Tuesday, September 1, 2009

STORIES TOLD IN STONE: Rome and Sarah Gilliland

Grave markers for ROME GILLILAND, SARAH GILLILAND, and SARAH J. GILLILAND at New Hope Cemetery, Parham, Monroe County, Mississippi

by Terry Thornton
email: hillcountrymonroecounty@gmail.com

There are three grave markers in New Hope Cemetery presented in this report. All three markers are in Section C and are found at site numbers 92, 93, and 96. The burials are from about seventy years ago and the three stones tell only a portion of who the individuals were, their names, relationships, or, in fact, if the stones are for three or for only two persons. The stories told on these stone can only be read by a study of the census reports.

In preparing a report [for later here at Hill Country HOGS WebPress] on my father's good friend, the late GURLEY WEBSTER GILLILAND of Splunge, Monroe County, Mississippi, I found, like other researchers, that I also had difficulty following this surname in the census records because of various spellings --- GILLILAND, GILLIAND, and/or GILLEYLEN.

Eventually, however, the census reports lead me to ROME and SARAH GILLILAND, Gurley's parents. There the problem was compounded by various given names and nicknames and spellings in the census index. ROME GILLILAND, I learned, is the same as GREENBURY JEROME, GREENBERRY JEROME, and even GREENBENIC B. GILLILAND of the U.S. Census reports of 1880,1900, and 1910 and the indexes for those reports on Heritage Quest.

From other sources I learned that GREENBURY JEROME GILLILAND married SARAH BIRD/BYRD and that she died in 1938.

Once I figured out the names for Gurley's parents, I then went to my personal files and started looking for information ---- and on the New Hope Cemetery CD I found these three grave marker listings for Rome, Sarah, and Sarah J. Gilliland:

C092s, GILLILAND, Rome, August 3 1858, April 17 1940, img 3717
C093s, GILLILAND, Sarah, April 30 1865, April 17 1938, img 3716
C096s, GILLILAND, Sarah J., April 30 1864, April 17 1938, img 3719

Following the photographic links to my account at flicker, I then obtained copies of the three markers referenced above. Below are slightly cropped versions of those three markers (click images for a larger view).

The markers for Sarah and Sarah J. Gilliland are for the same person although there is a difference in the birth year. It is believed that these two markers are for SARAH J. BIRD/BYRD GILLILAND, wife of GREENBERRY JEROME GILLILAND.

The marker for Rome Gilliland is for GREENBERRY JEROME GILLILAND, son of AMOS P. GILLILAND and HARRIETT GILLILAND of Marion County, Alabama.

Names on grave markers can be incomplete and confusing to researchers many decades after the names are chiseled on stones. When nicknames are used the problem is compounded; when more than one marker is found for an individual with conflicting dates, more problems are created. And when the census index has a variety of spellings and names for an individual, researchers have even more problems sorting it all out.

If you have information about GREENBERRY JEROME "Rome" GILLILAND and his wife SARAH J. BIRD GILLILAND, why not leave a comment below or send an email. Various researchers are trying to sort out the GILLILAND/GILLIAND/GILLEYLEN family groups of the Hill Country and any help you can offer will be most appreciated.

Watch for an article here soon about one of Greenberry's sons, Gurley Gilliland. His tracking in the census is compounded by the additional problem of an enumerator listing him as female in on a census report!


GILLILAND burial information and photographs of burials makers from New Hope Cemetery, a weblog CD by Terry Thornton.

GILLILAND family census information from U.S. Census reports for 1880 and 1900, Marion County, Alabama; 1900 Lamar County, Alabama; 1910 and 1920, Monroe County, Mississippi. Available on Heritage Quest through the Itawamba-Lee County (Mississippi) Library.

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