|Color Codes separate generations. Numbers show generations.|
|First Generation 1 – BLACK – (Sons/daughters of Isaac)||Sixth Generation 6 – BROWN|
|Second Generation 2 – RED||Seventh Generation 7 – GREY|
|Third Generation 3 – GREEN||Eighth Generation 8 – PURPLE|
|Fourth Generation 4 – ORANGE||Ninth Generation 9 – Olive|
|Fifth Generation 5 – BLUE||Tenth Generation 10 – PINK|
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Benjamin Simpson Gregory 4 (1847-1913), eldest son of Andrew Jackson and Levecia Wilkes Gregory, married Mary Ewing Skinner, daughter of Young Ewing and Laura Ann Drake Skinner, Alabama natives. Benjamin and Mary had the following issue (all born in Chickasaw County, Mississippi): E’Ola Ophelia; Sally Hostletine; Edna Eufenia; Anna Levitia; an unnamed son (died when eleven days old and probably buried with no marker in the Grange Hall Cemetery); Mary Y.; Rosa Ewing; Maude Eton; and Andrew Jackson.
Polly Wirtz Johnson, granddaughter of Simps and Mary, relates these stories:
During the war, Simps and his group were bathing in the Mississippi River when Yankee soldiers surprised them. Granddad swam the river, but others didn’t make it. The disastrous war had left unrest and havoc in the South. Most of the cotton gins had been destroyed by fire. The ex-soldiers drank a lot but Simps was a fine man and drank little. He was admired for his judgment and was frequently asked to serve on jury duty because of his fairness. He never gave advice unless asked for it.
Mary Ewing Skinner Gregory had long, dark, thick hair and oval, hazel eves. She had so much hair, in fact, that women who specialized in cutting switches came yearly to relieve her of the excess. “Mama had a switch as big as my arm and I can say, it was gorgeous,” said Polly. After the war, Mary faded a little fast.
Their first home, with all new furniture, was hit by a tornado. They were pinned in the house, but weren’t hurt other than Simps stepping on a spike and being skinned by a log scrape. Then the Skinners gave Simps a farm and they hurriedly built another house. This land was later Corley’s (now John Stone’s). It was Granddad Skinner’s home.
Simps was the Overseer of the Okolona Road and could have been Postmaster, but he didn’t want it. A Gregory school was supported by Simps and States Rights. They paid most of the salary, leaving only a little bit for the others, and all were welcome. Granddad kept two cooks, a house girl and one to watch the children. They always had a welcome table for friends and neighbors.
Information from Walter Ewing Wirtz: George B., the oldest child, had a white goat that he rode. He had gone to the stable to take care of his goat, jumped down from the railing around the stall and landed on a rusty nail. Blood poisoning set in. The doctor made many horseback trips to the house, put coal oil, etc., on it; but could not save the five-year-old.
When Walter was five, he drove a goat, “Charlie,” and wagon to school. Granddad bought the wagon shafts and spring seat but used a whole tanned hide to make the harness. “The goat was the best thing you ever saw until you touched his tail, then he would try to get you although Granddad had cut the tips off his horns.” One day, a man who weighed about 200 pounds asked Walter to drive him around the house in the wagon – so he did.
Malcolm said that, when the family went to Texas, he, Howard and Walter drove the goat to school. Papa was worried because there were two bulls in the pasture. He was afraid for the boys, but the goat always took care of himself by raising on his back feet and letting the bulls have his horns in their sides, which would send them on their way.
The Wirtzes had the farmland that was sold to the J.C. Stones. It now belongs to Ben Gregory. They raised cotton and hay with the help of Negroes managed by a white man. For a bottle of Garrett’s Snuff (about two bits), a Negro woman would do all the washing and ironing for the family.
They sold the land and bought land in Texas. They carried everything – -animals, household goods and all – by train. A couple of Negro women wanted to go with them, but Abernathy, Texas did not allow any Negroes in town. They got there in 1910. Walter, now the oldest, was 8; and Louine, the youngest, was three months old. It was snowing when they arrived; the first snow the children had ever seen. They got droughted out in 1917 and sold the three-quarter section cheap to the Smiths (their daughter still has it). They bought sandy land in Brownfield and, again, moved by train. They stayed in a hotel in town until the farm house was completed. There were few cars in the area at that time.
The account of the children of Benjamin Simpson and Mary Ewing Skinner Gregory is separated into the Texas and Mississippi groups for ease of discussion.
The information on the Texas branch of the family is as reported by Leveta Wirtz Thompson of Bartlesville, Oklahoma.
