“When our land is illumined with Liberty’s smile,
If a foe from within strike a blow at her glory,
Down, down with the traitor that dares defile,
The flag of her stars and the page of her story.
By the millions unclaimed when our birthright was gained,
We will keep her bright blazon forever unstained!
And the Star-Spangled Banner in triumph shall wave
While the land of the free is the home of the brave.”
War Between The States
Quitman County was not formed until after the War between the States, but one interesting incident occurred just west of the site of the present town of Marks.
General Grant was very anxious to take Vicksburg but had no way of getting his supplies there. To overcome this difficulty, he had the Yazoo Pass cut from the Mississippi to the Coldwater, and cleared of undergrowth and driftwood. Governor Alcorn, a Federal sympathizer, assisted him by gathering together slaves throughout the state and having them do the work. Grant’s intentions were to ship his supplies through the pass, down the Coldwater to the Yazoo, and thence to Vicksburg. His men brought the supplies in wagons, following an old but well beaten Indian trail. When the old men and boys of Panola and Yalobusha counties (all men of fighting age were in the army) heard that the Yankees were coming through, they decided to harass them as much as possible. Grant’s men, with wagons of supplies, camped about one mile west of the present site of Marks. Having torn down fences to build campfires, they were quietly eating supper with no idea of a raid in this wilderness. The band of young boys and old men suddenly fired into their midst. The Yankees, having no idea of the number of the enemy, fled in confusion, leaving their wagons and supplies. The attackers then, with the burning of rail fences set fire to everything. Later, Federal boats were sent down the Coldwater with supplies, one boat sank below Marks. When the river is low, the hull of the old boat can still be seen.
Even though the War between the States had been over twelve years, the South had been reconstructed and the Ku Klux Klan had ridden before Quitman County was organized, a few Confederate veterans have lived here and their names are connected with the county’s early history. Prominent among these are: Will Hatch, C. W. Partee, James A. Ingram, Captains Neal, N. A. Smith, and G. F. Phipps. Records of only two are available–Partee and Ingram.1
[For more about Confederate veterans see the chapter entitled “Confederate Pension Applications from Quitman County.]
C. W. Partee enlisted with Captain John R. Dickens’ Company, the Sardis Blues, which was sent, with a number of other companies, to Union City, Tennessee, for training. After training, the Sardis Blues became Company F [also known as Co. E], Twelfth Mississippi Infantry; they were rushed to Virginia, but missed the Battle of Bull Run; after participating in the Battle of Manassas, Partee came back to Mississippi to help his father move his slaves from Panola County to Lost Lake (in what is now Quitman County). Food was scarce, and the story goes that Captain Partee killed an alligator, cooked it like fish, and fed it to the slaves. After his father’s slaves were settled, young Partee joined Joyce Floyd’s Independent Calvary, which regulated some of the conditions that were arising around Memphis; later, the company became Company H of Alex Chalmer’s Battalion. He served valiantly under General Forrest in the Battles of Harrisburg [also known as the Battle of Tupelo] and Tishomingo [also known as the Battle of Brice’s Crossroads.] When the war ended, he was with General Forrest in Gainsville, Georgia. In the early ’80’s he, with his beloved wife, Lizzie Jackson, established a home in the Belen community, where he, grand old pioneer that he was, lived until his death, January 10, 1929, and where his modest, but strong characteristics have left their imprint in the building up and betterment of things material, moral, and spiritual.2
James A. Ingram: Though enlisting in another part of the state, under Captain Qualls, of the 22nd Mississippi Regiment, this old Confederate now lives in Quitman County, and is the only survivor of that awful conflict–the War between the States. He was in active service to the end, being in the Siege of Vicksburg. He is very old now, and the stories of the war, with its attendant privations and suffering, are interestingly and vividly told to passers-by, as he sits in the courthouse yard from day to day.
[John Addison Cooper, CSA Army
Alfred Harrison Jamison, CSA Army
William T. Jamison, who is buried at Belen, served in Co. A, 13th Missouri.
Capt. William D. Phipps was a Confederate Soldier and Civil Engineer.
