To the editor:
Thank you for the wonderful article you ran in The McDuffie Mirror about my Civil War great-great-grandfather, Thomas Jefferson Toms. Your reporter did a great job in putting the facts together.
There are, however, a few additions I want to make to her story. I would like to point out that Thomas Jefferson Toms, as well as his older sister and at least two more siblings, was born in Lincoln County, Ga., where his parents were married in 1830. In fact, Thomas Jefferson Toms’ grandparents were married in Columbia County in 1805, so the family has quite a history in your area. It is amazing that he died so close to home.
Also, the credit of confirming who lies in the grave of T.W. Toms belongs to the 12th Louisiana Infantry historian, Hugh Simmons, formerly of Winn Parish, La. He convinced me through his research that my Toms was the only Toms who served the Confederacy from the 12th Louisiana and that he is the only person who could be in that grave. It helped to prove the fact by knowing that there never has been a Waco Parish, La., and that T.J. Toms was from Jackson Parish, La. (Our parishes are the same as your counties.) We will continue to search for the original records from which his first tombstone was engraved and would appreciate any clues that your readers might share.
One other thing I would like to mention is that Keith Beggs of Beggs Funeral Home was invaluable in receiving and placing the new stone on our grandfather’s grave. He is a true Southern gentleman, and we are forever indebted to him for his generosity. However, it was a cousin, Tia Toms, and I who purchased the stone from a company in California and had it engraved and shipped to Thomson.
In the end, the story written by your reporter, Kelsey Stein, so touched me that I did what I knew I would and bawled like a baby, especially when I read her last line. It was the culmination of a lifetime of trying to bring to his name the honor so deserved by Thomas Jefferson Toms, and I am happy that your newspaper and the town of Thomson, Ga., were instrumental in making that happen. I am proud to be the great-great-granddaughter of a man who died fighting for what he believed in and brought nothing but honor to his family and his nation.
Thank you all so much.
Mary Culver Blood,