October Ancestry Challenge 2013 – Eula Ouida Keene Pickett

oct ancestry challenge-001

The October Ancestry Challenge 2013 is 23 posts in 23 days (Monday through Friday) about 23 ancestors. It’s still not to late to join us. Come on, you can catch up.

Ancestor #4 – Eula Ouida Keene Pickett

eula and benOne of my favorite people in the whole world was my great grandmother Eula Ouida Keene Pickett. She was my devoted pen pal while I was growing up (as we lived in different states), and I still have many of her cards and letters in my scrapbooks. I spent every summer with her as a child and remember gathering chicken eggs, watching her sew quilts, and staying far away from her nasty little chihuahua who was blind in one eye and would bite you if you got too close.

She was the daughter of Thomas Gilbert Lafayette Keene, an upstanding business man who served as Treasurer of Lauderdale County, MS from 1904-1907, and Sarah Elizabeth “Bettie” Brown, daughter of a Confederate hero who was captured by the Union army and escaped, then allowed himself to be captured again to help others escape, which he/they did.

She was born 18 March 1899 and was the sixth of seven children totaling three girls and four boys. She also had an older half-sister from her mom’s first marriage.

Eula married Benjamin Berry Pickett in Lauderdale County, Mississippi in 1916 at the age of 17. They had 3 children: Howard, Azalea (my grandmother), and Fleta Clarice.

Eula’s older half-sister, who was also named Fleta, was 14 years her senior, and the two had a special relationship. In 1920, Fleta had a daughter and named her Eula, and in Dec 1921, Eula had a daughter and named her Fleta Clarice. While Eula was six-months pregnant with Fleta, her father died in Sep 1921. If that wasn’t hard enough to endure, on 8 May 1923, baby Fleta Clarice died of pneumonia. She was seventeen months old.

MS Cemetery 053The Meridian Star, May 8, 1923

 Fleta Marie (Clarice) Pickett Born: December 1, 1921 in Lauderdale County, MS 

Died: May 8, 1923 in Lauderdale County, MS 

Fleta Marie (Clarice) Pickett Fleta Marie Pickett, 17-month-old daughter of Ben Berry and Eula Keene Pickett, who reside near Zero, MS., passed away this morning at 4 o’clock. Funeral services will be held from the residence Wednesday morning at 10 o’clock. Interment is to follow in Fisher Cemetery. 

I find it interesting that they held the funeral in the living room.

A month later on 23 June 1923, Eula’s sister Fleta died at the age of 38.

thunder at meridian1923 was NOT a good year for the family. Eula’s husband Ben and his brothers were involved in a bloody shoot-out with local law enforcement over a moonshine still. A revenuer (tax collector) was killed, and Ben was sent to prison for murder. This story is in a book by Hewitt Clarke called Thunder at Meridian. BTW, my grandmother Azalea was outraged by the book and said none of it was true. Then again, she was four at the time, and I’m sure the grown-ups did not tell her the all the gory details. I personally spoke with Mr. Clarke in September 2013 and he said he got that story from interviewing Clyde Pickett (Ben’s little brother) in Zero, MS and pieced the rest together from newspapers and court records.

Keep in mind, all of this occurred before Eula’s 25th birthday.

I don’t know how long Ben was in jail, but I know he served his time and was eventually released.

On September 2, 1936, Eula and Ben receive the phone call all parents dread: their 19-yr-old son, Howard, had been in an auto accident. According to his obituary, following a tire blow-out, the car rolled several times. Howard had internal injuries and did not regain consciousness. He died the following day.

MS Cemetery 054The Meridian Star, September 5, 1936

Howard Benjamin Pickett 

Born: November 19, 1917 in Lauderdale County, MS 

Died: September 3, 1936 in Newton, MS 

Howard Benjamin Pickett, 19, 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. Miss Hazel Brasfield, 15, also of Meridian, remained in a critical condition Friday morning. Pickett, who was said to have been driving the automobile when it crashed at 5 a.m., received internal injuries. He never regained consciousness. Miss Brasfield is suffering from a crushed thigh. Other occupants of the machine were Jim Edwards, Billy White, Neva Ezell, Jack Ward, and Geneva Burt, all of Meridian. All were slightly injured but were able to return to Meridian soon after the accident. Pickett is said to have rented the automobile from a 630 taxi driver at 7 a.m. Wednesday, stating he intended to go to Jackson. The crash occurred when a tire blew out, causing the machine to leave the highway, overturning several times before striking a stump. Funeral services will be held at 4 p.m. Friday from the Eight Avenue Baptist Church. Surviving are his parents: Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin Berry Pickett and one sister, Azelea Pickett, all of Meridian. The Rev. Ed Grayson and Rev. Blanding Vaughan will officiate at the funeral. Interment will follow in Fisher Cemetery.

