Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Wedding: Fortenberry – Pritchett, 1932 MS

This little wedding announcement leads to many questions. Only basic information is included. Who were the parents of the groom? When were they married? Because this was published in early January 1932 I wonder if they were married in late 1931. It would be nice to learn more about the happy couple.


Laura Mae Fortenberry Pritchett

25 March 1905 MS - 12 Jan 2001 MS

Daughter of James Calvin Fortenberry & Ella Blackwell


John Cary Pritchett

1904 AL - 1966

Married. Miss Laura Mae Fortenberry and J. C. Pritchett of New Orleans were married in the home of the bride’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. J. C. Fortenberry, the Rev. T. W. Green, conducting the ceremony.



Source: Married. (McComb, MS: Semi – Weekly Journal, 2 Jan 1932) 4; digital image, March 2021.

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Forget Me Not: Lucy Pope Fortenberry, 1931 MS

I always want more from an obituary. This tells us Lucy was the mother of 11 children but only 8 are named. Did the others die before her or were their names just forgotten here? This article says she was the daughter of a pioneer family. They must be important in the history of southern MS. Why not include the names of her parents? 

Lucy (Pope) Fortenberry

c 1854 – 1931 MS

Wife of Merida A. Fortenberry
Wife of my 1st cousin, 4x removed

Prominent Resident of Marion is Buried

Columbia, June 23 – Mrs. Lucy Fortenberry, aged 77 years, widow of the late Merida A. Fortenberry, who died late Sunday at the home of her son-in-law and daughter, Mr. and Mrs. I. C. Applewhite on West avenue, this city, was buried Monday at Cedar Grove Baptist Church five miles north of Columbia, where her membership was held for many years.

Mrs. Fortenberry, before her marriage, was Miss Lucy Pope, a daughter of one of South Mississippi’s pioneer families, and was the mother of eleven children, as follows:

Two sons, Dr. Ratliff A. Fortenberry and
Henry Fortenberry of Columbia;
And six daughters,
Mrs. E. R. Applewhite,
Mrs. W. B. Barnes,
Mrs. Chas. Newson,
Mrs. I. C. Applewhite and
Mrs. Arthur Brown of Wiggins.

The funeral service was held at Cedar Grove church, the Rev. W. E. Farr, a former pastor of the deceased, of Prentiss officiating.

Source: Prominent Resident of Marion is Buried (Jackson, MS: Clarion-Ledger, 24 June 1931) 7; digital image, accessed August 2020.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Birthday Celebration for Mary Jane Alford Fortenberry, 1950 MS

I wish this newspaper article mentioned the date of Mary Jane's birthday. I know she was born in April but I don't know the day. She had a lot of guests to help her celebrate. I wonder what they served for dinner. I am always trying to learn more.



Mary Jane (Alford) Fortenberry

Born April 1868 MS - 1957

Daughter of Julius Newton Alford & Mary Margaret Brumfield

Wife of Pedro M. Fortenberry


My 1st cousin, 3 x removed

Progress News.


Mrs. Mary Jane Fortenberry, wife of the late Pedro Fortenberry, was honored Sunday with a birthday dinner on her 82nd birthday. The dinner was held in the home of her niece, Mrs. Vernon Schilling.


Those enjoying the day were the following nieces and nephews:


Rev. Albert Terrell


Mrs. Willie Terrell and son


And Mrs. Solomon Reeves of McComb


And Mrs. Lee Terrell and children of Progress,


Mrs. Bessie Lee Siler,


Miss Hazel Siler,


Mrs. Audrey Smith,


Huelene and Ronald Smith,


Mr. and Mrs. Vernon Schilling, all of Silver Springs,


Mr. and Mrs. Millard Schilling, and three children of Mt. Herman, La.


Friends present were:


Mr. and Mrs. L. Q. Fortenberry, [Lemuel Q. Fortenberry & Lillian Ellzey]


Mr. and Mrs. G. C. Fortenberry, [possibly Grover Cleveland Fortenberry] 


Mr. and Mrs. Earl Fortenberry and daughter,


Mr. and Mrs. Clay Schilling and son and


Rev. and Mrs. Clyde P. Jones and daughter.



