In 2011 I gave long lists of ancestor birthdays. This year I plan to focus in on one or two a month, giving more details on their lives.
William Franklin Fortenberry was born 13 February 1840 in Mississippi, the fifth of nine children of Gasua Chapman & Sarah (Brown) Fortenberry. He was known as ‘Black Frank’. This may have been to differentiate him from the many other William Fortenberrys in the family. He married Mariah B. Hall.
The 1850 US Census shows the Gasua Fortenberry family in Pike County, Mississippi. Gasua was a 44 year old farmer, born in South Carolina. William was eleven. In 1850 The U.S. Congress gave Mississippi title to more than 3 million acres of swamp and overflow land. By this time, 310 miles of levees had been built along the banks of the Mississippi River. The Delta was drained, cleared, and became available for cultivation.
In 1861 Mississippi became the second state to secede from the Union and in 1870 Mississippi was readmitted to the Union.
In the 1880 US Census the family was still in Pike County. Gasua was a 74 year old farmer. His wife, Sarah, was 70. Daughters living with them were: Mary and Violette. William Franklin, now a 40 year old farmer, and his wife, Mariah, were on the farm along with their children: Joseph, Benjamin, Clarence, John, William, Albert and Alfred.
They had seven sons:
John E. Fortenberry b. 1864 – d. 1923
Joseph Gazie Fortenberry b. 9 July 1870 – d. 25 January 1950
Benjamin Fortenberry b. c. 1873
Clarence Foretnberry b. c. 1874
William C. Fortenberry b. 16 December 1877
Albert E. Fortenberry b. 26 June 1879
Alfred E. Fortenberry b. 26 June 1881
Mariah died 4 February 1884. William Franklin Fortenberry died 6 August 1906.