MS Cemetery 050My great grandma Pickett was a very strong and devoutly religious woman. The more I learn of her life, the more I understand why she was that way. Ben’s mom was a Fisher, so Ben and Eula and their three children are all buried in the family plot at Fisher Cemetery in Zero, Lauderdale County, Mississippi, which is still maintained by the Fisher family.

October Ancestry Challenge 2013 – Annie Blanks Culpepper

oct ancestry challenge-001The October Ancestry Challenge 2013 is 23 posts in 23 days (Monday through Friday) about 23 ancestors. Hop on the ancestry train and join us.

Ancestor # 1 – whew, 23 is a long way to go!

I was going to post in chronological order, but I’ve decided to be completely random. With that being said, here is…

…my great grandmother.

Josephine Annie Blanks Culpepper was born 10 Nov 1877 in Kemper Co, MS and died 15 Nov 1961 in Mobile, AL.

Annie Blanks Culpepper

Annie was the daughter of William Henry Blanks III and Martha Lettie “Mattie” Carpenter. She was the fourth of seven children. There was only one boy in the bunch and sadly, he died at the age of five, when Annie was only three, so she never knew him. She grew up with five sisters.

I often wonder about the emotional health of Annie’s family of origin. Her mother, Mattie, lost her own father in the Civil War when she was fourteen, and the family not only lost a half dozen men to the war but another dozen family members to typhoid which was running through the county the winter of 1862/63. I imagine Mattie’s mother was probably emotionally shut down for a long period of time following all those deaths, so Mattie probably did not get the emotional support an adolescent girl needs, therefore it is possible she did not pass that maternal nurturing down to Annie and her sisters, because she never got it herself. I could be completely mistaken, though.


culpepper Sam CulpepperAnnie married William Samuel “Sam” Culpepper at the age of 21 in 1899. She said about Sam that he was “handsome with rosy cheeks and teeth as white as pearls.” Sam worked as a sawyer and followed the sawmill business, so Annie was left alone on the farm with the children for great lengths of time. They had nine children between 1900 and 1921, with five being boys and four being girls. All but one of their children lived to a ripe old age.

There are a few things that strike me about Annie. First, I never met her as she died the year before I was born. Next, she lived through a fairly good time in history. The Civil War was long finished before she was born, and I imagine living in the back country of Mississippi, she wasn’t too affected by WWI or WWII. She grew up in a time before televisions and cars, and witnessed a technological growth of astounding proportions. I imagine the first television or automobile caused great excitement in the family.


culpepper Sam and Annie Culpepper

Following Sam’s death in 1939 at the age of 66, Annie moved to Mobile, Alabama, and spent her golden years with two of her sons who had previously moved there. She died in Mobile at the age of 84 and her remains were returned to Mississippi to be buried next to her husband at Mt. Nebo Cemetery in Newton County, Mississippi.



Obituary November 16, 1961

Mrs. Annie Culpepper

Funeral arrangements were being completed today for Mrs. Annie Blanks Culpepper, 84 of Mobile, a former resident of the Martin community who died yesterday at Mobile.

Mrs. Culpepper was a member of the Duffee Baptist Church and had been active in its various organizations until she suffered a broken hip three years ago.

Her two daughters are Mrs. Mae Howington of Meridian and Mrs. Aaron Spears of Enterprise. She is also survived by five sons, Joe Culpepper of Susqualena, Earl and Clinton Culpepper, Meridian; Fred and Frank Culpepper, Mobile; and two sisters, Mrs. Woodie Logan and Miss Velma Blanks of Laurel.

The body was to arrive in Meridian this afternoon and will be at Stephen’s.

The services will be held at 2 o’clock tomorrow at the Mt. Nebo Baptist church with Rev. Herman Pilgrim in charge, assisted by the Rev. Vernon Blackburn.

Interment will be in the Mt. Nebo cemetery.

23 posts, 23 days – October Blog Challenge

October already? What happened to September?

oct ancestry challenge-001If you’re looking for a new and different blog challenge and are into genealogy/ancestry or history, please join us for the October Ancestry Challenge 2013.

