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Patrick Edward Roper



AAFA #0307

1930 MS – 2010 MS






Jackson, Hinds Co., MS—Tuesday, 11 May 2010


            Patrick Edward Roper, 79, passed away Sunday, May 9, 2010, at Central Mississippi Medical Center.

            …. Graveside services will be 3pm today at Hazlehurst Cemetery. Stringer Family Funeral Home in Hazlehurst is handling arrangements.

            Mr. Roper was a graduate of Hazlehurst High School. He attended Mississippi College, Ole Miss, and graduated from Tulane. He was a Navy veteran of the Korean Conflict. He loved his family, God and Country. He was an avid gardener of Daylilies and Iris. He was the family historian and loved genealogy.

            He was preceded in death by brother, Charles Roper; and sisters-in-law, Mable Roper, Mildred Roper and JoAnne Roper.

            He is survived by wife, Patricia Roper; daughter, Laurie Elizabeth Roper of Jackson; brother, W.A. Roper of Jackson, Robert Blair Roper of Dunkinville, TX, and Warren L. Roper of Jackson; and sister, Marilyn Driskell of Brookhaven.


Photo from Hazlehurst Cemetery, Hazlehurst, Copiah Co., MS—

Permission granted by the photographer, Leon Stewart


AAFA NOTES: SSDI records show that Patrick E. Roper (SS# issued in MS) was born 4 June 1930, last residence Jackson, Hinds Co., MS.

            We included the obituary of his mother, Marie Lynn Alford Roper, in Mississippi Obituaries.

            Patrick contributed much genealogical information to AAFA.

            From The MS GenWeb Project, Copiah County:



1870 to about 1958


By Patrick E. Roper, September 11, 2008


            Sad to say, it is no more. A once thriving industry that carried Copiah Co., Mississippi thru the Great Depression of the 1930s and was at one time a many million dollar per year industry is no more. I doubt that you could take a million dollars to Copiah Co., MS. today and buy a truckload of any kind of vegetables, let alone tomatoes. The Copiah Co., MS tomato has been recognized as the best tasting tomato on the market due to the soil it is raised in.

            My father C.A. Roper (Hazlehurst Mercantile Co.) one Saturday about 1943-45 shipped over 50 rail carloads of tomatoes. We started about 9:00 am, after enough tomatoes had come to town worked all day and night Saturday, stopping Sunday so that the workers could go to church, and finished up Sunday afternoon. A rail carload of tomatoes was about 750 crates of 30 pounds of tomatoes. I was his fifth son, so starting about 9 years old (1939) I was his label boy. I did this until after my freshman year in College 1948-1949. I guess I must have labeled more boxes, crates, hampers, and baskets of Copiah Co., MS. produce than any other person in Copiah Co., MS, maybe the World.

            I have heard it said that the tomato business in Copiah Co., MS was estimated to be worth at least 12 to 14 million dollars a year in the 1930s and 1940s when a million dollars was a lot of money. About 6 to 7 million in Crystal Springs, 5 or 6 million in Hazlehurst and 1 to 2 million in Georgetown, Utica, and Wesson, MS. It was also said that in the heart of the depression, there was more money in the banks of Copiah Co., MS than there was in the Jackson, MS banks. Wise Motor Co. of Hazlehurst, MS sold more large trucks than any Ford dealership in the country in those years.

            This industry ceased because the young men coming back from the wars found they could go to college on the GI Bill to get a better job than the stoop labor of vegetable farming. Also about 1945 we started to have diseases in tomatoes like “wilt,” “fungus,” “stem rot” and others that would nearly wipe out a crop and the new tomato varieties bred to resist these had not been developed. This is where the Crystal Springs State experiment farm came into being. As the older farmers died out, no one was there to replace them. Besides, some in Copiah thought pine tree farms were a better deal, less work and just lay back and wait while your trees grew big.

            This vegetable business was deep into my blood. My Grandfather William B. Alford Sr. (Alford & Miller Co.) was in the business, as was his father William Warren Alford at Gallman, MS. Others at Hazlehurst, MS were S. Kemp & Co., Ford Pitts, Roy Tomicich, and Kenneth Catching, to name a few. Many more in Crystal Springs and elsewhere in Copiah.

            Maybe if the world keeps going as it has, and this country keeps getting deeper in debt to the other nations, with no industry here to help pay the bills, we may be so bad off that even the people who despised the stoop labor involved in vegetable farming will return to the Earth for a living. Thanks for hearing an old man list some of his childhood memories.


            For more information about this family, see AAFA’s published genealogy, Lodwick Alford (ca1710–1800) Genealogy, Three Generations and the genealogy of Lodwick’s son, Jacob Alford 1738 VA.

            His Alford lineage, from his mother: Marie Lynn 1895 MS2, William Blair 1871 MS3, William Warren 1845 MS4, Julius Caesar 1808 NC5, James 1764 NC6, Jacob 1738 VA7, Lodwick 1710 VA8, James 1687 VA9, John 1645 VA10.