Monday, August 31, 2020

Fortenberry Reunion 1958 MS

Finding family reunions in newspaper articles is rewarding. I went to & put in “Fortenberry Reunion” and found this article.

Willis Franklin Fortenberry
4 February 1887 MS – December 1976 LA
Son of Webster Fortenberry & Nannie Ellzey


Ivy May Smith
23 May 1895 MS – August 1978 LA

Fortenberry Family Has Annual Reunion

Percy Quin State Park was the scene of the Willis F. Fortenberry family reunion last week, with six of the nine direct descendants, and their families present. 

A picnic lunch was served to the group at the picnic shed, with E. W. Blades giving the invocation. 

After lunch, the group swam, boated, hiked or sat under the trees and talked.

Those attending were:

Mr. and Mrs. Weldon W. Fortenberry and children, Weldon, Jr. and Brenda [Weldon W. & Malissia (Dunn) Fortenberry];

Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Nicholas, Baton Rouge [Andrew Samuels & Locky May (Fortenberry) Nichols];  

Mr. and Mrs. W. F. Fortenberry, Kentwood, La. [Willis Franklin & Ivy May Smith Fortenberry];

Their son, Sgt. Karl Fortenberry, Plattsburg Air Force Base, N. Y. [Karl b c 1933];

Mr. and Mrs. I. M. McGehee and Webster, East Fork, La. [Edith Fortenberry, 1914 - 2002] ;

Mr. and Mrs. E. W. Blades and children, Edwin, Darwin, Reid Wayne, and Iva Gail, Spring Creek, La. [William Edwin & Pansy (Fortenberry) Blades];

Mr. and Mrs. Otis Sims and children, Michael and Sandra Kay, Pearl River, La.;

Miss Carolyn Campbell and Richard Campbell, McComb;

Mr. and Mrs. M. M. Smith, Dorothy and Bob, Mount Hermon, La.;

Miss Bettie Fitzwater, Spring Creek, La.;

Mr. and Mrs. E. J. Bond, and Mr. and Mrs. Donnie Bond, Progress;

Mr. and Mrs. Harlan Blackwell and children, Sheila, Philip and Ward, McComb.

Source: Fortenberry Family Has Annual Reunion. (McComb, MS, Enterprise – Journal, 26 Aug. 1958) 8; digital image, accessed June 2020). 

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Forget Me Not: Luke T. Fortenberry, 1931 MS

Luke T. Fortenberry
4 August 1859 MS – 10 April 1931 MS

Son of Burrell Taylor Fortenberry & Eliza Jane Ellzey
Husband of Letta J.

Father of:
Leta T. Fortenberry
Allie (Fortenberry) Ginn
Carrie (Fortenberry) Dykes
William Dort Fortenberry

Prominent Walthall Farmer Laid to Rest.

Tylertown, April 12 – Luke T. Fortenberry, 72 years old, died at his home eight miles southwest of here Friday morning, April 10, after an illness extending over several weeks.

Mr. Fortenberry is oone of the county’s most prominent farmers and one of the best known citizens. He leaves his wife, one son, J. Dort Fortenberry, and three daughters, Mrs. Allie Ginn, Mrs. Carrie Dykes, and Miss L. T. Fortenberry.

Source: Prominent Walthall Farmer Laid to Rest.{Jackson, MS: Clarion Ledger, 13 Apr 1931) 9; digital image, accessed May 2020.

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Boarding for Females, 1846 AL

This is an interesting bit of information from 1846. Sims Kelly & his wife, Mary Camp, established a place for young women to live while attending a Female Academy. Sim & Mary had 13 children, including 8 daughters. 

Sims & Mary (Camp) Kelly
Jacksonville, AL

Sims Kelly
11 March 1784 NC – 17 Jul 1860 AL
Son of William Stark Kelly & Mary Frances Durham

My 5th Great Uncle 

Mary Camp
20 January 1788 - 1 September 1864
Daughter of Samuel Camp & Mary Banks

Boarding for Females. The subscriber will furnish his house in Jacksonville, known as the Jacksonville Hotel, expressly as a Boarding House for Females during the next session of the Jacksonville Female Academy. The rooms are comfortable, and will be well furnished, and the house will be constantly under the care of Mrs. Kelly who will devote every attention to the boarders. She undertakes this mainly for the purpose of attending to the education of her own daughter. 

