Nix family moves from Oakey Streak to Andalusia, Ala.

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 24, 2019

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Nix Family moves from Oakey Streak to Andalusia, Ala.

Since there are additional data available on the Nix family featured in last week’s column, today’s story will be a further look at some descendants. The primary focus will be on Emmitt Ezra Nix who became a well-known photographer in Andalusia and Covington County, Ala.

During the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s especially, Emmitt Nix moved around the area photographing many people, from infants to the elderly. He often would pursue his hobby on Sunday afternoons when the folks were most often wearing their “Sunday best.” Naturally, he had many to pose around his home church, Bethel A.M.E. Quite often he would just walk around his community and snap shots of anyone who might be interested.

Emmitt considered himself an amateur photographer, but his popularity earned him the name of “The Picture Man.”  Taking pictures was an avid hobby of his, but he did confess it was a small way of earning a little extra on the side. He might charge from five to 30 cents per picture. He used many cameras, but only two of those have survived. Since he used a large sized film and negatives, he had to seek shops that were capable of developing them. He once worked for Watson Studios of Andalusia and made a deal with the owner to help with the supplies he needed.

It is historically significant that between 1935 and 1958, Emmitt captured a valuable view of the lives of black people in his community. The pictures were of people, young and elderly, wearing casual to dressy clothing. A special project was photographing local baseball players who were members of the Andalusia Dodgers, a Negro league team.

Sadly, his descendants, especially Joe Nix, have many pictures of individuals that no one has been able to identify to date. Joe continually seeks help from local citizens to see if they might be able to help with identifications.

In considering Emmitt Ezra Nix’s genealogy, some of it was included in last week’s column. He descends from Charlotte Nix who was a slave to the white Nix family in the Oakey Streak community. Upon her receiving her freedom, she chose the surname of her former master. Her second son, Cary Nix (1849-1927), became the father of Sylvester Nix (1884-1961) who was married to Gatsie Cauley (1886-1968). They were the parents of Emmitt Ezra Nix.

Sylvester Nix and his wife, Gatsie Cauley Nix, moved to Andalusia to become sharecroppers They eventually made their home on Bellevue Street, which later became Nix Drive. They were the parents of the following children: Clara, b. 1906, d. 1918, single; Comer, b. 1908, d. 1937, m. Mahaley Davis; Minnie V., b. 1910, d. 1925, single; Emmitt Ezra, b. 1912, d. 1996, m. Era Mae Bone (1923-2019); Susie, b. 1915, m. Willie Robertson; Benjamin Franklin, b. 1917, d. 1918 as infant; Ester, b. 1920, d. 1989, m. L.C. Daniels (d. 1969); and Mary O, b. 1923, d. 1961, m. Fletcher “T.” Bennett Jr.

The fourth child was Emmitt Ezra Nix, born August 31, 1912. He was married in Butler County, Ala., on December 24, 1943, to Era Mae Bone, and they made their home on Henderson Street in Andalusia. Era Mae was the daughter of Herman Bone and Ella Harris of Butler County. They were the proud parents of the following children: Mary Lois, b. 1945, m. Jerome Harper; Benjamin Ezra, b. 1947, m. Geraldine Jackson (b. 1949); Bruce Lester, b. 1949, m. Linda Marie Frazier (b. 1945); Dorothy Mae, b. 1953, m. Nelson Curtis III; Joe Ann, b.&d. 1955; Joecephus “Joe,” b. 1957, m. Annie Bradshaw (1960-1994); and unnamed infant. The second oldest son, Bruce Lester Nix, became a minister of the gospel. The youngest son, Joe Nix, although retired now, worked for the City of Andalusia and has been involved in a number of projects. He is currently working to preserve his father’s photography work. His father, Emmitt, became quite influential in the Andalusia area, especially among the black community.

Emmitt’s daughter, Susie Nix, was married to Willie Robertson. They were the parents of one son, Richard Robertson, who was born in 1943. He became the long-tenured and very successful basketball coach at Andalusia High School. He only retired in recent years and had the honor of being the faculty member who had taught the greatest number of years. He was married to Ethel Louise Miller, who was a secretary at Andalusia Middle School for many years. She passed away a few years ago. They are the parents of two daughters, Valarie Michelle and Maranda who married Broderick Kirksey.

Emmitt’s daughter, Ester Nix, was married to L.C. Daniels. They were the parents of two sons: Comer Charles, m. (1) Annie Claude Akins (2) Delores Davis (3) Sharon Kay Ward: and John Henry, m. Annie Ruth Anderson. Comer Charles and Annie Daniels were the parents of four children: Robin Regina, Dexter Derell, Malcomb and Valorie Denise. Comer Charles and Delores were the parents of two children: Jocquline and Kee Kee. Comer Charles and Sharon Kay were the parents of a son, Sherod. Ester’s son, John Henry Daniels, and his wife, Annie Ruth, were the parents of the following six children: Hiram Brando; Reginald; Rodney, m. Reba Ann Robertson (b. 1955); Jason; April; and unknown.

Emmitt’s daughter, Mary O. Nix, was married to Fletcher “T.” Bennett Jr. They were the parents of two daughters: Betty, m. Colin James; and Frances, b. 1945, m. Jim Stallworth. Betty and Colin James were the parents of two children: Benji and April. Frances and Jim Stallworth were also the parents of two children, Cashius and Darren.

Since a significant amount of information on Emmitt Nix’s involvement in the Andalusia area and his numerous contributions to the well-being of the community, he will be featured in an additional column to be published next week.

The primary source for today’s genealogy and history are the family records of Emmitt Ezra Nix’s son, Joe Nix. A couple of stories published in the Andalusia Star-News and written by Eugene Smith in February 1997 and January 22, 1999, were also helpful. Joe would very much appreciate anyone who might help him identify any of the unnamed photos taken by his father.

Anyone that might find an error in the above is encouraged to contact this writer, Curtis Thomasson, at 20357 Blake Pruitt Road, Andalusia, AL 36420; 334-804-1442; or Email:


The Covington Historical Society is sponsoring a special community-wide event under the direction of Sue Bass Wilson. The occasion will be the first official Bi-Centennial event in Andalusia and is endorsed by the Alabama Bi-Centennial Commission. The program will be an “Old School Sing-a-Long,” which will be held in the Andalusia City Hall auditorium at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, August 29. Everyone is encouraged to attend and enjoy the special entertainment including local talent.