The goal is to post 23 blogs (Monday through Friday) in the month of October about 23 different ancestors. Do you have photos of your grandparents? Stories passed down through the family? Ancestors who sailed to America and arrived wide-eyed at Ellis Island for the very first time? We can’t wait to read about them!

Let me know in the comments if you’d like to join, and I’ll include a link to your page, and feel free to steal the challenge banner by copying and pasting.

Stop by the participant’s pages daily in October for some interesting history lessons. 🙂


1. a day in the life of patootie

2. mama bear musings

3. Padilly’s Melting Pot 

4. We Go Back

October Ancestry Challenge 2013

oct ancestry challenge-001Can you come up with 23 ancestors? Do you have family stories, photos, documents? Are you a history/genealogy/ancestry buff?

Then please join us for the October Ancestry Challenge 2013!!

The goal is to write 23 posts (Monday through Friday) in October about a different ancestor each day.

If you travel back in time so far that you only have a birth date and place, you can transform your story into a history lesson. As a history buff, I love reading about the clothing styles, means of transportation, and local flavor of the past, so be creative with your ancestors. Where did they live? What did they do? Where did they travel to and from? My great grandmother said about my great grandfather, “He had rosy cheeks and teeth as white as pearls.” Maybe white teeth were rare in 1900. 🙂

Let me know in the comments if you’d like to join us, and I’ll add you to the list below. And feel free to steal the challenge banner from this page.

Everyone, please stop by during the month of October and share the past with us.

1. a day in the life of patootie

2. mama bear musings

3. Padilly’s Melting Pot 

4. We Go Back

October Ancestry Challenge 2013

oct ancestry challenge-001I was looking for a blog challenge in which to participate in October and didn’t come across anything I liked, so I decided to create my own challenge. Do you study genealogy? Do you have tons of ancestry info and no place to share it? If you read further and decide you’d like to join me, please do so. Help yourself to the official banner and let me know that you’d like to participate. I will post a link to your page as a participant on the “official kick-off blog” the weekend of Sept 27 and update it as anyone joins us.

The October Ancestry Challenge 2013 will be 23 posts (Monday through Friday) in October about a different ancestor each day. If you can find 23 ancestors, you can rock this challenge. It will also be a lesson in history, clothing, culture, and world events. You may include yourself and your parents if you choose.

I’m going to blog about the Culpeppers. I have 25 Culpepper ancestors ranging from my maternal grandfather Earl Culpepper who died in 1994 in Mississippi…

culpepper Earl Culpepper


all the way back to my 23rd great grandfather John Culpepper who was born around 1140 in Kent, England.



(This was his house called Bayhall Manor in Pembury, Kent. Remains of the building were visible until 1960, when one of the national newspapers told a rather exaggerated story of its being haunted. People coming to see it made themselves such a nuisance and rendered it so unsafe, that the owner of the land cleared the ruins away. The ghost was supposed to be that of Anne West, the last person to reside in the mansion. See? It’s already an interesting ancestry blog.)  

My Culpepper ancestors lived through the 2nd Crusade, Genghis Kahn, Marco Polo, gunpowder, the Bubonic plague, Joan of Arc, Henry VIII, Christopher Columbus, Isaac Newton, The Revolutionary War, The War of 1812, Napoleon, Louis Pasteur, Charles Darwin, railroads, The American Civil War, Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell, Model T, Albert Einstein, WWI, airplanes, Titanic, WWII, Vietnam War, not to mention, Victorian dresses, Hobble skirts, ragtime music, smoking jackets, and the first television. 

I’m looking forward to putting together these blogs beginning with my grandfather and working back in time. Please join me beginning October 1st to participate and/or to visit.

Wednesday Writer’s Corner – Sept 4, 2013

1860614957_1375101769Are you a writer? How often do you write? How many words do you write when you sit down? Do you think you should write more than you do?

Do you know that the more you write, the faster and more prolific you become? Yeah, me too. I heard you. Your answer was, “Yes, but I don’t do it.”  So, try this… “750 Words”


This is a fun and awesome site for you to write 750 words per day in private. It is not a blog. No one else can see your blabbering. You can write a story or you can just brain-dump. It’s all up to you. Just write!

The cool thing is you get badges and awards for consecutive days, writing quickly and not being distracted, entering monthly challenges, points, points, points, badges, badges, badges. I am addicted to anything that even slightly resembles a game. And I think sometimes I get overwhelmed by my schedule and find it cleansing and therapeutic to dump all that crap out of my brain.

