Dear Friends of Lexington Odd Fellows Cemetery:
Last month we announced a “Photography Contest” to showcase our newly restored LOFC. This month we are pleased to announce that William Eggleston, the renowned and celebrated photographer with Mississippi roots and family members buried at LOFC will judge the entries. Eggleston is one of the most influential photographers of the latter half of the 20th century. His portraits and landscapes of the American South re-framed the history of this medium and its relationship to color photography. Born in Memphis, Tennessee, where he continues to reside, Eggleston attended Vanderbilt University, Delta State College, and the University of Mississippi. Eggleston made his debut exhibition at The Museum of Modern Art in 1976. Since then, Eggleston has gone on to produce important photo books, which have influenced a younger generation of photographers. His works are held in the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D. C., the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, among others. We are indeed grateful and honored to have William Eggleston serve as our judge.
Since announcing the contest, the Board has agreed to extend the deadline for submission of photographs due to COVID and extreme summer temperatures. Therefore, photographs in the following categories: (1) Black and White; (2) Aerial; (3) Landscape; and (4) Tombstone must be submitted no later than November 30, 2020, to LOFC, P. O. Box 1213, Lexington, MS 39095 or drop off at the Barrett Law Firm marked for the attention of Chris Hammett. Each entry should include 2, not 3, copies in an 8” X 10” size, along with your name, contact information, and the category(s) in which you are entering. If you are entering the aerial category in video format, please include the video on 2, not 3, CD’s. The photographs will not only be displayed on our website, but also may be used in an upcoming cookbook of old family recipes. All photographs and videos will become the property of LOFC.
We are grateful to Holmes County Bank and Trust Company and BankPlus for generously underwriting the following prizes: First Prize, a $100 U. S. Savings Bond; Second Prize, a $50 U. S. Savings Bond; and Third Prize, a $25 U. S. Savings Bond. Everyone is welcome to participate, so please spread the word.
At the July Board Meeting, the Board voted to initiate a program of repairs to damaged head stones and monuments. Repairs will begin in the oldest section in the northeast corner of the cemetery. The following monuments/headstones will be repaired or reset: Martha A. Blake, Susan VanHouten Davis Gwin, Leda Gwin, Anzo Gulledge, Robert Bowman Jenkins, Dr. Andrew Johnson, John S. Rule, William E. Sheehy, John Hamilton Stigler and Emily and Edward Wilson. Photographs of the specific monuments along with the associated cost for repair may be viewed on the following link:
If you are related to one of these families and would like to make a specific donation for the repair of your family monument, or you would simply like to make a donation to the endowment fund, please send a check made payable to LOFC, Post Office Box 1213, Lexington, MS 39095 or visit our website.
Finally, in our continuing feature of families buried in LOFC, we are pleased to feature the Pepper family. Danny Pepper kindly provided valuable research to our guest writer Al Povall.
Amanda Povall Tailyour, Editor
THE PEPPER FAMILY
One of Lexington’s pioneer – and thus, oldest -- families is the Pepper family, which boasts seven generations in Holmes County. The first Pepper, Daniel Gilbert (1810-1884), to whom we will refer as “Daniel I” and his wife, Eliza Yonge Jones Pepper (1817-1902), moved to Holmes County in 1843 from South Carolina, where the soil was playing out, and farming was thus becoming problematic. With Daniel and Eliza came a nephew, Daniel Gilbert, “Daniel II” (1835-1918), and, as Daniel and Eliza had no children, it is Daniel II whose progeny have lived in, and enriched the life of, Holmes County for 177 years.
Daniel II -- the second generation of Peppers in Holmes County -- was a farmer until the Civil War arrived with all of its horror. He served in the Confederate Army and came out of the war a captain, a title by which he would be called for the remainder of his life. Captain Pepper married Mary Emily Stansbury, a member of an old and prominent Holmes County family that owned Clifton plantation, still extant today as a hunting club. The Stansbury family was Episcopalian, and they have several plots at Odd Fellows next to the Pepper family plots. Daniel II and Mary Emily farmed Clifton and had seven children, two of whom died in infancy. Mary Emily died giving birth to her namesake, who died a few days after her mother. Captain Pepper married three more times, producing one child, who, with her mother, is buried at Odd Fellows. The Captain, Mary Emily, the two infants, and three adult children are also buried at Odd Fellows.
