Sunday, June 30, 2013

Military Monday - The Last Survivor of the Battle of San Jacinto

Private Alfonso Parcutt Steele
Alfonso Parcutt Steele was born on April 9, 1817 in Hardin County, Kentucky to the marriage of Stephen Parcutt Steele and Suzannah McCarty.

In 1835, Alfonso joined Captain Ephriam M. Daggett's company of volunteers in Louisiana and traveled with the company to Texas to aid in the Texas Revolution.

He later joined a company of men who were serving under Captain Joseph L. Bennett and this company later joined General Sam Houston's army.  Alfonso served in the Battle of San Jacinto as a private in Captain James Gillespie's company of Sidney Sherman's regiment.

Severely wounded in the early stages of the battle, he continued to fight until the end.  During much of the battle, Alfonso's gray horse was ridden by General Houston until the animal was shot beneath him.  

In 1907, at the age of ninety, Alfonso Steele revisited the San Jacinto Battleground at the invitation of Colonel Andrew Jackson Houston, son of General Sam Houston.  It was his first visit to the scene of the great conflict since fighting there seventy-one years prior.

Col. A. J. Houston and Alfonso Steele holding the Texas flag
Excerpt from article below:
Arriving at the grounds, three hours were spent following the old veteran in his enthusiastic rambling over the old battlefield, and we had to move, too, for it seemed that he had the youth and vigor of by gone days as soon as he alighted from the hack, as he out-walked us all in seeking out the location of his camp and the place where the Sherman regiment was formed for the battle.

On February 10, 1909, the 31st Texas Legislature presented Alfonso Steele with a gold medal for his bravery at the Battle of San Jacinto.  

A life size portrait of Alfonso Steele is displayed in the San Jacinto Monument.

Alfonso Parcutt Steele

Two portraits of Alfonso Steele are also in the State Preservation Board's permanent Capitol art collection.  Marie Cronin was commissioned by the state in 1909 to paint the portrait below, which hangs prominently in the Senate Chamber.  
Sen. Kirk Watson in front of Alfonso Steele Portrait

Palestine Daily Herald - June 5, 1909

Alfonso Parcutt Steele passed from this life on July 8, 1911 in Kosse, Limestone County, Texas.  He is buried alongside his wife, Mary Ann Powell Steele, in the Mexia City Cemetery in Mexia, Limestone County, Texas.

El Paso Herald - July 11, 1911
2012 Mexia Proclamation:

Alfonso Parcutt Steele was my great-great-great grandfather through his son, Francis Marion, grandson, Isham Alfonso, great granddaughter, Mary Allye Steele Edmonds, and great-great grandson, Bruce Alfonso Edmonds.

Mary Rebecca Pouncey (1852-1941)

Dan and Becky Pouncey Sumrall

Mary Rebecca "Becky" Pouncey was born in Clark County, Alabama on October 22, 1852 to the marriage of Peter Alexander Pouncey and Mary Harbin. 

Following the death of Becky's mother in 1856, her father married a second time to Matilda J. Burch.

The 1860 census shows the family living in Ward 3, Caldwell Parish, Louisiana.

On December 3, 1868, Mary Rebecca Pouncey married Daniel Sumrall in Perry County, Mississippi.
The following children were born to the marriage of Becky and Dan Sumrall:
William Thomas, 1869-1938 (m. Minnie Bryant)
Mary Elizabeth, 1871-1910
Frances C., 1873-1934 (m. Allen M. Patterson)
Annie Jane, 1876-1950 (m. James Benjamin Bynum)
Mary Margaret, 1879-1940 (m. Sheppard H. Herrin)
Daniel Peter, 1881-1892
Lillie L., 1883-1903 (m. Palmer Herrin)
Berry Erastus, 1885-1901
Earl Bethea, 1888-1959 (m. Nancy Almeda Rutland)
Hattie R., 1891-1961 (m. Yates H. Watkins)
Addie I., 1893-1985 (m. Wiley King)
Allie Mae, 1896-1984 (m. Louis Robertson)
Annie Jane Sumrall Bynum's family called Becky "Little Granny."  One family story tells of Little Granny visiting her daughter, Annie (known as "Big Granny").

