Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Time Out

Please accept my apologies for the lack of recent posts. Now that tax season is officially over, I am hopeful that I can return to regular postings to this blog. See you in a few days.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Heartbreaking Loss times Two

If this doesn't break your heart: two little boys dying within days of each other. Their parents had this lovely double tombstone made for their graves.

Samuel J. M. Green
born Sept. 30, 1875
died July 19, 1879

James A. Green
born Aug. 21, 1877
died July 22, 1879

Little Samuel and James lived with their parents, James and Louisa Allen Green, in the Orwood community of southwestern Lafayette County.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Joshua, son of A.S. and N.M. Green

Underneath a large, old cedar tree in Sand Spring Cemetery lies a pile of stones, obviously piled to mark a grave. At one end of the mound there is a tall marker for a little boy who was just eight months old when he died in November 1861. It is not known whether the infant is buried beneath the pile of stones or if another family member is buried there.

Joshua W. Green was the son of Andrew Shuler Green and Nancy M. Dunlap. You may remember the Dunlap surname from a previous post. Nancy was the daughter of James S. and Nancy Simpson Dunlap.

Sand Spring Cemetery is located in the Orwood community of southwestern Lafayette County, Mississippi.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Under the shade of cedars

It is a pretty good bet that the shade of the oldest trees in a cemetery covers the oldest graves. The roots of this old cedar tree in Sand Spring Cemetery in southwestern Lafayette County are pushing forward the tombstone of James and Nancy Dunlap.

James Dunlap
Oct. 24, 1868
Aged 83 years
Nancy Dunlap
Dec 30, 1864
Aged 76 years

James Sanford Dunlap was born in 1784 in South Carolina and was married to Nancy Agnes Simpson, an Irish immigrant, in 1808 in probably Laurens District, South Carolina. With a surname of Simpson, it is a pretty safe assumption that Nancy was Scotch-Irish and probably arrived with a group of Coventanting Presbyterians to South Carolina.

James and Nancy appear to be relative late-comers to Lafayette County, arriving between 1850 and 1860, from Shelby County, Alabama. Can you imagine the life and travels of Nancy Simpson Dunlap?

1860 Census
Lafayette County, Mississippi
Post Office: Paris (Orwood post office was established until 1881)
Jas Dunlap 75 SC farmer, $1600 real property, $2500 personal property
Nancy 73 Ireland
Sarah 18 AL

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Sand Springs Cemetery

Sand Springs Presbyterian Church and Cemetery is located in southwestern Lafayette County in the Orwood community. The church was established in 1850 when some of the members of the Presbyterian congregation at nearby Water Valley petitioned to build their own church north of the Yocona River. Water Valley was south of the river, and during periods of heavy rain, members were unable to attend church there. Interestingly, the petition refers to the Yocona River as "Yockanypataffa" River, a similar pronunciation to Faulkner's "Yoknapatawpha" County.

The first church building, a log structure that initially was used by all faiths on an alternating basis, was replaced in 1854 by the building seen in the photo below. This building is on the National Register of Historical Places and was designed and constructed by master builder William Turner.

The cemetery is nearby and is rather large for the rural area. Its most striking feature is the stand of beautiful old cedar trees in the middle of the cemetery, and as you might imagine, the older graves are located here.

Orwood, formerly found as Orrwood, was named for named for the Orr family that settled in the area. At one time, the community included a post office, school, stores and a grist mill. Today, the church and cemetery are the only indicators of the former community.

Ira Baxter Orr was the son of Ira Addison Orr and Mary Anne Gray whose families migrated to Lafayette County from Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. He enlisted in the Lamar Rifles of Company G, Miss. 11th Infantry Regiment on April 26, 1861. After the war, Ira married Sallie Hilliard Fernandez in 1871 at College Hill, another early Presbyterian community in Lafayette County. Many descendants of this couple live in Lafayette County today.

1880 Census
Lafayette County, Mississippi
B. Ira Orr 39 NC NC NC farmer
H. Sally Orr 30 SC SC SC wife
J. Mary Orr 8 MS daughter
Margy 4 MS daughter
Carrie 2 MS daughter
Warren 1 mo. MS son

Other children born to the couple included Laura, Ira Jr., Robert, Harry, James, and Addison Walter.

Jack Lamar Mayfield, a local historian, wrote a wonderful history of this church, cemetery and community which appeared in the Oxford Eagle a couple of months ago and supplied much of the information you read here.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Amelia A. McNeely 1901-1919

Amelia Arnold McNeely was the daughter of William David McNeely and his wife, Sarah "Sallie" Jane Smith. According to her grave marker, she died when she was only eighteen years old. How sad. Amelia is buried in Cambridge Cemetery in northeastern Lafayette County, near the Cambridge Methodist Church . Both of her parents rest there as well. I'm a sucker for little lambs in cemetery and am drawn to them first thing. That's what drew me to Amelia's tombstone.

The McNeely family were early settlers to the area. Amelia's great grandfather, David, brought his family from Greenville County, South Carolina.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Wilburn Littlejohn 1895-1924

Love's Last Tribute

Wilburn Littlejohn was the son of John Littlejohn and Delphia Ellen Reid, families found in early Pontotoc and Lafayette counties. William Faulkner refers to the Littlejohns and other families in his book "The Hamlet" when he says "they came from the northeast, through the Tennessee mountains by stages marked by the bearing and raising of a generation of children.....They brought no slaves and no Phyfe and Chippendale highboys; indeed, what they did bring most of them could (and did) carry in their hands."

Many Littlejohns are buried in Cambridge Cemetery in northeastern Lafayette County, including Wilburn's parents. This grave "spoke" to me because of its oval shape and and the words "love's last tribute" on the marker. Interestingly enough, Wilburn's mother, Delphia Reid, was sister to my husband's GGG grandmother, Harriett Reid, who moved to Itawamba County and raised a family there with her husband William Elisha Bowen. You just never know who you are going to "meet" in a cemetery!

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Sarah Young, 1874-1939

Another servant found in the Jones family household was Sarah Young. She is buried in the Jones family cemetery in southern Lafayette County. So often what we find in our genealogical research is information about mothers and fathers. After all, we are looking for our ancestors aren't we? Overlooked and unremembered (is that a word?) are the single people, especially the ones that are dislocated from their siblings and parents. Sarah was one of those people, as was her friend William Hardcastle. Possibly the only sign of Sarah today is her grave marker and the census information below. Take a few seconds to think about Sarah and her life.

1900 Census
Lafayette County, Mississippi
Beat 4
John Browning 70 IL VA SC landlord
Sallie J. 39 TN NC NC
James Jones 19 MS stepson
Lena A. Jones 15 MS stepdaughter
Georgia Jones 13 MS stepdaughter
John Jones 8 MS stepson
Norwood Jones 4 MS stepson
Sarah Young 24 MO Eng Mexico (born 1876)

1910 Census
Lafayette County, Mississippi
Taylor township
Sallie J. Browning 48 widowed TN NC NC boarding house owner (born 1862)
Johnnie P. Jones 18 MS MS TN "son" helper, I.C. Depot
Norwood Jones 16 MS MS TN "son" laborer, driving team
Sarah Young age 38 PA Eng Eng servant (born 1872)
William Hardcastle age 86 single Eng Eng Eng no occupation

1920 Census
Lafayette County, Mississippi
Beat 4
Norwood B. Jones 24 MS MS TN farmer
Carrie Mae 22 MS MS MS
Marvel Marie 5 mo old daughter MS
Sarah Young 44 PA Eng Eng "servant private family"

