Needless to say, I called my cousin, Sylvia, and said the whole presentation was taking a different turn. I quickly dumped the photos of the trip- all 900- into a power point presentation. I figured I could just let the projector run and folks at the reunion could watch at their leisure.
We had heard stories from our aunts that Loyd had several farming operations going that they recalled from their early childhood. Not only was there a lumber mill, but a cotton gin, grist mill and sugar cane mill. All these were built on the banks of Turkey Creek. One of the buildings still stands. My second cousin lives on the property today across the road where Loyd and Ibbie Ann's old house once stood.
Because the materials are so fragile and many are near dust, I could not take them to the reunion. I took photos to show what I had and talked briefly of their contents. I have spent the last year archiving the materials to save them from destruction. Those that can travel without fear of damage, I will take to this year's reunion.
One of the amazing things about the ledgers and other documents is the story they tell of how business was done between 1885 and 1935. They contain names of family and community members, lists of accounts that each carried until the crops came in and were sold. The names of who he conducted business with or bought equipment from- it's all there. And the names of men from whom he borrowed money- until the crops came in. The homeplace was "hocked" numerous times as collateral for money borrowed. Many of the deeds of trust are still intact. There are bank notices, deposit slips, old blank checks, and IOU's. There are doctor bills and pharmacy bills. Shipping bills for the railroad and canceled post office receipts. THE MAN KEPT EVERYTHING!
There were tax receipts and pages from the days when he served as a county supervisor- elected in 1915. Dad even had the certificate Loyd received from the MS Governor certifying him as Supervisor.
There were some very pleasant surprises, too. An attempt at a family tree. This was verification of some things I thought I knew. There were several letters that allowed me to connect others to the tree- names we knew were part of the tree but unsure until now how they fit in. The material didn't answer the biggest questions, but the wealth of other information- and the material itself- priceless.
At Loyd's death in 1935 (Ibbie had died in 1927) Daddy Tom became executor of the estate and carried out the will. An original copy of the estate settlement was among the goods found. I haven't turned up the will itself, but now I'm sure it exists.
Loyd's son Ned Elmer lived on the place after Loyd's death and raised his family there. Down the road and around the bend, Daddy Tom made his home and farmed his land and raised his family. Except for some small areas sold to timber companies, all the land is still in the family, belonging to new generations.