On This Day in 1921

Burying children used to be a more common occurrence than it is today.

On This Day in 1921, Fleta Marie “Clarice” Pickett was born in Lauderdale County, Mississippi to Benjamin Berry Pickett and Eula Ouida Keene Pickett (my great grandparents). She had two older siblings: Howard who was four and Margaret Azalea (my grandmother) who was two. She was named after her mother’s older sister, Fleta. Months before, Fleta had given birth to a daughter and named her Eula. The two sisters, though fourteen years apart, were obviously very close.

Clarice was born into a large family as her father had five siblings and her mother had seven who all lived nearby. Her father’s mother was from the Fisher family, and the Picketts, Keenes, and Fishers were numerous in the area, and still are today. So much so, that they have their own family cemetery on Zero Road called Fisher Cemetery. Even though family cemeteries fell out of vogue in the early 1900s in favor of community cemeteries, Fisher Cemetery is still used today.

At one year and five months, Clarice succumbed to pneumonia. Note in her obituary that the family held the funeral in their living room as was custom in those days. Before the mid-1900s, the family of the deceased prepared, dressed, and displayed their loved ones, and following the funeral, the body was carried out of the house head first. Clarice’s obituary reads as follows:

pickett fleta clarise pickett death certFleta Marie “Clarice” Pickett Born: December 1, 1921 in Lauderdale County, MS
Died: May 8, 1923 in Lauderdale County, MS 

Fleta Marie “Clarice” Pickett, 17-month-old daughter of Ben Berry and Eula Keene Pickett, who reside near Zero, MS, passed away this morning at 4 o’clock. Funeral services will be held from the residence Wednesday morning at 10 o’clock. Interment is to follow in Fisher Cemetery.

 

pickett fleta clarise headstoneRest in peace, little one.

You have not been forgotten.

This post brought to you by On This Day.

 

 

On This Day in 1936

On This Day in 1936, my great uncle Howard Benjamin Pickett died following a car crash at the age of 19.

Eula Keene Pickett with Howard and AzaleaHoward was born November 19, 1917 to Benjamin Berry Pickett and Eula Ouida Keene in Lauderdale County, Mississippi. He was the eldest of three children. A sister Margaret Azalea (my grandmother) was born in 1919, and a sister Fleta Clarise was born in 1921. Fleta Clarise died of pneumonia in 1923. Howard was six. Here he is pictured with his mother and sister.

Meridian Star
Howard Benjamin Pickett, 19, son of Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin Berry Pickett of 308 Fifth avenue, Meridian, who was injured in an automobile crash near Newton on Highway 80, died in a Newton hospital late Thursday. Miss Hazel Brasfield, 15, also of Meridian, remained in a critical condition Friday morning. Pickett, who was said to have been driving the automobile when it crashed at 5 a.m., received internal injuries. He never regained consciousness. Miss Brasfield is suffering from a crushed thigh. Other occupants of the machine were Jim Edwards, Billy White, Neva Ezell, Jack Ward, and Geneva Burt, all of Meridian. All were slightly injured but were able to return to Meridian soon after the accident. Pickett is said to have rented the automobile from a 630 taxi driver at 7 a.m. Wednesday, stating he intended to go to Jackson. The crash occured when a tire blew out, causing the machine to leave the highway, overturning several times before striking a stump. Funeral services will be held at 4 p.m. Friday from the Eight Avenue Baptist Church. Surviving are his parents: Mr and Mrs. Benjamin Berry Pickett and one sister, Azelea Pickett, all of Meridian. The Revs. Ed Grayson and Rev. Blanding Vaughan will officiate at the funeral. Interment will follow in Fisher Cemetery. Active pallbearers: Maurice Covington, Torris Brand, Billie White, Purvis Taylor, Jack Elkin, and Selbie Snellgrove. Honary pallbearers: A.L. Talbert, Mr. Keaten, Mr. Snider, Ermer Brown, J.B. Brown, Grady Brand, Mr. Lawerence, H.C. Webb, Edwin Cochran, Mr. Mitchell, Mr. Connell, Howard Meyers, Jamie Harden, Marion W. Reiley, G.L. Walker. James F. Webb Funeral Home in charge. 

pickett howard benjamin headstoneHoward and I share the birthday of November 19th, along with his maternal grandmother (my 2nd great), Sarah Elizabeth “Betty” Brown Keene. His dad’s mother was a Fisher, and he is laid to rest with his parents and siblings in the Fisher Family Cemetery in Meridian, Mississippi.