While the women were cooking in an open fireplace, a black bear approached the outside of the fireplace.  The bear was able to remove pieces of the mortar in his search for the food.  The women and children watched as the bear's progress opened a big hole.  Little Granny grabbed a red hot fire poker and stuck it to the bear's nose, causing the bear to run for the woods.

Mary Rebecca Pouncey Sumrall passed from this life on January 31, 1941.  She is buried alongside her husband in the Dan Sumrall Cemetery in Sumrall, Lamar County, Mississippi.

Sweet be thy sleep
On that ever golden shore, we will meet to part no more

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Daniel Sumrall (1845-1923)

Daniel Sumrall was born in Perry County, Mississippi on August 22, 1845 to the marriage of Benjamin Asberry Sumrall and Margaret McRae or Nicholson.

On June 11, 1864, at the age of 19, Dan enlisted in the Union Army.  He served as a Private in the United States Volunteers, Company H, 1st Regiment, New Orleans Infantry, Louisiana.

On December 3, 1868, Daniel Sumrall married Mary Rebecca Pouncey.  Dan and Becky settled in a portion of Marion County that later became Lamar County.

Prior to 1874, Dan purchased a grist mill, cotton gin and farm belonging to Arthur Lott.  He later added a store and established the Sumrall post office in the store.

When the community incorporated there was opposition to naming the community and post office Sumrall due to Dan's service in the Union Army.

The Post Master General refused to change the name of the post office and issued Order 48 in 1892 stating that the name of post offices should be the same as the towns and railway stations to prevent confusion in mail delivery.  In 1903, the incorporated community was named Sumrall.

Dan and Becky had the following children:
William Thomas
Mary Elizabeth
Annie Jane
Mary Margaret
Daniel Peter
Berry Erastus
Earl Bethea
Allie Mae
Daniel Sumrall passed from this life on November 26, 1923.  He is buried alongside his wife in the Dan Sumrall Cemetery, Sumrall, Lamar County, Mississippi.

It has been said that Daniel Sumrall left his descendants something distinctively his.  Those of us with red hair, fair complexion and a map of Scotland tattooed across the bridges of our noses know this to be true.

Daniel Sumrall, the red headed Scotchman, was my maternal great-great grandfather.

Sentimental Sunday - Independence Day Gatherings

Scenes from past Independence Day gatherings in Sicily Island...

Standing (LtoR):  Ray Golmon, Sr., Bruce A. Edmonds, Winstead Knight
Seated (LtoR):  Bea Bryan Denham, Eva McNair Hair, Price Wilkinson, Sr., Lucille Steele Ogden

Doc McKay, Lucille Ogden, J.Y. McGuffee, Addie Mae Seal, Mary McGuffee, Mae Cruse, Price Wilkinson, Sr., Alf Jones, Jerry Golmon, Ray Golmon, Sr., Nan Brooks, Winstead Knight, Bruce Edmonds

LtoR:  Bea Denham, Matilda Adams, Bruce A. Edmonds, Lucille Steele Ogden

Friday, June 28, 2013

Sibling Saturday - Ludie and Flora McIver

Ludie Emaline and Flora Jane McIver
Ludie and Flora were the daughters of Evander Wilder McIver and Lillie Tufford.  Flora was born in 1898 when the family was living in North Carolina.  Ludie was born in 1903 after the family had moved to Mississippi.

Ludie married Clifford Messer in the mid 1920s.  They made their home in Sumrall, Lamar County, Mississippi where they had the following children:
Donald Clifford, 1927-2011 (m. Annette Davis)
Patsy, 1929 (m. David Sanders)
Kenneth, 1933-2004 (m. Phyllis Phadelia)
Frederick C, 1941
Flora married John Buel Bynum in 1921 and had the following children:
Jessie Lois, 1922-2006 (m. Lloyd Livingston)
Johnnie Louise, 1922-2013 (m. 1. William Riley; 2. Edwin Luper)
Mildred Annette, 1926-2012 (m. Bruce Alfonso Edmonds)
James Wilder "Jimmie", 1928-2012 (m. Virginia Mikell)

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Monday, June 24, 2013

Tombstone Tuesday - Silas Edmonds

Silas Edmonds
Son of William Newell Edmonds and Laura Smith Edmonds
Born on September 2, 1894
Died on September 18, 1954

Corporal, CO C 526 SVC BN

Buried in the Rose Hill Cemetery
Sycamore, Clark County, Arkansas

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Sentimental Sunday - Birthday Wishes

Birthday wishes to my father from his first cousin, Will Peck, IV.  This was my father's 28th birthday.  He was born on June 3, 1927 in Sicily Island, Catahoula Parish, Louisiana.

