Lamar County, Mississippi Genealogy and History


Pamela J. Gibbs County Coordinator

Everette Carr - State Coordinator     Bill White - Assistant State Coordinator


Marion County WPA History

Chapter I



       In the early part of 1800 Dougan M'Laughlin came to Marion County from North Carolina and settled fourteen miles south of Columbia, west of Pearl River. The place is known now as the Jobe Foxworth place and lies between Ball's Mill Creek and Hurricane Creek.

       McLaughlin lived in a picturesque, three-story brick house overlooking the river. Back in those days small steamboats made their way up and down the river sometimes and could be seen when standing on the porch of this old home.

       McLaughlin was from a settlement of Scotch Highlanders in North Carolina who contributed so largely to the early population of our county. He was educated in the University of Scotland, was a great sportsman and politician, also a devout Presbyterian and noted for his hospitality throughout the county. He owned several thoroughbred horses and a private race track. He engaged in farming and his chief crop was cotton. It is said he had difficulty in getting his cotton ginned because of the lack of waterpower on his place. After finding the little creek on which his gin was located did not furnish enough water to operate his machine he had a canal dug down from Lott's Creek. It happened that Joseph Warren was operating a mill on this creek and the canal robbed him of his water power. Warren sued McLaughlin and won the case. Having plenty of slave labor McLaughlin had another canal dug leading to another small stream but this source also proved insufficient.

       McLaughlin was the father in law of Governor Humphry, and the grandfather of Humphrey's daughter who married Isaac Stamps, a nephew of Jefferson Davis. McLaughlin himself was a member of the State Legislature from Marion County and of the Constitutional Convention of 1817.

       Three brothers, Solomon, William and John Lott came from Georgia to this section in the early part of the Nineteenth Century. They settled in the vicinity of what is now known as Columbia and reared their families in Marion County. It was in honor of these settlers that the land on which Columbia now stands was first known as Lott's Bluff, and it was John Lott who gave the land for a courthouse when the county was first organized. Descendants of these brothers still live in the county and many of them had made outstanding citizens.

       The Breakfield family is Marion County was one of the first to locate there. Isaac Breakfield, a Baptist minister came from North Carolina about 1800 and settled near the present community of Expose. Mr. Breakfield established claim to a large tract of land which he had tilled by his slaves. Book C in the Chancery Clerk's Office in Marion County shows where Isaac Breakfield sold several slaves at one time to John Foxworth. Two Breakfield men, a son and grandson of Isaac Breakfield, served throughout the War Between the States. The son, Burl Breakfield was in the siege of Vicksburg and was captured along with the other soldiers. The grandson, I. O. Breakfield was a cavalryman and was also in the battle of Vicksburg. The old homestead or one part of it is still in the possession of Breakfield Descendant four bachelors.

       Another early settler was Christopher Burts who came from North Carolina very early and settled ten miles east of Columbia near where Enon Baptist Church now stands. Burts owned a large tract of land and owned slaves. After the War Between the States his property was broken up and sold to different people. Part of the place is now owned by George Moody, the Re-settlement agent in Marion County.

       The Fenn ancestors came to America from Belfast, Ireland in the early years of the Nineteenth Century. According to tradition their ancestors originally came over from Ireland. Their first stop was in one of the Carolinas, and from there four brothers migrated to Mississippi. One brother, Levi Fenn, stopped in Marion County and settled five or six miles below Columbia near the section now known as Edna. During the early years of his life in the county, Mr. Fenn erected a house above average for the times and it is still standing. Levi Fenn had no sons, but four daughters lived to be grown. Two of the girls, Mary Jane and Ann married two Rankin brothers. Emilie married a Banks and Carolina married George Bayliss. Descendants of these daughters are still in the county and many of them are outstanding people.

       Prior to the War Between the States George Bayliss came from Jones County and located on Graves Creek about eight miles east of Columbia. Mr. Bayliss owned and operated a gin, grist, and sawmill. The machinery for the different mills was run by water power and remains of it are still found there. The first wife of George Bayliss was Lucretia Rawls from Rawls Springs community in Forrest County and the second wife was Carolina Fenn.

       The Bayliss estate all passed down to his two youngest sons and one of them still lives on the original homestead.