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On This Day in 1891

On This Day in 1891

My great great grandparents, Joseph Lawson Pickett and Caledonia D Fisher, were married in Lauderdale County, Mississippi.

pickett, joseph lawson sr, son of rt and lucyJoe Lawson was born Jan 1866, son of Robert Theodore Pickett and Lucy Ann Rackley in Alabama. He had four older sisters and four younger brothers, all born in Alabama. Sometime between 1880 and 1890, the family moved to Mississippi. At age 25, he married 21-year-old Callie. They had five boys and one girl: Benjamin Berry (1893-1973 my great grandpa), Robert Elbert (1897-1978), Joseph Lawson Jr (1901-1928), Florence (1902-1990), Mark Joshua (1905-1949), and Clyde (1907-1993). From the stories passed down of the four boys, including moonshine stills, shootouts with local authorities, going to prison for murder, and young Joe Jr. being shot by law enforcement at the age of 27, they were obviously a wild bunch. I don’t know if the parents didn’t discipline the children or if the boys were just uncontrollable. Joe Lawson died at the age of 44 in 1910. The exact date of his death is unknown at this time, but it was after the 1910 census was taken which was April 20th. Callie never remarried.

pickett, caledonia d fisher, wf of joe lawson srCallie was born 12 Jul 1870 to William Thomas Fisher and Ann Eliza Butler in Mississippi. She had six older siblings and four younger ones, totaling six boys and five girls. Her father was a Civil War soldier and owned quite a bit of land in the Zero Community near Meridian. He was just as much a character at those Pickett boys. Perhaps that’s why Callie liked Joe so much. Callie’s father was in jail at the start of the Civil War for shooting a man over a poker game, but they released him so he could go fight. Having children born in 1860, 62, 63, and 65, I’m not sure when or where he actually fought. A portion of Fisher land was designated as Fisher Cemetery, holding the remains of many Fisher and Pickett descendants, but Joe and Callie are both laid to rest down the road at Pleasant Hill Cemetery in Meridian. She died 26 Aug 1931. Her obituary in the Meridian Star Newspaper is as follows, but notice the marriage year is different, probably told to the paper by a member of the family. I have the Lauderdale County Marriage Records transcribed which say, “1891, Marriage Book 2, page 368.”

Mrs. Caledonia Fisher Pickett, 61, died Wednesday at 4:30 a.m. at her home on Rt. 3. She was born and raised in Lauderdale County and in 1889 was married to the late Lawson Pickett. She was a member of the Zero Methodist Church. She is survived by one daughter, Mrs. Florence Harper; four sons; Ben, Elbert, Mark, and Clyde Pickett; one sister, Mrs. Ada Purvis; three brothers, Thomas, Jeff, and Jim Fisher. Funeral services will be held from Pleasant Hill Methodist Church Thursday at 3:30 p.m., the Revs. J.W. Ramsey and Ed Grayson officiating. Interment to follow in the Pleasant Hill Cemetery. Active Pallbearers: Lester Walker, Earl Dawes, George Gay, Charlie Molpus, Dan Covington, and Dan Rolling. Honorary: Martin Miller, C.S. Dearman, John Robinson, Ed Culpepper, Elmer Brown, and Monroe Sims.  ~Meridian Star

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October Ancestry Challenge – Andrew Frank Crane

oct ancestry challenge-001 October Ancestry Challenge 2013

23 days – 23 posts – 23 ancestors

 Ancestor #22 – Andrew Frank Crane

I’ve saved the best two ancestors for last.

His friends called him Andy. I called him daddy.

 

Daddy

Andrew Frank “Andy” Crane was born in 1940 in Mississippi to Andrew Frank Sr and Azalea Pickett Crane. He was the only son of the union and had one sister. He married Linda Faye Culpepper on August 15, 1960 at the age of 20, she was 15. He worked as a carpenter at L.B. Prister and Co.

Two years later, they had “me,” and I am the only child of the union.

crane, andy and linda 1960

The marriage didn’t last long, and by 1966 he was living in Tennessee and married for the second time. In that marriage, he had two sons. He was an avid duck hunter and loved to operate his ham radio. He also played guitar. His guitar now belongs to my brother and has been passed on to my niece who seems to have the same music bug I have.

Daddy headstone He died on October 31, 1994 of complications following a removal of a pituitary tumor. He is missed by his children and by his seven grandchildren whom he never had the pleasure of meeting. crane andy headstone with lori

October Ancestry Challenge – William Thomas Fisher

oct ancestry challenge-001The October Ancestry Challenge 2013 

23 posts/23 days/23 ancestors.

