Copyright © Janice Tracy, Cemeteries of Dancing Rabbit Creek.

Friday, December 12, 2008

McKinley Carr, Buried at Buffalo Cemetery

To the right is a picture of the monument which marks the grave of McKinney Carr, who is buried in Buffalo Cemetery, near Buffalo United Methodist Church, in Attala County, Mississippi. According to the inscription on the grave marker, Mr. Carr was born on February 9, 1897 and died on February 7, 1974.

Buffalo Cemetery
Buffalo United Methodist Church
Attala County, Mississippi

McKinley Carr's grave marker displays an interesting set of emblems that represent major facets of this man's life. The monument itself appears to be a Woodmen of the World marker, although the emblem that symbolizes that organization is not visible. On the left "branch" of the monument is a Masonic symbol, and on the right is the emblem that symbolizes Mr. Carr's advancement in the Masonic Lodge to the level of 32nd Degree Mason. The Great Seal of the United States of America appears at the very top of the monument. Although I am unsure why the Great Seal of the U.S. is present, it is apparent that Mr. Carr may have been affiliated with the U.S. Government in some way, since the inscription at the bottom of the marker states "The United States of America honors the memory of McKinley Carr."

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Mrs. B. J. Burrell

The inscription on the gravestone of Mrs. B. J. Burrell states simply, "At Rest." Born on April 7, 1862, the wife of O. R. Burrell died on September 23 1923. Mrs. Burrell is buried in the Good Hope Baptist Church Cemetery near Camden.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Montgomery Cemetery - Madison, Mississippi

Although there are a number of gravestones in the Montgomery Cemetery that contain only names, the graves of A. J. Montgomery and L. F. Montgomery must be among the oldest in this cemetery as well as some of the oldest in Madison County. According to the inscriptions on these two gravestones, L. F. Montgomery was born on Christmas Eve of 1812, and he died on February 25, 1907, when he was 94 years old. A. J. Montgomery, was born on September 5, 1816, and died on January 1868, when he was "aged 51 years 4 mo's and 18 days."

I think it goes without saying that L.F. Montgomery likely died of "advanced age" and "natural causes." But did A. J. Montgomery die early, the result of an accident or an illness? And were these two men brothers?

The U. S. Census of 1860 for Madison County, Mississippi, shows A. J. and L. F. Montgomery living next to each other, with "Canton," the county seat, then and now, shown as their "Post Office." Both men, according to the census, were living with their wives and children and were born in Mississippi. L.F. Montgomery's wife was born in North Carolina, and A. J.'s wife was born in Mississippi. All of their children were born in Mississippi, as well. The occupation for each man was shown to be that of "planter."

A. J. Montgomery's personal estate was valued at $57,250, including real estate that he owned, valued separately as $57,000. The value of real estate owned by L. F. Montgomery was $52,600, and the total value of his personal estate was valued at $81,700. In 1860, two years before the start of the Civil War, it is likely the Montgomery men were two of the largest landowners in Madison County.
Many descendants of A. J. and L. F. Montgomery still live in Madison County and the surrounding area, near where their ancestors lie at rest in this old cemetery.

A sign posted in the cemetery, advising visitors the cemetery is "Private Property," also cautions those who visit to "...observe the sanctity of thse grounds." Madison United Methodist Church offers its phone number as a contact for additional information.

Old Liberty Hill Church and Cemetery - Brister Road?

Last week, Mike Steen, of the Holmes County Herald, was kind enough to print in the newspaper a copy of a letter to the Editor that I wrote announcing this blog. My letter, emailed to the newspaper, contained my name and address, something that is required by most newspapers when writing such a letter. This past Monday, I received a wonderful letter, via snail mail, from a dear reader of the newspaper. Her letter was of the hand-written, personal kind, a definite anomaly in today's electronic world, and I sincerely appreciate the fact that she took the time to write the letter and mail it.

In the letter she wrote to me, this Holmes County resident expressed her appreciation in these words: "I want to thank you for the Graveyard Rabbit of Holmes County.....I think this is so great to have this blog." Also, the reader asked for help in identification of some "unmarked graves in the Liberty Hill Cemetery." She also provided the location of the cemetery, stating it was near the "Old Liberty Hill Church" on Brister Road, about two miles outside of the town of Durant, Mississippi on the way to West, Mississippi.

To date, I have not been successful in locating this particular cemetery. I did find a cemetery with the same name, but it is near the intersection of Ebenezer Road and Richard Travis Road, just east of Brozville. Identification of unmarked graves may be next to impossible unless someone can be found who is old enough to remember the burials, or at least someone who may recall the names of early families who buried their loved ones in this cemetery.

I have already written a reply to the individual who contacted me, assuming that she does not have access to email, in which I wrote something similar to what is in the paragraph above. I do hope, however, that someone who reads this blog will be familiar with the Old Liberty Hill Church and its cemetery on Old Brister Road. And if you are that person, please send me a comment on this post...this Graveyard Rabbit needs some help.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Tombstone Tuesday

Several days ago, I wrote a post about James B. Yellowly, a founding father of the City of Ridgeland, Mississippi, who is buried in the Chapel of the Cross Cemetery in Madison, Mississippi. The gravestone pictured here is that of Yellowly's son, also named James B. Yellowly, who was born on October 17, 1848, several years before his parents migrated to Madison County. James died on June 6, 1914, and is buried in Jessamine Cemetery in Ridgeland.

Monday, December 8, 2008

The Zollicoffer Family in Attala County

I have seen the name "Zollicoffer" many times on U.S. Census records for Attala County when I was researching my own family members, and I often wondered about the origin of the name. Today, I decided to do a little research, and what I found was a family with a legacy that stretched from Switzerland across the Atlantic to Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Attala County, Mississippi. Interestingly, I found the name was originally "Zollikofen," the name of the area in Switzerland where members of this ancient family once lived in a castle.

With a little more research, I found the patriarch of the family in the United States was Baron Jacob Christopher Zollicoffer, a Swiss emigrant who settled in colonial Virginia in the early 1700s. One of Baron Zollicoffer's sons was George Zollicoffer, who was born in 1738. George was a veteran of the Revolutionary War, having commanded a company of the North Carolina militia. One of Captain Zollicoffer's sons was John Jacob Zollicoffer, who was born around 1775 in Halifax County, North Carolina.

In 1803, John Jacob Zollicoffer married his first wife, Martha Kirk, who was born on March 30, 1783, the daughter of Isaac Kirk. On March 27, 1806, John and Martha had their first child, Frederic, who was born in Occonomee, Halifax County, North Carolina. In 1807, John and Martha migrated to Maury County, Tennessee to settle on land that his father had received for serving in the Revolutionary War. Captain Zollicoffer died in North Carolina on June 11, 1815.

John and Martha Zollicoffer settled in Maury County, Tennessee, where he became a storekeeper. On May 19, 1812, near Bigbyville, Tennessee, they had another son, Felix K. Zollicoffer. On June 11, 1815, when Frederic was 9 years old and Felix was barely three, their mother died.

On January 5, 1830, Frederic Zollicoffer married Elizabeth ("Betsy") Petillo Love, who was born on December 28, 1812 to John Draper Love and Susannah Caruthers. Susannah, the daughter of Robert Caruthers, was born on October 10, 1793, in Burke County, North Carolina.

Several years later, Frederic and Martha moved to Attala County, Mississippi, near the town of Kosciusko, where Frederic was a physician and a planter. It is unknown why the Zollicoffer family moved to Attala County, Mississippi, but it could have been that his mother's family, the Love family, were already living in the area. According to the Slave Schedule of the U.S. Census of 1850, Frederic Zollicoffer owned 15 slaves, 6 males, and 9 females.

Frederic's brother, Felix Kirk Zollicoffer, became a printer, and married Louisa Pocahontas Gordon, the daughter of Captain John Gordon and Dolly Cross. Louisa was born on February 21, 1819, at Gordon's Ferry, in Duck River, Tennessee. In 1835, he became State Printer of Tennessee and later, a state Senator. Louisa died on July 13, 1847 and was buried in Old City Cemetery in Nashville, Tennessee. After the Civil War began, Felix received a commission of Brigadier General in the Confederate Army. On January 19, 1862, General Zollicoffer was killed during the Battle of Somerset and was also buried in Old City Cemetery in Nashville.

Frederic Zollicoffer and Elizabeth Petillo Love Zollicoffer became the parents of ten children, nine daughters and one son, who died when he was only 28 years old.