Sims Kelly
July 21, 1846

Source: Boarding for Females. (Jacksonville, AL, Jacksonville Republican, 19 Aug. 1846) 4; digital image, accessed June 2020).

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Forget Me Not: J. F. Fortenberry, 1949 MS



Jim Finely Fortenberry

1895 – 1949 MS

Son of Isaac Edward Fortenberry & Sabra A. Daniel


World War II Veteran

Monticello – Funeral services were held Wednesday afternoon at Hepzibah Baptist church near this place for J. F. Fortenberry, 53, member of a widely known South Mississippi family who died in Jackson in the Veteran’s Hospital following an illness of some weeks. Dr. W. L. Holcomb of Jackson and the Rev. J. Smith, pastor of the Hepzibah church, had part in the services.


Mr. Fortenberry, a veteran of World War Two, was buried with military ceremonies conducted by the Jefferson Davis American Legion Post. He was buried in the Hepzibah church cemetery. He lived near Prentiss.


He leaves behind his wife, three children; his mother, Mrs. Saby Fortenberry, Monticello; Henry Fortenberry, Louisiana; Willie, Cleve, Sedgie, Zerbie and Solon Fortenberry, all of Jefferson Davis county; one sister, Mrs. Alma Taylor, with other relatives. 



Source: J. F. Fortenberry. (Jackson, MS: Clarion – Ledger, 23 Jan 1949) 12; digital image, accessed June 2020).

Friday, August 14, 2020

August Anniversary: Burrell Fortenberry & Eliza Ellzey; 1850

As we look at records that are older & older it becomes more & more difficult to track down an exact wedding date. When we do find an old church or other record it is exciting. 

Burrell Taylor Fortenberry
1820 MS – 14 Sept4ember 1863 MS
Son of William Jasper Fortenberry & Violette Kennington


Eliza Jane Ellzey
5 September 1830 MS – 4 April 1899
Daughter of John Ellzey & Elizabeth Coney 

My 4thgreat aunt & uncle

15 August 1850; 170 years ago

Source: Adrianne Fortenberry Criminger, THE FORTENBERRY FAMILIES OF SOUTHERN MISSISSIPPI; 1677-1984; South Carolina, Southern Historical Press, Inc, 1984.

Parents of

John Narvel Fortenberry
William Jackson Fortenberry
Henry F. Fortenberry
Benjamin C. Fortenberry
Luke T. Fortenberry

Other August Anniversaries:

2 August 1927 OH     Roy Jesse Brown & Ivy Regina Mark    93 years ago
My paternal grandparents

8 August 1948 NY     Delbert Keith Brown & Alberta Joy Gardner   72 years ago
My parents

22 August 1872 OH     Joseph Wolf & Anna Eliza Kohr     148 years ago

25 August 1866 Ireland     Daniel Mullane & Brigid English     154 years ago
My 2x great grandparents

28 August 1937     Ralph Clayton Kauffman & Margaret Maude Mark     83 years ago

29 August 1880     Amos Ritter & Emma Levina Smith     140 years ago

Sunday, August 9, 2020

Spotlight on: Thelma Laddie Brown

Thelma Laddie Brown

27 February 1908 MS – 15 Nov 1979

Daughter of Jasper Pascal Brown &

 Rose Ella Brumfield

My Great Aunt
Sister of my paternal grandfather, Roy Jessie Brown

Thelma Laddie Brown,daughter of Jasper Pascal Brown and Rose Ella (Brumfield) Brown, was born 27 February 1908. She is a difficult person to research because of the various states she lived in and the various surnames she used. Her surname can be seen as Brown, Reynolds, Blakeney, Johnston or Nelson. 
            In 1920 Thelma, 11 years old, was living at home with her parents and her siblings in Pike County, Mississippi.[i]She ended her education after just two years in high school.[ii]By the time she was 17 years old she was a mother. Bernarr Jesse Reynolds was born 26 May 1925 in Pike County, Mississippi.[iii]Bernarr’s father was Donald H. Reynolds.[iv]
            As a little boy, Bernarr lived with his maternal grandparents, Jasper Pascal Brown and Rose Ella (Brumfield) Brown. He was with them in Washington Parish, Louisiana in 1930. Thelma was not shown to be living with them.[v]


            In 1935 Thelma was living in Creston, Ohio.[vi]Her brother, Roy Jessie Brown, was living there with his wife, Ivy Regina (Mark) Brown, and four children. Thelma may have stayed with them and she may have left her son with them. In 1936 Bernarr was living in Ohio. The 30 December 1936 McComb Daily Journal reported:

