, two teachers, seven carpenters, one physician, one shoe maker, four merchants, two blacksmiths, one tanner and eighty-six farm families.

By 1860 there was only one merchant left in the town. The village had practically become extinct.

Today, the only thing left of the old river port village is an old cut out place in the bank of the river where the landing once stood, outlines in the topography of the land where buildings once lined the streets, an old road bed with scattered brick and the occasional old broken chards of glass, glistening in the rich bottomland soil. One solitary marble monument on the river bluff is the only remaining monument of the village cemetery. The monument reads: “Sacred to the memory of Aaron Dutton, son of Samuel and Margaret Dutton, Died 1843.”

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Bull Mountain Creek Revealed Antebellum Mill House Ruins

1987 was one of the driest years on record in Itawamba County. Creeks all over the county were at their lowest levels in decades. Many old timers said they had never seen the creeks so low. It was that year that Bull Mountain Creek lowered its water revealing the ruins of an antebellum mill.

Jones Mill in southern Itawamba County north of Smithville was quite a settlement in its day. There was a store, mill house and a community of several homes. The settlement was called Jones Crossing. The land where the mill was located was first purchased by James Thomas in 1839 and in 1842 he sold the land to William J. Meader (Deed Book 3, Page 283). William Meader sold this land two years later to Posey P. Weaver (Book 4, Page 234) and two years later the land was sold to L.S. Autry (Book 5, Page 234). In September of 1850 Autry sold the land to Joel Wesley Jones (Book 8., Page 54). Jones subsequently kept this land for scores of years until the later 1800s. There was quite a turnover of the land prior to Jones’ possession of the property and each time the land sold the price was no more than $45 for an entire quarter section of land. By comparing land prices with comparable plots of land it is evident that there were no improvements located on the land before Jones purchased the property in 1850. It is evident that Jones built the mill house based upon a study of the deeds and a study of the Board of Police minutes. A study of the Board of Police minutes reveals that no permit was issued for this section of land for the period 1867-1900 (no minutes exist prior to 1867). So the mill must have been built before 1867 and after 1850. It is believed that Jones built the mill shortly after 1850.

John Wesley Jones was born in South Carolina and moved to Itawamba County shortly before 1850. His wife’s name was Mary (born in 1834 in Alabama) and before 1870 he was the father of the following children: Benjamin, Maryland Virginia, Marshall, Theodoria, Zenobia and Elizabeth. From 1850 to 1870 he was listed as a farmer with Smithville being his post office address. His real and personal property was listed as being much more valuable than most in Itawamba County.

As fall approached during 1987, the autumn rains came and Bull Mountain Creek reclaimed the ruins of Jones Mill and the ruins have been covered by water since. I am fortunate that I got to visit and gaze upon those old ruins back in 1987.

Itawamba County's Unique Pottery Monuments

For years, the southeastern quarter of Itawamba County has been known as the “Jug District,” where, during the nineteenth century well into the early twentieth century, pottery shops were operated. All types of wares were produced by these shops. The wares were produced from native clays dug from the Itawamba County hillsides. Most of the wares were utilitarian objects such as churns, crocks and pots but one item produced by the Loyd pottery operations just south of Tremont on James Creek, had perhaps a lasting impact on current genealogical studies in Itawamba County. That unique pottery item was the clay cemetery monument.

The following newspaper article was transcribed from the May 17, 1888 edition of the Fulton Reporter: “James Creek is the only portion of our county where manufacturing of any kind is carried on extensively. There the hills are dotted everywhere with jug factories. And the amount of wares turned out annually and the money brought into the county by its sale is truly astonishing. The famous clay tombstones are also made there. These were invented in 1879 by Rev. William Boyd (editor’s note: should be Loyd), and we believe it is the only invention ever patented in Itawamba. They are however, a credit to genius, and answer their purpose fully as well as those of marble and granite, at a great deal less cost. They beautifully combine in their structure the qualities of neatness and durability, and have sold readily ever since they were first placed on the market. We wish more of our gifted sons would try their hands at the art of invention. They could not serve their country in a better capacity, and by that means could soon place us beyond an agricultural dependency.”

Because of the low cost of these monuments, many families in northeast Mississippi and northwest Alabama were afforded the opportunity to mark the graves of their loved ones long since gone decades earlier, and because of this unique invention producing a low-cost product, many graves of our ancestors would otherwise be unmarked today.

For detailed information about these unique cemetery monuments and the people who made them, as well as the cast iron monuments seen in many old Itawamba cemeteries, read the summer 2007 issue of Itawamba Settlers magazine, where an article about the unique cemetery monuments of Itawamba County is featured. An excellent article about these unique pottery monuments is also found on Terry Thornton’s Hill Country of Monroe County blog.

