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     Thomas Wister Rinehart
     As told in the book "Families of Alcorn County"**

The first Rineharts to enter the United States of   America were from Germany.   They chose to settle in South Carolina.   Elias Rinehart and family wanted to move to the south because of  the cold weather.

Elias Rinhart was born in 1802, in Germany and died in the United States in 1876.   Elias had 12 children.   When he moved south he bought 4, 000 acres of land in Tishomingo County of which Jacinto, Mississippi, was the county seat.   Elias helped organize a bank in Jacinto.   He was builder and built a levee across the Tuscumbia River.   He charged a toll untill he was repaid.   Elias furnished land for Sardis Primitive Baptist Church and for the cemetery.   Elias and down through 5 generations are buried here.   Elias was a deacon of this church.   He wanted to give each child 320 acres of land.   The land was handed down through six generations.

Thomas Wister Rinehart was the fouth generation and his father, Sanders Sylvester Rinehart, was the first of three generation Rinehart Elders of Sardis Church.   The second Elder was Eugene Sylvester Rinehart, the brother of Thomas Wister Rinehart.   The third Elder was Clifford Rinehart, son of Wister Rinehart.   Clifford Rinehart's grandson, Gene Brimingham, was also an Elder.

Elder Sanders Sylvester Rinehart died and left his land to three sons:   Eugene Sylvester, Wister and Lee.   Thomas Wister Rinehart was a deacon most of his life for Sardis Church.   He married Nettie Bell Palmer on the first Sunday in November 1900.   They were married in Elijah Palmer's home, Nettie Bell's father.   They were married 54 years.   Thomas Wister was
born June 9, 1881, and died February 21, 1959.   Nettie Bell was born January 22, 1881, and died September 4, 1954.   Wister and Nettie had 12 children:

Dora Lee, January 1, 1902; Flora Jane, August 20, 1903; Roy Sylvester, July 25, 1905; Clifford Palmer, March 9, 1907; Verona B., June 9, 1909; Ralph Lomax, March 13, 1913; Ollie Eunice, March 4, 1915; Infant (stillborn). October 10, 1917; Alice Marie, August 28, 1918; Audrey Mae, January 5, 1921; Evelyn, 1923; and James K. Vardeman, March 28, 1926.

Wister and Nettie believed in better churches, school and government.   They fed and clothed poor people.   They gave away more than most people had.   They taught their children by the Holy Bible.

Wister and Nettie were stepping stones of this area.   They enjoyed life.   Their home was always open to family relatives and church.   Wister had a new home built just before the depression, large enough to accommodate many people.   I remember one night we had 68 people for a church reunion.   Wister had a porch halfway around the house and many sermons were preached on it.   Nettie was an excellent cook and people, came to eat her good food.   The minister usually finished his sermon saying, "Come on all you people, go to Brother Rinehart's for food."   My memories of this home are all good.

Wister Rinehart was hired by the United States Government to help set up the AAA program. He was also a promoter for John Rankin to build the Tishomingo Water Ways.   He did not live to see it finished.

The three children living today, in 1998, are: Alice Rinehart Enis, Baldwyn, Mississippi; Audrey Rinehart Searcy, Enterprise, Alabama; and James K. Vardeman Rinehart, Tupelo, Mississippi.

**Submitted by Audrey Mae Rinehart Searcy

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