Sunday, April 24, 2016

Census Sunday: 1850 MS School Census

 I was able to find some of my family in the 1850 handwritten school census for Pike Co., MS. I looked through the census, page by page and checked the names against my records. The census does not list the names of the children, just the parent. The following were firm matches. There were others I’d like to say were matches but there were not enough details for that.


The children of Warren Jackson Alford, my 2x great grand uncle
          2 females     
[Martha Jane b 1842 & Cynthia Elizabeth b 1844]

The children of William Alford, my half 3x great grand uncle
          3 males & 2 females
[probably Jackson, Milton, Jesse, Calperna & Clarasy]

The children of Davis Brumfield, my 3x great grand uncle
          3 males & 3 females
          [probably Jesse, Isaac, Elisha, Eveline, Angeline & Emily]

The children of Jeremiah Smith, my 3x great grand uncle
          2 males
[William b 1842 & Ancil b 1845]

"Mississippi Enumeration of Educable Children, 1850-1892; 1908-1957," database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 21 March 2016), 1850; citing School enrollment, , Pike, Mississippi, United States, Mississippi Department of Archives & History, Jackson.

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Monday, April 18, 2016

Book Report: Liberty’s Daughters

Liberty’s Daughters: The Revolutionary Experience of American Women, 1750 – 1800

By Mary Beth Norton
Little, Brown, and Company, Boston, 1980

Part I: The Constant Patterns of Women’s Lives
1.       The Small Circle of Domestic Concerns
2.       The Important Crisis upon Which our Fate Depends
3.       Fair Flowers, If Rightly Cultivated
4.       In What Wou’d You Shew Your Activity?
5.       As Independent as Circumstances Will Admit
Part II:
1.       We Commenced Perfect Statesmen
2.       Necessity Taught US
3.       A Reverence of Self
4.       Vindicating the Equality of Female Intellect
Conclusion: A New Era of Female History
Essay of Major Families and Sources
Essay on Sources
Chapter References

Many of us can trace our family back to the Revolutionary War. We research the service records of our male ancestors but what happened to the women during this time? Many were as brave and as strong as their husbands and brothers. If my female ancestors left journals or letters about that period in our history, I have not found them. In this book Mary Beth Norton quotes the diaries and letters of many women from various parts of our country and from various social backgrounds to paint a picture of those hard times. Here are a few quotes from the book.

Mary Beth Norton begins her book with a look at the family structure in the times before our war for independence.

“The household, the basic unit of eighteenth-century American society, had a universally understood hierarchical structure. At the top was the man, the lord of the fireside; next came the mistress, his wife and helpmate; following her, the children, who were expected to assist the parent of their own sex; and finally, any servants or slaves, with the former taking precedence over the latter.” [page 3]

During the course of the war this hierarchy would not tumble but it would be questioned. Before the war women were expected to take second place to their husbands. “She was expected to follow his orders, and he assumed control over the family finances.” [page5]

“Rural wives were often unable to place a precise value on tools, lands or harvested grain, even if they knew a farm’s total acreage or the size of a harvest. Urban women frequently did not know their husband’s exact income or the value of the houses in which they lived. .” [page 6]

We need to look beyond the battles to get a clear idea of how our female ancestors’ lives were changed during this time.

‘Most narratives of the revolutionary War concentrate upon describing a series of pitched battles between uniformed armies. Yet the impact of the conflict can more accurately be assessed if it is interpreted as a civil war with profound consequences for the entire population. Every movement of troops through the American countryside brought a corresponding flight of refugees, an invasion of epidemic disease, the expropriation of foodstuffs, firewood, and livestock, widespread plundering or destruction of personal property, and occasional incidents of rape.’ [page 195]

‘The disruption of normal patterns of life that resulted from all these seldom-studied aspects of the conflict had an especially noticeable effect upon women, whose prewar experiences had been confined largely to the domestic realm. With their menfolk away serving in the armies for varying lengths of time, white female Americans had to venture into new fields of endeavor. In the midst of wartime trials, they alone had to make crucial decisions involving not only household and family but also the ‘outdoor affairs’ from which they had formerly been excluded.’ [page 195]

Where our families lived also affected their experiences of the time.

‘What distinguished the war in Virginia, Georgia, and the Carolinas from that in the North was its length and ferocious intensity. From the invasion of Georgia in 1778 to the ratification of the peace treaty in 1783, the South was the main theater of war, and there [sic] battles were not confined to the formal clashes between armies that characterized the northern phase of the conflict. A prolonged guerilla war, coupled with sporadic nonpartisan plundering and wanderings of the British army through North Carolina and Virginia in 1780 – 1781, left much of the South devastated.’ [page 208] 


After the war the roles of men and women in America were changed.

‘The war … dissolved some of the distinctions between masculine and feminine traits. Women who would previously have risked criticism if they abandoned their ‘natural’ feminine timidity now found themselves praised for doing just that. The line between male and female behavior, once apparently so impenetrable, became less well defined.’

Find this book at your library if you’d like to learn more about Liberty’s Daughters.

