While visiting the old historic Keyes Cemetery last Friday I visited the gravesites of several of my early Itawamba ancestors. Numerous members of my ancestral lines are buried in that old cemetery including members of the Gillentine, Stovall, Sheffield and Franks families. One such gravesite I visited was that of Richard Leake Gillentine.
Richard Leake Gillentine, my fourth great grandfather, was born January 29, 1806 in Sparta, Tennessee, the son of Nicholas and Jane Terry Gillentine and great great grandson of the immigrant Nicholas Girlington (born 1676 Thurland Castle near Tunstall, England, died 1774 Amelia County, Virginia). On November 18, 1826 he married Sidney Leana Stovall in Morgan County, Alabama. She was the daughter of Benjamin and Margaret Stovall and great great granddaughter of the immigrant Barthalomew Stovall (born August 24, 1665, Albury, Surrey County, England, died about 1721, Deep Creek, Henrico County, Virginia). The family came to Itawamba County during the founding years of the county settling in the Hopewell-Keyes area west of Tombigbee River.
Richard Leake Gillentine’s son, William Throckmorton (my third great grandfather) was born during 1828 in Morgan County, Alabama and came with his family to Itawamba County at a young age. On January 28, 1849 he married Mary Rhyne, daughter of Jacob and Sarah Hope Rhyne. During the Civil War William enlisted with Company F (Davis' Brigade) known as the Saltillo Rangers of Davidson's Mississippi Infantry (Army of 10,000, 2nd Regiment) on November 29, 1861 and was later sent to Kentucky along with his company.
The men during the service in Kentucky had no opportunity for hostilities, but suffered intensely from the very severe winter. Snow lay on the ground for weeks and the men were unaccustomed and unprepared for such exposure. Most of them came down with measles and many died from this serious camp disease and pneumonia. The regiments were disbanded at the expiration of the term of enlistment. The regiments were back at their organization camps in February, 1862.
While in service, William’s wife died in Itawamba County and William returned home to Itawamba County to his children where he married the widow Anna Nanney Mullins (widow of John T. Mullins) on February 19, 1862. Shortly thereafter William died, probably of measles contacted while serving in Kentucky.
At this time, William and Mary Rhyne Gillentine's orphan children were split up. Elizabeth (my great grandmother) and Penelope were sent to live with their uncle and aunt - William Carlisle and Elizabeth White Rhyne on their Patch Creek farm, northwest of Mantachie in Itawamba County. The male children (Jacob and Jesse) were sent to live with their grandparents, Richard Leake and Sidney Stovall Gillentine at their Hopewell farm.
Today, the old pottery Richard Leake Gillentine monument (pictured above) is just one such monument of many in the old Keyes Cemetery memorializing the progenitor of an early Itawamba County family.
Richard Leake Gillentine Pottery Monument Photograph by Bob Franks