Ancestry – or Why I’m So Jacked Up – Great Great Grandparents (dad’s side)

Paternal Great Great Grandparents.

Andrew Jackson “Jack” Crane and Martha Jane “Mattie” Mercer

William Thomas White and Laura Catherine Morrow

Joseph Lawson Pickett and Caledonia D “Callie” Fisher

Thomas Gilbert Lafayette Keene and Sarah Elizabeth “Bettie” Brown

Jack and Mattie married in 1873 in Mississippi. They were both born in Mississippi in 1852. Jack died in 1905 with Mattie dying 40 years later in 1945. She did not remarry after his death. They were the parents of 3 children: a girl in 1874, another girl in 1878 and a boy in 1841 (my great grandfather Amos Bolivar Crane). They are buried at McGowan Chapel Cemetery in Harmony, Clarke Co, MS with all three of their children and spouses.

I do not have any information on William Thomas White and Laura Catherine Morrow, except that they were both born in the 1840s, he in MS and her in AL. They were married in 1867 and had 13 children, with my great grandmother Minnie White Crane being the 10th.

Joseph Lawson Pickett and Caledonia D “Callie” Fisher were born in 1866 in AL and 1870 in MS, respectively. They were married in Aug 1891 in Lauderdale Co, MS and had 5 boys and 1 girl, the eldest being my great grandfather, Benjamin Berry Pickett. They are both buried at Pleasant Hill United Methodist Church Cemetery in Zero, Lauderdale Co, MS. He died in 1910 at the age of 44 and she in 1931 at the age of 61.

Thomas Gilbert Lafayette Keene and Sarah Elizabeth “Bettie” Brown were both born and died in MS. Strangely enough, with a name like TGL Keene, I can find very little information on him. This is about the only thing I have on him. It is a marble plaque hanging in the Lauderdale County courthouse in Meridian Mississippi, showing him the county treasurer 1904-1097.

plaque in Lauderdale Co Court House in Meridian

I do, however, have plenty of information on Bettie Brown. She first married John Thompson and had a daughter, Fleta S. Thompson, in 1885. I do not know what happened to John Thompson, but she then married TGL in 1890 and had 7 children, the 2nd dying at 6 months of age, the 6th being my great grandmother, Eula Ouida Keene Pickett.

Bettie’s father was William Lafayette Brown Jr, who served in the Civil War as a sharp-shooter, guarding the railroad bridges in Newton County, MS from destruction by the Union troops. He was captured and escaped. He allowed himself to be captured again to help others escape, which he/they did. This was in 1862 when Bettie was born. Her birthday is 19 Nov 1862. 100 years to the day before my birthday, 19 Nov 1962.

Below is a transcript of the Brown family Bible.

TGL and Bettie are buried at Oak Grove Cemetery, Meridian, Lauderdale Co, MS.

Bettie was one of 10 children. Below are her brothers, Franklin Carlton and William Harrison (with wife Mary).

Stay tuned for 3rd Great Grandparents (mom’s side) and the story of the Carpenters and Rodgers who fought through the Civil War and suffered through typhoid running rampant through their community. Or, you could just read my upcoming novel Okatibbee Creek which tells the story of Mary Ann Rodgers’ ordeal in vivid detail. It will be available at Amazon in Dec 2012 in paperback and kindle. (…shameless plug)

Side note: Mary Ann Rodgers’ brother, Wilson Rodgers, died in the Civil War in 1864 and his widow, Sarah Jane Graham Rodgers, eventually remarried. She married Lofton Evans Fairchild. (That is on my mom’s side.)  Lofton’s brother, George W. Fairchild, married the above Fleta Thompson, daughter of Sarah Elizabeth “Bettie” Brown and her first husband John Thompson. (That is on my dad’s side.) I think that makes me my own cousin 14 times removed. 🙂

Ancestry – or Why I’m So Jacked Up – Great Grandparents (dad’s side)

My father was a Crane.

His dad’s parents were Amos Bolivar Crane and Mary Elizabeth “Minnie” White.

His mom’s parents were Benjamin Berry Pickett and Eula Ouida Keene.

They will be mentioned in this post in that order.

Amos Bolivar CraneMy great grandfather Amos Bolivar Crane.

My great grandfather was born 11 Nov 1881 in Mississippi and died 9 Nov 1959 in Mississippi. That was a few years before I was born, so I did not know him.

He was the son of Andrew Jackson Crane and Martha Jane “Mattie” Mercer. He had at least 2 siblings, both sisters, and he married Mary Elizabeth “Minnie” White on 10 Aug 1902 and had 6 children, 2 girls and 4 boys (including the oldest, my grandpa Frank Crane). “Bo” is still a popular name in the Crane family.

