Marion County


Ford, Thomas Swift
Ford, Thomas Swift. The annals of the State of Mississippi have never chronicled the events in the life of a more worthy, able and honored citizen than the late Gen. Thomas S. Ford, whose name is prominently and indissolubly linked with the history of this commonwealth. He was born in Marion county, Miss., March 3, 1847, and was a son of Ebenezer and Julia A. (Swift) Ford. His father was a native of South Carolina and was twice married; his first union was with a widow, Mrs. Mary A. (Pope) Morgan, and they became the parents of two sons and six daughters. In early manhood Ebenezer Ford came to Mississippi and settled in Marion county, where he became an extensive planter and large slave owner and where he served ten years as judge of probate. After the death of his first wife he married Miss Julia A. Swift, of Manchester, Vt. Their marriage was celebrated in Monticello, Miss., where the bride was visiting at the time. The children of this union were: Thomas Swift, Theodore Bulkley, Serenus Sedgwick, and Emma Juliet. Judge Ford died in 1858, and his widow survived him by about twenty years; both were laid to rest in the Ford family cemetery, twenty miles south of Columbia, Miss. Judge Ford was a Whig in politics and was a citizen of prominence and influence in his community. Gen. Thomas S. Ford, the honored subject of this memoir, received his preliminary education in Manchester, Vt., the original home of his mother, and thereafter he was matriculated in Middlebury college, that State, in which institution he was graduated in 1866. He then returned to Mississippi and took up his residence in Holmesville, Pike county, where he began the study of law under the preceptorship of John T. Lamkin. He thoroughly fortified himself in the science of jurisprudence and was duly admitted to the bar of his native State. He initiated the practice of his profession at Columbia, Miss., where he continued his labors in his chosen vocation for twenty-seven years and where he rose to precedence as one of the eminent members of the bar of the State. Within the period noted, without personal solicitation, he was called upon to serve in various public offices of trust. In 1885 he was appointed by Gov. Robert Lowry to the dignified and responsible office of attorney-general of the State to serve the unexpired term of Gen. Thomas C. Catchings, who had been elected a member of congress. Upon the expiration of his appointive term General Ford refused to become a candidate for the office as his own successor, though his election was assured had he consented to accept the nomination. For eight years he served as district attorney of the Sixth judicial district. He was a delegate from the State at large to the constitutional convention of 1890, and in politics he was inflexible in his allegiance to the principles and policies of the Democratic party. He commanded uniform confidence and esteem wherever known and the man himself was far greater than his history. His death caused a feeling of deep personal bereavement throughout southern Mississippi, which then lost one of its greatest and most useful citizens. His career was rich in all that makes for noble manhood and he was true and faithful in all the relations of life and his strength was as the number of his days. He and his wife were devoted members of the Methodist Episcopal church, South, and their Christian faith was exemplified in their daily walk. The general was ever a warm supporter of the cause of popular education, and to him was due in large measure the establishing and equipping of the excellent high school in Columbia. He was not only a great lawyer but was also a natural leader and a director of public opinion. He gave abundantly of his influence and means to charity, to church and to public enterprises, and his gracious personality and kindliness endeared him to all who came within the sphere of his influence. In 1896 he removed with his family to Scranton, Jackson county, where he succumbed to an attack of yellow fever in the following year, his death occurring Nov. 1, 1897. His cherished and devoted wife preceded him to the life eternal by three and one-half years, and the remains of both rest in the cemetery at Columbia. On Dec. 19, 1877, General Ford was united in marriage to Miss Clarissa Rawls, daughter of James B. and Sarah (Barnes) Rawls, and of this union nine children were born, namely: Theodore Sedgwick, Nellie, May E., Juliet A., Ebenezer J., Iris E., Joseph S., and Harry and Harriet, twins. Nellie is now the wife of George C. Maxwell; May E. is the wife of V. L. Terrell; Ebenezer J. is a student in Oxford university, England, having been the first in Mississippi to win the Cecil Rhodes scholarship in that historic institution.
