“The home of ‘Uncle Mac’ Cummings, one of the most beautiful private dwellings in north Mississippi, was located one mile from Fulton on the road leading north. This twelve room house had eighteen windows, twelve glasses 18x20. Glass was cut by hand. Six rooms were 20x20 feet. There were twelve fireplaces in the house. All lumber used was ripped sawed by hand and dressed by hand. The home was surrounded by oak and hickory trees. The front yard consisted of one-half acre. Native wild flowers and shrubs were on every side of the house.The floors, windows and panels were made of virgin pine and fitted together with square finished nails that were polished. The doors were made of dressed oak and the grain was plainly visible. The walls were plastered and splits were made from heart of cypress. The brick used for the foundation were molded by hand. All work on the home was done by slaves. The construction covered a period of five years and was completed in 1856. Even with all the work done by his slaves and a very large part of the lumber from his own land, the building cost Mr. Cummings five thousand dollars.”
Thursday, May 31, 2007
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
The river bottom lands have been some of the most productive lands in Mississippi’s hill country for generations, but with cultivating these productive rich lands comes a price - that of the flood.
One quite rare occurrence I’ve heard talked about from my childhood days was the “dry flood.” A dry flood was, when upriver, a heavy thunderstorm would produce torrential rains, but downriver there would be no rain – as a matter of fact, the scorching
When I was a kid, river floods were quite common. During 1955, the spring river flood tore the
I have not heard a dry flood mentioned in years and Tombigbee floods in Itawamba County today are not as severe as they once were, thanks in part, to the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway being cut through the county east of the river. Now all the tributaries east of the river empty into the waterway rather than the old river channel.
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
Monday, May 28, 2007
I rec’d yours of 21st just last night and today have disinterred the remains of your son and placed them in a neat coffin and deposited them in the north east subdivision of the cemetery by the side of J.T. Terrel’s grave who lived in or near Quincy, Miss. Thinking he was perhaps an acquaintance or friend of your son. You I suppose are acquainted with the family. On the south side of his grave other Mississippians are nearby. A small apple tree stands at the head of the two graves rather between the two. A temporary headboard is put up on which his name only is inscribed. There is not a doubt as to the identity of his remains. Two plank were put down on the bottom of the grave. One on either side and covered over with short pieces of plank. He was enveloped in a colored blanket and no dirt was in contact with his remains…
If you will pardon me for again alluding to an incident that will perhaps dampen his parents eyes with tears of affection I will relate it. A very amiable young Lady, a Miss Kendrick, who lives on an adjoining lot to the one which he was buried was witnessing the disinterment of the precious remains and who seemed deeply moved with feelings of sympathy for parents and with much solicitude had made many inquries as to his age, his place of residence and whether his parents were living, evincing evidences that she fully understood the ties that link the hearts of parents to the memory of departed loved ones and when she saw the remains lifted from the rude grave she involuntarily exclaimed most pathetically and feelingly: “Noble Noble young Hero, he never disgraced his gray jacket.” I allude to this incident that you may know that a sympathising tear was dropped upon his remains by a Lady friend though a stranger to you and to him…
I send you a lock of your son’s hair in a separate envelope or supplemental note as I am not acquainted with Mrs. Raymond’s temperament and not knowing but what other circumstances might forbid the sudden introduction of the hair of her idolized son to her attention.
F.R.B.Source: Itawamba Settlers, Volume XXVI, Number 3, pages 118-119 from a transcription of the letter made from a copy of the original letter housed in
Sunday, May 27, 2007
More than 400 settlers of the Itawamba frontier called this lively village home. The people had named their town in honor of the leader of the
For many years, Van Buren village has been forgotten. About 1850, the village turned into a ghost town almost overnight. Some people say the railroad built some miles west of the village caused the old river town to decay. People moved west to be near the new
The first owner of the land on record was a Chickasaw by the name of Ish-twi-ah-bah-ka. He sold the land in 1836 to D. Saffrens, a land speculator in the newly opened Chickasaw country. The first person to open a store there was Winfield Scott Chippewa Walker, a nephew of the famous general Winfield Scott. Walker, a colorful merchant, had moved up from old Cotton Gin Port in neighboring
The following year W.C. Thomas and Brother also began business there. Soon the place began to prosper because of its location on the
Some of the founders of the town were Boling Clark Burnett and his wife Ellen, John R. Wren and his wife Mary, and Thomas G. Wren. These people served as commissioners of the town in 1843.
