Copyright © Janice Tracy, Mississippi Memories

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - Felix the Garden Kitten

Monday, July 27, 2009

Garrard Family in Holmes County, Mississippi

I have pieced together enough information from U. S. Census records to write this post about the family of Richard N. Garrard and his wife Anna Lyles Garrard. Although there is much more that I would like to know about this family, the information included in this post today is all that I know for certain.

According to Hall County, Georgia marriage records, Richard and Anna were married in Hall County, Georgia on May 23, 1850. Richard and Anna must have set out for Alabama shortly after they were married, since their first child, my maternal great-grandmother, Martha Elizabeth Garrard, was born in Alabama in 1853. In 1860, a household headed by Richard N. Garrard, was enumerated in Holmes County, Mississippi, in the Eulogy Beat. Richard and Anna ("Fannie" as she was shown on the census record) were parents of two daughters, Martha Elizabeth, age 7, and Cena, aged 10 months. According to the census record, Richard and his wife had been born in Georgia, Martha Elizabeth in Alabama, and their baby daughter, in Mississippi. Richard worked as a blacksmith.

According to LDS records, Richard N. Garrard was born May 3, 1826, the son of James A. and Rebecca Garrard. I have been unable, however, to locate a James A. Garrard, or a Rebecca Garrard, that are old enough to be Richard's parents, on a U. S. Census record for 1850 or 1860 in Georgia, Alabama, or Mississippi. This fact leads me to believe that Richard's parents may have already been deceased when he married Anna Lyles in May 1850. The LDS website information shows Annie Lyles was born on August 10, 1834.

Also enumerated on the U. S. Census of 1860, taken in the Richland area of Holmes County, was John Garrard, born in Georgia, his wife, Loiza, born in South Carolina, and their children, James, 15, Franklin, age 13, Mary, age 7, John, age 3, and Caroline, age 1. Like Richard Garrard, John Garrard's occupation was shown as "blacksmith."

In 1870, Richard and Anna stilled lived in the Eulogy area of Holmes County, and their household included five daughters. Martha Elizabeth was now 16 years old and Cena A. was shown to be 9 years old. Three daughters, Alice, 7, Theodocia, 6, and Victoria, age 3, had been born since the U. S. Census was recorded in 1860. According to the census, Richard worked as a "blacksmith." Also enumerated in the household with Richard and Anna and their daughters, was Mary A. Garrard, 41 years old, no relation shown, who was also born in Georgia. Although I have no conclusive information about the relationship of Richard and John, since each worked as a blacksmith, it is likely they were either brothers or cousins who had migrated together from Alabama to Mississippi.

The census record showed that John Garrard, age 51, and his children lived several houses away from Richard and "Fannie." Since John's wife, Mary, is not enumerated in the household, it is likely that she is the "Mary E. Garrard" who was visiting in the home of Richard and Anna when the census taker was present. Also enumerated in the household with John were his children, Mary A., age 17, John H., age 13, and Caroline, age 11. All children were shown to have been born in Mississippi. James, who was age 15 when the U. S. census was recorded in 1860, was not present in the household at the time the census was taken in 1870.

Next door to John's household was another household headed by William F. Garrard, a 22-year old farmer, and his wife, Francis, also 22. According to the census record, both William and Francis had been born in Mississippi. Since neither John nor Richard had a son named William in their household when the census was recorded in 1860, it is quite likely that William F. is the same as the individual enumerated as "Franklin" on the 1860 census.

In 1880, Richard Garrard, age 53, and his forty-nine year old wife, "Annie," as she was referred to now, were living in Beat 4, Holmes County. Their household included S. A. (likely Alice), age 20, T.E. (Theodocia), age 15, V. T. (Victoria), age 12, and M. C., age 8, who had been born since the census was recorded in 1870. Annie's mother, according to information captured on the U. S. Census of 1880, was born in South Carolina, and her father had been born in Ireland. Another individual, a fifteen year-old male named J. B. Coleman, was also enumerated in the household.

