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Saturday, September 4, 2010

Pierce's Drug Store

Growing up with my grandparents, I often listened to the telling and retelling of wonderful stories. I have forgotten many of these but one that has always stayed with me was about Pierce's Drug Store.

Mr. Cader Aquilla Pierce owned a drug store at 1711 Irving Ave in Beaumont (Jefferson Co).  When my grandmother was younger, she had worked a few years in the store as a clerk for Mr. Pierce. They remained good friends long after she stopped working for him.

In the summer of 1940, someone was breaking into the drug store and the police could not catch the burglars. Mr. Pierce discussed it with my grandfather and for several nights they sat in Mr. Pierce's car outside and across the street from the store with guns in hand, waiting to see if someone would try another break in.  I do not think they ever confronted anyone and you sure would not be able to do that today.

Eventually the police did capture Woodrow Griffith, Bill Murty and Joe Woodburn, according to the newspaper clipping below:

It seems the drug store was the focus of several burglaries over the years. In August 1945, another man broke into the drug store and got away with $3,200 worth of War and Postal savings stamps. I don't know if he was ever caught.

On Feb 26, 1946, poor Mr. Pierce was hit so hard in the back of the head by a burglar that he was knocked unconscious. The man got away with $25 but was caught the next day.

I remember seeing Mr. Pierce a few times when he would come over for a visit. He was a very soft spoken man and not very large. He had brown hair and eyes and always wore a smile on his face.

Mr. Pierce was born Feb 12, 1891 in Lindale, Smith Co., TX to Aquilla O. Pierce and Demitrius Emma Bibby and married Miss Winnie Davis  He passed away in Houston March 17, 1965 and is buried in the Forest Park Westheimer Cemetery, 12800 Westheimer Rd, Houston, TX 77077.

His siblings were
Lakie Fannie 1887-1924 m. Oscar Rodgers
Lenis William 1889-1961 m. Esther Love
Clifton Lewis 1893-1986 m. Eunice Edna Price
Sadonia Lora 1900-1985 m Henry M. Ferguson

Newspaper clippings source: Stu Otts
Genealogical source: The Bibby Families of Smith County, Texas
Death Certificate

Friday, August 6, 2010

Wilkinsons of Polk County

In 1840 James O. Wilkinson was living in Jefferson County Georgia. Who his parents and siblings were is still unknown.  On Dec 2, 1831 in Jefferson Co., he married Mary Ann Purvis, daughter of William W. Purvis and Sarah Matthews of Warren County GA.

Copy of the certificate I received in 1989 from the Jefferson County Court Clerk.

In looking at the Jefferson County GA genealogical website, listed on their page for Marriages, the last WILKINSON entry is for James and Mary. Here are the other Wilkinsons listed. Are they connected?
  1. John Allen married S. Wilkinson, 1807
  2. Arthur Foyle married Amanda Wilkinson, 1830
  3. John W. Voss married Nancy Wilkinson, 1831
  4. Daniel Wilkinson married Elinda Swanser, 1822
There also shows to be a letter sitting at the Louisville Post Office for a John Wilkinson on April 1, 1801.

James O. Wilkinson is listed in the 1840 Census for District 76, Jefferson County GA. (Roll 106; Page: 44; Image: 220; Family History Library Film: 0007045)
  • Free White Persons - Males - Under 5: 2
  • Free White Persons - Males - 5 thru 9: 2
  • Free White Persons - Males - 20 thru 29: 1
  • Free White Persons - Females - 20 thru 29: 1
  • Total - All Persons (Free White, Free Colored, Slaves): 6
  • Persons Employed in Agriculture: 1
  • Free White Persons - Under 20: 4
  • Free White Persons - 20 thru 49: 2
  • Total Free White Persons: 6
  • Total All Persons - Free White, Free Colored, Slaves: 6
We know James had no slaves, it was he, Mary and four sons, no daughters and we know he was a farmer. In 1840 James was 29, Mary was 25, Marcus &  David would have fallen into the "Under 5" category and George & Jesse would have fallen into the 5-9 year category.

James and Mary had five sons and no daughters. We know this because of a handwritten bible record where the dates of birth, death and marriages were listed.

Contributed by Jack Langston, from his grandmother's papers 

The sons of James and Mary were Jesse Mercer (b. Dec 27, 1832 - GA) , George B. (b. Feb 9, 1836 - GA), David M. (b. Feb 12, 1838 - GA), Marcus A. or M. (b. Mar 20, 1840 - GA) and James S. (b. Aug 24, 1842 - AL).

By 1850 there are only four sons as George died of unknown causes Sept 1, 1840. The family is living in Lumpkin, Stewart County, Georgia at the time of that census.

They appear in Polk County Texas in the 1860 census, James and Mary only have two sons at home, Mark and James. Next door is Jesse who has married Mary Ann Peebles and their 7 mo old daughter Mary Ann.  Next door to Jesse is David and his wife, Permelia Ann "Amelia" Peebles, sister to Jesse's wife. The two Peebles girls are the daughters of Wiley Peebles and Eliza Ann Ward.

The two brothers and their wives were close and are buried next to each other in the Holland Cemetery, Hardin County.

On Oct 12, 1861, the oldest son still at home, Marcus, married Frances Dunn in Polk Co. and they had a son, Jackson W. "Jack" Wilkinson. Frances Dunn was a neighbor as recorded in the 1860 census. Marcus married again in 1868 to Mary Young. They had two children, a daughter Arcey and a son Hubard.

The youngest of the sons, James S., married twice also. In 1866 he married Elizabeth White and in 1868 to Malicy "Mary" Gray.

All four of James & Mary Wilkinson's sons served in the Confederate Army, joining the same unit, Co. E, 20th Texas Infantry, Elmore's Regiment. The three older boys enlisted in 1862 and James enlisted in 1863 at age 17.

There has been some speculation that another young man, Jonathan Pinkney Wilkinson was also a son of James and Mary Ann Purvis Wilkinson. There is a "James" living with Jonathan in Polk County in the 1870 census recording but I am not sure it is our James.

Based on the excellent research of Carol Nance, she states Jonathan was the only son of Asa Wilkinson  (born in 1807 in SC) and Elizabeth "Betsy" Dykes to come to Texas.
There is a connection between the two lines because Mary Ann Purvis Wilkinson was Nancy Amanda Purvis Wilkinson's second cousin. Mary Ann's father and Nancy Amanda's grandfather were brothers. -- Carol Nance
Some of the reasons why I do not believe Jonathan is the son of James & Mary Purvis Wilkinson, for those still holding out:

  1. Jonathan was born Feb 17, 1831, Abbeville, Barbour County Ala., but James and Mary Ann were not married until Dec 2, 1831
  2. Jonathan enlisted in Co. H, Waul's Texas Legion, Infantry, June 13, 1862 while all the other boys enlisted May 2, 1862 in Elmore's Regiment. Even James S. came into Elmore's Regiment as soon as he was old enough.
  3. On all the family notes, bible records, listings of deaths, births, marriages, Jonathan is never listed, any where.
  4. The four brothers named their children with family names yet none of them named a son "Jonathan" or "Pinkney".
  5. Carol Nance's research
This is just a piece of the genealogy surrounding this couple, James O. Wilkinson and Mary Ann Purvis from Georgia to Texas. If you have information you would to share or correct, please contact me.
Visit the Wilkinson page at TexasHistoryHunter.net for more on the family lines, records and photos.