Dr. W. B. Clarke served with the Magnolia Guards and later with a North Carolina Regiment.]
Living Slaves: It may be opportune to devote some space to the only living slaves in Quitman County–Turner Fox, ninety-seven and his wife, Hannah, eighty-four. Turner belonged to the Fox family, and Hannah to the Simmon’s family, at Coffeeville. He went with Captain Fox and looked after his horse during the War between the States. Turner is deaf, and Hannah is almost blind; their son, who is sixty-six years old, lives with and cares for his aged parents. Thirty-nine years ago these two ex-slaves bought a little farm near Belen, where they have made their home since.3
Richard W. Barham, of Marks, is the only living Spanish-American War veteran in Quitman County. In response to the call for volunteers, Barham went to Jackson, where he enlisted on May 26, 1898; he belonged to Company C, Second Mississippi Volunteer Infantry, which was commanded by Captain Noel. [He is listed as being in Co. K. His headstone says he was also Pvt., Co. B, 33 Regt. Miss. Infantry.]
This war being of short duration, only four months, the Second Infantry was not called into active service and Barham received an honorable discharge from the army on December 20, 1898.
This conflict was the avenue through which the old hatred between the North and South went out to a great extent since it brought men of a younger generation together in a common cause.
Spanish-American War veterans who have lived here are J. W. Montague and C. G. Williams.2
The World War
If “War is Hell,” then it, with all its fury, was turned loose in the World Conflict; Quitman County had its part in this, as is subsequently reviewed in these pages.
Much credit is given and keen appreciation felt of such laudable enterprises as the production of “The Stars and Stripes,” which held true to the interests of the rank and file of the army, and which was published in France by and for the American Expeditionary Forces during the period from February 8, 1918, to June 13, 1919, as “an aid to strengthen the moral of the troops and to promote a realization that one organization and one big purpose governed all individuals and units of our forces, then widely scattered and fulfilling many apparently unrelated functions.” But when we thought of this or that dear boy, leaving home to do his part in this war, he was a personality; perhaps he was a neighbor’s son; sometimes the mythical Knight of the local Round Table and off and anon a choice flower from the garden of young manhood. So, though embracing the stated purpose of “The Stars and Stripes” and glorying in the big things that were being done in an organized way, we were, at the same time, looking through our ears to the day when individual heroes would be “Over Here” instead of “Over There.”
And it came to pass that the Quitman County boys did “come marching home,” some of them with stories of actual conflicts, in which they were engaged, or of gallant deeds performed by a Buddy; some crippled, some gassed, and some disabled for life; some proudly preserved in body and principle, and with a new urge for further usefulness under a new regime.
War Work at Home
Liberty bonds were sold through the Riverside Bank, W. A. Cox, president, and the Citizens Bank and Trust Company, P. M. B. Self, president; War Savings Stamps were sold at the post office, Mrs. Thirsa Clark, postmistress, and it is certain that Quitman County went “over the top” in both the buying of bonds and stamps.