In an 1843 edition of the Aberdeen Weekly Whig, the following notice appeared: “Boling C. Burnett of
The 1850 Federal census of
By 1860 there was only one merchant left in the town. The village had practically become extinct.
Today, the only thing left of the old river port village is an old cut out place in the bank of the river where the landing once stood, outlines in the topography of the land where buildings once lined the streets, an old road bed with scattered brick and the occasional old broken chards of glass, glistening in the rich bottomland soil. One solitary marble monument on the river bluff is the only remaining monument of the village cemetery. The monument reads: “Sacred to the memory of Aaron Dutton, son of Samuel and Margaret Dutton, Died 1843.”
Saturday, May 26, 2007
Jones Mill in southern Itawamba County north of Smithville was quite a settlement in its day. There was a store, mill house and a community of several homes. The settlement was called Jones Crossing. The land where the mill was located was first purchased by James Thomas in 1839 and in 1842 he sold the land to William J. Meader (Deed Book 3, Page 283). William Meader sold this land two years later to Posey P. Weaver (Book 4, Page 234) and two years later the land was sold to L.S. Autry (Book 5, Page 234). In September of 1850 Autry sold the land to Joel Wesley Jones (Book 8., Page 54). Jones subsequently kept this land for scores of years until the later 1800s. There was quite a turnover of the land prior to Jones’ possession of the property and each time the land sold the price was no more than $45 for an entire quarter section of land. By comparing land prices with comparable plots of land it is evident that there were no improvements located on the land before Jones purchased the property in 1850. It is evident that Jones built the mill house based upon a study of the deeds and a study of the Board of Police minutes. A study of the Board of Police minutes reveals that no permit was issued for this section of land for the period 1867-1900 (no minutes exist prior to 1867). So the mill must have been built before 1867 and after 1850. It is believed that Jones built the mill shortly after 1850.
John Wesley Jones was born in South Carolina and moved to Itawamba County shortly before 1850. His wife’s name was Mary (born in 1834 in Alabama) and before 1870 he was the father of the following children: Benjamin, Maryland Virginia, Marshall, Theodoria, Zenobia and Elizabeth. From 1850 to 1870 he was listed as a farmer with Smithville being his post office address. His real and personal property was listed as being much more valuable than most in Itawamba County.
As fall approached during 1987, the autumn rains came and Bull Mountain Creek reclaimed the ruins of Jones Mill and the ruins have been covered by water since. I am fortunate that I got to visit and gaze upon those old ruins back in 1987.
Friday, May 25, 2007
I thought I would write you a few lines as I have not written you a personal letter since I have been away. I know this is the hardest time of your life and I realize it is nature for us all to be grieved about parting but we must look at it in a brighter way. I know one thing and that is your prayers have been for me all these years of my life and especially since I have been in the army and I feel grateful to my Maker for having such a mother. I firmly believe that the One that does all things well will guide me through this safely. That I may return home again to be with my loved ones again. There is one thing I will ask you all to do and that is to go on as best you can and don’t bother about me… Now though I realize that this is harder on you at home to live while the war costs for everything is so high, but I am glad you all have such nice chance for a good crop this year. Well I will close. Hoping you all will not worry any more than you can help and don’t cross a bridge till you get to it. I am all right for the time being at least.
Co. C 155th
Camp Beauregard La.
Samuel T. Beam
Elvis S. Carpenter
Willie W. Chilcoat
Leonard D. Crouch
Itha C. Dennis
John A. Leech
Barney W. Mattox
Ebbie B. Moore
William A. Nabers
Thomas J. Ray
Oscar M. Sheffield
Audie L. South
Luther W. South
Troy J. Spearman
Willie P. Young
Thursday, May 24, 2007
Mississippi Biographical Index and More at the Mississippi Department of Archives and History Online
The biographical index was begun by the Department sometime in the mid-1930s prior to the death in 1937 of Dunbar Rowland, the Department's first director. Much of the indexing was done in the ensuing administration of William D. McCain (1938-1955), with some additional indexing done in the years following. Unfortunately, not all of the index keys have survived completely, but the staff of the Archives and Library Division feel that this index is of sufficient value to preserve its information. This computerized index is the result of the transfer of the index from its original card format to electronic format. Every effort was made by the department to provide as specific an identification of the indexed sources as possible
In addition to the searchable biographical index, the site also has a Mississippi cemetery index by cemetery name and also by county, an index of county court files and county records on microfilm. In addition the site has indices for supreme court case files, freedman’s bureau records, manuscript collections and newspaper holdings by title and county.
Simply visit the archives and library site at http://www.mdah.state.ms.us/arlib/initiative.html, click “online catalog” in the left menu and select the appropriate index under Additional Research Tools.
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
Approximately 220 citizens called Fulton home during 1850. Among the 220 residents there were six merchants, five physicians, five lawyers, three grocers, one tailor, two printers, one clerk, two shoemakers, one carriage maker and saddle maker, one ditcher and blacksmith, two carpenters, two members of the Methodist clergy, two photographers, fourteen farmers, seven laborers, one planter and one plantation overseer.
The mayor of Fulton during 1850 was William Beachum, who lived in a boarding house in the town with thirty other people. Fulton had young ladies’ boarding school run by Robert Maupin, a lawyer, and his wife Louisa. During November of 1850, 13 young ladies from planter families all over the county boarded at this school.
The young girls included Martha Lindsey, Sarah and Emily Johnson, Samantha Glover, Frances Dabbs, Ruth Standifer, Mary and Anna Welborne, Anna S. Stovall, Sarah Hankins, Mary Lindsay, Malissa Burgess and Vernna Warren.
The Fulton newspaper was run by John Massinger and John Handy, his 18 year old assistant. Fulton Methodists were served by two members of the clergy – C. Canon Glover, a native of Tennessee and B.B. Ross, a native of Alabama.
Fulton during 1850 also had five foreign born citizens. Cornelius Dougan, a ditcher from Ireland; A.J.H. Tanerahile, a clerk from Holland, John, Robert and Mary Tunnahill [Tannehill], a merchant family from Scotland.
Itawamba County’s wealthiest family also resided in Fulton at the time. John G. Kohlheim and his family, who were merchants from Georgia, had personal property worth more than $20,000. This amount was well over the average $500 per family in Itawamba County at that time.
The county jail had no inmates on November 23, 1850, but a farmer named William Commander, born in South Carolina, was murdered during 1849.
All of the above information was derived from a study of the 1850 Federal Census of Fulton, Mississippi, which was taken on November 23, 1850.
The tallest cemetery monument in Itawamba County is in Salem Cemetery in the northeastern part of the county marking the grave of Dr. Thomas Copeland. Dr. Copeland was a prominent landowner in the county prior to, and after the Civil War. He also had property in Lauderdale County, Alabama near the town of Lexington. In the current issue of Itawamba Settlers the Southern Claims Commission records of Dr. Copeland have been published. Below is a small excerpt from those records:
I was present when my property was taken. I saw it taken. I saw my horses taken, bacon, corn taken and saw them killing my hogs. Saw them take my steers and that occurred in North Alabama near Lexington on Blue Water in the Spring of 1865. The smoke house door was locked and they broke it down and went to taking and I did not ask any questions about it. The hills were blue for miles around. They had to have forage. They was running Hood and hadn’t any forage wagons with them that I could see. The roads were so bad. The were just pressing through in pursuit of Hood but a portion of them stopped at Lexington while Hood was crossing the turnpike.
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
Martha E. Hartsell Portrait and Biography
Itawamba County Southern Claims Commission Records
Itawamba County News Abstracts: 1912
Itawamba County Militia Letter: 1862
Unusual Cemetery Monuments in Itawamba County
Celebrating America's 400th Birthday
Websites of Note: USGenWeb Search Us
An Escape from Fort Donelson: 1862
A Concise History of Itawamba County: 1891
Old Morganton Revived
House and Senate Journals Abstracts
Itawamba State Officials: 1837-1890
Rev. Thomas J. Priddy Biography
Extinct Villages of Itawamba County
Itawamba County Civil War Pensions
Dr. George W. Stewart Biography
Plat Book A Abstracts
In Search of El Dorado in Antebellum Itawamba
1887 Itawamba County Road Overseers
Neely Tilletson Probate Records
Archibald O. Goodwin Probate Records
The Fulton Fire of 1924
William Morse Obituary
World War I Draft Registrations Book
Itawamba County Confederate Pensioners: 1924
Guardians Bonds and Letters
James Byrd Francis Portrait and Biography