A to Z – I is for Ireland

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A to Z Blog Challenge

I is for Ireland

 

 

Over the years, I’ve trace a majority of my family from England, but I’ve found a few stuck in there from Ireland!

 

 

 

dublinMy 2nd great grandpa, John Francis Burke, according to family history, was from Dublin. He stowed away on an America-bound ship at the age of 15 in 1861. He was found en route and told by the captain they could not take him back. He said, “If I wanted to go back, I wouldn’t have stowed away.” They dropped him off in Florida – right at the beginning of the Civil War.

I’ve found Confederate records of three different men who could be him. I’m not sure which, if any, is him. He next shows up in the 1880 census married to Nancy Didama Spencer and living with her family in Mississippi.

Another 2nd great grandpa was Thomas Gilbert Lafayette Keene. He doesn’t have much of a history. Seems his parents died when he was young. Family rumor has it the Keene family also came from Dublin and were originally O’Keene.

tyrone

My 7th great grandpa James Rogers came from Tyrone County in Northern Ireland. Looks like a beautiful place! He was married to Mary McPherson. Go ahead, say that with an Irish accent!

 

 

I find it interesting that all these people came from another part of the world, joined in marriage and children, and the outcome was ME! We ancestry-type people spend so much time thinking of the past. I wonder if they did too. And, I wonder if they ever thought of the distant future. My mind doesn’t go much past children and grandchildren. What if seven generation from now, people we couldn’t even imagine are thinking about us?

 

On This Day in 1899

On This Day in 1899, this cute little girl was born to Thomas Gilbert Lafayette Keene and Sarah Elizabeth “Bettie” Brown. I’ve written about her before as she was one of my favorite people in the whole world. She was my great grandmother, and I had her in my life until I was eighteen years old.

Earl Vandorn and Eula KeeneEula Ouida (WEE-duh) Keene Pickett was born in Lauderdale County, Mississippi and lived there her whole life. She had an older 1/2 sister from her mother’s first marriage and two older biological sisters. She also had two older brothers and one younger brother (shown in the photo), and she had a brother who died as an infant before she was born.

At the age of 17, she married Benjamin Berry Pickett. The Pickett clan was a wild bunch, caught up in moonshine stills, run-ins with local law enforcement, as well as a shoot-out with a revenuer (tax collector) over a moonshine still that landed her husband in jail for a time.

 

 

I didn’t know much about her life when she was alive – the Keenes didn’t speak much of the past – more on that later – but as I started looking at that side of the family through ancestry research, I found her to be quite fascinating. She had a son at the age of 18 and a daughter at the age of 19 (my grandmother). Life seemed to be going along as expected.

At the age of 22, things began to turn sour.

In September of 1921, he father died. She was six months pregnant with her third child. In December she gave birth to a daughter and named the child Fleta Clarice after her 1/2 sister. Though fourteen years apart, the two sisters must have had a great relationship, as a few months before, Fleta had a daughter and named her Eula.

Seventeen months later, Fleta Clarice died of pneumonia. They held the funeral in their living room.

pickett fleta clarise headstoneThe 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. 

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

This was just before the bloody shoot-out with the revenuer which landed Ben in jail from 1924 to somewhere around 1933. I’m glad Eula didn’t endure those tragedies without her husband by her side, but he certainly wasn’t home in 1926 when Eula’s mother passed away.

These tragedies helped me to understand why she was such a woman of faith. Sometimes you just don’t have anything else to hang on to.

Okay, I promised some family background on the Keenes. In 1859, her father was the last born to Green Keene and Sarah Tabitha. He had an older brother and three older sisters. In the 1860 census, the Keens also had grandpa Gilbert Keene and aunt Elizabeth Keene living with them. By the 1870 census, Thomas was eleven and living with his aunt Elizabeth and two of his sisters. Somewhere between the 1860 and 1870 censuses, his parents and his grandfather had died. In the 1880 census, he was living with his married sister Martha, her husband, and their three children, as aunt Elizabeth had died. In 1887, his sister Martha died. I always found it interesting the Keenes didn’t discuss the past, but in Thomas’s case, he may have been too young to remember his parents or his grandfather. It seems every adult who took care of him died, so maybe he didn’t see any point in dwelling on the past or the sadness. I’m thinking Eula inherited that trait from her father.

