of Gerenton from W.P.A. Files, 1936-1938. Carroll, County, Mississippi.
Old Gerrington, eight
miles from Vaiden, was settled by a man named McLemore. He was very wealthy, owned quite a bit of
land, and his home, built here in 1850,
is still standing. Claib. Nelms,
Dr. Sanders, and Dr. Gerring, were the next
A general merchandise store, drug store, school,
and a Baptist Church were soon built here.
Gerrington lacked only one vote of being
selected as the state capital. [Ed. Note:
This was told to the W.P.A. Researchers by Mr. J.M. Wright of Vaiden, MS,
during the W.P.A.’s report in the 1930s. It is incorrect. Middleton was thought to have
missed becoming the state capital by only seven or eight votes.]
of the Gerenton
School from W.P.A.
Files, 1936-1938. Carroll
Old Gerrington, located
eight miles northwest of Vaiden, was established about 1846, as nearly as can be ascertained.
The building was an old dwelling consisting of two
rooms, but later the partition was removed, making one large room. Miss Lizzie McCarroll
was the first teacher, and, McGuffey’s Reader, writing, Davies’ Arithmetic,
and Webster’s Blue Book Speller were the studies. Some of the prominent citizens who attended
this school were Tom and Bill Hamilton, John Daton
(or Deaton), Frank and Jennie Hawkins.
This school was abandoned during the War Between the States.
Source: Mississippi Department of Archives; Carroll County
Cemetery Records and Carroll County
Census of 1860.
to this cemetery are vague, but are listed as: “Leave Carrollton Courthouse on Highway 35, and go south about 9
miles. The cemetery is
northeast of this point about 3 miles.” One map alludes to the fact that
Gerenton might have occasionally referred to as Summerville, named
after the school that was located there.
There is no listing for Summerville
on the U.S. Geological
Survey, although there is a listing for Summerfield Church,
which, according to the U.S.
Geological Maps, is the same location.
The name on the map listed in the text above was possibly misspelled,
or the Survey has the name listed incorrectly. There is also a listing for a Summerfield Cemetery, located in the same
vicinity. Summerfield Church is listed
at Bailey Lake at a latitude of 33
minutes and 06
seconds North and a longitude of 089
minutes and 53
seconds West, as seen in the following images: Image 1 Image 2 Image 3. Summerfield
Cemetery is listed also at Bailey Lake at a latitude of 33 degrees 24 minutes
and 07 seconds North and 089 degrees 49 minutes and 56 seconds West, as seen
in these images: Image 1 Image 2 Image 3.
source, the W.P.A. Files of 1936-1938 list Bryantville
as the town that was formed from Old Gerenton around 1900. According to these files, Bryantville, located in approximately the same location
as the town of Gerenton,
became extinct around 1920. Although the exact latitude and longitude
of Gerenton are not listed on the U.S. Geological Survey site, Bryantville’s coordinates as listed as being located at
Bailey Lake with an altitude of 420 feet, and
geographic coordinates of 33
seconds North and 089
26 seconds West,
as seen on these images: Image 1 Image 2. The U.S.
Geological Survey also lists alternate names for Bryantville
Geren, Geren’s Crossroads, and Gerenton.
On August 16, 2000, I visited the Gerenton Cemetery,
thanks to Bob Ellis of Winona. According to Mr. Ellis and his research,
although the Gerenton
Cemetery has only 10 known markers, these markers
were set apart from the rest of the cemetery.
This smaller plot contains the markers indicated in the list
below. It is estimated that several
hundred people are buried in Gerenton
Cemetery, however there are
NO markers on the graves in the location of the main cemetery which,
according to one source, was approximately two-acres in size. In the past, old cemeteries were robbed of their markers to be
used for resale to grieving families.
