Pioneer families remembered with Bible donation to Columbus library

Commercial Dispatch
Jan Swoope
November 23, 2013

The Bernard Romans  Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution would like to know more  about who they were, what

Mary Ann McCollum of Birmingham, Ala., points to records contained in the Wiatt Randle family Bible donated to the Columbus-Lowndes Public Library Nov. 14. Looking on, seated from left, are library archivist Mona Vance-Ali, Bernard Romans DAR Regent Alice Lancaster and Randle family relative Mark Gaines Miles of Jacksonville, Fla. Standing, from left, are family members Chuck and Kitty Edwards of Florence, Ala., and Dan and Carol Randle of Chattanooga, Tenn. Photo by: Micah Green/Dispatch Staff.

Mary Ann McCollum of Birmingham, Ala., points to records contained in the Wiatt Randle family Bible donated to the Columbus-Lowndes Public Library Nov. 14. Looking on, seated from left, are library archivist Mona Vance-Ali, Bernard Romans DAR Regent Alice Lancaster and Randle family relative Mark Gaines Miles of Jacksonville, Fla. Standing, from left, are family members Chuck and Kitty Edwards of Florence, Ala., and Dan and Carol Randle of Chattanooga, Tenn. Photo by: Micah Green/Dispatch Staff.

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:

List of Randle family deaths written inside the family Bible.

List of Randle family deaths written inside the family Bible.

Lockets of hair from deceased members of the Randle family in the 1880s and placed inside the family Bible.

Lockets of hair from deceased members of the Randle family in the 1880s and placed inside the family Bible.

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Published in: on December 16, 2013 at 4:19 pm  Leave a Comment  

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