E’Ola Ophelia Gregory 5 (1870-May 1920), first child of Benjamin Simpson and Mary Skinner Gregory, is buried in the City Cemetery, Waxahachie, Texas. E’Ola married Andrew Gilliam “Andy” Hobson (3 October 1867-12 October 1959). He was born in Okolona, Mississippi and is also buried in the City Cemetery. Andrew’s father, James Francis, and uncle, Richard Thomas, came from Union County and were descendants of Captain Nicholas Hobson of South Carolina. His first cousins were William R. and Richard Gilliam Hobson (father of Leon, a McKinney, Texas resident who recently died). His mother was Josie Cockrell, and her mother’s maiden name was Skinner – a real redhead from Ireland. His aunt Ludie married Joe Beath; they lived in Okolona and are probably buried there. E’Ola and Andrew’s children: Lalage; Benjamin Francis; Josie Mae; Andrew Feaster; and Robert Beatty.
Lalage Hobson 6 (22 March 1894-26 June 1926), first child of E’Ola and Andrew, was born in Okolona. She married Walter Albert Heine (4 March 1895-20 June 1951). Both are buried in City Cemetery, Waxahachie. Their issue: Leslie Lee, Walter Elmer, Ola Mary and Thomas Horace.
Walter Elmer Heine 7 (14 June 1914-3 May 1985, Waxahachie) is buried in City Cemetery in that city. He married Mildred Gilstrap (14 March 1919, Mansfield, Texas) and divorced years ago. Their issue: Betty Louise; and Sandra Lee.
Ola Mary Heine 7 (9 March 1917, Waxahachie) visited Uncle Ben Hobson in Paducah and Aunt Jo in Quanah several times as a small child. She married Littleton David Hitt (24 May 1913, Bainbridge, Ga.-30 October 1971). He is buried in Forrest Lawn Memorial Park, Mount Pleasant, Texas. Their issue: Don Heine and Myra Elizabeth.
Myra Elizabeth Hitt 8 (8 February 1943, Waxahachie) married Darwin Carl Miller (11 January 1943, Hayward, Cal.). Their issue: Holly Elizabeth, 12 February 1969 (Pampa, Texas); and Joe Littleton, 15 September 1975 (Texarkana, Texas).
Thomas Horace Heine 7 (23 October 1919) married Honor Madell Nelson (23 June 1927-16 October 1983). She is buried at Hillcrest Memorial Park, Wax-ahachie. Their issue: Linda Jill; and Thomas Horace Jr.
Benjamin Francis (Ben Frank) Hobson 6 (14 March 1896-18 December 1981), second child of E’Ola and Andrew, is buried in Puducah, Texas. At sixteen, he was principal of a school in Plainview, Texas. He was a captain in World War I. He married D’Etta Hortense Prunty in Denton, Texas on 20 july 1921. She is still living. Their issue: Martha Ann, Tom Prunty, and Bennie Frances.
Martha Ann Hobson 7 of Roswell, New Mexico married John T. Childs. Their issue: Ann Childs Faulkenberry of Lubbock, Texas; Joe Frank Childs, M.D., United States Air Force, Travis AFB, California; and D’Etta Lou Childs, a student at Texas Tech in Lubbock.
Bennie Frances Hobson 7 married Horace Jackson (Jack) Randall of the United States Air Force. Their issue: Frank Charles and Thomas David, are students at NMSU; Andrew Michael and Jack Russell are also students.
Robert Frank Chesshir 7 (20 August 1933) married Ruth Kistemacher. Their issue: Kimberly Ann; and Pamela Diana.
Note: Additional information on Robert Beaty Hobson and his family was provided by Mary Hobson Watkins of Mesquite, TX.
Robert Beaty Hobson 6 (9 January 1909-19 August 1973), the youngest child of E’Ola and Andrew, married Vera Mae Dunn on 6 July 1946 in Dallas Tx, Vera Dunn was born 25 April 1919 in Fort Towson Oklahoma to Johnnie Dunn and Annie Bell Jones. Vera died 16 August 1983 at Galveston Tx. Vera and Robert Beaty are buried at Grove Hill Cemetery Dallas Tx. Robert Beaty was a Seargent in the National Guard for nine years before entering the active service during World War II. After the war he continued his life long career as a truck driver. They had one child: Mary Alice Hobson.
Mary Alice Hobson 7 (4 April 1947), the only child of Robert and Vera Hobson, was born in Dallas, Tx. Mary Alice married Ronald Jack Watkins on 18 February 1967 at Dallas Tx. Ronald was born 1 July 1944 in Dallas. Mary Alice is a medical records employee for Methodist Hospital of Dallas. Ronald is employeed by the Dallas County Sheriff Dept. Mary Alice and Ronald had two children: Pamela Renee and Edward Dwayne. Mary Alice and Ronald have lived in Mesquite Tx since 1973.
Pamela Renee Watkins 8 (17 January 1968), the oldest child of Mary and Ronald Watkins, married Todd Edward Tyler on 22 April 1995 at Dallas Tx. Todd was born 24 September 1962 in New Ulm, Minnesota. Todd is an Attorney at Law. Pamela and Todd have one child, born in Houston, TX: Maggie Leigh Tyler (5 October 2000).
Edward Dwayne Watkins 8 (19 May 1973), the second child of Mary and Ronald Watkins, was born in Dallas Tx. Edward married Wendy Ann Herrenbruck on 31 January 1998. Wendy was born 16 February 1974 in Grand Prairie Tx. Edward is employeed as a Drug Manager. They live in Mesquite Tx.
Sallie Hostletine Gregory 5 (?-1924), second child of Benjamin Simpson and Mary, was paralyzed in a fall at boarding school. The Wirtzes (George Phillip and his two sons, Edward Walter and Frank John) and their families moved to Texas in 1910 when the doctor said Frank had to go for his tuberculosis. Sallie went, too. Though Sallie was paralyzed on one side, she could cook a meal with one hand, dragging her right foot, and help Anna “Fisher” with her large family. She lived with Rose, then with Fisher for about four years. She was bedfast after a second stroke, and died in Mississippi.
Anna Levitia (Fisher) Gregory 5 (26 December 1874-25 April 1958), fourth child of Benjamin Simpson and Mary, married Edward Walter Wirtz (6 February 1877-3 September 1965) on 23 February 1898 in Okolona. Edward’s mother was Pauline Elizabeth West Wirtz of Sandwich, Illinois. His father was George Phillip Wirtz. Grandfather John Wirtz (30 July 1822, Weilburg, Germany-1920) came to America in 1849. Edward’s grandmother was Louise Catherine Aeibach (10 October 1832 -17 March 1915). Anna and Edward’s issue: George Ben; Walter Ewing; Howard Gregory; Malcolm Frank-, Robert Byron; Mary Louine; and Edna Pauline.
Walter Ewing Wirtz 6 (9 August 1903-1988), second child of Anna and Edward, was born in Amboy, Illinois. He was a commercial building contractor in Amarillo, Texas. He married three times, first: Fern Josephine White (22 September 1911, Rama, N.M.-1933, Amarillo, Texas) on 22 March 1930, second: Pauline Hunter (26 April 1902-1964) in 1936, and third: Mary Louise Adkisson (5 December 1916, Amarillo) on 30 January 197l. Walter and Fern’s issue: Laveta Fay. Walter and Pauline’s issue: Walter Jack.
Laveta Fay Wirtz 7 (13 March 1931, Amarillo, Texas), Walter Ewing and Fern’s child, married O.D. Thompson, Jr. (30 September 1925, Amarillo) on 25 November 1950. Their issue: Karen Sue; and Christopher Paul.
Karen Sue Thompson 8 (5 February 1953, Borger, Texas) married Terry Wayne Walker (29 August 1952, Tulsa, Okla.) on 5 June 1976. Their issue: Daniel Wayne, 31 May 1979; and Kris Jonathan, 20 December 1983; both in Bartlesville, Oklahoma.
Christopher Paul Thompson 8 (1 December 1954, Borger, Texas) married Kelley Freischer (28 January 1962, Findlay, Ohio) on 31 August 1980 in Amarillo. Christopher and Kelley had one daughter, Dusty Noel Thompson born August 17th, 1987. They divorced. Christopher married Tamarah K.F. Thompson in 1994. They have two children: William Paul Thompson (1 June 1995), Elisabeth Christine Thompson (31 January 2001). They reside in Tulsa, Ok. He is a retired Major in the United States Army (armor branch). Tamarah is a practicing D. Pharm. from Drake University.
Walter Jack Wirtz 7 (17 July 1937), Walter Ewing and Pauline’s child, married, first: Carole Petters on 24 August 1957 in Amarillo; second, Bertha Mae Ownby (19 January 1934) on 24 March 1984 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Walter Jack and Carole’s issue: Walter Erik.
Walter Erik Wirtz 8 (24 March 1965), the son of Walter Jack and Carole Wirtz, was born in Amarillo, Texas. He married Angela Paige Striebeck on 21 July 1988 in Lubbock, TX. Walter and Angela have one child: Connor Grayson (9 December 1997, Austin, TX).
Anna Louise Wirtz 7 (30 August 1926, Brownfield, Texas) married, first: Martin Miller, a Cheyenne, Wyoming rancher. She married, second: John Chastain, a Lieutenant in the United States Air Force in World War II. He died in 1985. Anna Louise and Martin Miller’s issue: John (Jack), in the U.S. Army, Wyoming; Gregory, a helicopter pilot; Martin Jr.; and Joe, a teacher.
