Circle of Family: Dora Wilson Smith

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Emmett had two sisters: Eudora Neely Wilson Smith, and Catherine Elizabeth Wilson Meade. They went by “Dora” and “Katie.”

I’ve introduced you to Katie Wilson Meade already; Emmett was very close to Katie, who was born in British Honduras about five years before Emmett and Julian.

Even after two years of digging around in Wilson family arcana, Dora is still a bit of a mystery to me. I simply don’t know that much about her; I haven’t been able to locate a lot of information just yet. (I’m also thin on information about a few of Emmett’s other siblings as well). I’ve not been able to locate descendants, either.

Here’s what I know about Dora:

  • She was born in 1875 in Holly Springs, Mississippi, when Emmett’s parents had moved in with Elizabeth Wilson’s sister and brother-in-law, Everard and Lucy Maxwell Meade. This was right before the entire family moved to British Honduras, where Emmett would be born.
  • She earned a teaching certificate to teach third grade in Washington County (I have no record that she did, though).
  • Around 1900, she and her sister Katie moved to Marianna, to live with their older brother Cephas and his family (wife Lula; daughter Kathleen, son, Ceph Jr.).
  • About 1902, Dora married Wynter Elijah Bryan Smith, a lawyer, who eventually served as Mayor of Marianna, and he served in the state legislature in 1909. Family information indicates he went by “Bryan.”
Members of the 1909 House of Representatives, Tallahassee, Florida. Source: State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory

Members of the 1909 House of Representatives, Tallahassee, Florida. Source: State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory

 

And heeerrreeee's Bryan! Third row, third from the right. Source: State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory

And heeerrreeee’s Bryan! Third row, third from the right. Source: State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory

 

I’m not exactly sure where Dora and Bryan lived in Marianna, but I found an interesting story in the Jackson (Florida) County Times about the Smith family; there’s mention of a historic home there called Great Oaks. It is unclear if Dora and Bryan actually lived there; but Bryan’s family did. It would be great if there were artifacts or documents related to Dora and Bryan (and of course, anything relevant to Emmett). I know Emmett and Bryan had some interactions over the years related to law cases and politics. I’m not certain that this was a close relationship, though.

Minimally, I’d love to find a photograph of Dora. I’m also interested in her middle name, “Neely.” I haven’t seen that in any of the Wilson or Maxwell genealogies to date.

All I have is a graveyard shot of Dora's head stone. I'd love to see a photo of her. Source: Find-a-grave.com

All I have is a graveyard shot of Dora’s head stone. I’d love to see a photo of her. Source: Find-a-grave.com

Perhaps I’ll find a photo of her when I make the research trip down to Marianna in September. Maybe I’ll luck out and some out there will have a photo of her! I hope!


I’ve been writing up a storm the past three days. I’ll be back in a day or so to give you an update.

 

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