There is so much we don’t know about our fore parents, because most of their lives were so humbly recorded. And, much of our oral history was lost with the passing of the keepers of our oral history. Nevertheless, we seek to expand our knowledge of their lives so that we may better understand our own.
Following is an abbreviated history of the Sloan Family as indicated by oral history passed down. The roots of the Sloan Family were Madison Sloan and his wife, Laura Ann. Their children were Henrietta and Thomas. Thomas was born in Mississippi on September 1, 1877. Henrietta’s birthdate is not known. Henrietta is the mother of Jimmary. She also raised a nephew maned Peter Randle. Peter’s parents’ names are unknown.
The family of Madison and Laura Ann lived together in Mississippi near a town named Sunflower. They were farmers as were the majority of our fore parents. Their crops usually consisted of cotton and corn. It was a difficult task for them to hire themselves out to others as sharecroppers, but times and conditions necessitated it. During that time, colored folks did not have much o a choice in what they could do to make a living. Their most valuable assets were usually a wagon and horsed, which were their only means of transportation.
When Thomas was eight years old, they moved to Troy, Mississippi where they worked as farmers.
Thomas confessed a hope in Christ as his Savior at an early age under the leadership of Pastor Thomas Robinson of the Pilgrim Ridge Baptist Church in Troy, Mississippi.
Madison Sloan died when his son, Thomas was a teenager, leaving the responsibility of providing for his mother, sister, and two nephews on young Thomas.
Thomas’ mother, Laura Ann hired him out to Mrs. Ware as a sharecropper to help the family survive. A few years later, Thomas, his mother, his sister, Henrietta, and her son Jimmary and his nephew, Peter moved to Mr. O.C. Carr’s rental house, and worked for him. A few years later, Laura An and the rest of the family moved to Birmingham AL. Thomas remained with Mr. Carr. Later Laura Ann became sick and died. Thomas attended his mother’s funeral in Birmingham, but returned to Mississippi afterwards.
Thomas’ nephew, Peter Randle, later moved to the Delta, where he lived for forty years. Thomas believed Peter was his last living family member.
In August, 1904, when Thomas was 27 years old he married Elnora Hester, Elnora was born in Mississippi in 1884 to Amos and Betty Bridge-Hester. Thomas and Elnora were united in holy matrimony by Rev. J.C. Hughes.
On April 1908 Thomas purchased 160 acres of land from Mr. Carr for $1.00 an acre. Thomas worked to pay for the land, but his crops went bad, and since his crops were his only source of income, Mr. Carr repossessed the land. Thomas did not give up. He kept the faith in God. He prayed about the land and money, and he went back to Mr. Carr and asked for another chance. Mr. Carr told Thomas to start all over again.
Thomas started paying again, and continued until the land was paid for. This land was given to his children. As a result, the Sloan family has held ownership in a small portion of Pontotoc Country for nearly 100 years.
Together Thomas and Elnora had eleven children (their children’s names are listed inside the cover of our family directory on the family tree chart). The youngest child, John Thomas was about two years old when their mother, Elnora, became sick and died at age 40 (in 1924). Thomas Sr. continued to work and rear their children by himself.
About five years after the death of Thomas’ wife, Elnora, his house burned down and everything he owned was lost. Thomas built another house in the same place and started all over again with the help of the older children. After all the children were grown and married, Thomas had a heart attack and died at the age of 77 on April 1, 1954.
Thomas and Elnora Hester Sloan laid the foundation for us as we know it. Certainly one can say, “By their Fruits, Ye Shall Know Them.” God has blessed this family in many ways and has given us many different talents.
There was a time when the majority of the family resided in Pontotoc County District. This is no longer the case, as many of the family members now reside in different states across the country. Being able to stay in touch, and continue to touch each other’s lives through our family reunions are great comforts that have been made through modern technology of communication and transportation.
WE are proud of our family tree, our roots, and our heritage that we have been given. Let us continue to build and strengthen this family. Today we salute the family of Thomas and Elnora Hester Sloan.
Sloan-Hester Family Tree
Sloan-Hester Family Tree

Author Information

Dr. Ronald E. Brown
Associate Professor of  Political Science
​Wayne State University