Thursday, November 26, 2015

The Lee and Bennett Family History

Picture unknown
It all began when Henry Lee and Ora Bennett met and fell in love and united in Holy matrimony in 1902. Their first daughter was born and they named her Alonia Gladestine. In 1908 their second daughter was born and they named her Mary Birdie. After her birth they packed up and moved to Doddsville, Ms., near Tunica.

The first born child Alonia died in 1911, at and young age. Henry and Ora moved from plantation to plantation to the keep fed and clothed. They didn't have a formal education, but their faith is God was strong and they had each other. Henry taught himself what he needed to know. He learned to survive, work hard and ask the the plantation owner for what he needed. He was different from Negroes of his generation because he didn't fear white people.

He learned of their ways and used it to provide for his family. After the riding tidy of the Mississippi flood in 1927, and the depression they were able to survive because they had God on their side.  They loved and nurtured their children into fine and proud of their own. Henry provided well for his family under these circumstance. His children had plenty to eat, properly clothed and always had a place to stay. He was the first black man to own a automobile in the town he lived in. People would walk for miles to get him to take them to the doctor and other places.

They worked hard to gather the crops and make ends meet. On Saturday nights in the they would go to town. After working hard all week, they looked forward to Saturday nights on the town.  The old fashion virtues of working hard, serving the Lord and honesty were a must in the Lee/Bennett Family.  The children were taught to love and respect themselves, their parents, and the elders. All Henry's brothers stayed with him at one time. Ora would say, "the Lord blessed them so they could help some else".

On Sunday it was time to to got church and give thanks to the Lord for his many blessing during the week. The children would walk to Sunday school and they would follow in the wagon before they purchased a car. Ora loved her house and often styled him at church.

After the harvest was reaped, the hogs killed, meat cured, grain grinded, can cut and syrup made, they would help their neighbors. Henry was well known for making syrup and the he had his own mill. Neighbors would come from a far to bring their sorghum and he would cook the syrup while the women gathered to can vegetable and fruits preserves the winter.

Once all the supplies were ordered and stored the women would start quilting and the family was ready for a long winters. After the creditors were paid and they received the furnish money would share what was left, which wasn't very much.

The children attend the nearest school. At that time the most school were in the old church building because the attendance was so poor. During the winter it would be so cold and the school located miles from their home, but they to go, come rain, sleet or snow they went to school.

In 1925, they lived on the Dower Luster's plantation and in 1927 the moved  to Street Toler's plantation in Sunflower County. They later moved Beasley Bayou in 1935 located in Isola, Ms. and on the Warren Gardner's plantation in 1939 in Sliver City, Mississippi.

Source: The Lee-Bennett Family Reunion Booklet. The pictures used in this article were taken from the Lee/Bennett Family Reunion Booklet.