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BIOGRAPHY - John Leonard Yancey

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BIOGRAPHY - John Leonard Yancey

Posted: 3 Sep 2008 7:13PM GMT
Classification: Biography
Surnames: yancey
History of Cuba, Tennessee
by Shirley Chamberlain


The John Yancey family moved to Cuba [Tennessee] after the 1909 cyclone destroyed their home in Quito and were a part of the Cuba community for about thirty-five years. Their land which was originally owned by M.B. Alexander was bought by Robert I. Sigler but it is still referred to as the "Yancey place."

John Leonard Yancey (1855-1945) was born in Pontotoc County, Mississippi, the son of Rufus William Yancey and Martha Bernice Gailor. This family moved to Tipton County and settled in the Quito area. Some of John Yancey's brothers were Sam M. Yancey, who later became a minister and lived in Fayetteville, Arkansas; James R. Yancey of Marianna; and Ed Yancey, who lived in Memphis. His sisters included Zellah Yancey, who married Sam Williams; Lucy Ophelia Yancey, who married John W. McCormick of Memphis; Sarah Yancey, who married Isaac Vaughan and lived in Des Arc, Arkansas; and Martha Emma Yancey, who married the Reverend Tom Hood, a Methodist minister in Blytheville, Arkansas.

John Yancey married Mary Turner Rankin (1862-1941) on December 24,1885. They had seven children: Berniece, Blanche, Bliss, Berta, Anibel, Mary and Carolyn. John sold coffins in addition to farming and Blanche recalls that while a young boy, Bliss would sometimes be asked to get inside a casket to "measure it" for some parent who had lost a child about his size. The Yancey girls attended West Tennessee State Normal School and Blanche also attended the Normal School in Dickson.

In the 1909 cyclone the Yancey home was blown away with even the foundation uprooted. Mary, six years old, was blown several hundred yards and wasn't found until about four a.m. the following day. She was lying under a persimmon tree and remained unconscious for several days. The family remained on this place, living in tents with wooden floors, until the crop was harvested.

Yanceys Move To Cuba

John Yancey bought the Omega Branch place and moved to Cuba in September. He made additions to the home already there, as their five youngest children were still at home. He farmed while in the community and Mary was a talented seamstress. The family attended the West Union Cumberland Presbyterian Church, where John was an elder for more than fifty years. This couple celebrated their Golden Wedding Anniversary on Christmas Eve 1935, in the home of their daughter, Mrs. D.Z. Walker.
Berniece Yancey married Charles Edward Diehl and lived in Savannah, Atlanta, New York, and Oklahoma City, where he was employed as merchandise manager with various department stores. They returned to Memphis and lived on Overton Park Avenue for many years.

Blanche Yancey taught at Kerrville and was there when the 1909 cyclone hit. She married Douglas Zimmerman Walker who worked in the composing room of the Press Scimitar. They have two children. D.Z. Walker, Jr. married Ann Quimby and has two children, Cornell and Martha Ann. Martha Yancey Walker married Jack Bunn and has a son, Jesse Bunn, who is a reporter for the Press Scimitar. Blanche and Douglas live in Memphis.

William Bliss Yancey (1896-1981) returned from World War I and went to Mississippi County, Arkansas where he farmed for J.W. Spann. He married Elta Spann of Luxora and has a daughter, Mary Bliss. The Yanceys built a home on Blissful Farms, west of Marianna, where they had big house parties with guests from several states including the Rob Siglers and Jack Stewarts. Bliss also had a hunting lodge at Ripley, Mississippi, where he entertained his friends and such sports celebrities as Dizzy Dean and George Ke]l. After Eta Yancey's death in 1964, Bliss married Sara Sanford Hall and
lived in Ripley, Mississippi, the rest of his life.

Mary Bliss Yancey attended St. Mary's Episcopal School and Fairmont Junior College in Washington, D.C. She married Jerry Hicky of Forrest City and has two sons. Preston Gray Hicky graduated from the University of Sewanee and is an attorney in Forrest City. Bliss Yancey Hicky graduated from Washington and Lee and is with National Bank of Commerce in Memphis. Mary Bliss and Jerry live on Glad Acres Plantation near Marianna.

Berta Yancey (1898-1975) married James M. Northcross of Bailey on December 31,1919. They had three children: Mary Berniece, Claire and Anne. Mary Berniece Northcross married Earl Clark, Jr. and lives in Clarksville. Claire Yancey Northcross married Bill McLeese and lives in Denver, Colorado, with their son, Damon. Anne Taylor Northcross married James E. Price and lives in Tuscaloosa, where he works in the University of Alabama Hospital. Their children are William Northcross, Mary Lynn and John Templeman .

Anibel's Family In South America
Anibe1 Yancey graduated from Memphis State University and taught in Eads and Kerrville and at Gragg, Lausanne, and Presbyterian Day schools. She married Dewey Columbus Benson and lived in Barrancabermeja, Columbia, for four years while he was employed by Standard Oil Company. Upon their return to the states in 1934, they moved into the home at 535 South Prescott, where Anibel still lives. Their only child, Susanne Yancey Benson, and her husband, the Reverend James Millen Darnell, went to Equador, where they were Presbyterian missionaries. Their three children, Susanne Benson, Rachel Millen and James Millen, Jr., were all born there. The Reverend Darnell founded Farmington Presbyterian Church at Germantown in 1974, and is a minister there.

Mary Yancey graduated from Memphis State University and married Hubert M. Stokes of Memphis, an accountant with White MOlOr Company. He was transferred to Houston around 1937. Mary received her master's degree from the University of Houston and taught school for twenty-five years. She has been active in a number of clubs there. Mary and Hubert have one daughter, Carolyn Yancey Stokes, who married Clarke Foster and lives in Marshall, Texas. They have four children:
Hubert Wakefield, Alan Ambrose, Amanda Letitia and John Stokes.

Carolyn Yancey (1906-1966) graduated from West Tennessee State Teachers College and auended the University of Arkansas. She taught at Big Sandy: Moorhead Junior College in Mississippi; Jackson High School; and at Brighton. She taught home economics most of the time and was a home demonstration agent six years. Carolyn married Perry Magness Green, who was a tobacco and candy distributor to most Shelby County towns for thirty years. The three sons, John, Bill and Yanrey have continued to operate P.M. Green, Incorporated since their father's death.

John Bliss Green married Nancy Lynn Bailey and has two children, William Montgomery and Jamie Carolyn. William Perry Green married Harriet Jenkins. Their rhildren are Perry Jenkins and Mary ('.amlyn. Robert Yancey Green married Janke Simonton and has a son, Justin Andrew.

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