September 11, 2008
Ruff and Susan Fant visit in Moore home and enjoy hummingbird festivities in Holly Springs
Former resident Dorothy Corey visited with friends in town on Sunday. She was en route to Diamond-head with her son, Charles. Dorothy had been displaced by Hurricane Katrina three years ago and has been living in eastern Tennessee near her son, Mark. She and Charles joined their friends at Zion Lutheran Church for Sunday service and a potluck lunch. The Coreys were one of the founding families of Zion Lutheran Church.
Mr. and Mrs. Harvey Payne hosted a dinner on Saturday night of Labor Day weekend for an Emory University research team including Dr. Sally Wolff-King, who is an assistant vice-president and professor of English at Emory University; noted Emory photographer, George Nikas; and Dr. and Mrs. Edgar Francisco, all of Atlanta. Dr. Wolff-King is a specialist in Southern studies and is continuing her research in Mississippi. They came to Holly Springs to photograph McCarroll Place, sites in Hillcrest Cemetery and other points of historical interest.
On Sunday of Labor Day weekend Mrs. Pauline Evans hosted a luncheon at McCarroll Place for Emory University Professor Sally Wolff-King, photographer George Nikas, and Dr. and Mrs. Edgar Francisco, owners of McCarroll Place.
They photographed the house and detached brick kitchen which was added in 1837, as Dr. Francisco, a native of Holly Springs, described the history of the house and environs.
Ruff and Susan Fant of Washington, D.C., were the guests of Rook and Marie Moore over the weekend. While here, they all participated in the hummingbird festivities and also entertained for re-knowned author, Hubert McAlexander from Athens, GA.
Nancy Fant Smith of Oxford was the guest of Kay and Laura Wheeler on Saturday night.
(To put your news in City Personals, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org; mail to City Personals, The South Reporter, P.O. Box 278, Holly Springs, MS 38635 or call 662-252-4261. You may also e-mail your City Personal news to email@example.com).
Paternal grandparents are Mike and Laura Claunch of Moscow. Great-grandparents are Fred and Pat Lackey of Moscow, Clarine Claunch of Dancyville, Tenn., and the late Jack Claunch of Somerville, Tenn., John and Verble Haman of Moscow and the late Joe Lancaster of Somerville.
Maternal grandparents are Bobby and Tina Kinney of Mt. Pleasant. Great-grandparents are Donald and Jerry Floyd of Mt. Pleasant and the late Blanche Kinney of Collierville, Tenn., and the late Bill Kinney of Litchfield, Ill. Maternal great-grandmother is Pruda Thornton of Mt. Pleasant.
Also welcoming Cabren are his aunt, Crystal Claunch of Moscow and his uncle and aunt, Jonathan and Kyle Kinney of Mt. Pleasant.
Proud grandparents are Candy and Wayne Ford of Potts Camp, Brenda Downs of Potts Camp and the late Hearshal Downs.
Holmes Teer...a legend in his own time
This week our celebrity of the past is Holmes Teer, a black man who was an anomaly to a legend in his own time. He was born in 1862, so he wasn’t a carpetbagger. He died in 1938. He was the great-grandfather of Dr. Lillian Stratmon. Everybody loved him because he was so kind and good and he lent money to those who needed it, regardless of color. Dr. Stratman sent in this information:
In Holly Springs, a union between a young slave girl and her master produced one of Marshall County’s wealthiest black landowners of the early twentieth century. He was born on the Woodson property in the north-central section of the county along Airways Road in 1862. Only a few remain who remember him, but many remember his deeds and good works -- and his wealth.
Interviews reveal that James Holmes Teer was a excellent farm administrator and financial manager. Some say he found a large pot of money on the Woodson Place. He rode one horse while supervising workers from early morning until noon.
After the midday meal, he changed his clothing and rode a different horse and wore a white hat. Whether horseback riding or driving his model T Ford, he wore a suit and tie.
The car was the first one owned by a black man in Marshall County. Whether he found the money or not, we do know that Teer owned a huge farm with over 22 tenant farmers and amassed a large sum of money. Many report that his land holdings included 3,500 acres and after his death, unexplained and unclear procedures by lawyers and judges resulted in the disappearance of over 1,000 acres of land and a good deal of money.
Mr. Teer was reported to lend money to people who never repaid him. In spite of these problems, large land tracts were rewarded to each child and grandchild after his death. Inherited tracts of land accounting for nearly 2,000 acres currently remain in the family.
Documents on file in the Marshall County Courthouse reveal the actual land divisions among family members.
My mother, who is Holmes Teer’s granddaughter, Mrs. Jessie Teer Wilson, received 217 acres of land. I recently traveled with a group along John Mack Road, which is just off Highway 311, to the farm my mother formerly owned, on a hot summer day. The farm appeared exactly as it did during my childhood, but the John Mack Road is no longer a throughway.
We stopped to visit several families who reminded us that my great-grandfather, J.H. Teer, had built a cotton gin and grist mill along Coldwater Creek. This area was a bustling center of activity while he lived and remained so for many years after his death, they said.
Teer had an appreciation for education. He worked with Bishop Elias Cottrell in developineg Mississippi Industrial College. He served two terms as treasurer on the board of trustees. Four of his children attended M.I. College, and he provided funds for any of his relatives who wanted to go to college. As a child, I attended many activities at M.I. College with my aunt Lillian, an M.I. College teacher and one of the daughters of J.H. Teer.
Besides educational and business activities, J.H. Teer was a philanthropist. He donated land for a church and for burial grounds to a congregation which still exists on Isom Chapel Road. He, and his wife, Tennessee Foreman Teer (1860-1941) are buried in the family cemetery on Isom Chapel Road. I never met Great-grandfather Teer, but I remember the running water, the indoor bathroom, and the electric lights which were in his farmhouse, a long distance from any city utilities.
All of J.H. Teer’s children were hard workers and they prospered. There were six children, Jesse, Eddie, Joseph, Mary Jane, Clara, and Lillian. I remember, for example, the many tractors, trucks, bailing machines, and other farm equipment that was lined across the field at Uncle Joseph’s funeral.
The members of that generation ara gone now, but many grandchildren and great grandchildren remain.-
I am one of them and I am having an exhilarating time doing this research. Thank you to the many people who contributed by providing documents and interviews and especially to my husband, Dr. David L., on all my trips. If any readers have additional information, please contact me at (662-252-5235) or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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