Money was raised in every possible way for the winning of the war. Conservation was the key word to the living–conservation of time, finances, talents, etc.–even to the boys raising a pig and the girls canning everything in reach. School credits were given for such activities. And then, the fine arts came into their own in the community “sings,” and other such meetings, which were an inspiration in keeping the home fires burning. Old fiddlers gave concerts and had contests, always donating their individual prizes (money) to the cause of freedom. Each church in the county responded with its quota on all county calls and contributions were made by all missionary societies. Especially should the Riverside Culture and Coterie Clubs of Marks, the Tuesday and Friday Book Club of Lambert, respectively, and the Sylvan Book Club of Belen be lauded for their devotion to the cause. As will be remembered, the clubs hitherto social and cultural, foreswore previous projects, and to the member took up the business of flag-bearing. All meetings were in a service form–some knitting socks, etc., to be sent over for bodily comfort; some rendering musical selections, and some reading poems aloud for the comfort of a member, who perhaps was thinking in terms of love and anxiety. One poem was preferred because it reflected a love of someone far away to his home folks.2
The West Wind
"The west wind is the home-bound wind As it blows across the sea: And every breeze bears a breath of love From a lonely heart to thee. And the west wind sings as it sweeps along Where it plays with the white-capped foam; But it will not pause for it bears a song, And the theme of the song is Home. And the west wind whispers soft and low, As of old in the lullaby, And a father hears, as it starts to blow The sound of a baby's cry. Then he sends a kiss to his little child And the west wind bears it home; While a doughboy down in the front line trench Wings a prayer on the wind in the gloam. For France is the east and the wind is the west, And the sea is a long, long way; But the bridge of the sea is a wisp of love At the close of a lonely day. So the west wind bears on its broad, broad breast, As it swings its way o'er the sea, A thought of love to a million hearts, And a throb of love for thee. To thee does the west wind bear a thought-- Dost thou hear it over there? Oh, mother heart and baby dear, On the soft, sweet twilight air. And, woman, God gave, dost thou hear it, too? For it goes like a dart to thee; Hark! It blows on the path of the sunset warm, West bound on the eastern sea. For the west wind is the home bound wind, and it blows with no vagrant chance; 'Tis the Wind of Love in the hand of God, And it blows from the fields of France."4
Individual Service Records
Dr. E. C. Gillespie, a resident of Lambert, willingly and cheerfully offered his services to his country immediately after was was declared. On August 6, 1917, he volunteered in the United States Army as First Lieutenant of the Medical Corps at Memphis, Tennessee, and was ordered to Fort Oglethrope, Georgia. Dr. Gillespie served overseas from July 20, 1918, to June 30, 1919; he was active in a charge of the Hindenburg line, Meuse, Argonne, and Thiscourt; he served with the Army of Occupation from November 11, 1918, to May 31, 1919; on July 5, 1919, he was discharged to Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia, as Captain of the Medical Corps.5
Marion Hamblett, then quite a young boy, volunteered for service before the war got under way. On May 1, 1917, he joined the Air Corps, serving an apprenticeship with the Fourth Aviation School Squadron at Memphis, Tennessee. After two months training, he was sent to Chanute Field, Rontoul, Illinois, for further instruction; in 1917, he completed the test and received a commission as pilot, after which he was transferred to Mitchell Field, New York City.
In ten days, he went over in the Rainbow Division, a convoy of nine ships transporting them. He was first at St. Johns, Newfoundland, seventeen days, thence he went to Belfast, Ireland; thence to Liverpool, England, where he stayed three weeks. Here, he enjoyed his stay along with others at the Black Swan, a famous tavern nine hundred years old, and a favorite rendezvous of the royalty. He was later at La Havre, Tours, Issonden, France, and was subsequently ordered back to Tours as flying instructor. Hamblet made a remarkable record in that he had only two and one-half hours in the air before making his first solo flight, and had only nineteen hours of flying before he passed to go over seas. But every take-off was not smooth sailing, for while a member of the Artillery Observation School Tours, he smashed into an oak tree, tearing the plane up, but escaping injury himself. However, after a second fall, just a week later, he was confined in a base hospital at Dijon, for five months. He said that the only time he had ever had a man to kiss him was just after the plane crash in which he was not hurt. A Frenchman rushed up and proffered the kiss out of spontaneous excitement and joy. After leaving the hospital, he found that he had been replaced in his previous work, but was sent to St. Jean DeMont, Aerial Gunnery School, and later to 85th Aerial Squad Headquarters Attachment of Air Service Corps. It was now November, and peace was declared, so Hamblet was sent to the University of Lyon, France for further education, from which point he traveled through Spain, Italy, Switzerland, and Belgium. In July, he sailed from Paris on the Northern Pacific, bound for New York City, making the trip in five days; he was discharged at Camp Pike, the 15th of August, 1919.6
Arthur Chastain enlisted April 6, 1918, and was trained at Camp Funston. Sailing for England on June 30, 1918, via Halifax, Novia Scotia, he was with a convoy of seventeen transports that landed in England in July, 1918. From here they crossed over to Sherburg, France, where he went into the French Training Camp. Fighting began the 8th of August, and out of Company F, 355th Infantry, composed of 250 men, and of which he was a member, only eighteen survived.7
Todie Bonner, Company E, 357th Infantry, 90th Division, had an agonizing experience, having been locked up while suffered from a machine gun shot, without food or water for three days. He was placed in a “shock” division on November 3, 1918, and they lost their way in Argonne Forest; the captain got blue, and after wandering around they hit a railroad about daylight next morning, when the sergeant told the captain that they were close to some Germans, but the captain didn’t think so, but for the boys to shed their packs and get ready for something.