His mother, Mary Allye Steele Edmonds, was a sister to Will's mother, Lena Juanita "Nita" Steele Peck.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Virginia Jane "Jennie" Smith (1856-1876)

Virginia Jane "Jennie" Smith was born in Catahoula Parish, Louisiana on March 14, 1856.

She was the daughter of James Luther and Henrietta D. Smith and a sister to Catherine "Kate", James William "Buck", Francis Marion "Frank", and Edward Dorsey "Dorse".

1860 Census
1870 Census

On November 15, 1872, Jennie married Joseph A. "Frank" Blackman.  The wedding was held in the home of her parents and was officiated by the local Justice of the Peace.

Witnesses to the marriage were E. F. Keenan, James Kelly and James H. Young.

Jennie and Frank made their home in Harrisonburg, Catahoula Parish, Louisiana where two daughters were born to them.
Henrietta "Nettie", 1874-1932 (m. 1. Fairbanks; 2. Disch)
Mary Virginia "Mollie", 1876-1945 (m. Steele)
Virginia Jane "Jennie" Smith Blackman died on December 2, 1876, just a few short months after giving birth to Mollie.  She is buried in the Old Pine Hill Cemetery in Sicily Island, Catahoula Parish, Louisiana.

Sibling Saturday - Lucinda and Tom

Lucinda Chisum Steele and Thomas Jefferson Chisum
Lucinda and Thomas Jefferson Chisum were born to the marriage of Isham Russell Chisum and Mary Polly Walling.

Lucinda was born on May 2, 1846 in Nacogdoches County, Texas.  She married Francis "Frank" Marion Steele ca. 1865 and made her home in Kosse, Limestone County, Texas where she and Frank had the following children:
Lula, 1866-1955 (m. Henry Harrison Stubbs)
Lydia Frances, 1867-1941 (m. Silas Abraham Greer)
Louella, 1868-1954 (m. Walter A. Walling)
Isham Alfonso, 1870-1934 (m. Mary Virginia Blackman)
Mary Allye, 1872-1961 (m. Henry Robert Eaton)
Lena Rhoda, 1877-1960 (m. James A. McLelland)
Lucinda Chisum Steele died in Kosse on December 30, 1897 and is buried alongside her husband in the Thornton Cemetery in Thornton, Limestone County, Texas.

Thomas Jefferson was born on January 3, 1852 in Limestone County, Texas.  In 1876, Tom traveled to Sicily Island (formerly Florence), Catahoula Parish, Louisiana to sell horses.  He remained in Sicily Island where he later met and married Catherine "Kate" Smith on March 23 1881.

Tom and Kate had the following children:
Thomas Jefferson, Jr., 1881-1882
Mary Eva, 1883-1955 (m. Dr. Charles J. Gordon)
Jessie, 1884-1962 (m. John Grafton McNair)
Edward Walling, 1886-1955 (m. Nellie Elizabeth Ballard)
Emmett DeWitt, 1888-1949 (m. Laura Eveline Ballard)
Thomas Jefferson Chisum died in Sicily Island on December 4, 1934 and is buried alongside his wife in the Old Pine Hill Cemetery in Sicily Island, Catahoula Parish, Louisiana.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Friday's Faces from the Past

John Buel Bynum - Top Row; 2nd from Right

State Teachers College
Hattiesburg, Mississippi
April 8, 1924
6th Term

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Treasure Chest Thursday - WWII Ration Books

War Ration Book No. 3

The system of rationing was created by the Office of Price Administration and began in May of 1942, five months after the United States had entered WWII.  The purpose of the system was to ensure people were able to purchase items that were scarce while keeping the prices of the items low. 

Ration Book No. 3 (pictured above) was issued in the fall of 1943.  It included brown stamps that were required to purchase sugar, coffee, dairy, meat, fish and other household items.  Stamps were lettered A through Z to designate the specific time they could be used.