1930 Census
Lafayette County, Mississippi
Taylor village
Norwood B. Jones 34 MS MS TN farmer
Carrie 32 MS MS MS school teacher
Marvel 11 MS daughter
Norwood L. 9 MS son
Mitchell L. 7 MS son
Sarah H. Young 60 single MS MS MS "housekeeper" with line drawn through

Friday, January 30, 2009

William Hardcastle, English Servant

I wish I could find the grave for William Hardcastle, English servant. He first shows up in the 1880 census as a laborer in the household of Louis B. Jones and his wife, Helen. The census indicates that he was born in 1828 in England and was single. In 1900, William Hardcastle is listed as a servant in Louis's household once again, 75 years old, born in England and with 1855 given as year of immigration to the U.S. After Louis died, William went to live with Sarah Jones Browning, Louis's remarried daughter-in-law. He was still living in 1910, 86 years old, in her household.

William was more than a servant, I believe, because Louis named his youngest son William Hardcastle Jones. Perhaps he is buried in the Jones family plot without a marker. We'll likely never know the circumstances that brought him to Lafayette County from England, but he is remembered now, nearly a century later.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Jones Family Plot

View of graveyard

I spotted this cemetery from the road during a recent drive through the Lafayette County countryside, and my husband obligingly stopped so I could take pictures. It obviously is a family cemetery plot, and based on the names on the tombstones the plot appeared to belong to the Jones and Williams families.

William J. Jones was the oldest person buried there, born September 13, 1802, and his wife Angelina was born August 27, 1809. From the research I've done, William and Angelina owned a fairly large plantation near the community of Taylor in southern Lafayette County. They were born in North Carolina but lived in Tennessee just prior to moving to Mississippi. The 1860 Federal Census indicates that William owned real estate worth $25,000 and had a personal estate worth $45,000. The personal estate was comprised primarily of slaves as the 1860 Federal Slave Schedule indicated ownership of 40 slaves with his son Louis owning 20 slaves.

With such an estate and with several children, I expected to find a lot of information on the Jones family, but actually not much turned up. This was puzzling until I dug a bit more.

William J. Jones

1850 Census
Lafayette County, Mississippi
William J. Jones 45 NC farmer $4,000 real estate
Amelia 27 NC (should be Angelina)
Lewis B. 18 TN student
Hannah P. 14 TN
Edmond 11 MS
Sarah A. 8 MS
John J. Bolin 35 GA carpenter

1860 Census
Lafayette County, Mississippi
William Jones 56 NC farmer $25,000 real estate, $45,000 personal property
Angelina 46 NC
Martha 22 TN
Hannah 20 TN
Edmond 18 TN
Sarah 15 TN
John Hale 35 NC Overseer

Angelina Jones

Records show that William enlisted in Company G, 1st Miss. Infantry in 1861 and served for the duration of the war. As you can tell from the 1870 census, William's land lost much of its value. Both he and Angelina died not long after the census, William in 1871 and Angelina in 1873. No record is found after 1860 for son Edmond so I believe he probably died during the Civil War.

1870 Census
Lafayette County, Mississippi
Township 8
W. J. Jones 68 NC farmer $7500 real estate
Angeline 61 NC
Martha 35 TN
Virgil Tyson NC farmer 'black'
Lucy Tyson 50 KY cook 'black'

L. B. Jones 38 TN farmer $2500 real estate
H. T. 37 TN
David 14 MS
John 9 MS
Lucy 5 MS
William 3 mo MS

1880 Census
Lafayette County, Mississippi
Beat 4
Louis Jones 48 TN NC NC farmer (died 1901)
Helen 44 TN NC NC (died 1896)
John 19 MS at school (died 1898)
Lucy 14 MS (married a Bond, died 1884)
Wm 9 MS (never married, died 1901)
William Hardcastle 52 Eng Eng Eng laborer
Sarah Youngblood 28 MS KY KY cook

What a tragic turn this family took in the following years. In addition to the deaths noted above, Louis and Helen's son David also died, in addition to several of David's children. His mother Helen's tombstone was inscribed, "Tell Davie, and Willie, to meet me in Heaven." I suppose Louis had the tombstone inscribed thus. When his son William H. died in early 1901, the following inscription was put on his tombstone by his father, "When you died my son, my last earthly prop was removed." Louis himself died just weeks later.

