Thursday, May 27, 2021

Forget Me Not: Nelson Tate Ott, WWII Pilot

This obituary has a wealth of information about the life of Nelson as well as genealogy data. Nelson was a good example to his children and the rest of his family, a brave man and involved citizen. 

Nelson Tate Ott 
10 March 1917 LA - 25 June 1996 LA
Son of Charles Jacob Ott & Lillie Nelson Tate

Photo from

Nelson Tate Ott, 79, of Osyka, died June 25, 1996, at Baton Rouge, La., General Health Center. Visitation is 6 – 9 tonight at Hartman Funeral Home of McComb. Services will be held at 11 a. m. with the Rev. Joe Trull officiating. Burial will be in Osyka Cemetery.


Mr. Ott was born March 10, 1917, in Hackley, La. He was the son of Charles Jacob and Lillie Tate Ott. He was reared in Osyka. He was a graduate of McComb High School, where he excelled in football. He graduated from Oklahoma A & M (now Oklahoma State) where he lettered four years in football.


He was a captain in the U. S. Air Force. He was a pilot and instructor at Foster Field, Texas. He flew a P-47 in combat in the European Theater, where he received numerous citations.


After World War II, he returned to Osyka with his wife, June, who was a first Lieutenant in the U. S. Air Force. There he taught school and coached for 35 years in the surrounding areas of Mississippi and Louisiana. He retired as principal of Osyka Elementary School.


He served as alderman for the Town of Osyka. He was a member of Osyka Baptist Church.


In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his sisters, Rebecca Ott Best, Gena Ott Trask and Zelma Ott; and his brother, Charles Jacob Ott, Jr.


Survivors include his wife of 52 years, June Balogh Ott of Osyka; four daughters,

Doris Ott Harris of Houston, Texas,

Sara Ott Wall of Denham Springs, La.,

Becky Ott Applewhite of Summit and

Donna Ott Speed of Chatawa;

One son, Nelson Tate Ott, Jr. of Osyka;

One son-in-law, Jack Speed of Chatawa;

One daughter-in-law, Ruthie Ott of Osyka;

Seven grandchildren, Mandy Wall, Leigh and Lesley Harris, Courtney and Allison Applewhite, and June and Dan Speed; and a host of nephews, nieces, other relatives and friends.


Source: Nelson Tate Ott, Sr. (McComb, MS: Enterprise Journal, 27 June 1996) 8; digital image, accessed Feb. 2021.


Monday, May 24, 2021

Moving & Moving Again! Dr. Andrew Fortenberry, 1931 & 1933 MS

In the years I have researched the Fortenberry family I have discovered variations on the spelling of the name. Originally, in Holland, they were "Van Valkenberg". In later generations the most common variation on the name is Fortinberry/Fortenberry. The following newspaper clippings use both spellings for Andrew. I decided, some time ago, to use 'Fortenberry' for all of that family to keep them all in one place; rather than dividing them up by spelling.

I have found Andrew Fortenberry in US Census reports. In 1900 he was farming; in 1910 he was a "physician general practice" and in 1930 he was a "medical physician." These articles show movements of Andrew, his family & his medical practice.



Andrew Jackson Fortenberry

2 August 1879 MS – 2 October 1956 LA

Son of William Jackson Fortenberry & Canolia A. Simmons

Husband of Victoria Brock

Father of Sheldon Jasper Fortenberry & Joseph S. Fortenberry

My 2nd cousin, 3x removed

Dr. Fortenberry Comes to McComb

Establishes Office in Frith’s Drug Store and Will Practice Medicine in Pike


Dr. A. J. Fortenberry, of Carthage, Miss., has moved with his family to McComb and will engage in the practice of medicine here. Dr. Fortenberry, who is a brother-in-law of Dr. L. W. Brock, has his office in the Frith Drug Store on Main and Boulevard.


