I’ve stared for a good 15 minutes at this photo I found on the internet. Oh to know the stories behind those eyes. Eula died in 1937 when she was 78 years old, so this photo was likely taken in the 1930s.
She was born on a farm near Burkettsville, Mississippi to Whitman William Mitchell and his wife Alice Jane Davis Mitchell on July 19, 1860, assuming her tombstone is correct (they aren’t always). It was a Thursday, and probably close to 92 degrees, the average temperature for Attala County in July. Seemingly she was their first and only child for Whitman, a 29-year-old Confederate corporal, was killed in the Battle of Murphreesboro on December 31, 1862 after coming to the aid of his younger brother (and my great-great grandfather) Albert Pierce Mitchell. (more info; see below for family connection)
By 1870, 9-year-old Eula and her mother Alice were living with Whitman’s brother George and his wife Nancy, Alice’s own sister. Alice is listed on the 1880 census as being a teacher.
Sometime after the 1880 census was taken, 50-something Alice married Confederate veteran David Lewis Brown, a widower with two children.
In 1885, Eulah married William Smith “Sonny” Adams. They had four daughters – Willie, Mae Allie, Julia Ann, and Brownie – and one son, named Whitman William Adams after the father Eulah really never knew. Like his grandfather, Whitman was a war hero. He earned a silver star in World War I for going behind enemy lines in France to bring back someone he thought was wounded. He went on to name his son Whitman William too.
Miss Eula is buried in Shady Grove Methodist Church Cemetery, the same burial location of her mother, her stepfather, her paternal grandparents, Albert Washington Mitchell and Susan Cone Mitchell, her daughter Brownie Cone Adams Carson, and several other members of her extended family.
I think she looks like actor Chaz Palminteri, don’t you?
I found a photo of her mother. She’s quite the stylish lady.
Family connection: Willie Arnold Wilson (1902-1948) was the son of Leona Mitchell Wilson (1868-1903). Eulah was Leona’s first cousin; their fathers, Whitman William Mitchell and Albert Pierce Mitchell, respectively, were brothers.
Why sit for a photo with an expression like this on your face? What thoughts were swirling around in her head? Why does she looks so angry and hard?
As the saying goes, “A picture is worth 1000 words.” Since I came upon this photo* a few days ago I’ve been pondering what some of those 1000 words might be.
I have so many questions! Here is what I know about her.
Her maiden name was Cornelia Bethany Mitchell, the 8th child of Albert Washington Mitchell and his wife Susan (Cone), both in their early 40s. At Cordelia’s birth in Attala county, Mississippi in 1841, her siblings ranged in age from 3-18 years old. She had only one sister, Lucy (Lucy Ann Mitchell Duncan Galloway). A photo of an elderly Lucy shows a similar facial expression (see below).
If you are directly related to me, we are kin to Cordelia on the Wilson side. Cornelia’s brother, Albert Pierce Mitchell (1842-?), fathered Leona Mitchell Wilson (1868-1930), who was the mother of Frank, L.A., Roy and Willie Wilson (1902-1948), husband of Annabelle Gray Wilson (1907-2002) and father of Billy & Barbara Ann.
At least four of her brothers fought in the Civil War as part of the 30th Mississippi Infantry, Company D “Dixie Heroes”. Whitman and George were corporals; Pierce and Franklin were privates. Only George and Pierce returned home. (Details in another post). She would have been about 11 when they went off to war.
After the war (1868), Cornelia married William Pinkney Ratliff. He was 21. She was 17 with an 8th grade education.
Their first child was stillborn the following year (1869) and apparently was not given a name. Their second child was born in early 1871. Sadly, Willie F. Ratliff died 19 months later. They are buried in Liberty Chapel Cemetery in Ethel (Attala county), Mississippi.
Cornelia had 11 more children over the next twenty years; 6 girls, 5 boys. They all survived to adulthood. It appears that one of her sons, Paul Grady Ratliff, learned to fly in Pensacola, Florida in 1917 and became a member of the Royal Air Force during World War I.
By 1920, she was listed as a 68-year-old widow living with son Albert, a 32-year-old bachelor farmer, in Cherokee, Texas, pop. 250. Interesting, because her husband William didn’t die until 1927. Also, William is shown as a divorced farmer of 72 living in Arkansas. It seems they divorced sometime between 1910 and 1920.
In May 1927, Cornelia’s husband died in Arkansas and was brought back to Mississippi for burial. Cornelia is not listed in his obituary (below).
