About our Ancestors

MARTHA NELSON PARKER BARNES 2013 REUNION - HOUSTON, TEXAS 2010 Reunion Committee Reflections 2010 Feedback and Comments About our Ancestors 2010 PHOTO GALLERY Memories are Forever Memory Lane Yesterday 2006 Roots in Louisville 2006 Roots in Louisville, page 2 2006 Roots in Louisville, page 3 REUNION 2006 2006 Photos HONORARY AWARDS 2007 Planning Committee for the 2007 REUNION Various Photos (including 2007 & 2010 Reunions) Reunion 2008 REUNION 2009 IN MISSOURI CITY TEXAS Reunion 2009, continued FAMILY OWNED BUSINESSES SEARCHING FOR OUR FAMILY MEMBERS 2007 REUNION IN SOUTH BEND Gravesite Information of Deceased Loved Ones IN LOVING MEMORY 2008 Family in the News 2009 & 2010 Reunion and Family News 2011 2012 Family News 2010 Brownsville, Tennessee-Labor Day 2012 Ripley, Tennessee-Labor Day 2015 Brownsville, Tennessee-Labor Day Blog Guest Book Reunion History What's New Reunion 2013 Roots 2012 Reunion - Louisville, KY 2012 Reunion- Louisville, KY 2013 Houston, Texas 2013 Houston, Texas 2014 Saint Louis, Missouri Contact Nelson Family Reunion 2016 Nelson Family Reunion 2016 Nelson Family Reunion 2016 In Loving Memory contd'


Martha Nelson was the daugher of  Leesville Nelson Lou Tyus Nelson.

Our great great grandfather and great great grandmother names were respectively George 1 and Dolly Parker Nelson who are the parents of Leesville Nelson (our great grandfather).  Thomas and Martha Lake Tyus are our great great grandfather and great great grandmother and were the parents of Lou Tyus Nelson our great grandmother.  In addition, Leesville Nelson was born 1857 in Henning, TN and died in Laudedale Cty, date of death-unknown.

The dominant tribes were Cherokee and Chiqua.  Chiqua were nomadic and Cherokee were highly educated tribes within entrepreneurial oriented communities.  They along with Jews were the dominant slave owners in western Tennessee prior to and after the arrival of our Great Great Grandparents in 1814. 

Martha Nelson had six brothers, John Robert Nelson. Leroy Nelson, George Thomas Nelson, Lonual Nelson, and Michael Van Nelson. She had two sisters, Novia Nelson and Lollie Nelson

Martha Nelson was first married to Dailey Parker.  They were married November 7, 1909 in Lauderdale County-Tennessee and from that union there were two children, James Lee Parker and Anna Lou Parker. Dailey Parker later changed his name to Daniel (after leaving the south).  Dailey Parker had three brothers:Earl Parker, Haskin Parker and Lionel Parker and one sister; Annie Parker whom later married a Essex Ward and became Annie Ward.  She lived to be in her 100th and received a birthday greetings from President LBJ.  She was also featured in the JET magazine in the 1960's.  She died in Chicago, Illinois.  Daniel Parker remarried to (Viola) there were no children from that union.

Martha Parker later remarried to George Washington Barnes and from that union there were six children, George Barnes Jr, Joseph Barnes, Josie Barnes, Henry Barnes, Rosa Lee Barnes, Amos Barnes. 


Reverend Lonual Nelson was the 12th pastor of the St. Matthew Missionary Baptist Church. Under his leadership St. Matthew was able to add a choir room,a pool to be baptized in so you wouldn't have to go down to the creek and be baptized. Also a Pastor Study was added. He was the principal of Palmer-Turner School.(Henning, TN) Nelson street in Ripley, TN was named in his honor. This street runs in front of the house that he once lived in.

Pastors in Ripley, TN today still quote Reverend Lonual Nelson during their sermons. He left a great legacy.


Writing Three Thank-You Letters

This November 24th is Thanksgiving Day . Post a famous article written by Alex Haley , he is an American writer

Writing Three Thank-You Letters

It was 1943, during World War II, and I was a young U. S. coastguardsman. My ship, the USS Murzim, had been under way for several days. Most of her holds contained thousands of cartons of canned or dried foods. The other holds were loaded with five-hundred-pound bombs packed delicately in padded racks. Our destination was a big base on the island of Tulagi in the South Pacific.

I was one of the Murzim’s several cooks and, quite the same as for folk ashore, this Thanksgiving morning had seen us busily preparing a traditional dinner featuring roast turkey.

Well, as any cook knows, it’s a lot of hard work to cook and serve a big meal, and clean up and put everything away. But finally, around sundown, we finished at last.

I decided first to go out on the Murzim’s afterdeck for a breath of open air. I made my way out there, breathing in great, deep draughts while walking slowly about, still wearing my white cook’s hat.

I got to thinking about Thanksgiving, of the Pilgrims, Indians, wild turkeys, pumpkins, corn on the cob, and the rest.

