Saturday, January 31, 2009

Outside the Fulton Bank

An unidentified man poses outside the Fulton Bank in Fulton. The large sign in the background was located on the north wall of the bank facing Main Street. The bank was located at the corner of South Cummings and Main streets in Fulton. The date of this photograph was around 1924.

Friday, January 30, 2009

In the Courthouse ca. 1955

The above photograph was taken in the tax collector's office in the Itawamba County courthouse, probably during 1955. Pictured are Reba Gilliland, Justice of the Peace Otto Miller (center) and county sheriff and tax collector Joseph Ezell (Joe) Sheffield. The photograph was dated by finding the expiration year stamped on one of the automobile tags on the counter shelf. Sheffield served as Itawamba County sheriff and tax collector during the 1952-1955 term.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

On the Tennis Court

A group of young girls are posing on the tennis court at Itawamba Agricultural High School during the early 1920's. Pictured are Ruth Boren (with camera) and Letha Ferguson (middle). This picture is part of a large collection of old photographs once belonging to Letha Ferguson Comer donated to the society by Janie Comer. Letha Ferguson Comer of Fulton was a charter member of The Itawamba Historical Society.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

A Community Landmark Near the Tombigbee River

The old Cardsville Grocery building in the Cardsville community west of the Tombigbee River has been a landmark for generations. A store has been located on this site since the 1850’s when Robert Finis Shannon operated a store here. The old Shannon home is located across the road from the old store.

Robert Finis Shannon’s father was David McKnight Shannon. David McKnight Shannon was born in Davidson County, Tennessee. He was the son of David Shannon (born 1756 Montgomery County, Virginia) and Jane McKnight. David McKnight Shannon married Anna Pickens on December 10, 1806 in Williamson County, Tennessee. During the 1820’s some of the Tennessee Shannon families moved to Monroe County, Mississippi and by the 1830’s were living in the old Itawamba County river port town of Van Buren and in extreme southwestern Itawamba County along Coonewah and Chiwapa creeks

David McKnight Shannon’s uncle was Samuel Shannon, an early Itawamba County planter for whom the town of Shannon in adjoining present-day Lee County was named. He owned a plantation between Coonewah and Chiwapa creeks and is listed on the early tax lists of Itawamba County. This area of old Itawamba County became Lee County during 1867.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Old Itawamba County Territory in Present-day Tishomingo, Prentiss and Lee Counties

Above is a detail from Itawamba County Range Book 8 Volume 1 housed in the Itawamba County Chancery Court Clerk’s office in Fulton showing land records of the present-day Marietta area of Prentiss County. This is just one illustration of areas currently in other counties that were once a part of old Itawamba County. In researching old Itawamba County families don’t forget that over the years, lands in Itawamba County were transferred to three different counties – Tishomingo, Prentiss and Lee. An ancestor who disappears may be found in these counties at a later date and ancestors in those three other counties may be found in old Itawamba County at an earlier date. When Itawamba County was organized the law creating the county described the boundaries as:

Beginning at the point where the line between townships six and seven intersecting the eastern boundary line of the state, and running thence with the said boundary line, to a point one mile north of its intersection with the line between townships eleven and twelve; thence due west to the line between ranges five and six east; thence north with the said range line, to the line between townships six and seven, and thence east with the said township line, to the beginning, shall form a new county, and be called the county of Itawamba.

Lee County, formerly embraced within the limits of Itawamba and Pontotoc counties, was established October 26, 1866 with the largest portion of its land coming from Itawamba County (a strip ten miles wide off western Itawamba County, from north to south). The old Itawamba lands east of the line between Ranges 5 and Ranges 6 (old Itawamba-Pontotoc county line) for ten miles went to the new county. This included many old Itawamba County towns such as Baldwyn, Guntown, Saltillo, Tupelo, Verona and Shannon. Most of Lee County today is composed of old Itawamba County territory.

On April 15, 1870, Tishomingo County was split into three counties – Alcorn, Prentiss and Tishomingo. At this time a strip running east to west three miles wide along the northern border of Itawamba went to the counties of Tishomingo and Prentiss. The former Itawamba County lands going to Tishomingo County included thirty square miles (a strip ten miles wide and three miles deep - see map). The former Itawamba County lands going to Prentiss County included thirty-six square miles (a strip 12 miles wide and 3 miles deep - see map).

As a result of these boundary changes the researcher should remember county and census records for parts of present-day Tishomingo and Prentiss (such places as Marietta, Golden, Moore’s Mill) are found in Itawamba County prior to April of 1870 and county and census records of nearly the eastern two-thirds of Lee County are found in Itawamba County prior to October of 1866.

Monday, January 26, 2009

A Hand-styled Itawamba County Visiting Card

Calling cards, also referred to as visiting cards were a popular item during the 19th and early 20th century. The above hand-inked card belonged to Dr. Eustis Judson Chaffin as a young man in Itawamba County. He was born July 20, 1887 in Itawamba, the son of William Martin Chaffin (born January 18, 1851) and Susan L. Woods (born December 29, 1855) of the Bounds Crossroads community. Dr. Chaffin left Itawamba County for Arkansas during 1914.

Below is a reference to visitor cards from the 19th century book, Decorum, A Practical Treatise on Etiquette and Dress of the Best American Society revised by S.L. Louis and published in New York by the Union Publishing House during 1883:

Visitors should furnish themselves with cards. Gentlemen ought simply to put their cards into their pocket, but ladies may carry them in a small elegant portfolio, called a card-case. This they can hold in their hand and it will contribute essentially (with an elegant handkerchief of embroidered cambric,) to give them an air of good taste.

On visiting cards, the address is usually placed under the name, towards the bottom of the card, and in smaller letters. Mourning cards are surmounted with a broad black margin; half mourning ones, with a black edge only.

It is bad taste to keep the cards you have received around the frame of a looking-glass; such an exposure shows that you wish to make a display of the names of visitors….If the call is made in a carriage, the servant will ask if the lady you wish to see is at home. If persons call on foot, they go themselves to ask the servants.


Sunday, January 25, 2009

Society Needs Your Help

The Itawamba Historical Society has begun its 2009 Membership Drive. The society depends entirely upon membership dues and donations to fund the operation of The George Poteet History Center, The Gaither Spradling Library and Historic Bonds House Museum.

Each year all the society’s facilities are open free of charge to the researching public. Expenses, including such items as utilities, insurance, postage and publishing take up most all the society’s proceeds and membership is what keeps the society’s work in the field of historic preservation and Itawamba County genealogical and historical studies going.

In addition to providing its facilities in Itawamba County, the society also maintains, where Itawamba County research material is offered free of charge to the researching public.

