Mandy “Millie” Brown

(1884-  ? )

Contributed by her Great-Granddaughter Amber M.C. Craig

Lowndes County’s courthouse where Many and Peter recieved their marriage license.

Mandy (Millie) Brown was a woman who loved making pies, likely born in Lowndes County, Alabama, in 1884. On January 6th, 1911, Mandy married her first husband, Sidney Bruce, whom soon after she divorced. At the age of 29 Mandy married tenant farmer, Peter Brown. In 1920, Peter and Mandy Brown resided in Hayneville, Alabama, a little town between Mobile and Montgomery, where they began working as sharecroppers. Together Mandy, Peter Brown and their family of four boys and one girl (Ed Brown, Thomas Brown, Peter Brown, Abram Brown and Lucille Brown) lived the rest of their life as farmers, selling pies within their small town as means to make extra income.

June Rossiter

June Rossiter Stockwell was born in Hartington Nebraska, an agricultural community that was successful even during the Great Depression. In 1945, she married John Stockwell and stayed in Nebraska to start a family and build a home. By 1947, they had their first child, Forest who was the oldest child of twelve children. My Father was the last child (to be) born in the 1960’s. She was an English teacher before she became a stay at home mother (for her children). She was a faithful Catholic woman who devoted all of her time to her family, community, and church. In her last years of life, she moved to Ohio to live with her two daughters, Jane and Mary.

William Kyle Thurmond, Junior


Contributed by his granddaughter Kirsten Gearheart

William Kyle Thurmond Jr. was born in “new” Healdton, previously an Indian territory that quickly transformed into a community of oil fields, of Carter County, Oklahoma in December 1930. He was the second and final child of Ethel and William Thurmond—his older sister, Virginia Thurmond, was born in October 1926. One of his favorite pastimes during the Great Depression was going on fishing trips with his father, evidenced by the 1934 snapshot above. William Jr. attended the town’s pubic school until he graduated high school and went onto obtain a college education at Oklahoma State University. He eventually moved to Roanoke, Virginia, married Martha Lou Gearheart, and helped in raising her three boys and their daughter, Monica Thurmond.

Grandma’s Pies

photo of a marriage license
Marriage license for Mandy Brown and her first husband, from

Mandy [Millie] Brown, my maternal great-grandmother, was a homemaker who worked hard everyday to provide for her family. Although she didn’t often contribute to working outside of the house doing farm labor with her husband, she was the queen of her kitchen and loved making pies. Born in 1884, she married her first husband, Sydney Bruce, at the age of 27 on January 6th, 1911; he was a farmer in Montgomery County, Alabama . Continue reading “Grandma’s Pies”

I Blame Mary

“She was a tough lady in a time when women weren’t expected to be,” my father said to me regarding his grandmother and my great-grandmother, Mary Maude Jago Hayes, during and after the Great Depression. “She loved her sherry, she loved her children and god forbid anyone who got in the way of either one of her two loves.” My father continued his tale by telling me, “my father told me all these stories about her. I never met her, but I knew her through my father and through the stories that he told me.”


Continue reading “I Blame Mary”

William Calvin Jones

Bill in work uniform


Contributed by his great-granddaughter Regan Hardy

Born in Macon, Georgia on March 29th, 1904, William Calvin Jones Jr. grew up with his parents William Calvin Jones Sr. and Maude Harris in Birmingham. He married Alda Irene Whaley Jones, an Alabama native, in 1928 at the age of 24, and the two lived in Birmingham after their wedding. The couple transplanted to Chicago, moved back to Alabama, and welcomed a daughter to the world all in the span of less than ten years. My great-grandfather, or “Bill,” as my father and his siblings called him, was a prolific pressman for the Birmingham News and a wonderfully quirky patriarch of the Jones family.

Pictures provided by the family collection of Allison Hardy, Bill’s granddaughter.

Bill in the news: "Let's Make a Pressman Hat" Alda and Bill together