The 1900 census includes a household for Louis B. Jones, a farmer, living with his 29 year old unmarried son, William H., and three servants, including one servant born in England. His location was the village of Taylor. As noted, both Louis and his son died in 1901. Louis's daughter-in-law, his son David's widow, had several small children in her household in 1900. So there may be some Jones descendants out there today.

It appears that this family was wiped out one at a time, from various causes throughout the years, and instead of dozens of descendants, William J. Jones has but a few. Only these graves remain to tell the story of this family. No house remains, no other sign of their existence.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Decoration Days

In the years following the Civil War, a Decoration Day was held in Oxford each year to honor those individuals buried in the Confederate cemetery on the campus of the University of Mississippi. By the time 1892 had rolled around, however, interest in such celebrations appeared to be on the wane. To the rescue came a student at the university, W. F. Nelson, of Copiah County, who raised funds, organized the effort to have the graves cleaned off, and planned the ceremonies.

Beginning at the town square of Oxford, probably in front of the Confederate soldier's monument, the day usually began with a lively band that proceeded to head up a processional parade from the square onto campus. Following the band were school children, bearing flowers, and then any former Confederate soldiers. Upon arriving at the cemetery, the flowers were scattered upon the graves and rousing speeches were given. Southern war songs also were usually part of the occasion. This was a scene that was carried out in many small towns throughout the South during those days, and often you will find photographs of old Confederate veterans posing together on the county's courthouse square.

Prior to one such Decoration Day held on the University's campus, perhaps the one in 1892, the graveyard was cleaned up and the boards which were originally placed at the graves of the deceased soldiers were removed, thus making it impossible to later identify them. At one time a list of the names of the soldiers was reported to have been made, but a search for such a register in 1905 turned up empty. Several of the University's building were used as hospitals where soldiers from the armies of Generals Johnston, Bragg, Price, Van Dorn and Forrest received medical treatment. One of the doctors at such a hospital was Dr. Isom, and his assistant, Dr. A. M. King, prepared a list of those soldiers who died in his ward, complete with their names, company, regiment, state and the disease or wound from which they died. These names are included on the monument that now stands in the middle of the cemetery, a mere fraction of the names of the estimated 700-800 soldiers that were buried here.

Source: "Confederate Cemeteries and Monuments in Mississippi" by R. W. Jones as published in the Mississippi Historical Society's 1905 issue of Publications. Richard Watson Jones was a native of Virginia, born there in 1837, and a Vice-Chancellor and Professor of Chemistry at the University of Mississippi.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Between the stadium and coliseum

The soldiers who rest in the Confederate cemetery on the Ole Miss campus are resting in prime real estate. Wonder what they would think of their surroundings today? Above are the views from the cemetery of the basketball coliseum (top) and the football stadium.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Confederate Cemetery - University of Mississippi

Tucked away in a peaceful spot behind Tad Smith Coliseum on the Ole Miss campus is a little-known Confederate cemetery. The soldiers buried here are memorialized by a single, gray stone monument in the center of the graveyard which is itself surrounded by a low brick wall. The Albert Sidney Johnston Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy is responsible for placement of both the stone monument and the brick wall. When I visited there recently, two small Confederate flags flanked the monument.
Below: steps leading up to the monument. You can get an idea of the size of the cemetery. The plaque on the monument indicates that more than 700 soldiers are buried here, mostly Confederate troops but some of Grant's army too.
Below: only a few names are known of the buried soldiers, and these are listed on the plaque. The earliest burials date from June 1862 following the Battle of Shiloh when Confederate troops retreated to Oxford. At that time, the Lyceum building on the campus of the University of Mississippi was used as a hospital for the wounded soldiers. Later that same year, following the Battle of Corinth in September, General Grant and his troops occupied Oxford, and the university's buildings were used by them.