Source: Progress News. (McComb, MS: Enterprise – Journal, 4 May 1950) 7; digital image, accessed March 2021.

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Spotlight on: Owen Andrew Mark

Owen Andrew Mark

24 May 1915 OH - 12 Oct 1993 OH

Son of Thomas K. Mark & N. Regina Gruissy

Husband of Blanche Adele Bowers

Father of twins, Denny & Danny

Brother of my paternal grandmother, Ivy Mark Brown; my great uncle

Siblings: Ivy (Mark) Brown, Owen A. Mark & Wava (Mark) Braun in Ohio
Photo taken by my father, Delbert Keith Brown

Thomas and Regina Mark had four daughters before their first son, Owen, was born on 24 May 1915.[1]  Later another son and daughter were born to the family for a total of five daughters and two sons. Owen married Blanche A. (Bowers) MarkHe served in the Army in World War Two. Prior to enlistment he had finished four years of high school. He was married and working as a blacksmith.[2]His sister, Wava, wrote, 

Owen was in the army, a Sergeant first class in World War II. He was in Germany, France and Belgium. In March 1943 he was at Camp Perry, Ohio. He was in Transport Company 284 and Honorably Discharged January 13, 1946. He had several medals.[3]

            Owen wrote to his sister, Ivy (Mark) Brown while he was in the service. In one letter he congratulates his sister on the birth of her seventh child, William born May 1944.


Received your letter. Was a bit surprised to hear you had a 10 lb. Boy. You certainly have a nice family. You have a Basket Ball Team of Boys all your own. Kids are nice to have on hand when you are older I guess. Never thought much about it…. Remember the fun we had as Kids? I was a mean Brat! But you never told on me Like the other girls when Bill and I would get into a fight or something. I still can’t remember or picture you as a silver haired lady. I like to Remember you as I remember you I guess, blond, blue eyes, always seeing the funny side. I figure on seeing you all and those Beautiful Catskills and rivers (They say). I am just gonna sit in the Sun and see who can spit the farthest. The way I feel now, I’d make a perfect Bum. How’s Roy? Never hear about him. Wish I had a bottle of whiskey like he used to get. Well keep your chin up and I Hope you’re feeling Great, Owen.[4]


            He wrote to Ivy again in January 1945.


Received your letter of Aug, 23/44 recently. It must have taken one heck of a time to get out of those Rip Van Winkle Hills. Glad you and Isabell had a Good visit. I frankly was worried about you. I heard some rumors you were ill and so was Billie. Hope you’re doing fine. Guess Billy is on his first Legs by now. …I am fine and living good. But want to see the states. I kinda like to see you all and the hills when I can. Will win the war on this side one of these Days. I got it all figured. It will be sudden and surprise most of people when we do. For Heavens sake look at my address. The last few times and your Box went to a very old address. I have had 3 APO’s since the address you had. But write if it’s in care of RFD. Your box was very welcome and I thank the Brownies for it. I write to Harold every week but haven’t got together yet. I wonder what’s gonna happen when we come home. Things aren’t gonna be smooth. How’s Clarence? I wish he had got in medics here rather than in the hospital in the states. But he is safe anyway. That’s a lot. Well must close and Love to you all – Owen.[5]


Owen’s neice, Genevieve (Brown) Wieland wrote, “Uncle Owen fought with General Patton’s troops in Africa during World War II and was with Patton in Paris at the end of the war.”[6]

During World War Two the Wadsworth community supported the one thousand forty – four men who served their country. The county history books include the name of Owen Andrew Mark in lists of men who served. The community purchased War Bonds, contributed to U. S. O. drives and helped with Red Cross projects. In August 1945 the people of Wadsworth turned out in great numbers in the town’s square to celebrate when peace was achieved.[7]


