Dera Mae Cox1,2,3,4 daughter of Julius Edward Cox and Willie Lorena Averett was born on Feb 3, 1886 in Dale Co, AL. on the family farm about 5 miles north of present day Ft Rucker. She was the first daughter and second child.1,2,3
C. 1895, as a young child, Dera often spent the night with her widowed maternal grandmother, Georgianna McCarty-Averett. She would ride on the wagon with Georgianna and go to a Methodist church near Daleville. They would often return late at night, just the two of them. Dera attended County Line School.
The family of Julius Edward Cox moved from Dale Co, AL to Geneva Co, AL c. 1896.
About 1897 when Dera was 11, her father Eddie Cox and uncle William J. Cox 'Willie' bought land in Geneva Co AL near what is now Houston Co.The land was covered with pines and had no house. The first year they rented a nearby farm with a house so they would have a place to live. Each day they would all get in a wagon and go to their new farm and cut down trees so they would have a place to build a house. They just burned the excess trees. Dera was involved with clearing underbrush. Dera often recalled many long days working on the farm.After a while, they had built a large one room house which served as both kitchen, living area, and sleeping area. Her future husband Alto Lee Casey was already living in the area, having also moved from Dale Co as a youngster. Alto's father died in 1897, the first year that Dera lived in the area.
Social life for the 'country' teenagers was mainly candy pullings and peanut shellings. They did not buy seed peanuts but shelled their own from their crop. Dera remembered many days spent shelling peanuts for next years seed peanuts. Dera frequently said that when she was growing up, the Casey's were the ones with the money and the Cox's were just farmers. The next generation saw many of the Casey's becoming farmers and the Cox's becoming hardware owners.
Eddie Cox, Dera's father, would let her brothers go to town on Saturdays but would make Dera stay at home, prepare food for his big group of fox hounds and then feed them. She always resented this and never liked dogs.
Dera Mae Cox was listed as a daughter of Julius Edward Cox in 1900 in Center, Geneva Co, AL in the census. Dera 14 reads/writes.1
Dera. and Alto decided to get married. Alto's sister Mamie wanted to have a joint wedding, send out invitations, and get married in the Casey home. Dera was excited about this since country girls were usually too poor to send out invitations (her words). However, Dera's father would not hear of it. So Mamie Casey and Sam Jackson married one Tuesday and Alto and Dera married the next Tuesday on 20 Mar 1906.
Dera was the wife of Alto Lee Casey in the census in 1910 in Wicksburg, Houston Co, AL. Dera 24 m1 4y 2/2 children living, AL AL AL.4
Dera was the wife of Alto Lee Casey in the census in 1920 in Slocomb, Geneva Co, AL. Dera 33 AL AL FL.10
She was the wife of Alto Lee Casey in the census in 1930 in Slocomb, Geneva Co, AL. Dera 44 m1@20 AL AL AL.2
According to the 1940 US census, the family was living in Slocomb, Geneva Co, AL on April 1, 1935. Alto Lee Casey and Dera Mae Cox.
Dera was the wife of Alto Lee Casey in the census in 1940 in Slocomb, Geneva Co, AL. Dera 55 AL, completed 5 yrs of school.11
She was the wife of Alto Lee Casey in the census in 1950 in Slocomb, Geneva Co, AL.
In 1954 Dera. spent 11 days in Tippins Hospital in Hartford AL for an appendectomy. The total charge was $378.
Dera loved to work in her garden and flower beds. She broke her hip in her 90's and had to use a walker. She would throw the walker down to the bottom of her back steps, go to the bottom of the steps using the hand rail and then get the walker and go work in her flowers. Dera was always very active in the Slocomb Baptist Church. In her latter years, the church would usually honor her on her birthday. The 100th birthday was a very special occasion attended by many friends and relatives. Of course, her birthday was mentioned by Willard Scott on the Today Show. Once when well into her 90's, she asked her dentist if he had any other patients her age with teeth as good as hers. His reply, 'Mrs.Casey, I don't have any other patients as old as you.' Dera never learned to drive a car. Maybe that is why she lived to the age of 100 years and 11 months. Although slowed down some physically by her broken hip, her mind was sharp until just before her death.She lived the last few months of her life in Wesley Manor in Dothan AL.
All of her children and grandchildren always looked forward to the family Christmas dinners at Momma Casey's.
Dera died in Jan, 1987 in Slocomb, Geneva Co, AL.3 She was buried in Pleasant Hill Bapt Ch Cem, Slocomb, Geneva Co, AL. Find A Grave Memorial # is 68671492.
1900 United States Federal Census. Custom Id: 238; ancestry.com.
1930 United States Federal Census. Custom Id: 245; ancestry.com.
Social Security Death Index. Custom Id: 26; ancestry.com.
1910 United States Federal Census. Custom Id: 243; ancestry.com.
Geneva County Alabama Marriage Records. Custom Id: 559; LDS Church microfilm.
Geneva County Alabama Marriage Records. Custom Id: 563; personal copy.
Alabama Deaths, 1908-59. Custom Id: 247; ancestry.com.
One World Tree. Custom Id: 4; ancestry.com.
Alabama, Deaths and Burials Index, 1881-1974. Custom Id: 246; ancestry.com.
1920 United States Federal Census. Custom Id: 239; ancestry.com.
1940 United States Federal Census. Custom Id: 639; ancestry.com.
U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918. Custom Id: 240; ancestry.com.