There is a reason why there is just a solitary marker in a rather large, confined area. Sometime around 1900, workers on campus were instructed to clean up the cemetery by cutting the grass and weeds that had grown up around the graves and around the many markers that identified the graves at that time. Carelessly, the workers removed all of the markers in order to make their job easier, but when it came time to replace the markers no one knew which marker went with which grave! The ladies of the Daughters of the Confederacy then had the single monument erected to replace the lost grave markers. Later, in 1936, the original iron fence that encircled the cemetery was in disrepair and was replaced by the current brick wall, using bricks from the previously-burned Gordon Hall on campus.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Hindman Cemetery, Tippah County, Mississippi

This small cemetery is located two miles east on Highway 4, outside Ripley. Although once a lovely family plot, the cemetery is now overgrown with weeds and grass and the brick wall around it is crumbling. A tall tree stands over the cemetery, and its fallen branches lie on the cemetery's ground. Its main claim to fame is the grave of 26 year old Robert Holt Hindman who was killed by the great grandfather of William C. Faulkner, Col. W. C. Falkner, of Ripley, although the family patriarch, Thomas C. Hindman, Sr., was a prominent citizen in his own right.

The Hindmans arrived in Mississippi when Thomas Carmichael Hindman, Sr., whose grave marker is pictured below, purchased land near Ripley in 1841. Thomas and his wife, the former Sallie Holt, were from prominent families in Virginia and Tennessee. Thomas Hindman, Sr. was appointed by President Andrew Jackson to the post of U.S. Agent to the Cherokee Indian Nation and was a frequent traveler to Washington, D.C. Just before his family's move to Ripley, Thomas spent several months trying to persuade the Cherokees in North Carolina to join their counterparts out West.

Once in Mississippi, the elder Hindman became active in politics of that state. He was a leader in the Whig Party and served as a delegate to a conference held in Memphis on infrastructure and transportation projects in the South.

1850 Census
Tippah County, Mississippi
Thomas C. Hineman 56, farmer, born in Tennessee, real estate worth $4,500
Sarah Hineman 60, born in Virginia
Sarah Jane 23, born in Tennessee

Thomas C. Hindman, Sr. died July 18, 1856 near Ripley, Miss. His tombstone, above, indicates that he was born October 10, 1792 at Knoxville, Tenn. According to the local newspaper, Thomas was killed accidentally while inspecting a cotton gin on his plantation.

After his death, the remaining Hindman family moved to Marshall County, Mississippi, having sold their property holdings in Tippah County.

1860 Census
Marshall County, Mississippi
Sally Hindman 71, born Virginia, real estate valued at $3,500
Sally Hindman 34, born Tennessee, real estate valued at $3,800
Mother and daughter were living next to James B. and Mary Lyon Ellis, Mary being a daughter of Thomas and Sarah Hindman.

Below is the tombstone for Frances Elizabeth Hindman, eldest daughter of Thomas and Sarah. She was born June 27, 1820 and was the first to be buried in the cemetery upon her death August 14, 1843.

The headstone below is for the children of Mildred Stanfield Hindman and her husband Bernard Baxter Doxey. Their daughter Frances Elizabeth, was born November 17, 1848 and died May 1, 1849. Their son John Thomas was born August 18, 1853 and died August 26 (year illegible on tombstone).

