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W. P. A. History of Pontotoc County, Mississippi


Old Settlements

EBENEZER or PRIMROSE was settled in 1836. The first settlers gave it the name of Ebenezer, signifying that "God had brought us safely thus far." The name was later changed to Primrose. One of the first to settle in this community was Louis M. Jenkins, who came from South Carolina and settled the place now owned by Will Steward, colored. He was married to Miss Selena Rivers of Rocky Ford Community, and had eight children. Jenkins was fond of hunting and always kept a pack of fine dogs. Ernest Jenkins, a grandson of Louis M. Jenkins, now lives in the Plymouth Community.

William L. Neely came in the early days and settled on what is now the John A. Donaldson place. He married Miss Lettie Rodgers, and they had nine children. J. M. Neely, the eldest, married Priscilla Montgomery and lived on the old Wilkes Place. H. Donaldson and Marion Combs were active as leaders in church and community affairs and in singing the songs of the old "Sacred Harp" and "the Timbrel of Zion".

John O. Grisham, native of South Carolina, settled the old Bill Donaldson place, some time in the fifties, and married Miss Brown, a sister of the governor of South Carolina. Grisham was a large slave owner and had a tanyard where people from all over the country brought hides.

Joel S. Pinson, another of the early settlers, had property of a great extent, reaching from near Old Camp Ground Church to what is known as Miss Nettie Goode's place. This estate was left to his two sons, Richard and Sam. Sam fell heir to the part on which the old two-story home, "Stony Lonesome" stood. Richard's half included the Frank Jackson, Crenshaw, Dick Calloway, Tom Donaldson, and other places of the community. Richard married Miss Sina Duke and made his home at Primrose, now the Tom Donaldson Place, with Fred Goode as overseer. Goode married Miss Nettie Montgomery, a teacher of the Monroe neighborhood, and they made their first home at the Tom Donaldson homestead, later buying land and settling the place where Dewy Stacy now, 1925, lives. Miss Nettie as she was lovingly called was a power in the community, both as teacher and counselor, and many of our men and women owe their education and ideals of life to her. Having no children of her own she took her sister's children, the Nasons, and cared for them; later she mothered her brother's orphaned children, remembered as Irene, Elvira, and Goode Montgomery.

A. Y. Donaldson came from Alabama in 1838 and settled on the edge of Lee County, latter moving to Tocona. He married Miss Rebecca Waldrop and in 1858 moved to the place now, 1925, owned by Richard Bolton, colored. The next year he moved to the place now owned by Walter Donaldson, a grandson, where for 85 years members of this family have lived. Of the nine children five are living: Higgin and Harrison live in Texas; John A. in this community, and Joel is practicing medicine at Oakland.

H. H. (Higgin) Donaldson was born in North Carolina, and came to Pontotoc in 1837 with two brothers, William E. and Alex, and a sister Elvira. After spending some time here, Higgin wet to Alabama, married Miss Catherine White and brought her to Mississippi. He entered the war in 1861 and became a lieutenant in Colonel Young's company. In 1869 or 1870 he settled the place known throughout the country as the Higgin Donaldson Place, where Willie Brown now, 1925, lives. The children of Higgin and Catherine Donaldson were, H, Jim P., Tom, and Jack.

William E. Donaldson, a native of North Carolina came here from Alabama in 1837 and married Miss Alice Waggoner. The children were Rachel, Emma, Zollie, Jim, Irvin, Alice, and Inez. The girls are teachers and Irvin and Zollie are dead. Jim Died March 28, 1933, in Okolona, where he had been an outstanding physician for twenty-six years.

Dr. A. J. M. Johnson married Miss Annie Donaldson, residing at Chiwapa, during the war. He was a surgeon for a regiment and this incident is reported of him: Once during a fierce battle he jumped up and said "That bullet hit somebody, I heard it strike." A few seconds later he found that he was the one wounded. The first year after the war Dr. Johnson moved his family to the Primrose community, locating west of the Higgin Donaldson place.

Harden Jones came from Tennessee and after a few years residence in Marshall County moved to Schoona, where his family lived until after the war between the states, when he bought the Dr. Hanna Place now owned by O. L. Wood. About this time his sons Tom and At moved here, Tom settling on the A. J. Jones place and At farther down. They were married to the Misses Eubanks.

W. T. Stegall came from South Carolina and located in the Givhan neighborhood; in 1869 he settled on what is known as the Stegall place where he lived until he moved to Pontotoc, a few years before his death. Stegall first married Miss Emaline Moore, whose children were Mrs. Pattie Donaldson, Mrs. Fannie Calloway, and Henry, who died young. His second wife was Mrs. Newell Gambrel Williams.

Hiram Pitts was a native of South Carolina. He came to Mississippi and settled in the Friendship neighborhood Sometime in the forties he moved to the place now owned by Reuben Pitts, his grandson. Pitts married Miss Clarissa Calhoun, of the South Carolina Calhouns. To them were born nine children, two of whom were killed in the war between the states.

In mentioning the early settlers of Ebenezer, or Primrose Community we would not forget the Negroes of that time. In their way they were as important in building the community as were their white masters. Among them were Uncle Dock Betts and Aunt Patsy, Uncle Dick and Aunt Priscilla Steward, Uncle Billy and Aunt Martha Morrow, and many others. In 1871 there was a log schoolhouse built for them on the east side of the road leading from Mrs. Sallie Jones to Frank Patterson's Place. Reuben S. Pitts was the first teacher .(1)

(1) John A. Donaldson, Sherman, Miss.

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