“A Heart Fixer and a Mind Reggerlater” C. S.’s Condolence Letter to Cudn’ Hattie (1951)

“Everyday is Sunday and the Sabeth has no end”

Great Uncle C.S.  Williams wrote this 1951 letter to “Mayble (aka Cudn’ Hattie) to express his condolences upon hearing about the death of her husband, Theodore (Ted) Wallace.  It is my all time favorite of the letters Uncle C.S. wrote to Hattie Maybell.  It is reflects deep feelings of sympathy and the content still remains poignant and  pertinent in 2014, sixty-three years later.  I can actually feel the empathy the message exudes.

CSWmsLETTERS abt 10 ScanStation-19-18-30-PM0026 CSWmsLETTERS abt 10 ScanStation-19-18-30-PM0027CSWmsLETTERS abt 10 ScanStation-19-18-30-PM0028

“My joy is all over in this life” – 1932 letter from Great Uncle C.S. Williams to Hattie Maybell Hayes

” I has worked So hard I am no count”

Featured images  in POST #20 will introduce you to Clarence S. (C.S.) Williams (1884-1952), my paternal Great uncle. I do not claim to be objective, therefore I  unabashedly assert that Uncle Clarence is one fine looking gentleman!  Yes he is!  Uncle C.S. was born Mississippi  in 1884 to Randall and Lucy Williams (my Great-Grandparents).  He was one of five children; Ada, Armilda, Sophronia, Harriet and Giles.  He is enumerated in five U.S.  censuses,  from 1900-1940.

C.S.  married the former Lula B. Hayes (1883-1966) and they were the parents of three children, Fred (who died in infancy), Minnie and Leander.

He appeared to have spent his life working hard, to no avail.  The letters indicate that he lost his property and was involved in a court case of some type.  C.S.’s letters and those in which he was the topic clearly illustrated that he was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief”. Still, he shines through as a fair and conscientious man of solid character.  Cudn’ Minnie, his daughter often talked about what a wonderful father he was. She asserted that her daddy was so “sweet and nice” and continued to be mild mannered even when he became old and infirm.  Cudn’ Minnie said, “He was so kind and sweet even when he was in pain”.  She said, “People don’t GET old and hellish, they was young and hellish…they was hellish when they was young”.  That was one of her favorite sayings. Cudn’ Minnie never gave her mother glowing reviews and made it somewhat obvious that she wasn’t too fond of her mother.

“Charley and that timber would I testify that he cut the timber”

Clarence S. (C.S.) Williams( b. Abt. 1884-1886)

Clarence S. (C.S.) Williams( b. Abt. 1884-1886)

His 1932 letter to Cudn’ Hattie is insightful and reflective, and also rather troubling.  There are several letters in Cudn’ Hattie’s collection penned by Uncle Clarence.  In my opinion, he has a talent for writing.    (Consistent with other writers in the “Hattie Collection”, C.S. did not use punctuation.) His letters are very detailed and descriptive… and the penmanship, simply beautiful!  The script itself  says a lot about  this gentleman.  Take notice of the letter closing where he displays his fancy signature.

(I have no idea of the level of education Uncle C. S. achieved or if he had the opportunity to attend high school.  Prior to the founding of the historic Piney Woods School in 1909, I doubt if  Simpson County provided a high school for children of color.)

This letter (and others in the collection)   practically “oozes” pathos.  Some messages may be characterized as  lamentations pertaining to  poor crops, meager funds (writing “there is no money here at all”), as well as episodes of timber stealing, land nabbing,  illness,  general discord, and finally … fights, fires and funerals,  all in the family.  I don’t think the letters were intended to evoke sympathy, but to  simply to bare his very soul to “Mayble” about how extremely difficult life was. Though his honesty is surprising,  some of his observations are simply heart wrenching!   Although I never had the pleasure of meeting Uncle C. S., his letters have allowed me to acquaint myself with him.  I thank him for his candor.
The featured letter of the day also speaks of the timber stealing perpetrated by Great Aunt Armilda’s husband, Charlie Jackson.  Uncle C.S. is notifying his niece and tying to re-mediate the situation to keep it out of “the law”. There are at least five letters to Cudn’ Hattie from penned by at least three authors that mention that “Jack” has cut timber off the land belonging to Cudn’ Hattie.  She was  living in Laurel, Mississippi, just about 50 miles away at the time of this letter.  The land stealing by her aunts and timber stealing by Cudn’ Hattie’s uncle (by marriage) are “powder kegs” within the family.  Cudn’ Hattie actually stopped speaking to them for many years due to their multiple and repeated transgressions relevant to her inheritance. I’m not making this up!

What do you think of this letter?

CSWms 1932 letter ScanStation-20-08-42-PM0000CSWms 1932 letter ScanStation-20-08-42-PM0001 R1 B24  (Route 1, Box 24)    Mendenhall, Miss 10-15-1932 Miss Mayble Hays

Dear Niece with much pleasure I lay aside all and write to you to let you know I received your kind and welcum letter found all verry well and injoying life Seam like this life I hope I will see a happy day som where but it wont be in this life I dont know I dont know but i do know I am going to live until I die I has worked So hard I am no count

CSWms 1932 letter ScanStation-20-08-42-PM0002 2) My health is no good much but I go on well you ask me about Charley and that timber would I testify that he cut the timber of coars (course) and undoubtly he would not try to deny cuting the timber and of so you can get all the witnesses you want here white and colored its not Right for hem to cut it and give you no satisfaction a bout it Some how I would halv did that Before I cut it I had Decided to not say any thing more to Hem but I am going to ask hem to write or come to see you in the next 3 or 4 days

CSWms 1932 letter ScanStation-20-08-42-PM0003 3) I will See hem today and tell hem what to do he dont know I got this last letter from you I will see what I can do with hem in  order to keep it out of law if I can that will Save Both of you all money and I will writ you again the middle of next week of he dont and if he write then you write and tell me what he Say Say So nothing new Wife and Children Sends love to you I Remain Your Uncle As Ever C. S. Williams R1. B 24 Mendenhall Miss

Next Post:  More mail from Uncle C.S.

“Think of Me When I am DEAD” – 1903 Bible Inscription by C. S. Williams

 

Paternal Great Grandmother’s Bible

(It’s slightly worn, tattered and obviously used…admittedly, I’m embarrassed to say it’s more than I can say about my Bible.)

Transcription:
Mrs. Lucy Williams Bible  
Bough March the 24. 1903
Your Trulo C. S. Williams
You can look at this and
think of me When I am Dead

…Why in the world would he make such a statement?  Take note of “C.S.’”s fancy signature.   I can’t help but wonder how and where he learned to write in such lovely cursive.

For the record, Great Uncle Clarence S. Williams was born in  Mississippi on  April 17, 1884 and died August 23, 1952. He is interred at Zion Hill Baptist Church Cemetery in Simpson County, Mississippi.  C.S.’s   mother,  Lucy Harrison Williams (b. 1861-1941) predeceased him.     He was only 19 when her bought her the Bible, therefore his inscription that implored her to think of him when he is dead shall remain a mystery.

(C.S.’s  birth and death dates were generously provided to me by Simpson County resident and genealogist, Belinda Malcolm who has done extensive research at Zion Hill.)

