In Memory of Edmon Woods
Farewell My Wife & Children
All From You A Father Christ Doth Call
Cool Spring MB Church Cemetery
Photograph Courtesy of Willie L Robinson
"I became acquainted with Edmund Woods about the time the colored people began to leave the plantations to go to Natchez - that is, shortly after Natchez was taken." David Bethea of Brookhaven, Lincoln County, Mississippi
Natchez was securely in the hands of the Union by the summer of 1863. Natchez government officials knew of the destruction and death in Vicksburg, not wanting that for Natchez, they quietly surrendered. As soon as the slaves in the surrounding communities learned of the occupation, many left the plantations for Natchez, which is what the slaves on the Herring farms did.
Thomas Herring, a slave of John Wesley Herring was sold at the beginning of the Civil War. After Natchez was in Union hands, Thomas who was a soldier with the United States Colored Troops returned to the Herring plantation to retrieve his wife Millie. Thomas' cousin Malissa Bethea went with the couple. They arrived in Natchez on a Friday but by Sunday the marriage was over. Millie discovered that Thomas had a wife named Silva in Natchez. Millie never lived with him again. Millie probably had at least one child with Thomas, Gilton Herring. Thomas Herring (Herron) was a solider with Company I, 58th Regiment, United States Colored Infantry.
Although Thomas and Millie's relationship had ended, Millie and Malissa remained in Natchez living, working on a farm they called the Newman's place. Edmund Woods was recruited at the Newman's place to join the Colored Troops. He enrolled with Company G, 58th Regiment, United Colored Infantry, 17 Jul 1864. Edmund and Millie developed a relationship and he would visit Millie when he was on leave. She followed his company to Hazlehurst, Copiah County, MS. He was discharged 13 Apr 1866 in Vicksburg. He returned to Millie and they resided in Natchez for a few years.
The couple never had a ceremony but presented themselves and were considered by others as man and wife. Edmund and Milly knew about Section 22 from the Mississippi Constitution of 1868, which recognized their non-ceremonial marriage as legitimate.
Sec. 22. All persons who have not been married, but are now living together, cohabiting as husband and wife, shall be taken and held for all purposes in law as married, and their children, whether born before or after the ratification of this Constitution, shall be legitimate; and the Legislature may, by law, punish adultery and concubinage. Article XII, Section 22
Edmund was born about 1835 in Tennessee to parents whose names are unknown. The pension file does not reveal the name of his last slave owner. Edmund was held a slave in Louisiana. His slave wife Anna died about 1855. When he met Millie, he had a couple of children that Millie helped raise. Millie was born between 1842-1845 in Franklin County, Mississippi, to Tom and Sylvia Carter. Her last slave owner was Ferdinand Fletcher Herring.
Edmund and Millie's Children:
Edmund Woods, Jr, was born about 1869, Daniel Woods about 1872, Lydia Woods about 1874, Mila Woods about 1878, Neal (Cornelius) Woods born about 1881, Roseanna Woods born about 1883. A line was drawn through Mila Woods name on the 1880 census. She is listed on the 1880 Mortality Schedule - Adams County. She died in Dec 1879 of croup, a highly contagious disease of the throat.
Edmond and his family left Adams County to live in Franklin County, Millie's former community. The family was back in Franklin County as early as 1892 because the children were seen on the 1892 educable list for Franklin County. The couple purchased 80 acres of land in Franklin County, paying 6 bales of cotton to E P Allen in February 1897.
The couple would share the land for a few years. Edmond died 29 May 1902 of heart problems and chronic hepatitis. Millie died April 14 1928 of old age. Both are buried in the Cool Spring Church Cemetery.