Children of Frederic and Elizabeth are:

Martha Kirk Zollicoffer - born November 18, 1830; died August 22, 1878

Married William Greer

Susanna (Susan) Zollicoffer - born November 26, 1832; died March 28, 1912
Married John Anderson Jackson

John Love Zollicoffer - born November 21, 1834; died April 1862

Marie Amelia Zollicoffer - born July 20, 1838; died July 2, 1879
Married Jesse P. Mills

Tennessee ("Tennie") Zollicoffer - born June 10, 1841; died July 30, 1891Married James M. Edwards and Jesse P. Mills

Sara Augusta ("Gus") Zollicoffer - born January 1, 1844; died August 11, 1923
Married William Francis Drennan and later Albert Litchfield Jenkins

Elizabeth Caruthers ("Bettie") Zollicoffer - born May 17, 1846; died November 27, 1900
Married Wesley Morris and later Albert Litchfield Jenkins

Davidella ("Davie") Zollicoffer - born February 17, 1849; died August 17, 1877

Cornelia Catherine ("Nellie") Zollicoffer - born June 12, 1851; died
May 12, 1892
Married Edmunds Grey Whitehead

Alice Virginia ("Sis") Zollicoffer - born November 7, 1853; died November 18, 1920

Elizabeth Zollicoffer died in 1854, and a review of the U. S. Census of 1860 for Attala County showed Fred Zollicoffer living in the household with his young children, since Elizabeth had died in 1854. Also living in the household was Elizabeth Zollicoffer, age 14, and David Zollicoffer, age 11, who may have been the children of his brother Felix and his wife, Louisa.

When I examined the U.S. Census of 1870, there were 116 individuals in the United States who were named "Zollicoffer." In Mississippi, there were 15 individuals, 5 who were shown to be "white" and 10 individuals who were shown to be "black." Among the five individuals was "Fred" Zollicoffer, age 62, who was born in North Carolina, and was shown to be living alone in his own household. The next household on the census page included Tennie Zollicoffer Edwards, a young widow at 29, and her four young children. Also included in the household were her sisters, Augusta, age 25, Cornelia, age 21, Cornelia, age 19, and Davie, age 16. Included among those shown on the census as "black" was James Zollicoffer, age 40, born in Tennessee, his wife, Caroline, age 25, and children, Louisa, age 11, Thomas, age 8, and Tennie, age 6.

Frederic Zollicoffer, a great-grandson of a Swiss baron, a grandson of a Revolutionary War veteran, and the brother of Civil War General, died on April 26, 1874 in Attala County. He is buried in Kosciusko City Cemetery, shown at the top of this post.

His wife, who had died almost 20 years before, his brother and his only son had all preceded him in death.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

The Pinchback Family - Their Fight for Equality

The grave of William Pinchback is one of the oldest graves in Holmes County, located in Pinchback Cemetery on the top of a hill that was once the location of a plantation that bore the name of the man buried there. William Pinchback was born on April 12 1788, "a native of North Carolina," according to the inscription on the stone marking his grave. The piece of marble that is his gravestone shows his date of death was October 2, 1848.

Although events in William Pinchback's life itself are not well-documented, much has been written about the life of one of his sons, Pinkney Benton Stewart Pinchback. And it is from the writings about the life of P.B.S. Pinchback, as he has been called, that portions of his father's life story have been revealed.

William Pinchback, born in North Carolina
on April 12, 1788; died on October 2, 1848

Major William Pinchback, a white man from North Carolina, fathered five children with Eliza Stewart, a slave of mixed African, Caucasian, and Indian blood, commonly known in those days as "mulatto." Before Pinchback left North Carolina, he had freed Eliza from slavery. On their way from Halifax County, North Carolina, to Mississippi, Eliza Stewart gave birth to Pinkney Benton Stewart Pinchback on May 10, 1837, in Macon (Bibb County) Georgia .

Once he and Eliza and their children arrived in Mississippi, Major Pinchback established his plantation in Holmes County, a county formed out of Yazoo County and known as "the land between two rivers." Much to the dismay of some of their neighbors in Holmes County, Major Pinchback and Eliza lived together openly and raised their children as a family.

When Pinkney was nine years old, he and his brother were sent to Cincinnati, Ohio to attend a private school, Gilmore High School, that accepted blacks and mulattos. After the two brothers had been in school for only a short time, they were required to return to Pinchback Plantation, where their father lay dying.

Although Major Pinchback was terminally ill, he had the insight to know his death would create turmoil among his eastern white relatives, since they had always looked with disdain upon his relationship with Eliza Stewart. He was particularly concerned that his relatives might attempt to enslave Eliza and his children once he was dead. According to a document filed in early Holmes County records, Major Pinchback sold Eliza and their five children for $100 to two individuals whom he trusted. These individuals then assisted Eliza and her children in a successful escape to Cincinnati, Ohio, a city that would later become an important link in the Underground Railway in the United States.

