Like you, I have 16 great-great-grandparents. This book focuses upon two
of them, John Hutchison and Elizabeth Frazier. The other seven couples, of
course, have made the same biological and genetic contribution to me as this
couple. Still, the patrilineal descent pattern common in our culture, a
fascination with our own name, and perhaps other factors, lead most
researchers to attend primarily to their father's ancestors when beginning a
study of their forebears. To compensate a bit for this tendency, I would like
to briefly state, for the record, a little of what is known about my other seven
pairs of great-great-grandparents.
ZACHARIAH MASSEY and NANCY WISHARD MC COOL were
married August 16, 1832. Both were born in South Carolina and their
marriage probably occurred there. Zack was born February 8, 1807. Nancy
was the daughter of James A. McCool and was born January 5, 1812. Her
great-grandfather was Adam McCool, Sr. a ferry-operator in South Carolina.
I suspect, but can not prove, that the Mc Cools were Quakers. The Massey
family is probably of Norman descent.
Zack and Nancy were early settlers of Attala County. They had three
sons and two of them died in the Confederate cause. Of their four daughters,
three lived to adulthood, and two, Nancy and Juliett, married into the
Hutchison family. Nancy died May 22, 1871. About 1873, Zack married Miss
Helen Hemingway, an Englishwoman. She is buried in an abandoned
cemetery in Kirkwood--a deserted hamlet in Madison County. She
presumably had some connection to Governor McWillie, who owned a large
plantation at Kirkwood and is buried in the same small plot. Zack died July
25, 1875. He and Nancy are buried in Salem Cemetery in Newport.
EDWARD SHIPMAN JOHNSON and TABITHA BRISTER were
probably married in Holmes County in the 1830's. He was born in the Forked
Deer Creek region of western Tennessee on June 14, 1814. His mother is
thought to have been Jane Shipman of South Carolina. Tabitha was born
December 1, 1813 in South Carolina. She was the daughter of Hockaday and
Annie Hodges Brister who were very early settlers in Holmes County.
Hockaday was at least one-quarter Cherokee.
Edward and Tabitha had a large family which included a son named
John Hockaday who was born in the Holmes County community of Bowling
Green on August 10, 1851. On January 9, 1874 John married Frances
McLellan. Frances died January 28, 1911 and John died November 26, 1918.
JOHN MC LELLAN and MARTHA MEHATABEL COOK were also
among the earliest settlers of Holmes County. John was born May 8, 1820 and
was the son of William McLellan. Martha was the daughter of Jackson Cook
and was born April 23, 1821 in Alabama. Martha and John were the parents
of Frances who, as noted above, wed John Johnson. An excellent history of
the McLellan family, written by Elna Heffner, of Lexington, is now out-of-
print but is available in some libraries.
CHARLES CLIFTON and WINNIE KENNIE (or Kinnie) were married in Green County, Georgia. He was born in Delaware about 1822 and she was born about 1830 in Georgia. They joined several other families from Green County who went in a wagon train to the Liberty Chapel area of Attala County in the early 1850's. They had several children, including Reuben Alexander who was born in Green County on November 11, 1852. Alex married Margaret Bell on September 4, 1875. He died on September 6, 1890, a victim of the measles. Margaret raised their large family in Ethel. One of their sons was my grandfather, Emmett Ross Clifton, Sr. who was born February 8, 1884. He
wed Ida Virginia White in Ethel on July 23, 1910. She died April 23, 1949 and
he died on February 17, 1953.
CHARLES BELL and EASTER GORDON were both natives of Ulster
Province of Ireland but were married in Charlestown, South Carolina. He
was born on February 28, 1816. She, too, was born in Ulster, circa 1822.
They migrated to America about the time of the potato famine and lived in
South Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee, before settling in Ethel, MS.
Charles was a brick-mason and died in Ethel on September 11, 1891. One
daughter, Margaret, was born in Pittsburg on December 31, 1852. As
mentioned, she married Alex Clifton, and lived as his widow in Ethel for
many years until her death on July 22, 1933.
WRIGHT R. WHITE and VIRGINIA CLEMENTINE AYRES were
married in Mississippi about 1860. He was born near Atlanta on October 4,
1836. She was born January 12, 1840 and was the daughter of John and
Cynthia Snow Ayres. Wright was the son of Samuel Isaiah White and his first
wife, a Miss Baker. Wright and Clemmie had a large family that included a
son, Johnathan Wright (or possibly "Right", as he invariably signed his name
"J.R. White"). About 1885, J.R. married Harriet Lettitia Jamison. Hattie was
born in November, 1864 and died on March 20, 1930. J.R. died on January 31,
1936. They had nine children, including my grandmother, Ida Virginia, who
was born in Ethel on January 6, 1892. The Whites and Jamisons lived in the
New Hope community which is a few miles southwest of Ethel.
HENRY CLAY JAMISON and LETTITIA HARRIET JONES were
wed on October 28, 1847. She was a native of North Carolina and was born
on June 6, 1824. Henry was born in Tennessee on January 31, 1823. In
November, 1848 Henry and Lettitia came to Leake County, Mississippi. Four
years later they arrived in Attala County where he eventually became the
owner of a large plantation and numerous slaves. Henry served in the
Mexican War of 1846 and was a Captain in the Civil War. He became a
prisoner of war at Fort Donelson. Lettitia died January 16, 1889. She bore
seven children, including a daughter Hattie who, as mentioned above, wed J.
Henry's great-grandfather, Thomas Jemison was of Scots-Irish descent
and came to America about 1740. Thomas had a daughter, Mary, who was
captured by the Indians when she was about 13. Thomas, his wife Jane
Erwin, several of their children, and some neighbors were killed during this
raid on their farm near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.
Mary led a remarkable life among the Senecas, the details of which
have been recorded in several biographies and magazine articles. As a result
of land grants given by the Federal government to Indians who supported the
American cause during the Revolutionary War, Mary came to own about 25
square miles of property in New York. She had eight children by two Seneca
warriors and she gave all of them her surname. Some of her descendants
adopted white customs, others followed Indian ways, and, there are today,
many Native-Americans, particularly in New York and Pennsylvania, who
are named Jemison, Jimmerson, Jempson, or some other corruption of Mary's
name. Mary was about 93 when she died in 1833. Her original land is now
the setting of the very large and beautiful Letchworth State Park in western
New York. The Park is also the setting for a life-size statue of Mary that depicts her as a young woman, dressed in Indian garb and carrying a child in the traditional papoose style.
As pointed out above, Captain Henry Jamison, of Attala County, had many slaves. It was not unusual for former slaves to take the surname of their previous owner, and given the illiteracy typical of the times (among both whites and blacks), it is not surprising that there are many African-Americans in Mississippi, who like the Native-Americans of New York and Pennsylvania, bear a name that represents some variation on the name Jamison.