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Page contents: Photographs, reminiscence 1 (his son), reminiscence 2 (his nephew), letter excerpt 1 (his wife), letter excerpt 2 (his sister), official paper trail (census, 1916 newspaper clipping), Sloan family info (census, 1 newspaper clipping). He and his family are also mentioned repeatedly in the Transcription of a taped 1998 conversation with his sister, Mary Lou.

Vinas Rosamon Hardison

8-23-1906 to 9-10-1986



1893-Sally Hooper Mecklin


1895-William Leland Hardison


1896-Hyman Franklin Hardison (died 1897)


1900-Noah Thomas Hardison


1904-Mary Lou Cyril Barnett Foutch


1909-Paul Craig Hardison

married 6-1-1923


Elsie Sloan

died 3-16-1998



 James Harold

 Wilfred Lee (died 1983)


 son G

 son J


birth, death and marriage dates taken from the Hardison family Bible as transcribed by Vinas' sister, Mary Lou


G.W. Hardison


Ida Tennessee Avery

spouse's parents:

Emerson Sloan


Sue Elizabeth Beckton

maternal grandparents:

William A.G. Avery and Sarah Rosamon


paternal grandparents:

Asa Hardison and Clara Robeson

maternal aunts & uncles:

c.1865-Charles Avery; c.1868-Sam Avery;1870-Laura Avery Warmath; 1878-Tom Avery; Joe Avery


paternal aunts & uncles:

Mary Ann Hardison, Sally Clark, Noah T. Hardison, Sophie Elizabeth, James H. HardisonAsa Biggs Hardison; Jessie Hyman Hardison, Louisa Robertson, John Franklin Hardison, Fannie Harwell, Alonzo Edwin Hardison


Click on image to enlarge. Once enlarged, to zoom, move cursor to right of image, back onto image, and click again.

back row Sally, Mary Lou, Vinas, Paul, their parents seated amongst Sally's children

Elsie with Harold

Vinas, Elsie, Harold and Wilfred

Vinas and Elsie

He was actually very nice

really, he was nice

Vinas and family

Vinas, Elsie, and children

Noah, Sally, Vinas, Paul

Elsie 1983 at 50th anniversary party

Reminiscence 1:

From a conversation c.1998 with one of his sons:

            Vinas was most commonly called "Hardy" but was also nicknamed "Zeke" after a character he played in a play. G said his father had a wonderful smile, but any time the camera came out "he looked like he wanted to bite the lens." Vinas Hardison & Elsie Sloan (daughter of Emerson Sloan & Sue Elizabeth Beckton) married secretly before Justice of the Peace A.J. Foutch on June 1, 1923. They then went home to their respective parents' houses (he was two months shy of 18 by the dates I've been able to glean, but by oral history, he was 16 and she was 19) and said nothing. They couldn't have kept the secret for long, as their first child was born within the year. Vinas sharecropped on his brother Noah's land after marrying, before moving to Chicago.  (Note that when the Hardison family moved from the vicinity of Friendship, TN to the vicinity of Medina, TN, their neighbors were the Foutch family. Vinas' sister, Mary Lou, eventually took Alma Foutch as her second husband late in life. They had known and liked each other in 1917, but had been too young to get serious. Not sure who A.J. Foutch, Justice of the Peace, is exactly, but likely related to Alma).

            Regarding the old home place, the story Vinas told G was that the six children of GW Hardison got together after their father's death and settled that if Mary Lou and her husband, Herschel Barnett took care of their mother, Ida Tennessee, then they could have the place. Mary Lou said that the original home place was sold and they moved to a place made of brick, which Herschel bought, but the story was a little muddled.

            Recalled hearing of a Roberson dying c. 1940 and leaving each of the six children of GW Hardison $600. (GW's mother's maiden name was Clara Robeson which sometimes was changed to Roberson, Robinson, Robertson, etc).

            Vinas' son told a story, not sure of its veracity, of an Avery relative whom he thought was Tom Avery (Vinas' uncle). This Avery was a bootlegger, and the sheriff had it in for him. Tom Avery would go out to Arkansas, pick up hooch, and come back on the train. One day he put about that he was making a booze run, took two empty suitcases, and got on the train. He returned with two suitcases, pantomiming their weight. The sheriff stopped him and ordered him to open the bags. Tom Avery said he couldn't do that, the bags were his property, the sheriff had no right. The sheriff insisted. "Alright," Tom Avery said, "but if you open the bags and there's any loss or damage to what's inside, I hold you responsible." Then he opened the bags, both at once.

            They were filled with live cats. The cats took off in every direction. Tom told the sheriff, "Those were valuable cats, worth $25 a piece, and as you claimed responsibility, you now owe me $25 each for those cats." According to the story the sheriff had every boy in the county rounding up cats, which he'd bring to Tom Avery. Tom would look and say, "Naw, that's not one of my cats."

            Vinas's son followed this story with the comment, "Of course cats would suffocate in a suitcase, but it makes a good story." It also says a little bit about the Avery family. At least one of them must've been regarded as something of a rascal.


Reminiscence 2:

His nephew recalling c. 1995 the time spent with the Vinas Hardison family in the 1930s:

            My Uncle Vinas was an impressive figure. He was several years younger than my father, but was considerably better off. He was an auto mechanic by trade, and while I don't believe he had full time work, he was able to get jobs fixing cars on a regular basis, which was better than a subsistence income. My Aunt Elsie spoke with a pronounced, nasal Southern drawl, more than any of my other relatives.