One of Daniel II and Mary Emily’s sons was Louis Daniel Pepper I, who was born in 1865 at the end of one cataclysmic war and died in 1941, on the eve of another. He was a member of the third generation of Peppers in Holmes County and was known as “Captain Skip” for his service in the Spanish American War. Captain Skip married Alice May Wallace, and together they had four children. One of Captain Skip’s sons was Daniel Gilbert III, who married Hallie Kate Gibson, whom we knew as “Miss Kate.” Daniel Gilbert III was in the fourth generation of Holmes County Peppers. Daniel III and Miss Kate had eight children, three of whom – two daughters and a son – died young. One of their sons, Daniel Gilbert IV, a fifth-generation resident of Holmes County, whom we called Dan, married Nadine Esswein, and their children, Arlene, Danny, and Bill, are the sixth Holmes County Pepper generation. Their father, Dan IV, served in World War II in the Navy. His brother Louis Daniel III (Louis Daniel II is set forth below) also served in the Navy during World War II and the Army during the Korean War, and the third brother, Robert “Bobby” Pepper, served in the Navy during the Korean War. Bobby Pepper was one of the finest football players Lexington ever produced, starring on the famed 1949 Hornet team under the iconic coach and 1940 All-Southeastern Conference quarterback, William “Wild Bill” Schnellar.
There are two other Peppers who deserve mention. First, the Daniel Gilbert “Dan” Pepper (Daniel Gilbert III) who married Miss Kate Pepper had a brother named Louis Daniel “Bub” Pepper (the Louis Daniel II referred to above). Bub served as an Army Lieutenant in World War I and as an aviator, once following Charles Lindbergh on a flight from Denver to Memphis. Bub served his country again in World War II by organizing two flight schools and training Army pilots. He thus served the United States in two world wars.
Also worthy of note is Archibald McDowell Pepper, of the third generation, who was an attorney in Lexington for his entire career. He was a Phi Beta Kappa at Princeton University and then attended the University of Virginia Law School, as well as the University of Mississippi School of Law, where he finished. Archibald, known as “Mr. Archie” to younger generations, practiced law with Governor Edmond Noel and with Judge J.B. Boothe, who was one of the authors of the Mississippi Constitution of 1890 and Mr. Archie’s father-in-law. Mr. Archie’s branch of the Pepper family ended with him, as both of his sons died in infancy. He died in 1941 and is buried at Odd Fellows. Of the 28 Peppers buried in Odd Fellows, there are four named Daniel Gilbert, three named Louis Daniel, three named Archibald McDowell, two named Blanche, two named Ora, two named Mary Emily, and two named Alice. The wonderful old names thus live on.
In addition, seven of the Pepper men buried in Odd Fellows served in the military. There are an Army Major, four Army Captains, one Army Lieutenant, and one Navy Chief Petty Officer. The military tradition runs strong and deep in the Pepper family, and the Pepper roster of military participants now includes Danny (Daniel Gilbert V) who served for thirty-nine years and retired as a Brigadier General in the Mississippi National Guard.
So, there you have it. The children of Arlene, Danny, and Bill constitute the seventh generation of Peppers in Holmes County. There are, of course, besides the Peppers discussed here, many more Peppers who lived interesting lives filled with color and accomplishment that add rich, colorful threads to the historical tapestry of Holmes County. Certainly, they deserve mention, but space precludes that discussion.
But there is one last note that I hope you, the reader, will indulge the author: Miss Kate Pepper was a loyal member of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, and each Sunday she would walk the short distance from her home on Vine Street to St. Mary’s, where she would sit in the same pew. There with her Stansbury in-laws, Miss Lelia Stansbury and Miss Emily Stansbury Swinney, (Remember: Daniel II’s wife’s name was Mary Emily Stansbury.) Miss Kate would sing the old hymns and recite the ancient Anglican liturgy. Today, when I enter St. Mary’s, I see Miss Kate, Miss Em and Miss Lelia. And I also see Dan and Nadine and Arlene, Danny, and Bill, through whom the Pepper line lives on in Lexington and Holmes County.
Allie S. Povall, Jr., Guest Writer