The robbers had the markers’ names removed and new names were added in
order to be resold. It is believed
that the main portion of the Gerenton
Cemetery was robbed of
every marker. According to my personal
research of the Carroll County Mississippi
Census of 1860,
Gerenton lists approximately 293-312 residents (168 White Males and 144 White females). Of those, one was blind (age 46), one was deaf and dumb (age 11), and one was listed as a
pauper (age 10). It is unclear why the census would list a 10-year-old as a pauper, except
that no one else on the Gerenton census had the same last name, indicated
that this youngster possible was adopted, or own his own. Since the Census of 1860 only covers FREE INHABITANTS, no
colored persons were listed. After
examining the Carroll
County Censuses of 1840, 1850, 1860, 1870,
and 1880, the 1860 census is the only one
that lists Gerenton, indicating that the town’s life as a “voting precinct”
was short-lived. Here are two of the
eight pages of the Gerenton 1860
Census: Page 13 – Page 14
Census for Gerenton, MS, is on Roll 578,
call # MM312.09;
micro copy M653,
Police District of Carroll County, is located in the Mississippi Department
of Archives, and, from the microfilm, indicates that this information is
contained on Pp. 13,
14, 15, 16, 23, 24,
26, and 41 of the 1860 Carroll County Census Books. The
Real Estate valuation for all inhabitants listed on the census is $283,370.00 and the
Personal Estate valuation is $704,050.00. The totals on the census were taken from
the highest number listed as some pages had been recalculated by the
enumerator, who marked through the old totals and wrote the corrected totals
below the original figures.
names and occupations were very hard to read, due to the enumerator’s
handwriting, but family names in Gerenton included the following (the names
with a ? beside them indicate possible error in the interpretation of the
Baskerville, Baskins, Billingsley, Bragby/ Bregby?,
Collins, Colmery?, Compton, Davis, Duren, Durham, Gaden, Gardner, Gee, Gisdell,
Gooding, Gosey, Grear,
Gunn, Hamilton, Holman, Howell, Jackson, Johnson, Kelly, Kendall, Mahony, Marshall, McCaskill,
McKinney, Miniard, Nail, Nelms,
Perkins, Pullen, Purnell, Rogers, Ross, Russell,
Saunders, Stafford, Stafford, Stedman, Stone, Trotter, Ward, Wells,
Whitehead, Wood, Wright, Young, Yumerrtine?. Note that the founder of Gerenton, Abraham Geren, (or
anyone listed at the bottom of this page) is not listed on this census, due
to the fact that everyone on the list at the bottom of this page was deceased
by the time of the 1860
Census. Of those 10, Abraham Geren
was the last to die.
listed on the 1860
Census, families of Gerenton were originally from Georgia, Mississippi, North
Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Alabama, Louisiana, and New
Hampshire. In addition, one resident
was born in a foreign country and 88
children were enrolled in schools during that time.
town of Gerenton
was located about 1
to 2 miles away from the cemetery,
according to Mr. Ellis. Several years
ago, he visited the Gerenton
Cemetery location with
a Colored Gentleman, who remembered the details of the cemetery before its
desecration. At present, plans are
underway to transfer this videotape to a .mpeg file,
to be stored on CD-ROM for archival purposes.
If anyone reading this knows the person or persons responsible for the
desecration of the Gerenton Cemetery and the removal/resale of the markers,
please inform the Carroll County Mississippi’s
Sheriff’s Office at 662.464.5221,
or contact the Carroll
County 2nd District Courthouse
CORRECT directions to the cemetery are as follows (as of August, 2000):
Vaiden, go north on Highway 51
about 7 or 8
miles until you see Gum Branch Road on the left (this road
is 4 miles south of Winona, and coming
from Winona, it will be on your right).
This is a dusty, winding, dirt road.
Turn west on Gum Branch (going north, you will turn left; going south,
you will turn right) and follow the road, keeping to the left at every
fork. After exactly 3.6
miles, you will cross Gum Branch Creek (there are no signs,
only a small bridge). There is a
cattle gap on the left (the first road past the bridge). Gerenton Cemetery is in this area, but you
will need to walk, or have a Four-Wheel-Drive to get through the ruts. Finding the gravesite will take a lot of
time, because of the undergrowth.