Malcolm Frank Wirtz 6 (3 September 1907, Okolona, Miss.), fourth child of Anna and Edward, owns a hardware and lumber company in Guymon, Oklahoma. He married Raye Crossland (21 September 1913) on 31 May 1930 in Lovington, New Mexico. Their issue: Alfred Douglas; and Malcolm Joe.
Alfred Douglas Wirtz 7 (11 May 1931, Brownfield, Texas) married Betsy Hicks (6 March 1931, Waco, Texas) on 3 November 1951. Their issue: Kimberly Kay; and Larry Dale, 3 September 1962 (Guymon, Okla.).
Robert Byron Wirtz 6 (7 September 1909, Okolona, Miss.), fifth child of Anna and Edward, married Lola Husky (22 September 1912, Brownfield, Texas). Their issue: Gladys Fern; Roy Lee; and Harold (Grants Pass, Ore.)
Mary Louine Wirtz 6 (20 December 1910, Okolona, Miss), sixth child of Anna and Edward, is a retired registered nurse. She was three months old when the family moved to Texas. She married Dick Bayless in Pampa, Texas on 26 June 1943. They have no issue.
Edna Pauline (Polly) Wirtz 6 (15 July 1913, Abernathy, Texas), youngest child of Anna and Edward, is an ex-cosmetologist. She married O.C. Johnson on 25 August 1937. He died in a work-related accident. Their issue: Sandra Jean; Max Wayne; Charlene; O. Charles; Edward Lee; and Robert Paul.
She wrote: ‘Mama and Dad came to Texas aboard the Cotton Belt train in February 1911. They left on a switch engine train for Memphis, Tennesse to change to the Cotton Belt. There were three flat cars and several others carrying furniture, plows and machinery.
Each livestock flat car needed a man over it – Granpa, Dad and Waler. Walter was 8 years old, but walked like 16. He pulled his cap down over his hair, and the train man said, ” What;s that kid doing?” and Dad did both cars.
When they left Okolona, Miss. a group of Black Americans were crying on the track. “We are losing the best friends we ever had, and when you get there, and if they allows black people, let us know. We’ll come out too.” There was nothing in Abernathy for blacks. We bought coal. They had wood, nuts, fruits, vegetables and warmth in Mississipi.
One colored girls used to wash Mama’s blouses. She told her mother, “I cry tears all over it, so I can wash it again. She is so sweet & Mama’s folks fed lots of colored people and Grandma Gregory sat at the machine making girls’ clothes ’till midnight. Material was 10 cents a yard and it took 5 yards or so to make a dress. She wouldn’t wear it the second time. It was flimsy and not so pretty after it was washed.
Grandpa Ben Simpson Gregory sat on almost every jury called in Okolona. And they never sent anyone to the pen or poor farm, I believe Aunt Rose said. If he wasn’t on the jury, the lawyers were not happy. They said “Being jury foreman, a man who is fair minded, and we would not have the jury if he couldn’t lead it in fairness.” Everyone admired his judgment.’
Sandra Jean Johnson 7 (6 October l918, Amarillo, Texas) married Tom Millegan, a coach and teacher at MDIV. Sandra is also a teacher. Their issue: Steve (adopted), 30 June ?; Sharon (a junior in high school and National Honor Society member), 11 August ?; and Shelly Jean, 30 November ?.
Dr. Max Wayne Johnson 7 (27 July 1940, Amarillo, Texas) is a Baptist minister. He married Charlotte Krueger, a Texas U. graduate and Home Economics teacher. Their issue: Max Wayne, 11 June ?; Michelle, 15 March ?; and Mark, 15 December ?.
Rosa Ewing Gregory 5 , seventh child of Benjamin Simpson and Mary, married, first: Frank John Wirtz (2 April 1882-19 April 1919). Frank was a wonderful man. Every Sunday he hitched up his horse and buggy, and attended Sunday School and Church. He and Rosa always dressed well. In Mississippi, their Negro help carried water jugs into the fields. He drank out of the same jug, but one of the Negroes had tuberculosis and Frank caught it. He did pretty well until some bad sandstorms. Rosa married, second: Andy Gilliam Hobson, her brother-in-law (whose wife, E’Ola had died); but the marriage did not last. There were no children from either marriage.
Edna Eufenia Gregory 5 (14 January 1874-1 September 1961, Houston, Mississippi), third child of Benjamin Simpson and Mary, married John William Elliott (30 June 1872-25 May 1948) on 10 December 1893. They are buried in Houston Cemetery Mississippi. The couple spent their married life in Houston, where John was a mail carrier for thirty years. Their issue: Yourath Rebecca; John Benjamin; Mary Lucille; William Allen; and Willie Rice.
