Sunday, April 14, 2013

Flora Jane McIver (1898-1991)

Flora Jane McIver Bynum

Flora Jane McIver was born in Moore County, North Carolina on January 21, 1898.  She was the fourth child born to the marriage of Evander Wilder McIver and Lillie Tufford.

The family remained in North Carolina before moving to Mississippi some time prior to 1903 and the birth of another daughter, Ludie Emaline.

The 1920 census shows the family living in Pearl River, Mississippi.

In 1921, Flora was teaching school in Rocky Branch, near Sumrall in Lamar County.  It was during this time that she met and married John Buel Bynum.

Part 3 of 3, Memories of John and Flora McIver Bynum from their son, James Wilder "Jimmie" Bynum:
How did we survive the depression?  
When any neighbors killed a hog or beef, they shared with the whole community.  Mama was also real resourceful.  One thing I remember, she would can everything she could get her hands on.  She and Mrs. Anna Williams would take all the children and spend the day picking huckleberries.  Mama would then bring them home and can them.  
After Lone Star we moved to Williamsburg in Covington County.
Sisters, Ludie and Flora
As the depression began to subside, things began to get better.  We started a garden and got a bunch of Dominique chickens.  Mama always kept about a dozen hens for a setting.  Sixteen eggs made a setting.  We would fix a box, put straw in it and pretty soon a hen would start laying in it.  After the eggs hatched, we could hardly wait for the biddies to get to frying size.  Fried chicken was a treat because fryers were not plentiful back then. 
Mama taught the girls to cook, can, wash and iron.  We didn't have a refrigerator, neither did anyone else, just an ice box.  In the summer, someone would deliver ice about three times a week; usually in a Model-T truck.  We always got thirty pounds except on rare occasions when we made ice cream; then we bought fifty pounds.  
Mama must have worked sixteen hours a day canning, sewing, cooking, working in the garden, washing and ironing.  She had no modern conveniences except for running water.  We had a cast iron wash pot and two number 3 wash tubs for laundering our clothes.  The wash pots were filled with water on Wash Day (once a week).  A fire was built around the wash pot and strong lye soap added.  First, the white clothes were boiled, then transferred with a battling stick to the tubs to be rinsed and hung on a clothes line to dry.  The same procedure was followed with the colored clothes.  While the clothes were boiling, she punched them around with the battling stick.  It took almost all day and it was really rough in the winter time.
John and Flora McIver Bynum
Mama also did the milking when Pa would be in summer school.  I kept begging her to let me learn to milk, but once I learned, it wasn't that much fun.  I could hit a chicken or a cat at about twenty feet, with a stream of milk and got Mildred a few times.
Lois, Louise, Mildred and I picked cotton for the neighbors for 50 cents per 100 pounds.  I think I made about $4.00.  Lois and Louise worked all summer, but Mildred had set a goal and when she reached that goal, she quit.  Her goal was the price of a pair of boots.
Pa taught in the Public Schools of Mississippi for twenty-three and a half years and served as County Superintendent of Education in Jefferson Davis County for sixteen years.  He was highly regarded as a teacher and Administrator and was encouraged by the outgoing State Superintendent of Education to run for office.  He chose not to run, but left a legacy as one of the state's leading educators, a great classroom teacher, a strong disciplinarian, outstanding administrator, and his students became his lifelong friends. This was all possible because he had a devoted wife to support him through the good times and the hard times.  She was always there to help him in his career. (Part 1) and (Part 2)
Flora Jane McIver Bynum with Grandson, Michael in 1979

Flora's yard surrounded by beautiful lilies

Flora Jane McIver Bynum passed from this life on April 17, 1991.  She is buried alongside her husband, John Buel Bynum, in the Prentiss Cemetery in Prentiss, Jefferson Davis County, Mississippi.  Tombstone photograph is courtesy of Gene Phillips at

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