Spontaneous and impromptu demonstrations by segments of the milling crowd, which converged downtown within minutes of the President’s message, were hysterically happy expressions that the long strain was ended. Factory whistles, the fire siren, automobile horns, bells and noisemakers of all kinds provided deafening sound effects to the heart – thrilling spectacle.[8]

Owen was a machinist for Ohio Injector for 40 years. After he retired he was a truck farmer. Owen’s wife, Blanche, worked in a match factory while he was in the service. After he returned they had twin sons: Danny A. Mark and Denny B. MarkOwen and Blanche divorced 25 July 1949.  Blanche and the twins moved to California.Owen had little contact with his sons after their move. He did go out to California fortheir high school graduation. Tragically, Danny was killed in a motorcycle accident 15 September 1974 in California.[9]  

Owen visited Dennya couple times in CaliforniaIn the 1990’s Denny lived with his mother. She was ill and he took care of her.  Denny continues to live in California.[10]

            I sawOwen in July 1993 at the home of Alvin and Wava (Mark) Braun.  At that time he was being treated for cancer. He was getting around by using a cane. He was very friendly. Owen Andrew Mark died from cancer on 12 October 1993.[11]He was cremated and his ashes scattered over his 14-acre farm at 1630 River Styx Road, Medina, Ohio. His brother, Clarence, and sister, Wava, were present. His son, Denny, was unable to travel from California.  

Owen Andrew Mark on his Ohio Farm
Photo taken by my father, Delbert Keith Brown

 Owen’s obituary said,

Owen Andrew Mark, 78, of Medina, died Tuesday, Oct. 12, 1993, at Wadsworth - Rittman Hospital. Mr. Mark was born May 24, 1915, in Wadsworth. He was a life member of Wadsworth V. F. W. post 170 and Wadsworth F. O. E. 2117. Mr. Mark was retired from Con - Val Co., where he had worked for 41 years. He was a World War II Army veteran. Mr. Mark is survived by his son, Denny of Perris, Calif.; brother, Clarence of Greenville, Ohio; sisters, Vera Ballard of Lakeland, Fla., Ivy Brown of Kinderhook, N. Y., Viola Noestein [sic]of Port Orange, Fla., and Wava Braun of Seville; and three grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his sister, Isabella Ream; and son, Danny. There will be no services. The Hahn Funeral Home in Barbersville is in charge of all arrangements. The family suggests memorial donations may be made to the American Cancer Society.[12]


The above story of Owen was taken from my book,

The Mark Family Story.

[1]Certificate of Birth for Owen Andrew Mark, 24 May 1915, Registration Dist. # 828,Primary Registration Dist.#2869, Registered # 49, State of Ohio, Bureau of Vital Statistics.

[2]National Archives and Records Administration. U.S. World War II Army Enlistment Records, 1938-1946[database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2005

[3]Letter from Wava (Mark) Braun (9846 Lee Road, Seville, Ohio) to author, July 2005.

[4]Letter from Owen Mark (993 H. A. M. Co., A. P. O. 350, c/o Post Master, NY, NY) to Ivy (Mark) Brown (New York State).

[5]Letter from Sgt. Owen Mark (993 H. A. M. Co., A. P. O. 228, c/o Post Master, NY, NY) to Ivy (Mark) Brown (New York State), 13 Jan 1945.

[6]Letter from Genevieve (Brown) Wieland (14 Vandenburg Lane, Latham NY) to author, August 2005.

[7]The Medina County Historical Society, . History of Medina County. Fostoria, Ohio: The Gray Printing Company, 1948.


[9]Interview with Denny B. Mark; phone calls with author on 1994 & 1997.


[11]Certificate of Death for Owen Andrew Mark, 12 October 1993, Certificate #087372, State of Ohio, Department of Health.

[12]"Owen A. Mark." Medina County Gazette August 15, 1993: 2A. From Medina County Library, 210 S Broadway Street, Medina, Ohio.