The people of McComb extend a hand of welcome to Dr. Fortenberry and his family. We hope that they will like our city.


Source: Dr. Fortenberry Comes to McComb. (McComb, MS: Semi-Weekly Journal, 7 Oct. 1931) 5; digital image, accessed March 2021.




Dr. Fortinberry Moves to City


Dr. A. J. Fortenberry, formerly of McComb, has announced the opening of offices in Jackson for the general practice of medicine.


A practitioner for 29 years standing, Dr. Fortinberry is quite well known in Pike, Rankin, and Leake counties where he was formerly located in the practice of his profession.


He is a brother of C. L. Fortinberry and Glen Fortinberry, inventors of Mississippi’s lock-strip theft-proof license tags.



Source: Dr. Fortinberry Moves to City. (McComb, MS: Enterprise – Journal, 26 May 1933) 1; digital image, accessed March 2021.


Thursday, May 20, 2021

Corn Farming, William H. H. Brumfield, 1885 MS

This is an interesting piece about corn farming. It is nice to find information about a family member, that is not in an obituary. William was giving some farming advice. We had many farmers in our family & I'm sure they could have given many useful farming tips.



William Henry Harrison Brumfield

19 Jul 1840 MS – 22 Jun 1931 MS

Son of Isaac Brumfield & Elizabeth Holmes

Husband of Catherine Conerly

We received a pleasant and appreciated call from Mr. William H. H. Brumfield a progressive planter residing north of Walker’s bridge, east of the river, on Saturday last. Mr. B., says that some of his neighbors are through planting corn; but that he is not yet done. He believes in going a little slow at first, particularly in cold weather, and he always more than makes up in the outcome. He has plenty of old corn in his crib yet, which is proof of his late system.


Source: Wm. H. H. Brumfield. (Magnolia, MS: The Magnolia Gazette, 26 Mar 1885) 2; digital image, accessed March 2021.

Saturday, May 15, 2021

84 Years Ago: Wedding of Brumfield - Melton, 18 May 1937 MS

This newspaper article tells of the wedding of two teachers. The bride had "unusual charm and beauty" and the groom was an "outstanding football player." They would be married for over 50 years.


Dudley Copeland Brumfield

29 May 1909 MS – 28 September 2002 MS

Son of Henry Sims Brumfield, Jr. & Mary Sauls


Maxine Melton

1914 MS - 1991

Daughter of J. E. Melton


Married 18 May 1937 MS


Brumfield – Melton Marriage Announced; Wedding May 18th


Mr. and Mrs. J. E. Melton, until recently of Canton, now of Vance, Miss., announce the marriage of their daughter, Maxine, to Mr. Dudley Brumfield, son of Mr. and Mrs. Henry S. Brumfield of McComb.


The wedding took place on Tuesday, May 18, at the home of Dr. Bracey Campbell in Canton with Dr. Campbell performing the impressive ceremony. 


Mrs. Brumfield is a young woman of unusual charm and beauty. She is a graduate of MSCW and has taught English in the Durant high school the past session. Mr. Brumfield received his BA degree at Millsaps College at Jackson in 1933, where he was an outstanding football player. He has been coach and math teacher in Durant schools the past few years. The happy young couple will make their home in Durant where Mr. Brumfield will teach next session. Mr. and Mrs. Brumfield are spending a few days with the groom’s parents in McComb where they have many friends who are extending congratulations and best wishes for many happy years.



Source: Brumfield – Melton Marriage Announced; Wedding May 18th. (McComb, MS: McComb Daily Journal, 8 Jun 1937) 3; digital image, accessed March 2021.

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Monday, May 10, 2021

180 Years Ago: Wedding of Brown - Monroe, 12 May 1841 OH

 Moses Brown, Sr. was my 4x great grandfather. His first wife, Sarah Robertson was my 4x great grandmother. She died & he married again. He & his second wife were the  parents of Moses Brown Jr. At the time this newspaper article was written, Moses & Elizabeth had been married 66 years. They went on to be married an incredible 71 years!