The society invites you to help this worthwhile organization by becoming a member. Membership dues are $25 per year and includes a year’s subscription to Itawamba Settlers, the society’s 56-page quarterly membership journal now in its 29th year of publication.

Additional membership categories are available for those who wish to further support the work of the society including Sustaining Membership, Benefactor, Grand Benefactor and Corporate Sponsor.

The society needs your help in carrying out the goals for its twenty-seventh year. For further information about membership in the society, visit the society membership area at

Friday, January 23, 2009

The Marion Lexington Hester Monument in the Old Carolina Graveyard

Pictured above is the Marion Lexington Hester monument in the old Carolina graveyard. Carolina is one of the pioneer churches of Itawamba County. The earliest found deed to the church is from 1840 when Alfred Wiygul deeded property for a Methodist Episcopal Church and neighborhood school.

The Marion Lexington Hester monument is typical of antebellum monuments in Itawamba County. Marion Lexington Hester was born on November 11, 1830. He was the son of John and Elizabeth Hester. The Hester family settled the Lost Quarter area south of Carolina at an early date. Marion Lexington married Mary Jane Coker on November 6, 1853 by Itawamba County planter and Justice of the Peace Rhoden W. Palmer (click marriage license for larger resolution image). Marion Lexington Hester died on July 25, 1859, less than six years after his marriage.

In the 1860 U.S. Federal Census, his widow and children are living in the James Bourland household south of Van Buren, west of the Tombigbee River. She is listed as a domestic, age 26 with children William B. (age 5), Georgia Ann (age 2) and Jane (age 1). In the 1870 U.S. Federal Census she is living in Gatesville, Coryell County, Texas with her two children, William and Georgia. Mary Jane Coker Hester died on January 21, 1892 in Coryell County.


Marriage Book 4, Page 166, Itawamba County, Mississippi, Chancery Court Clerk.

1860 United States Federal Census (Free Schedule), Itawamba County, Mississippi; p. 52, dwelling 340, family 340; August 2, 1860; National Archives Microfilm M-653, Roll 583.

1870 United States Federal Census, Gatesville, Coryell County, Texas; p. 265, dwelling 67, family 67; October 2, 1860; National Archives Microfilm M-593, Roll 1581.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

A Hidden Graveyard on a Well-Trodden Path

South Adams Street in Fulton is perhaps the busiest street in Fulton. Each morning heavy traffic comes into Fulton from the south and west – factory workers, office works and college students heading north into town, all making the street quite congested. Along this stretch of highway are fast food restaurants, auto supplies stores, offices, businesses and industries. Within a stone’s throw west of this busy scene is a shaded peaceful oasis – a small spot of hallowed ground.

The old Stokley Roberts Graveyard contains perhaps seven or eight graves – all members of the Roberts extended family. Surnames in this old family cemetery include Roberts, Mize and Bowen. At one time during the 19th century, this land was well south of the town of Fulton. The 160-acre farm belonged to the John Walker family. Walker purchased the place during the early 1840’s. After the death of the Widow Walker, the 160-acre farm was sold during at estate auction at the door of the county courthouse on December 2, 1872. As A.P. Gaither banged the gavel declaring the property sold, Stokley Roberts was the new owner of the property. Paying $830, Roberts was the highest bidder and he soon moved his family to the old farm overlooking the Fulton and Aberdeen Public Road.

Roberts was an Itawamba County lawman. During the Civil War he was head of the Home Guard and during Reconstruction, served as a United States Marshal for northeastern Mississippi. Many accounts of him fighting outlaws have been passed down through the years. He had married into the prominent Spearman family of Tremont before the war, marrying Laney Spearman, daughter of Elijah Spearman, one of Itawamba County’s largest planters on Bull Mountain Creek north of Tremont.

Stokley Roberts and his wife left Itawamba County around 1899 heading west like so many other Itawambians. He settled in Coryell County, Texas. On a Monday morning, January 25, 1904 his body was found in the Leon River near his home about three miles north of Gatesville. The evening before he had left his home to go across the river to check on some cows and hadn’t returned. It was thought he had fallen in the river and drowned.

Today the old Stokley Roberts family graveyard is all that remains of the old Roberts farm south of Fulton. The constant sound of nearby traffic on Fulton’s busy South Adams Street interrupts the peaceful solitude of this little hallowed knoll in the edge of Itawamba County’s piney woods.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Random Thoughts on Blogging

Nearly 550 posts, and 61,000 visits ago, I began The Itawamba History Review blog for the Itawamba Historical Society. For months fellow society member and researcher Lori Thornton of Smoky Mountain Family Historian had casually mentioned that I needed to start a blog. Lori is a librarian, associate professor, and a well-disciplined researcher – one who doesn’t jump to quick conclusions in research without first carefully checking all the facts and sleuthing for sources. I usually listen to her. And in the case of creating The Itawamba History Review, I’m certainly pleased I did.

Since the beginning of this blog on May 22, 2007, I have enjoyed producing the blog and meeting new researchers. I consider the blog a casual newsletter of sorts. You won't find many footnotes and endnotes here. And you won’t find many formal family histories here. What you will find are simple untailored articles about Itawamba County, Mississippi’s past, old photographs, history and genealogy news relating to Mississippi, scenic current photographs of cemeteries and historic sites in the county, Itawamba Historical Society news, and a few informal research articles about what’s available in Itawamba County research.

It has certainly been a joy reading all the visitors’ comments, receiving loads of email and simply meeting lots of local folks on the street who read the blog on a regular basis. Through the blog presence, the society has received an incredible amount of local history from visitors. From cherished old family photographs to old family letters and compiled family histories, the blog has opened up an important online avenue connecting the historical society with the researcher.

I have tried to post an entry most every day and certainly try to stay on the subject of Itawamba County, Mississippi history and genealogy. I want the blog to continue to display fresh new content on an almost daily basis. The blog’s audience continues to grow each week and for that I am excited. It simply tells me more researchers are reading about Itawamba County, Mississippi, with the historical society benefiting from more important finds shared from visitors – finds that can further be shared through the pages of The Itawamba History Review.

I have been tempted to start another blog or two, but am simply afraid I may spread myself too thin. I’ve always been a strong advocate of trying to do the best I can with a small number of projects, so I’m staying put for now.

My goal with Itawamba History Review is to continue making it a simple and informal online publication where the historical society can continue promoting Itawamba County, Mississippi’s rich history and heritage in an informal setting. And a blog is the perfect avenue for this type of endeavor. I don’t fret over visitor numbers and statistics, but simply work toward providing a varied content relating to the subject at hand. And this is what I enjoy.