Friday, May 25, 2007

From the Hill Country of Northeast Mississippi to Flanders Fields

John Thomas Riley brought his family to Itawamba County, Mississippi from Edgefield County, South Carolina during 1839 where he settled a large expanse of fertile land in the New Chapel community south of Carolina near the Monroe County line. He was the great grandson of John Riley, an Irish immigrant who had settled in Augusta County, Virginia during the early 1700s. John Thomas Riley Jr. (born 25 September 1856) inherited part of his father’s estate in Mississippi and continued to farm the land following in his father's footsteps. He married Amelia Rankin, the daughter of another old South Carolina family that had settled in Itawamba County. From this union were born the following children: John Henry, Daisy Dean, Mary Elizabeth, Samuel Feemster, Lillie F., Merle, Carl and Wallace Cayson. During the Great World War (1914-1919), three of the sons were called to duty and served in the United States Army seeing much action and hardship in Europe.

The young Riley brothers were like many of the young servicemen from the hills of Itawamba County at the time. They were raised on a farm and were taught that hard work, integrity and honor is what makes a man. The young brothers had not been to many places outside Lee, Itawamba and Monroe counties but lived a content happy life tilling the soil. When the three young brothers marched off to war, I am confident it created a hardship for their father and heartache for their mother. Below is a letter written home by Samuel Feemster Riley to his mother, Amelia Rankin Riley, shortly after learning he was leaving the United States for the war front in Europe:

Camp Beauregard La. May 21 1918

My Dear Mother,

I thought I would write you a few lines as I have not written you a personal letter since I have been away. I know this is the hardest time of your life and I realize it is nature for us all to be grieved about parting but we must look at it in a brighter way. I know one thing and that is your prayers have been for me all these years of my life and especially since I have been in the army and I feel grateful to my Maker for having such a mother. I firmly believe that the One that does all things well will guide me through this safely. That I may return home again to be with my loved ones again. There is one thing I will ask you all to do and that is to go on as best you can and don’t bother about me… Now though I realize that this is harder on you at home to live while the war costs for everything is so high, but I am glad you all have such nice chance for a good crop this year. Well I will close. Hoping you all will not worry any more than you can help and don’t cross a bridge till you get to it. I am all right for the time being at least.

Your loving son Sam
Co. C 155th Inf.
Camp Beauregard La.

Samuel Feemster Riley and his two brothers – Carl and Merle eventually returned to their northeast Mississippi hill country homestead from the war, going back to work tilling the soil. But for many Itawamba families, this was not the case. Many Itawamba families across the rolling hills and hollows were touched by grief in the loss of their cherished young sons, brothers and friends to the Great World War and to those families this roll of remembrance is given:

Matthew W. Anderson
Samuel T. Beam
Elvis S. Carpenter
Willie W. Chilcoat
Leonard D. Crouch
Itha C. Dennis
John A. Leech
Barney W. Mattox
Ebbie B. Moore
William A. Nabers
Thomas J. Ray
Lawrence E. Robinson
Oscar M. Sheffield
Elmer Shields
Edd Segars
Audie L. South
Luther W. South
Troy J. Spearman
Willie P. Young

Solving the Mystery of Bowling Green

I’ve always said that genealogists and historical researchers enjoy a good puzzle. Over the years, many pieces of puzzles have been joined together to form a cohesive story. Genealogists and historians are investigators and detectives, looking in every nook and cranny for that one piece of missing evidence to fit the puzzle together. I recall one sort of puzzle I enjoyed solving back during the summer of 1983.

One day while thumbing through Plat Book A in the Itawamba County Chancery Clerk’s office I found an old surveyor’s map of the town of "Bolingreen" in Itawamba County. The old map was inked by William Downs, the county surveyor, on January 24 of 1850. The old map showed streets and lots neatly laid out with Main Street being the major road. After diligent search, nothing could be found about this mysterious old town. The map did not even list a section, township or range affording anyone the opportunity to locate the town on a county map. The only clue about the location of this elusive town were labels for “Nanny’s line, Sheffield’s line and Jackson Nanney’s line” on the old map.

I knew it would be quite a task to find the location of the old town with these few clues to work with. After checking with several sources, nothing was found. Finally I began the daunting task of going through the old range books in the courthouse in order to find what properties Jackson Nanney, the only fully named person on the map, owned in 1850. I figured there would probably be many parcels of land owned by Jackson Nanney because his family owned considerable land in western Itawamba County. Finally, after hours of thumbing through the range books, in Section 27 , Township 9 South, Range 8 East, I found where Jackson Nanney, Uriah Nanney and Everett Sheffield owned property during 1850. This find broke the mystery of the location of the old town of Bowling Green.

