Karen Mabry Rice
Why am I the Archives Coordinator and the Listowner for Union Parish? I never lived there a day in my live. I visited there 3 times in my live – twice as a young kid, and once as a young adult.
Those visits as a kid were wonderful. I visited with my great uncles, Lucien and Ernest Coplen (Copeland) – both of whom lived in a dogtrot cabin out in the woods. I got to go to a big white clapboard schoolhouse with my cousin Jeanette Long at Farmerville. It was May and it was hot, and I was wishing I was outside running down the dusty street barefooted. My southern roots run deep.
My g-g-g-g-g-g-grandfather came from Ireland to S. Ca. He was a wagonmaker, and they called him (oddly enough) “Wagonmaker Billy Moore”. He’s the progenitor of the Moore family of Union Parish – George Washington Moore, Richard Tubb Moore, et al. Most of them are buried at Shiloh.
My g-g-grandfather Thomas S. Cook owned a carriage manufactory in Milltown, AL before the Civil War. One of his young apprentices was William Pierce Mabry. He built wagons, too.
His son, my grandfather, who married two wives in Union Parish before moving to Texas, then Oklahoma, worked with wood too. He made cabinets some, but mainly he made coffins. Most of the people in the little tiny cemetery near what is now almost a ghost town called Elmer, OK are buried in coffins made by my grandfather.
I have a big old wooden chest of tools used to a a well-worn sheen by him and William P. Mabry, and for all I know, Thomas S. Cook. I love to work with wood, too. It pleases my hands and my soul.
That’s a few of the many reasons my heart lingers in Union Parish – what are your?