The Stanleys
Excerpts from "One Hundred and Sixty Acres of Paradise"
Mamie Stanley Smith

I have been told that back in that day New Hope was just a brush arbor, and that Papa Frank Stanley and some more men, a Mr.Tommy Smith, Jim Ellzey and several others got together and built New Hope Church. Frank Stanley gave a couple of acres of land for the churchyard. That was somewhere back between 1870 and 1880.

After Frank Edward Stanley landed up around Old Red Star, he boarded with the Mr. Daniel Falvey family. Dan Falvey had also been born in Ireland, and several years later Papa married one of his daughters, Molly Falvey.  Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Falvey was one of the early settlers out there and they had a big family of children. I can't recall all their names, but the ones I knew of were Ellen, Selena, Emma, Tom and John Falvey.  Of course Molly was one of the girls and my father's first wife, but I never knew her as she died before my father married my mother.  I knew the rest of the family and loved them all.  Frank Edward Stanley was 25 years old when he married Molly Falvey.  Frank and Molly Stanley's first house was a log cabin with a dirt floor and they lived in it for several years. Fannie was the first child born in the little log house, a little girl to brighten up their home.  Then a few years later a sweet little boy came into the log house to brighten up their home and join the little sister.  They named the little boy Willie.  Then another sweet little girl was born and her name was Rosa.  Later Frank Stanley built a larger house for his growing family and several more children were born into that lovely new home. These were George, Fred, Annie Lou, and Frank was the baby. Fred and Annie Lou died while still babies. There was an epidemic of the flu going around and Frank Stanley lost his wife Molly and several children at the same time.

Along about the year of 1879 or 1880 Frank Stanley, Sr. put up a cotton gin and he ran it several years.  He had several men helping him including Mr. Jim Ellzey and Mr. Russell Matthews.

In the year of 1894 Frank Stanley Junior was born.  He arrived sometime in February, a tiny sweet little boy.  His mother Molly died and left Frank Stanley, Sr. with five children, Fannie, Willie, Rosa, George and Frank, Jr.  After Molly died, Rosa died at the age of seventeen.  They say she was a beautiful young woman. They never knew what caused her death.

A few years later Fannie married Judd Norton, Willie married Alice Ellzey, Rufus Ellzey's daughter, and later George married Bertie Ellzey, Jim Ellzey's daughter.

Frank Jr. was about three or four years old when his mother Molly died in 1899.  A year later in 1900, Frank Stanley, Senior, at age of 47, married Sophronia Ann Reed Wright.  She had been married to Willie Wright.  She had two living children, Alma and Bennie Wright.  Ann Reed Wright's life was something like Frank Stanley, Sr.  She lost her husband Willie Wright and two children Katie Bell and Lamar, all at once.  They all three died and were buried the same day.  They had typhoid fever.  We all think that we have troubles today, but stop and think about loosing three in your family at one time.  I am sure it was awful for my mother, and the children were so small when her husband and the other two children died.

The Reeds and the Matthews Connection

(Photo: Francis Edward Stanley and wife Sophronia Ann Reed)

    When Ann Reed Wright married Frank Stanley on May 18, 1900, she was 33 years old.  Her father was Joseph Bonaparte Reed and her mother was Mary Matthews Reed.  Joseph and Mary Reed had nine children, Estus, Bill, Elizabeth, Nancy, Henry, Sophronia Ann, Raidy, Bob and Florence.

Joseph Bonaparte Reed was born March 13, 1835 in Lawrence County, Mississippi, a few years before his parents moved from the Fair River community to the Mt. Zion community in Copiah County. He was the second son of James A. Reed and Nancy Davis Reed. Joseph's father was a native of old Virginia and his mother Nancy was born in South Carolina.