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Forget Me Not: William Jasper Smith, 1950 MS

What I like about this obituary, as a genealogist, is that William is a 'Pike Native' and was from an "outstanding pioneer" family. Those clues showed me he was one of 'our' Smiths. My research taught me that our Smith family was in the area by 1808. Pike County, MS was formed in 1815. William's great grandparents, Jeremiah & Joanna, moved there from Lancaster District, South Carolina. According to tradition they moved their belongings in a cart.

William's first wife, Martha Aner Alford, 1867 - 1926, was my first cousin 3x removed. She was the daughter of Junius Newton Alford & Mary Margaret Brumfield. They had 7 children.

William Jasper Smith

7 February 1862 MS – 31 March 1950 MS
Son of: William Jeremiah M. Smith & Rachel A. Ellzey
My 1st cousin, 3x removed

Wm. J. Smith, Pike Native, Passes at 88
Services Sunday for Resident of Biloxi for the Past 26 Years

William Jasper Smith a native of Pike County where his forbearers were among the outstanding pioneer families, succumbed at 12:15 p. m. Friday, March 31 at his residence in Biloxi, where he had lived for the past 26 years.

Mr. Smith was 88 years of age, having been born Feb. 7, 1862, in the community known as Smithburg, in Pike County. He ws the son of the late William Jeremiah and Rachel Ellzey Smith.

Funeral services were held Saturday afternoon at two o’clock, from Silver Springs Baptist Church, with Rev. C. P. Jones conducting, and Rev. F. W. Gunn of Poplarville assisting. The deceased had been a member of the Baptist faith for 65 years, the past 24 years of which he had been affiliated with First Baptist Church of Biloxi.

Masonic Rites Given

He was a Mason, belonging to Rising Glory Lodge of Osyka. Rites of the fraternal order were administered at graveside, with Masons also serving as pallbearers.

He married Miss Aner Alford in December, 1889, and six children were born to the union. His first wife preceded him in death by many years, and he married Miss Eva Boldt in Biloxi in October, 1924.

Surviving are three daughters,
Mrs. S. L. Hoak, Jennings, La.;
Mrs. J. A. Ott and
Mrs. D. C. Siler, both of Osyka;
a son, E. C. Smith, Osyka; [Eugene C. Smith, 1891 MS - 1969]
a half-brother, B. N. Schilling, Bogalusa, La.;
a half-sister, Mrs. J. D. Rimes, Picayune;
six grandchildren,
seven great grandchildren
and many other relatives.

Burial was in Silver Springs Cemetery with Hartman Funeral Home in charge of services.

Source: Wm. J. Smith, Pike Native, Passes at 88 (McComb, MS: Enterprise-Journal, 3 April 1950) 7; digital image, accessed August 2020.

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Sunday, April 4, 2021

Engagement: Julia Toy Brumfield, 1950 MS

It is always nice when a newspaper article includes a photo!


Julia Toy Brumfield

Born 2 November 1922

Daughter of: Frank Richard Brumfield & Julia Gardner

Engaged to Lindsey B. Murphree


Miss Julia Toy Brumfield – the engagement of Miss Julia Toy Brumfield, above, daughter of Frank B. Brumfield and the late Mrs. Frank Brumfield of near Magnolia, to M-Sgt Lindsey B. Murphree of Decatur, Ala., son of Mr. and Mrs. E. L. Murphree of that city, has been announced by her father.


Miss Brumfield graduated from Magnolia High school with honors and attended Southwest Junior College. Later, she completed a business course at Soule College, New Orleans. Since that time she has been employed by her brothers, Messrs. Joe, Frank and Thad Brumfield, and sister, Mrs. Tom Stout, at Brumfield’s Inc., in Pascagoula. The wedding will take place in that city on April 4. They will make their home at Craig Air Base, Selma, Ala., where M – Sgt. Murphree is stationed.




Source: Miss Julia Toy Brumfield. (McComb, MS: Enterprise – Journal, 22 Mar 1950) 3; digital image, accessed March 2021.