Bernard Reynolds of Creighton [Creston?], Ohio, is visiting his mother, Mrs. Thelma Reynolds this week.[vii]

            Thelma married George H. Blakeney on 7 February 1938 in Pike County.[viii]The marriage was very short lived. In March a notice was put in the newspaper summoning her to court in the case with George Henry Blakeney.[ix]In August the newspaper posted a notice saying George was not responsible for the debts “incurred by anyone other than myself.”[x]It sounds like they were no longer together. On 13 October 1938 this notice was printed in McComb’s newspaper:

Mrs. Thelma Blakeney who underwent a surgical operation at a local hospital yesterday, is reported as doing satisfactorily, much to the pleasure of her many friends.[xi]

In 1940 Thelma and her son were both living in Pike County, Mississippi, but they were not together. Bernarr was, once again, living with his grandparents, Jasper and Rose Brown. They were on Walker’s Ridge Road.  He was just 14 years old and his grandparents were in their seventies. The U. S. Census Report showed his surname as Brown rather than Reynolds.[xii]Thelma [using the surname Brown], 32 years old, was living in the Hotel Frest.[xiii]
            Bernarr enlisted in the U. S. Army in February 1941. Like his mother, he had only two years of high school when he left school to enlist. A McComb, Mississippi newspaper reported recent recruits to Army, including “Bernarr J. R. Reynolds, son of Mrs. Thelma L. Reynolds, Indianapolis, Ind.” He enlisted at the McComb Recruiting Station and was sent to Fort Jackson, South Carolina to train with Field Artillery.[xiv],[xv]
Thelma went back to Ohio. On 17 July 1941 she married Lancelot M. Johnston in Sandusky, Ohio.[xvi]Lancelot was three years her senior. He was a “mariner”, having served in both the U. S. Navy and the Coast Guard. Thelma was a “manager” which can lead us to wonder if she worked in the hotel business. She traveled, lived in hotels and was a manager.[xvii],[xviii]Thelma’s marriage to Lancelot was brief. On 20 October 1945 he married again.[xix]
Later that year the United States became involved in World War II. Was Thelma worried about her son and his participation in the war as a soldier in the Army? It is difficult to know if they had a close relationship. They clearly did not live together often. Bernarr was promoted in 1944. Thelma was then living in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Bernarr J. Reynolds, son of Mrs. Thelma Laddie Reynolds, 20 ½ North Delaware street, was promoted recently from corporal to sergeant. He is in Europe.[xx]

            Bernarr made it safely through the war. He was released from the Army 9 July 1945.[xxi]This notice appeared in an Indianapolis newspaper where Thelma was most likely still living.

Reynolds Back in U. S. Pfc Bernard [sic]J. Ryenolds, son of Mrs. Thelma Reynolds, Stubbin hotel, has won the ETO ribbon, the good conduct ribbon and the American defense ribbon for forty-three months of service with the 2d armored division. Pfc. Reynolds recently arrived at the Presque Isle Army airfield, Presque Isle, Me.[xxii]
            When Bernarr returned to civilian life in July 1945, he went to Mississippi to visit his grandparents. 

Bernard[sic]Reynolds has returned from overseas and is now visiting in the home of his grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Jap Brown.[xxiii]
            Thelma married again. She married Lucien Woodrow Nelson.[xxiv]She died in 1979 and is buried beside Lucien.[xxv]Bernarr Jesse Reynoldsdied 1 February 1995 in Mississippi.[xxvi]

B. J. Reynolds, 69, of Magnolia, died Feb. 1, 1995, at St. Dominic Hospital in Jackson. Visitation will be from noon Saturday at Hartman Funeral Home of McComb until services at 2 p.m. Saturday in the funeral home chapel, with the Rev. Byron Wilkinson officiating. Burial will be in Silver Creek Baptist Church Cemetery in Pike County. Mr. Reynolds was born in Hinds County [Pike Co.],the son of Thelma Nelson. He was a retired chef for an offshore catering company, Ocean Butler Inc. of New Orleans. He was a U. S. Army veteran of World War II and a member of Silver Springs Baptist Church. He is survived by two sons, Michael Reynolds, of New London, Conn., and Patrick Reynolds, of Lexington, Ky.; and one daughter, Becky Dickens of Bowling Green, Ky.; and one grandson, Jonathan Dickens of Bowling Green.[xxvii]


Do you know more about Thelma?
Contact me.