John Benjamin Elliott 6 (28 January 1897-26 March 1934), the second child of Edna Eufenia and John William, was born in Oktibeha County, Miss. He never married, and was a mail carrier and World War I veteran.
Mary Lucille Elliott 6 (23 September 1898, Oktibeha County, Miss.), third child of Edna Eufenia and John William, married George Wallace Rhodes (?-1937) in Durant, Oklahoma on 8 October 1922. He is buried in Tyler, Texas. They had a daughter: Dorothy Jean.
Dorothy Jean Rhodes 7 (31 October 1923, Dallas, Texas) married Charles Criddle (14 March 1925), son of Erwin and Nettie Armstrong Criddle, on 5 September 1960. He served in the United States Marine Corps from February 1952 to May 1964. After thirty years as an R.N., Dorothy Jean retired as Director of Nursing at Houston, Mississippi Hospital. They have no children.
William Allen Elliott 6 (25 November 1899-16 November 1934), the fourth child of Edna Eufenia and John William, married Eva Pickens (31 October 1904) on 29 December 1921 in Florence, Ala. He was a drugstore owner in Florence, where he returned after living in Dallas, and is buried there. William and Eva had one daughter: Patsy Anne, 26 December 1932 – 25 October 1949. She is buried in Florence.
Willie Rice Elliott 6 (8 September 1911, Houston, Miss.), youngest child of Edna Eufenia and John William, served in the Air Force in the Hawaiian Islands for three years during World War II. He attended Mississippi A&M College (now Miss. State University) prior to the war. Willie Rice was mayor of Lula, Miss. for thirty years and is a retired bank manager. He married Ruby Ward Hubbard (4 March 1914) of Lula. Their issue: Allen Ross; and John William.
Allen Ross Elliott 7 (9 November 1946, Memphis, Tenn.), attended the University of Southern Mississippi and is a manufacturer’s representative for Whirlpool Corporation. He now resides in Brandon, Miss. He married Mary Ann Bogan (19 February 1949) in Jackson. They have two sons: Michael Allen, 5 January 1970 (Hattiesburg); and William Scott, 5 December 1975 (Greenville).
John William Elliott 7 (3 May 1948, Memphis, Tenn.), married Betsy Hale Bobo, daughter of the Woodrow Bobo’s of Cleveland, Miss., on 2 October 1983. William is presently working on his Master’s degree, plus working for a seed company in Cleveland. Betsy has her Master’s degree from Delta State and is a recruiting agent for that school.
Maude Eron Gregory 5 (?-4 February 1919), eighth child of Benjamin Simpson and Mary, died during a flu epidemic. She married William Lee Sumner (17 May 1886-14 July 1950), son of Mary Scott. Lee farmed in Chickasaw County. He is buried in the Wesley Chapel Cemetery and Maude in the Grange Hall Cemetery. Their issue: Willie Simpson; Marshall Leon; Rosa Laverne; Ethel Odel; twin boys; and Mary Evelyn.
Willie Simpson Sumner 6 (17 January 1905-15 March 1948), first child of Maude Eron and William Lee, married Lora Mabel Walters (6 September 1907, Chickasaw County, Miss.) He is buried at Wesley Chapel Cemetery while she still lives in Houston, Miss. Their issue: Herbert Gene; William Darrell; Vestal Wayne; Mary Sue; Joyce Lee; and James Marion.
Joyce Lee Sumner 7 (17 May 1938), the fifth child, married, first: Tommy Chenault. Their issue: Vicky Lynn. She then married Harold Don Gilliam. Their issue: Harold, Donna, Michael, Kim and Todd.
Marshall Leon Sumner 6 (21 March 1907-25 December 1984), the second child of Maude Eron and William Lee, is buried in Houston Cemetery, Mississippi. He married Vera Lorene Vanlandingham (22 February 1909, Calhoun County). Their issue: Leslie Edward.
Leslie Edward Sumner 7 (9 August 1929), son of Marshal Leon and Vera Lorene, married Martha Ann Johnson (8 April 1929) in November 1949. They live in New Albany, Mississippi, where Leslie is Executive Vice President of Operations for Mahasco Manufacturing Company of New Albany. Their issue: Leslie Edward Jr.; Marsha Kaye; and Nanette Marie.
Rosa Laverne Sumner 6 (13 March 1909, Okolona, Miss.), third child of Maude Eron and William Lee, is buried in Elzy Cemetery, Vardaman, Miss. She married Floyd Jackson Hall (22 June 1906-6 August 1969) in February 1927. Their issue (all of Vardaman, Miss.): James Ralph; John Elliott; Ronnie Joe; and Floyd Gene.