CENSUS INFORMATION FOR EDMUND AND MILLIE WOODS
1870 - Adams County - Natchez - Page 190
Edam Wood, 35, MS - Miller Wood, 28, MS - Isaac Wood, 16
Next Door - Pauline Williams, 25 - Nelson Williams, 3 - Amanda Gillen, 8 - Edam Wood, Jr, 1
1880 - Adams County - Washington - Page 214
Edmund Woods, 57, TN, TN, TN
Mila, 35, wife, MS, VA, LA
Edmund, 11, son - Daniel, 9, son - Lydia, 4, dau - Cornelius, 3/12, son
Gilton Herring, 14, stepson
Next Door - Sylvia Carter, 66, mother-in-law, LA, LA, LA
Lydia Herring, 39, daughter, MS, VA, LA
Olive Herring, 6, granddaughter
1892 Franklin County Educable Children Lists
Edmond Woods, Sr
Dan Woods, 16, Male
Nealie Woods, 15, Male
Rosa Woods, 7, Female
1900 - N/A
1910 - Franklin County - Beat 4 - Page 133
E A Woods, head, 40, widower - MILLIE, mother, 60, widow
Miley, daughter, 17 - Leona, daughter, 14 - Joseph, son, 9
Lunie White, niece, 11 - Joseph White, nephew, 4 - Mary Jane, niece, 2
1920 - Franklin County - Beat 4 - Page 122
Mila Woods, 70, widow
Luna White, 18, granddaughter - Joseph White, 16, grandson - Mary J, 12, granddaughter
MARRIAGE RECORDS FOR WOODS FAMILY
Daniel Woods married Mary Ida Keys 23 Mar 1893 in Franklin County
Daniel Woods married Martha Keys 09 Jan 1901 in Franklin County
Edward Woods married Luvenia Porter 20 Feb 1888 in Franklin County
Littie Woods married Nat Ransifer 23 June 1896 in Franklin County
Neal Woods married Euala Sanders 29 Dec 1897 in Franklin County
Rosanna Woods married Howard White 15 Dec 1898 in Franklin County
Gilton Herring married Becky Bethea 22 July 1886 in Franklin County (Gilton was Edmund's stepson.)
DEATH RECORDS OF WOODS FAMILY
Photograph Courtesy of Nathaniel Thomas
Liddy Rancifer - Edmund and Milly's Daughter
Mila Woods - Edmund and Milly's Daughter
Mily Woods - Edmund's Wife
REMEMBERING THOSE WHO TESTIFIED IN WIDOW'S PENSION CASE
David Bethea was the husband of Malissa Bethea. He knew Milly since the days of slavery. His owner, unnamed, was a neighbor of F F Herring. He met Edmund after the fall of Natchez, and testified about Edmund and Milly's relationship.
Malissa Bethea was a cousin of Tom Herring, Milly's husband during slavery. She was a slave of John Wesley Herring. She and Milly knew each other since they were children. She testified about Milly's relationship with Edmund.
Lydia Herring was a sister of Milly. She testified about Milly's husbands.
Rafe Jackson was a private in Co G of the 58th Regiment, United States Colored Infantry, which is where he met Edmund. He testified about Edmund's relationship with Millie while they were in the military.
Adam Kelly knew Milly all her life. They lived in the same neighborhood.
Henry Kelly knew Ed and Milly for about 25 years when he testified in 1904. He testified about Milly's relationship with Edmund. He helped with burial of Edmund.
Rosanna Lock was a niece of Milly. Rosanna testified about the property Milly owned.
David Thomas knew Ed and Milly for about 14 years when he testified in 1904. David testified about the couple's relationship and about what property Milly owned.
R A Woolley, MD, attended Edmond in April 1902. He diagnosed him with mitral insufficiency and chronic hepatitis.
SLAVE OWNERS OF EDMUND AND MILLIE
David and Mary Leggett Herring House
Photograph Courtesy of Freddie Johnson
(Edmund's Owner) Unknown - Last slave owner was in Louisiana.
(Milly's Owner) Ferdinand Fletcher Herring was born 20 Dec 1830 to David and Mary Leggett Herring. He married Catherine Havis 18 Dec 1851 in Franklin County. He was a physician. Ferdinand owned 11 slaves per the 1860 Franklin County slave schedule.
Remembering Their Names