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Prentiss County, MS Biographies

Berry, Joel Halbert
Berry, Joel Halbert, who died at his home in Baldwyn, Miss., in 1875, left a definite impress upon the history of his time and was a citizen of prominence and influence. He was born in Anderson county, S. C, in 1808, and in that State he was reared and educated. In consequence of poverty in his early life, his educational advantages were very poor. He had a thirst for knowledge while quite young and availed himself of every opportunity for study. By brilliant lights of pine knots he would study until late at night. When shut in by bad weather or otherwise hindered from outdoor work, his book was his companion. Frequently while plowing he would take his book to the field, place it open on the fence, so as to catch a sentence as he turned his horse, and between the plow handles would solve some problem or master some principle of grammar. By this means he acquired a fair English education without the advantages of even an academic course. In 1843 he came to Mississippi and took up his residence in Tippah county, where he developed one of the finest plantations in this section of the State, the same having secured a premium in 1859 for being the best conducted farm in the county. He was a man of forceful individuality and wielded no little influence in connection with public affairs. Prior to coming to Mississippi, he served two terms as a member of the legislature of South Carolina, and from 1848 until 1860 he was a member of the Mississippi legislature, having been in the senate during eight years of this interval. While in the legislature he accomplished a noteworthy work in behalf of the cause of popular education in the State. He introduced a bill regulating the distribution of the public-school fund in such a way as to enable those in indigent circumstances to give their children proper educational advantages, and this bill as enacted proved altogether beneficent. He was ever a stanch advocate of the free school system and took deep interest in the cause of education in the State. He was a member of the convention which adopted the ordinance by which Mississippi seceded from the Union, and during the war he loyally supported the Confederate government by all means at his command. His political support was given to the Democratic party. He was a member of the Baptist church. In his church he was looked upon as a leader. Wise, prudent and aggressive, he won the esteem of others who delighted to follow his leadership. He was recognized as a leader in all denominational and church work. For twenty-five years he was chairman of the executive board of Chickasaw Baptist association, which is considered the mother of associations in northern Mississippi. His active but humble Christian life extended over a period of more than fifty years. In South Carolina was solemnized the marriage of Mr. Berry to Miss Martha M. Simpson, daughter of Rev. David Simpson, a clergyman of the Presbyterian church, and she survived her husband by several years. Concerning their children, the following data are entered: Martha L. is the wife of Dr. R. M. Leavell, who is professor of logic in the University of Mississippi, at Oxford. Rev. Julius S. is a clergyman of the Baptist church and resides at Baldwyn. He was a lieutenant in the Civil war. Prof. William E. Berry is one of the owners of Blue Mountain female college, with which he has been identified since 1875, and he is one of the well-known and popular educators of the State. He was for many years professor of Latin and Greek in this institution, of which he is now business manager. James A., the next in order of birth, is deceased. Corrie is the wife of Rev. James Buchanan, of Blue Mountain, who is a prominent clergyman of the Baptist church. Etta is the wife of William R. Nelson, of Baldwyn, Miss.
[Mississippi Biography Vol. III 1907 -- Transcribed by Gene Phillips]

Blankenship, Henry Jefferson
BLANKENSHIP, Henry Jefferson, farmer; born Booneville, Miss., March 9, 1870; Irish descent; son of Thomas Jefferson and Susie (Black) Blankenship; father was a printer; born poor, and at four years of age was left with widowed mother and four small children without means; he received what education he has from his mother, and entered farming in early life, in which he is now engaged; married Susie Alexander Dec. 22, 1895; Democrat.
[Who's Who in Tennessee, Memphis: Paul & Douglass Co., Publishers, 1911; transcribed by Kim Mohler]
Added 7 Oct 2014