       Samuel Green Foxworth was born 29 January 1808 in Marion District, South Carolina. His father Stephen M. Foxworth was born in Marion District South Carolina 1782 but migrated with his family to Marion County about 1809 and located on what is now known as the Stephen E. Foxworth place.

       Samuel Green Foxworth was one of three sons, the others, John and Stephen, and was born in 1812. The only daughter, Mary, married Alexander Graham. The mother of the children died in 1824 and the father married again, but in 1844 he died. His wife, possibly the second, was the widow of Felix Ford.

       The children of Samuel G. Foxworth were John P. Stephen A., George, Job m., Frank W., Alexander E., and Jerome S. The boys all attended the private school at home then were sent to Simon Seminary in Covington County which included a college course. Foxworth bought land near the seminary and erected a temporary home for his children and sent a colored couple to look after them and keep house while they attended school. When war broke out several of the Foxworth army and all except George came back to establish homes in Marion County. The original Foxworth Estate contained hundreds of acres and each of the children received a plantation and slaves to cultivate it.

       Frank W. Foxworth, a son of Samuel G. Foxworth, married Missouri Atkinson and moved across Pearl River from the original Foxworth plantation. He settled the place now named in his honor, Foxworth, which is three miles west of Columbia. Frank established a gin, grist and sawmill, all of which were operated by water-power. The mill is still standing on the original site and is owned and operated by Frank's son, Will Foxworth. Another son of Frank Foxworth, Oscar J. has served Marion County was sheriff two terms and is now a candidate for a third term. His children and the descendants of his uncles are still living in the county.

       Silas Drake came to Marion County in the year of its creation, 1811, from South Carolina. He settled seven miles below Columbia and erected an old English type home. An old cemetery on the Drake homestead contains two tombstones which indicate that Drake and his wife are both buried there and their deaths as having occurred in 1839 and 1853, respectfully. The Drake heirs sold the homestead to Samuel O. Foxworth and most all of them migrated to Texas or other places before the War Between the States.

       In 1836 Jim Jordan settled in the Hopwell community twelve miles south of Columbia and built an English type ante-bellum home. Mr. Jordan married Becy Ball but they had no children. A niece inherited the home, but it was later sold to strangers.

       Evans Powell came with John Ford from Marion District South Carolina in the early part of the Nineteenth Century and settled on the place now known as the Bradley place. It is possible other members of the Powell family came along with Evans but few descendants still live in the county. Powell was related to the Ford family an the two settled near each other just a few miles south of the City of Columbia.

       William Graham was another early settler in Marion County. He came from North Carolina about 1812 and settled about one mile from the present town of Foxworth. Graham was of Scotch Irish ancestors and possessed inherited traits of character which enabled him to withstand the hardships of pioneer life. He built a home in 1817 and reared his family where he first settled. The home is still standing and is known as the Bill Graham home. Direct descendants still own the land and the home.

       William Stovall located in Marion County in the pioneer days of the section. In 1837 he erected a colonial home about fifteen miles west of Columbia which still stands as a monument to the builder. Mrs. Letha Stovall Smith, a granddaughter of the original owner is now in possession of the original homestead.

       Marion Thompson is now eighty one years old. His grandfather was Harmon Thompson who married in North Carolina, moved to this section in the early years of the county and settled about two miles below Bunker Hill. In moving from North Carolina, Thompson moved on a t__ wheel wagon and the grandson Marion Thompson now has the old auger his grandfather used to make the wagon.

       About 1815 William Barnes came from South Carolina and settled in Marion County near the present village of Cheraw. His children who remained in the county were Esther Barnes Pope, Harris Barnes, Josiah Barnes, Allen Barnes, Louis Barnes, and Abram Barnes. One son, Harris Barnes, was prominent in politics and held different offices over a long period of time. At one time he represented the county in the State Legislature, was County Treasurer several times and was at another time Superintendent of Education in Marion County. A son of Louis Barnes, Thomas Barnes, is the present chancery clerk of the county.

       A relative of the members of the Barnes family mentioned above, J. P. Barnes, son of Benjamin Barnes, was one time Chancery Clerk of the same county. Records and documents recorded in his handwriting indicate his ability as a penman excelled that of the average clerk.

