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More about Miss Mollie

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Last week’s column ended with Miss Mollie Gray scolding some boys for taking young Rupert Peyton’s hat from him. Peyton continued his article in The Plain Dealing Progress issue of April 11, 1947 by revealing that the experience was his introduction to Miss Mollie.

“My rural timidity prevented proper expression of thanks, but inside I was a very grateful boy. The years that have passed since that event have deepened my appreciation of this grand old lady and, come next Sunday, April 13, I expect to join with a throng of relatives and friends in paying homage to her on her 85th birthday. In honor of the occasion, all of Mrs. Gray’s children and grandchildren will hold open house for her at the home of her son and daughter-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. Robert H. Curry, 202 Preston Avenue, from three to five p. m. All of Mrs. Gray’s friends are invited to this informal affair. Of course, if they all come it will take special trains and buses to transport them.”

“Mrs. Gray was born at Mount Holly, Ark., the daughter of Rev. A. R. and Mary Fitzhugh Banks. Her father was a pioneer Presbyterian minister in the South and delivered the first Presbyterian sermon in Shreveport more than a century ago. He served for 25 years as pastor at Rocky Mount and also founded the Cottage Grove Church near Benton, which he also served. He was a noted scholar in Greek and Hebrew and although not a lawyer, assisted his friends in preparing legal documents in his time. His mother was a member of the famous Fitzhugh family of Virginia, which was related to the Washington family.”

“Mrs. Gray was one of six children. She and a sister, Mrs. Carrie Cryder, of San Antonio, Texas, are the only survivors. She is the mother of three children, Glen E. Curry, of Texarkana; Robert H. Curry and Mrs. Annie Bell (W. B.) Boggs of Shreveport. She has 11 grandchildren and 11 great grandchildren.”

“When a young woman, Mollie Banks married Robert H. Curry, a well-to-do farmer of Rocky Mount. Mr. Curry served with distinction in the Louisiana Legislature during the famous lottery fight. C. G. Rives, of Shreveport, several years ago wrote a story which revealed Mr. Curry[‘s] sterling character. It was during the lottery fight, Mr. Rives said, that the lottery people offered Mr. Curry one day’s receipts form the lottery for his vote. This amounted to about $75,000. He voted against the lottery and turned down a fortune. Mr. Curry died in 1892, leaving his young widow with three small children. However, Mrs. Curry faced the future with fortitude and determination and by diligent efforts kept her family together and reared and educated her children. Shortly after Mr. Curry’s death she moved to Plain Dealing, where she has made her home for 50 years.”

Next week’s column will reveal how Miss Mollie supported herself and her family and became one of Plain Dealing’s most beloved characters.

And be sure to visit the Bossier Parish Library Historical Center to learn about other people, places and events in Bossier Parish.

Ann Middleton is Director of the Bossier Parish Library Historical Center. She can be reached at (318) 746-7717 or by e-mail at amiddlet@state.lib.la.us

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