Family contact made after more than 100 years

From press reports


Winston Miles Hayes of Winston County Mississippi realized part of a dream comes true when she recently received a phone call from Patricia Vance of Brandon, MS. She had heard her grandmother and her father tell of her great Uncle Richard Nance, brother to her grandmother. He left Winston County in the early 1900’s seeking work. The family never heard from him again. In 2006, while recuperating from heart surgery, Winston, needing something to occupy her time that wasn’t physical, decided to explore her family tree on her grandmother Nance’s side. Her grandmother’s mother was Mary Jane Mayo, the eldest child of Stephen D. Mayo. Mary Jane Mayo married Richard Davner Nance, who was born and raised in Virginia. They had twelve children. Winston wrestled with the fact that she had no knowledge of Uncle Richard, his brother William, or his sister, Mollie, who married a Litchfield. However, she did find information on the rest of the family. She knew some of her grandmother’s sisters and two of her brothers and their families as she was growing up. When Patricia called her telling that she was a great granddaughter of Richard Nance, Winston’s great uncle, they really had a lively two-hour conversation since they were so elated over “finding” long lost cousins. Patricia’s aunt had died and left the family Bible to her. The margins and any available space were covered with facts concerning the Richard Nance family. Being very interested in family history and knowing nothing of her Nance connection, it was like a miracle to her. In this Bible, she found the name “Dinkie Nance” listed as a sister to Richard. Dinkie (her given name was Rebecca Jane) was Winston’s grandmother. She went on the Internet with that name and found a telephone number to call. (We are pretty sure it was Mary Kathryn White Johnson of Aurora, Colorado, since she had put the Mayo information on the Internet.) This lady gave her the telephone number of Inez Blaine, a sister to Winston, and Inez gave her Winston’s number as she had all the information on the family tree. They have had several phone conversations since that original call, but one day Patricia could stand it no longer. She gets in her vehicle and drives to Louisville, MS. Since Inez lives on the west side of town, that was her first stop. She and Inez travel on to Winston’s home in the Nanih Waiya community and it was just like a family reunion. Though this was their first time to meet, it seemed they had known each other all these years. After several hours of “catching up on family happenings” and sharing of photos, Patricia says it is time to go home, but you can believe she will be back, and they will notify more “cousins” so they can all meet and enjoy being with new-found “relatives”.

Winston relates that, “My grandmother and my father grieved over the lost connection with Richard, William, and Mollie. But back in those days, communication was practically nonexistent, especially for poor farmers. Nowadays, some of the younger generation does not know, and few of them care, about knowing who their ancestors were. However, amy parents and my grandmother, Dinkie, taught us about ours for which I am very thankful. Now if I could just get a lead on my Uncle William Nance and my Aunt Mollie Nance Litchfield, I would be very happy and so would Patricia. Also, we have nothing on my great grandmother, Mary Jane’s, sister, Frances Mayo, who married William T. Lindsey on the 26th of September, 1874, in Winston County Mississippi.”