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.
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 1953- 29 Jul 1912
He has gone to the mansions above
Asleep in Jesus blessed sleep from which one never wakes forever