February 12, 2009
Early birthday wishes to Jimbo Gilliam
Collier Carlton visited with his grandchildren, William and Mary Grace Carlton, in Birmingham, Ala., over the weekend.
Happy birthday wishes go out to Jimbo Gilliam, who will celebrate his birthday on Tuesday, February 17. May you have many, many more wonderful years!
Frances Gresham and Anita Barnett recently returned from a long weekend in Palm Beach, Fla.
Congratulations to Marshall Academy’s varsity basketball teams. Both boys and girls swept the District IAA tournament over the weekend. They will travel to Canton this week to play in the North Half tournament. Good luck to Coach Dailey and his extraordinarily talented group of athletes. Go Patriots!
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Salem Avenue once known as Silk Stocking Row
Once upon a time Salem Avenue was known as Silk Stocking Row as there was one mansion after another all the way from Randolph Street to Salem Bridge. During the last century fires have demolished some of the beautiful houses and left gaps. The only house besides Walter Place with a ballroom was located between Airliewood and Montrose.
One of the houses that burned was on the corner of West Street and Salem Avenue. Mildred Turner and family always lived next door to the east. Mildred’s father woke up one night about midnight and the big house on the corner where Claiborne Thompson and her family lived was on fire.
In his pajamas, he ran next door and woke the family up and saved their lives; that’s a good neighbor! Another house that burned was the home of the J.C. Totten family located on the crest of the hill of Salem Avenue, on the top, halfway between Chicago and New Orleans. It was a lovely mansion but burned about 1900.
Another house that is gone was located on the corner of Bonner and Salem where Zelma Sowell used to live and I don’t know what happened to it.
At the end of Salem on the north side was the biggest and best mansion of them all, where the Pointer family lived and where American Pacific is located today. Dr. Pointer and his sons were in the Civil War and in 1869 the family decided to move away from Holly Springs. They sold their house to Bethlehem Academy.
Bethlehem Academy was begun in 1868 and located in Hamilton Place originally. In 1869 Bethlehem moved to Pointer Place. In 1892, Bethlehem sold the school to St. Thomas Academy which was located across the street and over the bridge to the southeast. It had burned twice before this.
From the 1840s until 1892, St Thomas Hall was a school for boys and many famous people attended school there, such as generals and governors, (Walthall, Mott, Chalmers, Hugh White.) It, too, burned, on New Year’s Day of 1899. The only thing left standing were the imposing capitals of the four columns. Today the capitals are in the yard of Dunvegan and one is in the yard of Imokalea.
Dr. David Pointer and his wife, Obedience, moved to Marshall County in 1844 with their eight children. The youngest was Marcellus Pointer who joined the 9th Mississippi infantry, which only lasted two months and then he was transferred to General Joe Wheeler’s 1st Alabama. Marcellus was injured twice.
His unit disbanded in North Carolina the night before Robert E. Lee’s surrender. Pointer had been a prisoner of war when he was paroled on June 9, 1865, at Holly Springs, Refusing to sign an oath of allegiance to the United States he joined some 10,000 Confederates who traveled to Brazil to start a new life in South America because they were unable to stomach the rule of the Yankees.
The emperor of Brazil was only 13 years old. His father had died and he had inherited Brazil (imagine!) He had the vision to open Brazil to the Confederados to build his new country. However, Pointer didn’t stay long, soon he returned to Holly Springs, married and had a family. In 1869, he sold his house on Salem and moved away.
In 1909 a notice came that Marcellus Pointer had been found dead in a hotel in New York City and had died of great poverty. In his worn coat pockets were found several pawn tickets. Among them, the last one, was one for his Confederate cross for distinguished gallantry.
Two of his close Confederate friends who helped bury him were Frank Norfleet and Emile Withers from Holly Springs. Marcellus Pointer was buried in Memphis at Elmwood Cemetery where his grave is unmarked.
Once I was in the museum and a lady came in and said she was looking up her ancestors, the Pointers, who came from Holly Springs. I asked her where she was from and she said Florida. It turned out that she was my son Scott’s neighbor -- she lived on the same street that he did.
Maternal grandparents are Dennis Waller of Memphis, Tenn. and the late Deborah Waller.
Paternal grandparents are Bethyl Button of Byhalia and the Red Button.
Evelyn was welcomed home by her brother Joshua and her sister Mary.
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