Monday, October 12, 2020

Trantham Family: The Belle Of The Civil War - Great Grandmother Eliza

Elizabeth Ann Trantham b:1842 d:1930
Bailey's - Paternal 3rd great-grandmother

Note from Robert: This is a follow up to my prior post.....The Northern Italy Connection

Welcome to the second installment of the "Bernero's" of the mid south. As you can see I have dedicated this narrative to Eliza, the matriarch of the clan.

In the first story I wrote of reports of Eliza's heroics during the civil war. Her story had been passed down thru the generations, mostly told on front porches during hot summers.

Good news! Louise has discovered Eliza's obituary printed in the Memphis Commercial Appeal newspaper. The headline of the obit reads, BELLE OF CIVIL WAR DAYS. This document validates her bravery crossing Union lines to "smuggle quinine and other medicines to retreating Confederate forces". "Aunt Ann",  as she was known by family, vividly details the events of those times. Her destination, south of Memphis, was Nonconnah Creek. A place I fished as a boy.

"Aunt Ann", along with Frank, raised a family of nine children. By all accounts she was a driving force and admired by all that knew her. ...... by: Robert Bernero

Eliza Trantham Bernero: Obituary in Memphis, TN Commercial Appeal 1930

Note from Louse: Thanks to Cecil Vaden, Jr. for forwarding a copy of this article he found in a family members documents .

Transcription of this article: 

Belle Of Civil War Days Dies, Aged 90 - Mrs. Bernero Witnessed the Capture of Memphis

"Aunt Ann" Bernero, 90, who risked capture by Union troops to smuggle quinine and other medicines to the retreating Confederate forces, as did many other brave southern women, died at the home of her son, F.W. Bernero, 221 South Driver Street, at 6:50 o'clock last night.

The end came quietly as family members were seated around her bedside. For over two years she has been in ill health and has been bed-ridden one year.

Her name was Mrs. Eliza Ann Bernero, but she was "Aunt Ann" to the hundreds who knew her. Her husband, Frank Bernero, who was in the grocery business during Civil War days with the late Louis Vaccaro, died 30 years ago.

Born In Weakley County.

Mrs. Bernero was born May 31, 1840, in Weakley County, Tennessee, but spent most of her life in Memphis. Her father, John Trantham, operated a livery stable in Memphis.

She was the mother of five children, F.W., L.E. and T.E. Bernero of Memphis; Mrs. L.F.Taylor, Haskell, Texas, and Mrs. D.E. Johnson, Mexia, Texas.

Mrs. Johnson came to visit her mother two weeks ago and was at her bedside last night.

Mrs. Taylor will not be able to attend the funeral, her husband, a physician, wired. The shock proved too great for Mrs. Taylor, who has been in ill health herself for the last several months.

Burial Today.

"Aunt Ann" often spoke of her wartime experiences, her son, F.W. Bernero, recalled last night.

"Memphis was captured by the Federal forces and their outposts were as far out as Nonconnah. The Confederate soldiers had retreated to near the Mississippi line and Federal officers forbade medicines or money to be sent them." 

"Mother, though, would conceal quinine and other medicines and money in her hair, mount a horse and go right on through the Federal lines. They never did bother her. Sometimes she would make the trip in a rig."

McDowell & Monteverde are in charge of funeral arrangements. Burial will be in the family lot at Bethel, Mississippi, with services at the Bethel Cemetery, at 3:30 o'clock this afternoon.

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