[Source: Mississippi Biography Vol III 1907 -- Transcribed by Gene Phillips]
Added 31 May 2018

Bacot, Samuel Atkinson
Bacot, Samuel Atkinson, secretary and treasurer of the William Atkinson & Bacot Company, of Osyka, is one of the prominent and successful business men of the younger generation in this section of the State and the concern in which he is a principal is one of the largest of the sort in southeastern Mississippi. Its trade extends throughout Pike and Amite counties and into neighboring parishes in Louisiana. Mr. Bacot is a native of Pike county, having been born at Summit, March 13, 1865. He is a son of Dr. William and Myra Caroline (Atkinson) Bacot, the former of whom was born in Pike county, Oct. 13, 1832, and the latter in Columbia, Marion county, this State, where her father was a leading merchant. The paternal grandfather was a planter and merchant and served eighteen years as sheriff of Pike county. Dr. William Bacot was graduated in the Medical College of Louisiana, at New Orleans, and he was for many years one of the representative practitioners of Pike county. He lived retired for several years prior to his death, which occurred Dec. 11, 1901. His widow still resides on the fine homestead plantation, in Pike county. Concerning their children it may be here recorded that Junius Laban is engaged in business at Osyka; James Robert died in June, 1906; Anna Moore is the widow of Otis Vaught; the subject of this sketch was next in order of birth; Willis Clinton likewise resides in Osyka; Ella is the wife of John W. Richmond; Myra Pet is the wife of Walter D. Vanado, who is engaged in the drug business in the city of New Orleans; Ema S. is the wife of James H. Jones, of Jackson, Miss.; Jesse died in infancy; and Alford resides with his mother on the home plantation, near Summit. After availing himself of the advantages of the Summit public schools, Samuel A. Bacot continued his studies for some time in Roanoke college, Salem, Va., and at the age of seventeen years assumed a clerical position in the store of his uncle, William Atkinson, at Magnolia. In 1902 Mr. Atkinson and Junius L. Bacot, together with the subject of this review, organized the present William Atkinson & Bacot Company, of which the uncle is president and of which Samuel A. Bacot has been secretary and treasurer from the start. The concern handles general merchandise and has a large and well equipped establishment. The company handles annually from eight to ten thousand bales of cotton and does a general plantation supply business of large proportions. Mr. Bacot has gained reputation as a progressive and reliable business man and his rise has been gained through merit and been fortified by personal popularity and public spirit. He is a Democrat in his political allegiance and is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church, South. He is a bachelor.
[Source: Mississippi Biography Vol III 1907 -- Transcribed by Gene Phillips]
Added 2 Apr 2018

Collins, Nathaniel M.
Collins, Nathaniel M., one of the substantial citizens and prominent business men of the city of Meridian, where he has a well equipped general merchandise establishment, is a member of one of the earliest pioneer families of what is now Lauderdale county, as there were only four white families resident of the county at the time when his father here took up his abode. The town of Collinsville is named in honor of the subject of this sketch. Mr. Collins was born on the homestead plantation, in Lauderdale county, Miss., Jan. 10, 1840, and is a son of John B. and Caroline (Kerley) Collins, the former of whom was born in Kentucky and the latter in South Carolina. When the father was a child of but four years his parents removed from Kentucky to Mississippi and settled in Marion county, where he was reared to maturity and whence he came to Lauderdale county at a time when only seven white men were to be found resident within its borders. He was a tanner by trade, but in the later years of his active life gave his attention to farming and stock-growing, with which he was identified until his death, while he commanded unqualified esteem in this county, where he served as justice of the peace for a quarter of a century, having been a man of much force of character and strong mentality, while his integrity was manifested in all the relations of life. The boyhood days of Nathaniel M. Collins were passed on the homestead plantation, and as the schools of this section were at that time limited in number and meager in scope of work, his early educational advantages were necessarily limited, being adequate, however, to enable him to lay a solid foundation for the broad knowledge which he was later to gain in the great school of practical experience. When the southern Confederacy took up arms in defense of inherent rights, Mr. Collins enlisted as second sergeant in Company I, Eighth Mississippi infantry, with which he served in and about Pensacola, Fla., for nearly a year, after which his regiment was with General Bragg in his operations in Kentucky. In the battle of Chickamauga Sergeant Collins was wounded, and after being confined for a short time in a hospital in the city of Atlanta he was