2019 Stokes reunion honors Jim and Naomi (Stokes) Fuqua

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 6, 2019

The annual reunion of the descendants of Burrell Jackson Stokes and his wife, Cornelia Georgia (Hare), was held on Saturday, June 29, in the fellowship hall of the Cedar Grove Church of Christ, located on Brooklyn Road near Andalusia. The location is most appropriate in that Jackson and Cornelia established in 1916 the Cedar Grove congregation in their home, which was just east of Adellum Baptist Church on Chalk Hill.Jackson Stokes and Cornelia Hare were reared near Andalusia. His father, Absalom Lafayette Stokes moved his wife, Elizabeth (Jay) and their five children from Santa Rosa County, Fla., to a location near Andalusia. He and his first wife, Nancy Allene Adkinson, were married in Beaufort County, S.C., and had four children while living there: John William, born 1814; Wright Absalom, born 1816; Thursann, b. 1818; and Josiah Hampton, b. 1810. Sometime after the 1820 federal census, the family migrated to Walton County, Fla. After Nancy’s death circa 1850, Absalom married a young lady, Elizabeth Jay, whose family was neighbors. Absalom and Elizabeth had five children born to them in Walton and Santa Rosa Counties, Fla. They were Mary P., m. William “Bill” Fletcher; Matthew Wright, m. Olive Caton; Noah Stanton, m. Amelia Bledsoe; Burrell Jackson, m. Cornelia Georgia Hare; and Decatur, died young and single.This 2019 Stokes reunion specifically honored Burrell Jackson and Cornelia’s third daughter, Naomi “Oma” Cornelia Stokes, who married James Wesley “Jim” Fuqua, son of John Fuqua and Eveline Wishum of the Salem community. The children of Burrell Jackson and Cornelia Stokes include the following:   Lyda Mae, b. 1884, d. 1885; Wright Absalom, b. 1887, d. 1949, m. 1909 Minnie Lee Berta Rabren; Mary Delilah “Lila,” b. 1889, d. 1929, m. ca 1905 James Lafayette “Fate” Rabren; Leland Congdon “Lee,” b. 1891, d. 1949, m. 1909 Callie Alabama “Bama” Fuqua; Justice Lamar, b. 1893, d. 1966, m. 1914 Flossie Sweet Huggins; R.V., b. 1895, d. 1896; Matthew VanBuren “Math,” b. 1897, d. 1959, m. (1) ca 1916 Agnes Leona Eiland (2) Alma (Vaughn) Thompson; Phyllis, b. 1900, d. 1968, m. ca 1915 Emory E. Rabren; Naomi Cornelia, b. 1903, d. 1977, m. 1918 James Wesley “Jim” Fuqua; Ellie C., b. 1905, d. 1971, m. (1) ca 1923 Lenzy Lamar Pruitt (2) Lee Bennett Pope; and Eunice Eva Dell, b. 1907, m. (1) ca 1921 Virgil Gilmer (2) Wayne Hudgins. Naomi (Stokes) and Jim Fuqua resided most of their married life on Padgett Road which leads off Brooklyn Road south of Andalusia. Their house was to the side of Coker Mill Creek, and Jim operated a feed mill at the creek in addition to farming. He was also a talented wood craftsman from which he made useful items such as axe handles. Naomi was an active homemaker who enjoyed helping Jim and caring for their children. She was an active member of nearby Cedar Grove Church of Christ which her father helped establish. She is well remembered for reading and studying her Bible daily.  She had almost completed reading it through for the third time before her death.

Naomi and Jim were the parents of the following seven children: Beryl James, b. 1921, d. 1973, m. Mary Evelyn Brown; Lillian Cornelia, b. 1923, d. 2016, m. Loyce Vaughn (1919-1986); Elma Evelyn, b. 1925, d. 2016, m. 1941 Samford Kierce Barron; John Wesley “J.W.,” b. 1928, d. 2005, m. Jane King (1927-1986); Thomas Roland, b. 1932, d. 1994, m. Kathleen M. “Kay” ?; Jeff Hines, b. 1938, d. 2016, m. (1) Bessie Arlene Stinson (2) Madalyn (Turman) Hardy; and Naomi Kathryn, b. 1944, m. (1) William Feigh Brown (2) Fredrick “Freddie” Loftin. Kathryn Loftin is the only child surviving, and she and Freddie reside in Hope Hull/Pintlala community. All six of the other deceased children were buried in the Cedar Grove Church of Christ Cemetery. One may note that three of the siblings died with a few months of each other in 2016.

The 2019 family reunion followed the format of previous ones with attendees registering by ancestor and providing current contact information. The morning hours consisted of everyone visiting and viewing family photos and records, which consisted primarily of poster display boards designed by Mrs. James (Jan) Barron, photos lent by Kathy (Fuqua) Hardy, and a large photo album created by Sybil (Stokes) Nall, one of only three surviving grandchildren of Burrell Jackson and Cornelia (Hare) Stokes. A colorful potted plant provided by Hazel (Goodman) McClain adorned the registration table.

Around noon, Curtis Thomasson, great grandson of Burrell Jackson Stokes, made announcements and gave instructions for the upcoming meal. After welcoming everyone, he explained the displays and appealed for someone who might make a painting of the Stokes family crest for use at future reunions. He also suggested a quilted wall-hanging of the crest would be a valuable item for the family heritage collection. He also encouraged everyone to save family memorabilia and bring to future reunions for all to enjoy. Afterwards, he called upon Benjie Nall, another great grandson, to voice an invocation before the meal.

The Stokes clan is known for good cooking and eating. The abundant meal was prepared and brought by the attendees. One custom of the occasion is recognizing an especially tasty dish.  This year the award, a cookbook, went to Mrs. Danny (Kathy King) Little for her Blueberry Delight, for which she used a recipe from Danny’s mother, Lurlie Rae (Stokes) Little. Several other dishes were also praised.

Following the meal, the program for the occasion was begun by introducing those in attendance, which was approximately 75 persons, by family line, or the children of Burrell Jackson. As is usually the case, Lamar and Flossie Stokes were represented by the most descendants present. Others represented Lee and Bama Stokes, Jim and Naomi Fuqua, Matthew and Agnes Stokes, Lila and Fate Rabren and Ellic and Linzy Pruitt. Two special guests were Clyde Stokes, a Stokes family researcher from Jacksonville, Fla., and Frances (Palmer) Ptomey, a relative to the Matthew Stokes family, along with her care-giver.

Recognition and gifts were given to the following: Frances Ptomey for being the oldest present at 91 years of age; Landry Rigdon, two-year old son of Russell and Loren Rigdon, and Mrs. David (Linda Stokes) Hinson of Augusta, Ga., who had traveled the farthest. Cathy Little was mentioned earlier as having the favorite dish.

The next part of the program was the viewing of a power-point slide show of Naomi and Jim Fuqua, their children and families, and the grandchildren and families. A narration accompanied the show which shared a brief history of each family and identified each descendant. Appreciation was expressed to all in attendance, those who provided pictures and displays, and those who brought the delicious food.  All agreed it was a most enjoyable reunion of close kinsmen.

Anyone who might have a question or comment regarding the reunion activities is requested to contact this writer, Curtis Thomasson, a Stokes descendant, at 20357 Blake Pruitt Road, Andalusia, AL 36420; 334-804-1442; or Email: cthomasson@centurytel.net.