Bible from Son to Mother. Clarence S. Williams to Lucy Harrison Williams 1903

Bible from Son to Mother. Clarence S. Williams to Lucy Harrison Williams 1903

Title page of 1902Family  Bible

Title page of 1903 Family Bible

lucy.jpg

Paternal Great Grandmother Lucy Harrison Williams in 1921, age

 

My paternal Great Uncle C.S. purchased this Bible as a gift for his mother,  The March 24, 1903 inscription is  well preserved and legible.   The Bible was passed down to me about ten years ago by my cousin, Carnie A. Hayes, Jr.  His father, Carnie Hayes, Sr. and my father, Clarence G. Williams were first cousins, two brothers’ children.   Carnie Jr.’s mother,  Hallie Lenoir Hayes had the foresight to leave a detailed note. It was handwritten on a brown paper grocery bag (so quaint and precious) which remains in my possession. In the note, she instructed her son that upon her death, he was to acquire it or give the Bible to me (if the several others on the list were already deceased.)  Though the Bible initially went to Carnie Jr.,  he decided to present it to me,  the family historian.  I owe a debt of gratitude to Cousin Hallie (never referred to as “Cudn” since she was a teacher) and her son, Cousin Carnie Jr.  for entrusting this heirloom to me.  It shall be treasured always.

Next post:  A letter to Cudn’ Hattie from her Uncle C.S. Williams.

“Tell Mama and Pa Hidy For Me” – Postcard dated June 6, 1917

” Dir One”

Dated JUNE 14, 1917 – Postmarked JUNE 16, 1917

The featured postcard from “B Craft”  is addressed  Miss Hattie Eptin. Followers of this site are well acquainted with the aforementioned parties. However, I will risk being redundant to familiarize new readers.  This card provides an important shred of information, in that it appears to indicate that my great-grandfather, Randall Williams (b. 1851) was still alive in 1917.  He would have been about 66 years of age. To date, I am been unable to verify the date of his death.

postcard hjune 19170000

Transcription:

June 16, 1917

Miss Hattie Eptin RFD 1 Box 8 Menden Hall Miss Kirbyville, tx Miss

Hattie Eptin Dir One i will rite you a few lind to let you here from me i am very well to Day trust you are the same i resive your letter all ok more than prade (proud) to here from you so give my best regard to all tell mama and pa hidy (howdy) for me so by by B Craft 

 

Front of June 1917 Postcard. I wonder how "sunny" The days really were in MS and LA.

Front of June 1917 Postcard. I wonder how “sunny” The days really were in MS and LA.

I am sure that Cudn’ Hattie was still living with her grandparents,  Lucy and Randall Williams at the age of 19.  Mail addressed to her in Mendenhall as “Miss Hattie Eptin verifies this claim.

Beginning in the early 1920′s, her mail was being received in Laurel, MS and was addressed to Mrs. Hattie Hays.  She saved many letters sent to her in Laurel and selected items in that series will be shared in future posts.

Cudn’ Hattie also saved two ledgers from the 1930′s  that recorded the meeting minutes of the Rosebud Social Club. The members paid weekly dues and the total amount normally collected will amuse post readers to no end.

The Maybell Postcard Series will end for now as other family members are clamoring for attention on the soldfor35cents blog.

It’s high time to feature a few of the men in the family.  (Lucy Mae needs to reappear as well).  Don’t touch that dial!

 

 

“WILL BEE OUT TO SPEND… SUM OF THESE HOT DAYES WITH YOU”

“Hellow Hattie Dir”

Postmarked FEB 17, 1915  OAKDALE & KIRBYVILLE LA

The sender of this 99 year old postcard card is Burnham Craft,  the stepfather of  Hattie Maybell.  She was 16 years of age at the time of this correspondence.  Although most of the postcard wording  penned by Mr. Craft tends to begin and end identically, there is always some new information imparted, albeit clipped and brief.  This time, the message notifies “Cudn’ Hattie” of his impending visit “to spend a few hot dayes” Mendenhall  some time  during that summer of 1915.

Note:  Cudn’ Hattie used several  variations of her name(s), therefore I will attempt to honor them all.  These names and the possible reasoning for the variations were mentioned in a previous post. 

