Malachi Crawford "M.C." Cummings -
1810 - 1895
M.C. Cummings - "Father of Fulton"
Malachi Crawford Cummings, better known as MC or "Uncle Mack" by most who knew him, was born in 1810 in Limestone County, Alabama. His wife, Sarah Rogers Cummings, was born in 1815 in South Carolina. Malachi and Sarah met while living in Columbus, MS, and they married in Columbus in 1835. In 1836, they moved and settled in what would become Fulton, MS where they would spend the remainder of their lives.
Mr. Cummings was the first settler in Fulton (hence another nickname "The Father of Fulton",) and came at a time when the country was practically uninhabited except by Indians, who were not hostile, however, but showing good dispositions towards the settlers and who lived by hunting and fishing, some of them raising small patches of corn. He was the owner of a tract of land embracing the site of the present town of Fulton, and there is one place near there where he leared the timber off in 1836, and upon which a good crop has been raised every successive season since. He built the Fulton hotel, which was the first public house in the county, and of which he was for some time the proprietor, though he has made planting his principal occupation.
The Cummings owned 10,000 acres in Itawamba County and were the largest landowners in the county. They cultivated approximately 2,500 acres and owned several lots inside the donation of Fulton. MC and Sarah also operated a water grist mill on Cummings Creek.
In 1939, Malachi was elected probate judge. In 1849 until the outbreak of the Civil War, he represented Itawamba County in the Mississippi legislature and served as a state senator during the war years. He was against the state of Mississippi seceding from the union but went along and supported the movement once articles of secession were approved. During the war, Malachi did all he could do to support the confederate cause. He equipped a confederate company known as the Cummings Grays.
Prior to the Civil War, Malachi built an antebellum home for himself and Sarah, which they called "Sunny Dell." Sunny Dell sat on top of hill about one mile north of Downtown Fulton. The home had 10 large rooms - 20 feet square, a wide hall, a wide back porch, and a portico out front. The Cummings had peacocks that graced the property, and it was said that one could hear the peacocks scream all the way to town.
Luckily, "Sunny Dell," Malachi, and Sarah survived the Civil War, while many southern planters who had invested solely in their slave and land property were in financial ruin after the war. It is rumored that Malachi had buried a sizable stock of gold prior to the war, had his grist mill and had no debt after the war. "Uncle Mack" still had the means, faith, business savvy, a strong will and wonderful energy which carried he and Sarah through the struggles that resulted in their continued prosperity.
The Cummings did not have any children of their own; however, they fostered around 28 orphans through the years and sponsored them through school with the promise that if they completed their education, they would receive a section of land to begin their future.
Malachi and Sarah were long time members of the Methodist Church in Fulton. In 1878 there was a need for a newer and larger church. MC went to one of the wealthier members of the church and asked for a contribution to help build a church, and the gentleman told him to put him down for five dollars. Apparently, this upset MC because he ended up building the church by himself. He provided the lot and materials and built a large one room church, furnished it and gave it to the Methodist conference with the understanding it would be used for all denominations to worship. Christ the King Catholic Church on Main Street in Downtown Fulton occupies that spot today.
Malachi would continue to serve the church as the superintendent of Sunday school until 1886 at the age of 76 and attended Sunday school regularly until the week prior to his death on April 28, 1895 at the age of 84.
Sarah lived another 11 years after Malachi's death. In her latter years, her eye sight became poor, but she still enjoyed having visitors at "Sunny Dell." She passed away in 1906 at the age of 91.
The Itawamba Settlers Historical Society Online Archives
These Things I Remember, The Itawamba Times, By Zereda Greene, April 8, 1965
Selected excerpts from Itawamba Settlers Magazine
Olden Times Revised, WL Clayton