Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Forget Me Not: Burrell Sheldon Fortenberry, 1951 MS

This gentleman was born in Pike County, MS and later lived in Georgia. His obituary lists his siblings but does not name his wife or children.
Do you know their names?

Burrell Sheldon Fortenberry

Photo from WikiTree

27 June 1890 MS – 10 Jan 1951 MS

Forget Me Not

Sheldon Fortenberry, Native of Progress, Expires in Georgia

Pike County friends and relatives received with regret news of the death in McDonough, Ga., of Sheldon Fortenberry on January 10. Funeral services were held there with burial in the McDonough cemetery.

The deceased was a native of the Progress Community, a son of W. Jack Fortenberry. In recent years he had operated factories in Atlanta and McDonough for the manufacture of gin saw filing equipment. Last August he suffered a heart attack and never fully recovered.

He is survived by his wife, two sons and three daughters: also three brothers and two sisters, including Dr. Andrew Fortenberry, Morgan City, La.; Furman Fortenberry, Atlanta, Ga.; Glenn Fortenberry, McDonough, Ga,; Mrs. Myrtis Dodds, Meadville, Miss., and Mrs. Wanzie Tuttle, Knoxville, Tenn.

Sheldon Fortenberry, Native of Progress, Expires in Georgia. (McComb, MS, Enterprise-Journal, 17 Jan 1951) 2; digital image, Newspapers.com: accessed June 2020). 

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Two Smith Brothers Murdered in Bogue Chitto Swamp, 1912 & 1918

These two brothers were both shot and killed in the same area of Bogue Chitto Swamp, several years apart. The first murder was never solved. The second murder was solved because the murderer, who was a relative of the victim, confessed. 

Milton Adolphus Smith & Samuel Wyatt Smith
Sons of Walter Lorraine Smith & Emma Julia Warren
My 1st cousins, 3x removed

Milton Adolphus Smith

18 October 1877 MS – 2 July 1912, 34 years old

Dr. Milton Smith Assassinated
Shot from Ambush by Unknown Men
Blood Hounds Loose Trail After a Short Distance
No Clew [sic] to the Murderers

On Tuesday shortly after noon, while walking towards his father’s house from Warnerton, at a point about one hundred yards east of Stalling bridge, Dr. Milton Smith was shot from ambush and killed instantly by parties yet unknown. The assassins had hidden behind a clayrot, well over-grown with bushes and vines, making a complete screen, and the impressions showed they must have waited hidden, some long time. As Dr. Smith walked along alone thru the swamp and just as he passed beyond the line of waiting men and only about 10 feet from the end of the guns, three heavy loads of buckshot were discharged into his back, tearing and mutilating the body terribly, from which death must have ensued at once. There was no witness to the tragedy but parties at a distance hearing the shots say they came in such rapid succession as too show beyond a doubt that there were at least two who fired from ambush. About 30 minutes after the firing the body was discovered by Mr. Wilkes who gave the alarm and in a short while friends conveyed the remains to the home of W. L. Smith the father of the dead man, where the inquest was held and where the funeral was preached on Wednesday morning by Narvel Fortenberry, interment taking place in the family burial ground in the Mt. Point neighborhood.

Dr. Smith was a well known practicing physician of Mt. Herman, an unusually progressive man of very strong personality.

He leaves a wife and two children, a father, mother and several brothers and sisters to bear the sorrow of his tragic death, the burden being all the greater thru his having been allowed no chance to save his life. 

The sheriff telephoned Tylertown for blood hounds to track the assassins but after following the trail only about a mile they gave up, and there now seems no possible clue to work upon, there being no sign whatever other than tracks made by about a No. 7 shoe.

Source: Dr. Milton Smith Assassinated (Franklinton, LA: The Era – Leader, 4 July 1912) 3; digital image, Newspapers.com: accessed August 2020.

Samuel Wyatt Smith

15 December 1886 MS – 4 October 1918, 31 years old

Sam Smith Shot from Ambush

Sam Smith of the Mt. Point neighborhood was shot from ambush Friday on his way thru Bogue Chitto Swamp near Warnerton, twelve buckshots being fired into the center of his back and producing instant death.

While there was no eye-witness to the killing, George Smith, a neighbor and kinsman of the slain man, called up sheriff Bateman and confessed to the crime and asked that the officer come after him. He was lodged in jail in the night and the grand jury has been called for a special meeting to investigate the matter in advance of the November term of court.

Sam Smith is a son of Mr. Walter Smith and one of the best and sturdiest men of the parish who for years was president of the police jury and who, six years ago suffered a bereavement of his eldest son, Dr. Milton Smith.

Dr. Smith was ambushed from a point in the same swamp only a few yards distance from where his brother was killed Friday, tho [sic] his murderer has never been apprehended. 

Ill feeling has existed between George and Sam Smith for some time, in fact it appears that a case was pending before the grand Jury in which George Smith was accused of having broken the leg of a mule belonging to Sam Smith, and while it is not known whether or not a full statement has been made by the murder yet, it is generally understood that the crime was the outgrowth of the old grudge. Both are men of family, Sam Smith having left a wife and several children.

The deceased was buried Saturday afternoon by the side of his slain brother in the family burying ground at Mt. Point. 

Source: Sam Smith Shot from Ambush (Franklinton, LA: The Era – Leader, 10 October 1918) 2; digital image, Newspapers.com: accessed Aug 2020.

Note: Walter & Emma had 13 other children, not shown in chart.

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Spotlight on: Wava Alice Mark Braun


Wava Alice Mark Braun

22 Jan 1919 OH - 15 Apr 2011 OH

Daughter of Thomas K. Mark &

N. Regina Gruissy

Wife of Alvin Henry Braun

Mother of Ann & Alvina

Sister of my paternal grandmother, Ivy Mark Brown

My great aunt

Wava was the youngest child of Thomas and Regina Mark. Her oldest sister, Isabell, was 16 when Wava was born in 1919. Wava appears in the 1920 census at eleven months old.[1]In the 1930 census she was eleven years old and attending school.[2]

            When Wava was a little girl she had chores. She said she stood on a stool to wash dishes.  She remembered taking bathes in a big tub on the kitchen floor. Wava also remembered a neighbor lady who let them ride her old horse. Wava said, “Clarence and I’d go on down the road and we’d stand on the gate to get on the horse.” She said her family had a cow and chickens.[3]

            Wava remembered the street cars in Wadsworth. Wava and her mother took the street cars as the first step on their way to visit her mother’s sister. She wrote, 


When I was five my mother took me and we walked down Prospect St. to where the street car ran across our road and we got on the street car and went to Wooster, Ohio. We changed to a train and went to Fort Wayne, Indiana and changed trains and went to Grand Rapids, Michigan. Rephenia’s husband, Willis, picked us up in a truck. While we were there we went swimming (playing) in the water. A big wave pulled me in and some swimmers pulled me out.[4]


            Wava’s niece, Genevieve (Brown) Wieland, remembered her aunt coming to visit her parents’ Ohio home. Genevieve was about six years old and Wava was a teenager. Wava would come to their house on weekends to help her older sister, Ivy, to clean her house. These visits had a double purpose. Not only did she help her older sister, she was also able to meet Alvin Braun. Wava’s mother was very strict and not always in favor of these meetings.[5]

            Wava married Alvin H. Braun on 11 January 1941.[6]  She was living with her parents at 181 Bergy Street, Wadsworth, Ohio at the time.  

            Wava and Alvin lived on their farm at 9846 Lee Road in Seville, Ohio for over 50 years.  Wava never drove a car but she could drive a tractor on their farm.[7]She did not slow down as she got older. In April 1994 Wava wrote, 


I helped with the church Rummage Sale. That takes at least three days getting ready. Then Alvin was trying to get the chicken yard moved, so between him and I we managed that. Our neighbor plowed the garden so I want to plant potatoes. It has been too cold nights to plant much yet.[8]


In August 1994 Viola wrote, 


I had so many beans I gave them away, canned 46 Pints and 26 pints red beets, froze Swiss Chard, Broccoli, Cauliflower. Canned elderberries yesterday. Hoping to get a lot of tomatoes but nights are down in the 50s.”[9]


In 1995 Wava gave a big family picnic for Alvin’s 80th birthday.[10]  

            About 1998 there was a fire in the Braun’s farm house. The fire began in a motorized chair for Alvin. The chair would rise up to assist Alvin in sitting and standing. The fire began in the motor of the chair. Wava got her husband up quickly and out of their house. In a Christmas card Wava wrote, “I suppose you heard about our fire, burned out the whole down stairs. Glad to say mostly fixed up and a lot different.”[11]  In a November 1999 letter Wava wrote, “Thankful we are back in our home. But that was a year ago. The house is about as good as it is going to get, after the fire.”[12]

      Alvin died 4 June 2000.[13]Wava wrote, “I had a long hard time taking care of him. He couldn’t even get from his chair unless I had two hands on him and if he fell I had to call the rescue squad to get him up.”[14]His obituary said,

Alvin H. Braun, 84, of Seville, died Sunday, June 4, 2000, at Medina General Hospital. He was born in Kent and was a Medina County resident for 58 years. He was a 50 - year member of the Guilford Grange and a past master. He was also a member of the Farm Bureau and United Methodist Church of Seville. He lived and farmed in Seville for 58 years. He is survived by his wife of 59 years, Wava Braun of Seville; daughters, Ann (John) Long of Wadsworth and Jane (Dick) Perry of Rittman; sister, Leona Webb of Sacherts, N. Y.; six grandsons; one granddaughter; and seven great - grandsons. Service: 11 a. m. Wednesday at Seville United Methodist Church, West Main St. The Rev. Philip Wilden will officiate. Burial: Mound Hill Cemetery, Seville. The family suggests memorial contributions be made to Seville United Methodist Church, P. O. Box 32, Seville, 44273.[15]


     In July 2005 Wava wrote, “I am still on the farm alone.  A good friend or Ann take me to get groceries. I have a walker. I use it to get to the mail box.”[16]Her land was farmed by others. They did the planting and harvesting that Wava and Alvin once did.      In 2007 she wrote, “My corn field is tall. Can’t see up the road.”[17]The barns, hen house, and smokehouse are still there but not used. Wava kept in touch with most of the family and enjoyed visits with cousins, nieces and nephews from all branches of our family. Anyone passing through the area was invited in for a friendly visit. Warm hospitality could always be found at the Braun farm.

      In 2009 Wava moved out of her farmhouse to live in a house on the farm of her daughter, Ann. Ann and her family could help take care of her there. In the fall she moved to Apostolic Christian Home in Rittman.[18]In 2010 she was doing well and enjoying visits from her family. 

    Wava, the youngest child of Thomas and Regina Mark, died 15 April 2011. Her obituary in the Daily Record said:


Wava A. Braun, 92, passed away April 15, 2011 at the Apostolic Christian Home. She was born near River Styx to Thomas and Regina Mark. Wava married Alvin Braun in 1941 and they lived their life on a farm in Guilford Township. Wava was a very active member of the Seville United Methodist Church. She volunteered in many church activities but especially enjoyed the children. She served as Sunday school superintendent, teacher, secretary and was active in the United Methodist Women’s group and the Unity class. Wava also enjoyed embroidery. She was active in the Farm Bureau and Grange. She is survived by daughters Ann (John) Long of Wadsworth and A. Jane Perry of Rittman; seven grandchildren; 20 great-grandchildren; and two great-great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her husband on June 4, 2000. 



[1]1920 U. S. Census, Medina County, Ohio; Volume 147, ED 67, Sheet 5, Line 37, Family History Center Microfilm # 1821417: Thomas K. Mark, Head of Household.

[2]1930 U. S. Census, Guilford, Medina County, Ohio, Sheet 11B. Thomas Mark.

[3]“Interviews with Wava (Mark) Braun”.

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

[5]“Interviews with Genevieve (Brown) Wieland.”

[6]Record of Marriage for Wava A. Mark and Alvin H. Braun, 11 January 1941, Medina County Probate Court, Medina, Ohio.

[7]“Interviews with Delbert K. Brown.”

[8]Letter from Wava (Mark) Braun (9846 Lee Road, Seville, Ohio) to author, 

30 April 1994.


[10]Letter from Wava (Mark) Braun (9846 Lee Road, Seville, Ohio) to author


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

December 1998.

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

25 November 1999. 

[13]Certificate of Death for Alvin H. Braun, 4 June 2000, Ohio Department of Health, Vital Statistics, Medina County Health Department, 4800 Ledgewood Drive, Medina, Ohio.

[14]Letter from Wava (Mark) Braun (9846 Lee Road, Seville, Ohio) to author 2 November 2000. 

[15]"Alvin H. Braun." Medina County Gazette June 5, 2000: 2A. From Medina County Library, 210 S. Broadway St., Medina, Ohio.

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

[17]Letter from Wava (Mark) Braun (9846 Lee Road, Seville, Ohio) to author 1 July 2007.

[18]Letter from Ann (Braun) Long (2619 Reimer Road, Wadsworth, Ohio) to author, 20 December 2009. 

Related Posts:

The above story of Wava was taken from my book,

The Mark Family Story.

Friday, June 11, 2021

Engagement: Linda W. Brumfield, 1930 MS

When I read an announcement of an engagement or wedding I wonder how it turned out. Were they married for many years? What was their life together like? In this case I could find no other newspaper clippings to answer my questions.

Linda W. Brumfield

11 September 1906 MS – December 1994 MS

Daughter of Charles Edgar Brumfield & Katie Leona Freeman


Brumfield – Bilbo Engagement


Mr. and Mrs. Charles Edgar Brumfield, of Magnolia, announce the engagement of their daughter, Linda, to Mr. William Bilbo, Jr., formerly of Hattiesburg. The wedding will take place on the afternoon of Monday, December twenty-second, nineteen hundred and thirty, at half after four o’clock in the First Baptist church in Magnolia. 


No formal cards will be issued but through the social columns of the press all friends and relatives are cordially invited by Mr. and Mrs. Brumfield to be present at the marriage of these young people. 