So thanks Lori, for your valuable suggestion back during 2007. I’m glad I finally listened.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Land Plat Records Are Often Overlooked in Family History Research

On January 14, I wrote about chattel deeds. Another often overlooked record group in Itawamba County research is the plat record. The plat records in Itawamba County go back to the county’s founding days. The county surveyor would record land surveys for local citizens who required such surveys. These survey records were recorded in the probate clerk's office (present-day chancery court clerk). The land plat record includes the name of the landowner, a drawing of the land survey, and a description of the survey. Many early residents are documented in these old records as each record includes the name of the surveyor or his assistant, a listing of the chain carriers, the name of the land owner and the probate clerk. Below is an abstract of a sample entry from Plat Book A:

James Shorter Plat

The State of Mississippi
Itawamba County

I, Alexander Rogers, county surveyor for said county do certify that I have surveyed for James Shorter in said county the North West Quarter of Section Eighteen in Township Ten of Range ( East of the Bases Meridian in the Chickasaw Survey. Beginning corner – Beginning at the senter (sic) of the Section running north one hundred and sixty two poles….

Surveyed February the 25th, 1839
Alexander Rogers
County Surveyor

Chain Carriers: William Townley, James Shorter, Jesse Bradley

The State of Mississippi
Itawamba County

I Jepthah Robins, clerk of the probate court of said county do hereby certify that the within plat was deposited in my office for record on the 20th day of May 1839 and the same has been duly reorded in Plat Book A, Page 2.

Given under my hand and the seal of said court at office this 3rd day of February 1841.

J. Robins, Clk.

A Break in the Clouds

After a day of snow flurries, the clouds are breaking apart revealing a vivid blue sky over Fulton late this frigid afternoon.

The Richard M. Borum Monument

The Richard M. Borum monument is located in historic Keyes Cemetery in southwestern Itawamba County. Richard M. Borum was a prominent landowner and businessman during antebellum times in Itawamba County. He was the long-time postmaster of Woodlawn where he operated a store (near present-day Greenwood community).

Monday, January 19, 2009

The Benson Family: 1924

The above photograph was taken at James Garvin Benson’s house, near Fulton by Edith Benson (daughter of Lane Benson) during April of 1924. Pictured are left to right: (Back Row): Strawd Benson (son of William), Rev. James Franklin Benson, John Benson (brother of Rev. J.F.), Ed Benson (son of Thomas), Mae Benson (daughter of James Garvin and Fannie Parker Benson), Velma Benson, Fayette Benson (son of William), Lane Milton Benson (son of Rev. J.F.), William Benson (half brother of Rev. J.F.), Clyde Benson, Ellis Jordan “Jurd” Benson (son of Rev. Benson and father of Clyde, Camille, Velma and Vera). Front Row (left to right): Camille Benson, Fannie Parker Benson (wife of James Garvin), Vera Benson Thaxton.

Photograph courtesy of Katherine Henry of Starkville, Mississippi

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Hopewell Baptist Church Cornerstone

Pictured above is the cornerstone of the Hopewell Baptist Church in southwestern Itawamba County. The church was organized during 1843. The first entry in the church record book reads: “Elders W.C. Thomas and William Stanfield were called to serve as the presbytery to certify that we met with members praying to become a church at the meeting house near Owen Williams’ on the third Sabbath day in April, 1843, and upon examination found them orthodox and of a sufficient number and strength whereupon we proceeded to constitute them into a church.” This first church was a log structure on the Aberdeen and Jacinto public road not far south of the present church structure. During 1850 a new church was built on ten acres acquired from Van Buren merchant and planter, Swepson Taylor. During its pioneering years, many early settlers of this region of Itawamba County attended Hopewell Baptist Church. By the later 1800's the Abney Post Office was located near the church.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Mantachie Creek at Van Buren Bridge

We're had quite a wet winter so far in Itawamba County and many of the local creeks have been full. Pictured above is Mantachie Creek after winter rains near the Van Buren Road bridge. It is not far from this spot where the creek runs into the Tombigbee River. Known as Hatchie-pullo Creek prior to the formation of Itawamba County, this creek begins in present-day northern Lee County east of Guntown and travels southeastward through western Itawamba. The above photograph is courtesy of Oliver Westmoreland.

Friday, January 16, 2009

California Land

Pictured above is an advertisement found in a 1911 edition of The Itawamba County News. Earlier this week I illustrated advertisements from the late 1800's luring area residents to Texas. During the 1911 editions of the local newspaper several advertisements were purchased by the Union Pacific and Southern Pacific railroads. Advertising the productivity of fertile lands in California, these advertisements were seen by many farm families throughout Itawamba County.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

A Cold Winter's Day

When leaving the office in Fulton at 4:30 p.m. today I quickly snapped a photo of the winter sky. During the night the wind started blowing out of the north and the temperature quickly dipped from 41 to 22. Today it didn't get above freezing for the first time this winter here and tonight we're expected to have single-digit readings, which is quite rare for this area.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Chattel Deeds Document Many 19th Century Residents Not Found in the Land Records

One interesting record group in Itawamba County governmental records often overlooked in research are the chattel deeds. Chattel deeds are basically the instrument used when a person borrowed money and used personal property to secure the loan. In these old records, from a research standpoint, there are three parties involved in each chattel deed - the one borrowing the money, the one loaning the money and a third party holding the claim on the personal property. Also found in the deeds are listings of the personal property being used to secure the loans. These records are important in that those borrowing funds were not necessarily landowners. Many of these deeds reflect the situation where a person borrowed money to make a crop on rented land. Many residents of the county absent from the 19th century real estate deed records show up in these chattel deeds.

In these old deeds all types of personal property are found, including cattle, hogs, horses, wagons, bales of cotton, and crops. And many of these loans were secured on the potential crops to be made on the farms.

The old 19th century chattel deeds are housed in the Itawamba County Chancery Court Clerk’s office in the county courthouse. Below is an abstract of a typical chattel deed and what information can be found from this type of instrument:

W.R. Lawson Trust Deed to J.E. Bourland
This indenture made and entered into this 16 day of Febry. AD 1878 by and between W.R. Lawson of the first part, W.E. Raden as Trustee of the second part and J.E. Bourlin of the third part…

One bale of good cotton of the first picking of the cotton raised by him in the year 1878 weighing five hundred (500) pounds including baggin & ties and a yoke of oxen, one red and the other speckled

…But this conveyance is made IN TRUST, for the following purposes, viz: The first party is justly indebted to the third party in the sum of Forty One Dollars, evidenced by his promissory note bearing even date with this trust deed, and falling due on the first day of November 1878…

The second party, as Trustee aforesaid, shall at the request of said third party, take possession of said property, and after having given 10 days’ notice…shall proceed to sell said property at Auction, to the highest bidder, for cash, at Cardsville, Mississippi, and out of the proceeds shall first pay all just costs and expenses, then pay to said third party…the full amount of the same with all interest that may have accrued thereon, and the balance, if any, pay to the first party…

In witness whereof, The said party of the first part hereunto set hand and seal the date first written above.