Simply stay on the little rutty roads until you see a yellow stake about 5
feet tall. It is on
the corner of the road that goes past the gravesites. Turn at the yellow stake and go
to 200 yards until you see pine trees with orange markers (ribbons) on
them. The gravesite is within this
thicket. If you keep going past the
cattle gap, and stay to the left at every fork, Gum Branch Road turns into Carroll County Road 278, which comes out on
Hwy. 35, about 7 miles
west of the I-55 bridge at Vaiden.
second, and LEAST DESIRABLE
ROUTE, is as follows (as of August, 2000):
Vaiden, go west on Highway 35. From the Interstate 55 Bridge, go about 7
miles until you see Carroll County Road 278. This is a winding dirt road,
and, going west (toward Carrollton)
on Highway 35, the road will be on your right. Follow this dirt road approximately 3.1 miles, bearing to the right
at each fork. This is Gum Branch Road. You will see a cattle gap on the
right. This is the entrance to the Gerenton Cemetery site. Take a cell phone and plenty of water with
you. It is extremely hard to find
these graves. However, plans are also
underway to clear as much of the area as possible and to restore as much as
possible of the remaining cemetery site.
THIS IS PRIVATE LAND.
DO NOT ENTER WITHOUT PERMISSION!!!
I did not find all of the markers listed below on the August 16,
visit, the list below was taken from the Carroll County Cemetery Records
as documented by Ethel Bibus of Carrollton, MS.
Abraham Geren – Mar. 10,
– Sept. 17, 1859
Marker Photo 1 – Marker Photo 2 – Marker Photo 3
Geren Family Plot
A. Adelaide Geren
– Sept. 25, 1831 – Aug. 7,
Marker Photo 1 – Marker Photo 2 – Marker Photo 3 – Marker Photo 4
Fontaine D. McLemore, Son of J. D. and S. A. McLemore – Nov. 11, 1856 – Dec. 25,
Marker Photo 1 – Marker Photo 2 – Marker Photo 3 – Marker Photo 4
Simeon G. Geren – July 19, 1850 – Died at 42 years, 5 months
Marker Photo 1
Bettie S. McLemore, Daughter of D. and E. S. McLemore – Died
Feb. 4, 1850 – Aged 7 years, 9 months, 8 days
John M. Sanders, Son of Dr. J. F. and S. R. Sanders (or
Saunders) – Dec. 26, 1852 – Sept. 6,
Sarah A. Tyson, Wife of Aaron Tyson – Sept. 13,
– July 6, 1855
Marker Photo 1 – Marker Photo 2
John D. McLemore – Aug. 3, 1818 – June 28, 1850
Marker Photo 1 – Marker Photo 2
Photo 1 of John D. McLemore was taken in Memphis, TN, by Y. Day, 338 Main
Street and has no date.
Photo 2 of John D. McLemore was taken by Washburn Photographer, 109 Canal
Street, New Orleans, LA.
preserved since 1864. Photos Courtesy
of Baird Moor.
Joseph H. Hall – Aug. 3,
1856 – Died at 33 years, 2 months
Lizzie W. Davis, Wife of Dr. M. G. Davis – Mar. 21,
– Mar. 23, 1884
Marker Photo 1
Photo 1 – Photo 2 – Photo 3 – Photo 4 – Photo 5
Mason Marker – Monument Manufacturer – Map of Gerenton Road
Addie McLemore Wedding
Announcement (out of focus)
Addie McLemore Photo (front)
Jeff McLemore Photo 1
– Jeff McLemore Photo 2
(Jeff was Addie McLemore’s brother and married Mollie Watkins of
Source: Mississippi Department of Archives;
Gerenton Subject Files, and Mr. and Mrs. Bob Ellis of Winona, MS.
Subject Files, Page 1 – Subject Files, Page 2 – Subject Files, Page 3
Map Showing Location of
Choctaw Session Map