[i]1920 US Census, MS, Pike (Vol. 48, ED 99, Sheet 6, Line 61, T625 Roll 891) National Archives, Pittsfield, MA. Jap P. Brown.
[ii]1940 US Census, MS, Pike; digital image, Ancestry ( accessed May 2020) Thelma Laddie Brown. 
[iii]US Department of Veterans Affairs, BIRLS Death File, 1850 – 2010; digital image, Ancestry ( accessed April 2020) Bernard Reynolds.
[iv]US Social Security Application and Claims Index, 1936 – 2007; digital record, Ancestry ( accessed May 2020) Bernarr Jesse Reynolds. 
[v]1930 US Census, LA, Washington, Williams Road;; Jasper P. Brown Family.
[vi]1940 US Census, MS, Pike; digital image, Ancestry ( accessed May 2020) Thelma Laddie Brown.
[vii]Personal Mention. (McComb, MS: McComb Daily Journal, 30 December 1936) 4; digital image, accessed April 2020. 
[viii]Marriage License and Certificate for Thelma Laddie Brown and George H. Blakeney, 1938, File #225 (Pike Co., MS).
[ix]The State of Mississippi (McComb, MS: The Enterprise-Journal, 4 April 1938) 4; digital image, accessed May 2020.
[x]Notice to the Public (McComb, MS: The Enterprise – Journal, 29 Aug. 1938) 3; digital image, accessed May 2020. 
[xi]Mrs. Thelma Blakeney (McComb, MS: The Enterprise – Journal, 13 Oct 1938) 6; digital image, accessed May 2020. 
[xii]1940 US Census, MS, Pike, SD 7, ED 57-3, Sheet 2B;; Jap P Brown on Walker Bridge Road.
[xiii]1940 US Census, MS, Pike; digital image, Ancestry ( accessed May 2020) Thelma Laddie Brown. 
[xiv]Loubet Boyd Joins US Army. (McComb, MS: Enterprise – Journal, 4 February 1941)1; digital image, accessed April 2020.
[xv]World War II Enlistment Records; digital image, Fold 3 ( accessed May 2020) Bernarr J. Reynolds.
[xvi]Ohio County Marriage Records, 1774 – 1993; digital image, Ancestry ( accessed May 2020) Thelma Laddie Brown Reynolds.
[xvii]Ohio County Marriage Records, 1774 – 1993; digital image, Ancestry ( accessed May 2020) Thelma Laddie Brown Reynolds.
[xviii]Marriage Licenses. (Fremont, OOH: The News – Messenger, 17 July 1941) 2; digital image, accessed May 2020). 
[xix]Ohio County Marriage Records, 1774 – 1993; digital image, Ancestry ( accessed May 2020) Lancelot M. Johnston.
[xx]News Notes. (Indianapolis, IN: The Indianapolis Star, 28 Feb 1944) 14; digital image, accessed April 2020. 
[xxi]US Department of Veterans Affairs, BIRLS Death File, 1850 – 2010; digital image, Ancestry ( accessed April 2020) Bernard Reynolds.
[xxii]Reynolds Back in U. S. (Indianapolis, IN: The Indianapolis News, 7 July 1945) 9; digital image, accessed April 2020.
[xxiii]Progress. (McComb, MS: Enterprise Journal, 23 July 1945) 3; digital image, accessed Jan 2020). 
[xxiv]Lucien Woodrow Nelson. (McComb, MS: Enterprise-Journal, 31 October 1999) 12; digital image, accessed May 2020.
[xxv]Find A Grave ( accessed May 2020) memorial #16342612, Thelma L. Brown Nelson (Silver Creek Baptist Church Cemetery, Dykes Crossing, Pike, MS). 
[xxvi]Bernarr Reynolds. (McComb, MS: Enterprise – Journal, 2 Feb. 1995) 10; digital image, accessed May 2020. 
[xxvii]B. J. Reynolds. (McComb, MS: Enterprise-Journal, 3 Feb. 1995) 14; digital image, accessed May 2020.

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Spring Dale Academy, 1880, MS

This newspaper article from September 1880 reports on an “exhibition” or recital from Spring Dale Academy in Pike County, Mississippi. Many of the children who participated are connected to our family.  

