Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Coleman-McCollum Family of Alabama

A biographical sketch of the family of William Allen Coleman, (son of John H. Coleman),and wife Theresa McCollum of Etowah co., Alabama and Honduras .
by Charles Perry Smith

"The family of William A. Coleman & Theresa McCollum"

Just in case any of William Allen Coleman's descendents should some day want to look up their family lineage, I am putting on paper as much as I know about the Coleman family history. I must admit that my knowledge of the family is somewhat limited.
W. A. Coleman was the son of John Henry Coleman. John H. was from the Carrollton, GA area. He was a veteran of the Confederate Army, having served in the 1st Georgia Cavalry regiment. John was a large man, well over 6 feet tall and probably weighed close to 300 pounds.
I did not know him personally, but I remember seeing him sitting on his front porch on Elmwood Avenue (#312). He lived there during the 1920's and early thirties. He died in 1932 and is buried in the cemetery at 1st Baptist Church, Hokes Bluff, AL. As far as I know he was a retired farmer. I believe he was 91 years of age when he died. He and his wife Sally were the parents of William Allen, John Henry II, Mary, Genie, Dora and Kendrick.
John Henry II was a railroad man. Mary married a Doctor Friddell and lived at Boston, GA. Dora married a Mr. Fore and lived in Birmingham, AL. Genie married a Mr. Palmer. She was divorced, I believe, and lived with John and Sally on Elmwood.
W. A. went to Honduras, Central America, about 1897 or 1898. (I say this because his oldest child Laura was born around 1899 - 1900). He married Maria Theresa McCollum, a 13-year-old orphan girl who was living with the family where W. A. was boarding. Her mother had died when she was a small child and then her father was drowned in the Chaloma River (crossing on a horse - the horse made it).
W. A. had a cousin, W. F. Coleman, who had been in Honduras for some time and was quite wealthy. At first, W. A. was engaged in the logging business. Later on he bought land and owned and operated a 1400-acre banana plantation. When he died in 1930, his estate was worth about $300,000 and consisted of land, cattle and equipment. When it was settled (in 1949 or 1950), it was worth about $15,000. W. F. Coleman was the administrator of W. A.'s estate until his death in 1941 or 1942, when the Honduras Court appointed a successor. By the time the estate was finally settled, all of the assets had disappeared except the land.
In 1937 (or thereabout) a hurricane destroyed the banana crop. The next year insects destroyed it. The next year a disease damaged it, and the United Fruit Co. quit buying bananas from that area because of the disease.
W. F. had begun raising cattle in earnest to replace bananas when he died.
We used to get a monthly financial statement from W. F. on which he showed a cash balance of about $20,000. During the years that the banana crop was not producing, the cash balance fluctuated up and down from the $20,000 figure. Then one month, he called attention to the fact that he had been administrator of the estate for so many years, during which time he had paid himself no salary. He stated that he had decided to pay himself $250 per month for all the years he had been administrator. Needless to say that took care of the cash balance.
The Coleman children (W. A. and Maria Theresa's) were Laura, Lucille, James, Margaret, Teresa, John Hugh, Lois Elizabeth, Henry and Pearl. All the children, except Laura, were sent over to the states for their education. James went to St. Louis to study or learn how to be a diesel engine mechanic. Lucille went to New York where she worked for a Honduras diplomatic or trade commission. All the others came to Gadsden, eventually.
In 1930, W. A. brought his wife, and Henry and Pearl, to the states to establish permanent residence. He was on his way to Florida (where he planned to live) and had stopped at Boston, GA to visit his sister Mary. While there, he became ill with pneumonia and died there. His widow and four youngest children stayed in Boston for several years before they came back to Gadsden. They lived in the house on Elmwood where John Henry and Sally Coleman had lived. John Hugh and Lois were graduated from Gadsden High School in 1935.
Lois and I were married on December 8, 1936. We began housekeeping on Chestnut St. in Gadsden. The Gadsden City Hall is located in the block where we had an apartment. Our landlady was Miss Emma Barrett, to whom we paid $20 per month for the furnished apartment with utilities included.
In Honduras, the Coleman's lived at Choloma, San Pedro, Sula. I believe that is near Porto Cortez on the Caribbean side of Central America.
Maria Theresa McCollum was of Irish descent. I understand that the McCollum family was quite wealthy. One of the sons who was studying to be a priest got married instead and was dis-inherited where upon he went with his bride to Honduras. He was the one who drowned.

Charles Perry Smith
March 3, 1997

Note: William Allen Coleman, 1875-1930, was the son of John Henry Coleman and Sarah Elizabeth Pentecost. He was also the nephew of William Allen Coleman of Carrollton, Georgia who served in the 1st Georgia Cavalry with his brother, John Henry Coleman. John Henry Coleman went to Honduras with his brother William and returned to Carrollton, GA. where he married Sarah E. Pentecost. The Coleman-Pentecost family then moved to Hoke's Bluff, Gadsden, Alabama.
Woody Coleman

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Conquered Banner

The Conquered Banner

Furl that Banner, for 'tis weary;

Round its staff 'tis drooping dreary;

Furl it, fold it, it is best;

For there's not a man to wave it,

And there's not a sword to save it,

And there's no one left to lave it

In the blood that heroes gave it;

And its foes now scorn and brave it;

Furl it, hide it, let it rest!