W.R. Lawson (X) His Mark

Satisfied April 3rd, 1880, J.E. Bourland

In your Itawamba County, Mississippi research, don’t forget these often overlooked records. That elusive ancestor who can’t be found in the land records may be hiding in the pages of these old volumes.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Gone to Texas

During the later 1800’s many Itawamba County families moved west to Texas. As more and more families moved, more relatives followed. During the 1880’s and early 1890’s the local newspaper here in Fulton featured advertisements on a weekly basis purchased by railroads luring people west. The advertisements pictured above and below were taken from three of those newspapers during the later part of the 19th century. These advertisements were purchased by the Texas Midland Railroad and The International and Great Northern Railroad.

So many people were leaving west for Texas that notations were entered into some of the voter roll books here reading “Gone to Texas” – or simply GTT. From 1880 to 1900 the population of Texas nearly doubled as folks from the east headed west in search of a better life.

Railroads during the late 19th century opened the way for the settlement of the West, provided new economic opportunities, and stimulated the development of town and communities throughout the country. The advertisements shown here are but a small example of the advertisements read by local citizens here in Itawamba County during the early 1890’s.

Historical Society News

Membership Magazine to be Mailed Tomorrow

The Winter 2008-09 issue of Itawamba Settlers magazine will be mailed to the 2008 membership tomorrow. The mailing committee will meet at the George Poteet History Center at 10 a.m. and will begin labeling, sacking and preparing the magazines for bulk mailing. This issue is packed with Itawamba County, Mississippi historical and genealogical information.

January Program Meeting Next Tuesday

On Tuesday, January 20, the Itawamba Historical Society will hold it’s regular monthly program meeting at the George Poteet History Center (corner of Church Street and Museum Drive) in Mantachie. The program will be Old Itawamba Tales presented by Carl Comer of Fulton. Comer is well-known throughout Itawamba County. Retired from teaching chemistry at Itawamba Community College in Fulton, he has direct ties to many old Itawamba County, Mississippi families. The meeting will begin at 6 p.m. with refreshments being served with the program following.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Questions About Early Itawamba County Marriages

Located in the Itawamba County Chancery Court Clerk’s office in the county courthouse are thousands of marriage records bound in large red leather volumes. Itawamba County is fortunate to have all the volumes intact from the beginning to the present. The first recorded marriage record in the county was that of the marriage between William H. Toomer and Marilda Barnett. This marriage took place on February 23, 1837 (Marriage Book 1, Page 1). The license (click image for larger view) was granted by Itawamba County’s first probate clerk, Lewis H. Gideon and the marriage was performed by Justice of the Peace William Cooper. It is interesting to note this marriage took place a full year after Itawamba County was officially organized.

On February 9, 1836, the Mississippi Legislature divided the land secured from the Chickasaw into counties and five days later this body appointed commissioners in each of the ten newly created counties to get the counties organized. The commissioners appointed for Itawamba County were James Rowland, William Coats, Lewis Gideon and David Walker. As instructed by the Legislature, these commissioners called for an election and five men were elected: James Spears Bourland, Alfred G. Lane, John Beene, S.S. Spearman and Eliba Allen. These men were known as the Board of Police.

From reading early minutes of the county board of police, it is evident the first organizational meeting of that body was held in the home of James Spears Bourland in southwestern Itawamba County near the Tombigbee River during September of 1836 with an election to be held the following month for county officers. Lewis Gideon, who recorded the above Toomer-Barnett marriage was elected as the county’s first probate clerk during that October election, and probably didn’t take office until January 1837.

My question has always been: Were there any marriages in Itawamba County prior to this February 1837 marriage listed on Page 1 of Book 1? A full year had transpired between the time the county was officially created and this first recorded marriage. According to the 1836 state tax list for Itawamba County, there were approximately 280 families living in Itawamba County prior to 1837 and after the county’s creation during February of 1836. With no county official (probate clerk) to record such marriages, were marriages simply not recorded during this transitional period of nearly twelve months? Were marriage licenses obtained in older adjoining areas (Monroe County, Mississippi or Franklin and Marion counties in Alabama)? Or was the February 1837 Toomer-Barnett marriage, in fact, Itawamba County’s first marriage? There are lots of questions, but no apparent answers.

A Transcript of Itawamba County’s
First Recorded Marriage License

W.H. Toomer to Miss Marilda Barnett
The State of Mississippi
Itawamba County

To any regular ordained minister of the Gospel, Judge, Justice of the Police Court or acting Justice of the Peace in and for said county – Greeting.

You or either of you are hereby authorized to solemnize the rites of matrimony between William H. Toomer and Marilda Barnettt and join them together as man and wife in the holy estate of wedlock. Your official certificate whereof you are to return together with the License into the office of the register of the Orphans Court of said county within the time prescribed by law. Witness Joshua Toomer, Judge of the Probate of said county, this 23rd day of February 1837.
Test. L.H. Gideon, Clerk

The State of Mississippi
Itawamba County

I William Cooper, an acting Justice of the Peace in and for said County do certify that the within License was executed the 23rd day of February 1837.

William Cooper
Justice of Peace

The State of Mississippi
Itawamba County

I Lewis H. Gideon, clerk of the probate for said County do certify this the forgoing is true record.

November 28th, 1837
L.H. Gideon, Clerk


First Basketball Team at Itawamba Agricultural High School

Pictured above is the first girls basketball team at Itawamba Agricultural High School during the 1921-22 school year. A special thanks to Janie Comer of Fulton for sharing this old photograph with the readers of Itawamba History Review.

The beginnings of the Itawamba Agricultural High School can be traced back to shortly after 1910 when a fund amounting to $1,354.67 was raised by a county tax levy for the purpose of “maintaining an Agricultural High School.” However it was not until more than ten years later that actual construction began on the facility.

During 1919, the trustees of The Itawamba Agricultural High School began acquiring the property for the new school to be located west of the town square of Fulton under the hill. During June of 1919 the trustees received properties from the W.L. Gaither estate, Isaac Lewis Sheffield, J.A. Senter, and W.G. Orr. Later in December of the same year properties were received from Mrs. Annie Gaither and M.C. Benson for a total school acreage of nearly one hundred acres.

The first contractor who signed a contract to build the school backed down, so a new contract was let. By May of 1921, construction was underway and on May 19th of that year a cornerstone ceremony was held at the Administration Building site where thousands of Itawambians attended.

