Magnolia Gazette
Magnolia, Miss., May 18, 1910

Mrs. Hettie Dillon Saw the Comet in 1835

Editor Gazette: In 1813 Joseph Lewis, at the age of 15 came from Georgia to Pike county and subsequently married Sarah Morris, daughter of Benjamin Morris and Sarah Bolton, immigrants from South Carolina in the territorial period of Mississippi. Joseph Lewis became a Baptist minister in charge of the old New Zion Baptist church in the southeastern portion of the county. He was succeeded by his son, Little Joe Lewis. His second child and daughter Nettie [Hettie] was born January 18th, 1826, being one of nine children and was nine years of age when Halley's Comet made its appearance in 1835. She is now in her 85th year and is healthy, strong, active and possessed of remarkable memory of events connected with the past history of Pike county. Her birthplace was on her father's farm, three miles south of Tylertown where the new town of Lexie, on the New Orleans & Great Northern railroad is now being built. Here she was married on the 5th of February 1846, to Joel P.  Dillon, son of Theopholis Dillon, and grandson of Richard Dillon, a native of Ireland, and one of the colonial partriots of the revolutionary war, who emigrated from South Carolina and settled at Dillontown about 1800.

Mrs. Hettie Dillon's bridesmaid was Selena Irwin and the groom's best man was Thaddeus Gray whose father was also one of Pike's pioneer settlers on the Boguechitto river. The wedding ceremony was performed by Rev. Jesse Crawford who was at that time in charge of the Silver Creek church, having succeeded Rev. Nathan Morris in 1835, the year of the visit of Halley's comet.

Mrs. Hattie Lewis Dillon is the mother of five living children as follows: John T.  Dillon, Hackley, La.; Newell C. Dillon, Dick P. O., Franklin county, Miss.; Joel P. Dillon, Holmesville, Miss.; Sarah James, wife of Zach Wilkinson, Gloster, Miss. Mrs. Dillon has 43 grand children, 78 great grandchildren, and three great great grandchildren, all living, making 124 living descendants at this writing.

Mrs. Dillon joined the Bapist denomination at Union church north of Tylertown, in 1854, under the ministration of Rev. Calvin Magee, by whom she [w]as baptized and since that time has lived a constant and devoted member of that faith. All of her descendants belong to the Baptist faith. Two of her Mother's uncles, Joseph and Nathan, were Baptist preachers, the latter being placed in charge of the Silver Creek church in 1816 which he filled for 19 years, when he was succeeded by Rev. Jesse Crawford.

Rev. Nathan  Morris Jr., an uncle of Mrs. Dillon, was also a Baptist preacher, and her brother, Little Joe Lewis, succeeded her father in the charge of New Zion church which position he resigned during the civil war and emigrated to Texas.

And now, in her 85th year, healthy, strong and active, true to her religious faith, Mrs. Hettie Dillon, with 124 descendants, can again look upon that great wonder of the skies which made its appearance when she was nine years old.


McComb, Miss., May 14th 1910

Note: Transcribed from a microfilm copy of the original newspaper from the Mississippi Archives and submitted by Mona Ray. Text appearing in brackets indicate notes made by the submitter.

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