Take that banner down! 'tis tattered;

Broken is its shaft and shattered;

And the valiant hosts are scattered

Over whom it floated high.

Oh! 'tis hard for us to fold it;

Hard to think there's none to hold it;

Hard that those who once unrolled it

Now must furl it with a sigh.

Furl that banner! furl it sadly!

Once ten thousands hailed it gladly.

And ten thousands wildly, madly,

Swore it should forever wave;

Swore that foeman's sword should never

Hearts like theirs entwined dissever,

Till that flag should float forever

O'er their freedom or their grave!

Furl it! for the hands that grasped it,

And the hearts that fondly clasped it,

Cold and dead are lying low;

And that Banner, it is trailing!

While around it sounds the wailing

Of its people in their woe.

For, though conquered, they adore it!

Love the cold, dead hands that bore it!

Weep for those who fell before it!

Pardon those who trailed and tore it!

But, oh! wildly they deplored it!

Now who furl and fold it so.

Furl that Banner!

True, 'tis gory,

Yet 'tis wreathed around with glory,

And 'twill live in song and story,

Though its folds are in the dust;

For its fame on brightest pages,

Penned by poets and by sages,

Shall go sounding down the ages,

Furl its folds though now we must.

Furl that banner, softly, slowly!

Treat it gently, it is holy,

For it droops above the dead.

Touch it not, unfold it never,

Let it droop there, furled forever,

For its people's hopes are dead!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Obituary; Elwood Ransom Coleman, Sr.

The Times Picayune; Sunday, May 31st, 1998
New Orleans, Louisiana.

Elwood Ransom Coleman, Sr. On Tuesday, May 26, 1998 at 11:30 p.m. Husband by first marriage of Anita Register Young and by second marriage of Lillian Valesquez Coleman. Father by first marriage of William Lester, Elwood Ransom, Jr., John Allen, Marie Antoinette C. Whitman and the late James Michael Coleman. Father by second marriage of Ranson and Evana Coleman. Son of the late John Allen Coleman and Marie Antoinette Follin-Perez of San Pedro Sula, Honduras. Grandson of William Forrest Coleman of Carrollton, GA. and Yndelacia Paredes of Honduras. Brother of John Robert Coleman , the late John Dean (Coleman) and Ethel C. de Buining. Also survived by 13 grandchildren and 8 great-grandchildren. Aged 78 years. A native of LeCeiba, Honduras and a resident of New Orleans, LA. for 73 years.

Relatives and friends of the family; also VFW Post 5174 in Slidell,LA. are invited to attend the Funeral Mass at Leitz-Eagan Funeral Home Chapel, 4747 Veterans Blvd. near Clearview on Monday, June 1, 1998 at 2:00p.m. Interment at Garden of Memories Cemetery.

Transcribed from an original copy of The Times Picayune newspaper, New Orleans, Louisiana, Sunday May 31, 1998, page B-5, by Woody Coleman on 6-10-09.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Death of Mrs. Allen Coleman

Obituary, Carroll County Times, February 9th, 1877: Death of Mrs. Allen Coleman,(maiden name: Cynthia Florence Riggs wife of William Allen Coleman ) of Honduras.

On last Monday evening the remains of Mrs. Coleman, wife of Mr. Allen Coleman of Honduras, were received at this place. From what we can learn, Mrs. Coleman left Honduras some thirty or forty days ago for the purpose of returning to this county where she formerly lived for the restoration of her health. She was accompanied by her brother in-law Mr. Jno. Coleman who went out to Honduras, from this county, last spring, besides she had along with her two children, one a son of twelve or thirteen years of age, and the other a baby some six or seven months old. As we have stated, Mrs. Coleman left Honduras sick, and in crossing the Gulf of Mexico, on the way to New Orleans, her troubles were no doubt added to by the death of her babe. Being far from land at the time of its death there was no other alternative but to cast the remains of the little one into the Gulf. This was no doubt a terrible shock to the mother, already very feeble, and she did not long survive. She died we are told after she had arrived in this country, on the cars between New Orleans and Montgomery, (we have not been able to find out, at what exact point). and her remains were coffined in Montgomery, and brought on as we have stated to this place Monday evening. From here they were carried Monday night to the Sixth district of this county, where they were buried the next day.Mr. Allen Coleman the husband of the deceased is a son of Major Coleman of this county. He went to Honduras after the war. His wife, the deceased, was also a native of this county. Her maiden name was Riggs.February 16, 1877 ------We understand that the babe of Mrs. Coleman, who died on her way from Spanish Honduras to this county, was not thrown over in the Gulf, as stated in the notice in reference to her death, but was buried in Balize, British Honduras.


Burial: Bethel Baptist Church Cemetery, Carroll county, Georgia.
Headstone Inscription:

"Sleep my dearest sleep, My sorrow cannot disturb thee, Altho I should ever weep, and ever sacred thy memory keep."
Wife of W.A. Coleman and Mother of J.W. & W.F. Coleman
Born March 27, 1837 Died February 3rd, 1877; Aged 39 years 10 months and 24 days;
Neighbor and devoted christian 21 years;Member of the Missionary Baptist Church"

Note: Photograph above is that of Cynthia Florence Riggs Coleman and her son, William Forrest Coleman. Date & location (probably Carrollton, GA.) unknown.