Thursday, June 19, 2008

Papa Isam and his Black Horse

My paternal great-grandfather was Isam (Isham)Hines. He was the son of David and Mariah Pressley Hines and father to my grandmother Bessie Hines.

He was born and raised in and around Frierson, Louisiania in DeSoto Parish. He was one of at least 9 children so he was surrounded by a lot of family. His siblings Arthur, Bell, Phillice, David, Maria, Maria(Mariah), Mary and Richard.

As well, he had a big extended family as the Hines in Desoto Parish were and still are plentiful since his father, David also came from a big family and they all resided in that same community.

His maternal grandparents, the Pressleys also lived there. They were Stephen and Phyllis Pressley.

He met and married, Cornelia Jefferson Hines, the daughter of Issac and Jane Brayboy Jefferson. By all accounts, she was a tall, beautiful and strong woman. The 2 had 6 children together. She and Isam eventually parted ways but remained friends.

I never met my great-grandpa Isam but heard a lot about him from my father and other relatives. He was described as a very smooth dark-skinned man with the genes of Mother Africa definitely flowing through his blood. He was the darkest shade of ebony. His wife on the other hand, was very fair because of her african/native american and caucasian genes.

Isam and Cornelia were the parents of Bessie Hines Burney, Nelvin Hines Fuller, Jane Hines, Moeis Hines, Edward L.(Erascus) Hines and Mary Hines. As well, Cornelia had another daughter, Viola Nickleberry Henderson.

He later married a woman by the name of Sicily (Cecily). They resided primarily in the Shreveport area. On the 1930 census, he is listed as a Cotton Farmer and his 9 year grandson, Tom Fuller, the son of his daughter, Nelvin was residing with them.

The story that sticks out the most about Papa Isam is that he loved to ride his black horse, often even after nightfall came. One relative, Eliza Martin recalled that as a young girl, she would often see my dark-skinned Papa riding that black horse, at night with black clothing sometimes with a bottle of moonshine in hand at the end of a hard-day's labor. She remembered looking out the window and only seeing a streak pass as he galloped across land. She also shared that after he passed on that she would still see him streak across the acres on his black horse and say to her parents, "I just seen Papa Isam on his black horse," while they assured her that it was only "a little girl's imagination."

He passed on to glory on April 30, 1947. As said before, I never got the chance to met him but his memory has lived on trhough his children, grandchildren and other relatives who lovingly remembered him.

To Papa Isam:

Strong Black Nubian Prince, perched upon his black horse
Ride, ride until the sun sets and you finish your course
Ride high, ride proud, until the Lord calls your name
And you prance away, prance away & victory's proclaimed

Love always, Your great-grand-daughter, Karen Burney

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