sent home to recuperate. He rejoined his regiment in front of Atlanta and after the battle of Jonesboro, in which he took part, he was elected a commissariat officer and was transferred to Berry's battalion, in which he served until the close of the war, having risen to the office of second lieutenant. Sustained by the thought that he had done his best in trying to uphold the cause for which he had fought, Mr. Collins returned to his home and for the following quarter of a century was engaged in agricultural operations in Lauderdale county, while he also conducted a general store at Collinsville, being one of the best known and most highly esteemed citizens of that section of the county. He still owns a valuable plantation in the county, and he leases the same to reliable tenants. In February, 1900, he removed to the city of Meridian, where he has since been engaged in the general merchandise business, having a well appointed store and controlling a satisfactory trade. He is a stock holder in the Southern bank and also in the newly established Beatrice Cotton Mills, while in all respects his loyalty to his native county and its attractive judicial city is of the most vigorous order. Reared in the faith of the great party of Jefferson and Jackson, Mr. Collins has never departed therefrom, though he has never been active in political affairs. He has long been an appreciative affiliate of the time-honored fraternity of Freemasonry, in which he has risen to the thirty-second degree of the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite, while he is also identified with the Mystic Shrine and the Knights of Pythias. On Dec. 27, 1865, Mr. Collins was united in marriage to Miss Rebecca J. Ethridge, daughter of Solomon and Rebecca (Lister) Ethridge, of Alabama, and they have three children, namely: Caroline, who is the wife of J. M. McBeath, a representative lawyer of Meridian; Rosser A., who is an able member of the bar, being engaged in the practice of his profession in Meridian; and Ida, who is the wife of J. C. Cowen, cashier of the Southern bank, of Meridian.
[Source: Mississippi Biography Vol III 1907 -- Transcribed by Gene Phillips]
Added 29 Mar 2018

Conner, Walter Morland
Conner, Walter Morland, president of the Conner Shoe Company, of Hattiesburg, of the Columbia Compress Company, at Columbia, Miss., and interested in other enterprises of distinctive importance, has accomplished much in connection with the development of the industrial and commercial interests of southern Mississippi and is specially entitled to representation in this work. He now maintains his home in Hattiesburg, Perry county. Mr. Conner was born near Kosciusko, Attala county, Miss., Oct. 9, 1855, and is a son of John Lewis Conner, who was born in Pickens county, Ala., Dec. 28, 1825, and of Dolice Minerva (Murff) Conner, who was born in Winston county, Miss., Oct. 10, 1833, being a daughter of Col. Samuel D. and Sarah (George) Murff. John L. Conner and Police M. Murff were married Oct. 23, 1851, at Kosciusko, Miss., and they became the parents of twelve children. Mr. Conner served throughout the Civil war as a valiant soldier of the Confederacy. In 1861 he enlisted as a member of Company D, Thirty-fifth Mississippi infantry, being made third lieutenant at time of enlistment and immediately afterward being promoted first lieutenant. He was soon promoted captain of his company and was tendered the colonelcy of his regiment but refused the commission, by reason of his affection for and deep interest in the members of his own company. He participated in the battles of Franklin and Nashville, Tenn.; Corinth and Vicksburg, Miss.; Lookout Mountain, Chickamauga, Bull Run, Manassas, Gettysburg and many other battles and skirmishes, having continued in active service until the close of the war and having made a particularly gallant record. He was a planter by vocation and was twice elected sheriff of Winston county. He was a member of Lodge No. 75, Free and Accepted Masons, at Louisville, Miss., at the time of his death, Feb. 2, 1876, and was interred with Masonic honors in the old family cemetery in Winston county. The subject of this review was educated in the schools of Mississippi and his earlier business career was identified with agricultural pursuits and later engaging in the general merchandise business. He is president of the Columbia Compress Company, at Columbia, Miss.; has been a director in the National Bank of Commerce at Hattiesburg, Miss., from the time of its organization to the present and has for years held the office of auditor for this substantial institution; he is a member of the firm of O. W. Conner & Company and of the Conner Brothers Lumber Company, of Seminary, Miss.; is president of the Conner Shoe Company, at Hattiesburg, and in this thriving city he has also been continuously engaged in the general merchandise business for nearly a quarter of a century, having located there in 1884. He is essentially enterprising and public-spirited and has ever done his part in furthering those undertakings and supporting those measures which make for the material and civic advancement of the community at large. In politics he is one of the ardent supporters