In September of 1936, she received the phone call every parent dreads. Her son had been involved in an automobile accident and on the verge of death. He was nineteen.

Eula Keene Pickett with Howard and AzaleaThe 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.

While Eula’s family grew to include a son-in-law, two grandchildren, and eventually six great grandchildren, over the years, she lost everyone from her youth. Her brothers died in 1939, 1947, and 1960. Her sisters died in 1964 and March of 1981. Her husband died in 1973.

She died 3 Oct 1981 and is laid to rest in the Fisher family cemetery in Zero, Mississippi with her husband and her children.

Happy birthday, Grandma! ♥

Pickett Ben and Eula Pickett

This post brought to you by On This Day: A Perpetual Calendar for Family Genealogy

52 Ancestors #38 Favorite Place

52ancestors-2015

This challenge is set forth by No Story Too Small and this week’s theme is “Favorite Place.”

Eula Keene Pickett with Howard and AzaleaMy favorite place was my great grandmother’s house. She lived in Zero, Mississippi, just south of Meridian. This photo, courtesy of my cousin P. Grayson, is around 1925. She is with her son Howard and her daughter Azalea, my grandmother.

Grandma Pickett’s home wasn’t grand, but it was awesome. She had chickens who used to peck at my toes when I went out to collect the eggs. She had a cow that appeared as a calf each spring and disappeared each winter. I supposed we had lots of roasts because of that, but I never thought to ask what happened to the cows. I seem to remember a horse or two. I also remember five little ceramic pigs that held seasonings, salt, and pepper. They sat on the shelf above the kitchen sink. The house always smelled like sweet tea and green beans. My cousins lived next door, and I would run back and forth between playing with them and spending time with my great grandmother. Eula Ouida Keene Pickett 1899-1981 spent a lot of her time sewing quilts. I never thought much of it, but she was always in her chair, working on a new quilt with her glasses resting on the end of her nose.

IMG_20150908_180218183_HDRWhen I turned sixteen, Grandma Pickett gave me one of those quilts, just as she did for each of her six great-grandchildren. The pink one was for my birthday. The blue one was given to me later, just before she died. I was seventeen years old. I still use the quilts in our guest rooms and think of her every time I make the beds.

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52 Ancestors #36 Working for a Living

52ancestors-2015

This challenge is set forth by No Story Too Small and this week’s prompt is Workin’ for a Living.

I have at least six nurses, one doctor, two cops, a seamstress, a school teacher, and a bunch of farmers in my family, but the one that comes to mind is my 2nd great grandfather, the treasurer of Lauderdale County, Mississippi 1904-1907, Thomas Gilbert Lafayette Keene.

plaque in Lauderdale Co Court House in MeridianTGL Keene was born 20 Apr 1859. It took me years to find information about his family and I had to piece it together through other family names, but the 1860 census shows TGL living with his father Green, his mother Sarah, his aunt Elizabeth (dad’s sister), his other aunt Catherine (dad’s other sister) and his seventy-year-old grandpa Gilbert Keene. TGL’s older siblings include John, Martha, Minerva Ellen, and Mary. TGL was the baby at only a year or so old.

Sometime before the 1870 census, his mom and dad died. The 1870 census shows Minerva Ellen, Mary, and TGL (now 11) living with their 50-year-old aunt Elizabeth. Not only are his parents noticeably absent, but grandpa isn’t listed either.

The 1880 census shows TGL at the age of 21 living with his eldest sister Martha and her husband Charles Pierce and their children and working as an assistant on their farm. I assume old aunt Elizabeth was dead by this time. This poor boy just keeps losing the adults in his life.