In 1900, after Richard's death, Annie, now age 68, was counted on the U. S. Census taken that year, as a member of a household in Thornton, in Holmes County, Mississippi, headed by W. E. and T. E. Broadaway, likely Theodicia and her husband. Also living in the household were the Broadaway children, Anna Mae, age 14, Willie, age 13, Earnest, age 10, Roderick 8, and Clarence 6. In addition, J. A. Garrard, age 39, likely James A., John Garrard's son, whom I did not find on the 1870 census record, was shown as a disabled resident of the Broadaway household.

Martha Elizabeth Garrard, the oldest child of Richard and Annie, and my maternal great-grandmother, married William Bailey/Netherland and continued to live the remainder of her life in Holmes County.

Richard N. Garrard died on May 28, 1896, and Annie Lyles Garrard died 30 years later on on December 1, 1926. Their graves are located in Harland Creek Baptist Cemetery in Holmes County, Mississippi.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Celestial Reflections in the Tallahatchie River, by Mark Adkins, A Book Review

Several months ago, one of my Mississippi readers, Mark Adkins, contacted me to see if I had information about someone he was researching for inclusion in a novel he was writing about the Civil War. In that email, Mark provided some details about the book that was scheduled to be published in late spring or early summer 2009. I was unable to answer Mark’s question about the individual he was researching, but the book piqued my interest, and I offered to publish a review of the book here on Mississippi Memories after it came out.

Earlier this week, I received another email from Mark, telling me that his book had been published, and he asked if I was still interested in reviewing the book on my blog site. I readily agreed to do so, and that review appears here today.

Celestial Reflections in the Tallahatchie River, written by Mark Adkins and categorized by the author as “
historical fiction,” is an exciting tale of adventure and romance during the Civil War in The book focuses on events surrounding the Battle of Fort Pemberton, near Greenwood, Mississippi, and the efforts of Confederate forces to prevent access by Union troops to the Port of Vicksburg. In the book, Adkins tells the story of a fictional character, Joshua Thompson, his life in the South, and his fateful encounter near Greenwood with the Star of the West. The Star of the West was a side-wheel steamer, built by Cornelius Vanderbilt, that was on loan to the U. S. Government to transport Union supplies south after South Carolina seceded from the Union. Confederate forces captured the Star of the West at Fort Sumter and put it into service for the South during the war. In a successful effort to prevent Union troops from making their way down river to the Port of Vicksburg, Thompson and others scuttled the vessel, sinking it sideways in the Tallahatchie River. Joshua Thompson, the book's central character who was serving on board the vessel at the time, lost a treasure during the scuttling activity that would re-surface more than a century in the future. To identify the treasure and to tell more about its discovery would be taking away from the intrigue that surrounds this portion of the book's plot.

Whether you are a Civil War enthusiast or a reader of adventure, action or romance novels, you will enjoy this book by Mark Adkins. His ability to create period characters and weave fact into fiction has produced a book that has something for all readers.

Turnrow Book Company in Greenwood is sponsoring a book-signing event sometime soon. For additional information about this event or about purchasing a copy of Celestial Reflections in the Tallahatchie River, by Mark Adkins, contact Turnrow Book Company, 304 Howard St., Greenwood, MS.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Blogoversary Today

One year ago today, I became a blogger. It all began with Attala County Memories, and one year and several blogs later, here we are. Early this year, I consolidated my cemetery blogs into Cemeteries of Dancing Rabbit Creek and started a second blog, Mississippi Memories. On January 3, 2009, I began using Google Analytics ( to monitor traffic on my blogs, and I am happy to report that over 7,000 visitors, who reside in the United States and in 16 foreign countries, have visited so far this year.