Yet my mind seemed to be in quest of something else — some way that I could personally apply to the close of Thanksgiving. It must have taken me a half hour to sense that maybe some key to an answer could result from reversing the word “Thanksgiving” — at least that suggested a verbal direction, “Giving thanks.”

Giving thanks — as in praying, thanking God, I thought. Yes, of course. Certainly.

Yet my mind continued turning the idea over.

After a while, like a dawn’s brightening, a further answer did come — that there were people to thank, people who had done so much for me that I could never possibly repay them. The embarrassing truth was I’d always just accepted what they’d done, taken all of it for granted. Not one time had I ever bothered to express to any of them so much as a simple, sincere “Thank you.”

At least seven people had been particularly and lastingly helpful to me. I realized, swallowing hard, that about half of them had since died — so they were forever beyond any possible expression of gratitude from me. The more I thought about it, the more ashamed I became. Then I pictured the three who were still alive and, within minutes, I was down in my cabin.

Sitting at a table with writing paper and memories of things each had done, I tried composing genuine statements of heartfelt appreciation and gratitude to my dad, Simon A. Haley, a professor at the old Agricultural Mechanical Normal College in Pine Bluff, Arkansas; to my grandma, Cynthia Palmer, back in our little hometown of Henning, Tennessee; and to the Rev. Lonual Nelson, my grammar school principal, retired and living in Ripley, six miles north of Henning.

The texts of my letters began something like, “Here, this Thanksgiving at sea, I find my thoughts upon how much you have done for me, but I have never stopped and said to you how much I feel the need to thank you — ” And briefly I recalled for each of them specific acts performed on my behalf.

For instance, something uppermost about my father was how he had impressed upon me from boyhood to love books and reading. In fact, this graduated into a family habit of after-dinner quizzes at the table about books read most recently and new words learned. My love of books never diminished and later led me toward writing books myself. So many times I have felt a sadness when exposed to modern children so immersed in the electronic media that they have little or no awareness of the marvelous world to be discovered in books.

I reminded the Reverend Nelson how each morning he would open our little country town’s grammar school with a prayer over his assembled students. I told him that whatever positive things I had done since had been influenced at least in part by his morning school prayers.
In the letter to my grandmother, I reminded her of a dozen ways she used to teach me how to tell the truth, to share, and to be forgiving and considerate of others. I thanked her for the years of eating her good cooking, the equal of which I had not found since. Finally, I thanked her simply for having sprinkled my life with stardust.

Before I slept, my three letters went into our ship’s office mail sack. They got mailed when we reached Tulagi Island.

We unloaded cargo, reloaded with something else, then again we put to sea in the routine familiar to us, and as the days became weeks, my little personal experience receded. Sometimes, when we were at sea, a mail ship would rendezvous and bring us mail from home, which, of course, we accorded topmost priority.

Every time the ship’s loudspeaker rasped, “Attention! Mail call!” two hundred-odd shipmates came pounding up on deck and clustered about the two seamen, standing by those precious bulging gray sacks. They were alternately pulling out fistfuls of letters and barking successive names of sailors who were, in turn, shouting back “Here! Here!” amid the pushing.

One “mail call” brought me responses from Grandma, Dad, and the Reverend Nelson — and my reading of their letters left me not only astonished but more humbled than before.

Rather than saying they would forgive that I hadn’t previously thanked them, instead, for Pete’s sake, they were thanking me — for having remembered, for having considered they had done anything so exceptional.

Always the college professor, my dad had carefully avoided anything he considered too sentimental, so I knew how moved he was to write me that, after having helped educate many young people, he now felt that his best results included his own son.

The Reverend Nelson wrote that his decades as a “simple, old-fashioned principal” had ended with schools undergoing such swift changes that he had retired in self-doubt. “I heard more of what I had done wrong than what I did right,” he said, adding that my letter had brought him welcome reassurance that his career had been appreciated.

A glance at Grandma’s familiar handwriting brought back in a flash memories of standing alongside her white rocking chair, watching her “settin’ down” some letter to relatives. Character by character, Grandma would slowly accomplish one word, then the next, so that a finished page would consume hours. I wept over the page representing my Grandma’s recent hours invested in expressing her loving gratefulness to me — whom she used to diaper!

Much later, retired from the Coast Guard and trying to make a living as a writer, I never forgot how those three “thank you” letters gave me an insight into how most human beings go about longing in secret for more of their fellows to express appreciation for their efforts.

Now, approaching another Thanksgiving, I have asked myself what will I wish for all who are reading this, for our nation, indeed for our whole world — since, quoting a good and wise friend of mine, “In the end we are mightily and merely people, each with similar needs.” First, I wish for us, of course, the simple common sense to achieve world peace, that being paramount for the very survival of our kind.

And there is something else I wish — so strongly that I have had this line printed across the bottom of all my stationery: “Find the good — and praise..