            My mother and I stayed temporarily with my Uncle Vinas' family on the northwest side of Chicago. This was an exciting time for me, as my four cousins were all a wild and adventurous bunch, and I was somewhat in awe of them. My cousin Will (Wilfred Lee) was a few months older than me, but far more daring and adept at athletics. We got along well, but he was always the leader in any activity we engaged in. His older brother Harold (James Harold) was about two years older and far more worldly and wise than we were. Harold was tall and thin, and had a cocky manner that often got him into trouble...

            I recall, among other things, smoking my first cigarette (filched from my Uncle Vinas' ashtray) beneath the front porch of the house we were all living in... I also remember sleeping in the same bed with three of my cousins. They delighted in passing gas, a frequent occurrence with four of us in the bed, and then gleefully shouting to 'hold it under' (the covers) or 'duck for cover!' I was always out of phase, as I had not their years of practice at this intricate game...

            I was impressed that my cousins were much wilder than I was, yet the discipline administered by my Uncle seemed much more severe than that dispensed by my mother and father...I do remember my Uncle backhanding Harold across the face. I believe the occasion was the time when they were visiting us and the four of us started a bonfire. We didn't want to be seen doing this, as it was clearly understood it was not an acceptable thing to do, so we started the fire inside the wooden garage.

            Fortunately the garage did not catch fire, but there was enough smoke coming out to give us away. My father and my Uncle came out and caught us in the act. I figured it was my fault because it was my (our) garage, and they were company. My father was ready to excuse the bunch of us with a warning, but not so my Uncle.

            I have a vivid picture in my mind of Harold standing facing him with tears welling up in his eyes as my Uncle said, "You didn't stop to think, did you?" Smack. "Answer me, boy." Smack. "No sir." Smack. "You will think before you do a damn fool thing like this again, won't you, boy?" Smack. "Yes sir." Smack.

            ...There was very little money around (in the Depression) and...many people believed that the problem was simply a money shortage, and that a more perceptive government would simply print more and pass it out. My father and my Uncle Vinas argued about these things at great length when they visited one another.

He sold his Corvair convertible to his nephew's son in the 1970s, with the warning that it had a horn that would honk at pretty girls all by itself.

Letter Excerpt 1:

from Elsie (his wife) Dec. 1975 to her nephew: "Did you know Aunt Mary Lou got married Oct. 26, 75? Cindy Hardison got married in Nov. She is only 19. Oh yes, the young Jim Hardison second son was born Oct. 1 75. The other one is three years." (She comments that someone is getting married at "only 19." Vinas was 17 when she married him.)


Letter Excerpt 2:

From his sister, Mary Lou, 8-14-1998 in response to query regarding a story that the Hardison brothers enlisted together to fight in WWI. She mistakenly responds regarding WWII: "Leland did not go over seas and they all did not enlist together. Paul was only in the Army after the war. What I think happened was Vinas enlisted because his 2 sons, Harold and Wilford, were in the Service and he wanted to get in there because they were in there. I have a picture where all three were made together in uniform. As far as I remember, Leland was not in Service when the war was on. He joined before them, but it was not the real army or navy, but it was a Service. I think what they called the Service that Leland belong was called the malicia. I'm not sure that's the way to spell it but as I remember he was not in at the time of war."


Paper Trail:


Dyersburg State Gazette, 2-18-1916: "Mount Pisgah--Mr. and Mrs. Bert Hooper and children of Halls spent Sat. and Sun. with her parents, Mr. & Mrs. George W. Hardison. Little Mary Lou Hardison and brother, Fannis (Vinas), spent Saturday night with Mrs. Jim Clark."

(Mrs. Bert Hooper = Mary Lou's sister, Sally Hardison Hooper, later Mecklin. Mrs. Jim Clark = his aunt Sophia Elizabeth "Lizzie" Clark).


1930 census, Chicago, Dist 1371, Melrose:

Hardison, Vinas, age 23, married at 17, born in TN of a father born in TN and a mother born in MO, floorman--garage

Wife Elsie, age 27, married at 20, TN-TN-TN

Son Harold, age 5, born in TN

Son Wilfred, age 1 yr 11 months, born in TN


The Sloan Family:


1910 census, Gibson County TN

Emmerson E. Sloan, age 53, married at 20, born in TN of parents born in NC

Wife Susan E, 44, mother of 6, all living, born TN of MS father and NC mother

Son Elbert Bee, 19

Daughter Bertha May, 17

Son Earnest, 16

Son Hubert Byron, age 13

Son Herman, 11

Daughter Elsie Ruth, age 7

(Next household is Bailey Sloan, age 60 and wife Mattie)


1920 census, Gibson TN

Em. E. Sloan, age 62, TN-TN-NC, farmer

WIfe Susie E, 54, TN-TN-NC

Son Earnest, 26

Son Hubert, 23

Son Herman, 21

Daughter Elsie R, 16.


8-17-1923 Humboldt Courier Chronicle (Elsie's Uncle?): Baily P. Sloan died at his home north of Humboldt on Weds. Aug 15. He was 73 years and 7 months...He was married in 1875 to Miss Mattie Elizabeth Harnes and 8 children blessed this union, five of whom survive: Mrs. J.P. Yeomans, Miss Emma Sloan, Mrs. J.W. Mitchum, Eritt Sloan, & Mrs. Phelan Evans. Buried in Rose Hill Cemetery