John Elliott Hall 7 (15 August 1930), second child of Rosa Laverne and Floyd Jackson, is a Korean War veteran with total medical disability and lives in Columbus, Miss. He married Florence Adair. Their issue: John Edward, now in the lumber business; and Cynthia Ann, a school teacher.
Ronnie Joe Hall 7 (1 August 1942), third child of Rosa Laverne and Floyd Jackson, married, first: Ola Mae Whitaker. He married, second: Jeanette Scruggs and adopted her daughter, Dana Michelle (22 September 1971). Ronnie Joe and Ola Mae’s issue: Tony Joe; and Sherry Lynn, 22 June 1971. Ronnie Joe and Jeanette’s issue: Ronnie Dean, 17 December 1974.
Ethel Odel Sumner 6 (12 October 1911-9 May 1972), fourth child of Maude Eron and William Lee, is buried in Forest City, Arkansas. She married Aloegn Hollowell of Arkansas. Their issue: Mary Louise; Ben; Sue; Dorris; Darlene; Jerry; and Bonnie.
Mary Evelyn Sumner 6 (27 November 1918), the youngest child of Maude Eron and William Lee, was only two months old when Maude died. Aunt Emmaline White, a Negro woman who was with them, stayed and helped to raise all the children except Evelyn, who was taken by her Sumner grandparents. She married Hugh Hamilton Bowen (31 October 1914-?) on 8 October 1934. He is buried in Aberdeen, Miss. Mary Evelyn lives in Aberdeen. They had no children.
This account of the Sumner branch is due to the combined efforts of Christine Gregory White, West Point, Mississippi, and Dorothy Jean Criddle of Houston, Mississippi.
Andrew Jackson Gregory 5 (21 November 1887 -2 December 1943) was the youngest child and only son of Mary Ewing (Molly) Skinner and Benjamin Simpson Gregory; hence, he was indulged by his parents and spoiled by his six sisters. As the oldest grandson, he was named for his grandfather.
As a young boy, he attended school at Bacon Switch. One of the chores that the son of the family cook professed to hate – but secretly enjoyed – was taking young Andrew to school on horseback. Andrew’s parents were somewhat chagrined to learn sometime later that Andrew had played hooky to go hunting with his escort and companion more often than he had attended school.
These early hunting expeditions foreshadowed a lifelong love of the sport. This love of hunting should have come as no surprise to his father, Ben Simpson, since “Simps” not only kept hunting dogs himself, but allowed them to come in and lie on either side of his chair at mealtime, where he fed them from the table.
Although the kinds of sports engaged in has changed, Simpson’s love of sports have been handed down through three generations: to his son, his grandson and his two great-grandsons. Andrew’s devotion to hunting continued all of his life until he could no longer walk the fields, ford the streams and wade the soggy bottomlands. Those who hunted birds with him after he became weak and ill said that he would send his dogs in to flush a covey of birds, raise his gun to shoot and his hands would tremble from weakness, but just before he pulled the trigger, they became firm and steady and, almost miraculously, he would hit his target.
Young Andrew not only loved hunting, he also loved music and dancing. He was an accomplished harpist and had a melodious but untrained voice. Several of his sisters were also known for their musical talents and the family members were often asked to play for the dances held in the homes of neighbors.
In 1910, Levetia (Fisher) Gregory Wirtz and Rosa Gregory Wirtz and their families moved to Texas. A year or two later, Andrew, and his cousin, Aubrey Gregory, went to visit them. Before he left Mississippi, however, he met a young school teacher from Houston, Zula Belle Pope, daughter of Thomas and Margaret Sherbert Pope. They were married upon his return. Three children were born to this union: Elliott Donaldson; Earl Jackson; and Mary Christine.
Soon after his marriage, Andrew, took a job as foreman of the road and bridge construction and maintenance crews in Supervisor District III. He served under two supervisors, Lon Judd and Dick Hadley, each of whom filled several terms of office.
When Andrew first began road construction, roadbeds were built by men operating slips drawn by teams of mules. Gravel was hauled in flatbed trucks with wooden beds which were loaded and unloaded by hand. During his years in the business, he saw the advent of the steel-bed dump trucks, road graders pulled by Caterpillar tractors and, finally, the combined tractor/grader which required only one operator. He was farsighted enough to see the need to build bridges wider than the roadbeds – an idea that he fought for unsuccessfully. In about 1926, Andrew decided to go into road construction on his own as a contractor. His first job was the County Line road between Monroe and Chickasaw. From there, he contracted jobs over much of Mississippi.
