The Conners

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The Conners- Family History & Their Connection To The Vaughns

The history of the Conner family in east Mississippi began with two brothers named James W. and Joseph Warren Conner. They were born in Alabama of a father who had been born in Kentucky and a mother from Tennessee. As late as 1850 both James and Warren were still living in Pickens County, Alabama. Warren was living in his parents' home and James had his own house nearby for himself and his wife, Eliza Ann, and their first two children. James' marriage sometime in the mid-1840's began the Conner's interweaving with the Vaughn family. His wife Ann Carnop was a sister to Mary Carnop Vaughn who married James Vaughn and moved to Mississippi in 1833.


      Sometime between 1850 and 1854, both Conner brothers moved to Kemper County in Mississippi.  It is possible that James had visited his Vaughn in-laws and liked the rich, beautiful land that he saw there.  And Warren soon followed in his big brother's footsteps.  One of the beautiful things that Warren found in Mississippi was a young lady named Elizabeth Vaughn, first child of James and Mary.  Warren and Elizabeth soon married and began their own family, thus strengthening the Vaughn connection.  By 1860 Warren had obtained forty acres of land for a home and he and Elizabeth had two sons named John and James.  Unfortunately, fate in the form of the Civil War took a hand.  In September, 1863, Warren enlisted in the 26th Mississippi Infantry Regiment, Company E.  Whether he volunteered or was drafted will probably never be known.  The war had been going on for almost two and a half years and Warren was almost forty years old.  The unit was in Jackson, Mississippi, at that time doing recruiting duty.   However, in early 1864 they were ordered north to become a part of Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia.  Shortly after taking part in the fighting at Cold Harbor, Warren became ill and was admitted to Howard's Grove hospital in Richmond.  His military records show that he died there of disease on June 27, 1864.  He is buried at Oakwood Cemetery in Richmond, Virginia.  It was a sad end to Elizabeth and Warren's life together.  However, their sons have a number of descendants in east central Mississippi and a number of other states to this day.

        With his brother gone, James W. Conner became the sole head of the Conner family in Mississippi. James was born in 1818, so perhaps his age prevented him from being required to serve in the military; anyway, there is no record of any service. Shortly after arriving in Kemper County, James and Ann acquired a parcel of land south of Dekalb, Mississippi. It was soon known as the Conner farm and it indeed was probably an ideal place for a good farm. The land was gently rolling with a good water supply and rich soil. James built a house for his expanding family and began to clear the land for crops. During her lifetime Ann gave birth to twelve children and although four of them died as babies or while quite young, there was more than enough to keep her busy from daylight to dark. While the farm and the children kept the couple busy all week, another important thing in their lives was the church. Although it was several miles away and travel was by wagon only, James and Ann became devout members of the Antioch Baptist church that James and Mary Vaughn had helped to found.

     James and Ann raised three sons and five daughters to adulthood and almost all of them spent some time living with their families on the farm or nearby. Eventually two of their daughters married two of James and Mary Vaughn's sons. And when Ann died in the very early 1900's, the farm passed to her daughter, Wineford Conner Vaughn.

     It seems apparent that James and Ann loved their farm very much. While others moved around, they always stayed on the farm. And they still rest there today. Probably at some time when a baby or young child died, James and Ann decided on a spot on their farm for a family cemetery. They are buried there with four or five of their children, at least three and possibly four grandchildren, and one daughter-in-law. It is a beautiful spot and I would like to tell you about it.
The Conner Cemetery
     Late in 2010 a great grandson of James and Ann Conner began with the help of his wife to do research on the Conner family. Early on, they found a reference to the old Conner Cemetery and the more they thought about it, the more they wanted to see it. The only information they had was that it was on the old Conner farm two miles south of Dekalb, Mississippi. One of the things that made this search more difficult was that this couple did not live in Mississippi, so research and actually going into the woods to search required a fairly long trip for them.

     Early in their search a sad event, a Conner funeral, gave this descendant a chance to talk to cousins, hoping to find someone who knew where the cemetery might be. Some had never heard of it; some had heard of it, but had no idea where it was. Eventually at another time three people were found who said they had seen the cemetery, but so many years before that they could not remember how to find it. A trip to the court house proved fruitless in locating the farm. Eventually though, this great grandson and his wife discovered the general area where the farm had been located. Many months of phone calls and staring at Google Earth on the computer and theorizing and trips to Mississippi followed. Then early in the morning on June 1, 2011, this senior couple arrived for yet another few hours of tramping through the woods to look for the cemetery. And by shortly after 8:00 that morning, they found themselves standing in the old Conner cemetery. When they saw the first tombstone, their feelings were too deep to try to describe and there were some tears that flowed.

     Six weeks later the couple returned accompanied by their youngest son. They came prepared to work and the great-great grandson brought and put into place a granite marker that says, "Conner Cemetery." So 150 years from now if someone stumbles onto this peaceful spot, they will know that they are looking at the old Conner cemetery. It is the resting place for Conners, a Dansby granddaughter, and at least three Vaughn grandchildren. It is surrounded on all four sides by deep woods, most of it old growth timber. Perhaps there might even be some old trees there that started their growth in the time of James and Ann Conner. To the people who have seen it, it is a blessed and lovely place.

     The photos show the cemetery on the day it was finally found and a few weeks later when it had been cleaned out. There also is a photo of the tombstone of James W. Conner.

Information Resource:  The Conner History submitted by Rochelle Higginbotham, Tennessee