The prospective groom is a graduate of Millsaps College and for the past two years has been athletic director in the Magnolia high school. He is a former Millsaps athlete and a member the Kappa Sigma fraternity.


The beautiful bride-to-be is the younger daughter of Chancery Clerk Charles Edgar Brumfield and Mrs. Brumfield and attended the University of Mississippi for three years where she was a popular member of the Chai Omega Sorority.


General social interest is centered about the approaching marriage of this young couple owing to the prominence of the families represented and the popularity of those who are to assume the sacred vows.



Source: Brumfield – Bilbo Engagement. (Jackson, MS: Clarion Register, 11 Dec 1930) 7; digital image, Newspapers.com: accessed April 2021.

Sunday, June 6, 2021

1938 MS, Fortenberry Reunion = Good News/Bad News

I was excited to find this news about a Fortenberry Family Reunion. I had found others but this was the earliest. However, as I began transcribing the article, I looked closer at the details. I am not sure who these people are. There are many, many Fortenberrys in MS. The family is huge. I am probably related to them all. However, I am not sure how these folks fit into the picture.

Please reach out to me if you know more about these people.

After posting this & sending a link to the "Fortenberry Family (Genealogy) " FaceBook page, I am happy to say I received a response from L. Flanagan who kindly shared these  family details:

These Fortenberry's are the children and descendants of James Russell Fortenberry and Nancy Jane Newsom Fortenberry. Lula Fortenberry 1864-1955 spouse of Sam Lee . Susan Ella 1866-1959 spouse Gustav Berry, Fannie (Francis ) 1869-1953 spouse Mat (William Mattison Millis)-my great grandparents, William Russell 1871-1965 spouse Carrie Berry, Molly 1874-1947 spouse Web Benson, Daniel W. 1875-1955 spouse Ida Mobley, Robert H (R.H.) 1877-1971 spouse, Brilla Berry, Tina 1881-1946. This large Fortenberry family is from Simpson Co., MS.



Fortenberry Family Gathers Recently


Clinton. July 20. – The Fortenberry reunion was held on the bank of the creek near the home of R. H. Fortenberry, Friday, July 15. Approximately 50 relatives were present.


Present were:


Mr. and Mrs. Sam Lee,


Mr. and Mrs. Tom Van Zandt,


Mr. and Mrs. W. R. Fortenberry, [possibly William Richard, 1875 – 1952]


Mr. and Mrs. R. H. Fortenberry,


Miss Myra Fortenberry,


Tom Fortenberry,


Mr. and Mrs. Mat Mills,


Mrs. Ella Berry,


Mrs. Mallie Benson,


Mr. and Mrs. Lena Fortenberry and sons;


Mrs. Edna Buckley and family,


Mrs. Charlie Lee and family;


Mr. and Mrs. Baron Bishop,


Mr. and Mrs. Hugh Thurman;


Mr. and Mrs. John Fortenberry, [possibly John K., 1857 – 1939]


Mrs. Robert Benson and son,


Master Jimmie and Bobbie Crawford, of Jackson;


Buford Fortenberry,


Mr. and Mrs. T. W. Langston, of Clinton;

Eugene Black,


Master James Louis Garner.


The Fortenberry family plans to make the reunion an annual affair.



Source: Fortenberry Family Gathers Recently. (Jackson, MS: Clarion – Ledger, 21 July 1938) 4; digital image, Newspapers.com: accessed March 2021.

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Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Library Research

 Researching in person, in the places my ancestors lived is my favorite type of research. I like being in the places my family once lived. I like uncovering yellowed documents and reading books that were written decades ago. Touching these things makes me feel a strong connection to the past. Usually this type of research means I pack my car and head to the southeastern states. Recently, I only had to head south for an hour.


Hudson Area Library

51 North 5thSt., Hudson, NY

History Room


I am trying to learn more about people close to me, my father and his siblings. When their parents moved the family from Ohio, they moved to Columbia County, NY and Hudson is the county seat. I have my father’s high school year book which told me what year he graduated and had his photograph. If I could find the yearbooks of his siblings I could learn the same about them.


I looked at the library’s website and discovered they have a History Room with yearbooks. I was able to make an appointment to see those books. I called my older brother who was very interested in joining me.


We found one of our uncles and two aunts in those slim volumes of the “Blue and Gold”.


Leo D. Brown graduated 1949 from Hudson High School.


Genevieve A. Brown graduated 1952 from Hudson High School.

I had not known that my aunt liked art & had considered that as a career. 


Jeanette R. Brown graduated 1953 from Hudson High School.

I had not known my aunt was called "Netzi".

Whenever you have the opportunity to visit a library, an archive, a courthouse or a church where you family lived. I suggest you go. Not all records are on the internet. 

Who knows what you will discover?


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

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