(Town Crier photo/Revis Blaylock)
Alonzo Fleeman of Manila not only celebrated his 100th birthday with family and friends, he entertained the guests by playing several of his favorite songs on the harmonica.
The special event was held at the Manila Community Center on Sunday afternoon. Mr. Fleeman is a longtime resident of the Buckeye/Poplar Corner area and had plenty of stories to share with his family and friends on the history of the area.
Mr. Fleeman was born Oct. 18, 1906, the eighth of 15 children born to Jesse and Nancy Fleeman. His family moved to Manila from Cardwell, Mo., when he was about six years old.
Fleeman recalls his parents telling him about living in Tennessee. They also lived a short time in Texas before moving to Cardwell and on to Manila where they farmed. The children went to school at New Hope, Daughtery and Shady Grove.
The family had their own ball team and was quite well known around the area.
Fleeman married Elizabeth Osborne in November 1926. They were married almost 74 years when she passed away in 2000.
He has always said he thought his new Roadster may have won her over. They settled in their home north of Manila where he still lives today.
The Fleeman family's history goes back a long time in the area. Mr. Fleeman remembers using his team of mules to build the levee. He also had a hand in helping build a bridge across Big Lake.
Fleeman said he had a great team of mules. Their names were Kate and Roddie.
Fleeman always enjoyed trading. He traded his mules for his first tractor. Some of the trades he recalls include trading goats for a cow, and the cow for a motorcycle.
He always enjoyed duck hunting and loved duck calling.
Everyone wanted him to go hunting with them so he could call the ducks.
Fleeman has seen a lot of changes in his 100 years. His memory is still good and he still lives in the home place where he and Mrs. Fleeman raised their son, Harold, and enjoyed their grandchildren and great-grandchildren growing up. He still enjoys watching as the cotton crop is harvested. He also enjoys watching his family riding horses across the land. His granddaughter, Janet Davidson, and family live next to the home place.
Fleeman always enjoyed taking care of his cows and livestock. He had a huge barn which became a landmark to the area. Fleeman cut the lumber at Big Lake with his own sawmill to build the barn. The barn burned a couple of years ago but most everyone who lived in the area remembers it.
The party was hosted by his nephew, Danny Fleeman, and his wife, Teresa, who made a special cake for the occasion and decorated the room in honor of his 100th birthday. Everyone enjoyed lunch and visiting with the guest of honor as he greeted his family and friends with a smile and a warm welcome.