November 23, 2013
The Bernard Romans Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution would like to know more about who they were, what
they did and where they rest in peace.
That research led recently to a donation of pioneer family records to the Columbus-Lowndes Public Library.
In search of any information she could find on one of those Revolutionary-era patriots — Nathaniel Lawrence — Bernard Romans Regent Alice Lancaster of Columbus came across an email address for Mary Ann McCollum of Birmingham, Ala. McCollum is a descendant of the Rev. Wiatt Randle (1785-1853) family, which was connected by marriage to the Lawrences. Lancaster was thrilled to establish a connection with McCollum, especially in light of the DAR chapter’s centennial year coming up in 2014.
Lancaster was also pleased to learn McCollum and several other family members from throughout the South were planning to visit Columbus to check on the Lawrence-Randle cemetery in western Lowndes County. It’s believed the Revolutionary War patriot is buried there, although there’s no visible marker now. The grave of his son, the Rev. Nathaniel Lawrence, is marked, however, as is Wiatt Randle’s.
On Nov. 13, McCollum and other relatives cleaned up the cemetery near Artesia, repairing graves damaged by time and fallen trees. They were assisted by Sam Pilkinton of Columbus, a member of the Sons of the American Revolution.
McCollum brought with her the Wiatt Randle family Bible and donated it the following day to the Billups-Garth Archives at the library. Records of births, marriages and deaths in its pages will add to the history of early Lowndes County. Segments of hair from several family ancestors are even glued inside.
“I was overwhelmed when Mrs. McCollum wanted to donate the Bible to our library’s genealogy section,” said Lancaster. “That is a very special object, and they have kept it these many years in their family. It’s an honor for Columbus to maintain their keepsake, and everybody will be able to see it.”
Library archivist Mona Vance-Ali added, “The Bible contains invaluable historical information. Often Bibles are the only location in which families documented momentous occasions, and they are vital to genealogists and historians alike.”
Families across the country continue to unearth their histories, Lancaster noted. Markers that have sunken below ground are discovered. Photographs, letters, old wills and documents surface. Each new piece of information helps form a more complete picture.
To learn more about county history resources at the library, contact Vance-Ali at 662-329-5304.
Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.
Additional photos taken by archives staff below: