Somehow I blessedly discovered the website Chronicling America, sponsored jointly by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress. Chronicling America provides access to information about historic newspapers and select digitized newspaper pages, and is produced by the National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP).
Today’s discovery: the Okolona (Mississippi) Messenger. And a paragraph about John A. “Jack” Thompson (1841-1917), father of Alice Madora Thompson Gray (1880-1907), and grandfather to Annabelle Gray Wilson (1907-2002).
Check out this great newspaper banner:
And about my great-great-grandfather, who lost part of a leg due to a gunshot wound in the Battle of Franklin (TN) in the Civil War:
“In this issue will be found the announcement of Mr. Jack F. Thompson, of Houston, as a candidate for county treasurer of Chickasaw, in the usual form. Honest Jack Thompson is the complimentary way in which his neighbors, and everybody in the county for that matter, refer to him, and it is difficult to imagine any more complimentary identification that could be made of one who is so generally well known and universally respected. Mr. Thompson has served the people of the county in various capacities as a public servant, and in no case has he ever been found wanting. He has served as county treasurer before and will doubtless find all who have supported him in the past only too willing to again confer upon him the honor. As the custodian of the people’s money, Mr. Thompson’s past record is a most excellent guarantee of future reliability, and no one will have the slightest fear but that the charge will be fully kept, in case he is again chosen treasurer. Those who know Mr. Thompson understand that he cannot do much running on foot, but that he will who his ability to pass under the wire at the finish, if his good conduct in the past is taken as a signal, none will doubt.”
“Jack F. Thompson, of Houston, candidate for county treasurer, was over and with the smiling encouragement of other friends and supporters he met here from various ports of the county did not fail to greet those whom he had not been able to meet before this spring and tell them how much he would appreciate their vote and kindly support. Jack Thompson has the confidence of a large number of the old timers who have watched his course as a public official and always admired his fidelity to the trust.”
“The familiar name of Jack F. Thompson will be found in our announcement column as a candidate for County Treasurer. For many years this one-legged Confederate Veteran has been known to the voters of this county, serving in different official capacities at different times. Twice he has filled the office he now asks at the hands of the people and each time to the satisfaction of those who elected him. Other official trusts reposed in him have been equally well executed.
You know this man, you know what he has done heretofore and what to expect of him in the future, why should we say more when nothing we might tell you would add to your knowledge of him or add to your good opinion of his fidelity to duty. He is before you and asks your support on merit and past duties well performed. Remember him when you go to the polls next August.”
This time it appears he was not re-elected.
[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]
[Many thanks to the unnamed person who shared this information with me on Ancestry.com. Now I know why many of Coleman’s children went to Hill County, Texas]
Demaris Doolin Gray died March 17, 1870 in Anderson County, SC.
If you would like further information on the family at that time, there is a file in the Anderson (SC) Courthouse of a dispute between son Hezekiah H. Gray, who was her heir, and her other children. Of particular interest is the testimony of Edna Jane Gray who stayed with her brother Hezekiah after all the other siblings went to Texas. I don’t know when Coleman and other brothers went to Mississippi.
The dispute seems to be that the others who were away wanted the court to revisit the settlement (in the 1880’s). Edna said that H.H.Gray had had to stay with his mother Demaris when all the others left, so Demaris wanted him to have whatever she had. The court found in H.H. Gray’s favor.
Demaris is listed as “Mary” Gray in the 1860 census (Anderson County, SC). Rebecca Caroline Gray, widow of William Hunter, went to Irene, Texas (Hill County) with her 4 children. You can find her in the 1880 census. She died on October 16, 1890 and is buried at the Salem-Irene Cemetery in Hill County. It is shown online. Hezekiah died October 31, 1920. He was born 18 May 1842. Edna Jane Gray who married Robert Adams Gray, a cousin, (grandfather of Wil Lou Gray) late in life; lived a bit after HH died. She was born April 17, 1839.
If you are a member of this Gray family line, you might be interested to know that it looks as though our roots trace back from Mississippi to South Carolina to Ireland. If the research another family historian has done is correct and belongs to our John Gray, we also have another Revolutionary War patriot. At this point, it would be wise to take all of this information with a huge grain of salt.
John Gray B. 1735, Laurens County, SC; d 1806; m. Ailse Hiatt 1761
He served in the militia as a horseman during 1780-1782. The Tories burned his house. At sometime, he was in Sumter’s brigade and was also under Colonel Hammond. John Gray-served in the light dragoons under Capt Samuel Martin, Lt. Col. William Polk, and General Sumter during 1781. John Gray, served as a captain in the militia under Col Winn. Source: Roster of South Carolina Patriots in the American Revolution.
Roster of Revolutionary Soldiers in Georgia Vol II:
John Gray, B. abt 1735, Laurens Co., SC; d. at the same place 1806; married 1761, 96th Dist. SC, Ailse Hiatt B. SC 1740, Died SC 1787.
He was a Revolutionary Soldier of S.C., served as a member of the S.C. militia and as a Patriot, supplied provisions for the State Soldiers. His home was burned by the Tories. (Ref Indents of S.C. Rev. Claims by Sailey, Book R, p. 184, N.S.D.A.R. 171971)
Children: Hezekiah, b. 1763, mar. Demaris Dulin [If this is our Hezekiah, he was the father of Coleman Gray, the father of Lott Dulin Gray, father of our Annabelle Gray Wilson]
In genealogy, following only the mother-daughter connections in your ancestry is called your umbilical genealogy.
For the female descendants of Anna Belle Gray Wilson, it looks like this:
R & A, daughters of →
Robin, daughter of →
B.A., daughter of →
Anna Belle Gray Wilson (1907-2002), daughter of →
Alice Madora Thompson Gray (1880-1907), daughter of →
Anna Harriet Gordon Thompson (1859-1915), daughter of →
(This is where it gets fuzzy; more confirmation needed)
Mary Francis Hughes Gordon (1833-after 1919) daughter of →
Nancy Catherine Devall Hughes (1800-1851), daughter of →
Elizabeth Hill Devall (1775-?)…
Thompson Everett “Tip” Gray was born on a Tuesday the week before spring in 1905 in Chickasaw County, Mississippi. He was the second child and only son of Lott Dulan (sp) Gray and his wife Alice Madora Thompson Gray. His mother died a few months after giving birth to his younger sister Anna Belle (Annabelle Gray Wilson). Tip was 2 years old and his older sister Edna (Nancy Edna Gray Trussell) had recently turned 6.
During Alice’s illness or perhaps upon her death, Tip and Edna and their father moved in with one of his older sisters, Belle Gray Houston, and her family. Baby Anna Belle was taken in by her mother’s parents, who still had several children at home. The siblings would live in separate households for seven years until their father married Lessie Baine, a stepmother they did not remember fondly.
In 1985, Tip died several weeks before his 80th birthday. His ashes were scattered beneath the Turner Oak in Greenwood Memorial Park, Fort Worth, Texas. [During the Civil War, early Fort Worth settler Charles Turner buried gold under this tree on his farm rather than purchasing Confederate notes. This gold was later used to provide financial aid to Fort Worth during the reconstruction period.]
Tip’s widow, Sabella, kindly sent me a letter about 10 years ago about her beloved husband (transcribed below):
I met Tip in Corpus Christi Texas in late summer of 1937 – He was manager of coffee co that territory, seemed lonely, and we fell in love. Just before our planned wedding date the company transferred him to West Virginia. He stayed there about a week, quit his job and returned. we married March 26, 1938. We went to Houston, Tx and he started working for Real Silk Hosiery Mills out of Indiana – direct selling – men and women clothing. The coffee co offered him a good deal and we moved to Tyler, Texas in 1941.
He again went back with Real Silk, transferred to Texarkana with them as manager. Within a year he was transferred to Harlingen, Texas and we stayed there until he went to the Navy in Dec 1942 – to boot camp in San Diego and then to Aviation Mechanics school in Norman, Oklahoma. Then Olathe, Kansas. Then Miami, Florida – then Kingsville, Texas. All the while he worked on Navy plane. He never went to sea. We bought a small mobile home, and I was able to be with him the whole time.
After war he went back to work for Real Silk as manager of Ft Worth Tex territory. There we stayed until his death in 1985. He was cremated and ashes scattered in a garden at Greenwood Cemetery in Ft Worth.
His hobbies = He loved golf, cards, hated the beach, we traveled a a lot in the U.S., took cruises, and enjoyed life and each other.
His favorite food – seafood – and apple pie = He was very patient until I learned to cook.
Never lost his temper – very gentle, shy in a way. Loved selling – loved me and I still miss him…'”