Only two buildings were completed before the school opened during September of 1921 – the Administration Building and Dormitory. The Itawamba Agricultural High school officially opened at 10 a.m. September 19th, 1921 with registration and opening exercises with nearly 150 students.

The Administration Building housed the class rooms and the second floor was used as a dormitory for the male students, as the boy's dormitory wasn't completed until later in the 1921-22 school session. The dining room, kitchen, parlors and female students were housed in the two-story dormitory building. Many of the first male students were housed in private homes in Fulton. The Itawamba County News posted a plea from the county superintendent of education for the people of the town to rent rooms to the young men who wanted to attend the school, as there was not enough room in the Administration Building to house them. It is interesting to note that from the beginning, the school was a boarding school. Since there were no paved roads and very few graveled roads in the county, daily transportation was difficult for those students in outlying areas of the county, in order to attend school in Fulton.

The first school catalog shows the main purpose of the school at the time seemed to fit the students for better farmers and farm home-makers. A note from the catalog reads in part: “Since a large percent of our pupils will come from the farm and will probably return to the farm, it becomes our duty to teach them how to make the most of their farms, how to improve the farm home and how to make country life more enjoyable, more profitable and a better place in which to live. There will be a few of our graduates, and we hope they may be many, who will desire to continue their training in the college and university.”

The Itawamba Agricultural High School was available free to any student in Itawamba County, but those from outside the county were charged $10 per session. Board in the dormitory was on the cooperative plan, with costs being split among the number of pupils and teachers at the end of the month. Each boarding student was required to keep a board deposit of $15, on deposit. Each pupil was also required to do 5 to 10 hours practical labor each week. Additional labor was paid for at the rate of eight cents to twelve cents per hour, depending on the quality of work.

The first school play was presented on October 21, 1921. “The Sweet Family” was presented by the ladies of the faculty and several of the female students. The admission price of 15 cents and 25 cents raised funds “for the benefit of the new piano.”

The November 3, 1921 edition of the Itawamba County News reported that Congressman John E. Rankin had sent the new school fifty young trees to be planted on the campus and he had suggested that a tree be planted in memory of each Itawamba County soldier who lost his life during the recent war (World War I). It was also suggested that others could plant trees in memory of loved ones.

The first board of trustees of the Itawamba Agricultural High School were: James T. Page, Phillip Orr Stovall, Houston L. Gillespie, Willie G. Crouch and Benjamin Chilcoat. Jasper R. Newell was the first school principal who removed from Tate County to take the post. Members of the first faculty were: R.A. Scott (agriculture), Juanita Ray (home science and arts), Minnie Mobberly (English and Latin), Mrs. J.R. Fewell (history and English), T.A. Oliphant (science and athletics), A.B. Johnson (mathematics and commercial work), Irene McMullan (music) and Kate C. Taylor (matron). Professor Lansford joined the faculty in October of 1921.

The first graduation was held on May 10, 1922 with a total of nine students receiving diplomas. It is interesting to note that, contrary to the 1921-22 school catalog philosophy, none of the graduating students immediately returned to the farm, and most of them continued their education in college.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Random Thoughts: Local Societies and the Internet

I’ve been busy this weekend preparing a new brochure for the historical society. This new brochure (600 kb PDF file) promotes the society’s online presence – While preparing this special publication I started thinking about how important the Internet is for local historical and genealogical societies.

I’ve always had strong feelings about the local genealogical or historical society taking advantage of new technology and thanks to a progressive board of directors, the Itawamba Historical Society has been online for more than nine years.

To me, a society that does not embrace the Internet, is simply a society that could be living on borrowed time. According to most statistics, today’s researcher spends a great deal of time online. Years ago the only avenue societies had for reaching the researcher was through their print magazines, advertisements in print publications and word of mouth. Times have changed, and societies must change with those times. Today the Internet has made it possible for many societies to reach the researching public at a very low cost, if any cost at all.

The Internet also affords the society an easy and cost-effective way to promote local history and genealogy through the distribution of research material relating to the local area they serve. The Itawamba Historical Society takes advantage of this with its Online Archives area where a vast amount of local records have been published over the years. And there are plans for more enhancements to the Online Archives with the addition of more digital images of local source documents that will supplement the society’s quarterly membership journal – Itawamba Settlers.

Of course local societies depend upon membership dues and donations in order to survive, but the Internet makes it possible to reach many potential new members. The Itawamba Historical Society has been blessed with the generosity shown by researchers over the past 27 years and the society uses its Internet presence to give back to the research community through the publication of local history and genealogy – all free of charge. Simply put, membership dues and donations make this possible as well as the operation of our Itawamba County, Mississippi facilities - Historic Bonds House Museum, The Gaither Spradling Library and the George Poteet History Center.

It has been written that local history organizations are the keepers and tellers of America’s heritage and history in cities and towns across the land. Please help the Itawamba Historical Society continue to keep and tell the wonderful history and heritage of Itawamba County, Mississippi through your membership dues and donations.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Sunset on Sand Hill South of the Old Bean Graveyard

A peaceful sunset was photographed on Sand Hill in the Deer Hills section of southwestern Itawamba County. This scene was photographed not far south of the old Bean Graveyard (also known as Old Enon). Bean Graveyard contains many historic monuments dedicated to the memory of many early Itawamba settlers including William Barrett.

A special thanks to Oliver Westmoreland for sharing his wonderful photographs of Itawamba County with the readers of Itawamba History Review.


Friday, January 9, 2009

The 19th Century Itawamba County Marriage Record Deconstructed

Marriage records are an important resource in family history studies. As this is the record connecting two families, it is important to get the date correct. In Itawamba County during the 19th century, most marriage records recorded in the Itawamba County Courthouse are composed of three separate dates – the date the license was issued by the court clerk, the date of the actual marriage, and the date the actual marriage was recorded in the clerk’s office. There can be a wide discrepancy in these dates as many of the marriages were performed out in remote areas of the county. I have noticed many ministers and justices would bring the actual completed license to the courthouse at a much later date after the marriage took place (within six months), bringing several licenses at one time performed over a period of time.

I have also seen instances where a researcher will incorrectly record the application date or the recording date as the actual marriage date. It is always important to record the date the actual marriage was solemnized. Below is a transcript of a sample marriage record (click illustration for larger resolution view of digital image) from the courthouse in Itawamba County, with the three different dates being highlighted in red.

Wm. E. Long to Nancy Ann Cook
The State of Mississippi
Itawamba County

To any regular ordained minister of the Gospel, Judge, Justice of the Police Court or acting Justice of the Peace, in and for said county – Greeting – You or either of you are hereby authorized to solemnize the rites of matrimony between Wm. E. Long and Nancy Ann Cook and join them together as man and wife in holy estate of Wedlock. Your official certificate whereof you are to return together with the License unto the office of the Clerk of the Probate Court of said county within the time prescribed by law.