Moses Brown, Jr.

15 January 1820 MS – 22 April 1912 IA

Son of Moses Brown & Nancy Chandler Perkins


Elizabeth Monroe

23 May 1824 VA – 13 February 1913

Married 12 May 1841 Ohio


At the annual banquet of the Octogenarian society Thursday, Hon. Isaac Brandt presented his list of “Golden Weddings in Polk County.” Mr. Brandt has spent much time upon this list, which he now believes is complete. The list follows:


Moses Brown was born Jan. 15, 1820, in Marion county, Mississippi. Elizabeth Monroe was born May 23, 1824, in Culpepper county, Virginia. Moses Brown and Elizabeth Monroe were united in marriage May 12, 1841, in Logan county, Ohio. Post office, Mitchellville.

[There were others also listed.]


Source: (Des Moines, IA: The Des Moines Register, 1 Nov 1907) 4; digital image, accessed March 2021.

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Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Spotlight on: Clarence William Mark

My Great Uncle Clarence was a patient, soft spoken gentleman. He helped me immensely with my genealogy research. He answered my endless questions without complaint. He and Aunt Lavon showed warm hospitality when we visited them in Ohio. They are missed by many.

Clarence William Mark

30 May 1917 OH – 1 August 2006 OH

Son of Thomas K. Mark & N. Regina Gruissy

Husband of Lavon Eleanor Moyer

Brother of my paternal grandmother, Ivy Mark Brown

Mark Siblings: Ivy & Clarence, OH

Clarence, born 30 May 1917, was the sixth of the seven children of Thomas and Regina Mark.[1]  He grew up in Medina County, Ohio in the midst of a big extended family. At the age of eighteen he graduated from high school. It was 1935 and jobs were scarce. His brother Owen was in the Civilian Conservation Corps and was working in Yellowstone Park. Clarence joined too.[2]

            Clarence’s daughter, Glenda (Mark) Jordan wrote about this time in her father’s life. 


My father was sent to Zanesville, Ohio where the camp was set up at a golf course.  The men at his camp were to build dams out of clay for farmers to provide water for their cattle and use for emergencies. One such emergency arose during his work there and the men used the water to fight a barn fire at one of the farms they had been working on.  They carried the water in milk cans to pour into the pumper.  The barn was destroyed but they managed to save an adjoining building. In the fall the men also gathered seeds from trees such as Black Locust, Popular and Ash for the government nursery.


During their time of service, the men stayed in barracks with five or six men living in each.  They were paid thirty dollars a month for their work.  At the end of the month, twenty-five dollars was sent directly home to their families and the men each received five dollars.  At first this didn’t seem very fair but my father explained that the purpose of the CCC was to get the young men off the streets and give them something to do while providing money for their families.


My father spent a total of nine months in the CCC. When his time of service ended, he returned home and looked for work in local factories.  It was almost a year before he was hired in a valve factory in the spring of 1936.  He was paid forty cents an hour and worked there until he was laid off in 1939.


At this time he began working on a relief program maintaining the local park and tennis courts.  He was eligible for this program because his father had been disabled since an accident in 1930.  His father had received compensation from the state of Ohio but his benefits had recently terminated as he had received the maximum allowed.  It was another two years before an appeal would declare him permanently disabled and entitle him to receive benefits for the rest of his life. This resumption of benefits certainly helped to ease the burden on the rest of the family.


For a brief time my father also worked in the Works Project Administration. He worked with young people at the Methodist Ohio Christian Youth Festival.  This provided my father with opportunities for contact with college professors who had come to teach.  He had never considered college before as an option in his life but through these contacts he became interested and enrolled at Baldwin-Wallace in Cleveland, Ohio in 1940. His father gladly provided some of the money for college since my father had spent several years supporting the family.