of the Democratic party and its principles and while he has never been ambitious for public office he served two terms as mayor of Hattiesburg. He and his wife are members of the Baptist church, and he has served eighteen years as superintendent of the Sunday school of the First Baptist church of Hattiesburg. Mr. Conner is one of the prominent and appreciative members of the Masonic fraternity in Mississippi, taking a deep interest in this time-honored order. He is affiliated with Hattiesburg Lodge, No. 397, Free and Accepted Masons; Hattiesburg Chapter, No. 114, Royal Arch Masons; Liberty Council, No. 7, Royal and Select Masters; Hattiesburg Commandery, No. 21, Knights Templars and Harnassa Temple, Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, at Meridian, Miss. He is master of his lodge at the present time, high priest of his chapter, thrice illustrious master of his council, and past deputy grand master of the Masonic grand lodge of Mississippi. He has served fourteen years as worshipful master of his lodge and he has been prominent in the fraternity for eighteen years, always attending the sessions of the grand lodge of the State and showing an abiding interest in all that concerns the fraternity. On June 7, 1882, Mr. Conner was united in marriage to Miss Deania L. Sennette, who was born at Brownsburg, Ind., fourteen miles west of the city of Indianapolis, being a daughter of Martin P. and Frances (Downing) Sennette, who removed to Indiana from Kentucky. Mr. and Mrs. Conner became the parents of seven children, namely: Edgar Earl, Clyde Raymond, Walter Marcus, Robert Cassidy, Leonidas Hall, Frankie Dean, and Leah Beth. Of the children three are deceased - Walter M., Robert C. and Frankie D.
[Source: Mississippi Biography Vol III 1907 -- Transcribed by Gene Phillips]
Added 29 Mar 2018

Barnes, Harris Adkinson
Barnes, Harris Adkinson, resident partner and general manager of the firm of Barnes, Ruffin & Company, who conduct an extensive general merchandise business and are also engaged in the manufacture of turpentine at Columbia, Marion county, is a native of the city in which he maintains his home, having been born May 13, 1803, and being a son of Harris and Annette (Equin) Barnes, the former of whom was born in Robinson county, N. C, and the latter in the city of New Orleans, La. The father of our subject became one of the successful planters and farmers of Marion county, and was a man highly esteemed in this section, where he continued to make his home until his death, his wife also being deceased. The subject of this review was reared to the sturdy discipline of the home farm and continued to be identified with the agricultural industry until he had attained the age of twenty-six years, having in the meanwhile received excellent educational advantages in the public schools of his native county. In 1890 he established a general store at Lumberton, Pearl River county, conducting the same until 1895, when he there formed a copartnership with R. W. Hinton, under the firm name of Hinton & Barnes, who there continued to be engaged in the same line of enterprise until 1899, when Mr. Barnes disposed of his interest in the business and came to Columbia, where he engaged in the general merchandise business and in the manufacturing of turpentine. The enterprise grew to such large proportions that in 1901 it was found expedient to organize a stock company, which was duly incorporated in that year, under title of Barnes, Ruffin & Company, which has since been retained, the interested principals being G. L. Hawkins and V. M. Scanlan, of Hattiesburg; P. E. Blalock, of San Antonio, Tex.; and Mr. Barnes, who became the resident manager, in which capacity he has since continued, while it is mainly due to his excellent administration of affairs that the business has assumed a position of so distinctive importance. The company now occupy their fine new building, which was erected in 1903 and which is one of the best business blocks in the state, being 60x116 feet in dimensions, two and one-half stories in height and affording an aggregate floor space of 14,000 square feet. A general mercantile business is carried on and the establishment is divided into various well equipped departments, so that the details of the enterprise are facilitated in their handling. In connection with this business the concern is also largely interested in the manufacturing of turpentine, representing one of the important industries of that section of the State. Mr. Barnes is a director of the Columbia bank, the Columbia Compress Company and the Foote & Drummond Commission Company, and is also vice-president of the Columbia Cotton Oil Company. In politics he is somewhat conservative. He has held no office save that of superintendent of education for Marion county, which position he ably filled for a period of six years. He and his wife are valued members of the Methodist church in their home town. On June 15, 1886, Mr. Barnes was united in marriage to Miss Jeanette Reagan, daughter of William and Susan (Scarborough) Regan, well known residents of Marion county, and the children of this union are three in number, namely: Etta May, Phala Equen, and Hilma Allene.
