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(This letter was written by Mrs. Catherine Wilkinson Harrington in 1974 for Mrs. Pat Stewart. Pat had requested Mrs. Harrington, her great aunt, to record any family history that she could recall. Pat Stewart sent this letter to me (Jane Combs) around 1993.)
History of the John Green Faris Family
John Green Faris was born in 1818 in Lexington, Indiana. He came to Mississippi when he was a young man. he and his brother, Thomas, lived on a farm with their father and mother. Their occupation was raising horses and hogs, and feed for them. They came on a boat from Natchez, and brought horses to sell in Mississippi. from Natchez they traveled on horseback, leading other horses, to McBride, MS. They went to the home of Thomas Kelly and spent a few days, and sold their horses.
In the Kelly home was a daughter, Elizabeth, and John G. fell in love with her. On the next trip they made to MS, they were married in the Kelly home. His wife went with him to his home in Lexington, IN, for a visit. In a
few weeks they came back to MS., on a boat. On the way it sprang a leak and the Captain had some men take a big side of bacon and nail it over the hole, and put a barrel of pickled pork on top of the bacon, which stopped the leak. Grandmother was very excited, and said, “If I ever get my feet on land, I will never get on a boat again.” And she never did.
John G. Faris and his wife came to Union Church, MS, and settled on a farm four miles from Union Church. The children born in this home were: Elizabeth, Armilda, Mary, Adalaid, John Clinton, Thomas and Walter.
Elizabeth Faris married George Nusom and Armilda married his brother, Jim Nusom. Adalaid married Seth Martin, John Clinton married Mary Louella Buckles, daughter of Mary Wilkinson Buckles. Thomas first married Eva Buckles; they were divorced and he married Sara Smith. Walter married Annie Kelly; they were divorced and he Married Hattie Nichols, and they had no children. Willie died in 1966. Mary Faris married Peter Calvin Wilkinson.
Their children were Lizzie, Ellen, Lillie, Betsy Jane, Mary, John Neil, Phillip McLean, Daniel Calvin, Catherine Ella, and Louie Grafton.
Phillip McLean was killed in WWl. Daniel Calvin married Mercedes Hebert. Lizzie married Mack Gibson, and they had two children, Susie and Mary. Susie never married, Mary married Montague Randolph, and they had two sons, Montie Jr., and George Gibson. Ellen Wilkinson married Jesse Marion Smith, and their children were: Harvey, Lorena, Lucien, Phillip, Walter, Ruth, Lillie Belle and Mary Amber.
Mary Wilkinson married Cicero Faris. Their children were Mary Belle and Garland. Mary Belle married Bill Gibson and their children were Patty Jean, Larry and Taylor. Mary Belle died in California and was buried there.
Lillie never married. Betsy Jane married John Oliphant, no children. Catherine Ella married Thomas Harrington. They had no children but they adopted a little girl, Ruth Lynn. Catherine's twin brother, Louie Grafton, never married and he and his sister, Lillie, inherited the old Wilkinson home which was built in 1852.
Children of Elizabeth Faris and George Nusom: Georgia, Fordie, Wallace, Minnie, Mittie, Ruth and Lillie. Georgia died in young girlhood. Fordie also died as a young man. Wallace Nusom married Eula Starnes, Minnie married Jesse Day, and their children were Clyde, Jesse, George, Willie, Lena, Ruth, Henry, Louise, Wesley, Herman and Scheuman.
J. C. Faris, son of John Green Faris was born May 24, 1859. He was the father of Cicero Faris, Orren Faris, and J. C., Jr. who married Eleanor Nichols, a sister of Hattie, the wife of Willie Faris.
There was a picture of Smokey Grandmother, (Elizabeth Kelly Faris) and Jewel Clark Farris's Grandmother. They had their clay pipes in their mouths. Mama had the picture enlarged from the tintype. I do not remember Grandfather Faris, but have heard lots of him. He was a big worker in the Methodist Church. He always carried his Bible and if the preacher said anything that Grandfather Faris disagreed with, he would say, “That's not what it says in the Bible.” Lizzie, his daughter would say, “Pa, I wouldn't argue.” Then he would say, “You shut up, That's Lizzie, one of my gals.” He thought someone would think she was someone else.
Smokey Grandma lived with us after Aunt Milda (Armilda Jane) died. Grandma wanted to have a white casket and a white dress. She bought the dress, a petticoat with wide embroidered lace, and the coffin, five or six years before she died. In fact, Dollie, Uncle Walter's oldest girl, stole the dress and petticoat one night and wore it to a dance.
Grandma had lots of pride and loved pretty clothes. She wore little bonnet hats with ribbons and flowers. She wore sun Bonnets and long dresses with pockets. She kept her scissors and pipe in her pocket. She and Mrs. Rozie would sit in front of the fireplace, so they could get coals of fire to put in their pipes. But they had pretty paper in a glass on the mantle to use on Sunday.
Grandma was determined to make a lady of me. I had to be a tomboy as I had four brothers to follow. My panties were made of either American Beauty flour sacks or Cream Meal sacks. If I heard Grandma say, “American Beauty or Cream Meal,” I knew my feet were up too high. When I got my first bathing suit, Grandma said, “Catherine, isn't that your naked leg I see?” She was shocked. Grandma thought reading a book was just a waste of time. I should be learning to sew and cook, I had to hide to read.
I don't remember very much about Uncle Mid, only that he was named for the President and had rather fish than eat.
Uncle Walter was my favorite uncle. He had watermelon under the bed early and late. One night Mary was spending the night; Uncle Walter forgot she was there. Ford was bad to wet the bed, so Uncle Walter grabbed up Mary and took her out on the back porch, no bathrooms in those days, he said, “Get to work”. Mary said, “Sir?” Uncle Walter laughed so loud that he woke everyone up. He also was a good banjo player.
Uncle Tom liked to drink. One Christmas he went to Union Church to the store. They wanted him to go home, so they decided to write a note and sign Aunt Sallie's name to it. Uncle Tom said, “No, Sallie never said Dear Tom in her life.” He had a gristmill and made cornmeal. All the neighbors came on horses with sacks of corn. He carved out wooden dolls and made them dance with strings on the steam line. Kids all liked to come to see the dolls. He was an old time fiddler.
Uncle Clint always made a good garden, lots of bees, a large orchard, even mulberry trees. When Aunt Minnie's tombstone was put up, he said, “They put the wrong name on there.“ He had twelve children by her and had forgotten her name was Mary Lou Ella as she was always called Minnie. He always had a bird dog. One cold night we were all hugging the fireplace. Uncle Clint said, “You kids get back now and let Fido get there and warm his nose a little.”
Grandpa Faris said, “Minnie and Clint had the bangenest names for their kids.” There was U-know and I know, O-ren and Lau-rin, Bill and Bell, Cicero and Fido. Fido was the dog.
Letter transcribed and submitted by Jane Combs, Waco, TX