Pinkney Benton Stewart Pinchback,
Son of William Pinchback and Eliza Stewart
Born in Macon, Georgia on May 10, 1837
Died in Washington, D.C. on Sept. 21, 1921
Buried in Metairie Cemetery
Metairie, Louisiana

Once the family arrived in Cincinnati, 12-year old Pinkney was faced with supporting his mother and siblings. Initially, he signed on as a cabin boy on canal boats at a salary of eight dollars per month. After a few years, he moved on to working as a personal servant for white gamblers who played high stakes games with riverboat customers. It was during these years that Pinkney became somewhat of a gambler himself, as well as a womanizer of sorts. By all accounts, his life was not only colorful but somewhat dangerous. Allegedly, before 1860, he had already served at least two years in prison as a result of an argument and a stabbing incident that reportedly involved a woman.

In 1860 in Indiana, where he was working as a hotel porter and barber, Pinkney met Nina Emily Hawthorne. When he was 23 years old, and she was only 16, Pinkney and Nina were married. From that point on, Pinkney's adventuresome and often dangerous life among riverboat gamblers and other colorful figures of the time, became a thing of the past. During the early years of their marriage, Pinkney and Nina lived in Cincinnati where Pinkney attempted to recruit black cavalry officers for the Civil War and where he met opposition from his superiors because of his own racial ethnicity.

In 1867, amidst political changes of Reconstruction, P.B.S. Pinchback moved with his wife to the Fourth Ward of New Orleans, Louisiana. It was there that he began life as a changed man, a man set on a course that would involve his becoming one of the first non-white politicians in the State of Louisiana. Not only did he serve as a member of the Louisiana Constitutional Convention, but in 1867, he helped organize the Republican Party in the state. His organizational base for the Republican party was near his home in the Fourth Ward. In 1868, he was elected to the Louisiana State Senate. It was during Pinkney's term in the senate that he introduced a bill, which later passed, that allowed marriages between whites and persons of color, a legal commitment that his own parents were prevented by law from ever doing.

In 1869, Pinchback opened a steamship and cotton company, and in 1870, he became the sole owner of a weekly newspaper,
the "Louisianian." He continued to publish the newspaper until 1881, where he used the power of the press to push for civil rights for non-whites in the State of Louisiana. In 1871, he was named Lieutenant Governor of Louisiana and subsequently became the 25th Governor of Louisiana, serving from December 9, 1872 until January 13, 1873.

The day after Pinchback's term as governor ended, the legislature elected him to serve as a U.S. Senator. Even though he was elected to the Senate, congressional arguments persisted about the legitimacy of the state government that had elected him. After about two years, the House voted on March 3, 1875 to deny Pinchback his seat in the U. S. Senate by a vote of 121 to 29. He continued in his attempt to be seated, but arguments by his political opponents continued, and on March 8, 1876, Pinchback lost his Senate seat by a vote of 32-29. With his political career believed to be over, he returned to New Orleans where he was appointed Customs Surveyor for the city.

According to the U. S. Census of 1870, Pinkney and Nina Pinchback were living in the Fourth Ward of New Orleans with four children. Pinkney's occupation was "cotton broker." When the U. S. Census was taken in 1880, the Pinchback family was still living in the Fourth Ward, and the household included Pinkney, Nina and their six children, two sons and four daughters. Also living in the same household was Pinkney's mother, Eliza Stewart, then 55 years old, and two female servants. All members of the household, including the two servants, were shown on the census as "mulatto." If the census information is correct, Eliza was 12-13 years old when she gave birth to her first child with William Pinchback.

In 1885, at the age of 58, Pinkney Benton Stewart Pinchback enrolled at Straight University, a Louisiana institution organized for the education of people of color. In 1890, he earned a law degree and was admitted to the Louisiana Bar the next year. With a law degree in hand and still very much interested in politics and racial equality, P.B.S. Pinchback was elected chairman of the American Citizens' Equal Rights Association. The organization was located in Washington, D.C., so Pinchback moved his family there to work with the association in its efforts to preserve the equality of all citizens. He remained in Washington, where he continued to practice law until his death on December 21, 1921.

Shortly after his death, the body of P.B.S. Pinchback, son of William Pinchback, Holmes County, Mississippi pioneer, and Eliza Stewart, a former slave, was returned to Louisiana. His body is interred in Metairie Cemetery, less than ten miles from the Fourth Ward of New Orleans where his fight for racial equality had begun.