Note the handwritten "Book 4" in the lower right hand corner.  It is my understanding that the numbered ration books had different stamps for purchasing particular items during a specific time frame.  This seems to suggest that local boards had the authority to deviate from the guidelines set forth by the Office of Price Administration.  On the other hand, overlap may have been allowed.

War Ration Book No. 4

War Ration Book No. 4 Stamps
War Ration Book No. 4 Stamps

Ration Book No. 4 was issued in late 1943 and included the following stamps:
Red - meat, fish and dairy
Blue & Green - processed and canned foods
Spare - miscellaneous 
The numbers on the stamps represented the points the stamps were worth.  The letters represented the rationing period.  Points were based on the scarcity of the items and were changed when needed.

Back cover of War Ration Book No. 4

Wordless Wednesday - On Bended Knee

Clara Lucille Steele and beau

Monday, June 17, 2013

Tombstone Tuesday - Paul Edmonds

Paul Edmonds
Son of William Newell and Laura Smith Edmonds
Born on April 25, 1893
Died on September 24, 1894
Buried in the Rose Hill Cemetery
Sycamore, Clark County, Arkansas

Our loved one

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Mystery Monday - Joseph A. "Frank" Blackman

**Please see my update on Joseph A. "Frank" Blackman**

Joseph A. Blackman was my great-great grandfather.  He married Virginia "Jennie" Smith on November 15, 1872 in the home of her parents, James Luther and Henrietta D. Smith of Sicily Island, Catahoula Parish, Louisiana.

The marriage license below is the first known documentation I have found of Joseph.

The 1878 Voter Registration list for Catahoula Parish published on RootsWeb shows a Joseph A. Blackman born in Louisiana in 1851.  A trip to the Catahoula Parish Registrar of Voters office proved futile as the original records were destroyed in a fire back in the early 1900s.

Notes belonging to my father state that Joseph was also known as Frank and that he was originally from the LaSalle or Grant Parish area.  Also included in my father's notes was a reference to a Linnie Adair Carter being a first cousin of his grandmother, Mary Virginia Blackman, daughter of Joseph.

For this kinship to be possible, Linnie's mother and Joseph had to be siblings.  I began my search for Linnie Adair and discovered that her mother was Elizabeth Blackman, daughter of Burrel/Burrell Blackman.  One researcher suggested that this Elizabeth Blackman was actually the daughter of a Cotten but was raised by her stepfather, Burrel Blackman.

I was able to locate the 1850 census record for Burrel Blackman showing him married to a Margaret and having a daughter (or stepdaughter) named Betty (likely short for Elizabeth).  The family was living in Natchitoches, Louisiana.

If the 1878 Voter Registration roll was correct and Joseph was born in 1851, I would need to locate the 1860 census record for the family. 

Unfortunately, the only 1860 census record I have found to date for Burrel/Burrell Blackman does not list any other family members.  Burrell is living in Alexandria, Rapides Parish, Louisiana in 1860.  Joseph would have been nine years old at the time.

The 1870 census record shows Burrel, Maragret, two of their children and a grandchild living in the same household in Ward 3 of Grant Parish, Louisiana.  By this time, Joseph would have been almost twenty years old and possibly living on his own prior to marrying Jennie in 1872.

I went back to the 1850 census and pondered on whether the Jacob listed could possibly be Joseph.  While the transcription clearly matches the image, could the census taker have simply written down the wrong name?  Searches for a Jacob Blackman returned no results, leaving me to assume one of two things.  Jacob died prior to 1860 or the Jacob listed was really Joseph.

Joseph's wife, Jennie, died several weeks after giving birth to their second daughter in 1876.  According to stories handed down through my family, Joseph is reported to have died two years later in 1878 in a sawmill accident in Rodney, Jefferson County, Mississippi.   No record of death has been found to date.

Other tidbits from family stories include the following:

  • Joseph was related to the Blackman family from Alexandria, Rapides Parish, Louisiana of whom one was a judge and another operated a dry cleaning business
  • Joseph was the son of Charles and grandson of Elisha Swift Blackman and Octavia Weakley

Both of these stories have been researched with no evidence of a connection to Joseph A. "Frank" Blackman.

As of now, the "brick wall" still stands.  I re-visit my research on him regularly in hopes of chipping away pieces of the wall.

If anyone researching the Blackman/Blackmon families of central Louisiana has any information on a Joseph A. "Frank" Blackman, please leave me a comment or contact me at