Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The L.O. Crosby Family and Their Legacy ...

 "L. O. Crosby and wife and Brother & wife. The group sit on a couch in front of a lace curtained window." -- Library caption. 

The date is most likely from the 1930s, possibly 1940s, although the date range is far greater in the 
Lincoln, Lawrence, Franklin Library records regarding this John Holly Williams photo.


Today's presentation is a tie-in to yesterday's posting of Cody Batch-who?   

The L.O. Crosby family was the second lumber mill family to occupy the erstwhile Batchelder mansion overlooking the Illinois Central Railroad tracks in the northern part of town. (Please see yesterday's post for a picture postcard of that once magnificent home.)

It is not clear if this picture was made inside the Batchelder home or elsewhere.  Wherever the photo was taken, I find the walls quite interesting.  At first I thought they might be sitting on a porch, but the curtains and the pictures on the wall quickly knocked down that theory.

As far as Brookhaven native Lucius Olen (L.O.) Crosby (Feb. 22, 1869 -- Nov. 24, 1948), it is not clear from the caption whether he is on the left or the right, although I suspect that he is on the left.  

This link gives more information about the man and his role in the lumber business with Miles Goodyear and Lamont Rowlands.  Interestingly, the company was on the verge of liquidation but was saved by the outbreak of World War II.  It diversified its offerings and changed its name to Crosby Forest Products Company in 1950.

Further Googling and the story just kept on getting even more interesting:  

An arboretum in Picayune, MS, was built by the family and named in honor of L.O. Crosby Jr. (1907-1978).  Please see this link for more information on that jewel, the narrative of which also drops the name of Frank Lloyd Wright.   

To see photographs of the arboretum, please click on this link, and to read more about how the arboretum came to be, please see this link.

This link provides details of the son who grew up to be a nature lover and philanthropist.  He served as mayor of Picayune, and a hospital was named after him.  

My favorite of all the links I have bombarded you with is this last one, featuring a narrative and a photograph of a rare Shay locomotive purchased by L.O. Jr. and donated to the city of Picayune. If you had to click on only one link provided herein, this would be the one I would recommend, just because I love old trains.

As always, if anyone has other information on these folks or the Batchelder home that they lived in, please leave a comment here or on my Facebook page.

UPDATE:  This photo was taken in February 1948 in a home in Norfield, where a 50th wedding anniversary was being celebrated, according to a friend on Facebook. She identified the people, L-R, as L.O., Margaret, Mary and N.L. Crosby.  Just nine months later, L.O. would pass away.  


  1. L.O. Crosby is actually on the left. His wife, Henrietta Margaret Reid, is beside him. L.O. was my great grandfather. My mother, Henrietta, is named after his wife. I lived in Crosby, MS until i was six and then moved to Jackson. My name is Sanford Levings and i've lived in Atlanta for the past 27 years. My early years in Crosby was a wonderful dream. I will forever long for those days.

  2. Awesome comment, SanMan. I had dyslexia when I wrote that. I meant to say left. Updating now.

  3. The correct spelling of Henrietta Margaret Reid's name is (REED). Margaret Reed Crosby was my great great aunt. She is the sister of my great grandfather Onis Clifton Reed, who was originally married to Jesse Oliver. Onis and Jesse divorced when my grandfather (Onis Clifton (Tip) Reed, Jr.) was 2 yrs. old. Jesse then married Alfred Elliott Moreton, Jr. While my grandfather was never formally adopted by Moreton, he was known in school as a Moreton. Upon joining the Navy as a teenager he began using his legal name of Reed. To this day,for generations we have carried on the Reed name. My sister's middle name is Reed and my son is named Reed. I fondly remember my grandparents and mother speaking of L.O. and Margaret Crosby. I have lived in Peachtree City, GA for 20 years, having moved from Jackson, MS

  4. I know it's been a while since y'all posted, but I hope to reach you all. Sukie, are you related to Lu Carruth Becker? Lu married my 1st cousin twice removed. And Elizabeth! I am blown away by what you mentioned. My grandmother was Geneva Moreton. Also a child of Jesse (Jessie?) Oliver. I am unclear as to whether she is a full sibling of your grandfather Tip or half. She also went by Moreton, but I think my mother indicated she thought she was Clifton Reed's real daughter. If so, we must be cousins! I think we're cousins regardless. I'm just not sure how much. WOW! I am in Decatur, Georgia, having grown up in Atlanta.

    1. I believe Gwen Moreton is the daughter of Jesse Oliver Moreton and Alfred E. Moreton, Jr. Gwen married a Ramsey. Do you know Gwen?

    2. I never knew her but determined that she was my great aunt. Find a Grave says she was buried in Brookhaven but it does not have a date. What do you know?

    3. I knew Gwen in Virginia. She was a dear friend, then we lost touch. Do not know what happened to her. She was in Natchez in the 90s. When passing through Mississippi, a mutual friend tried to find her, but Gwen had left there and had moved to NC to be near a son. I also had found the grave site but with no date of death. I remember her as a most generous and loving person; a person who loved her family back in Mississippi.

    4. I want to add this about Gwen. Early every summer she would rush out to purchase ferns to hang in planters on her front porch. I think she probably remembered from her youth in Mississippi as something one had to do.

    5. That's so sweet. Thank you for sharing.

  5. I just realized that my grandmother was born in 1910 - 3 years before your grandfather, so I would say that's pretty definite that her father was OCReed Sr. as well.

  6. Brookhaven and Piney Woods anecdote: My grandmother, Mary Lillie McCall of McCall's Creek (east of Brookhaven in Franklin County) rode with her uncle Henry in a bow-frame wagon once a month to buy supplies for his country store. They left at first light. While he filled the wagon with a month's stock, she was allowed to go "shopping". Since she had little "pin money" to spend, it was mostly of the "window shopping" variety. She saved her money and eventually accumulated enough to buy the beautiful gold lavalier she had seen in a jeweller's window, which I still have. Often, the trip back would last until after dark, and Uncle Henry would light two lanterns (one in front, one behind, hanging from the wagon's underside). The 20-mile trip took several hours. (This would have been in about 1900 or so.) Sadly, no more McCalls live in McCall's Creek, founded in the first decade of the 1800s, although the old McCall house remains out Bert Jerdan (or Jordan) Road there. Her family and her husband's later became heavily involved in the Homochitto Lumber Company's (in Bude, a branch of the Brookhaven Lumber Company) timber business out the "dummy line" railroads of these Piney Woods. We still have the bell from one of the train locomotives. (Gilbert Hoffman has written a fine book called _Dummy Lines in the Longleaf_ about all this.)