Joseph Reed grew up in the Mt. Zion community of what was then the extreme southern part of Copiah County.  In 1870 that area became part of the newly created county of Lincoln.  As a boy Joseph had a friend named Henry Sandifer who was also a neighbor in the Mt. Zion community.  Henry Sandifer had some relatives who lived in Simpson County in a community known as Sandifer Mills located on the Pearl River near what is now the Hopewell community north of Georgetown, Mississippi.  One summer Joseph went along with his friend Henry Sandifer to visit Henry's relatives in Simpson County and while he was there he met a Simpson county girl named Mary Ann Matthews and they soon became sweethearts. Henry Sandifer fell in love with Mary Ann's sister Frances Matthews. Mary Ann and Frances were daughters of Harmon P. Matthews and Mary Ann Gates Matthews.  It wasn't long before wedding bells began to ring in the Matthews' household when Joseph Reed married Mary Ann and Henry Sandifer married Frances. These marriages took place in 1858. Later on, John M. Reed, a younger brother of Joseph, married Margaret "Molly" Matthews, another of Harmon Matthews' daughters. Harmon Matthews was born in Twiggs County, Georgia on May 22, 1813. He was the son of Allen Matthews who was born in North Carolina and Sitty Riley. Sitty was the daughter of Edward Riley who was a Revolutionary War soldier from South Carolina.  Mary Ann Gates, Harmon Matthews' wife, was born in Tennessee.  She was the daughter of William Gates.  The Matthews and Gates families had been early settlers in Lawrence County, Mississippi in the Silver Creek area before they moved to Simpson County in the 1830's.

After Joseph and Mary were married they lived for a few years on Harmon Matthews' farm in Simpson County where several of their older children were born.  About the time of the Civil War Joseph brought his young family back to Copiah County and settled in the Red Star area not far from his father's old home in the Mt. Zion community.  When the war broke out Joseph Bonaparte Reed enlisted in the Mt. Zion Guards, which became a part of Company A of the 36th Mississippi Regiment.  His older brother, James M. Reed and next younger brother, John M. Reed were also members of the Mt. Zion Guards as was Henry J. Sandifer.  Joseph Reed fought in the Battle of Vicksburg and was captured by the Yankees and sent to one of their prisons on Ship Island off the Mississippi Gulf Coast.  After the war he returned to his farm in the Red Star area that became part of Lincoln County when Lincoln was formed in 1870.

Joseph Reed and Mary had nine children that lived to become adults. The oldest was Estus M. Reed that married Vergelia "Gelia" Hutson. She was the daughter of Rev. Thomas Jefferson Hutson, a pioneer Baptist Minister of the Mt. Zion area. Rev. Hutson's wife was Mary Cagle. The Hutson and Reed families had been neighbors since they first settled near Mt. Zion Baptist Church.  The second child of Joseph and Mary Reed was William Madison Reed, known as "Bill".  Uncle Bill Reed married Lou Hutson, another daughter of Rev. T. J. Hutson.  Uncle Estus and Aunt Gelia and Uncle Bill and Aunt Lou lived close to one another out in the Macedonia community not far from Red Star and Mt. Zion. The third child of Joseph and Mary was Margaret Elizabeth Reed, known to us as Aunt Lizzie.  She married Augustus Odem Hammill but we never knew him by any name but Uncle "Fell" Hammill.  The fourth child was my mother, Sophronia Ann Reed.  She was born July 27, 1866 and died January 8, 1916 and is buried at New Hope Methodist Church in Lincoln County, Mississippi. I have a son, Russell Smith, who was born on July 27th and he has Ruslyn, also born on my mother's birthday.  My mother was first married to Willie Wright and after he died she married my father, Francis Edward Stanley.  The fifth child of Joseph and Mary Reed was Nancy Madora Reed.  She married John Case. A grandson of Aunt Nancy Case owns Case's Pharmacy in Brookhaven.  The sixth child of Joseph and Mary Reed was Henry Reed. His wife was Aggie Melvina Case, a daughter of Thomas Case and Nancy Jane Ratcliff Case. Aunt Vinie as she was known to us and Uncle Henry Reed owned a farm joining the One Hundred and Sixty Acres of Paradise and they lived by us all those many happy years.  We enjoyed so many good times together and their ten children were like brothers and sisters to me.  The seventh child was Mary Isarada Reed known to us as Aunt Raidy.  She married Sid Callender.  The eighth child of Joseph and Mary Reed was Robert Butler Reed and we knew him as Uncle Bob.  He married Lelia Kimble and they raised their family at Mobile, Alabama.  The ninth child of Joseph and Mary that lived to become an adult was Florence Ophelia Reed. She was born on May 16, 1883 and died April 12, 1943. She married Zack Laird.