Spring Dale Academy

Dear Sir – On the 20thinst., I attended an exhibition at Spring Dale Academy, situated on a small stream near J. P. Welsh’s, in the lower part of this county. The examination was conducted by an excellent young teacher, Mr. S. R. Ellis, assisted on the occasion by his old teacher, Prof. W. H. Dixon who formerly taught in this section of country. There was a good collection of visitors as well as patrons of the school. The day was spent in the examination of the classes, in their various branches. A splendid dinner was provided by the patrons and friends, and all appeared to enjoy it. At early candle light, Prof. Dixon was invited too the stand and he delivered a very interesting address to the students, concluding with a beautiful poem of his own composition, which called forth loud applause. He was succeeded by the students with their single pieces and dialogues, each piece being followed by music from the Washington Parish Brass Band.

The Introductory was delivered by Miss Mary Brown[1], followed by declarations of the junior class, viz.: Ola Alford[2], Mary McMillon, James Berryhill, Oscar Alford[3], James Roberts, Eugene Berryhill[4], Eugene Roberts, Jewell Alford[5],Robert Berryhill[6]and Albert Alford[7]. An interesting piece in concert then followed, admirably recited by Misses Mollie Welch, Annie Alford[8]and Mary J. Alford[9]. This was followed by an amusing dialogue by Messrs. Benton Roberts and Louis Roberts. Then came Upward and Onward by Mr. Layton Roberts well recited. Mr. Weston Fortenberry then gave us The Friends. The well known and pleasing lyrie, Lord Ullin’s Daughter, enabled Mr. Andrew J. Alford[10]to show his appreciation of this beautiful piece. Mr. Eugene McClendon[11]then appeared in the Story of the Young Student. Then followed the amusing dialogue of the Tumbled Down School House, by Messrs. Thos. Magee, Louis Welch and Eugene McClendon. Mr. Benton Roberts then depicted the Woes of the Bachelor. That piece was followed by the Landing of the Pilgrims, by Miss Aner Alford. Then followed the most exciting dialogue performed, the Cole Sisters, the characters of which were well sustained by Misses Mary Brown, Jane Fortenberry, Nannie McClendon, Messrs. Thos. Magee, Andrew I. Alford and Benton Roberts. Then followed the presentation of a Banner to the teacher by the students, in a touching and beautiful address by Miss Mary Brown. The Banner was borne most gracefully by the lovely little standard bearer, Miss Mollie Welch, representing in full the national colors of our glorious republic. On a shield in the right hand center, appeared in truly artistic lettering the following words: “Gratitude – Presented to our Teacher, Mr. S. R. Ellis by the Students of Spring Dale Academy, August 20th, 1880, Pike County, Miss.” The Banner was received by Mr. Ellis with a few very appropriate remarks, after which they adjourned, all well pleased with their exhibition.

[1]Mary Brown. This is most likely Mary E. Brown, daughter of Allen Moses Brown & Emmaline Smith. She was born 13 Aug 1861, making her 19 years old.
[2]Ola Alford. Daughter of Julius Newton Alford & Mary Margaret Brumfield. Born 1871; 9 years old.
[3]Oscar L. Alford. Son of Ira Newton Alford & Samantha N. Ott. Born 1874; 6 years old.
[4]Mark Eugene Berryhill. Son of Mark Anthony Berryhill & Nancy Jane Alford. Born c 1864; 16 years old.
[5]Jewell Alford. Daughter of Julius Newton Alford & Mary Margaret Brumfield. Born 1871; 9 years old.
[6]Robert Berryhill. Son of Mark Anthony Berryhill & Nancy Jane Alford. Born c 1869; 11 years old.
[7]Albert Alford. Son of Ira Newton Alford & Samantha N. Ott. Born 1872; 8 years old.
[8]Annie Alford.  Daughter of Ira Newton Alford & Samantha N. Ott. Born 1870; 10 years old.
[9]Mary J. Alford. Daughter of Julius Newton Alford & Mary Margaret Brumfield. Born 1868; 12 years old.
[10]Andrew Jackson Alford. Son of Jeptha Josephus Alford MD & Fanny Roberts. Born 1866; 14 years old.
[11]Eugene Wellington McClendon. Son of David Jackson McClendon & Eliza Jane Smith. Born 1867, 13 years old. 

Source: Spring Dale Academy. (Magnolia, MS: The Magnolia Gazette, 3 Sep 1880) 2; digital image, accessed June 2020.