Thank you, readers, for taking the time to stop by and visit.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

More About the Garrards of Holmes County, MS

Yesterday, I again reviewed U. S. Census records for Garrard family members in Mississippi. According to U. S. Census records, there were two Garrard families residing in Holmes County, Mississippi in 1860. The family of Richard N. and Annie Lyles Garrard, my maternal great-great-grandparents, lived in the Eulogy Beat area, where they were enumerated. Also present in the household was my maternal great-grandmother, Martha Elizabeth Garrard, born in Alabama, who was seven years old.

Another family, headed by John Garrard, was counted in the "Thornton Town" area of Holmes County. According to the 1860 census record, John's wife was "Loiza." Since John and Richard are fairly close in age, and each was born in Georgia, it does appear the two men could have been brothers or possibly cousins.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Edward T. Branch II - 1850 - 1902

This letter was written by Edward Tillman Branch on April 3, 1902, to his young daughter, Mamie Branch. As the letterhead on the stationery indicates, Mr. Branch was receiving medical treatment at The Electro-Chemic Institute in New Orleans. Also mentioned in the letter is another daughter, Callie. According to available family information, Mr. Branch suffered from colon cancer, a disease that took his life later that same year. Edward Tillman Branch II was born in 1850 to Edward Tillman Branch and his wife Winiford Ragland Branch, my great-great-great-grandparents.

Source: Electronic copy of scanned copy of original letter. Original is privately held by The Descendants of E. T. Branch.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Joseph Arthur Branch - My Second Great-Grandfather

Over the recent Memorial Day holiday weekend, we visited with a couple of my Branch cousins who live in Greenwood, Mississippi. During that visit, my cousins put me in touch with Jim Branch, another cousin, who lives near Birmingham, AL. As it turns out, Jim is the family historian for the line of the Branch family that begins with Edward Tillman Branch, II, who died in 1902. Jim was kind enough to send me a scanned copy of the photo of his "Uncle Joe," as the photo itself states. Uncle Joe was Joseph Arthur Branch, Edward Tillman Branch II's brother, Jim's great uncle, and my second great-grandfather. Joseph Arthur Branch and his wife, Mattie, had one son, Edward Arthur Branch, who died when my grandfather, Clark Commander Branch was only 15 years old. According to stories my grandfather told me, Joseph Arthur Branch was blind and lived with his son's family in his old age. Written near the top of this photo is the word "blind." The fact that Great-great-grandfather Branch was blind may explain why he was photographed from the side.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Are You "Genealogy Wise?"

A new social networking website is up and running - its name is GENEALOGY WISE. When I began this post, the site already had 4,375 members! Family history researchers, genealogists, and others who have just started the process of uncovering their family's "roots," are flocking to this new website. When a new member signs up and creates a profile, the individual is asked to list the surnames they are researching, a feature that will certainly facilitate distance-sharing of data about common ancestors.

I can already see the genealogical handwriting on the wall: this site will make all of us who research, compile, and blog about our families' histories more "genealogy wise."

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Garrard Family - GA>AL>MS - A Continuing Saga

This is just a quick update on my research into the migration of my maternal Garrard ancestors who finally settled in Holmes County, Mississippi. I have now found the burial location of my great-great-grandparents, Richard N. and Annie Lyles Garrard - Harland Creek Cemetery in Holmes County, and I hope to get photos of their grave stones soon. But the Garrard search continues, and I now need to find the names of each of their parents. I have located their marriage record in Hall County, Georgia in 1850 on file in the Georgia Archives. I plan to request a copy of the marriage record next week, and hopefully that record will give me the information I need to proceed with my search. I was quite surprised to find that an out-of-state request for this document is $30 - fairly steep compared to the in-state cost of $15.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Ava Elliot Thornton

I first learned about Ava from her maternal grandmother, Ann Breedlove. If you have ever conducted family history research in the Kosciusko Library, it is likely that you have met Ann. She works in the library's great Genealogy Room. Ann and I communciate by emailing each other fairly often, and it was in one of her emails that I learned about Ava. She told me about Julie and Mark, her daughter and son-in-law, who had recently found out about a possible problem with Julie's pregnancy. Ann shared her concerns for her daughter and son-in-law and asked that I remember them in my prayers, and I promised to do so.

