April 6, 2014

Amanuensis Monday ~ The Stories That Should Be Told, Part 42

The following transcription is from a series of recordings my father made in the early 1990s:
Most of my kinfolk here on the Island came through my Grandma Mollie Steele.  Her mother was Virginia Smith.  The James Luther and Henrietta Smith family was a big family.  They had three sons named James William, Francis Marion and Edward Dorsey. Their two daughters were Virginia and Kate. Right now here on the Island the old ones have gone on before us and we’re down to 4th and 5th cousins.  I’m kin to over half the people living here in the little village. 
Henrietta D. Smith
James Luther Smith

My Double Cousins...
The double cousins come through the sisters, Virginia and Kate Smith.  
Tom Chisum married Kate Smith. Tom's nephew Al Steele (through his sister, Lucinda Chisum Steele), married Virginia's daughter (and Kate's niece), Mollie.  
Uncle Tom and Aunt Kate Chisum's four children, Big Emmett, Big Walling, Cousin Eva [Gordon] and Cousin Jessie [McNair] were my Grandma Mollie Steele’s first cousins through her Aunt Kate Smith and they were my Grandpa Al Steele's first cousins through his Uncle Tom Chisum.
Uncle Tom and Aunt Kate Chisum’s four children were my double 3rd cousins.
From that point on it was double kin.  Double 2nds, double 3rds, double 4ths, and on down the line.
Allye Steele and Bruce Edmonds
My father, Bruce Edmonds, came to Sicily Island from Arkansas.  He came here as a section foreman for the Missouri Pacific Railroad.  He was born near Whelen Springs.  His mother was living in Gurdon when she died.  
On March 29, 1926 he married my mother, Mary Allye Steele.
He quit working for the railroad in about 1927 or 1928.  In the 1930s, he worked for the auditors of the state of Louisiana.  During World War II, he worked off on defense projects where they were building army camps.  
In about 1942, he came back and lived here in Sicily Island permanently.  He was a cashier in the Sicily Island State Bank up until several years before his death in 1974.  He opened the first Drive-In on the spot where the old Charlie’s Nite Club had been.

Sunday School...
Brother [Otis W.] Spinks was the first preachers I remember.  One of the hymns he liked to sing was “In My Heart There Rings a Melody”. 
Brother [C. Fenwick] Reed.  Originally from England.  He told a joke in church one time.   The story was about a mama polecat and her babies walking around in the forest. 

They heard the hounds coming.  The little baby polecats were running around the mama polecat saying, “Oh, Mama.  The hounds are coming! What must we do?”  The mama polecat said, “Children, all we can do is spray.  Let’spray.”
Sunday School Teachers I remember...
Sophie Lee Haley, Mabel Chambless and Eugnenia Smith.
Children I went to Sunday School with:
John Fairbanks, Evelyn Ogden, Virginia Ogden, Ouida Seal, Juanita Seal, Dorothy “Bit” McNair and Cleo Foster.
Older people who went to Sunday School:
Aunt Lena McLelland, Fred Chambless, Bro. Woodward, Jessie McNair, Eva Gordon and Estelle Peck.
Remembering some of my little friends...
I’m thinking about and remembering some of my little colored friends who I grew up with back in the early 1930s.  We played marbles and had Chinaberry wars.  I spent about as much time playing with my colored playmates as I did with the white boys.  Willie Jim, Tommy Lee, Dolly and a little boy who lived on the Peck place named Jack.
I heard Jack died several years ago out in California.  I hadn’t seen him since we were little children.  Willie Jim is still living.  I saw him four or five years ago.  I don’t know where he is now.  Dolly’s name was Willie Cain.  He lives in Monroe.  I hadn’t seen him in forty something years then I saw him at his Aunt Mag Cooper’s funeral a few years back.  Tommy Lee Williams died young.  He had moved away from here to Chicago.  I heard some of the colored folks tell about him dying so young.  
Minnie Mae....
I’ve been up visiting Minnie Mae Colbert.  She’ll be 83 or 84 in February.  I try to go visit her at least once a week, sometimes twice a week.  She still seems to get along pretty good.  Her daughter, Nannie, stays there with her.  Nannie is about 55 or 56 years old. 
Minnie Mae’s husband and Nannie’s father, Louis, has been dead at least ten years.  Louis died a young man.  I think he was only about 57 or 58 years old. 
As I’ve said before on other tapes, Mac Harris lived there with Minnie Mae and Nannie for several years.  There was no direct kinship between Mac and Minnie Mae.  Mac’s brother, Iverson “I-Bo” was married to Minnie Mae’s sister, Cora.  Cora is still living but she is up in the nursing home in Wisner. 
Minnie Mae and Cora were Hamiltons.  Their family lived over behind the school house on the Peck place until about 1931.  Mr. [William Barney] Bowman moved into the house after the Hamiltons moved out.
Mr. Bowman was Mrs. Cloy’s [Pinkie Paralee Bowman] brother.  The Cloys and the Hamiltons were from around Lucien and McCall’s Creek, Mississippi, on the other side of Meadville and Bude.

Note:  Parts 1-41 of 'The Stories That Should Be Told' can be found in the Tags List on the right-hand side of the blog.

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