Bonds, James Wright
On July 1, 1997, the 134th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg, the bones of a Civil War soldier were reburied in a solemn ceremony after being washed up by rains in the railroad cut where the 2nd Mississippi was entrenched on the first day of the battle, July 1863.
Private James Wright Bonds, Co. A, 2nd Mississippi Infantry, from Jacinto, Mississippi, was killed at Gettysburg on July 1, 1863 and his body was never recovered.
The program from the 1997 ceremony states:
"Today we offer a final resting place, with full military honors, for a soldier who perished during the Battle of Gettysburg. We may never know his identity, or even which side he fought for, but it is fitting that we honor him today and that he rest here at the Gettysburg National Cemetery, where Lincoln gave his immortal address.
In March 1996, a park visitor accidentally found eroded skeletal remains along a railroad embankment, on the first day battlefield, northwest of town. A National Park Service archeological investigation determined that the discovery was a Civil War battlefield burial, probably a battle participant, slain near the Railroad Cut where intense fighting took place on July 1, 1963. There was no conclusive evidence regarding the soldier's identity."
No conclusive evidence? Perhaps. But there is much circumstantial evidence that the bones were those of James Wright Bonds. Records show that James Bonds was with the 2nd Mississippi and that he was killed on that day in that place and an archive records shows that he was 5'9" as was the skeleton.
Articles in various newspapers mention Jim Bonds from Jacinto, Mississippi as fitting the profile arrived at by Smithsonian scientists who did tests on the bone samples.
Bernice Bonds Janeway and Sara Bonds Pounds, great granddaughters, and Ann Sparks, great great granddaughter of James Wright Bonds, made the long drive from Booneville, Mississippi to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, to attend the 1997 ceremony. They are convinced they attended the funeral of their ancestor.
The ceremony was a big draw for the anniversary. And if the powers that be had admitted that the soldier was a Rebel, he would not have been reburied at Gettysburg. He would have been reburied at Richmond, Virginia. And if they had gone so far as to admit it was or probably was Jim Bonds from Jacinto, Mississippi, the bones should and could have been returned to his home state. This writer believes it's the same old story, the powers that be in the North giving short shrift to us Southerners!
Ann, Bernice, and Sara were impressed with the respect, solemnity, and grandness of the ceremony. But Ann feels unsettled at the thought that this young soldier, her ancestor, died so far from home and was given a second chance so to speak, and unfortunately is still buried so far from home and the state for which he fought and died.
James Wright Bonds was the son of Wright Walker Bonds II and Sarah Nicholson. His grandparents were Wright Walker Bonds and Priscilla Eley. Wright Walker Bonds and Priscilla Eley have many, many descendants in Prentiss, Tishomingo, and Alcorn Counties and indeed all over the country.
James Wright Bonds left a widow, Mary A. Ledbetter Bonds, and two small sons. Wright Walker III and James Andrew, who became the first mayor of Mantachie, Mississippi. Andrew's home in Mantachie, the Bonds House, is now a museum.
In June 2000, his great-great-granddaughter had a memorial Confederate marker for James Wright Bonds placed beside the grave of his son, Wright Walker Bonds, at Holley Cemetery, east of Booneville, in Prentiss County, Mississippi.
[Prentiss County, Mississippi History and Families Book, Publisher: Turner Publishing Company, 2002; transcribed by Pat Lancaster]
Added 7 Mar 2017

Brown, James Franklin, Jr.
James Franklin Brown Jr was born Jul 21, 1877 in Prentiss County, MS died Sep 30, 1961, with burial in Mt. Zion Cemetery in McNairy County, TN. "Jim," as he was known, was the son of James Franklin Brown Sr. (b. Feb. 18, 1851 in Marion County, AL, d. Aug. 25, 1923 in Stantonville, McNairy County, TN).
Jim's mother was Martha Jane Tipton Brown (b. Aug. 11, 1849 in Bay Springs, Jasper County, MS, d. Oct 11, 1918). Jim was married to Eliza Idella Willis Brown (b. Mar. 15, 1882 in Falcon, McNairy County, TN, d. Oct 29, 1966), the daughter of Jackson Monroe Willis. This couple lived in the Stantonville, TN area while they reared nine children: William Cecil, James Earl, Mary Jane, Edith Alma, Maggie Lee, Mildred, Willis Alton, Raymond Clay and Wilson Arlon Brown. Most all of the children have stayed and raised their families in this area and around Memphis, TN except Raymond, who resided in Meridian, MS. Early in their marriage, Jim was a farmer and then he followed the carpenter trade. Later on Jim moved his family to Corinth, MS, except Earl, where he remained until his death. Jim and Della were members of the Church of Christ. He was very much a Bible scholar. You would often find him with his Bible under his arm looking for interested people to discuss the scriptures. As years passed, the children grew up and had families of their own. Sundays were a day of rest for some, but not for Della as she kept busy cooking Sunday dinner for family members, who came to visit. Very important to Jim and Della were the family reunions, which are still being held in the McNairy County area. Submitted by Shirley Jean Brown Potter.
Prentiss County, Mississippi History and Families Book, Publisher: Turner Publishing Company, 2002; transcribed by Pat Lancaster]
Added 24 Mar 2018

Brown, Newton Odus
Newton Odus Brown, born Oct 6, 1893 in Cleburne County, AL to Robertson Wyatt Brown and Mary Emily Hale. Odus moved with his family to Booneville, MS in 1911.
He married Pearl Nan Walden Nov. 24, 1915. This union produced eight children as follows: james Leamon Brown, Johnny Wyatt Brown, Ewell Odus Brown, Pearl Maylene Brown, Vance Walden Brown, Edwin Davis Brown, Virginia Dolores Brown Penna and Beverly Jean Brown Taylor. Pearl (b. Dec. 21, 1892 in Booneville, MS, d. Jun. 3, 1988 at almost 96) and Odus (d. Aug. 5, 1985 at almost 92) are buried in Mount Pleasant Cemetery in Prentiss County, MS. Their church affiliation was with the Primitive Baptist Churches at New Hope and Little Flock in Prentiss County, MS.
The children range today in age from 63 to 83. Six children live in Mississippi one in Tennessee and one in Alabama. From this union, we have approximately 100 offspring. The families have all kinds of vocations, but the original eight children and parents grew up on a farm. We are thankful for our heritage and our parents that carried us to churcch, taught us to work and manage God's resources. Submitted by Vance W. Brown.
Prentiss County, Mississippi History and Families Book, Publisher: Turner Publishing Company, 2002; transcribed by Pat Lancaster]

This page last updated on -- 02 Jun 2018



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