[Source: Mississippi Biography Vol III 1907 -- Transcribed by Gene Phillips]
Added 29 Mar 2018

Abney, Jesse M.
JESSE M. ABNEY is a prosperous stockraiser of Covington, St. Tammany parish, La., and one of its most substantial citizens. He is a native of Mississippi, born in Hines county, November 7, 1834, and is one of nine children who are named in the order of their births as follows: Sarah E., Dorothy C. (deceased), Jesse M., James P., George P., Henry C., William W., Theodore F. and Robert F. The parents, Robert R. and Mary A. (Roberts) Abney, were natives of Tennessee and Mississippi respectively, the father born August 28, 1810, and the mother January 2, 1812. They were of Welsh and German extraction respectively. They were married in Hines county, Miss., about the year 1828, and in 1836 settled in Jasper county, of that state, where they resided until 1872. From there they moved to Marion county, same state, and there the father's death occurred September 25, 1875. The mother died February 19, 1880. Jesse M. Abney was educated in the common schools of Jasper county, Miss., and at Oak Bowery High school. After completing his education he taught school for some time, and then engaged in merchandising. In 1861 he enlisted in Company F, Twelfth Mississippi cavalry, and served until the close of the war. He subsequently returned to Jasper county, Miss., and in the following fall moved to Marion county, of that state, where he embarked in the stock business. He was married in Jasper county January 16, 1862, to Miss Sarah, daughter of John and Nancy (Crain) Crosby. She was born in Jasper county, Miss., November 14, 1842, and died August 24, 1890. Ten children were born to this marriage: Robert C., November 3, 1864; Nancy C., May 2, 1866 (died March 16, 1888); Mary C., January 10, 1868; Hattie C., December 25, 1869 (died July 13, 1891); Elizabeth C., January 29, 1872; Sarah C., September 30, 1874; Virginia C., October 30, 1876; Thomas C., January 18, 1879; Stephen C., March 3, 1881, and Myrtena C., February 6, 1884. Mr. Abney moved to St. Tammany parish, La., in December, 1876, and now owns a large tract of land. He is engaged very extensively in stockraising, especially sheep, and has now a herd of over 4,000 head. His residence is at Claiborne Station, near Covington, La., and the postoffice is at the latter place. Socially, he is a member of the Masonic fraternity and the Farmers' Alliance. He holds membership in the Methodist church south, and is a member of the school board. He is one of the substantial, law-abiding citizens of the place, and is looked up to and respected by his fellow men.
[Source: Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Louisiana; Chicago; The Goodspeed Publishing Company, 1892; transcribed by Kim Mohler.]
