52 Ancestors 2018-6: John A Mize

John A Mize is my second great grandfather and the second or third great grandfather of most of my Mize cousins whom I know in person. There’s a reason for that, you’ll soon see.

We first meet John in the 1860 US Census as a six year old child in the household of his parents, Solomon Mize and Nancy (James) Dodd Mize. He is the third of their five known children. They are living in Unionville, Union County, South Carolina, where Solomon is a farmer.

In 1870, at the age of 16, John is still at home with his parents, in Jonesville, Union County, South Carolina where Solomon is still listed as a farmer.

In 1880, John is oddly missing from the household of his parents who are still in Jonesville. Solomon is now a farm laborer, implying that he does not own the land he works. Although John is absent from Solomon’s household, it does include “Desda”, listed along with Nancy as “wife”. None of Solomon’s children listed in the 1870 census are in this household, but, Charles F., age 8 is listed. Charles is my great grandfather; the strange second wife is my second great grandmother, Desdemona Fowler Mize. My great grandfather’s sister, Nettie,5; and brothers John,3; and Thomas Emsey, 1; are all listed in Solomon’s household. But, where is the absent John?

John is found in the Union County Jail. A prisoner, with occupation listed as carpenter. In articles posted in the Union Times and the Anderson Intelligencer, on about 1 Nov 1879 John Lipsey and John Mize were traveling from Jonesville in a wagon when a fight arose between them over spilled coffee. Both men being under the influence of alcohol, a fight broke out during which Lipsey’s repeated threats resulted in John Mize shooting him, the shot landing in the left side of Lipsey’s abdomen. Lipsey died of his wounds several days later, John was arrested and taken to jail.

On 20 Jun 1880, the court returned a verdict of not guilty of murder and John was freed.

We do not see Desdemona in another census, but we know she and John had four more known children: Monroe M Mize born in South Carolina 14 Feb 1883; Mattie, whose birthdate is given as 6 Jan 1886 in South Carolina; Albert Horace Mize, whose birthdate is given as  15 May 1886 in Georgia, and Virginia James Mize born 4 Jul 1888 in South Carolina.

In 1900 we find John in Cooks, Fulton County, Georgia with wife Maggie (Margaret Anna) Barnett, a daughter of Pyron Barnett, a native of North Carolina, and Emily Ward, of Greenville, South Carolina. John is now a machinist, most probably at a cotton mill, son John is now 23 and a day laborer; Virginia James “Virgie” is 18 and a spinner; Albert Horace is 15 and a doffer. John, Maggie, young John, Albert, and Virgie can all read and write. John and Maggie have been married 9 years; Desdemona must have died before after 1888 and before 1891, probably in South Carolina, but no mention or record has been found. Maggie and John have two children of their own, Annie, age 4, and Columbus, age 1. John’s older children, Charles F., Nettie, Thomas Emsey, and Monroe M. and Mattie have all left home and started their own independent lives.

While the 1910 census finds John back in Greenville, working as a shoemaker with his own shop, a 1909 mention in the Gaffney Ledger has him visiting his mother and brother in Cherokee County from his home in Selma, Alabama, and one of his two younger children with Maggie was born in Alabama in 1906, so he must have been living in Alabama at least part of the time between  1906 and 1909. John’s youngest child, Ruby, is born in Greenville, South Carolina in 1909.

Although John is a shoemaker with his own shop in 1910 (as his grandfather, James Mize, had been a shoemaker before him); he is found in the Greenville City Directory in 1912 working for Poe Mills as a machinist and married to Maggie.

On 29 Jun 1912, John dies at the age of 59 leaving Maggie a widow at 49  with young children aged 16, 14, 6 and 3. No details of his death are known. On 14 Sep 1917, Margaret Anna “Maggie” Barnett marries Robert Bluford Putman in Greenville County.

John is buried in the Old Brandon Mills Cemetery across the street from Graceland West Cemetery in Greenville. This cemetery is unmaintained although it has now been fenced and is owned privately. In a cemetery overgrown with nettles and periwinkle, and strewn with broken glass and other trash, where many graves can be recognized only by rectangular depressions in the ground, John’s is marked with a polished marker, engraved both front and back. Although we try to keep it cleared, and the owner of the property has had the cemetery itself cleared more than once, nature, and the nature of humans quickly takes over again and again leaving that low jungle of overgrowth and the detritus of life.