Mildred S. Doxey, their mother, was the daughter of Thomas C. Hindman, Sr., and in 1922, at the age of 92, she wrote her memoirs. She recalled when her sister, Frances Elizabeth Hindman, died in 1843, "She was buried in the garden, our flower garden, where many of our loved ones now lie. I often wish I could go there and shed a tear for the loved ones buried there." Later, she wrote of her first child, a daughter named after her deceased sister, "She was born near Ripley at my father's house. All were delighted as this was the second grandchild, and the first one in the Doxey family. ... We returned to our home when she was two months old. She was a perfect beauty. She grew very fat. As my family was so anxious to see her, we went up the last of April to Ripley. Everyone had to play with her. On the first day of May she was taken with the croup and died in twelve hours." She was buried "in the garden" next to her aunt and namesake. Just a few days later, another grave was dug for Robert Holt Hindman who was killed by W. C. Falkner during an argument.

In addition to the above grave markers, there are two more still standing: Robert Holt Hindman who was killed by Col. William C. Falkner in 1849 and Thomas Hindman Puckett, only child of Sarah Hindman Puckett who was born in 1864 and died in 1877.

Robert Holt Hindman was not the only son of Thomas and Sarah who was murdered. Another son, Thomas C. Hindman, Jr. was assassinated on the night of September 27, 1868 at his home in Helena, Arkansas. His assassins were never caught.

Thomas Hindman, Jr. was a well-known figure in Arkansas where he moved from Ripley in 1854. At the time of his death in 1868, he was the highest ranking Confederate veteran in the state, having served as a Major General during the Civil War. He was a lawyer and served Arkansas in both the state legislature and in the U.S. Congress. After his death, he was buried in Maple Hill Cemetery (formerly Evergreen Cemetery) in Helena.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Colonel Falkner's fingers

In the photo above, it appears that Col. W. C. Falkner's statue is missing some fingers. Local rumor has it that some time after the statue was erected, a relative of Richard J. Thurmond's (Col. Falkner's killer) had too much to drink and shot off the fingers of Falkner's extended right hand.

In real life, Col. Falkner was missing the first joints of three of his fingers on his left hand, the fingers shown tucked into his pocket above. Falkner was injured during his service in the Mexican War although his injuries came not from battle but from a mysterious incident in which he defied orders and rode off on a "private" errand. A search party later found Falkner lying a couple of miles away with his left foot shattered and part of the fingers on his left hand blown away. Later, there were claims that Falkner had been ambushed while he was on an errand of private pleasure.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

William Henry Falkner

Following the death of his first wife, W. C. Falkner in 1851 remarried to Elizabeth Houston Vance, of Pontotoc. Lizzie Falkner gave birth to four children before the start of the Civil War, the eldest being William Henry Falkner. According to Joseph Blotner, biographer for William C. Faulkner, Henry enjoyed gambling and dangerous liaisons with women. Family legend indicates that Col. Falkner sent Henry off to the University of Virginia, but following an incident whereby a fellow student fell to his death while being wrestled by Henry on a balcony, Henry was returned home.

Once home from Virginia, Henry took up an affair with the wife of a local merchant. When the merchant appealed to Col. Falkner, Henry was sent away once more, this time to school in Texas. After losing his tuition money in a card game, however, Henry returned to Ripley and the jeweler's wife. The cuckolded husband could stand it no more, and he shot and killed Henry.

Below, Henry's grave is next to his father's in the Falkner family plot.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Little Vance and his little sister Lizzie

The grave marker for two of Col. William C. Falkner's children by his second wife, Elizabeth "Lizzie" Houston Vance. Buried in the Falkner familiy plot in the Ripley Cemetery, these children died while still young, both in 1861. Lizzie was actually Elizabeth Manassas Falkner, and she died as an infant. Thomas Vance Falkner was two years old when he died in 1861.