In spite of the Wall Street Crash in 1929, Andrew was able to keep his construction work afloat until the fall of 1930. In February 1930, he had three jobs under contract: one he worked out of Maben, one in Greenwood Springs and one in Iuka. In the fall of ’29 he had moved his family to Maben because the roads from Maben to Okolona were impassable much of the time in winter.
On February 23, 1930, he left Maben to visit the other construction sites, taking Elliott with him. At Greenwood Springs, a truck driver had become ill and Elliott asked to drive the truck from the gravel pit. As he walked behind the truck to fasten the tail gate, the ledge overhead caved in, burying him. The death of his oldest son, coupled with his feelings of guilt for the accident, destroyed Andrew’s interest in his business and that, together with the national economy, destroyed him financially.
Although the family never attained the same degree of affluence they had enjoyed before 1930, there was always a desire and determination on the part of Andrew and Zula that their two remaining children whould have the best education they could afford for them. And this they did.
Andrew died on 2 December 1943 and Zula, 7 December 1958, both are buried in the 100F Cemetery in Okolona, Mississippi.
Christine Gregory White relates one of her favorite stories about her father and mother and a Sunday afternoon drive:
“Soon after the Model T. Ford came on the market in Chickasaw County, Ford came out with a ‘newfangled’ invention, then called a foot-feed – later called an accelerator – which could be installed in the floorboard and used to feed gas into the carburetor rather than using the lever on the right side of the steering column.
“One Sunday afternoon Daddy took all of us for a drive in the new car. Not yet feeling secure in his driving skill, he had all of us get out of the car while he turned it around at a fork in the road.
“As we headed home, I climbed into the front seat so I could have an outside seat, since Elliott and Jack had established their claim to those in the back. Consequently, Mama was sitting in the middle of the front seat. As we approached home, Daddy pushed up on the gas lever to slow the car, but nothing happened. He pushed the lever all the way to the top which should have cut off all the gas to the carburetor, but instead of slowing, the car seemed to pick up speed.
“When we reached home, he couldn’t turn in, so we whizzed on by (probably at 20 mph). A few miles up the road, Daddy looked down and exploded: ‘Damn, Zula, you’ve got your foot on the foot-feed!’ With that, we all unloaded again, Daddy turned the car around, we re-loaded and drove home.”
Earl Jackson (Jack) Gregory, Sr. 6 (14 February 1915), second son of Andrew Jackson and Zula Belle, married Knox Earline McCombs, daughter of John Knox and Troy Earline Milam McCombs, on 21 October 1943. To this union were born: Earl Jackson Jr; and John Andrew.
Jack Senior attended the University of Alabama and played freshman foot-ball. He attended the University of Chattanooga, where he was selected to the Associated Press Little All-American Football Team in 1939. He then played professional football with the Cleveland Rams for two years and one year with the Cincinnati Bengals. During World War II, he worked at the Prairie Ordnance Plant and, post-war, went into farming, continuing to the present. Earline earned a BS from Mississippi State University and an M.Ed. from the University of Mississippi. She teaches at Okolona.
Earl Jackson Gregory, Jr. 7 (3 October 1944, Tupelo, Miss.), oldest son of Jack Senior and Earline, married Elizabeth Gwendolyn Massey (9 May 1948-21 June 1988), daughter of Ellis Clark and Jimmie Lynn Garret Massey, on 10 October 1972. To this union has been born one son: Earl Jackson III, 5 August 1973, (Jackson, Mississippi).
Jack Junior attended the University of Chattanooga from 1962-64, earning Honorable Mention for Little All-American football. He also attended Delta State, excelling in multiple sports including football. He played for the Cleveland Browns for six years and went to the Pro Bowl in 1970. Jack then went to the New York Giants in 1972, making the Pro Bowl in 1973 and 1974. He was in the USO Tour in 1972. Jack Junior has worked for the Easter Seal Association for many years along with his farming interests. Gwen obtained her BS Degree from the University of Mississippi, and the M.Ed. from Louisiana State University.
John Andrew Gregory 7 (16 October 1951, Aberdeen, Miss.), second son of Jack Senior and Earline, played football at the University of Mississippi. He earned his BS Degree from Ole Miss and went on to take the Doctor of Jurisprudence from Mississippi College Law School. He has served as Law Clerk, Mississippi State Supreme Court, and is now Assistant District Attorney, 3rd Judicial District, State of Mississippi. He married Claire Luebke (15 November 1951), daughter of Wesley Carl and Margie E. Bradley Luebke, on 23 May 1976. Claire earned her BA from the University of Mississippi. They now live in Okolona. Their issue: Julie Bradley, 7 February 1980; and John Wesley Gregory, 5 November 1985.