Added 6 Jan 2017

Evans, Thomas Marshall
Evans, Thomas Marshall, who is engaged in the practice of his profession in Gulfport, Harrison county, may consistently be designated as one of the founders and builders of the progressive city which has been evolved from the little village of about 500 population which represented the town at the time when he took up his residence here, less than a decade ago. Mr. Evans was born in Americus, Jackson county, Miss., July 13, 1862, and is a son of Wesley G. and Susan (Carter) Evans, both of whom were likewise born in this State, the former in Greene county. Wesley G. Evans was numbered among those loyal men who donned the gray uniform and went forth in defense of the Confederacy when the Civil war cast its dark pall over the national horizon. He became a member of Company B, Stead's battalion of Mississippi volunteers, and during his term of service was principally engaged in skirmishing with his command in Mississippi and Alabama. While thus battling for the cause of the South he was elected to the legislature of his State, from Jackson county, and resigned his place in the ranks to assume the no less important duties of the office to which he had been chosen. He followed the vocation of farming, timber getting, and saw milling during the greater part of his active career and was also a minister of the gospel in the Methodist Episcopal church, South, preaching in southeast Mississippi for more than sixty-five years. Both he and his wife are now deceased and are buried in Coalville cemetery, near Gulfport, Miss. Thomas M. Evans was born during the climacteric epoch of the Civil war and his boyhood days were passed under the conditions of the period of "reconstruction," when uncertain governmental and civic policies were in evidence here as elsewhere throughout the South. He, however, was able to secure such educational advantages as were offered by the public schools of the time, showing a marked predilection for study and making the best use of his opportunities. In his youth he was identified with farming and with the lumber industry, but in the meanwhile he determined to prepare himself for a wider sphere of endeavor. He accordingly took up the study of law at home, applying himself with diligence and marked power of assimilation and availing himself of such preceptorage as could be secured in directing his technical reading. He continued to be concerned with other lines of work until April 11, 1890, when he passed the examination which gained to him admission to the bar of his native State, said examination having been conducted before Judge Sylvanus Evans, of Enterprise, Miss. He began the practice of his profession at Purvis, Marion county, where he remained a short time and then located in Poplarville, Aug. 1, 1890, remaining there engaged in practice until 1893, when he removed to Scranton, where he continued his professional endeavors until 1896, passing the ensuing two years in Mississippi City. In the fall of 1898 Mr. Evans took up his abode in the embryonic city of Gulfport, which, as before intimated, had at that time about 500 inhabitants. Here he became one of the pioneer representatives of his profession, and in his office was held the first meeting of the mayor and board of aldermen of the newly chartered city. At this meeting he was elected city attorney, serving three years and being then re-elected, in 1901, for a second term of equal duration. He was one of the incorporators of the First National bank of Gulfport, which absorbed the business of the Bank of Gulfport, of which he had likewise been one of the organizers. In all that has touched the prosperity and best interests of the city, Mr. Evans has manifested an insistent and helpful interest, and he is regarded as one of its most loyal and public-spirited citizens, while he also holds precedence as one of the leading lawyers of Harrison county, retaining a representative clientage and commanding the esteem of all who know him. For five years he was a member of the board of education, in which capacity he did much to forward the interests of education in Gulfport. On the first Monday of January, 1907, he was elected to and assumed the duties of the office of police justice of the city of Gulfport, Miss., for the two ensuing years. He is an active worker in the ranks of the Democratic party and is an able advocate of its cause, while fraternally he is identified with the Masonic order and the Knights of Pythias. He was one of the organizers of the Twenty-fifth Avenue Methodist Episcopal church, South, of whose first board of trustees he was a member, as was he also of the building committee which had charge of the erection of the present attractive church edifice. On Dec. 17, 1891, was solemnized the marriage of Mr. Evans to Miss Cora A. Abney, daughter of Dr. Henry C. and Sarah (Slade) Abney, of Poplarville, this State. Mrs. Evans was summoned into eternal rest, at Mosspoint, Jackson county, in 1894, and is survived by one child-Leah Abney. In March, 1895, Mr. Evans wedded Miss Mary C. Abney, daughter of Jessie M. and Sarah (Crosby) Abney, of Covington, La., and the three children of this union are: Stephen Glenn, Murcer Griffin and Mary Susan.
[Mississippi: Contemporary Biography Edited By Dunbar Rowland, 1907 Transcribed by Therman Kellar]
Added 19 Jan 2012

Purvis, Will
Will Purvis was a member of the "White Caps," a secret society closely associated with the Ku Klux Klan. He was arrested, tried and convicted of the murder of Will Buckley on circumstantial evidence. He was senteced to hand for the Buckley murder and the date of the execution was set for September 6, 1893, at 11 a.m. Upon reaching the gallows behind the courthouse, the noose slipped from around his neck. His sentence was ultimately commuted to life. In 1917, another man, on his deathbed, confessed to the murder, exonerating Will Purvis. The story of Will Purvis is the most famous criminal case ever in Marion County. Today Will Purvis rests in Coaltown Cemetery, near Purvis.
[From a information card in Marion County Museum in Columbia MS - Transcribed by Gene Phillips]

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