1860 Census
Tippah County, Mississippi
Ripley post office
W. C. Falkner 35, Atty at Law, born in Tennessee, real property valued at $10,000, personal property at $40,200
Lizzie 26, born in Alabama
Henry 7, born in Mississippi
Willie 4, female, born in Mississippi
T. V. Falkner 1, male, born in Mississippi
Frank Falkner 22, born in Missouri (Falkner's brother)
Caroline Falkner 60, born in Georgia (Falkner's mother)

1870 Census
Tippah County, Mississippi
Ripley post office
W. C. Falkner 44, born Tennessee, Lawyer, personal property value $15,000, real property $5,000
L. H. Falkner, 36, born Alabama, keeping house
W. H. Falkner, 17, male, born Mississippi, at school
W. M. Falkner, 13, female, born Mississippi, at school
Effie D. 3, born Mississippi

1880 Census
Tippah County, Mississippi
William Falkner 54, lawyer, born in Tennessee, both parents born in North Carolina
Elizabeth 47, wife, born in Alabama
Effie Deane 12, daughter
Bama 5, daughter
Lena 13, servant

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Mary Virginia Spight, wife of Thomas Spight

One of the more elaborate tombstones, with multiple decorative elements, in the Ripley Cemetery is that of Mary Virginia Barnett Spight, the wife of Thomas Spight. The monument sits in the Spight family plot next to the monument of her husband. Thomas Spight served in the U.S. Congress from 1898 until 1911 and was a friend of Col. William C. Falkner. Just before Col. Falkner was murdered by his business associate, Richard J. Thurmond, he visited Thomas Spight and told him that he knew that Thurmond planned to kill him and thus wanted to be sure that his estate was taken care of. Spight suggested to Falkner that perhaps he might want to carry a gun to defend himself, but Falkner replied no, he had already killed enough men. Shortly thereafter, Falkner was shot and killed by Thurmond on the streets of Ripley. When Thurmond came to trial for the murder, Thomas Spight was the District Attorney and one of the prosecuting attorneys. Thurmond, however, was acquitted.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

"He stood on a stone pedestal"

William Clark Falkner received his title of colonel from his service during the Civil War with the 2nd Mississippi Regiment. Many people believe that his grandson, William Faulkner, used his grandfather's statue in the Ripley Cemetery as a model for his description of the fictional Col. John Sartoris' grave: "He stood on a stone pedestal, in his frock coat and bareheaded, one leg slightly advanced...."

"He stood..bareheaded..."

Faulkner continues to describe his character Col. Sartoris, ".... his carven eyes gazing out across the valley where his railroad ran, and the blue changeless hills beyond, and beyond that, the ramparts of infinity itself." Col. Falkner's statue faces the tracks of the railroad line that he built, with his business partner and murderer, R. J. Thurmond. The railroad lies just outside the cemetery, the entrance to the cemetery crossing the railroad tracks.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Killed by Wm.C. Falkner....

The first man murdered by Col. W. C. Falkner was Robert Holt Hindman, in early 1849. According to William Faulkner's biographer, Joseph Blotner, Hindman was angry over what he perceived as a "blackballing" incident in which Col. Falkner supposedly spoke against Hindman's admission into the Knights of Temperance. When Falkner went out to the Hindman place to deny the blackballing, Hindman angrily called Falkner a liar and drew a pistol on him. The two men struggled, and the pistol misfired twice before Falkner's knife found its mark, killing Hindman.

Falkner was acquitted due to the claim of self-defense, but the verdict made no difference to the Hindman family who had Robert's tombstone inscribed with the words "Killed at Ripley, Miss. by Wm. C. Falkner." Legend indicates that the tombstone originally said "Murdered," but the Hindman family was persuaded to change the wording to "Killed."

Bad blood continued between W. C. Falkner and the Hindman family in the following years. In 1851, Falkner got into an argument with Erasmus W. Morris over the rental of a house. The argument turned violent, and Falkner drew a pistol and fired. Morris fell dead, and Falkner was once again charged with murder. At his trial, the prosecutor was none other than Thomas C. Hindman, Jr., the brother of Robert Holt Hindman, the man Falkner had killed a few years earlier. The jury acquitted Falkner, however, and following the verdict Falkner headed to the Ripley Hotel for his dinner. Waiting for him in the dining room was Thomas C. Hindman, Sr., Robert's father, who drew his pistol and fired at Falkner. Lucky for Falkner, the pistol was somehow dropped in the meantime and the shot went wild.

