Back in June, I was introduced to a turn-of-the century Methodist Episcopal newspaper, the Southwestern Christian Advocate when a good Samaritan alerted me to one of its ads placed by my great, great-grandmother, Tempy Burton. Tempy was looking for her family who she’d been separated from by slavery. You can read her ad and how I found it here.
Turns out my relatives show up in the Southwestern quite often. My great-grandmother, Josephine Burton Ford frequently wrote into their column, “Uncle Cephas” and her wedding announcement was featured in the paper as well. This obituary also appeared in the Southwestern’s February 9, 1888 edition with several familiar names and locations:
Sister Martha Burton departed this life Dec. 22, 1887, aged forty-six, at Ocean Springs, Miss. She was a native of North Carolina, lived several years in New Orleans, and finally moved here in 1885, whence she left for heaven in triumph. She shouted the harvest home. -J. Ford, P.C.
Tempy Burton’s original slave owners were from North Carolina. Like Martha, Tempy also lived in New Orleans for a time. My great-grandfather, who married Tempy’s daughter, Josephine was James Ford, a local minister in the Ocean Springs area. Could J. Ford, P.C. be my great-grandfather? Could Martha Burton be a relation to Tempy?
Unfortunately, Mississippi did not keep death records in 1887. According to their Vital Records department, Mississippi was not required to keep them until November 1, 1912.
Any suggestions on what I should do to find out if the woman in the obituary is one of my relatives?