Witness M.C. Cummings, Judge of Probate of said county, this 31st day of August 1841.
Attest J. Robins, Clerk by his dept. L.J. Copeland

I do hereby certify that the rites of matrimony was solemnized between the within named Wm. E. Long and Nancy Ann Cook on the 3rd Sept. 1841
James Bromley
Minister of the Gospel

The State of Mississippi
Itawamba County
I Jeptha Robins, clerk of the Probate Court of said county hereby certify that the above is a true record.
11th June 1841 (note: more than likely this should have been 1842, rather than 1841)
Attest J. Robins, Clerk

The first red date is the application date, the second red date is the actual marriage date and the third red date is the recording date.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Silk Hoop Skirts and French Lessons in Antebellum Itawamba County

Old probate records on the local level are simply a gold mine of information ready to be mined, giving a rare glimpse into the daily life of antebellum Itawamba County citizens. Located in these volumes of hand-written records are loads of guardianship papers, where guardians were appointed for minor heirs of the probate subjects. The court-appointed guardians had to account for every penny spent on their wards and those financial records were recorded with the probate court. Because of this, these records simply record transactions of daily life in Itawamba County. As an example of the importance of these records, the guardianship records of the minor heirs of Fulton merchant and planter, Wiley Daniel Clifton, who died during 1855 were quickly studied.

During the 1850’s the minor children of Wiley Daniel Clifton of Fulton received their share of their father’s sizeable estate, and the lives of the children – Eugene, Josephine, Wiley, Charles and Julia, are well documented in the related guardianship records (Probate Record Book 5) of Itawamba County.

Typical of the detailed information that can be found in these 19th century guardianship records of the probate court, the following information can quickly be learned about Josephine Clifton by quickly studying just a few pages of Record Book 5: Called Josie, she attended the Huntsville Female College in Huntsville, Alabama for two terms during 1858 where she took piano, singing, and French. The bills received from the college president George Everhart are very detailed giving details of the textbooks and teaching materials used by the young Josephine. During 1858 the young lady had a bill for $143.86 in New York City where her mother purchased clothing for her, including a grenadine robe, kid leather boots, 27 yards of silk and traveling dresses at Mrs. Levy’s. During August of 1859 Josephine took a trip to Aberdeen, probably visiting her Eckford cousins, and visited the fair at Richmond in southwestern Itawamba County. It was also during August of 1859 she had her “likeness” painted. During 1859 she had dental operations by Dr. W.J. Blackmon and paid $15 for 5 gold fillings. Additionally, there are many bills received and paid by the guardian from storehouses, physicians and dentists in Fulton and Aberdeen over a three-year period describing in detail where she visited and what she purchased.

As briefly illustrated above, the financial records in the probate books offer the researcher a rare glimpse into the daily lives of our Itawamba ancestors. These important records provide a vivid description of how people from all walks of life lived during their daily routines in early Itawamba County. In researching Itawamba County records, don’t forget these probate records. Simply stated, these records tell us so much more than mere family connections alone, by giving detailed clues about the lives of those who came before us.

Mantachie School Group ca. 1920

Pictured above is a Mantachie school group photograph taken around 1920. Front row, left to right: (1) unknown (2) Carlton Sheffield (3) Willie Hardin (4) Hazel Simpson (5) Oleta Bean (6) Johnnie Lee Watson (7) Winnie McNutt (8) Lauris Simpson (9) Doxie Younghanse (10) __ Bailey. Back row, left to right: (1) Lurlean Russell (2) Pansy Beene (3) Verma Lee Summers (4) Mrs. Lillie Simpson (teacher) (5) Marlus Hill (6) Noonan Blackburn (7) uknown. A special thanks to Sue Farmer Bean of Nashville for sharing this photograph with readers of The Itawamba History Review.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Old Graveyard Bell

The old graveyard bell at historic Keyes Cemetery in western Itawamba County has greeted visitors at the old cemetery's entrance since the 1800's. During the olden days, the tolling of the bell would announce the death of local residents.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

An Indispensable Resource for Writers

I’ve always been spelling and grammar challenged so I’ve had a stylebook near my computer for the past twenty years. Over the holidays I finally decided it was time to upgrade to a newer version. Thanks to a gift card I received, The Associated Press Stylebook and Briefing on Media Law was one of my gift selections. The book arrived at my home earlier this week and I am most pleased with this resource. My old stylebook has now been placed into retirement on the nearby bookshelf.

The Associated Press Stylebook and Briefing on Media Law is a 420-page reference containing more than 3,000 A to Z entries dealing with the AP’s rules on grammar, spelling, punctuation, abbreviation, capitalization and word and numeral usage. When do you spell out numerals? Is it “a historical event” or “an historical event?” Is it “people” or “persons?” Is it “20th century” or “20th Century?” The list can go on and on. Entries are alphabetized making information easy to find.

Also included with this wonderful reference are a guide to punctuation and a 40-page section entitled Briefing on Media Law including copyright information (such as what is copyrightable and what is fair use). Other sections include information about writing photo captions and a reference for editing marks.

As a few sections of the book are probably more used by professional and student journalists and editors, the vast majority of the book is a superb resource for anyone who writes – from a newsletter editor to a blogger, this book is a valuable resource to keep close by the keyboard.

The Associated Press,The Associated Press Stylebook and Briefing on Media Law. 42 ed. Norm Goldstein. New York: Basic Books, 2007.
ISBN-10: 046500489X
ISBN-13: 978-0465004898


Winter Skies

An afternoon's colorful sky is seen through the leafless trees on a cold winter day in Itawamba County.

Monday, January 5, 2009

2009 Edition of Special Society 27-Page Publication Now Available Online

The 2009 Edition of the Cumulative Table of Contents for Itawamba Settlers is now online. This 27-page booklet in Adobe PDF format (308kb) includes a cumulative table of contents covering the years 1981 through 2008 for the society’s quarterly 56-page membership journal. This is a table of contents for every issue of the publication showing what has been published, directing the reader to the appropriate issue. This cumulative table of contents represents articles found on nearly 6,300 pages published from 1981 through 2008.

One helpful aspect of the PDF format is the ability to search the publication within the Adobe Reader program. The booklet can also be downloaded and printed. This publication is a part of the Itawamba Historical Society’s ongoing efforts in promoting Itawamba County’s history and heritage online, with the goal of making resources available to historical and genealogical researchers. To view this publication, visit the publications area of the society's website.

