November 29, 2013 9:52:11 AM
MCCOMB -- Mildred Belle Martin Barron, regarded as Mississippi's last living daughter of a Confederate soldier, died Tuesday at her Amite County home after suffering a stroke. She was 106.
Barron had two daughters, Cherrie Randall, with whom she lived, and Patty Breckenridge. Funeral arrangements are pending.
Both daughters were very close to their mother.
"She had a little stroke last week," Randall said. "She could not talk. We knew things were not going to be good."
Barron was born Jan. 27, 1907, the sixth of seven children born to Nancy Moak and William "Whit" Laban Martin of Fernwood.
Whit Martin was 15 when he joined the Confederate Army, signing up with the 16th Mississippi Infantry Co. E. He participated in the Battle of Clinton, La.
Breckenridge said her grandfather's claim to fame was that he stole mules from the Yankee soldiers during the Battle of Clinton.
"He was really a drummer boy," she said.
Barron's life read like a history book. Not only was she one of only 16 known actual Daughters of the Confederacy in the nation, she was the great-granddaughter of Labon Bacot, the first sheriff of Pike County; the great-granddaughter of Andrew Moak, the first settler in Lincoln County; the oldest living graduate of McComb High School (Class of 1924) and the oldest living graduate of Mississippi Woman's College (Class of 1929), which is now William Carey University.
Barron was an English teacher for 27 years, before and after her marriage to Billy Barron, who died in 1994.
Randall and Breckenridge said their mother didn't think anything about the historical significance of her life.
"She was so sweet and humble," Randall said. "She didn't think anything about her was spectacular."
Barron's daughters believe their mother's positive attitude about life was what helped her live so long.
"She did not dwell on anything that had happened, any sadness, any losses," Breckenridge said. "Of course, she grieved, but she had the ability to keep going and think ahead and be positive in her thinking."
Barron, in an interview with the Enterprise-Journal in 2012, told the story of how she learned to drive when on an outing with her brother Joe. She described her childhood in Fernwood, noting that her family often met hobos who hopped trains on the Fernwood-Gulf Railroad that ran through her parents' property. She said her mother always offered food to the men who were hungry.
"They wouldn't ask for food if they weren't hungry," Barron said. "But we didn't miss a one. My mother always said, 'That's some mother's child.' "
Barron was the oldest member of Tangipahoa Baptist Church and was a member of Brent Rifles No. 2137 Chapter, United Daughters of the Confederacy.
Randall said her mother loved her simple routine -- being with her daughters and their families and enjoying fish at Nyla's Burger Basket in Osyka every Friday night with Randall and her husband Garry.
"She didn't go last Friday night, but up until then, she went every week," Randall said.
Rita Brister, president of the local UDC chapter said, "We were most honored to have her as a member. She was a very sweet lady. She had not been to the meetings very much ... and we missed her there. Just having her as a member was an honor."
She noted that Barron's late sister, Olive Rebold, also was a member of the UDC chapter. The historical significance isn't lost on Brister.
"Can you imagine your father was in The War Between the States?"
"Mildred was the sweetest lady you ever met, and we will really miss her," Brister said. "It's a loss for our chapter and the state because she was the last Daughter of the Confederacy in Mississippi."
1. Busted: Lowndes narcotics agents stay on top of drug crimes COLUMBUS & LOWNDES COUNTY
2. Hollywood comes to Columbus COLUMBUS & LOWNDES COUNTY