Just at this time, twenty-five Germans came out from under the railroad and began firing, but our boys advanced to the right to get behind a building for protection. The captain sent a runner to tell them to retreat, but it was too late for Todie, because he was already shot by a machine gun, and as well as he could remember, was picked up about eight o’clock by the Germans, put in an old house with hay for a bed, and was asked if he wanted water or coffee, but he was afraid to drink it. One of their men asked if he could walk, and Bonner answered, “No,” whereupon, a German officer said that he would leave him to the Americans and walked out and shut the door. The Germans then bombarded the house three nights, but their efforts were directed in some other direction which gave an American boy, McDonald by name, a chance to get to the rescue. He said, “Bonner, try to walk out of here and we’ll help you.” So Bonner tried to walk, and when they reached a creek where the bridge had been shelled down, they waded across although it was waist deep. And, in Bonner’s words–“I gave out, and all I remember is seeing a stretcher and being in a convalescent ward somewhere.”8
Others Who Gave Valiant Service
Among others from the county who gave valiant service are the following:
- Andrew Acklin, ambulance driver, eleven months in France and Germany
- Carl Ashby, police duty
- Jesse Lee Austin, Mississippi Pvt. 47 Inf. 4 Div., WWI*
- William Bailey, Company A, 815 Pioneer Infantry, U. S. A. 1
- Arch O. Bartlett, Mississippi Pvt. Co. A 106 Inf. 27 Div. WWI*
- Fred T. Berry, Mississippi Pvt. U. S. Army WWI*
- C. R. Berryhill, Ordinance yeoman in Navy, on U.S.S. New Jersey
- Richard M. Boone, Mississippi Pvt. 1CL 114 AM TN 39 Div*
- Will Brooks, Battery D, Field Artillery, 47th Regiment
- Stuart S. Brougher, Miss. T Sgt. Army Air Force WWI and WWII*
- Ben Willie Brown, Mississippi Pvt. 806 Pioneer Inf. WWI*
- H. L. Brown, coast artillery supply sergeant
- Rufus G. Bryan, Pvt. US Army WWI*
- Glover Burleyson, Miss. PFC 52 Artillery CAC WWI*
- Sidney T. Burleyson, Pvt. US Marine Corps, WWI*
- Jake Bush, PFC US Army WWI*
- J. M. Caruthers, Jr., France, WWI*
- Joseph V. Chapman, Missouri Pvt. Co. E 22 Engineers WWI*
- George H. Chorley, Mississippi Pvt. STU Army TNG Corps WWI*
- Paul Claxon, Headquarters Company, 70th Division of Engineers
- Calvin C. Coggins, Mississippi Pvt. 1CL 53 Pioneer Inf.*
- Spencer Coleman, worked in hospital six months
- Marion B. Cook, Mississippi Pvt Co. B 39 BN US Guards WWI*
- John A. Cooper, Miss. PFC Btry E 115 Fld Arty WWI Ph*
- John K. Crawford, Mississippi Pvt. 114 Engrs. 39 Div., WWI*
- Volney Crothers, marine, seven months in Germany and seven months in France
- Sam Davidow, served one year overseas
- Edgar L. Dear, Mississippi Y1 US Navy WWI*
- P. L. Denton, in training at Student’s Army Training Camp at Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee, for three months
- Rudolph Dill, Mississippi CPL Co. C 39 BN US Guards WWI*
