Perry Thomasson moved from Burnout area to Baker, Fla.

Published 7:33 pm Friday, June 19, 2020

The tenth child of Jefferson Sylvanus Thomasson and Rebecah Butler was born December 12, 1888, in the Heath community of Covington County and was named Perry Esker Thomasson. He was a brunette and favored the Butler side of the family more than most of his siblings who showed more Thomasson traits. He seemed to have inherited a pleasant, congenial disposition from his father. He was reared along with his siblings in a rural, farming environment and learned the various farming operations. When not working, he enjoyed the normal recreation activities available to boys in his neighborhood. 

When he was 22 years of age, Perry was married in 1911 to Sofia Cowline Williams, daughter of James Williams and Laura Virginia Berry. They settled near the Thomasson homeplace and reared their two children there. During those years, Perry, rented farmland from his oldest brother, Bud Thomasson, who owned the homeplace. He also worked some at Bud’s sawmill. He later purchased a farm of his own, but he continued to live near the homeplace. In later years, he became an old-fashioned “horse trader“ from which he had a substantial income. 

Perry and Sofia were blessed with two children, a son and a daughter: James Clifton, b. 1912, d. 1963, m. (1) Beatrice Wilson (1910-1933) (2) Mildred Geraldine Messick; and Gladys Mildred, b. 1918, m. Emory Elmer Messick. In fact, James Clifton and his sister, Gladys married brother and sister.

Perry was very family oriented, and all his relatives enjoyed his presence. They all enjoyed him being at the family get-togethers, and he had a gift of making anyone feel at ease and comfortable when visiting him in his home. His nieces and nephews especially enjoyed being around him and his jovial disposition. Some of them remembered Aunt Sofia also being enjoyable, but she also demanded respect of her house and especially her fine feather mattresses. No one was allowed to sit on the beds until time to sleep, and all children had to be bathed to sleep on her clean bedding. Sophia died in 1949 and was buried in the Veasey Cemetery. Before that time, Perry had lost his right leg below the knee due to an injury which never healed. He chose to get around on crutches rather than have an artificial leg.

The nieces and nephews also recalled that Uncle Perry had a pair of plier-like instruments that he called “pullicans.” He was often called upon to use these to pull the children’s loose teeth. Even though they feared the incident somewhat, Uncle Peery was tender with them and was able to accomplish the task without any significant pain.

Perry’s son, James Clifton Thomasson, was married first in 1929 to Beatrice Wilson, daughter of Joe Wilson and Libby Dunn. Beatrice died at the very young age of 23 years and having given birth to a son, James Arlis Thomasson, who was born physically handicapped in 1931. Beatrice was buried in the Mt. Gilead Baptist Church Cemetery near Rose Hill. A few years later, circa 1937, James Clifton was married to Mildred Geraldine Messick, daughter of Benjamin Houston Messick and Jessie Armetria Thomasson. Actually, Mildred was James’s first cousin, once removed. James and Mildred had one daughter, Carolyn Madonna, born 1944 in Eustis, Fla. She married in 1977 Ronald R. Stafford and they have two children: Alethia and Ronnie. She was later married to Mr. Rainwater.

Perry’s daughter, Gladys Mildred Thomasson, was married in 1946 in Dade City, Fla., to Emory Elmer Messick, son of Benjamin Houston Messick and Jessie Armetria Thomasson. That means they were first cousins, once removed. It also means the Thomasson brother and sister married the Messick brother and sister. Gladys and Elmer were the parents of two children: Joseph Esker, b. 1947, m. 1967 in Andalusia Theresa Ann Aubey; and Melba Willene, b. 1951, m. Douglas Michael “Mike” Kolmetz Sr.

Joseph Esker “Joe” Messick was married to Theresa Messick. Joseph worked as an electrician before he became disabled. He currently resides in Tellico, Tenn., with his son, Daniel. He and Theresa are the parents of three children: Joseph Paul, b.&d. 1970; Bryan Ashley, b. 1971, d. 2010, single; and Kimberly Ann, b. 1973, m. Richard Oakley. Joe divorced Theresa, and she later passed away. Joe was married second to Peggy Gilmore, but they later divorced.  They had a son, Joseph Daniel, b. 1991, who lives with his father. Upon Joseph becoming disabled, his daughter, Kim, and her family moved to Tennessee to help care for her father. Kim’s husband, Richard, works as an electrician, and Kim works as a waitress.

Melba was married to Douglas Michael “Mike” Kolmetz Sr., son of Rev. Thomas Victor Kolmetz and Agnes Jean Barnes. They are currently retired and make their home in Baker, Fla., where they reared their four children and lived near her parents. Mike Sr. retired from a career with U.S. Postal Service, and Melba worked for an attorney, but most of her experience was in the area of finance. They are the parents of four children: Douglas Michael Jr., b. 1974, m. Karla Otto; Adam Kaughburm, b. 1976, m. Lara Smith; Joshua Kaleb, b. 1978, m. Kristy Rytman; and Rebekah Miriam, b. 1981, m. Ryan Hardy.

The oldest son, Mike Kolmetz Jr., and his wife, Karla, reside in Lockhart, Ala. with their four children: Madelyn, Trey, Paris and Dalton. Mike is Manager of Postal Operations for the State of Alabama. He previously served as Postmaster of the Andalusia Post Office.

The second son, Adam Kolmetz, and his wife, Lara, live in Florence, Ala., with their two children: Adrienne and Lindsey. Adam works with the Social Security Administration there.

The third son, Josh Kolmetz, resides with his wife, Kristy, in Crestview, Fla., with their four children: Kaleb, Emma, Karson and Sophia. (Sophia is named for her maternal great grandmother, Sophia Thomasson.) Josh is a Doctor of Internal Medicine in Crestview.

The fourth child and only daughter, Miriam Kolmetz, married Ryan Hardy who is an attorney in Crestview. Miriam has worked for the past four years with Ryan, and she previously worked as an investment banker with Merrill Lynch. The couple reside in Holt, Fla., with their three children: Max, Stella and Scarlett. 

This family’s ancestor, Perry Esker Thomasson, loved his family and he especially enjoyed the children. He only had four grandchildren, two boys and two girls, so they were very special to him. The children called him Pa and were very fond of him. One granddaughter, Melba, remembers him well, because he lived for many years with her family. She recalled that at times her parents would not get something she wanted, but Papa would get it for her.  He also bought for her as well as her brother their first car.

Other relatives recalled the family gatherings each year on the second Sunday in December to celebrate his birthday, which was December 12. Many would gather at his home which was actually that of his daughter, Gladys, and her husband, Emory Messick, in Baker, Fla. Perry enjoyed a good life and lived to see his 93rd birthday.

The source for today’s story were the Thomasson Traces—Lineages, Vol. I and Thomasson Traces—Narrative, Vol. II. Anyone with questions is requested to contact this writer, Curtis Thomasson, at 20357 Blake Pruitt Road, Andalusia, AL 36420; 334-804-1442; or Email: