Saturday, February 28, 2009

Spring 2009 Issue of Itawamba Settlers Quarterly Nearing Completion

I have nearly finished the Spring 2009 issue of Itawamba Settlers quarterly magazine. I hope this issue proves to be interesting. Included in this edition are abstracts from Itawamba County Board of Police minutes from 1866, abstracts from 1911 editions of The Itawamba County News, a feature article about Itawamba County absentee landowner Dr. Stephen Duncan of Natchez, part two of slave data abstracts from early Itawamba County records, obituaries, a feature article about George Benich's War of 1812 pension and bounty land records, a biography of early Itawamba County clergyman Lee Compere, a missionary from England who came to the county from Jamaica and the Creek Nation in Georgia and Alabama, and much more devoted entirely to Itawamba County, Mississippi history and genealogy. The magazine should be printed within the next two weeks and mailed to the 2009 society membership and subscribing libraries during March.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Basketball Friends: 1923

Pictured are Itawamba Agricultural High School students James Marvin Ferguson (left) and Stoessle K. Cooper. This photograph was taken during 1923 on the school campus. Notice how the two young men wrote their initials and arrows on the basketball.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Hallways of Memories

Yesterday I attended a presentation by fellow society member Terry Thornton at the old Fulton Grammar School on South Cummings Street in Fulton. It had been years since I had walked the halls of my childhood school. A few years back the old abandoned school was restored. This is one building I am glad that has not been demolished. Lots of memories for thousands of people are in the halls of this old building. The creaky oiled wooden floors, classrooms with high ceilings and steam heat radiators and large windows are almost like they were from a different era and different time.The visit brought back childhood memories of shooting marbles, playing on the swings and see saws, that syrup-looking paper glue in the bottle with the rubber stopper, the Weekly Reader and morning walks to the cafeteria for a nickel box of chocolate milk.

An Operetta in Two Acts: 1924

On Monday evening, April 7, 1924, the students of Itawamba Agricultural High School presented Love Pirates of Hawaii (large resolution full program), an operetta in two acts published in 1918 by Otis M. Carrington. The operetta was held in the school's auditorium in the two-story school building.

Starring students Fannie Crouch, Eva Lou Fears, Fleeta Wiginton and Maurine Gaither, the operetta also featured Benford Raden, Henry Bourland and Alvis Grissom. The chorus of Hawaiian girls were Pansy Rutledge, Bernice Fikes, Ozella Houston, Mamie Birdsong, Oleta Addington, Utrinka Collum, Mabra Brook, Tula Brassfield, Rivers Christian, Eloise Birdsong, Beatrice Franks and Ruth Boren. The chorus of pirates included Stanley Sheffield, Rolen Cooper, Willie Davis, Stoessle Cooper, Guy Graham, Marvin Ferguson, and Theron Marlin.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Itawamba County, Mississippi Slave Data Published and Available Online

Located within many record groups in the county courthouse here in Mississippi are references to the slave inhabitants of the county spanning the years 1836 through 1865. These records documenting slaves are found within such record groups as warranty deeds, mortgages, deeds of trust, wills and probate records.

Over the past twenty-five years while researching these records, every time I came across a reference to slaves, I would copy the document and file it away. Over the years my file continued to grow and it was this year I finally decided to publish the information I had compiled over the years. The end result of this compiled research is the publication Itawamba County, Mississippi Slave Data - 1837-1864 (Adobe PDF file, approx. 500 kb). In this 47-page volume approximately 400 slave residents of Itawamba County, Mississippi are documented from such sources as old warranty deeds, gift deeds, property schedules, wills, trust deeds and probate records. Covering the years 1837 through 1864, this is not a complete documentation – only documentation of what I have found in researching the records of the county. The book is fully indexed by the slave’s given name and associated surnames. Also included in an appendix is a concise history of early Itawamba County, Mississippi I wrote several years ago.

I have decided to make this publication available online on my website and also through the local historical society’s website. The book is in Adobe PDF format which makes it easily searchable. Researching slave ancestry can be challenging for even the most experienced researcher as the records are found within various county documents, and it was for this reason I decided to make the publication available online. If this little volume helps but only one person with their family research, I will consider the project well worth the effort.

Monday, February 23, 2009

A Taste of Mardi Gras

This afternoon, Terry Thornton from over at Hill Country of Monroe County paid me a welcomed visit at my office, bringing me a beautiful and tasty King Cake, freshly prepared by his wife Betty. I must say the cake tasted every bit as good as it looked! What better treat is there than to get a fresh-baked King Cake the day before Mardi Gras?

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Voices from the Past

Old family letters can provide a plethora of valuable information. These documents, simply put, are voices from the past. I’ve often wondered how those in the future will research the records we leave? Letter writing is practically a lost art in this day and age of computers. With lightening-fast correspondence via email, hardly anyone writes letters any more. And most of those emails are discarded after awhile.

Old letters need to be preserved and what better way to do this than to photograph and transcribe these voices from the past. Many years ago my elderly uncle Samuel Feemster Riley gave me an old family trunk. In this trunk were literally hundreds of old family letters. Reading these old letters is like enjoying a documentary of everyday life during a different age and time. Seventy-four of these old letters were written by my uncle and his brother during their military service during World War I. After reading these fascinating bits of correspondence I transcribed each and every one of the letters back during 2001. This collection covering the years 1917-1919 offer a rare glimpse into the lives of this family. This cumulative collection of letters tell the story of two young brothers going off to war, leaving their family farm in northeastern Mississippi, and how their absence affected their family. These letters produce the story of love, fear, homesickness, hope and challenge.

During 1918 my homesick uncle wrote home: “The bluebirds and field larks are singing. Just like plow time and you know it makes me homesick to see and hear that and still have to stay here.” Upon learning he may be sent to the battle front in Europe he wrote: “I want you all to be as reconciled as you can for this is a time when we all need our courage to go through these awful times… I am counting on coming back to home and friends, to spend the rest of my days a free man…” Amid the letters of fear and reconciliation are letters of hope. He wrote in another letter, “ This spring weather certainly makes me want to get between the plough and hope before this spring is over I can help finish the crop that is started.

During May of 1918, he learned he was soon to leave his country headed for the battlefront in Europe. On this occasion he wrote his mother a personal note: “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.

My young uncle and his brother enjoyed their family pets, consisting of cats and dogs. Merle wrote home inquiring about his dogs and cats: “Tell Wallace that I will reward him well for seeing after Little Barb, Little Lead and Big Lead and Snoop and Bobtail.

Later he was being sent to Camp Mills on Long Island in New York. The young Mississippi farm boy who had never been away from home, wrote home about his train trip north and seeing the Statue of Liberty for the first time: “I will try to tell you a little about my trip. I sure did enjoy it. I never done as much waving in my life as I done on my way here. I waved my old hat, my handkerchief and hand and the people would wave at us just the same …. We woke up in New York hollowing and waving….. We went under the Brooklyn Bridge. I also saw the Statue of Liberty which I have read about but did not know that I would see it. If you could have seen me on the upper deck of that ship waving my old hat you would have thought I was very well satisfied..

At the closing of the war my uncle wrote to the homefolks in Mississippi one last time, writing: “I will sure be proud to put my foot on good old U.S. soil once more and better still at home again.

These seventy-four letters are more than just letters. This collection includes voices from the past – voices from another era and another time.

To view my transcriptions of these old family letters, visit Voices from the Past…

Ready for the Hunt

Two young men with their hunting dogs during the 1920's in the Ozark community in Itawamba County.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Ola Ferguson Portrait

Ola Jackson Ferguson was born in the Kirkville community of Itawamba County on June 6, 1880. She was the daughter of James and Eliza Spigner Ferguson. She married Alvin L. Dresser, probably after 1910 in California (he is enumerated on the 1910 U.S. Federal census in Kern County, as age 28 and single).1 He was born September 19, 1878, the son of Charles Harris and Mary Alice McGahan Dresser) in California. In the 1920 U.S. Federal census Alvin L. and Ola are enumerated on the Fresno County, California census with their children.

The Ola Ferguson portrait is part of the Letha Ferguson Comer archives of the Itawamba Historical Society.

11910 U.S. census, Kern County, California, population schedule, Township 12, p. 176 (stamped), enumeration district (ED) 39, sheet 22-A, dwelling 292, family 302, Alvin Dresser; digital image, ProQuest, HeritageQuest Online (access through participating libraries : accessed February 21, 2009); citing National Archives microfilm T-624, roll 78.

Friday, February 20, 2009

A Stitch in Time

Last weekend was the perfect time for a little spring cleaning. The air was dry and the weather was warm. As part of the cleaning ritual, I aired several old quilts, draping them over the porch fence. Quilts are fascinating to me. With thousands of stitches, each handcrafted quilt is a work of art given to our present generation by those who came before us. In a time when there was not much time outside the daily ritual of farm work, women from across the rolling hills of Itawamba County, Mississippi stitched beautiful quilts - unique works of art that also served a utilitarian purpose. It's nice to be warmed on a cold winter's night by one of these unique works of art lovingly crafted by those who came before us.

The photo above includes a late 19th century bow-tie quilt crafted by Amelia Rankin Riley, a pair of Whittemore Patented Number 10 cotton cards and an Itawamba County split white oak basket crafted years ago by the late basket-maker John Johnson - all such items once common in households throughout Itawamba County. Farm families in the olden days would save a portion of their cotton crop for household use, including the production of quilt batting, with the help of such cotton cards. The quilt shown to the left is a simple patchwork quilt crafted by my grandmother during The Great Depression here in Itawamba County. It is amazing that quilts crafted generations ago are still serving their intended purpose today in the 21st century. They are definitely a testament to the craftsmanship of our ancestors from times gone by.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Evidence Explained

I recently purchased a copy of the book Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyperspace by Elizabeth Shown Mills.

Evidence Explained, simply put, is the definitive guide to the citation and analysis of historical sources. The first two chapters are absolutely a must-read in their entirety. The first deals with the essentials of analyzing evidence including a thorough discussion of classes of evidence and sources and various formats of available records. The second chapter deals with the fundamentals of citation and serves as an instructive foundation for the material found in the remainder of this 885-page volume.

Each chapter of the book begins with an introductory QuickCheck Model section where citation examples for each source discussed in the chapter are illustrated. The citation examples show the source list entry, the first (full) reference note and the subsequent (short) note for each of the sources discussed in the chapter. After each chapter’s QuickCheck Model section, additional detailed information is found about the sources being discussed within the chapter.

I am simply amazed at the diverse types of sources covered in this volume. The subtitle of this book is most certainly appropriate.

For the determined historical researcher, genealogist or writer, this is without doubt one volume that will not collect dust on the bookshelf. I recommend this book be held close at hand as it is an excellent resource and tool you will be coming back to, time and time again.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Society Program Meeting Held February 17

The Itawamba Historical Society held its regular monthly program meeting Tuesday evening February 17 in the society's Gordon McFerrin Assembly Hall of the George Poteet History Center. After a social hour and buffet dinner, the program was presented by Judge Michael P. Mills of Oxford (top left). Mills, a native of Itawamba County, read passages from his book, Twice Told Tombigbee Tales to a capacity audience. The program was enjoyed by an attentive audience. Attending the meeting were four of northeast Mississippi's bloggers (bottom left) and members of the society. Pictured in the Gaither Spradling Research Library before the program are Don Dulaney (bottom left, Dulaney Branch), Mona Robinson Mills (Itawamba Connections), Terry Thornton (top left, Hill Country of Monroe County) and Bob Franks (Itawamba History Review).

The Itawamba Historical Society regular monthly program meetings are each third Tuesday, beginning at 6 p.m. at the corner of Church Street and Museum Drive in Mantachie. The public is invited to attend all program meetings.

Another Sign That Spring is on the Way

Forsythia is profusely blooming in Itawamba County at the present and is one of the first flowering plants to transform the drab Mississippi late-winter landscape into a showy palate of vibrant yellow. This showy shrub is one of the first colorful signs of the coming of Easter and Spring. Last year I noticed the shrub blooming in March, but this year it's blooming several weeks earlier.

Forsythia - called Golden Rods by some, has been a popular garden shrub in Itawamba County for generations simply because of its tolerance and ease of propagation. Gardeners can cut a branch and simply push the branch into the soil. After a good dose of water, a new shrub will usually start on its own with no special worry or care.

Monday, February 16, 2009

A Couple of Research Observations: Land Patent Records and Probate Records

Over the years with my work at the historical society I’ve had the pleasure of corresponding with many Itawamba County researchers. Usually I receive quite a few research queries in my work with the historical society and it seems one particular concern pops up several times a year. A researcher will find a land patent of Itawamba County lands from the late 1830’s documenting their ancestor, yet the ancestor is not enumerated in the 1840 Itawamba County Federal census.

Simply put, a land patent is only a title to land which was originally acquired within the United States of America by a treaty. It grants the rights to the described land under the treaty to the individual person named on the patent and to their heirs and their assigns forever. A land patent merely documents title to land. In the Chickasaw Cession area of northeastern Mississippi, many people obtained land patents from the sale of public lands at the land office in Pontotoc, yet never moved onto the specific lands documented in the patents. There were many land speculators buying land and receiving patents in Itawamba County. From small-time speculators with only a quarter section of land to larger operations involving thousands of acres, these people were absentee landowners. I’ve come across patents in Itawamba County from such land speculators and businessmen as John Henry Miller and Duncan Clarke of Pontotoc County, William Eckford of Lowndes County, Archibald Taylor of Tuscaloosa County, Alabama and even Natchez nabob and millionaire, Dr. Stephen Duncan.

Many residents of neighboring Monroe County obtained land patents in Itawamba County as well, yet never moved onto the Itawamba County lands patented. One aspect of land patents in Itawamba County I have noticed is usually on the land patent itself, the residency of the patentee will be documented – Stephen Duncan of Adams County, Archibald Taylor of Tuscaloosa County, Alabama, etc.

Simply because a person obtained a land patent, doesn’t necessarily indicate the patentee ever moved onto the land. It is important to keep in mind a land patent merely shows land ownership and not necessarily residency.

On another note, I’ve seen the discussion of probate records on an online discussion board where a researcher was asking a question pertaining to the location where probate documents were filed. Were they filed in the jurisdiction where the deceased lived? Where they filed where the deceased died? Were they filed where the deceased owned property?

Over the years in researching Itawamba County probate records, I have come across many probate records of people who did not live in Itawamba County, yet owned property in Itawamba County at the time of their death. In researching Dr. Stephen Duncan of Natchez for an article I was preparing, I found he died at his home on Washington Square in New York City during 1867 where he had been living since 1863. His probate was handled in the courts of New York, yet a portion of his probate records can also be found in both the counties of Adams and Issaquena in Mississippi where he had considerable land holdings. Based upon my research in the old probate records here in Mississippi it is my belief that 19th century probate records of a deceased individual would be found in the jurisdiction of the residence of the deceased, as well as in the jurisdiction where the deceased owned property. It may be a good idea to also search in localities where the deceased owned property, if the probate records are missing in the location of legal residence.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Special Society Program Meeting This Tuesday Evening

The Itawamba Historical Society will hold its regular monthly program meeting in the Gordon McFerrin Assembly Hall of the George Poteet History Center on Tuesday evening, February 17. Presenting the program will be Judge Michael P. Mills, author of the book Twice Told Tombigbee Tales. It has been written about Mills’ book that it is in the best tradition of southern storytelling. Charles Reagan Wilson of the University of Mississippi Center for Southern Culture wrote “Mills has written a memoir that is far more than that. It documents the storytelling culture of northeast Mississippi in a way no one has done before and it offers a revealing inside view of Mississippi political life over the last two decades…”

Judge Mills invites you to meet some of the colorful characters he has known during a lifetime in Mississippi -.growing up, practicing law, and running for office in the Magnolia State. These stories, full of insight and humor, offer keen observations of the folks who live near and along the old Tombigbee River and its tributaries in northeastern Mississippi. Mills will be coming home to Itawamba County where he will be reading passages from, and talking about many of the stories in the book.

The meeting will begin at 6 p.m. when refreshments will be served and the program will immediately follow. The public is invited to attend all program meetings of the society. The Itawamba Historical Society is located at the corner of Church Street and Museum Drive in Mantachie. For further information, contact the society at 662-282-7664.

Friday, February 13, 2009

A Retro Valentine Brings Back Memories

The other day I was going through an old box of papers in my garage and came across an old school composition book. From reading the material in the book, it is evident the notebook was from the 1930’s. In thumbing through the pages I came across this little valentine, probably dating from the same era. Finding this little treasure brought back memories from when I was a student at Fulton Grammar school here in Itawamba County during the early 1960’s.

Valentine’s Day was a fun day at school. On the day before Valentine’s Day we were given small brown paper bags. We would decorate the bags with our crayons and the teacher would come around and tape our bags onto the sides of our desks. The next morning we would bring our valentines and place one in all of our fellow students’ bags. Most of our valentines were purchased at the local Ben Franklin variety store and were very similar to the one illustrated above from the 1930’s.
Little finds like the valentine above can be a catalyst for bringing back memories from times past.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Cataloging Your Research Book Collection the Easy Way

Lori Thornton, a professional librarian and researcher over at Smoky Mountain Family Historian suggested I try LibraryThing and I’m glad I did. LibraryThing is an online service to help people easily catalog their personal book collection. With this online service, you can access your catalog from anywhere—even on a mobile phone. Because everyone catalogs together, the service also connects people with the same books and comes up with suggestions for what to read next.

I found the service very straightforward and easy to navigate. The task of cataloging your personal library sounds like quite a chore, but with the assistance of LibraryThing, it’s really quite easy. You can search to see if the publication information for your book is already available. LibraryThing searches the Library of Congress, all five national Amazon sites, and a host of world libraries. The book information also includes images of the book covers for many of the books. My regional genealogy collection didn’t have images of the book covers, but LibraryThing allows you to upload an image yourself. For those books with publication information not already available, adding a book manually to your collection is an easy and quick chore. You can also edit your information, search and sort it, tag books with your own subjects or use the Library of Congress and Dewey systems to organize your collection.

This service is ideal for cataloging your genealogical book collection. And with using the service you can locate others who have the same research books you have. This can really come in handy, finding other family historians researching the same geographic areas or surnames.

A free account allows the user to catalog up to 200 books. A paid account allows you to catalog any number of books. Paid personal accounts cost $10 for a year or $25 for a lifetime. For those who wish, LibraryThing is also an amazing social space, often described as the “Facebook for books.” As a user, you can check out other users’ libraries, see who has the most similar library to yours and swap reading suggestions.

As readers have probably noticed, I have added a LibraryThing widget to this blog, in the sidebar showing random books from my private library. For further information about this service, visit the LibraryThing website.

Spring Cleaning

Each year the Itawamba Historical Society has a "spring clean" day. This is a community event where volunteers gather at the society headquarters and clean the buildings and grounds of the facilities in Mantachie. Each year it is really good to see all the volunteers from all walks of life and from all over the county show up to lend a helping hand. Community spirit and pride is alive and well in Itawamba County, Mississippi. The annual event is just weeks away.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Big Wheels

Will G. Ferguson and Ed Cobb are pictured on an ox-drawn logging wagon during the 1880's. Ferguson owned a large cotton farm in the Ozark community and Ed Cobb is listed as a logger in the early census records of Itawamba County. The tintype photograph was supplied to the historical society by Janie Comer of Fulton.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Blues Today: A Living Blues Symposium

Blues Today: A Living Blues Symposium will be held at the University of Mississippi February 26 and 27. Events will include an unveiling and dedication of a Mississippi Blues Trail marker and a special blues-themed edition of Thacker Mountain Radio featuring George Mitchell, Art Rosenbaum, Kenny Brown, and Cedric Burnside.

Legendary soul and gospel singer Mavis Staples will give a concert at the Ford Center for Performing Arts on February 27 at 8 p.m. To purchase tickets for the concert or to learn more about the symposium telephone 662-915-2787.

Source: Mississippi Department of Archives and History, Mississippi History Newsletter, Volume 51, No. 2, p. 2

Goat Wagon

This interesting photograph was found in a group of family photographs belonging to the Ferguson family of Fulton and the Ozark community. From looking at the stone wall in the background I don't think this scene was photographed in Itawamba County. It may have come from members of the Ferguson family who went west to Texas.

Monday, February 9, 2009

A Sign That Spring is on the Way

All over the countryside of Itawamba County, daffodils are now blooming and coming upon a cluster of these flowers in the rural countryside usually marks the spot of an old home place. The above budding daffodils were captured on the north side of a shed at my house yesterday.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

James Creek Meeting House: 1845

In searching through the old deed books in the Itawamba County Chancery Clerk’s office, the researcher comes across quite a few deeds to churches. One such deed is the old James Creek Meeting House deed from 1845. During antebellum times the James Creek community south of Tremont was a thriving community boasting a store (Thompson’s Store), post office, and a Methodist-Episcopal and Primitive Baptist churches. The James Creek Academy was a thriving boarding school prior to the Civil War. An advertisement in an 1860 edition of the Fulton Southern Herald shows the school was operated by John P. and Irene H. Calloway teaching such courses as Latin Green, the English sciences, philosophy, chemistry and astronomy.

The old James Creek Meeting House deed reads in part: “This indenture made and entered into this the 21st of January in the year of our Lord One Thousand Eight Hundred and Forty Five between Josiah Lindsey … and the Primitive Baptist Church at James Creek … a part of the North West Quarter of Section thirty-two, Township Ten, Range Ten East containing two acres. Bounded bounded on the east commencing at Elizabeth Harder’s line running west as to take in the house in said land…”

From reading the deed, it is apparent the church already existed at the time this instrument was signed. Today the James Creek Primitive Baptist Church is located near the Alabama state line about four miles southeast of the 1840’s church location.

The 1845 James Creek Meeting House deed is but one of many examples of church, school and business deeds found in the old records of Itawamba County.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Seeing Salt Lake

The above picture postcard (click image for larger resolution view) was found in an old photograph collection from the Will G. Ferguson family of Itawamba County. The Ferguson family owned a farm in the Ozark community and later moved to South Cummings Street in Fulton.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

At the Post Office in Ratliff

A group of men are seen on the porch of the Ratliff post office north of Mantachie. The photograph was probably taken during the late 1920's or early 1930's. Pictured are Ed Young, Marvin Coggins, Crook Hinds, Earl Hinds and Grover Ratliff.

The Gift of History

I’ve always believed knowing our history is such a cherished thing. During my youth I enjoyed listening to my grandmother. In her aged eyes I could see decades of toil and tragedy, love and hope, good times and bad times, and a strong independence and determination. Once when I was a little kid I was with her sitting in the shade of the front porch on a typical hot and humid Mississippi day as she sat rocking in the old creaky rocking chair shelling purple hull peas from the garden. She told me then and there, “Son, don’t ever go back on your raising.” And I have carried those grandmother’s words with me since and have never been one to turn my back on my rural Mississippi heritage.

Each year the historical society receives many visitors and among those visitors are hundreds of local school children who tour the society’s museum where they can see, touch, and hear remnants of their rural Itawamba County, Mississippi history and heritage. Volunteers at the society’s Historic Bonds House Museum and The George Poteet History Center cherish those visits. We feel we are simply the keeper and teller of Itawamba County, Mississippi’s story. And we recognize our most noble mission is to bring a knowledge and appreciation of local history and a pride in ancestral heritage to those young students who visit from the area schools – those children are simply our future community leaders.

Take time to give the gift of history. It’s a non-depreciating gift that lasts a lifetime.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Road Trip

This unidentified photograph was located in a collection belonging to the Ferguson family of the Ozark community. The scene was photographed during the 1920's. When I first saw this photo I thought it was such a classic scene.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

A Blustery Winter Day

Early this morning the clouds were parting over the hills of Itawamba County and the temperature was dropping. It was one of those days when the wind was whistling out of the north and is now a good evening for a nice toasty fire in the fireplace and sipping on a cup of hot cocoa.

New Oktibbeha County Research Book Available

The Historical and Genealogical Society of Oktibbeha County in Starkville has published a new cemetery book. New Cemetery Survey of Oktibbeha County lists 19,600 burials in 174 cemeteries and includes cemeteries in all of old Oktibbeha County, Mississippi including parts of Clay, Wintson and Noxubee counties. The cost of the book is $50.00, including postage. This new book may be ordered from: OCHGS, PO Box 2290, Starkville, MS 39760.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Joseph S. and Sarah Davis Tintype Portrait

Joseph S. Davis was born February 6, 1834 in Alabama and died April 3, 1916 in Itawamba County. His wife Sarah was born November 16, 1838 in Alabama and died August 15, 1900 in Itawamba County. Both are buried in Walton Cemetery. The Davis family came to Itawamba County after the Civil War from Alabama where Joseph S. purchased a farm in Section 25, Township 9 South, Range 8 East west of Mantachie Creek west of Walton Cemetery.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Society Member to Present Workshops at National Conference

Itawamba Historical Society member Lori Thornton will be presenting four sessions at the upcoming 2009 National Conference sponsored by the Federation of Genealogical Societies. The theme of this year’s conference to be held in Little Rock, Arkansas is Passages in Time.

Thornton will be presenting Using Your Society’s Web Site, Academic Assets: College & University Resources for the Family Historian, Bringing Order to Small Genealogical & Historical Libraries, and Researching in the Magnolia State: Mississippi Resources during this four-day national conference. She will be among some of the nation’s leading genealogists presenting workshops.

The conference will be held at the Little Rock Statehouse Convention Center September 2-5. This is Thornton’s second FGS national conference where she has presented workshops. She presented workshops at the FGS national conference in Boston during 2006.

A native of Amory in neighboring Monroe County, Thornton has been a member of the Itawamba Historical Society for several years. In addition to the local society, she is a member of The National Genealogical Society, The New England Historic and Genealogical Society, The Virginia Genealogical Society, East Tennessee Historical Society, North Carolina Genealogical Society, and Association of Professional Genealogists.

Receiving her Masters of Library and Information Science degree at the University of Kentucky, she is a librarian and professor at Carson-Newman College in eastern Tennessee where she teaches information technology classes each semester and helps many patrons research their ancestry. She documents her family history, writes for publication, and speaks to various groups.

The Federation of Genealogical Societies was founded during 1976 and represents the members of more than 500 genealogical societies. For further information (including registration) about the conference, visit the conference website at