Below: Amos Bolivar Crane’s headstone at McGowan Chapel Cemetery, Lauderdale Co, MS

Mary Elizabeth Minnie White CraneMy great grandmother Mary Elizabeth “Minnie” White

Minnie was born in 1884 in Mississippi and died there in 1964. I was born in 1962, so I’m assuming I knew her at some point. She was only 79 when she died and may have been around when I was an infant.

She was the daughter of William Thomas White and Laura Catherine Morrow. She was the 9th child born of 12.

Below: Mary Elizabeth “Minnie” White Crane headstone at McGowan Chapel Cemetery in Lauderdale Co, MS.

maggie white, minnie crane, frank crane, Laura Catherine Morrow White, nannie white, sis narcissaFrom left to right: Minnie’s sister Maggie, Minnie, baby Frank Crane, mother Laura Catherine Morrow White, Minnie’s sister Nannie, Minnie’s aunt (Laura’s sister) Narcissa. Photo is about 1905 and is from the library of my dad’s cousin, Jewel Sims.




Pickett BenMy great grandfather Benjamin Berry Pickett

Though I did not know the Cranes, I did know the Picketts. Grandpa Ben was born in 1893 and died in 1973. He was the son of Joseph Lawson Pickett Sr and Caledonia D “Callie” Fisher. He was the oldest with 4 brothers and 1 sister. He married Eula Ouida Keene in 1916 at the age of 23 and had 3 children: Howard, Azalea, and Fleta Clarice.

There is a book by Hewitt Clark called “Thunder At Meridian,” that is the story of the local Choctaw Indians in 1695, through the white European settlers, and into the 1960’s with the Civil Rights Movement. One chapter is devoted to a 1923 bloody gunfight between the local law and some moonshiners. A “revenuer” or tax collector was killed in the gunfight and the moonshiner went to prison for murder. That moonshiner was my grandpa, Ben Pickett. The book does not say how long Grandpa Ben was in prison, but he served his time and was released.

1923 must have been a very hard year for his wife…

Eula Keene Pickett with Howard and AzaleaMy great grandmother Eula Ouida Keene

Photo: Eula with children Howard and Azalea, mid 1920s, probably ’23 or ’24 by the ages of the kids.

Eula was the daughter of Thomas Gilbert Lafayette Keene and Sarah Elizabeth “Bettie” Brown. She was born in 1899 in Mississippi. She was my devoted pen-pal as I was growing up, and I still have many, many cards and letters from her.  I also have very fond memories of  spending many summers with her. She had chickens, a new calf every year, a nice garden, and was always working on a quilt. It turns out those quilts were for us great grandchildren. There were 6 of us, and we all received one on our 16th birthday. I still have mine hanging on a wall in my guest room.

Her mother had married her 1st husband at the age of 18 and had one daughter, Fleta. At the age of 27, she married Eula’s dad, TGL Keene, and had 7 children, Eula being the last girl. There were 14 years between Eula and her 1/2 sister, Fleta, and even though Fleta married by 1903 and moved out of the family home,  it is obvious the two had a special relationship.

In 1920, Fleta had a daughter and named her Eula.

In May of 1921, Eula had a daughter and named her Fleta.

The joy of a new baby, however, was overshadowed in Sep 1921 when Eula’s father died. Baby Fleta Clarice, whom they called Clarice, developed pneumonia and died the following Spring on 5 May 1923. Eula’s sister, Fleta, then died a month later on 23 Jun 1923 at the age of 38. This was all at the same time as Eula’s husband being arrested for murder as stated above.  Her mother then died in 1926, and her husband’s baby brother, Joseph Lawson Pickett Jr, was shot and killed by local police in 1928.  All of this before Eula’s 30th birthday.

If things could go from bad to worse, they did. In Sept of 1936, she received the call every parent fears. Her 18-yr-old son had been in an auto accident.  The following is an excerpt from his obituary:

Howard Benjamin Pickett, 18, son of Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin Berry Pickett of Meridian, who was injured in an automobile crash near Newton on Highway 80, died in a Newton hospital late Thursday. … Pickett, who was said to have been driving the automobile when it crashed at 5 a.m., received internal injuries. He never regained consciousness. …The crash occurred when a tire blew out, causing the machine to leave the highway, overturning several times before striking a stump.

Eula Ouida Keene Pickett was a very strong woman.  She was deeply religious. She was a kind woman. Now we all know why. She is deeply missed by all who knew her.

Note: I find this interesting. Great grandpa Pickett died 31 Oct. His grandson, my father, died 31 Oct. My wedding anniversary is 31 Oct. Grandma Pickett’s mother’s birthday (my great great grandmother) was 19 Nov. Grandma Pickett’s son’s birthday (Howard) was 19 Nov. My birthday is 19 Nov.