As Julie's pregnancy progressed, the doctor continued to monitor the baby's development very carefully, and in early Spring, Julie's doctor ran some more tests, and the couple's families continued to pray for a good report. In an email from Ann, she described how worried she was about Julie, her husband, and their extended families. Also awaiting the new baby's birth was four-year old Annelise. The results of those tests, Ann told me in a later email, that Julie and Mark had been told the baby girl Julie was carrying could possibly have Down Syndrome and a condition known as Cystic Hygroma. As a mother and a grandmother, I felt Ann's pain and shared her concerns.

In late Spring, Ann told me that her granddaughter, now named "Ava," would be delivered by C-Section on June 30, 2009. She also told me that Julie was scheduled to have a sonogram a few weeks before the scheduled birth.

On Thursday before Father's Day, Julie had a sonogram. The test showed that although Ava was a Down Syndrome baby, her overall health was good, and her heart was functioning in all chambers. At the time of the sonogram, Ava was said to have weighed slightly over over 7 lbs. Mark and Julie and their respective families were encouraged by the results that Ava was healthy.

On Saturday, June 20, 2009, Julie accompanied Mark, who writes for The Review, a newspaper in Laurel, Mississippi to the Mississippi Press Conference. The conference went well for Mark, who received 7 awards for his writing, and the newspaper received 17 awards, including one for "best small town newspaper." Julie and Mark were very happy. Late that afternoon, Julie realized she had not felt the baby move for several hours. Worried, she and Mark called the doctor, who told them to go to the hospital. At the hospital, she underwent testing, and the medical staff told Julie and Mark there was no heartbeat. It was just a few minutes before midnight when Julie called her mother to tell her about the baby.

Shortly after midnight, on Father's Day, Ava Eliot Thornton was delivered by C-Section, stillborn.

Ava was buried the following Thursday in Ann's family plot at the Kosciusko City Cemetery, beside the infant's maternal great-great-grandparents. Mark's best friend, Jim Truesdale, assisted by Rev. Marty Fields, Julie's and Mark's pastor at home, officiated at the gravesite service. Ava's funeral must have been truly heartfelt for Jim, since he and his wife had also suffered the loss of a stillborn child. Ann and Lane Townsend, her brother, sang "Farther Along," a song that Julie had requested.

Sometime during the week after Ava's funeral, I talked to Ann about writing this post about her granddaughter. Her response was that she would be honored if I did so. But it has taken me this long to write the post, primarily because it was a sad and painful task. When Ann told me that Mark had written Ava's obituary, it was beyond impossible for me to even imagine how he must have felt as he wrote the words that memorialized his own baby daughter's death.

Ava's obituary appeared in The Clarion Ledger, published on June 27, 2009, in Jackson, Mississippi, and in The Star Herald, Kosciusko's newspaper, on June 25th. A reprint of that obituary can be read below:

"Ava Eliot Thornton died Sunday, June 21, 2009, at South Central Regional Medical Center in Laurel, MS.
She was a stillborn infant.
Though she never drew a breath, she had a tremendous impact on the lives of those who loved her and eagerly anticipated her arrival.

There was a graveside service Thursday, June 25, 2009 at 10 am at Kosciusko City Cemetery. Rev. Marty Fields, Jim Truesdell and Lane Townsend officiated the service. Jordan Funeral Home was in charge of the arrangements. Ava is survived by her parents, Mark and Julie Thornton, and sister, Annelise, all of Laurel; grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Wiley C. (Chuck) Thornton of Madison, Mr. and Mrs. Dwayne Breedlove of Conehatta and Ann Townsend Breedlove of Kosciusko; great-grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Ralph Townsend of Kosciusko; numerous aunts, uncles and other relatives.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to Central Mississippi Down Syndrome Society, P.O. Box 2189 Brandon, MS 39043-2189; Ellisville State School, 1101 Highway 11 South Ellisville, MS 39437; St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105."