Note: This is one of several books recommended to me by Michael Aikey who lectured at our local community college. The topic of his lecture was ‘Women in War’ and the reading list he shared included books related to several wars.


At the top of this blog, click on My Library for many more books that I have found useful for genealogical & historical research.

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Sunday, April 10, 2016

Census Sunday: 1878 MS School Census

There are more census reports than just the US population schedules. Recently my blogging buddy, Charles L. Purvis, from Carolina Family Roots told me about the MS Enumeration of Educable Children, 1850 – 1892; 1908 – 1957. I had seen limited school census reports in print form at the Family History Center at Salt Lake City but did not realize the reports were online through Family Search.

I began my search looking for my great grandfather, Jasper Pascal Brown. When I located Jasper and his siblings I looked at the other names on the page and saw more relatives. Then I went page by page, finding more and more relatives who went to school in Simmons and Holmesville, Pike County. MS. It was fun to see that my great grandparents went to school together when they were children.

Note: In 1878 only the surname of the parent was given. I have added details from my records.


The children of Allen Moses Brown
Mary             female          15                b c 1863
Jasper           male             13                b c 1865        my great grandfather
‘Elmer’         female          9                  b c 1969

The children of Jessie Alexander Brumfield
Eli                male             12                b c 1866
Rosa             female          10                b c 1968        my great grandmother
John             male             7                  b c 1871

The children of Joseph Warren Brumfield, my 1st cousin 4x removed
Johnnie         male             12                b c 1866
R. F.            male             8                  b c 1870
Henry           male             6                  b c 1872
Joe Eddie      male             5                  b c 1873

The children of Henry Sims Brumfield, my 1st cousin 4x removed
Udora           female          6                  b c 1872
Alice             female          8                  b c 1870
Johnnie         male             10                b c 1868
Lucy              female          12                b c 1866
Lizzie           female          14                b c 1864
Jesse            male             18                b c 1860
Lucinda         female          19                b c 1859
Emma           female          20                b c 1858

The children of William Franklin Fortenberry, my 1st cousin 4x removed
Joe               male             9                  b c 1869
Bengie          male             7                  b c 1871
Clarence        male             5                  b c 1873

The children of Jeremiah Smith, my third great grand uncle
Jarratt                   male             20                b c 1858
Samantha      female           18                b c 1860

The children of John Shaffer Ellzey, the husband of my second great grand aunt
Monroe         male             10                b c 1868
Rosa D.         female          6                  b c 1872

The children of Benjamin Franklin Ellzey
WS               male             20                b c 1858
Dora             male             16                b c 1862
Josaphine      female          15                b c 1863
Fannie          female          13                b c 1865
Nannie                   female          12                b c 1867
Sam              male             10                b c 1868
Mary             female          9                  b c 1869
Annie            female          9                  b c 1869
John             male             7                  b c 1871
Nettie           female          5                  b c 1873

The children of Julius Newton Alford, my second great grand uncle
Martha                   female          11                b c 1867
Mary             female          9                  b c 1869
L L               female          8                  b c 1870
Ola               female          6 (?)            

I had the names of these children already but this census gives me another source for their names & birth years & location.

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Monday, April 4, 2016

Poem: For men may come and men may go, But I go on forever.

Michael & Mary Josephine (Mullane) Coyle c 1895

Mary Josephine Mullane Coyle
3 Aug 1867 Ireland - 17 Dec 1927 NY 

This was a favorite poem of my great grandmother, Mary Josephine (Mullane) Coyle, 1867 – 1927. Her youngest daughter, Kathleen G. Coyle, told me her mother would recite the poem to her children. 

I like the soothing rhythm of the poem, the image of the brook flowing past the birds [coot and hern], the valley, the town and into the river. It clatters over the stones, under bridges and past fields as men go their own way. I like the simple power of this little brook, ‘For men may come and men may go, But I go on forever.’

Mary Jo was a mother to 7 children but she never became a grandmother. She died a couple months before my mother was born. She missed one of life's greatest joys. 

It would have been nice to sit in my great grandmother’s kitchen, share a cup of tea and discuss this poem.

The Garden in the Woods, Framingham, MA 2012

The Brook
By Alfred Lord Tennyson

I come from haunts of coot and hern
I make a sudden sally
And sparkle out among the fern,
To bicker down a valley.

By thirty hills I hurry down,
Or slip between the ridges,
By twenty thorpes, a little town,
And half a hundred bridges.

I chatter over stony ways,
In little sharps and trebles,
I bubble into eddying bays,
I babble on the pebbles.

With many a curve my banks I fret
By many a field and fallow,
And many a fairy foreland set
With willow-weed and mallow.

I chatter, as I flow
To join the brimming river,
For men may come and men may go,
But I go on forever.

I wind about, and in and out,
With here a blossom sailing,
And here and there a lusty trout,
And here and there a grayling,

And here and there a foamy flake
Upon me as I travel
With many a silvery waterbreak
Above the golden gravel,

And draw them all along, and flow
To join the brimming river
For men may come and men may go,
But I go on forever.

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