John’s Legacy

Desdemona Fowler 1854-@1888: Charles Frederick Mize 1873-1945 m Mary Ann Adcock: Miles Vernon Mize, Calvin Mize, Desta F Mize, Alfred Guinn Mize, Horace Mize, Bowden Malachi Mize, Lillie Mize, Leona Mize

Nettie M. Mize 1876-1911 m Marion William Moore: John Clyde Moore, Bright Moore, Lois Virginia Moore, Howard L Moore, Charles W Moore, Marion Iva Moore

“Young John” b 1877 last appears in the 1900 census age 23; I am unable to account for him past that.

Thomas Emsey Mize 1880-1972 m Myrtle Barnett

Monroe M Mize 1883-1945 never marries

Mattie Mize 1886-1862 m 1) Charlie Smith: Lillie Ann Smith m 2) Philip C Debrabant: Douglas Philip Debrabant

Albert Horace Mize 1886-1964 m Mary Jane Ballard

Virginia James Mize 1888-1955 m Hiram E Styer: Virginia Valentine Styer

Margaret Anna “Maggie” Barnett 1872-1968: Annie Mize 1896-1989 m Ernest Alfred Ward: Jasper Jack Ward, Mary Othelia Ward, Mattie Ruth Ward, Robert Ward

 Christopher Columbus Mize 1898-1967 m Connie Lee Barker: Margie Lee Mize, Armetta Mize

 Bessie Glenn Mize 1906-1994 m Albert Augustin Justice: Edward Glenn Justice, Charles Curtis Justice, Sadie Beatrice Justice, Nadine Bernice Justice, Calvin Eugene Justice, Yvonne Genell Justice

 Ruby Estelle Mize 1909-1989 m James Lester Summerall: Margaret Vivian Summerall, Vera Lee Summerall, Dorthula Louise Summerall, James Thomas Summerall, Ann Summerall

The last of John Mize’s children to die was Bessie Glenn Mize Justice 1906-1994


John A Mize

12 Sep 1853- 29 Jul 1912

He has gone to the mansions above

Asleep in Jesus blessed sleep from which one never wakes forever

52 Relatives 2018-5: Luther Martin Durboraw; Lest We Forget

According to his death certificate, Luther Durboraw was the born 5 May 1886 in Greenville, South Carolina. He was the third of my great great grandparents, Sarah Vaughn Durboraw Turner and John Frederick Durboraw’s  five known children.

While most of us have ancestors or relatives who served in the armed forces during wartime, Luther enlisted in the US Army on Jan 6, 1906 at Charlotte, North Carolina as a private in the Army Hospital Corps first at Fort Ethan Allen, Vermont, then at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. He is enumerated in the 1910 US Census at the United States Military Prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, where he is serving in the Army Hospital Corps, is honorably discharged for reason of disability on November 22, 1910 at Fort Logan, Colorado and returns home to Greenville.

On November 10, 1912, Luther marries Nancy Bailey, daughter of William Bailey and Ella Dill in Greenville.

On July 16, 1914, a baby girl, Sarah Durboraw, is born to Luther and Nancy.

On February 27, 1915, baby Sarah dies of whooping cough complicated by pneumonia.

On March 16, 1916, Luther adopts eighteen month old John Thomas Durboraw, the natural son of one Mattie Bagwell, who states before the South Carolina State Court of Greenville County on that day that the child’s natural father has deserted her and she cannot care for the child.

On September 25, 1919, Luther himself dies of tuberculous meningitis in Liberty, Pickens County, South Carolina; the informant being my grandmother, his sister, at the time Mrs, W. M. Stevenson, then living in Gaffney, South Carolina.

Both Luther and baby Sarah Durboraw are buried at Graceland West, Greenville, neither grave is marked.

John Thomas Durboraw is last seen in the home of Nancy Bailey’s parents, William and Ella Bailey in the 1920 census listed as age six. Nancy Bailey has remarried on February 16, 1920, in Greenville, to Ernest Medlin. Nancy and Ernest have one child, John Earle Medlin, born 1923, who dies of pneumonia at the age of eight. Ernest is murdered in 1939 and Nancy later marries William R Singleton.