       William Sumrall, Sr. came from South Carolina and settled first near Brookhaven about 1800. He was the father of eleven sons who scattered and moved to different sections. One, W. M. Jr., moved to Marion County in the vicinity of Holly Springs church and cultivated the land the church now stands on. He moved to that section of the county, central northwestern, about 1810 but after a few years he again moved, and this time located in the Buford community. Mr. Sumrall became a prominent citizen of the county and a politician. In later years he became a member of the Board of Supervisors and still later Probate Judge of his district.

       Two sons of W. M. Jr. Sumrall, Reason B. and John T., both married and made their homes in Marion County. When the War Between the States broke out both donned the uniform of the South and went through the war. John T. told of some interesting experiences he had during those four years which included his capture at one time by General Grant.

       About 1806 or 1807 four Ford brothers, John, Joseph, David, and Stephens, came from South Carolina to the section now known as Marion County. Two of the brothers, John and Joseph, settled in what is now the southern part of the county, John on the west side of Pearl River near the present village of Sandy Hook, and Joseph on the east side near the community now known as Hub. Joseph reared four sons, Ebenezer, James, Felix, and Solomon, all of whom married Pope girls and remained in the county.

       John Ford was a Methodist minister and had been a man of (part of the sentence was omitted from the microfilmed page).

       Married Katherine Ark before leaving South Carolina and they reared seven children, all except one became either preachers or married one. His sons were Elias, Washington, Thomas, David, and John C. The last four named followed in their father's calling and in their maturity were all Methodist ministers. Reverend Thomas Ford organized the first church ever to be established in the city of Jackson. The two daughters both married Methodist ministers and moved from the county.

       Descendants of the Ford family are yet found in Marion County and the original home place is owned by one. The place was bought by William Rankins in 1843 whose descendants married into the Ford family and the ownership is now in the hands of a descendant of both families, Willie Rankins.

       John Warren and wife, Elizabeth Perkins Warren, came from Liberty County, Georgia before 1811 and were probably among the first settlers to locate near Sandy Hook. The date of their coming is judged by the inscription found on an old tombstone in the Warren Cemetery telling of the occurrence and indicating the time of his wife's death. John Warren's children were Daniel, Reese, John, Samuel, Jessie, Jane, Elizabeth, and Martha, all of whom remained in the county. One of the daughters, Elizabeth, married Sampson Edward Ball, a first cousin to Martha Washington and the ancestor of all the Balls in Marion County. Martha Warren, another daughter, married William Rankins, a native of Ireland and a first cousin to the famous John C. Calhoun of North Carolina.

       William and James Rankins were born in Ireland and came to North Carolina while they were still young. The two boys were reared as orphans in the home of the father of John C. Calhoun in the above mentioned state, but about 1818 they came to Mississippi and located on Pearl River. William Rankins married Martha Warren and settled near the vicinity now known as Sandy Hook. This couple reared nine children, all of whom remained in the county.

       Elizabeth, the daughter of William Rankins, married John Ford, a nephew of Reverend John Ford, and they settled about four miles from the present site of Columbia. Descendants of William Rankins can be found in different sections of Marion County, but James, the brother of William, moved on to Texas and did not make his home in Mississippi.

       About eighty years ago W. A. Sylverstein, Sr. moved from Ireland and located in Marion County near the present Foxworth. He was a comedian by nature and would entertain his listeners by the hours. Mr. Sylverstein married a Miss McGowan from the Buford community and they reared several children, Dr. R. E. Sylverstein of Tylertown; W. A. Jr., who is now operating the old farm; B. S. is an attorney in Columbia, another son, M. O. and one daughter, Mrs. W. F. Foxworth.

       Aron Smith migrated from Georgia in 1805 and homesteaded on Ten Mile Creek near the present location of Jamestown in Marion County. He became a prosperous farmer and married Miss Tilda Gill from Louisiana. Smith was not in favor of slaves and never owned any. He was a hardy pioneer that wrestled his living from the soil, lived at peace with his neighbors and promote Christianity in his community.

       Jim Smith the third son of Aron Smith moved to Morgantown in 1840 and homesteaded a farm and reared his family. His descendants still live in the community and one son, James R. Smith became a minister and has devoted much of his time to church work.