- J. P. Dunning, horseshoer, spent thirteen months at Le Havre, Chaumont, and St. Hazaire
- Willie C. Fancher, PFC US Army WWI*
- W. D. Fitch, Headquarters Company, 70th Division of Engineers
- Joe Gates, marine aviation, six months in France
- Ben Leroy Franklin, Miss. Pvt. Co. A, 104 Engineerrs, WWI*
- Raynor L. Franklin, Miss. S. Sgt. 231Base Unit AAF, WWI AM & OLC*
- Victor D. Franks, 2D Lt. US Army*
- T. N. Gore, 114th Engineer’s Company Nine, stayed in Neussee-Argonne Forest from October 3 to November 11, 1918
- Jack D. Gregg, Mississippi CPL 10 Co. Rct Depot WWI*
- Andrew Turner Havens, Mississippi Pvt. 27 Eng., WWI*
- Albert B. Hays, Mississippi CPL Army Air Forces WWI*
- Joe S. Howell, Mississippi Pvt. 1st C1 140 M. G. BN 35 Div., WWI*
- Harrell Ingram, Mississippi Corp. Inf., WWI*
- Alfred Jamison, Headquarters Company, 70th Division of Engineers
- Arthur Jamison, Headquarters Company, 70th Division of Engineers
- Simuel Johnson, Pvt. US Army*
- Andrew Jones, Mississippi Bglr Co. A 309 SVG BN QMC WWI*
- John C. Kelso, Cpl. Co. D 39 BN Guards WWI Miss.*
- Henry Buford King, Mississippi Pvt. 162 Depot Brigade WWI*
- Audree P. Lacey, Mississippi Cook 304 Repair Unit Mtc., WWI*
- J. L. Locke, Company A, 114th Engineers, 39th Division
- Joseph G. Lucas, Mississippi Pvt. 162 Depot Brigade*
- Albert H. Maynard, Sgt. ICL Coast Arty Corp*
- Leston A. McArthur, Sgt. US Army WWI*
- James H. McCorkle, Mississippi CPL 1 Corps Arty Park WWI*
- Jospeh L. McGlone, Maryland Farrier 110 Field Arty 29 Div*
- William Thomas Mills, Mississippi Pvt. 141 Inf. 36 Div., WWI*
- A. L. Moore enlisted in May, 1918, and was attached to the 57th Company; after a month’s time, he was transferred to Brigade Headquarters, Port au-Prince, Hayti, as stenographer until he was discharged in July, 1919.
- Gurlea Lee Moore, Mississippi CPL Co. B 605 Engineers WWI*
- Manuel Morrison, Mississippi 311 Labor BN QMC WWI*
- W. D. Newton, Company A, 114th Engineers, 39th Division
- Warren C. O’Neal, Mississippi W AGR US Army WWI*
- O. E. Parker, Battery D, Field Artillery, 47th Regiment
- Frank Pirtle, enlisted May 31, 1917, and entered training at Camp Beauregard, Louisiana, with Company B, 114th Train, Headquarters of Military Police, as wagoner. Then he was saddler at Fort Hancock, a replacement depot, in Augusta, Georgia, and later was transferred from here to the Tenth Casualty Co. at Camp Shelby for dischargement. Altogether Pirtle was in training about two years.
- Arthur A. Pogue, served 14 months in France
- James A. Pritchard, Mississippi Cook 2 Cook Co. ASC WWI*
- M. C. Robb, WWI*
- Adrian T. Schoolar, PFC US Army WWI*
- Charlie Elbert Segars, Georgia PFC 309 Co. OMC WWI*
- Will Ellise Self, Company I, 39th Division, later 155th Infantry Regiment; machine gun instructor at Camp Beauregard, discharged on account of physical disability
- Charles A. Smith, gunner’s mate on Montgomery Ship and Fanning Ship, Convoy Duty at Berkely, Virginia
- F. L. Stephenson worked with transporation crew.
