Reflections

Relatives’ Trip To England Was First In 160 Years

By Charles Cooper

Hello everyone, hope you’re having a good week. It seems that it would be a good time to go back to the original premise of this column to recall family histories and profile long ago citizens of Water Valley.

    In the beginning I said that people would be featured that had only had their names mentioned in obituaries. The other day a letter from Mrs. Mary Lou Roane, who lives in Grenada, brings this back in focus.

    She relayed she was the daughter of Elmer and Mollie Mixon, and lived near the Wyatt Chapel Church. Her first school was a one-room building across the road from the church.

    She recalled Dr. Jackson was her doctor for many years, but she doesn’t believe he was buried at the Wyatt’s Chapel Cemetery. Someone else reported I was in error about his burial place, so I’d like for anyone who might know the exact location to let me know. Mrs. Roane says that there are about three families that still meet once a year to clean the cemetery.

    She said that many of the railroad employees attended church there. After the shops closed, so many people moved away that the church finally closed.

    I’ve heard Papa Badley talk about some of his Simmons relatives being buried there, but I never knew exactly where it was until I wrote the column about it.     Mrs. Roane also said that she believes in older people keeping active, and even though she’s ninety-one, she drives her car, keeps up a house, and enjoys reasonably good health.

    It was so nice to hear from you and I hope you’ll write again. Jamie and Nicole had a wonderful time in England and Scotland and brought back some great pictures and slides. Even though they didn’t get to the town of Fenton in Staffordshire where great-grandfather Badley came from – their trip was the first time his descendants visited England in 160 years. The town of Fenton is still a pottery center today. The Badley brothers, Edmund and Elijah. left the area around 1842,  traveling to Illinois and Iowa looking for the right clay to set up a pottery operation.

    They found what they were looking for in Water Valley and, as they say, the rest is history. Edmund Badley and his wife died in 1861, a few days apart. Elijah raised his orphaned children. One of the daughters, Polly, was the mother of Edwin Blackmur.

    Elijah, later called “Squire,” helped other people in the pottery business. One family, the Usserys, continued the business into the twentieth century and some pieces stamped F. Ussery still exist with collectors.

    Squire Badley was also one of the early investors in the Mississippi Central railroad and one of the stock certificates is reported to be in the Water Valley library. He died in 1896 and is buried in Oak Hill with the obelisk with a jug on top marking his grave.

    There are three spellings,  Badley, Baddley, and Baddlay in Oak Hill and all are related in some way. As always, I ask all of you to share family history with us as I’m sure we would all enjoy it. My email address is charlescooper3616@sbcglobal.net or write me at P.O. Box 613189 Memphis, Tn 38101 and have a great 2008.

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