After checking the various deed records for this section of land, I found that few lots in the town were ever sold. I later stumbled upon an old newspaper article written by Zereda Greene, Itawamba County historian, penned during the early 1960s. An article she had written on the old town of West Fulton reads in part: “The deed records show that the South West Quarter of Section 27, Township 9, Range 8 was entered from the government by Joshua Toomer on October 1, 1836 and that he sold this land to Uriah Nanney on June 8, 1837. Deed Book 7, page 118 shows a deed dated March 18, 1849 from Uriah Nanney to Shelly Coburn deeding the entire quarter section of land.”

By researching the deed records, I found that the Coburn family organized the town and sold few lots. Landowners of the town included F.M. Coburn, S.P. Coburn, D.N. Cayce and a company by the name of Gilstrap and Wren (more than likely James Gilstrap and Thomas Wren who was an early stockholder in the old river town of Van Buren), among others. According to postal records, the name Bowling Green was never used as a post office, yet the name West Fulton was. It seems that the town of Bowling Green or West Fulton, as it was later called, was never fully developed. Today the only remains of the town are a few deeds and the old town plat map. The old town on the west bank of the Tombigbee River was located about two miles west of Fulton where the old Fulton and Tupelo Road intersected the Tombigbee River.

The town of Bowling Green was one small Itawamba puzzle solved but many more to come during my next twenty-four years of research.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Mississippi Biographical Index and More at the Mississippi Department of Archives and History Online

The Mississippi Department of Archives and History archives and library division has several valuable search tools on its website. One very important index that may be searched is the Biographical Index of several volumes, including the massive two-volume set of Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Mississippi: Embracing an Authentic and Comprehensive Account of the Chief Events in the History of the State and a Record of the Lives of Many of the Most Worthy and Illustrious Families and Individuals, commonly known as Goodspeed’s.

The biographical index was begun by the Department sometime in the mid-1930s prior to the death in 1937 of Dunbar Rowland, the Department's first director. Much of the indexing was done in the ensuing administration of William D. McCain (1938-1955), with some additional indexing done in the years following. Unfortunately, not all of the index keys have survived completely, but the staff of the Archives and Library Division feel that this index is of sufficient value to preserve its information. This computerized index is the result of the transfer of the index from its original card format to electronic format. Every effort was made by the department to provide as specific an identification of the indexed sources as possible

In addition to the searchable biographical index, the site also has a Mississippi cemetery index by cemetery name and also by county, an index of county court files and county records on microfilm. In addition the site has indices for supreme court case files, freedman’s bureau records, manuscript collections and newspaper holdings by title and county.

Simply visit the archives and library site at, click “online catalog” in the left menu and select the appropriate index under Additional Research Tools.

Society Member Publishes New Itawamba Research Book

Who would think that a book most people consider just a list of names could provide such a wealth of information? This newly compiled book of Itawamba County WWI draft registrations by society member Martha Bone of Greenville, Mississippi, consists of approximately 2,800 men who were born between 1873 and 1900. In addition to their names, addresses, dates of birth, and race, the cards also contain information on their occupations, places of birth, nearest relatives, employers, and even a physical description of each registrant. Plus many of the cards reveal the birthplace of the father. Even if you had no relatives who registered for service in WWI, this book will still allow you to glean valuable information on early twentieth century Itawamba County . This compilation also includes selected information from censuses, cemetery records and the Social Security Death Index. This 231-page hardbound book is 8 ½ x 11 inches and includes a master alphabetical index, and a detailed introduction to the World War I draft cards. The book is $28 postpaid. For ordering information, contact the society.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Federal Census Reveals More Than Just Genealogical Data

Federal census records can not only be used for genealogical information, but may also be used to develop a social profile of various communities and towns. The information gathered in this post about Fulton, the county seat of Itawamba during 1850 was gathered from the 1850 US Federal Census for Itawamba County.

Approximately 220 citizens called Fulton home during 1850. Among the 220 residents there were six merchants, five physicians, five lawyers, three grocers, one tailor, two printers, one clerk, two shoemakers, one carriage maker and saddle maker, one ditcher and blacksmith, two carpenters, two members of the Methodist clergy, two photographers, fourteen farmers, seven laborers, one planter and one plantation overseer.