- Robert Tapley, Mississippi Pvt US Army WWI*
- Charlie H. Taylor, Pvt. US Marine Corps WWI*
- Jessie Oren Thomas, Mississippi Sgt. US Army WWI*
- Nolan Curtis Tucker, Tennessee Pvt. Btry A 114 Fld Arty WWI*
- Willie A. Tucker, Arkansas Pvt. US Army WWI*
- George A. Turner, corporal in motor transports
- William V. Weeks, PFC US Army WWI*
- Edgar M. White, Mississippi Wagoner O. M. Corps, WWI*
- Nathan White, Mississippi CPL Co. G 813 Pioneer Inf. WWI*
- John Orion Wood, Pvt. US Army WWI*
- Merrell Wright, Mississippi Pvt. 162 Depot Brig.*
Killed in action:
- Will Allen
- Jack Baucom
- Marvin Garrett
- J. D. Johnson
- Morgan White, Louisiana Pvt 325 Labor LN*
In addition to the men and women experiencing an untold loyalty and chivalry within their breasts which would probably have been dormant always had it not been for the World War, the children were fired to a spirit of co-operation and service.
*These men are not listed in the WPA history. They were added from cemetery records.
One Gold Star Mother
Quitman County has one living GOLD STAR MOTHER and when she was seen to withstand the trying ordeal of having a flag-draped casket brought back to her home some years after the war was over, for re-interment on American soil, one could only cry within himself “What Price Glory?”
Though her’s was a great sacrifice, intermingling emotions of grief, pride, and loyalty seemed to buoy her above the trial of the hour, and her soul seemed draped in serenity and peace.
The Willis Ikerd Post, Friars Point, is named in honor of her son, the soldier boy who laid down his life in the struggle. Two other beloved boys from Quitman died gloriously in the field of battle: Jimmie Johnson, for whom the present Legion Post of Quitman County is named, and Marvin Garrett, in whose honor the Lambert Post is named.1
Home Fires Were Kept Burning
To those who had left to them the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must have been theirs to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the alter of freedom, the citizens not only offered sympathy and paid homage in respect to their dead, praying that the Heavenly Father might assuage the anguish of their bereavement, but worked individually and collectively to “carry on.”
Here was a group of Red Cross workers making bandages, knitting socks and sweaters, and cheerfully giving of their time and money.
Mrs. U. B. Ross knitted forty-five pairs of socks and many other things such as sweaters, mufflers, etc.; F. M. Bizzell, now deceased, was chairman of the local Red Cross, and also served as a Four-Minute man. He was ably assisted by E. E. Boone, young attorney of Marks.
These two were called into other counties to speak and did much toward enlightening the people on issues at hand, and encouraging “giving and giving until it hurts.”
Officers in the World War
- Rev. W. A. Cole, chaplain, captain
- Dr. C. W. Denman, second lieutenant, veterinary
- Henry Fife, first lieutenant
- Dr. V. D. Franks, firs lieutenant of Medical Corps, Company 9, Battalion 3
- Dr. E. C. Gillespie, captain overseas
- Harry Lipson, second lieutenant, quartermaster corps.
- Dr. E. A. McVey, captain in U. S.
- A. B. Smith, captain
- T. N. Touchstone, captain
- J. M. Turner, second lieutenant
- John Tom Turner, first lieutenant
- C. L. Wilson, first lieutenant enlisted, May, 1917, and discharges January 1, 1918; instructor in Air Service in U. S. A.
[This is a small number of the men from Quitman County. The chapter entitled Organizations states that the Draft Board in Quitman County during the first World War drafted 702 men into service.]
1 Mrs. Blanchard Ingram, Lambert, Mississippi
2 Mrs. Blanche Denton, Jackson, Mississippi
3 Louise Yeager, Belen, Mississippi
4 Copies from STARS AND STRIPES, published in France, early in 1919.
5 Mrs. E. C. Gillespie, Lambert, Mississippi
6 Marion Hamblet, Marks, Mississippi
7 Arthur Chastain, Marks, Mississippi
8 Todie Bonner
“The West Wind”, from THE STARS AND STRIPES, France, 1919.
Works Progress Administration Administration for Mississippi, Source Material for Mississippi History, Quitman County, Vol. LX, Compiled by State-Wide Historical Research Project, Susie V. Powell, State Supervisor, Illustrated 1936-1938, pages 63-71.
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