A Great Discovery: The Medley Mineral in Itawamba County

Old newspaper advertisements are fascinating. They offer a rare glimpse into the daily lives of those before us. In an old 1860 issue of the Fulton Southern Herald is an advertisement (click image for larger view) for The Medley Mineral. Called a great discovery, a reality and no humbug, the mineral was described as follows:

The wonderful cures that have been made with the Medley Mineral, has led us to prepare, and offer for the relief of many of the Diseases to which flesh is heir to, some of this unparalleled Mineral Compound, accidentally discovered by William Medley, forty feet under ground, when digging a Well at his residence, 10 miles South of Fulton, Itawamba County, Mississippi.

First our attention was called to the Medical Properties of this Mineral by some accidental applications made to Sore Eyes, and Old Ulcers, which led to its application in various Diseases, in most of which it has proved most signally beneficial.

By a thorough Chemical Analysis, it proves to contain Eight distinct Medical Properties, without in the least being mixed with any known poison; consequently it is safe, both internally and externally.

It is offered to the public in Fluid form, for the relief of all Skin Diseases, all forms of Sore Eyes, Old Ulcers, Sore Mouth, &c.

The advertisement was signed “Medley, Stovall & Co.

William Medley is believed to be the son of John Medley and Ann Carter who married in Henry County. Virginia, October 30, 1797. William married Elizabeth McWilliams in neighboring Monroe County on April 25, 1823 and moved to Itawamba County shortly after its organization in 1836, settling on a farm in the southern part of the county, ten miles south of Fulton. William Medley died on his farm in Itawamba County, during 1868, eight years after this advertisement was published.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Itawamba Settlers Annual Surname Index For 2008 Now Online

It has been a busy weekend for me, getting the society’s quarterly journal ready for the publisher. The weekend was spent for the most part, indexing the 224 pages of the 2008 volume of magazines. I now have the Winter issue complete with the annual index neatly stored on a compact disc in PDF format ready to be turned in to the publisher tomorrow. The magazine should be mailed to the membership later this week. The 2008 surname index (which is a part of the Winter print issue) is available online at the society’s website. The index can be viewed from the society’s publications page. Just select the 2008 index link.

Now it’s time to start planning the Spring 2009 issue. Many interesting items are scheduled for publication during the new year. And the society has several source records to be scanned and placed online. Exciting things are happening in the Itawamba Historical Society with the promotion and preservation of Itawamba County, Mississippi’s rich history and heritage!

Featured Blog for January: Granite in My Blood

Editor’s Note: As a new feature of Itawamba History Review, I will periodically be spotlighting blogs with an Award of Merit that I feel are an excellent asset to the research community. Following is the January 2009 featured blog:

Midge Frazel of Massachusetts is the author of Granite in My Blood – a well-written and easily-navigated blog relating to genealogy, history and gravestone studies. A member of the Association of Professional Genealogists, Midge is a writer, consultant and genealogist. Granite in My Blood, simply put – is what a blog should be. It is a well-researched and written informal journal relating to her research endeavors. It is an interesting eclectic mixture of research, photography and personal articles reflecting her keen interest in genealogy, history and family.

When regular readers visit a blog they expect to find new content. Midge does not disappoint her readers in this area. The blog consistently has fresh new content and is lavishly illustrated with some of the most remarkable gravestone photography I’ve had the pleasure to view. And a regular audience likes to know what to expect. Granite in My Blood continuously has a pleasing layout and design using a good choice of colors and fonts, making the blog easy to read. Upon reading the blog articles, it is evident the author is a careful and meticulous researcher with a keen eye for detail. Midge definitely keeps herself in the shoes of her loyal readers. Do yourself a favor by visiting Midge in New England through her excellent well-written blog - Granite in My Blood.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Some New Features of Interest at Google

Google is an excellent resource for the historian and genealogist and the company is always introducing exciting new features. I am an avid user of Google Books and Google Scholar. Below are two recent features added to the Google site of interest to researchers:

Magazines Added to Google Books

Google Books has been an excellent resource for researchers. Now Google is adding magazines to the massive digitized collection. In December Google announced an initiative to help bring more magazine archives and current magazines online, partnering with publishers to begin digitizing millions of articles from titles as diverse as New York Magazine, Popular Mechanics, and Ebony. It is interesting to be able to search and view complete issues of magazines as far back as the 1870’s. It is simply a glimpse into daily life showing what people wore, how folks lived and worked and what was advertised. The search capability of these magazines is a huge asset for the researcher. More and more magazines are set to appear in Google Book search results and you can limit your search only to magazines through the advanced search features. From the Google Books search page, simply click “Advanced Book Search” and from the advanced book search page, select “Magazines."

Search-by-style Options at Google Image Search

Researchers use Google Image Search to find images of places and people, diagrams for articles and clip art for print and digital presentations. Before now, all types of image results were grouped together – from photographs and clip art to line drawings. Now with Google Image Search, we can limit our search results depending on the type of image we are looking for. From the Google Image Search page click “Advanced Image Search.” From the advanced search page, under Content Type you can select from any content, news content, faces, photo contents, clip art and line drawings. Under size you can select any size, small, medium, large and extra large. Under file types you can select from JPG, GIF, PNG and BMP. Under coloration you can select from any colors, black and white, gray scale and full color. Additionally you can limit your search to a particular domain and also implement safe search features.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Scanning and Editing Photographs For Online Presentation

The computer-assisted genealogist has a wealth of utensils available for the presentation of their family’s history and heritage online. One such utensil category is image editing and presentation capabilities. Two of the most essential tools of image presentation and enhancing are scanners and good graphics software. To begin with, here are some basic scanning ideas:

With computer monitors, scan resolution merely determines the size of the scanned image (height and width) on the computer screen. Many people think a greater scan resolution shows more detail in a photo.

This is generally true somewhat, but it’s only because it makes the image larger. However, higher scan resolutions make the image files extremely hefty and our computer screens are simply not large enough to view these higher resolution images at 100 percent scale without scrolling horizontally and vertically without scaling.

When we increase the scan resolution, it increases the image size. A little goes a long way, and there is no advantage in working with extremely huge image files just to discard most of the pixels when we display them online. Simply stated, do not scan at a high resolution when there is no need for it. Scanning at a higher resolution for archival or printing purposes is a different matter however.

By scanning at a smaller resolution, you will have manageable file sizes, which will create a quicker download time when your photo is viewed online. The online recipients of your photographs will certainly appreciate the smaller file size.

To determine the size of the photo on your computer screen before scanning, you simply multiply the original photo width by the scan resolution to be selected and the original photo height by the scan resolution to be selected. For example, a 3x5 photo scanned at 100 dpi will result in a photo that fills a 300 x 500 pixel area (3 inches x 100 dpi) x (5 inches x 100 dpi).