The mayor of Fulton during 1850 was William Beachum, who lived in a boarding house in the town with thirty other people. Fulton had young ladies’ boarding school run by Robert Maupin, a lawyer, and his wife Louisa. During November of 1850, 13 young ladies from planter families all over the county boarded at this school.

The young girls included Martha Lindsey, Sarah and Emily Johnson, Samantha Glover, Frances Dabbs, Ruth Standifer, Mary and Anna Welborne, Anna S. Stovall, Sarah Hankins, Mary Lindsay, Malissa Burgess and Vernna Warren.

The Fulton newspaper was run by John Massinger and John Handy, his 18 year old assistant. Fulton Methodists were served by two members of the clergy – C. Canon Glover, a native of Tennessee and B.B. Ross, a native of Alabama.

Fulton during 1850 also had five foreign born citizens. Cornelius Dougan, a ditcher from Ireland; A.J.H. Tanerahile, a clerk from Holland, John, Robert and Mary Tunnahill [Tannehill], a merchant family from Scotland.

Itawamba County’s wealthiest family also resided in Fulton at the time. John G. Kohlheim and his family, who were merchants from Georgia, had personal property worth more than $20,000. This amount was well over the average $500 per family in Itawamba County at that time.

The county jail had no inmates on November 23, 1850, but a farmer named William Commander, born in South Carolina, was murdered during 1849.

All of the above information was derived from a study of the 1850 Federal Census of Fulton, Mississippi, which was taken on November 23, 1850.

Tallest Monument in Itawamba County

The tallest cemetery monument in Itawamba County is in Salem Cemetery in the northeastern part of the county marking the grave of Dr. Thomas Copeland. Dr. Copeland was a prominent landowner in the county prior to, and after the Civil War. He also had property in Lauderdale County, Alabama near the town of Lexington. In the current issue of Itawamba Settlers the Southern Claims Commission records of Dr. Copeland have been published. Below is a small excerpt from those records:

I was present when my property was taken. I saw it taken. I saw my horses taken, bacon, corn taken and saw them killing my hogs. Saw them take my steers and that occurred in North Alabama near Lexington on Blue Water in the Spring of 1865. The smoke house door was locked and they broke it down and went to taking and I did not ask any questions about it. The hills were blue for miles around. They had to have forage. They was running Hood and hadn’t any forage wagons with them that I could see. The roads were so bad. The were just pressing through in pursuit of Hood but a portion of them stopped at Lexington while Hood was crossing the turnpike.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Historic McDaniel Family Graveyard

William T. McDaniel brought his family to Itawamba County prior to 1840 from Georgia, where he settled northeast of Fulton. Over the next twenty years McDaniel bought additional land and prospered quite well. By the 1860 US Federal Census year his family farmed their 1,150 acre plantation with the help of the family’s 18 slaves. The old family graveyard is near the site of the old McDaniel home. According to long-time residents of the community, some of the McDaniel family slaves are buried just north of the old family burial grounds, just under the hill south of Cobb Stump Road. Today, there are many ancient cedar trees in the undergrowth under the hill, probably marking the graves of McDaniel family slaves. For a complete survey of the McDaniel Family Cemetery, see the Fall 2006 issue of Itawamba Settlers magazine.

Summer Issue of Itawamba Settlers Being Printed

The Summer 2007 issue of Itawamba Settlers magazine is now at the printers. This should prove to be an exciting issue with many feature articles and abstracts of historical documents. The summer issue should be in the mail to the 2007 membership the first or second week of June. This issue includes the following items:

Martha E. Hartsell Portrait and Biography
Itawamba County Southern Claims Commission Records
Itawamba County News Abstracts: 1912
Itawamba County Militia Letter: 1862
Unusual Cemetery Monuments in Itawamba County
Celebrating America's 400th Birthday
Websites of Note: USGenWeb Search Us
Chronicling America
An Escape from Fort Donelson: 1862
A Concise History of Itawamba County: 1891
Old Morganton Revived
House and Senate Journals Abstracts
Itawamba State Officials: 1837-1890
Rev. Thomas J. Priddy Biography
Extinct Villages of Itawamba County
Itawamba County Civil War Pensions
Dr. George W. Stewart Biography
Plat Book A Abstracts
In Search of El Dorado in Antebellum Itawamba
1887 Itawamba County Road Overseers
Neely Tilletson Probate Records
Archibald O. Goodwin Probate Records
The Fulton Fire of 1924
William Morse Obituary
World War I Draft Registrations Book
Itawamba County Confederate Pensioners: 1924
Guardians Bonds and Letters
James Byrd Francis Portrait and Biography