Sympathy Saturday: Reverend Lorenzo Harper Jamieson

Reverend Lorenzo Harper Jamieson
Reverend Lorenzo Harper Jamieson

“Departed this life Sept. 27, 1901, Lorenzo Harper Jamieson was born March 20, 1820, in York District, South Carolina. He moved with his parents to Tenn., in 1832, where they remained 4 years; then moved to Mississippi and settled six miles south of Ripley, near Orizaba in 1836. He was married to Minerva Childers, daughter of Squire James Childers, Dec. 15, 1846, at the crossing of the Salem and Saulsbury roads. He then entered a place on the Saulsbury road 8 miles north of Ripley, where he lived until his death. He was 81 years, 6 mos., and 7 days old. He was a noble character; devoted most of his time to farming and fruit growing at which he was very successful. He turned from his sins and joined the Primitive Baptist church at Antioch, in 1868, was baptized by Elder Miles Moore, was licensed to preach May 1871, and ordained July 1876, by Elders J.W. Norton and H.T. Rowland. He was the father of 12 children, six sons and six daughters; nine of whom they raised to be grown. He leaves a wife, one son, and four daughters, a host of grandchildren and friends to mourn his loss. We are made to feel that he has paid the debt we are indebted too. Though we may miss his voice and his sweet smiles, yet we feel confident that our loss is his gain. It makes us sad to part with such a friend, a friend that has made home pleasant, and those whom he came in contact with to feel proud of his presence. His noble deeds should be a good example for his bereaved friends, and let them say, they will try to live so as to meet this beloved friend in the better world, where there will be no more pain or sorrow, but will forever be peace and happiness. We know that God’s power is beyond man’s and if he breaks the greatest human cord, we must think there is a greater attraction in heaven for us than before. And where we look at the longevity of older people and see what steps they have taken, while drifting down the stream of time, a thought is impressed upon our minds that we should live so as to walk in their footprints and share with them in the treasures of Heaven. This good man was taken sick the second day of Sept. and was sick nearly four weeks. He was taken with typhoid fever of which he suffered untold misery. His remains were laid to rest in the Little Hope cemetery, Sept. 28, 1901. There was a host of friends and relatives that followed him to the last resting place, and as they laid eyes upon this good man for the last time, it almost broke their hearts to part with him. Weep not dear wife, children, relatives, and friends, for his last words were, “I am going home.” We know he is better off, in that happy home than he was here. Now may God’s richest blessings rest upon the bereaved home and when God calls you from this world you can reach forth your hand and say, I have fought the good fight, and have let my light so shine, that those around me are illuminated by its beautiful rays and are ready to step on board the Ship of Zion and sail through the pearly gates of Heaven, where you can shake hands with this dear friend.

Life is but a moment time,
We cannot prolong the wave,
Let us live for God above,
And in Heaven we shall be saved.

By a friend,

J.T. Linebarger”

This obituary from the Southern Sentinel in Ripley, Mississippi is flat out amazing. I don’t think there’s anything else to say about it except it would be nice to have a friend that wanted to remember me like that.

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Grandfather’s Diary, Part I

Over the next several Mondays, I plan on transcribing the short diary my paternal grandfather left behind. Mack Holley was an enigma of a man, even though I never knew him. There were so many who did, or thought that they did anyway. He was an outwardly friendly, generous man who kept many secrets and was prone to dark, dangerous mood swings. He had a tumultuous relationship with his parents, to say the least, but never saw fit to break the cycle with his own son. The older I get, the more I understand that the key to figuring out who I am is in large degree connected to figuring out who Mack Holley was.

All of my grandparents died before I was born, so I spent a lot of time trying to figure out who they were by speaking to not only my parents, but to the older people around town who knew them.

I’ll let my grandfather speak for himself now. I’ve added some punctuation and words to make it easier to follow but I have tried not to change too much in order to preserve his voice.

The Thomas Monroe Holley family around 1915. My grandfather is bottom left in the hat.
The Thomas Monroe Holley family around 1915. My grandfather is bottom left in the hat.

“I was borned May 21 1913* in a log house just across the bottom, on a hill in west part of Alcorn County Mississippi, near my uncle M C Mathis country home and store. My parents were farmers Tom and Mary Clementine Mathis Holly. At my birth I only weighed 3 lbs and [was] very weak and sickly.

In early childhood I developed whooping cough which in those days were very bad. They almost lost me in my early life. I moved with my parents and my two brothers and sister to Tippah County Mississippi in a large house in Tippah County. At [the] foot [of] the hill I never will forget were an old water mill [and] cotton gin surrounded by chestnut trees I can see plainly till this day. I played so many days on the red hill and the old gin that still stood [and] which had been there many years.

The Holley home in Tippah County
The Holley home in Tippah County

I was a weakly child, never got to go to school till I was 10 years of age. Finally that first school day came around. I shall never forget the morning my sister and myself got up early to get ready for school. As we walked out on the roadside to wait for transportation, she with high top shoes and a plat of hair down each side of [her] cheeks, myself wearing heavy shoes and new overalls. In a few minutes we saw the covered top wagon coming up the muddy road being pulled by two mules, counting by their ears. They pulled up and stopped, the back door flew open, [and] we got in and set down [in] the full packed wagon. All seem to stare at me. It seemed that we never would get out. Soon we pulled in the school yard, Providence in Tippah County. We got out and went in the school room. I were scared out of my wits. The day were longer for two days [meaning the day felt like two days]. I can see till this day how that old tall plank school house looked.

I was there this passed [past] July attending our family reunion that we held there [this] summer. Altho the old building had burned up in the years passed [past] and had been replaced by a brick building, it really brought back old memories over the years. Things are so much [different] and looking so [different], even the people has changed.

Since the day I first started to school at Providence at the age of ten years old so [different] from the way childrens are these days. [Now he goes back to talking about his first day of school.] The day finally ended. We got back in the wagon and on our way home. Being the son of poor farmers, moving around from place to place, I went to several difference [different] schools in Tippah County including one teacher schools and summer school.

As I have mention[ed] before things are so much changed. Some I like and some I do not. But I accept them all as I know they must be. As I sit here today alone by the window at home looking outside at the beautiful October day 1967, the leaves so beautiful as I watch them fall from nature and go many [different] ways and finally settled down on the ground and gradually fade away. It reminds me of my life from place to place and sometime I will also as leaves [do] grow older and older and turn to the ground, go down, and fade away.”

The first time I read this I was a know it all teenager, but I was impressed with the philosophical nature of the writing, despite his lack of what we would consider quality education. My grandfather was a deep thinker and cared a great deal about many things. But he just doesn’t seem like a worrier. At least, not yet.