 Feb  1915 Postcard from Burnham Craft to Hattie Maybell

Feb 1915 Postcard from Burnham Craft to Hattie Maybell

 

Transcription:

Oakdale,and Kirbyville LA-  FEB 17, 1915 (postmark)

 Oakdale, La 2-14-15 (Written on Valentine’s Day) 

Hellow Hattie Dir How are you this leaves me felling Just so But i trust that these few lindes will finds you the same i will Bee out to spend a few hot dayes with you all from Yours truly your father

BCraft

As always, he conveys affection Hattie her in some manner.  For example, he refers to her as  “dir” (dear) in the postcard.  May I mention that the myth of the crude, backwards, “unaffectionate”  southern Black man (of this era) is definitely challenged (by Mr. Craft’s obvious affection for Hattie)?  I submit to you that Mr. Craft was not an oddity. I firmly believe that there were many Black  men like Mr. Craft. There isn’t necessarily surviving  tangible evidence to prove this claim. Still, I contend that southern black men of this era, did not hesitate to express their affection for their children and other loved ones. Included in this list are Cudn’ Hattie’s husband (Theodore L. Wallace) and two great uncles (Clarence S. Williams and Giles Williams) who wrote very affectionate letters to her.  These letters will eventually be published in future posts.

Personally,  I am impressed with Mr. Craft’s literacy and am interested in when and how he was able to attend school. I also admire his tenacity for correspondence.  He did not forsake, the daughter of Ada Williams Epting Craft (his deceased wife).  The record proves that after the death of  Hattie Maybell’s mother, he was determined to stay in contact with his young “daughter”. At some point he remarried and traveled quite a bit for work with the railroad company (evidenced by the various different postmark locales).  Mr. Craft not only resided in a different town, but also in a different state, Texas!

Information gleaned from other letter indicated that Mr. Craft was decidedly human, which will be subsequently shared.  His missteps and flaws are documented in the several letters to Cudn’  (written by him and other relatives) and explained to me in detail by Cudn’ Minnie (1912-2002).

How unfortunate because I was ready to rush out and have him fitted for wings AND a halo.  

As always, stay tuned…The next soon- to- be  published postcard is dated 1917.  It will refer my paternal great-grandfather and great grandmother.  Thanks for reading. 

 

 

 

“I ain’t no milyunaire yet, but I’m studyin’ hard!” – Postcard dated July 4, 1913

 HAPPY 4TH OF JULY!

Please enjoy this…

Postcard to Hattie Maybell Eptin 

The card is EXACTLY one hundred and one years old today!

 

Post card July 4, 1913 to Hattie Eptin from M r. Burnham Craft

Post card July 4, 1913 to Hattie Eptin from M r. Burnham Craft

Transcription:

Miss Hattie Eptin

Rout 1 Box 8

Mendenhall Miss

Hellow Hattie How are you to day this leaves me all ok But i am at work on  the 4th of July  i dont like that so much all what kind of fouth did you all have Bee shore and look for me in August for I has (?) sent for my pass so at this i will close from Your father Bob Craft Kirbyville tex

Front of Card - Boy carrying books (cartoon)

Front of Card – Boy carrying books (cartoon)

November 1912 Postcard – “I Will Send You a Pair of Shoes”

A 102 year old message – New Shoes in the Mail this Week

 Transcription:

Nov the 11/9-12

Hellow Hattie How are you to day this leaves me all ok But I has Ben a little sick But not so bad I will send you a pair of shoes on the 17 so at this no more By By from Yo Father

Addressed to:

Miss Hattie Eptin

Menden Hall Miss

Rout 1 Box 8

 

   November 11, 1912 Postcard to Hattie Eptin from her stepfather,  Mr,  Burnham Craft.  Postmarked Kirbyville, Texas

On November 11, 1912,  this  postcard was  mailed to Mendenhall, Mississippi to Hattie Eptin by her stepfather, Mr. Burnham Craft. The location of the postmark is Kirbyville, Texas.  Hattie Maybell, referred to as Cudn’ Hattie, received this card when at the age of  14.  One can only imagine how excited she was in anticipation of the new shoes coming all the way from TEXAS!

