Thursday, April 10, 2014
Paul and Elizabeth Kriss celebrate 25 years
David Johnson, Pat Ellis Stubbs and Corey Ruffin returned Thursday from a week at The Masters in Augusta, Ga. The trio also played the famed East Lake Golf Course in Atlanta, during their trip.
Happy 25th anniversary to Elizabeth and Paul Kriss, who celebrated Tuesday. Congratulations and here’s to another 25 fabulous years!
A big congratulations to Lauralee Fant, who has been accepted to graduate school at MUW for speech language pathology. What a wonderful feat she has accomplished!
Welcome to Holly Springs for all of the tourists here to attend the Pilgrimage! There are wonderful activities planned all weekend to entertain every age group and ilk. The Bouffants are sure to provide a show-stopping experience Saturday night at Montrose under the Moonlight. They put on a show unlike any other!
If you are out and about Saturday, be sure to stop by the Collins-Hurdle VFW. An afternoon of amazing food and fun has been planned to help Ralph Doxey Jr., who has been diagnosed with ALS. He is an amazing young man with a precious wife, soon to be having their first child. This cause is more worthy than anything, as he is one of our own. Let’s all rally to help him, as well as his family, as the road ahead will be a long one.
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Tales of community cemeteries
One would think that tombstone inscriptions, most of which are usually added to the monument near the time of death of the subject would be accurate and a true statement. Unfortunately for researchers, such is not always the case.
At the old Mt. Moriah Cemetery on Laws Hill Road, one reading I copied had the following information: Louisa Ann Alsup Dean, June 17, 1816-May 27, 1885 - “The first white child born in Huntsville, Ala.” This was long before digital cameras so I went back later with my old Cannon Sure Shot and made a photograph of the monument and mailed it to the Genealogy Society and the Library in Huntsville, Ala. I thought they would be glad to have it for their archives. Sadly mistaken was I. Their reply was Huntsville had people living in the area since 1805 and had been incorporated since 1811, and although they did not know what people in Holly Springs did, they were relatively certain that some baby had been born in the 11 years since people had settled there or in the five years since the town had been incorporated. I think they were right.
Louisa Ann Alsup Dean was the wife of Russell Dean, a member of the Dean family of Chulahoma.
Their son, Robert A. Dean, born in 1836, served in the Confederate Army with the 19th Mississippi Infantry, and later was elected to the Mississippi House of Representatives and subsequently to the Mississippi Senate. Major Dean’s biography in the Volume 2 of the Official Statistical Register has the following, “(H)is grandmother, Elizabeth Edmondson Dean, was the first white child born in Huntsville, Ala.” So I had found the original family story, which had become mangled in retelling, but still don’t know if that is right, either.
In the late 1940s native son E.H. (Boss) Crump would come frequently to Holly Springs to visit relatives and friends. The Crump family monument in Hill Crest is the tallest one there. “Boss” Crump liked to drive alongside the cemetery by way of Center Street and look to the east at the family monument and his mother’s grave from the street as he drove by.
Lucius Henry Dancy owned the lot directly west of the Crump’s lot, thus being directly in line from the street with the Crump’s lot. Mr. Dancy and his sisters planted several mimosa trees in the corners of the Dancy lot, and by and by, the mimosa trees began to block the view Mr. Crump had as he made his ritual trip past the cemetery. Mr. Crump’s solution to the mimosas blocking his view was to send his gardner to “trim” the trees back a bit. However, the trimming was rather severe and the trimming more or less resulted in a cutting. Thus resulted a family feud between the Dancys and the Crumps. Lawyers became involved. Mr. Crump offered $300 per tree to make up for the damage to the Dancys’ mimosas. The Dancys turned that offer down, instead demanding a personally written and signed apology from “The Boss.” He declined. Mr. Dancy threatened a lawsuit over the situation, so Mr. Crump capitulated and sent the signed, handwritten apology, which according to Henry Dancy, his father promptly ran in the old Memphis Press Scimitar.
Over a three-month period, one Holly Springs family had a double tragedy, part of which led to another story. Oliver Thomas Robinson, a native of Waterford, and his wife Helen Chesterman Robinson were living in the house now named Herndon in the 1940s. Mr. Robinson, a WW I hero, died in 1949 and was buried in Hill Crest. Sgt. Robinson had been awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, our nation’s second highest military honor, for “extraordinary heroism in action while serving with Company A, 120th Infantry Regiment, 30th Division, A. E. F., near Vaus Andigny, France, 10 October 1918.” General Orders: War Department General Orders No. 35 (1919). Should anyone be interested I have the complete text of his award.
But back to my story. On Saturday, Dec. 8, 1951, Mrs. Robinson made her regular trip to a local grist mill to obtain some meal. Just as she entered, the 300-pound grindstone exploded and a 65-pound fragment hit her directly and she was killed instantly, and mangled horribly. She was buried beside her husband in the family plot at Hill Crest.
Her son, William H. (Billy) Robinson, was a Marine who fought in the Battle of Iwo Jima, survived the battle and returned to the U.S., stayed in the Marines and became a recruiter. His body was found murdered along the roadside near Hernando, his car missing, on March 23, 1952. His death was a crime which remains unsolved. He too, was to be buried in the Robinson family plot. When the grave was being dug on March 24, 1952, another body was discovered already buried there, in an ancient six-sided coffin, wide at the top and narrow at the feet, with a glass pane covered by a protective iron plate over the part of the coffin where the face could have been seen. The coffin was removed from the gravesite, and placed on saw horses behind Reynold’s Funeral Home. The protective plate was swiveled from the glass and revealed a red-headed female, dressed in black lace.
Many people came by to view the coffin; however, I did not see her. Along with many others, my parents were afraid it might contain a victim of the 1878 yellow fever epidemic and some way the germs might escape and cause another outbreak. In retrospect I should have sneaked up there after school one day to see her. After an interval she was re-interred in an aisle near where she had initially been buried. No clue was ever discovered to reveal her identity.
In the depression years one of the New Deal programs provided work for local historians, artists, oral histories, musicians, etc. One of the WPA workers in Marshall County was Ms. Nettie Fant Thompson. In one of her reports she mentions the community of Bethlehem and comments that the cemetery there was begun when someone turkey hunting was killed in a hunting accident, and then buried back in the spot he had been hunting. From this single grave the Bethlehem Methodist Church Cemetery began, although the cemetery predates the church’s origin.
The hunter, Richard Allen Cain, had patented some land in the area there, and was hunting on or near his property with a homemade turkey call. Another hunter, John Jernigan, hearing the call and thinking it was a turkey, shot and killed him. Cain left a widow Nancy, and children William, Rebecca I, Nancy C., Samuel M., and Richard Allen. This was sometime in the latter half of 1836, as the January 1837 Probate Court appointed Jonathan Cain as administrator of the estate. On April 23, 1839, another administrator, Samuel McCawley (sic) was appointed, with one of the bondsmen being John Jernigan.
On April 7, 1839, Nancy Cain and John Jernigan had been married by E.F. Potts. In 1852 a petition was filed to sell the land in Richard Cain’s estate.
The patents Richard Allen Cain received for his purchase were dated August 9, 1838, two years after his death. Because of the volume of land sales, it was not uncommon for the government land office to run years late on delivering patents. The name Cain is spelled in several different ways in the many accounts of this incident, but the spelling used here is the one used in Probate Court and on his government land patents.
Another note of interest, the old name for Bethlehem was Beldazzle, as reported in the March 18, 1885, Holly Springs South, a forerunner of The South Reporter.
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