2016 Stokes reunion features Lamar Stokes family

Published 1:35 am Saturday, July 2, 2016

The annual Burrell Jackson Stokes Family Reunion was held on Saturday, June 25, 2016, in the fellowship hall of Cedar Grove Church of Christ, located on Brooklyn Road, Andalusia, Ala. The children and later descendants of Justice Lamar and Flossie (Huggins) Stokes, the second oldest son of Burrell Jackson Stokes and his wife, Cornelia Georgia (Hare), were featured in the family history celebration.

Hazel (Goodman) McClain, granddaughter of Justice Lamar Stokes and resident of Andalusia, made arrangements for the gathering and produced a slide-show presentation of family history for the honorees. The decorations were exceptional with family pictures, lineage notebooks and scrapbooks and other items of interest displayed on tables covered with black cloths over white skirts. The individual tables were adorned with wooden flowers arranged in “fruit” jars placed on crocheted doilies, typical of those made by the older generations such as Flossie Stokes.

As relatives arrived they registered to provide records of attendance and provide current contact information. They donned a name tag and then viewed the items on display and fellowshipped with one another. An ongoing effort was made to collect additional family history and genealogy.

An abundant feast featuring family favorites and Southern dishes was enjoyed following announcements and an invocation by Wayne Goodman, elder in Opelika Church of Christ and grandson of Lamar Stokes. A prize was given to Ginger Buskirk for bringing the best desert and one to Elizabeth Coxwell, granddaughter of Lamar Stokes, for her fried okra, which was named the best other dish.

Hazel McClain, presented a history of the family of Lamar and Flossie Stokes using a slide show of photographs. She covered Lamar’s Stokes ancestry and then focused on Lamar and Flossie and their children and grandchildren. Other family members shared special memories of the couple. Sybil (Stokes) Nall, the only living child of the couple talked about her loving parents. She praised her father for his Christian example and leadership at Cedar Grove Church of Christ. She stressed how good her father was to the family and what an excellent cook he was. For many years he operated the Stokes Café on South Three-Notch Street and later helped cook for his daughter, Lurlie Rae Little’s, Little Kitchen, which was located across the highway from the earlier café.

Sybil Nall’s son, Benjie Nall, of Montgomery shared some of his memories of his grandparents. He mentioned how he was often with Papa Stokes and how much he learned from him, even how to “cut up a chicken” when he was quite young. He pointed out how his Great Grandfather Burrell Jackson Stokes, helped established the Cedar Grove Church of Christ in his home and how Lamar was a leader there as well. He challenged those present to continue this legacy and to be good emulators of their ancestor’s faith and example.

A granddaughter, Renee (Little) Gardner, also shared loving thoughts of her grandparents. She related how kind they were and shared a testimony of their exceptional hospitality for which they are still remembered. Once when Renee and her family were in Huntsville, they heard a preacher, Hank Tankersly, of Louisiana describe a great example of the warmest hospitality he had ever experienced. He mentioned how the couple had so warmly welcomed and entertained him in their humble home. Renee approached him, and they agreed it had to have been Lamar and Flossie Stokes.

At the conclusion of the program, Hazel McClain, with the assistance of her daughter, Amy, and granddaughter, Payton, presented hand-made door prizes to several individuals: Joe Nall, oldest male present and Virginia (Garrett) Hicks who is the oldest female, but not present; those named above who cooked the favorite dishes; Alisfair Griggs for being the youngest boy present and Aslyn Pace, youngest girl present; several for answering family trivia questions, and several whose names were drawn from containers decorated in Alabama-Auburn décor.

Some of the genealogy of the Lamar Stokes family will be outlined from this point. Justice Lamar Stokes, the son of Burrell Jackson Stokes and Cornelia Georgia (Hare), was the grandson of Absalom Lafayette Stokes and his second wife, Elizabeth (Jay). Absalom was born circa 1790 in Beaufort District, S.C. Although unproven, he appears to be the son of David Stokes and Millen (Blount). Absalom was first married in South Carolina to Nancy Allene Adkinson with whom he had four children: John William, Wright Absalom, Thursann and Josiah Hampton. After Nancy died circa 1850, Absalom was married in 1852 to a much younger lady, Elizabeth Jay.