       The Hathorn family of Marion County traces their ancestors back to Ireland through Sam Hathorn who was born in Cork County, Ireland about 1780. He, with two brothers, James and Hugh Hathorn, ran away from an elder half brother who had become head of their father's house in Ireland and came to Charleston South Carolina about 1798. Later the three brothers migrated to Georgia, about twenty-five miles southeast of Atlanta, married, and settled in that locality. Sam married Amy Holloway or Georgia who died while her husband Sam Hathorn was away with Jackson's army fighting Indians in the War of 1812. On the trip with Jackson and his army across the section now known as Marion County, Sam decided that he wanted to live there when he reached home persuaded his brothers to move with him to the country along Pearl River. The brothers sold their property in Georgia which was a Spanish grant and held in common, and all three started westward in ox wagons. Near the present town of State Line, the two brothers became rebellious and refused to follow Sam further, but he continued his journey and landed on Holiday's Creek fourteen miles north of the present town of Columbia in February 1818.

       Before leaving Georgia Sam married again, the second wife being Susan Wood. Four children of this marriage were born in Marion County, Wood, Nancy, Jane and Hugh, but an older son of the second marriage Bill was born in Georgia. The children of the first marriage were Patsy, Nevin, Samuel B. and another son named Hugh who died in infancy. The children of the second wife all grew to maturity in Marion County on the place where Carl Burkett now lives. In 1833 or about that time Sam Hathorn moved to Nigger Creek where he died.

       The second child of Sam Hathorn was Nevin who married three times and was the father of seventeen children. He settled on the original Hathorn place in Marion County but later moved to what is known as the Stringer place in the same county. The second wife was Edy Gardner and a son of this wife was Nevin C., Jr. who became known locally among his intimate friends as Uncle Scott, Nevin C. Jr., or Uncle Scott married Susan Cooper, the daughter of Lieutenant John D. Cooper and a niece of Fleet Cooper, one of the editors and founders of the Clarion Ledger. Uncle Scott and wife settled in Covington County near Bassfield and lived in that community and county until 1891. While a resident to Covington County Mr. Hathorn was representative of the county in the state legislature during the late eighties and in 1890 he was elected a member of the Constitutional Convention from Covington County and took part in the writing of the constitution of the state of Mississippi in 1890. After moving to Marion County Mr. Hathorn represented this county in both the State legislature and the state senate.

       Uncle Scott Hathorn and his wife reared a family of ten children who were outstanding citizens of the county.

       In the interview with Mr. Claude V. Hathorn he told of his grandfather's attitude and position as to the war between the states and about some heated arguments he and his brother in law, Alex Harper, had over the question of secession and relative subjects. Mr. Hathorn gives an account of one of these arguments in his grandfather's own words:

       "There was quite a difference between my father and his brother-in-law, Alex Harper, as to the policy of going into Civil War before Secession and I remember they were constantly having words. My father was opposed to war, or secession, and Harper was a red hot secessionist. I remember on one occasion Harper and and his wife, Aunt Patsy, came to my father's and spent the night after attending church at Ebenezer, and during the conversation between them on the question of secession they had quite an argument. The state at that time had already seceded and my father made the remark to Harper that notwithstanding the fact that Harper and my father's neighbor Mark Carter had been preaching secession and now that the state had seceded and the army was being recognized, his, Hathorn's two boys had joined the first Confederate Company organized but yours and Harper's two boys are still at home. Harper replied that the reason his boys didn't join the first company was because it was made up of the rag-tag and bob-tails of the county. Upon that remark my father rose and said, "Alex Harper, you can't say that to me." Harper rose and they were fixing to have a regular dog fight. Bu Aunt Patsy stepped between them, shoved them apart, and said, "I command the peace, have you both gone stark crazy, sit down", and they both obeyed her.

       The Atkinson family which is of French and German origin is one of the oldest in the state, and many of their descendants are numbered among Marion County citizens. James Atkinson, Sr., moved from North Carolina to Marion County, where he was among the first settlers in the Columbia Community.

       James Atkinson married Miss Ruhama Sea, a native of Georgia whose father was a captain of a Pearl River Boat. He, Atkinson, led a life of a merchant and planter and became very wealthy, but did not own a great number of slaves. He and his wife became parents of nine girls and boys, namely: James Jr., Clinton, Henry, William, Myra, Belle, Floyd, Josephine, and Missouri. These children were educated in the county and in the early boarding schools of the state. The daughters were sent to Liberty, Mississippi to a splendid school for girls.