Col. Falkner's grandson, William C. Faulkner, may have used the Hindman tombstone and its precipitating events as a model in his decription of Col. John Sartoris' tombstone:
"For man's enlightenment he lived
By man's ingratitude he died"

In his book, Sartoris (reprinted as Flags in the Dust), Faulkner elaborates about the Sartoris tombstone, "This inscription had caused some furore on the part of the slayer's family, and a formal protest had followed. But in complying with popular opinion, old Bayard had had his revenge: he caused the line "By man's ingratitude he died" to be chiseled crudely out, and added beneath it: "Fell at the hand of _____ Redlaw, Sept. 4, 1876."

The Hindman graveyard is located just a couple of miles outside of Ripley on Highway 4 East but has no sign or marker and is not clearly visible from the road. It was an adventure trying to find it but well worth the time. The once-beautiful brick wall around the cemetery is crumbling, and there are only five grave markers remaining. The Hindman family apparently sold the land following the elder Hindman's death in 1856, moving out of the county. The original plantation house burned in 1938.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Colonel William Clark Falkner reigns over Ripley Cemetery

Col. William C. Falkner's grave marker is by far the tallest monument in the Ripley Cemetery. Sources indicate that the monument was built by C. J. Rogers & Sons of Grand Junction, Tennessee at a cost of $2,022 and completed in 1892.

William Clark Falkner was quite a character. He killed at least two men in his lifetime and was murdered himself. He left his family in Missouri around 1840, and as a fifteen year old boy, made his way to the home of his aunt and her husband, Justiania Dickson Word and John Wesley Thompson, in Ripley.

After a brief stint of service in the Mexican War, W. C. Falkner settled down. He began the practice of law, married Holland Pearce and together they had a son, named John Wesley Thompson Falkner after his uncle. Unfortunately, Holland Falkner died of tuberculosis shortly after their son's birth.

1850 Census
Tippah County, Mississippi
W. C. Falkner 25, lawyer, born in Tennessee, real estate valued at $4,000
John W. Falkner, 2, born in Mississippi

The above census indicates a widowed Falkner with a young son, and it appeared that they were living in a boarding house operated by a Mrs. Whillow. Shortly thereafter, Falkner turned to his childless aunt and uncle who took the young J.W.T. Falkner into their care under the condition that Falkner would not take his son back, even if he remarried.

Monday, January 5, 2009

A Visit to Falkner Country

No, that is not a typo. William Faulkner's surname was originally spelled without the 'u.' As the story goes, William himself supposedly added the extra letter in 1918 in an attempt to join the Royal Air Force as an Englishman. But the folks in Tippah County know the family as Falkner, and it is here that yesterday we ventured, on a mission to visit graveyards associated with this family. My husband is somewhat of a Faulkner scholar and during visits to the Ripley area in the past, was taken to the Falkner family plot at Ripley Cemetery as well as to the grave outside Ripley of a man murdered by Col. Falkner, William's great-grandfather. And as my husband correctly points out, William Faulkner's Yoknapatawpha County was as much influenced by Tippah County as it was by Lafayette County. Posts will be forthcoming over the next few days of what the graveyard rabbit found up in Tippah County.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Oval Gravemarkers

One of the more popular and more unusual style gravemarkers in the College Hill cemetery is the oval marker that lies on the ground, outlining the grave.

The grave below belongs to David Scott Tankersley, born May 15, 1829 and died December 22, 1913. There is a tall marker in addition to the oval one on the ground. Also, there is a tablet style marker with the label "Our Father." David was the son of Reuben Tankersley and Aisley Scott Tankersley, early immigrants to the area.

Below is an oval marker for a child, Robert O. Shaw.
Nearby are a couple of adult-sized oval markers with only initials and dates. Here's one for WMT born Sept 1834 died Nov 1908.