In order to illustrate how scan resolution works, you can perform this simple experiment. Scan a photo at 100 dpi resolution and save it as a TIFF file naming it Image100dpi. Now scan the identical photo at 300-dpi resolution and save it as a TIFF file naming it Image300dpi.

View both images at 100 percent. By comparing the two scans in your preferred graphics program you can see that Image300dpi is 300 percent larger than Image100dpi on the screen.

We should remember to not carry image resolution in scanning too far for simple online presentation. By keeping your scan resolution smaller - say 100 dpi for online presentation, the end result will be image files that are not overly large in both screen size and file size, but the photo quality shows very little difference, if any at all from that of a higher dpi on your monitor screen.

Graphics Files

Now, on to graphics files. There are many different graphics file types. When saving a scanned photograph, it is important to save the file in a “lossless” format. Some formats are “lossy” - that is, when saving a file, it will remove photographic data in the file, as it compresses.

Three graphics file types have become among the most universal formats over the years. The TIFF (Tagged Image File Format) file format is a “lossless” format and retains all of the image data. The TIFF format is also an excellent format for printing.

TIFF makes an exceptional file format for an archival photograph to be stored on your computer or storage media. TIFF file formats have become a standard for the large computer-based publishing industry.

Many people display their photographs on web pages, or send them to family and friends via e-mail. For electronic presentation and distribution such as this, an excellent file choice is the JPEG file format.

The JPEG (Joint Photographics Expert Group) format is very well suited for presenting detailed photographic images on a computer screen, while the GIF (Graphic Interchange Format, pronounced “Jiff” and also “Giff”) file format is more suited for the presentation of simple color illustrations and clipart.

GIF files are limited to only 256 colors and this is why they are unsuitable for many color photographs, resulting in both poor image quality and large files. However, JPEG (pronounced “Jay Peg”) is a “lossy” file format, in that each time you open, edit and save the file, you will loose some photographic quality.

So it is better to save your original scan as a TIFF file and work from that file, After all changes are made to the open copy of a TIFF file, you then export the FINAL result as a JPEG file and retain the original TIFF image for archival editing purposes. By doing this you will preserve much of the photograph’s quality in the final JPEG file.

Graphics programs allow you to set the compression of the photograph when saving as a JPEG. A higher compression rate gives less quality, but produces a smaller file size resulting in faster download times. Personally, I try and keep all online photos below a 60k file size and I always try to keep the compression rate less than 20 when saving as a JPEG.

There are many excellent resources available related to scanning – from books to web sites. One of my favorite books in my personal library on the subject is Make Your Scanner a Great Design and Production Tool by Michael J. Sullivan. And the genealogist can find many free online resources for scanning. Below are just a few of the scanning resources available online:

A Few Scanning Tips

Getting Started Scanning

Tips on Scanning

Thursday, January 1, 2009

The Tupelo Depot Deed in Western Itawamba County: 1861

In looking through the old deed records of Itawamba County, many interesting items can be found. Everything from property schedules, marriage contracts, and business contracts to deeds of churches, schools, and cemeteries can be found from the 1800’s. Below is the deed to the Tupelo Depot of the Mobile and Ohio Railroad signed during 1861. The Mobile and Ohio Railroad was built through western Itawamba County during the 1850’s and was completed shortly after 1860. Several western Itawamba County towns developed along this line including Shannon, Verona, Tupelo, Saltillo, Guntown and Baldwyn. During 1867, Range 6 and most of Range 7, including all the western railroad towns, became a part of the new county of Lee. Below is a transcript of this 1861 depot deed found in the Itawamba County Chancery Court Clerk’s office:

Know all men by these presents that we Wm. R. Harris and G.C. Thomason, owners and proprietors of the northeast quarter of Section (31) Thirty One Township (9) Nine Range (6) Six East of the Chickasaw meridian and in the county of Itawamba and State of Mississippi for and in consideration of the sum of one dollar to us in hand paid the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged and for the further consideration of the benefit to accrue to us from the location and construction of a depot station of the Mobile and Ohio Rail road upon said above described land do hereby for ourselves our heirs executed … bargain, sell and convey to the Mobile and Ohio Road Road Company for the exclusive use and control of said company for their Depot Station the following described piece or parcel of the aforesaid land to wit: beginning at the southeast corner of the aforesaid quarter section, thence north along the section line about (618) six hundred and eighteen feet thence westwardly on a line perpendicular to the center line of the Rail Road (and crossing the said center line at Station No. 7785+30) (205) two hundred and five feet thence southwardly parallel with the center line of the Rail road (657) six hundred and fifty seven feet thence east along the quarter section line to the place of beginning containing (3 8/10) three and eight tenths acres including the right of way for said Rail Road. The said Rail Road company to have and to hold the above described premises for the use and purposes herein stated for themselves their successors and assigns forever and we do further declare said premises free from all incumberances that we have full and perfect rights to convey and sell the same and we will arrant and defend the said Rail Road Company in the quiet possession thereof against the claims of all persons whomsoever. Given under our hands and seal this 30th day of March AD 1861.

Wm.R. Harris S E A L
G.C. Thomason S E A L

In the presence of Thos. O. Sampson and Miles Nasford.

The State of Mississippi
Itawamba County

This day personally appeared before me, Thos. O. Sampson, an acting Justice of he Peace in and for said county, Wm. R. Harris and G.C. Thomason whose names appears subscribed to the foregoing deed and acknowledged that they signed, sealed and delivered the same for the purposes therein contained. Given under my hand and seal this 10th day of April AD 1861.

Thos. O. Sampson S E A L
Justice of the Peace

Source: Deed Book 16, Page 487

Genealogical Notes

1850 Pontotoc County Federal Census

Harrisburg Post Office

Geo. C. Thomason: 39, Farmer, MS
Margaret E.: 17, MS
Rebecca A.:, 15, MS
Saml. H.: 12, MS
Jno. A.: 10, MS
Wm. B.: 8, MS
Laura M.: 5, MS
Geo. F.: 2, MS

Poplar Springs Post Office

Wm. R. Harris: 46, Farmer, TN
Rhody A.: 39, AL
Peter F.: 19, AL
Ann S.: 16, MS
Berry D.: 13, MS
Duncan: 11, MS
Clementine: 9, MS
Alice: 6, MS
Susan: 3, MS

1850 Itawamba County Federal Census
Verona Post Office

T.O. Sampson: 35, Master Carpenter, MS
Mary E.: 32, MS
John J.: 11, AL
Wm. H.: 10, AL
Mary R.: 8, MS
Ellen M.: 6, MS