With the growing inevitability of the U. S. involvement in WWII, the draft began that same year, 1940.  However, my father received a deferment because he was in college.  After two years of study at Baldwin-Wallace, he developed rheumatic fever which caused him to return home over the summer to recuperate.  By this time, the U. S. had declared war on Japan and my father’s draft number had come up.


When the war broke out in 1938, my father had already decided that in the event of war he would want to be a Conscientious Objector.  Before he could be granted that status an appeal board had to hear his case. This had to be delayed because of his illness.  After a one month extension the judge granted my father a 4-E status and he began service in the Civilian Public Service.


The CPS was administered by the Brethren, Mennonite, and Quaker churches and my father was allowed to choose which church he would like to work for. Because he had already known something of the other two, he chose the one which he was not familiar with, the Church of the Brethren.  I guess that is typical of my father.  He is always ready for a new experience.


My father was sent to the base camp at Marionville, PA where he spent the next four months maintaining the Allegheny forest.  Most of his duties were chopping wood, clearing fire ditches, and timber thinning.  He was paid two dollars and fifty cents per month by the church.


During my father’s stay at Marionville, personnel from a Connecticut mental hospital came asking for volunteers to go there to work.  Many doctors and nurses had been drafted leaving the hospital short of help. He decided to go because it would be a better opportunity to help people.  He describes it as very tiring work.  The volunteers were on call twenty-four hours a day. After two years he asked for a transfer to something different.


My father was then sent to a Medical School in New Haven Conn. where he took part in experiments to see how hepatitis spreads.  He was used basically as a “guinea pig” during these experiments. Fortunately he didn’t get sick. He remained at the school for nine months until he was transferred back to base camp.


In February of 1946 the government took over the base camp and transferred my father to Gatlinburg, Tennessee where he cleared trails through the mountains until his discharge in April of that same year.


From Gatlinburg my father hitchhiked to North Manchester, Indiana.  Because of his work in the CPS, the Church of the Brethren offered him four years free tuition at any of their colleges. He was so impressed with the church’s generosity and also their stance on pacifism and service to others that he wanted to be a good place to meet a woman of the same ideals and values.  He was right.  He and my mother married after their graduation from Manchester College.[3]



              Clarence’s niece, Genevieve (Brown) Wieland, also wrote about the war years.  She wrote, “Uncle Clarence had deeply felt religious convictions that led him to become a conscientious objector. He nearly lost his life in a hospital in Conn. when they experimented on him with drugs to find a cure for malaria.”  His sister, Wava wrote, “They tried to inject him with Diseases so they could try and cure it.  But he didn’t catch it.  So they made him a cook.”[4]

            Lavon E. (Moyer) Mark wrote about her romance with Clarence,


We met at Manchester College, Indiana.  He was back from CPS & I was finishing my college work that summer. We dated until Christmas and then broke up.  We both became engaged to someone else, but got back together again and were married on Thanksgiving of 1950.  We had 55 good years together.[5]


            On 23 November 1950 Clarence married Lavon E. (Moyer) Mark.  They were both teachers. Lavon wrote, “Clarence and I taught at the same school those 15 years that he taught before we retired. We rode back and forth together. I taught 31 years, mostly second grade.”  They had two daughters, Teresa A. (Mark) Fryman and Glenda (Mark) Jordan.[6]  

            A July 1993 trip to Ohio included a visit with Great Uncle Clarence and Aunt Lavon.  He shared family genealogy information and Aunt Lavon cooked a delightful lunch.  My children enjoyed the wooden swing in the backyard, built by Thomas K. Mark.  Adam had a pin collection and Aunt Lavon showed him her collection of over 1,000 pins and buttons.  In December 1993 Clarence wrote, “Today we are to go with our Harmonica Band to play for the Early Risers Club. We have pleasant memories of your visit and your beautiful children playing in our backyard.”[7]

            About 1996 Clarence and Lavon moved to a retirement home in Greenville, Ohio called the Brethren’s Home.  