In 1940, she was 88 and living with her daughter Sudie and her family. She died two years later, in 1942, and was buried next to her ex-husband in the Springdale Cemetery in the McAdams community of Attala county, Mississippi.
And lest we think Cornelia was just having a bad day when the above picture was taken, the photo below proves otherwise. That’s her sister, Lucy, on the right.
* These photos were posted on Ancestry.com in 2008 by Ed Ratliff (Cornelia) and in 2010 by Stopwatch (Lucy).
Magazines: I like ‘em. Particularly new-to-me and/or regional publications. Last year I discovered and immediately subscribed to Garden & Gun. Bought a few gift subscriptions too. I posted about my discovery on Facebook, which spurred a neighbor to not only subscribe to the magazine but to order as many back issues as they had available.
When in the Asheville, NC airport a few days ago I found Our State: Down Home in North Carolina. Here’s another magazine I think you’ll like, Kathy.
Why am I posting about a regional magazine on a family history blog? There is an article in the August 2012 issue of Our State that details the physical burden a Confederate soldier carried. As author Philip Gerard stated, “Every soldier must carry his part of the war to the great staging grounds and then help to assemble it.“
For readers of this blog — who may be descendants of Jack Thompson or his brothers, of Pierce Mitchell or his brothers Whitman, George, and Ben, of Coleman Gray, Singleton Hughes, his sons Robert, Thomas, and James — this article helps us picture the burdens they bore.
The weight men carry nearly leaves them limp underneath their sacks. But there is only one way to shed that weight, and the price for that is far worse that shouldering the load...[click here to read more]
Read the entire series of articles published to date: Civil War Series. Articles include:
- A General’s Fatal Anger
- A War of Songs
- Battle of the Bands
- Caught Between Blue and Gray
- Baptism by Blood
[Reposted from Ancestry.com. Mary Caralyn was the half-sister of John F. "Jack" Thompson of Houston, Mississippi and grandfather of Annabelle Gray Wilson. The Burgesses are not part of this Wilson-Gray line; James Burgess married widow Nelly Harris Thompson, mother of Mary Caralyn Burgess, John F. "Jack" Thompson, and several other children.]
The author of this story is Leon Burgess, son of Limuel Lafayet Burgess, grandson of James Burgess, great grandson of James W. (Preacher) Burgess and great great grandson of John M. Burgess of Chickasaw Co., MS. “I need all the help to fill in the Burgess family gaps, and names or corrections where an error has been made. Leon Burgess, Gulfport, MS.”
Submitted by Leon Burgess, to The Chickasaw County Historical and Genealogy Society, for publication in “A History of Chickasaw County, Mississippi, Volume II.” Undated. Article #F202, Burgess, John W. Pioneer: an excerpt.
Mary Caralyn, the sixth child of John W. Burgess, in her memoirs recalls this family history. “I was borned 29 May 1849 in Chickasaw Co., MS. My father was John M. Burgess who with five children whose mother had died moved from Tenn. to Miss. in the early 1840’s. My mother [Nelly Harris Thompson] was borned in South Carolina about the same time as my father. She was a widow with six children four boys and two girls. One of her sons was the Rev. R. W. Thompson. Mr. Burgess and Mrs. Thompson married and to this union was borned two girls. I, mary Caralyn, and my sister Lucinda Elendor, who also married a Hargrove.
“I think I know some of the hardships that the common poor people suffered in the Civil War times. My mother died when I was twelve (1861). This and the Civil War deprived me of a chance for an education. I know what it is like to card cotton, shin, and weave by the light of a pine knot. We died our thread with bark and indago before weaving it into cloth. We wove the cloth for our best clothing and work clothing too. For pleasure we girls would sing as we worked at night. One time a “bunch” of Confederate soldiers came by while we were making “hominy”. We had a big pot and needless to say, they enjoyed it. From time to time we would see the Confederate soldiers hunting for deserters or out to trade for new mounts and supplies. Most of the soldiers were nice, now and then some of them would take from us.
“We lived six miles from Houston (Thorn). That is as close as the “Union” soldiers ever came. Nevertheless, when we heard they was in the area, we hid all stuff in logs and stumps and drove the stock in the bottom. Four of my half brothers served in the army Condederacy, two lost legs [John F. "Jack" is one of them] and one died from the measles [Thomas].
“At the age of 14, I joined the Baptist Church. The preacher was “Uncle Jimmie Martin”. (Authors note: what was his connection to the Burgess or Hargove family?) In 1870, we moved to Hamburg, TN. We would visit the Shiloh battlefield and pick up lead bullets and minie balls. It was easy picking, a few had to be dug. There was still soldiers sleeping on the battlefield.”
Mary Caralyn died 23 Feb. 1935 at age 86. [of apoplexy/stroke]
Robert Cowan Hughes was 10 when his mother passed away.
He was 19 and a merchant, perhaps with his older brother James, when he and his 60-year-old father, Singleton, enlisted in the Calhoun Rifles (Co. E) of the 2nd Mississippi Infantry. The date was May 1, 1861, about two weeks after the attack on Fort Sumter. He was mustered in Lynchburg, Virginia on May 10, 1861.
Update: He was discharged on July 8, 1861 due to “protracted sickness & constitutional weakness.”
Update: Robert reenlisted on March 22, 1862 at Guntown, Mississippi, just three days before his older brother Thomas Singleton Hughes was killed in battle. Thomas is buried in the Confederate plot of Crown Hill cemetery in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Robert was 21 when he was wounded and captured at Gettysburg on July 3, 1863.
And Robert was just 22 when he died died eight months later (March 1, 1864), one of 12,000 prisoners at Fort Delaware, probably as a result of the harsh winter conditions at the island camp. Update: Hospital records show that he died of hepatic disease (liver disease) and dropsy (abnormal collection of fluid in the tissues or body cavities causing severe swelling).
He is buried in Finn’s Point National Cemetery near Salem, NJ, one of the over 2,500 prisoners who died while imprisoned at Fort Delaware. [Read about the harsh conditions at this camp: http://www.destateparks.com/park/fort-delaware/civil-war/camp-trail/index.asp]
His brother James had died of typhoid at age 39 two years before (1861). He was a merchant before the war. James is buried in the Old Bethel Cemetery in Bethany, Lee County, Mississippi.
Sadly, Singleton Hughes outlived all of his sons and two of his three wives. He lived to be 80-something.
Note: If you are a descendant of Annabelle Gray Wilson (1907-2002), Robert Cowan is a your 2nd/3rd/4th great uncle.
His sister is Mary Francis Hughes Gordon (1831-1919; dressed in black and sitting in the photo below)
the mother of Anna Harriet Gordon Thompson (1859-1915),
the mother of Alice Madora Thompson Gray (1880-1907),
the mother of
Annabelle Gray Wilson.
Fort Delaware Society – http://www.fortdelaware.org
Constitution Society – http://www.constitution.org/csa/ordinances_secession.htm
Second Mississippi Infantry Regiment – http://www.2ndmississippi.org/2nd_miss_part_1/CoE/CoE13.html
Smithsonian’s Civil War timeline – http://www.civilwar.si.edu/timeline.html
2nd Mississippi Infantry wiki by FamilySearch – https://www.familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/2nd_Regiment,_Mississippi_Infantry
AN ORDINANCE to dissolve the union between the State of Mississippi and other States united with her under the compact entitled “The Constitution of the United States of America.”
The people of the State of Mississippi, in convention assembled, do ordain and declare, and it is hereby ordained and declared, as follows, to wit:
Section 1. That all the laws and ordinances by which the said State of Mississippi became a member of the Federal Union of the United States of America be, and the same are hereby, repealed, and that all obligations on the part of the said State or the people thereof to observe the same be withdrawn, and that the said State doth hereby resume all the rights, functions, and powers which by any of said laws or ordinances were conveyed to the Government of the said United States, and is absolved from all the obligations, restraints, and duties incurred to the said Federal Union, and shall from henceforth be a free, sovereign, and independent State.
Sec. 2. That so much of the first section of the seventh article of the constitution of this State as requires members of the Legislature and all officers, executive and judicial, to take an oath or affirmation to support the Constitution of the United States be, and the same is hereby, abrogated and annulled.
Sec. 3. That all rights acquired and vested under the Constitution of the United States, or under any act of Congress passed, or treaty made, in pursuance thereof, or under any law of this State, and not incompatible with this ordinance, shall remain in force and have the same effect as if this ordinance had not been passed.
Sec. 4. That the people of the State of Mississippi hereby consent to form a federal union with such of the States as may have seceded or may secede from the Union of the United States of America, upon the basis of the present Constitution of the said United States, except such parts thereof as embrace other portions than such seceding States.
Thus ordained and declared in convention the 9th day of January, in the year of our Lord 1861.
Source: Official Records, Ser. IV, vol. 1, p. 42.