       James Atkinson was a victim of the dreaded disease, cholera in 1849. He, in company with one of his sons made a trip to New Orleans to buy Merchandise. While he was in the city he was stricken and lived only a few hours afterwards. His body was returned to Columbia and placed in the city cemetery where the grave is marked by a massive marble shaft indicating his birth as 1793 and death as May 3, 1849.

       Of the Atkinson family only one member remained in the county. Missouri, who married F. W. Foxworth.

       Descendants of the Marion County Lewis bothers, Lemuel and Quinney, are outstanding citizens of the state. It has been stated that this family has furnished more preachers than any other of this state and the preachers of this family are prominent in the Methodist Episcopal Conference.

       Lemuel and Quinney Lewis were of Welsh-English descent and their ancestors came to Virginia about 1775. Years later the Lewis family was found in North Carolina, and from this state Quinney Lewis and his wife Patty came with their children to Marion County about 1810 and settled first south of Columbia. After a few years this family moved to the community known as Waterhole and built a home of lumber which is still standing and in good condition. Mr. Lewis brought the building material from New Orleans across Lake Ponchartrain on flat boats and thence by ox teams to the present site of the building. The work was done principally by slaves. One daughter of Quinney Lewis's Celia Ann, married a Mr. Alford and became the mother of five preachers. (The next page starts with a sentence fragment which seems to say that Mr. Alford was her first husband and that she married John D. Warner the second time. If you know anything about this please let me know so I can clarify it for other readers.)

       Two of the sons of Quinney Lewis, Reverend Bryant Lewis and Reverend Henry Lewis, early became identified with the Methodist church and were members of the Methodist Conference of Mississippi. From Henry's family five ministers have come and from Bryant's family there were two ministers and one doctor in active missionary service in Africa at the present time.

       Quinney Lewis and his wife Petty moved from the Waterhole community to near China Grove and later moved near Holmesville. The husband died in 1881 at the age of eighty-seven years of age.

       Lemuel Lewis, Quinney's youngest brother was born in North Carolina in 1804. In 1820 when he was sixteen years of age he came to Marion County to teach his brother, Quinney's children and also taught for the Waterhole settlement. He had received his education in the schools of North Carolina and returned there after teaching a few years. While he was back in North Carolina he married Polly Williams and later returned to Marion County, bought his brother Quinney's home and engaged in farming. His children were Sally, Giles, Celie, and Martha that were born in North Carolina; then there were Susan, Christian, Margaret, Benjamin Bright and John born after the family moved to this section.

       Lemuel Lewis held several important offices, the last being Probate Judge. After the death of his first wife and his second marriage he moved from the county for a space of years but upon the death of his second wife he returned to the community of Waterhole where he spent the remaining part of his life.

       Jesse Dean was one of the first white settlers in this section now known as Marion County and came from Tennessee. When he was a young man he was captain of a flat boar and at intervals came down the Mississippi River to New Orleans. On one of these trips Mr. Dean decided to send his crew back up the river, but to make but to make the trip over land by way of an old Indian trail. He wanted to see the country and look for a place to locate a settlement. A few settlers had already arrived and one white family lived at the place where Foxworth now is. A half days' continuous walking brought him to another white family who lived two miles. from the place now known as a Bunker Hill in Marion County. Another days walk brought him to the next settlement which was at that time Williamsburg in Covington County. Evidently Mr. King liked the sparsely settled country because months afterwards he married Cynthia Graves and brought her as a bride to settle at Bunker Hill.

       Willis Watts came from Georgia about 1812 with a group of other settlers and located on Bouie Creek in what is now Covington County. About 1840 or a short time prior Mr. Watts moved to Marion County and settled in the eastern part near the locality now known as of Willis Watts have continued to live in Marion County through the years that have followed his arrival. A son who remained in the county was John L. Watts, the father of the E. I. Watts, a former superintendent of education in Marion County and grandfather of M. D. Watts, who makes the fourth generation of Watts in the county.

       Edmund Morris father of Sebron Morris came from North Carolina about 1815 and settled about three miles east of Columbia near where Albert Singley now lives. Edmund Morris remained in the county the remaining part of his life and his sons C. Brian settled the place now known as the Watts place nine miles. northeast of Columbia. Just after the war between the states Sebron Morris, father of Mrs. John L. Watts, sold his homestead to his son-in-law John L Watts who continued in possession of the place until his death. Descendants of Edmund Morris yet in Marion County are E. I. Watts and his children, one of which is M. D. Watts.