Absalom and Elizabeth had the following five children born in Santa Rosa County, Fla., before the family moved to Covington County, Ala., during the 1860s: Mary, m. Wm. Fletcher; Matthew Wright, m. Olive Caton; Noah Stanton, m. Amelia Bledsole; Burrell Jackson, m. (1) Cornelia Georgia Hare (2) Dora Harper (3) Tempie (Brownlee) Hughes; and Decatur who died young.

The third son, Burrell Jackson Stokes, and his wife, Georgia Cornelia, reared the following children: : Lydia May, b. 1884, d. 1885; Wright Absalom, b. 1887, d. 1949, m. Minnie L. Rabren; Mary Delilah, b. 1889, d. 1929, m. James LaFayette “Fate” Rabren; Leland Congdon, b. 1891, d. 1949, m. Callie Alabama “Bama” Fuqua; Justice Lamar, b. 1893, d. 1966, m. Flossie Huggins; R.V., b. 1895, d. 1896; Matthew VanBuren, b. 1897, d. 1959, m. (1) Agnes Leona Eiland (2) Alma (Vaughn) Thompson; Ollie Phyllis, b. 1900, d. 1968, m. Emory Rabren; Naomi Cornelia, b. 1903, d. 1977, m. James Wesley Fuqua; Ellie C., b. 1905, d. 1971, m. (1) Lenzy Lamar Pruitt (2) Lee Bennett Pope ; and Eunice Eva Dell, b. 1907, m. (1) Virgil Gilmer (2) Wayne Hudgens.

The third son, Justice Lamar Stokes, is the one who was featured at the 2016 reunion. Lamar and his wife, Flossie, resided in the Cedar Grove community on Brooklyn Road and on the south side of Andalusia. They reared the following children: Lydia Faye, b. 1915, d. 1953, m. (1) J.P. Garrett (2) Arthur Bray Goodman (1913-1991); Lurlie Rae, b. 1917, d. 2006, m. (1) Duncan Little (1914-1974) (2) Van Pruitt; Annie Maude, b. 1919, d. 1989, m. Joseph Richard “Joe” Griggs; Justice Brooks, b. 1922, d. 1984, m. Eula C. (Stanley) Pruitt (1922-1993); and Sybil Lenelle, b. 1933, m. Joseph “Joe” Nall.

The oldest child, Lydia Faye Stokes, and her husband, Arthur Goodman, had the following children: Flossie Elizabeth, m. Jimmy Coxwell; Arthur Wayne, m. Ginger Buskirk; Columbus “Lum” Justice, m. Brenda Franklin; Hazel Lenelle, m. Benjamin Jackson “B.J.” McClain; and Faye Elaine, m. Henry Greenhill. Lurlie Rae (Stokes) and Dunkin Little reared the following: Cullen Stokes, m. Virginia Prince; Renee, m. Don Gardner; Jimmy Lamar, m. Ellen Pruitt; and Burl Daniel “Danny,” m. Helen Katherine King. Annie Maude (Stokes) and Joe Griggs reared Richard, m. Faye Grimes; Thornton, m. Jeanette ? (2) Eleanor Williamson; Lavon, m. Dorothy ?; Johnny Lamar “J.L.,” m. Diane ?; Kenneth; and Billy Joe, m. Frances Weaver. Brooks Stokes and Eula C. (Stanley) reared Kenneth “Buddy” Pruitt-Stokes, Peggy, m. Jim Smith; Diane; and Denny. Sybil Lenelle (Stokes) and Joe Nall reared Benjie, m. Kim; and Beverly, m. Mark Pace.

Lamar and Flossie have many grandchildren, great grandchildren and even several great, great grandchildren. Their lives have truly been blessed.

Anyone who has a question regarding this writing is requested to contact this writer, Curtis Thomasson, at 20357 Blake Pruitt Road, Andalusia, AL 36420; 334-804-1442; or Email: cthomasson@centurytel.net.


The Covington Rifles Camp of the Sons of Confederate Veterans will meet at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 7, in the Dixon Memorial Room of the Andalusia Public Library. Anyone interested in Confederate heritage or in becoming a member is encouraged to attend.