Couple visits Merrehope for glimpse of family history
FAMILY HOME Sam and Joyce Middlebrook hold a autobiography written by Sam's grandmother as they stand in front of Merrehope. The Middlebrooks, who live in Brownsville, Calif., were in Meridian to visit Merrehope on Wednesday. Sam's grandmother, Seabie Middlebrook, owned the historic home in the 1920s. Photo by Paula Merritt/The Meridian Star
By Penny Randall / staff writer
March 20, 2003
Sam Middlebrook was 18 months old the first time he visited Merrehope. His second trip came when he was 5, and his latest visit at age 72.
Middlebrook's grandmother, Seabie Middlebrook, lived in the home in the late 1920s. She died in 1966 at the age of 92.
It's been more than 60 years since Sam visited his grandmother in the home.
He said he also has a vivid memory of the outhouse.
The Middlebrooks made the trip to Mississippi to visit friends, Sam and Grace Wong of Vicksburg. The Wongs accompanied them to Meridian to see Merrehope on Wednesday.
The couple gave Fonda Rush, president of the Meridian Restorations Foundation, the group that maintains and operates Merrehope, a copy of Seabie Middlebrook's autobiography, a few personal letters she wrote and two photos of the house as it was in the 1920s.
Rush said the autobiography will be helpful because of the dates in it. She said it will give her a more specific timeline of the ownership of the home.
The foundation had determined that the Middlebrook family owned the home until some time in the early 1940s, when the Tibbetts family purchased it.
For Sam, who toured the home and viewed a few of the historical photo albums at Merrehope, the day was well worth the trip to Mississippi.