       Hughie Fortenberry came to Marion County in the early years of its creation and settled two miles. below Foxworth on Pearl River. He was a slave owner and had large fields. Mr. Fortenberry had a large family of children the most of whom lived their entire lives in the county. One son, Jesse Fortenberry, lived on the old place many years but later moved to Columbia. His children, many of them, have made their home within a short distance of where the first family by that name settled.

       A descendant of one of the oldest families in Marion County is B. L. Breakfield who is now very near 65 years of age Mr. Breakfield remembers many conditions in reconstruction period and remembers many interesting accounts given by his ancestors. He was reared in the Ebenezer community and tells of some old fields on Holiday's Creek that showed signs of having been cultivated many years before he began to notice them. One was called the Loper field and the other was known as the Granberry place. Mr.Breakfield says the last named place showed indications of having been a large plantation of possibly 150 acres, and tanning troughs which were usually found on the larger plantations in connection with shoe factories or shops. Large walnut trees marked the house place. An interview with Calvin Foxworth, a great-grandson of Stephen Foxworth disclosed some facts concerning some of the early inhabitants of the county that might be of interest. The old home of Silas Drake, mentioned elsewhere in this chapter, built about 1800 is still standing but has been remodeled from time to time. One of the Drake daughters married Joe Warren who settled S. A. Foxworth place. Her descendants are still in the county.

       Mr. Foxworth remembers a story told by old settlers that gave rise to the name Burke's Hollow which designates a locality in Marion County. The story goes that a young man by the name of Burke was in love with the wife of Silas Drake before her marriage. Tradition says Mrs. Drake was an attractive woman when she was a young girl and had many admirers. One of her suitors, a Mr. Burke, fell in love with her and made an earnest attempt to win her heart but she remained indifferent to his pleadings. Realizing the hopelessness of his cause Burke became despondent and committed suicide. The vicinity near the scene of his death has ever since been known as Burke's Hollow.

       Uncle Billy Gardner tells of some early settlers in his community on Holidays Creek. Two of those were Ike Allen and Patrick Oates. Allen was a slave owner and laid claim to a large tract of land which was tilled by his slaves. Gates came with Allen and acted as his overseer. After the War Between the States, Gates homesteaded land six or seven miles east of Ebenezer and later became Sheriff of Marion County.

       Mr. F. W. Foxworth tells of the staunch Presbyterian faith of his ancestors. Mrs. Samuel Graves Foxworth was the daughter of Dr. A. R. Graves who operated the Zion Seminary in Covington County. The Graves family was of a colony of Presbyterians in Covington County and when his daughter, Sophia, married and moved to Marion County she was probably the only member of her faith there. For years she attended other churches with her husband and friends for 40 years before a church of her faith was organized in Marion County. The Hopewell Church in the Hopewell School District was so named by Jobe Foxworth in remembrance of Hopewell Presbyterian Church in Covington County at a suggestion from Mrs. Sophie Graves Foxworth.

       One of Marion County's oldest citizens is Miss Betty Rankin who is about 82 years of age. During an interview with �Miss Betty� as she is affectionately called by her friends she told of many events of historical occurrence. Although rather young during the war between the states she remembers some interesting facts during the war and much about the reconstruction. Miss Betty's father, John Warren Rankin is listed in the Army of the South but because he was physically unfit as a soldier he was sent back home to look after his family and raise foodstuff. It was after he had returned home the Union soldiers came through the county and stopped at their home. Upon hearing that the soldiers were in the vicinity Mr. Rankin brought out his Masonic receipt and tacked it in a noticeable place on his desk, remarking as he did so that it might prove helpful, but he thought best not to be present himself. As the family expected, the soldiers came by and began plundering the place. It so happened that they began looking things over in the house first and came across the Masonic card. The officers in charge sought Mrs. Rankin and asked her if the man named on the card was her husband and upon her affirmative reply told her that she had nothing to fear from their men. They asked for some small amounts of food for the men and for a meal for the four officers to be served in her home. Then they passed on.