Ancestor #14 – William Thomas Fisher

My 3rd great grandfather was William Thomas Fisher, son of Southy Fisher and Elizabeth Butler. He was born on June 5, 1819 in Alabama, and as far as I can tell from records, he only had three sisters: Martha, Maria, and Permilla.

fisher southyHere is his father’s will:

In the name of God, Amen. 

I Southy Fisher of the county of Lauderdale in the state of Mississippi, of lawful age, and sound and disposing mind and memory, God be praised for it, do hereby make this my last will and testament.

1st  It is my desire that when it shall please God to take, that my body be decently interred.

2nd  It is my desire that my beloved wife Elizabeth Fisher have during her life a negro girl named Harriett, and at her death this said negro girl Harriett is to belong to my belong son William T. Fisher.

3rd  It is my will and desire that my son William T. Fisher shall have all my negroes that I shall own at my death, and which I now own namely Frank, Ned, Harriett, Aggy and Anthony a boy, all slaves for life, and my stock of horses, hogs, oxen, cattle, sheep, goats all my farming utensils, my crop of cotton, corn and small grain either growing or gathered, and all other species of property remaining on the farm, and also my plantation on which I now reside, and all other lands in this and adjoining counties.

4th  It is my will and desire that my Executor whom I shall hereafter name pay my just debts out of the first money that may come into his hands and also that he pay to my daughters, Martha White, Maria Fisher and Permilla Burton the sum of five dollars each as a full and entire interest in my estate.  They having been provided for by a deed of Gift to each of them dated the seventeenth day of April 1855 and duly recorded in deed book letter G. 

5th  I do hereby nominate and appoint my friend Benjamin Y Parke my executor and desire that he may carry out the provisions of my will and to settle up my estate at as convenient and short a time as the law will admit.  In   ——whereof shall —— set my hand and seal the fourth day of June AC 1855.

Southy Fisher (seal) 

 Signed sealed published and witnessed by the said Southy Fisher as and for his last will and testament in the presence of us, who in his presence and at his request and in the presence of each other have with set and subscribed our names as witness here..—-  this fourth day of June AD 1855. 

H.D. Meador, J. Lown, C E Rushing

 (note: Benjamin Parke was the county clerk at that time)

****************************************

William T. and Ann Elizabeth (Butler) FisherWilliam didn’t marry until the age of 39, and the family story is that he rode to North Carolina, where the family was originally from, and brought back Ann Eliza Butler on horseback. She was 15 years his junior, and Butler was also his mother’s maiden name, so they may have been cousins or something.

After their marriage, William went to Mobile to buy a slave to help Ann in the kitchen. While he was there, he noticed a small black boy with light patches on his skin. He asked the slave traders what they were going to do with the boy, who was about 5 years old. The traders said on their way back, they would throw him overboard to the sharks. William wouldn’t allow that to happen, so he brought the boy home and raised him. The boy’s name was Charlie “Fisher” and he stayed at William’s side even during the Civil War. Charlie drew a pension from the war until his death in 1928.

At the end of the war, William not only freed Charlie, but gave him 80 acres of family land on Fisher Road in Zero, Lauderdale County, Mississippi. Charlie’s descendants still live on the land to this day.

Though William seemed to be a warm and loving family man, he didn’t take crap from anyone, which seems to be a family trait that we’ll discuss more below. William was imprisoned at Mississippi State Prison in Jackson, Mississippi about a year before the Civil War. He was imprisoned for killing a man named McGinnis in his corn crib. It was told McGinnis was stealing, but the underlying belief is that it was a card game gone bad and William caught McGinnis cheating and shot him. William had to sell off a lot of land to pay off the judge and lawyers to try and stay out of jail, but he served time anyway. When the war began, he was release to serve as a Captain.

Here’s a great story (condensed by me) about William’s family and a dispute at The Brickyard in Marion, Lauderdale County, Mississippi.

***************************************************

Aunt Muggie’s Dilemma  

In 1846, Marion was a hub of activity as young men signed up for the militia in hope of fighting in the Mexican War. The Brickyard at Marion was the mustering point.

The owner of the brickyard, S. S. Shumate and his wife Muggie, had a disagreement with a man named Fisher. The reason seemed to be over Shumate’s claim to ownership of the brickyard. On at least one occasion the dispute became heated to the extent that the town Marshal intervened and arrested the participants. They were each fined $1, and for a time the dispute ended.