Friday, July 10, 2009

This Would Never Happen in Mississippi.....or Could It??

I just received an email from Terry Thornton, who writes Hill Country of Monroe County (MS), alerting me to an unfortunate situation that threatens the destruction of an ancient Indian mound in Oxford, Alabama. Thornton read this information today on
Deep Fried Kudzu, a blog written by a 7th generation Alabamian named Ginger.

I have now read Ginger's post, in which she details the story of the destruction of the ancient Indian burial place that may be as much as 1500 years old. It seems the dirt from the mound is being used as fill dirt at a construction site in Oxford, Alabama, where a new Sam's Club store allegedly is being built. Interestingly, the property on which the mound is located may be owned by the City of Oxford's Commercial Development Board.

Ginger's post about the situation in Oxford is a comprehensive one that includes photos and links for contacting Alabama officials, including Oxford's city offices and the Alabama governor's office in Montgomery.

I encourage you to read Ginger's entire post here, and if you see fit, please make the appropriate contacts that could prevent further destruction of this site and other similar historical sites.

Thank you, Ginger, for writing the post. And thank you, Terry, for advising other bloggers about the situation.......maybe we can make a positive impact on the history of Oxford, Alabama.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Photograph: Digital Photo Collection (2009), privately held by Janice Tracy

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Garrard Family Connections - VA>NC>GA

Recently, I began researching my mother's Garrard family connections, beginning with Martha Elizabeth Garrard, who was married to my maternal great-grandfather, William Bailey Netherland. Interestingly, I found an abundance of information about the Garrard family in America, from its beginnings in Virginia and later the family's life in Kentucky, to its southern migration to Georgia, Alabama, and eventually into Mississippi.

According to unsubstantiated sources, the Garrard family's origins had its origins in America through the French Huguenot, Peter Garrard. Although the surname today is most commonly spelled "Garrard," other versions, including two French versions, "Girard" and "Gerard," as well as as the Italian "Ghirardi" and "Girardi," have been used throughout time.

The availability of much historical information about the Garrard family is due in large part, to the fact that James Garrard was well-known for his service as the second Governor of the State of Kentucky. Garrard, born on January 14, 1749 and who died on January 9, 1822, was further immortalized when Garrard County, Kentucky, formed during his first term as governor, was named for him.

According to the book, Governor Garrard of Kentucky, written by Anna Russell des Cognets and published in 1898, three brothers named John, Robert and Jacob, allegedly the grandsons of Peter the Huguenot, settled in Stafford County, Virginia about 1750. It is said that Jacob Garrard was married in Virginia, first to Sarah Waters, a daughter of John Waters and Mary Elizabeth Hack, and later to Mildred (last name unknown.)

According to the book by des Cognets, records of Overwharton Parish in Stafford County shows that Anthony, one of the two sons born to Jacob Garrard and his second wife, Mildred, was christened on October 12, 1756. According to all accounts, Jacob Garrard moved his family to North Carolina sometime after that date, where another son, named Jacob for his father, was born in 1763. Jacob Garrard, Sr. is said to have been killed in North Carolina during the American Revolution.

Anthony Garrard, born September 6, 1756, married Elizabeth Green in Caswell County, North Carolina, around 1811, and it is from these two people that I descend. Anthony and his family later moved to Georgia, where he had received land from his service in the Revolutionary War. It was in Wilkes County that Anthony died in 1807.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy Birthday, U.S.A.

And a Happy Fourth of July to all of my readers. I hope you have a safe and enjoyable weekend!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Greenville, Mississippi - "Where Main Street Meets the Levee"

The last stop on our Mississippi Delta tour was the town of Greenville, located on the Mississippi River. Although Greenville is still an important river port located about halfway between Memphis and New Orleans, one can only imagine the river traffic it once saw when cotton was still "king."