       Miss Betty thinks the Masonic card kept them from sharing the fate of many of their neighbors, who were stripped of all foodstuff, livestock, and in many cases had their homes burned. Miss Betty says she remembers happenings back in her early days that all of them were scary. According to her there were many slaves in the county when war was declared and most all of them remained on their master's plantation and were peaceful. She remembers times were hard but that her family always had plenty to eat.

       An interview with O. J. Foxworth, Sheriff of Marion County, gave glimpses of pioneer life as handed down to him by his fore parents. In the early days there was more time devoted to hunting and fishing than in modern times. Food was supplied in that manner and many destructive animals were hunted to rid the county of them. The wild animals desirable for food were plentiful and deer, squirrel, and turkey were hunted for their meat. The animals destructive to crops and to domestic animals were wolves, bobcats, and bears. These too were hunted and destroyed, not for their good qualities but for their undesirable traits. Wolves would sometimes come near homes at night and set up a serenade of howls' making such a bedlam of noise that they would have to be driven off. Loud reports as the discharge of a gun would drive them away and when ammunition was scarce a plank struck forcefully against the ground would serve the purpose. Doors had to be barricaded at night against roving, unfriendly Indians and one of the old homes that is still standing was built with a stockade around it which was built for protection from the Indians.

       Mr. Jim Pittman says during pioneer days there were not a variety of occupations as in modern times. Farming and stock raising were practically the only ones employed. Much of the early cultivated land still shows signs of deep ditches which indicate that slave labor was plentiful and the main crop was probably rice as was the case in South Carolina. Great areas of the land along the river were dense forests where wild animals roamed and made their lairs. In some sections dense growth of the reed cane stood in the way of cultivation as some of the canes were five or six inches in circumference and so tall they had to be cut down if the stock was to profit by them in the winter. Reeds also grew along the banks of the smaller streams but they were not as tall or large as those on Pearl River.

       Another interesting interview was obtained with Mrs. Celie Lewis Foxworth who tells of the early settlers in the Waterhole community. Two, as has been mentioned elsewhere, were Lemuel and Quinney Lewis. Lemuel bought the January house which had been erected a few years earlier and was above average in that community. Adjoining this place Hosea Davis owned a tract of land. Mr. Davis had come along with other early settlers from eastern states, selected desirable land for farming and established a home in the early years of 1800. He owned and operated a mill in connection with his arm on Ten Mile Creek.

       Adjoining the Davis place just below the mill was the Cowart House. Newton Cowart, another early settler, was a doctor and had three sons, Ed, Elias and Ben, who practiced medicine. Ed was a soldier and rendered valuable service to the South during the War Between the States. Another neighbor in that vicinity was Steve Rankin who came along with other settlers from North Carolina and settled in the Waterhole community. Joel Bullock, another North Carolina immigrant, settled in the same community near the Lewis families, Reagan's, Davis's and Cowarts. He was related to Hosea DAVIS by marriage.

       These people from North Carolina were honest and straightforward people. Most of them were religiously inclined, some adhering to the Baptist faith and others to the Methodist.

       Mrs. Hattie Barnes David remembers many of the events and conditions of more pioneer days which show a striking contrast between those days and modern times. Mrs. David is now 92 years of age. She is the daughter of Harris Barnes, an early politician in Marion County. The Barnes family lived neighbors to Samuel Foxworth and the two would visit each other. They shared in logrolling, quilting, cornhusking and community dances. Mrs. David lived through the reconstruction and remembers the attitude of the different Freedman when they realized their liberty. Some of them were haughty but the most of them were still humble and looked to their white folks for help and protection .

       An interesting experience of pioneer days has been handed down to Mrs. Wynonia Cook concerning the wife of Captain William Graham, an early settler of Marion County. The experience should have contained sufficient thrill to satisfy those most eager for adventures. It is said that Mrs. Graham was out gathering wood one day preparatory to cooking her noonday meal when she was attacked by a bear. Composed nerves and quick wittedness enabled the lady to master the situation. Being naturally armed with a supply of bravery and courage she reinforced her natural weapons with a stout stick and successfully beat off the animal.

       Many interesting documents are found in the possession of Marion County citizens and recorded in the chancery court's office. They are all yellow with age and many of them are unreadable without the aid of a magnifying glass. A few have been copied and are found below.