However, sometime later the Fishers again appeared at the brickyard. This time they were armed. The Shumates and the Fishers were armed with Flintlock weapons, each a single-shot gun, which took time to load and fire.

When the Fishers made their presence known at the brickyard, one can imagine the hurried preparation of Muggie and her husband to meet the challenge. When prepared, they stepped out into the brickyard and fired.

When Muggie and Shumate stepped out to confront the Fishers, Muggie had two guns, Shumate had one. Apparently, each of the Fishers had a single gun. Muggie was the first to fire and her shot “cut down old man Fisher.” One of the Fisher boys, William, fired at Muggie and missed. Muggie discarded her empty gun, picked up her second gun and fired again, this time dropping William Fisher. Muggie’s husband, terrified by the fighting, immediately dropped his weapon and fled.

Muggie, furious with Shumate for his cowardice, picked up his unfired weapon and shot him down. This was, perhaps, not the wisest choice of targets, since at least one Fisher continued to hold a charged weapon. This remaining Fisher aimed and shot, killing Muggie before she could reload her weapons. 

*****************************************************

William and Ann had eleven children, including my 2nd great grandmother Caledonia Fisher who married Joseph Lawson Pickett. The Pickett clan wasn’t much more peaceful than the Fisher clan. You can read about a Pickett gunfight here.

fisher william thomas headstone, callies fatherWilliam died May 13, 1882 at the age of 62. Ann died January 13, 1910 at the age of 75. They are both buried at Fisher Cemetery in Lauderdale County, Mississippi.fisher ann eliza butler fisher headstone

 

October Ancestry Challenge 2013 – Eula Ouida Keene Pickett

oct ancestry challenge-001

The October Ancestry Challenge 2013 is 23 posts in 23 days (Monday through Friday) about 23 ancestors. It’s still not to late to join us. Come on, you can catch up.

Ancestor #4 – Eula Ouida Keene Pickett

eula and benOne of my favorite people in the whole world was my great grandmother Eula Ouida Keene Pickett. She was my devoted pen pal while I was growing up (as we lived in different states), and I still have many of her cards and letters in my scrapbooks. I spent every summer with her as a child and remember gathering chicken eggs, watching her sew quilts, and staying far away from her nasty little chihuahua who was blind in one eye and would bite you if you got too close.

She was the daughter of Thomas Gilbert Lafayette Keene, an upstanding business man who served as Treasurer of Lauderdale County, MS from 1904-1907, and Sarah Elizabeth “Bettie” Brown, daughter of a Confederate hero who was captured by the Union army and escaped, then allowed himself to be captured again to help others escape, which he/they did.

She was born 18 March 1899 and was the sixth of seven children totaling three girls and four boys. She also had an older half-sister from her mom’s first marriage.

Eula married Benjamin Berry Pickett in Lauderdale County, Mississippi in 1916 at the age of 17. They had 3 children: Howard, Azalea (my grandmother), and Fleta Clarice.

Eula’s older half-sister, who was also named Fleta, was 14 years her senior, and the two had a special relationship. In 1920, Fleta had a daughter and named her Eula, and in Dec 1921, Eula had a daughter and named her Fleta Clarice. While Eula was six-months pregnant with Fleta, her father died in Sep 1921. If that wasn’t hard enough to endure, on 8 May 1923, baby Fleta Clarice died of pneumonia. She was seventeen months old.

MS Cemetery 053The Meridian Star, May 8, 1923

 Fleta Marie (Clarice) Pickett Born: December 1, 1921 in Lauderdale County, MS 

Died: May 8, 1923 in Lauderdale County, MS 

Fleta Marie (Clarice) Pickett Fleta Marie Pickett, 17-month-old daughter of Ben Berry and Eula Keene Pickett, who reside near Zero, MS., passed away this morning at 4 o’clock. Funeral services will be held from the residence Wednesday morning at 10 o’clock. Interment is to follow in Fisher Cemetery. 

I find it interesting that they held the funeral in the living room.

A month later on 23 June 1923, Eula’s sister Fleta died at the age of 38.

thunder at meridian1923 was NOT a good year for the family. Eula’s husband Ben and his brothers were involved in a bloody shoot-out with local law enforcement over a moonshine still. A revenuer (tax collector) was killed, and Ben was sent to prison for murder. This story is in a book by Hewitt Clarke called Thunder at Meridian. BTW, my grandmother Azalea was outraged by the book and said none of it was true. Then again, she was four at the time, and I’m sure the grown-ups did not tell her the all the gory details. I personally spoke with Mr. Clarke in September 2013 and he said he got that story from interviewing Clyde Pickett (Ben’s little brother) in Zero, MS and pieced the rest together from newspapers and court records.