In Aug 1890, TGL married Sarah Elizabeth “Bettie” Brown, and over the next ten years, they had seven children, one being my great grandmother Eula Ouida Keene Pickett, whom I loved dearly. Too bad she never spoke to me of her family. All of TGL’s children survived him except for a boy who died as an infant.

Records show TGL worked in the county system since at least 1900, becoming the county treasurer 1904-1907, and the marble plaque above still stands in the Lauderdale County Courthouse in Meridian, Mississippi. In 1910, TGL was listed on the census as a Justice of the Peace. In 1918, he returned to his roots and is listed in the Mississippi census as a farmer. Upon his death in 1921 at the age of 62, he was a member of the Lauderdale County Board of Supervisors.

TGL Keene death certStrangely, with all of his public service, there are very few records of him, and his parents are not listed on his death certificate. Perhaps the Keene family never spoke of those who came before. Or perhaps, TGL was a private man. How could his wife and his grown children not know the names of his parents to list on the certificate? His wife outlived him by five years, and they are both buried at Oak Grove Baptist Cemetery in the Bonita Community, Lauderdale County, Mississippi.

t g l keene headstone

 

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 1890

On This Day in 1890, my great great grandparents were wed.

plaque in Lauderdale Co Court House in MeridianThomas Gilbert Lafayette Keene was born 20 Apr 1859 to Green Keene and Sarah Tabitha Keene and grew up in Mississippi. According to records, I believe his parents died during the Civil War. He is shown living with them in the 1860 census, along with his siblings John (1849-) Martha (1851-) Minerva Ellen (1852-1914) and Mary (1855-). He was only an infant. In the 1870 census, he and his sisters are shown living with a woman named Elizabeth Keene (not married) and an 80 year old man named Gilbert Keene. I believe this is his aunt and his grandfather who is Gilbert senior. There is also a Gilbert junior in an earlier census born in 1815.

He more or less disappeared from records until his marriage in 1890, and the next record of him is the marble plaque that is in the Lauderdale County Court House in Meridian, Mississippi showing him as the County Treasurer 1904-1907. (For you “Stuckey’s Bridge” fans, check out the top name – JR Temple, Sheriff.) Later census records list TGL as a member of the Lauderdale County Board of Supervisors, also as a farmer and a Justice of the Peace. He died 26 Sep 1921 and is buried next to his wife at Oak Grove Baptist Cemetery in Bonita. His death certificate lists no parents.t g l keene headstoneTGL Keene death cert

 

 

 

brown william lafayett bible

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sarah Elizabeth “Bettie” Brown was born 19 Nov 1862 (my birthday also) to William Lafayette Brown Jr and Sarah Ann Elvira Dollar Brown in Lauderdale County, Mississippi. (Right is the transcribed family Bible.) There were ten children in her family, seven boys and three girls, one of whom died at birth. Five of the children were born just before the Civil War began, and her father was a sharp shooter guarding the railroad bridges at Chunky, Mississippi, so her mother was home with a handful of children under the age of eight at the start of the war. When her father returned from the war, the next child was born in 1865. They wasted no time!

At the age of 18, Bettie married John Thompson 16 Nov 1881 and had one daughter, Fleta S (1885-1923). I don’t know what happened to Mr. Thompson, but in 1890 Bettie married TGL Keene. They had seven children: Eunice Tabitha (1891-1964) Isaac (1893-1894 infant who is buried near his parents) Essie Mae (1895-1981) Ernest Grady (1895-1947) Benjamin Blaine (1898-1960) Eula Ouida (1899-1981 my great grandmother) and Earl Vandorn (1901-1939). Bettie outlived her husband by five years and died on 18 Jul 1926 at the age of 63. Brown Sarah Elizabeth Bettie Brown Keene

TGL and Bettie lived in the Tunnel Hill area until 1910, when they show up on the census records as living in Meridian.

Happy Anniversary TGL and Bettie!

 

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