Biographical Sketch of Tillman and Sarah (Lovelace) McCarty
by F. M. Wiggins
When and from where Till and Sarah McCarty came to Mississippi is conjecture. Most early settlers in Mississippi came either from South Carolina, Georgia or Alabama. However, the records show that this couple lived in Neshoba County during their early married life. Some, if not all, of their children were born here. Willie Dawson married Tammie Brand, a Philadelphia girl, who died at first childbirth and was buried in Cedarlawn cemetery, Philadelphia, Miss. The marble slab marking her grave is broken where the birth and death dates are engraved and therefore, are not discernable.
Sometime in the late 80's Tillman and Sarah moved on westward to Sebastopol, a village in Scott County and operated a store for a time, later moving on westward to Fannin, Rankin County. Evidently, Mike and Willie Dawson went with them to Fannin or joined them later, since both married Fannin girls. Jim and Sis found mates in Scott County and settled in the Harperville area and raised large families. I the meantime, Venie married Nicolas Parkes of Neshoba County where the seven older children were born. In early 1891 the family moved to Fannin. Till McCarty had given Venie a place there provided they would move thereon.
The land around Fannin lay well but was hard to cultivate and wasn't very productive. The older Parkes boys were visiting their Uncle Worn Sanders in the Madden community in Leake County and saw that the land was much easier cultivated and was more productive than the Fannin dirt. They located a farm that could be bought for $1100.00. They thought it a good buy and told their father if he would buy that place they would stay with him and see it paid out. Venie sold her place in Fannin for $500.00 and applied the proceeds on the purchase. I have heard Mr. Parkes say that this was the best deal he ever made.
The following incident was told to me by an old Confederate comrade of Till McCarty, which is indicative of the nature of all the McCartys that I ever knew. A squadron of Confederate soldiers, as McDougal related, was dispatched on a foraging mission to recruit supplies. Till and McDougal left to guard camp. A squadron of Union calvarymen came galloping up and ordered Till and McDougal to surrender and stack arms. Till acted as spokesman and said, "Sure we surrender and will stack arms, and we'll go you one better. We offer you our sleeping quarters, (pointing to an abandoned farm house) but we make one simple request: Allow us to remove and bury a comrade who has just died with the smallpox."
The Union commander reigned his horse in the opposite direction and shouted to his men, "Follow me." Deception is hardly ever justified, but in this case I wouldn't charge Grand Papa McCarty with dishonesty and neither do I think he will have to answer to God in the hereafter. McDougal explained that there wasn't any man dead or alive in that house.