Well into her 90th year, she would not hesitate to buy something new whenever she had a “notion” to.  Her closets were a treasure trove  of vintage outfits and semi-modern ones as well.  After many decades of domestic service, specifically cooking,  Maybell retired  in Jellico, Tennessee during  the mid-1960′s and decided to purchase herself a retirement gift. While both of us were residing in Chicago, she told me the following story.

“Well-l-l-l-, I’d always wanted me a nice diamond ring, so when I retired, I decided I was going to get me one.  I was going to buy myself something special. So when I went down to the jewelry store, I couldn’t decide on the solitaire or the cluster, I  liked both of them.  So-o-o-o-o-o-o since I couldn’t decide which one I like the best, I bought both of them.”   

Both rings were exceptionally lovely and definitely expensive.  The cluster was given to me by Cudn’ Minnie (Minnie Williams Watkins) in 1993 after the death of Cudn’ Hattie. Cudn’ Minnie said she wanted to “keep the ring in the family”.  Just as Hattie Maybell did, I actually wear the ring everyday!   It will be passed down again “in the family”.

The postcard from Mr. Craft is short, but sweet.  He was only married to Cudn’ Hattie’s mother, Ada Williams Craft  for four years and five months. (She married him on July 24, 1904 died on and December 29, 1908.)  Cudn’ Hattie was ten in 1908 when her mother died.  The first postcard from her step-father was dated 1911, thus  Mr. Craft obviously moved to Texas after the death of his wife.  His seemingly unfailing devotion to his deceased wife’s daughter is admirable.  

Front of vintage postcard November 11, 1912

 Front of vintage postcard November 11, 1912

I wish I could thank  Cudn’ Hattie Maybell for being both a paper and junk collector.  Her “paper junk” is now my treasure!

“Say Doll Write To Me” – 1913 Postcard to Cudn’ Hattie  from an Admirer

“Say Doll Write To Me” – 1913 Postcard to Cudn’ Hattie from an Admirer

“Hello Hattie”

 ( postmarked  October 1, 1913)
  
Transcription:
Miss Hattie Epton
Mendenhall, Miss
Hello Hattie how are you to night i am well. look doll this card is to my old friend i would like to
see you very much. say doll write to me.  i will be home in too weeks yours old friend By H.B. Hays  431 Copp St  Biloxi Miss
 
 October 1913 Postcard to Hattie Maybell from Biloxi, mississippi
October 1913 Postcard to Hattie Maybell from Biloxi, Mississippi
 
1913 Biloxi front
 Cudn’ Hattie received this correspondence from an H. B. Hays at the age of 15.  My first reaction was  astonishment at her receiving such a “fresh” message at such a tender age.  After a moment of reflection, I then recollected  the fact that many young ladies in that era actually were already married by the age of 15.  Still the message was clear and required no decoding.  Mr. Hays was quite forward, “no beating around the bush” in his approach.    
In fact, I am convinced that she married H.B. between 1918  and 1921. Her name, as the addressee in the mail collection changed from Epton (or Eptin) to Hays sometime after the aforementioned time span .  Cudn’ Hattie carried that surname until 1940 after she married Theodore L. Wallace in Packard,  Kentucky.   In the 1980′s she  shared with me  that she got married at the age of 18 (in 1916) and divorced  two years later at the age of 20.  Maybell stated, “My first husband had a hard time making it home with his money on payday so he had to GO!  I quit him.  I was working and he should have been working too.  I was not staying with a man who would not bring home his money on payday.”
However, the mail collection does not validate the claim that she married as early as she asserted… She was still being addressed as Hattie Eptin/Epton in 1917 when she was 19.   There are no postmarks in the collection  for the period of 1918-1920.  The postmarked mail debuts again in 1921 where she is living in Laurel, Mississippi at the age of 23.  Remember that she sported several varieties of her first and middle names  and later her married names added additional variety.   
Although I have had possession of family mail including items over a century old.   This 101 year old postcard still awes me. Hattie Maybell treasured these postcards and letters and so do I.
 

“Women have ALWAYS worked!”… Lucy Mae’s thoughts on working ladies of color.

Black Ladies Working in LUMBERYARD in Bogalusa, Louisiana (undated)

“Negro Women Have ALWAYS Been In The Workforce!”

These are the experiences, observations and words (verbatim) of our mother, Lucy Mae Dawkins Williams, who is usually referred to simply as,  Lucy Mae.

Sh-h-h-h…hush!  LUCY MAE IS SPEAKING!

I don’t know who they (the white media) are talking to, saying “since American women began working out of the home…since women have entered the workforce and all”, they surely are not talking to US, to Negro women.  Most Negro women I know have always worked outside the home.  Who are they talking about?  Not us for sure.  There were always a few ladies with  husbands who were able to earn enough money to totally support  their families, but that was not too common.

We Negroes are not Americans I guess.  Anytime they say (in the news), “most Americans…”, they are NOT talking about black people.  Ain’t that something? We are the ones who built this country and built it for FREE!  (Mama would use “ain’t” to emphasize her point!)

I would tell any white person who was interviewing me for a job, “Look I am not one of those slavery-time Negroes, so you may not want me to work for you!”  I was not about to do all that “yes ma-am-ing and flunky-ing around” for nobody”.  I am just as grown as they are.  I would tell them upfront! I would respect them and I expect the same treatment.  They could either respect me or KEEP THEIR JOB!

Note: Per the postcard.  Google Great Southern Lumber Company (1902-1938) for information if you are curious about it. Specifically,  the book excerpts of “The Tribe of Black Ulysses, African American Lumber Workers in the Jim Crow” South by William Powell Jones also provide an interesting perspective.

Undated Vintage postcard.  from a series advertising Arbuckle Coffee Company.  Collection of Saundra Williams Blackman

1889 Postcard – Arbuckle Coffee Company Saundra Williams Blackman Collection

 

Note:  Lucy Mae was a highly sought after caterer and pastry chef.  She was intelligent, slim and trim and simply lovely.  Mama always considered herself to be as important as anyone else of any race.  She’d say that someone may have more things than you, but that does not make them better than you. (One of her Jim Crow-like experiences is noted below.)

“That Little Gal  Called Me A Nigger”

When I was a young woman in the 1930′s, I was preparing for a big fancy dinner party for this (white) Hattiesburg, (Mississippi) family.  Now I was just there catering that day for the party.   Well, “Miss Ann” had nothing better to do than to ask me to fix lunch for the family.  She had some nerve, trying to have lunch cooked and served. I was not her maid.  I was not there for that.  She could have prepared her own family’s lunch.

Well I went ahead and fixed the lunch.   As I was setting the table, the little (white) girl, who looked to be about 5 or 6 said to me, “That’s not my knife.”  You know I didn’t pay any attention to that little gal.  She said it again and I ignored her again.  A few moments later, as her mama came into the dining room, do you know what that little heifer said?  She said, “That nigger wouldn’t give me my knife!”  Her mama handed her a butter knife and said to me, “She always uses this  butter knife”.   I then said to her mama, “Did you hear what that little gal said?  She called me a nigger!”  You won’t believe this!  That white woman looked at me with a funny expression on her face that seemed to say… “Well that’s what you are.  You ARE a nigger”.  Well, I swanney!  Oh no, she had the wrong one!

I just went into the kitchen, took off my apron, rolled it up, put it in my pocketbook and honey, I HIT THAT BACK DOOR.  I went down that sidewalk through the alley to the street and caught the next bus HOME! Who in the devil did that white heifer think she was fooling with not to correcting child?  Now remember, I was barely halfway through cooking for that big fancy dinner party.  Too bad, let her figure it out.

