Good Golly Miss Mollie

b_HART Mollie 1860s
On reverse “Mollie Hart Richburg Gray”

This carte de visite (cdv) was found among a group of vintage photos that once belonged to Mrs. Jimmie (McDougale) Brashier.  Written on the back is “Mollie Hart Richburg Gray.”  There is no photographer or location noted which is why it’s a good thing these photos managed to stay together.  I had no luck identifying Mollie until I discovered that the McDougale and Brashier families hailed from Union Parish, Louisiana.

Mary Jane “Mollie” Hart was born in October 1858 which dates this cdv image to the early 1870s when she was about 14 years old.  Born in Rapides Parish, Louisiana to Wilson and Sarah (Bullock) Hart, the family relocated some hundred miles north to Ouachita Parish in the mid-1860s and this is where Mollie remained throughout the majority of her life.

At the age of 21, Mollie married 43-year-old widower William Woodson Richburg.  They had no children together, but she helped raise William’s ten-year-old daughter, Mattie.  William died in 1901.

b_HART Mollie

This small photobooth style image of Mollie taken about 1910 was also among the McDougale/Brashier family photos.  Regrettably, although it reads “Aunt Mollie Gray,” I’ve not figured out the specific family connection.

In 1908, Mollie wed another man twenty years her senior, Thomas Gray, and by 1917 she was again a widow.  Although she was the oldest of her siblings; Oliver, Seth, Wilson Jr., and William, only Wilson Jr. was still living at the time and it was with his family that she made her new home.

When Mollie died at the age of 91, her obituary read that “she left no near relatives.”  Her pallbearers were her nephews and grand-nephews; Duke, Myrom, Alonzo, Coolidge, and Preston Hart.  Mollie is buried in Willhite Cemetery in Union Parish.

Census records
Find A Grave
Louisiana marriage records
The Monroe News-Star, Monroe, Louisiana ~ Jan. 16, 1950 ~ Mollie’s obituary

*note – Jimmie (McDougale) Brashier’s son, Corbertt, married Miss Willie Bagley, whose mother was Miss Vada Bullock.  Mollie Hart’s mother was Miss Sarah Bullock. The Bullock name might hold the key to the kinship of the two families but I’ve not been able to link Vada and Sarah in any way.  They were not sisters and it doesn’t appear that their fathers or mothers were siblings.

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