       The original of the following document is in the possession of Belle Foxworth, Columbia, Mississippi, a granddaughter of Samuel F. Foxworth.

       The State Of Mississippi

       $1,900 Columbia

       May 10, 1844

       Received of Samuel G. Foxworth of Marion County Mississippi $1,900 in full payment for seven Negroes named Minerva, a woman aged 35 years, and Medias, a boy aged 13 years; Jim, a boy aged 10 years; Gabriel a boy aged eight years; Lucinda, a girl aged five years; George, a boy aged three years; and Mary, aged 15 months, all children of the said Minerva. The right and title of said slaves we warrant and defend against the claim or claims of any person or persons whatsoever and marked them sound in body and mind and slaves for life.

       Witness: Azel Backus Bacon, J. I. Atkinson, Henry Atkinson

       Alexander Moore (Seal)

       Eliza Moore

       by H. C. Pope their agent and attorney in fact.


       The following is a copy of a letter written in 1840 to Colonel Hamilton Mayson's sister by her daughter, then a schoolgirl in Madison, New Jersey. The letter is now in possession of Ralph Jordan, Columbia, Mississippi, a great great grandson of Pearl Mason. Madison November 4, 1840

       My dearest Mother do not think me negligent in the dischargement of my epistolary duties for I assure you that I would have written to you as usual had not sickness prevented me from so doing. I do not wish you to understand about that word sickness that I have been dangerously ill, oh no. It was only a bad cold for which malady I was obliged to take a dose of calomel, three of senna, one emetic and an enormous quantity of castor oil.

       I really feared that Tante had a serious intention of converting my stomach into a dingy shop for the convenience of the school. I have just received Aunt Richard's letter in which was enclosed a $100 bill She requested me to write and let her know as soon as it reached me. She said in her letter,� your mother sent you some gold pieces for the purpose of purchasing your dresses for parties.� I did not exactly understand the meaning of the above sentence. Does she wish me to understand that you have sent me or intend to send some pieces of gold? I am at loss to understand the phrases. If you have sent it I have not received it yet. I will be glad to know as soon as possible or in other words as soon as you can conveniently let me know. She says you wish me to purchase handsome dresses - a bonnet for winter, a riding coat or cloak which ever suits my fancy best, stockings both coarse and fine, shoes, etc. I shall ask Tante to accompany me when I buy my things for her taste is excellent; at least everybody says so and consequently I must believe it. I received a letter from Julie Miller which was astonishing. It is the first epistle with which I have been honored since June. I can however easily account for her protracted silence. Last vacation I wrote a kind of farce in which I made her principal actress and the sentiments I caused her to express were just as I thought she might entertain of myself and letters. I naturally concluded after so long silence on her part that badly timed farce had produced anything but the desired effect but her letter has quieted all my fears on that score.

        I passed last Saturday and Sunday at Madison while there I learned that cousin Louis had given up the idea of visiting the North this fall, and little Sally Mason is doomed to vegetate another year in New Jersey. It really seems as if fate has chosen me for her victim this year, for I have been frustrated in all my hopes. In the first place I expected to have seen you at the North this summer. Secondly I hoped to have gone home with either father or Uncle Charles, and lastly I expected to see cousin Emily Ann Lewis Ford and they cannot come. Well, I will submit to my misfortunes with stoical fortitude and hope for a brighter light in the future.

        I am going to impart to you something which I know will greatly surprised you. Caroline Bunker is married at last! Graces aux Dieux!! Aunt Mary does not give a very favorable account of your health but Julia tells me that both your health and appetite are fine, and as her letter is the most recent I am disposed to believe her. But I will not be too sanguine or too gloomy in my anticipation is until I receive a letter from your dear self.

Yours affectionately,

       In the office of the chancery clerk of Marion County are found records of cattle brands and marks as were recorded when the county was still young. The following copies were taken from Deed Book One.

       Stephen A. Reagan: Earmark- a small fork and upper bit in each ear branded S. R. Received 24 of November 1817, James Phillips clerk.

       William Barnes: Earmark- a crop and under bit in the left and a split and under bit in the right. Recorded 22nd of May 1818. James Phillips CCC .

       William Lenoir: Earmark- smooth crop in the left and under bit in the right, branded WS. Recorded July 27th . James Phillips, CCC.

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