Never Forget


52 Relatives 2018-4:Wyatt Griffin Vaughn; O Brother Where Art Thou?

Wyatt Griffin Vaughn was my gr grandmother’s youngest sibling, son of Branch Vaughn and “Preshes” Chapman. He was born in Greenville County, South Carolina on September 25, 1859.

After 1880 Wyatt Griffin marries Margery Frances Jones; their son, Lewis Jones Vaughn is born 10 May 1882 in Spartanburg, South Carolina.

Before 1889, Wyatt Griffin Vaughn, it is said, gets up from the breakfast table and heads out to work. He is never seen or heard from again. And, until about 2010 none of Griffin’s South Carolina descendants knew where he had gone, or if he had been dead or alive at the time of his seeming disappearance.

Sometime during 2010, as the Family Search Pilot Project was being merged into the New Family Search website, I was testing it out and entered my second great grandfather’s name, Branch Vaughn, into the search field. I got quite a surprise when this search yielded a Louisiana Death Certificate for one Wyatt Griffin Vaughn, born September 25, 1859 in Greenville, South Carolina and died September 6, 1950, only a week shy of his ninety first birthday, in Slidell, St. Tammany, Louisiana. His parents listed on the certificate are Branch W Vaughn and “Patricia” Chatmon. Too close to comfort I thought, and sent off a copy of Wyatt Griffin Vaughn’s death certificate to my cousin Helene, his direct descendant. The informant was one Shirley Pichon, a daughter with whom, according to the certificate, Griffin had lived for 11 years prior to his death. He is widowed at the time of death, but his wife’s name is listed on his death certificate as Lillie Glover.

So, the story of what in the world happened to Wyatt Griffin Vaughn shifts quickly out of South Carolina to Slidell, St. Tammany, Louisiana, where Griffin Vaughn had lived out his life after leaving a wife and son in South Carolina.

On September 25, 1889, Griffin had married Lillie Glover in Lauderdale, Mississippi. He is absent from the 1900 US Census but in 1910 he is in New Orleans, married to Lillie, who is 36 to Wyatt’s 51, with children: Gertrude, 19; Bonnie, 17;  Annie, 15; Jefferson, 10; Shirley, 7; and Samuel, 4. We know there is a detour in there somewhere because although Bonnie, Anna, Jefferson, Shirley, Samuel, and Leola all have Louisiana birth records, Gertrude was born in Fort Worth, Texas.

In 1920, Griffin, now widowed, is living in St. Tammany  with daughters Annie, and Shirley, their  respective spouses and families, daughter Leola, sons Jefferson and Sam. No record is found for Lillie’s death.

In the  1930  US census, a 70 year old Griffin Vaughn is living in the household of daughter Shirley and her family; in 1940  an 81 year old Griffin is living in St. Tammany with son Sam and wife Annie May.

So it happens that we find that a man who went missing from South Carolina, leaving behind his wife and child, goes on to build a completely new life in Louisiana with a new wife, leaving, in addition to Lewis Jones Vaughn in South Carolina,  seven more  known children:

Gertrude Isabella Vaughn 1890-1981 m George Henry Brisbi

Bonnie Lora Vaughn 1893-1950 m 1)Robert Gustave Dubuc; 2)unknown Williams; 3)Hans Olsen

Annie Christina Vaughn 1895-1978 m 1)John William Berrigan; and 2) Alonzo “Lonnie” Gauley

Jefferson Roland Vaughn 1899-1973 m Rosemary Swenson

Shirley Camille Vaughn 1904-1972 m 1)William Williams; 2)August Pichon; 3) John Bennett

Samuel Vaughn 1906-1984 m) Anna Mae Womack

Leola Agnes Vaughn 1913-1973 m Pascal John Quarella

So, Wyatt Griffin may have escaped his life and wife in South Carolina, but he couldn’t escape the diligence of determined genealogists, both of Griffin’s South Carolina and his New Orleans families some  120 years later.

In memoriam, Vera Williams James 1955-2013, great grand daughter of Wyatt Griffin Vaughn