When you’re done for the day, it even gives you stats, graphs, and pie charts to let you know what your thinking about and what’s weighing most heavy on your mind. Today, my stats came up as PG13, containing either swearing, sexual content, or violence. I swear I didn’t say anything that was even close to any of those, but whatev…it’s fun to look at.

I’m hooked!


Ancestry Scrapbook

Like I don’t have enough to do, I’ve decided to make Ancestry Scrapbooks for my grown children. Our family is traced so far back, there are almost 9000 people in our family tree, and when I speak about it to my children, they get that glassy-eyed glaze-thing happening. And it doesn’t help matters that since the early 1500s, most of our family have lived in the southeast part of the United States. You know what they say about the south being all intermarried? It’s true! So, when I try to explain that someone on mom’s side is the sister of someone on dad’s side, I lose the kids. Don’t even try to tell them grandpa’s little sister married grandma’s uncle, making my grandma’s uncle also my momma’s uncle. Forget it. They don’t care.

Well, I want them to care!

So, I’ve decided to put together a fun and colorful book they can look through and connect their own dots. There’s a company called My Canvas, that will make a real printed book. You upload all your stuff, arrange it anyway you want, and for a fairly decent price, they will print a real book. They are beautiful books, but the largest is only big enough for 4 or 5 generations. I think I want a little more.

How about a digital scrapbook from DSP?? You make as many pages as you want, print them, and put them in any book you want.

Check out this cover with all the family names! I’m in love with this!!


Apparently you need a photo program like Photoshop (which I suck at) and a layout program like “My Memories Suite” or “Nova Scrapbook Factory Deluxe.” Then you can purchase page kits online or a whole CD of designs. I don’t know that I want to put time into learning a new program. I think I may stick with the old fashion scrap-booking process. Cutting, gluing, adding embellishments.

…but I do LOVE that cover! I might try it.


Update Sept 1st – I did it. I buckled under the pressure and bought “My Memories Suite” and tons of ancestry/genealogy/heritage paper and embellishments to play with. I’ll let you know how it turns out! 🙂

I put the PRO in Procrastinate



I’m not going to bore you with the mountains of work in front of me, but I AM going to complain that there are just not enough hours in the day to complete it all. And it seems the more work there is to do, the more I’d rather blow it off and play video games.

I bought a new planner today. I figure if I write “WRITE 10am” on August 13th, I’ll actually write at 10am on August 13th instead of checking Facebook or my email. Do you think that will work? Probably not, but I’m going to try it anyway. Of course, I haven’t written anything in there yet. It’s on my to-do list.

I think I’m just overwhelmed by my own self-imposed deadlines. Among other things, I was going to have my new manuscript rewrites completed in August. Well, it’s August 12th…no, wait…August 13th, and I have the first two chapters finished. It’s a 30-chapter book. Ugh.

You may think I’m procrastinating by writing this blog, but posting a blog is actually on my to-do list for today. So there! According to my time-zone, I still have 43 minutes to complete this blog.


Give me some help here. How do you un-procrastinate yourself??


Back in the USA!

Hi everyone! I’ve miss you all so much and will hop around the next week and catch up. I have been working out of town for the last eight weeks and completely out of the country for the last five. I have one thing to say about the experience: Satellite Internet is for the birds!

So, now that I’m back, here are the highlights from my last eight weeks: I’ve been working on a ship and going back and forth to Bermuda which is a lovely place. I passed the Statue of Liberty a dozen times. I watched 4th of July fireworks from a UK territory (Thought that was funny!). I had chefs and housekeepers take care of me so much that I admit I’m lazy now and a few pounds heavier. I missed my pets and my trophy hubby more than words can say. I met amazing people from all over the world and now have new and fabulous friends who have invited me to wonderful places like Honolulu and Barcelona. I lost my luggage only once (Deltas fault, not mine). In my downtime, which was constant, I finished the rough draft of my next novel “Elly Hays” and hope to release it in October.

That’s about it. Here are photos:

Oh, look, there’s the Statue of Liberty…again

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My floating office









Bermuda’s Horseshoe Bay

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I visited a lot of historical sites. This is St. Peter’s Church in St. George, Bermuda. It was built in 1602.

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…and the Maritime Museum at Heritage Wharf. Those stone walls don’t look that big, but they were over 20 feet high.

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My job










My desk

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