This letter was submitted by Marian Miller from Katy, Texas. If you have questions contact her at Marian Miller
Letter written by Roland Madison Mabry (son of Walter Mabry and Manerva Suggs) to Mrs. Zena (Mabry) Simmons Holley, daughter of his cousin, Griffin L. Mabry (son of Alexander Mabry and Clarinda Suggs. Cousin Sally was Zenaís sister. Grover and Ruby (Mabry) McKenzie were Rolandís children, who lived in Woodsboro, Refugio Co., TX at that time.
April 15, 1909
My Dear Zena,
Your letter received and was glad indeed to hear that all was well. Well now, you ask me about our ancestry. I canít trace them back very far. My grandfather, James Thomas Mabry, was raised in Georgia. I donít know what county. He was married in that State and then moved west, stopping in Pickens County, Alabama, where he resided a few years. My father was born while at that place. He then moved to Hinds County, Miss. About where Clinton, Miss. now is. This was about 1823 or 4 or thereabout. He afterward moved to Attala County, Miss. And resided there a long time and nearly all of his first family was married in that section of the country, all I think except Uncle Griffin Mabry. He went to Texas when a boy and married there. Grandfather had several brothers but I canít remember the names of any except William and Walter. Iíve heard my father speak of them and it seems to me that there was one named Joel, but of this Iím not sure. Grandfather was a doctor and practiced in his younger days. He raised a large family. I will name them: Mrs. (Minerva) Slaughter, Mrs. (Elizabeth) Netherland and James Griffin - these went to Texas 60 years ago. Alexander, your grandfather, Walter, my father, Uncle Austin you knew, Aunt Mary Ann Ousley and Aunt Martha Carnes. These were all members of his first family. He married a second time and raised two girls and a boy, Lucy, Sarah and Wiley, who now lives at Burgis, Miss. Or did a few years ago. About 30 years ago, I met one old man Mabry in Kosciusko who told me that he had an Uncle James Thomas Mabry that went to Hinds County, Miss. At an early date and that he was lost sight of by his people after he left that place - so that accounts for us knowing nothing of grandfatherís people. Grandfather was a grand, good man and would not do anything he thought was wrong. He never did own any slaves. He said he knew it was wrong to hold Negroes in slavery and he never did own one. He was the first probate Judge that ever held Court in Attala County, as the records will show if they have not been destroyed. He was a man of great intellectual powers and of high character. Write to Uncle Wiley. His Post Office is Burgis, Miss. I think he might be able to tell you more of his folks.
You ask about Nathanís folks. I have known Uncle Billie Simmons ever since I can remember but donít know where they came from. They were living on the old place out south of Old Salem Church about one mile, the first I can remember. He died there. He was a weakly man physically but made money farming. He was a very religious man and always attended all his church services of which he was one of the leading spirits. He was always very charitable - always helping the poor around him. His wife was a sister to William Allen who lived up north of Long Creek. She had one brother named Riley Allen. Perry Aiddenís wife at Camden was a sister to her, also Mrs. Mathew Harris at Newport.
Now Zena, the making of these statements this morning is taking me back about 50 years. It seems as if I can almost see those old folks as they were at that time. My father and mother were there then and your father and mother were children then, but time passed on and we grow older after awhile. Someone will be asking about us so let us live so that those questions can be answered in a way that will be an honor to our name. If there is any one name among men that I love better than any other it is Mabry. Not that I think them better than other people but it was my fatherís name and somehow I love the name Mabry.
Say, canít Cousin Sally come over to see us while she is over this time? We would be glad to have her come and stay as long as she will.
Yes, we heard from Texas a day or so ago and Ruby says everything looks prosperous. They all seem to be well satisfied and say that Grover has gotten so fat that his pants are all too small for him. He hasnít been sick since he went down there. They get all of the fish, fresh oysters, duck and wild geese they want and can find a rattlesnake to kill most any time. They are in very fine country. Iíve been down close to where they live some 18 years ago, about 30 miles north of where they live. I think I will go down there this summer when I get through with my crops, if I can get off that long.
You and Cousin Sally come over together and then the boys and Nellie can come later. Go out to hear the Baptist Evangelist, Dr. Hunt. He is in Shreveport this week. Was here the last two weeks. He is a fine Holy Ghost preacher. You will like him.
With much love to all, I am
R. M. Mabry
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copyright © 2001 by Everette Carr. All rights reserved.