The historical marker pictured here stands in front of the building that housed the former headquarters of the Delta Democrat Times, Greenville's newspaper. Listed now on the National Register of Historic Places, this building was memorialized in "Where Main Street Meets the River," the memoirs of the newspaper's Pulitzer Prize-winning editor, Hodding Carter.

Pictured below is the Greenville Inn & Suites, a small boutique-type hotel, located at 211 South Walnut Street, where we stayed on the last night of our trip. The hotel is located near the foot of the levee where Main Street begins and was once the river port's U. S. Customs House. This historic building is worthy of its own story, one that I plan to write in another post.

From the hotel, we could walk anywhere that we chose in downtown Greenville, including the casino riverboats docked on the other side of the levee. Not being casino-goers, we decided instead to take a walking tour of Greenville's Historic Main Street. Before we started up Main Street, we walked to an area of blues clubs on Walnut Street just a few blocks from our hotel. Finding that most of the clubs were not yet open, we took the opportunity to photograph stars, imbedded in the sidewalks with the names of well-known Delta Blues musicians, before we headed back toward Main Street.

Greenville is the county seat of Washington County, and the historic courthouse can be seen below. The courthouse would have been a very long walk from the hotel, so I snapped a photo of it as we were driving into town earlier in the afternoon. As the Mississippi Department of Archives and History marker pictured below states, the courthouse was built in 1891 in the Richardson Romanesque style of architecture.

Another marker stands on the courthouse lawn marking the location of the Courthouse Arboretum. It tells the story of how Dr. Orville Blanton, son of Harriet Blanton Theobald, "The Mother of Greenville," planted a garden of native trees there in 1895. Interestingly, the Greenville Garden Club is recognized as the first of such clubs in the State of Mississippi.

Located on Main Street, just a few blocks from our hotel, was the historic Hebrew Union Congregation, pictured below. According to the marker, the congregation was organized in 1880, and was once the state's largest Jewish temple. Worshipping there over the years were two of Greenville's mayors, its first merchant, public officials, and many of the city's leaders in education, law, literature, business and civic affairs.

Greenville, Mississippi, like many other old, historic cities that line the banks of the Mississippi River, was a melting pot of emigrants who arrived at their destinations on riverboats carrying passengers from their ports of entry into the United States. Early settlers in the Mississippi Territory often arrived first in the Port of New Orleans and embarked on the long journey up river, where many of them settled in Natchez, Vicksburg, and Greenville. A large number of these European settlers already embraced the Catholic faith, and in 1858, St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church was organized in its present location at 504 Main Street.

In 1907, the Gothic Revival styled church, pictured above, was built. As the historical marker below states, the building was designed and financed by Father P. J. Korstenbroek, who served as the parish's priest for 33 years. Later, Father Korstenbroek was immortalized by one of Greenville's better citizens, William Alexander Percy, in his well-known work, Lanterns on the Levee. The marker also states that many of the stained glass windows in the church came from the Munich studio of Emil Frei.

After our walk down Greenville's Main Street, we drove out to the Chinese Cemetery, where I took a picture for my blog about Mississippi cemeteries, Cemeteries of Dancing Rabbit Creek.

The next day, as we drove across the Mississippi River Bridge, headed for Lake Village, Arkansas, I couldn't help but think of the Great Flood of 1927 that took so many lives of those who lived in or near the town of Greenville. The impact of that flood, similar in many ways to the flooding of the Ninth Ward in New Orleans after Katrina, resulted in the loss of much property and the lives of many people.

But our walk down Greenville's Walnut Street and Main Street the afternoon before had reminded us that in spite of the toll that history sometimes takes, this small Mississippi Delta town's rich and diverse cultural heritage has survived it all.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009