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Mattie Shaw Celebrates Centennial

The photograph of Mrs. Shaw (top) was taken from the photo of the First Baptist Church Choir.

Everyone is invited  “to celebrate a century” with Mattie Shaw this Sunday, May 25 from 2 until 4 p.m. in the activity room of the Yalobusha General Hospital Nursing Home.

Please bring any old photos and written childhood memories to share.

Mattie Emma Dawkins Shaw was born May 27, 1908 to Thomas Hosea Henry Mayhew McSwaine Dawkins and Nancy Emaline Harbour Dawkins. (Nan Harbour was the daughter of Michael Harbour Sr. And Mary Elizabeth (Lizzy) Catherine Cofer.

Her mother was 40 and her father was 38 at the time of her birth. She was the fourth and  last child for Thomas and Nancy. Hosea was 10, Harmon was 8, and Mary was 4.

 Mattie  recalls  a  happy and loving family residing on Turkey Creek Road near Coffeeville. Her father built the family farm house on land her mother inherited from her mother, Lizzy.

The original log cabin, corn crib, barn, tool shed, chicken house, and the privy on the hill  still remain today.

Her neice, Emma Ruth Dawkins, and her husband Dave Hovey still live there and keep the farm intact.

Mattie remembers  her  father being tall dark and handsome with high cheek bones from his mother’sIndian decent.

She remembers her mother’s greatest gift, laughter. She made every day chores fun. She loved her garden and had the most wonderful cooking skills.  

George Wilbourn once said, “Mattie, I’d rather have dinner at your house than  any other place I know.”

Most folks believe Mattie is still the queen of fried fruit pies.

She never knew her grandparents. She only had pictures to remember them.

Here grandfather, Michael Hempter  Harbour was the first tax assessor in Yalobusha county. He set the original property lines for all the tax rolls in the county by horse back.

Ironicaly, Mattie’s husband, Guy C. Shaw, and her son, Guy Dale Shaw, pursued the same career.

Mattie attended school at Gray Rock Church and Schoolhouse where her father was chairman of the  Methodist grade school.

Mattie remembered how her parents showed affection for each other. Her father was always kissing and touching her mother’s hair, which she she never cut and wore in a bun.

Her father was a talented musician and played banjo when dances were held. He also played piano and the pump organ that still sits in the home today. Since her father could play by ear, he could reproduce any tune.

Mattie rremembered that as children the family was well known as a gospel group. Her sister Mary sang alto and Mattie sang sapprano. Her father played, while her brothers sang bass and tenor.

After Mattie graduated 8th  grade she along with her Mary rode to high school in Coffeville in a beautiful buggy pulled by Rodey, their treasured mule.

Mattie still talks about growing up with Helen Harbour, Jimmy Waddell’s mother.

When Mattie graduated from high school, she went to the teacher’s college at Delta State where she received her lifetime teaching certificate.

Mattie then married Guy C. Shaw, a mathamatician and teacher at the one-room school in the Pilgrims Rest community. The school still stands as a reminder of the good ole days.

Mattie and Guy Shaw raised tree girls, Laucene, Charlene, and Nan. They also had one son, Guy Dale Shaw.

Mattie’s husband, Guy Shaw, was elected Yalobusha County Tax Assessor/Collector and the family moved to Water Valley. Mattie became an active member of the Baptist women’s group and the choir for nearly 20 years.

They retired  and moved back home to Coffeeville where Guy could drive to his farm on Turkey Creek every day as well as his favorite church in Airmount.

Mattie likes to remember her past, according to family members. They said she is likely to remember you by name.

Because of a fall in her home, Mattie can only get around in a wheel chair. She said that the staff at the nursing home take very good care of her.

Mattie  said she is so  pleased to welcome friends and relatives to her  100th birthday party on Sunday.

If you need more information or have stories,  pictures, etc. to share with the family, please call Marty Shaw  at (850) 341-4544 or contact the family by email:

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