I was quite tickled with myself since she didn’t even know I was gone.  I didn’t even care about collecting my pay.  I WAS GONE! Well, that’s not all. When I got on the bus, I sat near a (black) lady I knew.  I told her what had just happened and that “Miss Lady” was going to be “up the creek” with a big party with no caterer and no food.  Well now, I found out a few weeks later that the lady I met on the bus went to work at the house, telling that white woman that I WENT HOME SICK AND SENT HER IN MY PLACE.  I was hot enough to “ketch a fye”. (vernacular again)  I didn’t speak to her for the longest! I learned a good lesson that day…TO KEEP MY MOUTH SHUT!

(Daddy always said it was a miracle that Mama never got lynched back in the day.  He was serious.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Postcard to Grandma Lucy (1908-1922)

 

Part Three

“Dear Mother it is near easter”

I find it interesting that Cudn’ Hattie had in her possession a postcard that belonged TO HER GRANDMOTHER!  How she came into possession of it bewilders me.  I declare (Lucy Mae’s favorite saying) I found everything among her effects but a “coon” and a “possum”.  She saved several hundred dollars in three large pickle jars because she considered jars to be “rat proof”.

Grandma Lucy's Postcard from EPW (between 1908-1922)

Grandma Lucy’s Postcard from EPW (between 1908-1922)

This post card from Cudn’ Hattie’s collection.  The writer, E.P.W. is her son-in-law, Elie P. Weathersby (b. 1880).  He married Grandma Lucy’s daughter, Sophronia (b. 1880 or 1881).  The postmark is illegible, therefore, a small scale investigation ensued.   What I am almost certain of is the stamp was issued between 1908-1922.

Stamp facts: Third Bureau Issue commonly known as the Washington Franklin Head Issue.  Per her postmarked letter, Cudn’ Hattie was living in Laurel at least by 1920, but I believe that she might have acquired this postcard prior to leaving home.  If I had to guess (and I must), I surmise that this postcard dates around 1917.  This supposition is not solely due to the “17″ that is legible on the image below, but partially due to the year in which I think she left home…going from Mendenhall to Laurel, a whopping 57 miles.  This was a distance during the early 1900′s.

Dear Mother from EPW

Dear Mother from EPW

Transcription:

Yours

E.P.W.

#3#29

Braxton, Miss

Dear Mother it is near easter I know that you have your easter eggs ready for that time I would have had mine but will haft to get them out from under that old hen so love to you all we are well hope you all are well.

 

“Lucy Mae” side note:   (I assure you it is relevant to the Lucy Harrison Williams post. )

Our Mother, Lucy Mae (b.1915) said she only saw her maternal grandmother four or five times  in her lifetime although she lived  in Hattiesburg, Mississippi and her grandmother lived in Jasper County, Mississippi, a mere 54 miles.  Mama said as she was growing up during the 1920′s, it was far too dangerous to travel between counties just for a visit. Somebody had to be “sick and mighty low sick” (Lucy Mae again) , dying or dead!

Travel  for any Black person was precarious at best to risk being accosted by a White man on the roads in many parts of Mississippi. A  physically attractive Black lady traveling the road to Bay Springs and encountering a While man was a potentially combustible circumstance. For Mama, it would have been explosive!  If anyone White folks got out of line with Lucy Mae, they were going to be put back in line! Daddy would always say he never knew how Mama made it through the Jim Crow era alive and well. Lucy Mae would not have “backed down” nor “cowed”…her version of “cower”.  Thus, she stayed home in Hattiesburg, in town and the family only traveled “up home” for funerals.

There are a few really interesting accounts Mama provided regarding this Jasper County grandmother.  The two of them actually encountered an apparition one night coming from revival while riding in a horse-drawn wagon.  Did you notice I did not “speak” my maternal great grandmother’s  name?  I shall, but not yet.

Future Posts:  Sometimes I feel she’s Cudn’ Hattie and sometimes she’s  Maybell.  Mae and Mable have  not shown up yet.  If you’ve been keeping up, you’ll know she all of the aforementioned.  One NAME would not and could not do justice to this lady!  Another letter will be featured re how she reacquired her inheritance (her land) while still in Mississippi during the summer of 1944.  I must then return to posting  the one hundred year old postcards from her stepfather.