            Clarence and Lavon celebrated their 50th Wedding Anniversary in 2000. There was a reception at the Greenville Church of the Brethren.  Clarence wrote, “This is a busy month for us as we plan for our 50th wedding anniversary. It is on the 23rd but we will have an open house at the church on the 26th.  Our daughters, Terri and Glenda and their children plan to come on Saturday and have supper with us here at the home.”[8]

            In May 2001 Clarence W. Mark wrote, 


Living in a retirement center is quite different. We moved to be close to Lavon’s parents. ... Our older daughter (Teresa) and her family still live here in town. She is an organist at the Presbyterian Church and a teacher’s aide in the high school music department. Her husband Jim still works for the state care for handicapped.  The older boy Darrell is living here too - has a job in some kind of computers. Andrew is a senior next year at Faith Christian School. Glenda our second daughter lives in Rochester, Indiana. Works at the Public Library that has a children department.  She plans stories and activities for the young children.  We try to keep busy with volunteer work and hope to travel more now but gas prices slow us down.  I am weaving rugs from old denim jeans. Lavon gets called on for music on the piano. We both play in the Darke County Harmonica Band. We play at nursing homes and church or social groups for donations which we give to Hospice.[9]


            In December 2002 Clarence wrote, “We both sing and Lavon plays piano for our choir.  We will have our Christmas program today.  On Christmas we will have our daughter Terri and her family here to eat with us in the dining hall.  We get out every couple months to visit Glenda and hers in Rochester, Indiana.”[10]

            In October 2004 Wava (Mark) Braun wrote, “My brother Clarence and Lavon live in a Nursing Home run by their church in Greenville, Ohio. He had a fall and broke his hip. They think he has had mini strokes.”[11]  In 2005 she wrote, “Clarence not well.  Had a Broken Hip.  Lavon says he doesn’t talk much.  They are giving him therapy hoping to get him to walk better.  Ann and I went to see them twice but it is a long trip.”[12]

            Lavon wrote in January 2005, “Clarence fell and broke his hip. Two weeks later I stumbled over his wheelchair footrests and broke my hip. We were both in the Medical section of this home, but I was able to come back to my room ... Clarence sits in a wheelchair and doesn’t walk and sleeps a lot of the time ... So life has changed for us, but we still have much to be thankful for.  I don’t get away much, but I try to keep up with my playing for the choir here.”[13]

            The following year Clarence W. Mark died. An Ohio newspaper clipping had an obituary,  


Clarence W. Mark, 89, of Greenville, Ohio, passed away Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2006, at the Brethren Home of Greenville.  He was born May 30, 1917, in Medina County, to Thomas K. and Regina V. (nee Gruissy) Mark.  Mr. Mark was a member of Greenville Church of the Brethren, Darke County Harmonica Band and Darke County Retired Teachers Association. He attended Baldwin-Wallace College in Berea, receiving his Bachelor of Science degree from Manchester College and his master’s degree from Ball State University.  He was a retired fifth-grade teacher at North Miami Community Schools of Denver, Ind., having taught there for 15 years.  He also owned a tailoring and pressing shop in Indiana.  He is survived by his wife, Lavon (Moyer) Mark of Greenville, whom he married Nov. 23, 1950; daughters, Terri (Jim) Fryman of Greenville and Glenda Jordan of Rochester, Ind., grandchildren, Darrell (Gina) Fryman, Andrew Fryman, and Justin and Jessica Jordan; sister, Wava Braun of Seville; and numerous nieces and nephews.  He was preceded in death by his parents; sisters, Isabel Nee, Vera Ballard, Ivy Brown and Viola Nothstein; and brother, Owen Mark.  Memorial service: 2 p.m. Friday at the Brethren Home Chapel of Greenville.  The Rev. Todd Reish will officiate.  Burial: Greenville Cemetery at the convenience of the family.  Visiting hours:  One hour prior to the memorial service Friday at the Chapel.  Memorial contributions may be made to the Brethren Home for Residents’ Fund or Hospice of Drake County.  Zechar Bailey Funeral Home in Greenville and Armstrong-Waite Funeral Home in Seville are handling the arrangements.[14]  