Joseph Reed was the first convert to the Mormon religion made in Lincoln County.  The doors of his home were always open to the Mormon Missionaries from Utah and he was one of the founders of the Red Star Church of the Latter Day Saints near Loyd Star northwest of Brookhaven.  In 1881 his home burned and the following article appeared in the BROOKHAVEN LEDGER of Mayl91 1881.

"Mr. Joe Reed, living about eleven miles northwest of here in this county, had his dwelling house and kitchen burned last Friday. It is supposed to have been accidental. The entire family was gone from the house, attending to their work, consequently nothing was saved, not even a change of clothing."

Mary Ann Matthews Reed died on December 8, 1897. Joseph Reed remarried in his later years to Mary Woodward. They had no children. He died on May 21, 1914 and is buried at Mt. Zion Baptist Church. At the time of his death the Mormon Church did not have a cemetery and his two sons, Estus and Bill, both married to daughters of a Baptist minister at Mt. Zion, wanted their father buried there beside their mother. His tombstone is engraved with an open Book of Mormon upon it.

When Papa Frank Stanley and Mama Ann Reed Wright were married in 1900, each brought their respective children with them.  Then on May 12, 1901, Henry Joseph Stanley was born.  He was the oldest of Papa and Mama's children together.  With all the older children, and now with a whole new family beginning, Frank and Ann Stanley made plans for the family to move closer to Brookhaven to be near the town schools.  They sold the 300 acres near New Hope and bought 160 acres from Mr. T. Hugh Smith.  Mr. Hugh Smith's wife, Nettle, was a cousin to Ann Reed Stanley.  She was the daughter of Joe Magee and Salena Smith,  Salena's mother was a sister of Ann's father, Joseph Reed.  We always called Mr. Hugh Smith and his wife, "Cousin Hugh" and "Cousin Nettle".  Of course, when this came out in our Southern speech, it was "Cud'n Hugh" and "Cud'n Nettle".  We loved them like family. The new farm was about two miles northwest of Brookhaven and it joined Uncle Henry Reed's place. Now that land is almost in the town of Brookhaven being just west of I-55 on Old Red Star Road.

Papa and Mama were so happy to have such a lovely new farm and be near Brookhaven where the children would have a better chance for a good education.  They built a beautiful home in a hickory grove on a low hill over looking the Bogue Chitto River. The Bogue Chitto was only a stream up there near its beginnings until the heavy rains came and then it spread out over its banks and really looked like a river.  The house they built was a large one for its time.  There was a long front porch the entire length of the house.  There were large fireplaces with tall chimneys at each end of the house and another large fireplace at the rear of the house in the kitchen. A long side porch stretched from the rear of the living room to the kitchen.  This was on the East Side of the house towards Brookhaven.  We could stand on this side porch and look across the broad Bogue Chitto bottomlands to the large old two-storied Henry Strong house. This was one of the oldest houses in Lincoln County, built before the Civil War.  After the War, I've been told, the Strong family moved to Brazil rather than live under Yankee domination. When we were growing up on the "One Hundred and Sixty Acres of Paradise" the McPhail family lived there and were our very good neighbors and friends.  Verna Mae McPhail and my sister Areola Stanley were the best of friends. Later on the Luther Jackson family lived in the house and now it is owned by Dr. C. W. Herndon. The house Frank and Ann Stanley built was not as large as the old Strong house and it didn't have the large white columns like the big old homes in Natchez, but to us it was truly a "Mansion on the Hilltop" and everyone that ever lived there or spent some time there, truly loved it.