Keep in mind, all of this occurred before Eula’s 25th birthday.

I don’t know how long Ben was in jail, but I know he served his time and was eventually released.

On September 2, 1936, Eula and Ben receive the phone call all parents dread: their 19-yr-old son, Howard, had been in an auto accident. According to his obituary, following a tire blow-out, the car rolled several times. Howard had internal injuries and did not regain consciousness. He died the following day.

MS Cemetery 054The Meridian Star, September 5, 1936

Howard Benjamin Pickett 

Born: November 19, 1917 in Lauderdale County, MS 

Died: September 3, 1936 in Newton, MS 

Howard Benjamin Pickett, 19, son of Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin Berry Pickett of Meridian, who was injured in an automobile crash near Newton on Highway 80, died in a Newton hospital late Thursday. Miss Hazel Brasfield, 15, also of Meridian, remained in a critical condition Friday morning. Pickett, who was said to have been driving the automobile when it crashed at 5 a.m., received internal injuries. He never regained consciousness. Miss Brasfield is suffering from a crushed thigh. Other occupants of the machine were Jim Edwards, Billy White, Neva Ezell, Jack Ward, and Geneva Burt, all of Meridian. All were slightly injured but were able to return to Meridian soon after the accident. Pickett is said to have rented the automobile from a 630 taxi driver at 7 a.m. Wednesday, stating he intended to go to Jackson. The crash occurred when a tire blew out, causing the machine to leave the highway, overturning several times before striking a stump. Funeral services will be held at 4 p.m. Friday from the Eight Avenue Baptist Church. Surviving are his parents: Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin Berry Pickett and one sister, Azelea Pickett, all of Meridian. The Rev. Ed Grayson and Rev. Blanding Vaughan will officiate at the funeral. Interment will follow in Fisher Cemetery.

MS Cemetery 050My great grandma Pickett was a very strong and devoutly religious woman. The more I learn of her life, the more I understand why she was that way. Ben’s mom was a Fisher, so Ben and Eula and their three children are all buried in the family plot at Fisher Cemetery in Zero, Lauderdale County, Mississippi, which is still maintained by the Fisher family.

Coincidental Dates (cue Twilight Zone music)

For you genealogy buffs: Do you see the same dates over and over when you work on your family tree?? I always see the same four dates – the birthdays of my kids, my birthday, and my wedding anniversary. Note: I NEVER see hubby’s birthday, my mother’s birthday, or any other family date. Only Feb 5, Oct 12 and 31, and Nov 19.

Strange? Yes.

I figured since I have absolutely nothing to do (sarcasm) I will compile all the strange dates.

February 5

My son’s birthday

My aunt’s birthday, Bobbie Jean Culpepper McQueen

My cousin’s birthday, Judy McQueen

My cousin’s birthday, Carolyn Burke Goss

My mother’s wedding anniversary, Linda Faye Culpepper

October 12

My daughter’s birthday

My great great uncle’s death date, James Rodgers

My great great great grandfather’s birthday, William Henry Blanks II

My third cousin’s birthday & death date, Claude Wesley Gardiner

My great great uncle’s birthday, Thomas Culpepper

October 31

My anniversary

My grandfather’s death date, Benjamin Berry Pickett

My father’s death date, Andrew Frank “Andy” Crane Jr.

My great great grandparent’s anniversary, Martha Lettie Carpenter and William Henry Blanks III

November 19

My birthday

My great great grandmother’s birthday, Sarah Elizabeth “Betty” Brown Keene

My great uncles birthday, Howard Pickett

I’ve heard stories of people re-incarnating in groups and around dates. I find the concept curious, but I have no convictions about it either way. I do, however, find it interesting that my dad’s Grandma Pickett has all of the Oct 31 and Nov 19 dates in her family. The people listed are her mother, husband, son, grandson, and great granddaughter (me).

That’s weird that my birthday and anniversary all coincide with dates on my dad’s side of the family.

I also find it oddly curious that my mother has my kid’s (Feb 5 and Oct 12) birthdays repeated over and over in her family. Those listed are her sister, two cousins, niece, two great uncles, great great grandfather, grandson, and granddaughter.

That’s really, really weird that my kid’s dates are all on my mom’s side.

What’s even more strange is that I would think of this today – the anniversary of my grandma’s death. RIP Mamaw.

burke Ina Inez Burke headstone