            Lavon died 11 September 2007.Her daughter, Teri wrote, “She had been in declining health over the last 6 months and then went through a week long ICU & 2 week hosp. stay.  We were able to get her back to the retirement community in Greenville for 4 days before her death.” [15]

The above story of Clarence was taken from my book,

The Mark Family Story.


[1]Certificate of Birth for Mark, 30 May 1917, Registered District No. 827, Registered No. 53M, State of Ohio, Bureau of Vital Statistics, Medina County Health Department, 4800 Ledgewood Drive, Medina, Ohio. Note: No first name given.

[2]“Interview with Clarence Mark.” 

[3]“American History Report, 1965 – Present”, Spring 1993 by Glenda (Mark) Jordan for Manchester College.

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

[5]Letter from Lavon Mark (750 Chestnut Street, Greenville, Ohio) to author, 17 August 2006.


[7]Letter from Clarence Mark (1346 Jackson Street, Greenville, Ohio) to author, December 1993.

[8]Letter from Clarence Mark (750 Chestnut Street, Greenville, Ohio) to author, 1 November 2000.

[9]Letter from Clarence W. Mark (750 Chestnut Street, Greenville, Ohio) to author, 25 May 2001.

[10]Letter from Clarence W. Mark (750 Chestnut Street, Greenville, Ohio) to author, December 2002.

[11]Letter from Wava (Mark) Braun (9846 Lee Road, Seville, Ohio) to author October 2004.

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

[13]Letter from Lavon Mark (750 Chestnut Street, Greenville, Ohio) to author, January 2005.

[14]"Clarence W. Mark." Medina County Gazette9 August 2006.

[15]Letter from Terri (Mark) Fryman (105 S Broadway St., Greenville, Ohio 45331) to author 15 September 2007.

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Saturday, May 1, 2021

Forget Me Not: Myrtis Fortenberry Dodds, Born in a Hurricane

Myrtis Jane had been born during a terrible hurricane. The roof of the house was blown off; the bed her mother was lying in was broken but the "babe" was uninjured. She clearly went on to live a long life. Read the related post (below) for the details on the hurricane.
Myrtis has a connection to my heart as we were both teachers. I'm sure she touched the hearts of many children and their families.

Myrtis Jane Elizabeth Fortenberry Dodds

12 April 1882 MS – 7 June 1959 MS
Daughter of William Jackson Fortenberry & 
Canolia A. Simmons
Wife of A. M. Dodds

Mrs. Myrtis F. Dodds Dies at Meadville

Funeral services for Mrs. Myrtis Fortenberry Dodds, 77, were held at 2 p. m. Monday in Meadville. The Rev. B. T. Bishop, the Rev. Otis Jones, and the Rev. Mr. Davis were in charge. 

Mrs. Dodds died at her home near Meadville Sunday after a lengthy illness. Burial was in the Silver Springs Church cemetery in Pike County.

She was a daughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. W. Jack Fortenberry, and was reared in the Silver Springs church community. She married Dr. A. M. Dodds, a prominent physician in Franklin County for many years.

Mrs. Dodds spent many years of her life as a teacher, and was active also in church and community affairs. 

She leaves one daughter, Mrs. Aaron Myrt Hemphill, Meadville; one brother, Glenn Fortenberry, Progress; one sister, Mrs. Wanzie Tuttle, Tenn.; two grandsons and a great- granddaughter. 

Source: Mrs. Myrtis F. Dodds Dies at Meadville. (McComb, MS: Enterprise-Journal, 9 Jun 1959) 8; digital image, accessed June 2020).

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