By M. Scott Morris
TUPELO – Arguably, the most important relic of the Posey clan is a guitar purchased in 1873 by Della Threldkeld Posey.
“When she was 20 years old, she picked peas and paid for that guitar,” said Della’s grandson, Bob Posey, 83. “It cost $38.50. That was a lot of money in those days.”
The guitar has its own stories. As a youngster, Marcus Posey, 91, borrowed it from Grandmama Della and tried to learn how to play, even though he had no musical talent.
During Bob Posey’s 10 years as an itinerant preacher, he performed “This Little Light of Mine” and other church songs for children, until he accidentally left it in a church in Pinson, Ala.
“They didn’t lock churches then,” Bob Posey said. “I went back and there it was. I never used it again.”
The guitar’s true value is its link to Della, a special woman, according to her descendants.
“She lived in Lee County – Richmond. She was an auburn-haired beauty,” Bob Posey said. “They said she rode sidesaddle with that auburn hair flaring behind her. They said she was gorgeous.”
Della was a teacher and not interested in marrying, then she met Dr. Montague Sidney Posey.
“It went on for a little bit but then it became serious,” Bob Posey said. “He asked for her hand.”
She gave him five sons, and eventually found herself responsible for all of them. Her husband died after getting hit by a piece of timber in his barn.
“This Della was left with five boys. She had to raise them herself,” said Carolyn Posey Asters, 70, the youngest grandchild who learned about Della from her mother, Lottie Posey, 101, of Tupelo.
“Della had the boys out in the field working like crazy,” Asters said. “My mother said if they didn’t have anything to do, she’d have them take buckets of water from one place to another just to keep them busy.”
She was seldom found in the kitchen, and preferred to talk politics like the men.
“My mother said she was the smartest woman she’d ever met,” Asters said. “She probably would consider her the smartest person.”
During the Depression, a group of worshippers broke away from Tupelo First Baptist Church. They’d heard Della might have the $8,000 they needed to build a new church.
“Grandmama loaned it to them on a handshake – on a handshake,” Bob Posey said. “They paid back all of it.”
Calvary Baptist Church sits on Main Street in Tupelo as a reminder of Della’s decision.
And her guitar from 1873 hangs on the wall at Oren Dunn City Museum in Tupelo, along with sheet music to her favorite hymn, “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.”
The guitar is a relic from a woman whose impact has been felt long after she left this life.
“I remember her as an old woman. I didn’t know her as an auburn-haired beauty,” Bob Posey said. “If I had my life to do over, I would sit at her feet, but I can’t do it over. I’m just so thankful the guitar is here as a reminder of Grandmama, this amazing woman.”