Mary Christine Gregory 6 (4 August 1917) was the youngest child of Andrew Jackson and Zula Belle. Christine graduated from Mississippi State College for Women with a degree in Mathematics. She taught in the high schools of Mississippi and Kansas. She returned to Mississippi State University for a Master’s Degree in Mathematics, receiving a scholarship for further study at the University of Florida. Christine spent the last seventeen years of her career as Assistant Professor of Mathematics at Mississippi University for Women. She retired in 1982 as Assistant Professor Emeritus.
On 7 June 1940, Christine married Donald Herman White (28 April 1912-11 August 1990), son of William Walter and Annie Virginia Walker White. Herman served in the United States Army during World War II. He established a dry cleaning business in West Point, Mississippi, which he operated until retirement. To their union was born: Donald Gregory; Andrea Ann; and Sylvia Christine.
Donald Gregory White 7 (2 April 1947, Columbus, Miss.), the first child of Christine and Herman, earned a BA in Mathematics from Southwestern (now Rhodes College) in Memphis, Tennessee and an MS in Computer Science from Mississippi State University. Donald served in the United States Army and was assigned to the Joint Chiefs of Staff during his tour of duty. He now works for Lockheed Martin in Manassas, Virginia. On 26 September 1981, he married Mary Kathryn Bosco, daughter of Frank Bosco and Anne Marie Burke. Mary has a BS in Mathematics from Florida State University and was a member of the Phi Beta Kappa society. She now works as a software engineer with Lockheed Martin in Manassas, Virginia. To their union was born: Benjamin Gregory (13 May 1988) and Stephen Richard (25 August 1991).
Andrea Anne White 7 (7 January 1953, West Point, Miss.), the second child of Christine and Donald, earned her BS Degree at the University of Mississippi, and her MS and LLB in Business from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. She is Executive Assistant to Bill Stokley of Stokley-Van Camp Corporation. On 1 September 1979, Andrea married John Arthur Randall II, son of John Arthur and Mary Ann Randall. John graduated from the University of Tennessee, Memphis, with a degree in Pharmacy and practices in Knoxville. To this union was born: Nicole Ann, 10 May 1983.
Sylvia Christine White 7 (13 November 1957, West Point, Miss.), the youngest child of Christine and Donald, earned a BS in English at Mississippi University for Women, an MS in English Education from Mississippi State University, and now teaches school in West Point. On 29 December 1979, she married William Ralph Sugg, Jr., son of William Ralph and Ellen Duke Sugg. William received his BS Degree from Mississippi State University and is now in the insurance business in West Point. Their issue: William Ralph III, 10 January 1981; and Gregory White, 24 November 1983.
Andrew Eusebus Gregory 4 (2 October 1849-12 March 1900) was the second son of Andrew Jackson and Levecia Wilkes Gregory. He married Eron (Dixie) Moore, who, after “Seb” died, married Dunbar Rowland, the author of History of Mississippi which was the textbook used for many years in the public schools of the state. He was also State Historian for many years and, after his death, “Aunt Dixie” took over the job. Clementine Gregory recalls visiting in Aunt Dixie’s home in Jackson, Mississippi as a child. The house was in sight of the Capitol building and was very large and elegant. “Clem” recalls how impressed she was with the monogrammed, pure linen sheets – and this was during the Depression. Unfortunately, no record of any Gregory family history has been found in Aunt Dixie’s effects.
An account of Eusebus and Dixie is related by Polly Wirtz, granddaughter of Simps Gregory and great-niece of Eusebus.
“Eusebus married Dixie Moore; he called her “Blossom.” She was a tiny woman, refined, elegant and a school teacher. She had once been in love with her first cousin, Dunbar Rowland, a childhood sweetheart. Then she met Eusebus, fell in love and they were wed. She was fond of her father-in-law, Andrew Jackson Gregory, and sat in his lap and took on over him. He was a fine man and all of his daughters-in-law knew it. Andrew Jackson objected to her later marriage to her cousin.
“Uncle Eusebus (or Seb) had some serious illness. Since Aunt Dixie’s uncle was Dr. Peter Rowland, she called him, but doctors were limited then. Diagnosis was not always known so he gave him a sedative. He very well could have been in much pain, gall bladder, ulcers, etc., or heart pain; so he didn’t live long. Aunt Dixie finally went to work in Dunbar Rowland’s law office. He had never married. Since she didn’t have any children, she decided to marry him. They lived in Jackson the rest of their lives.”
Andrew Eusebus Gregory is buried in the Grange Hall Cemetery, west of Okolona, Mississippi, near the graves of his father and mother.