Next after their son Henry Joseph Stanley was born in 1901, a beautiful baby girl was born into the Frank and Ann Stanley family.  They named this darling little brown eyed red headed girl, Annie Mae. She was born in 1903.  A few years later a sweet little brown-eyed boy with red hair was born to Frank and Ann. They named him Edward Lee Stanley. He arrived on December 22, 1905.  On November 12, 1908 a little brown eyed, brown haired girl was born and they named her Florence Areola.  She was always known as Areola. The red hair in the family came from the "Irish" Stanleys. Papa Stanley had red hair when he was younger. His eyes were blue. The brown eyes came from Mama Ann.  She had black hair, brown eyes and olive skin.  It has been passed down that there was Indian blood in her family but we don't know if it was through the Reed or Matthew line.  On August 101 1912 along came another surprising little grey eyed brown haired girl to become the baby of the Frank Stanley family. They named her Mamie Ola. She was me - Mamie Stanley Smith who is writing this story.  From the time I was a baby, instead of being called by my real name of Mamie Ola, my family called me "Tutter."   You would think such a pet name would not be appreciated by me, but I surely liked it better than "Mamie Ola".  It began when my little brother Edward tried to call me "Sugar" but ended up pronouncing the word as "Tutter." The name stuck as such childhood names sometimes do and I was known as Tutter among my playmates, little schoolmates and at home until I vent to Brookhaven High School. There I felt I was too grownup for such a name as Tutter and told everyone my name was Mamie Louise hoping they would call me Louise. I didn't like the name of Mamie and absolutely hated the name of Ola; however everyone at Brookhaven High called me Mamie, but at home I was still "Tutter."

About the time I arrived at the "One Hundred and Sixty Acres of Paradise and the Mansion on the Hill", things began to change.  My mother had some teeth pulled about a year after I was born and later a lump developed on her gums and it didn't go away.  It became a sore and went from bad to worse.  The doctor in Brookhaven diagnosed it as CANCER!  Papa Stanley took her to New Orleans for radium treatments but Mama didn't get any better and Papa was awfully worried.  He read in a newspaper about a doctor in New York City who claimed that he could cure cancer and Papa Stanley sent for him to come. He came to "The Mansion on the Hill" and stayed with us in our home for several weeks but Mama's condition continued to get worse.  On January 8th, 1916, at the age of 50 years - when I was just a little past my third birthday - Mama died of cancer.  Coincidentally, my oldest daughter, Edwina, also died of cancer in January - January 16th, 1978 - when she was 46 years old.

When Mama died, Arcola was 7, Edward 9, Annie Mae 12, and Henry was 15 years old.  Papa had his hands full with five young children to care for by himself.  All the older children from Papa's other two families were grown and married and there were already several grandchildren.  So Papa Stanley, at the age of 63, was left with five motherless children to rearup.  At that time Papa Stanley's mother, my sweet little old Irish grandmother, Anna Delilah Lasswitz, was living nearby with her only daughter, Aunt Rosa Lasswitz Foote. Grandma and Aunt Rosa, my father's half-sister, had been living nearby for several years after they had moved up from New Orleans where they had been living many years after leaving Pike County.  They had come up to help look after Mama in her sickness and after she died they both moved into the house with us to care for Papa's orphaned

Aunt Rosa (a youthful photo to the right) was 46 years old and Grandma Lasswitz was 79 when they came to live at "The Mansion on the Hill" to care for Papa Stanley's motherless children.  It was just wonderful beyond words to have those two sweet women come and live with us. I thank God over and over for my sweet little Irish grandmother and dear Aunt Rosa Lasswitz Foote. Thank God a million times for those two precious and unselfish women that came into our home and did so much for us.  We never would have made it without them.  They made the "One Hundred and Sixty Acres of Paradise and the Mansion on the Hill" a real paradise and a blessing to us all - the children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews, cousins, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles and neighbors. Never have there been better or happier times spent anywhere than at the "One Hundred and Sixty Acres of Paradise" For several years after Mama died I tried and tried so hard to call Aunt Rosa "Mama", but she would always say: "My child, I am not your Mama, I am Aunt Rosa".  Of course I was only three or four years old and missed my mother something terrible.  I just had to call someone "mama".  There was an awful feeling of loneliness that just wouldn't go away.  I believe only those who have lost their mother at an early age can truly understand.  It has stayed with me all of my life. But Aunt Rosa and Grandma Lasswitz were always very, very good to me and I never missed a night of sitting on their bed talking with them before I kissed them goodnight.

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