In Memoriam
   

FRANCIS HERBERT BLAND
August 25, 1918- February 8, 2005

We knew him affectionately as “Dr. Pepper” in our national reunions, Francis Herbert Bland of Paragould Arkansas was one of our best Bland family friends. There was no more devoted historian of the Bland family than Francis, who was born and died in Paragould Arkansas. He graduated from Hendrix college, and in his life time, went on to take up the Mellow Moon Bottling Company which was started by his father in 1926. The Mellow Moon company evolved into the Seven Up/R.C. Bottling Company. At the Bland Reunions, we knew him as Dr. Pepper. Fran’s obituary celebrates his love of a favorite hobby, baseball, which I do not doubt. But the obituary is silent about Fran’s absolute love of family history and his tireless quest to discover his genealogical home. When I first met him, Fran believed that he was descended from the Blands who moved into Tennessee from Mecklenburg County Virginia, (our present family number 8). By 1991, Fran had discovered two brothers John and Charles Bland of Amherst County

Virginia, and Jesse Bland (C1775-1833) who provided clear clues to his ancestry. Francis Bland can easily be said to be the preeminent historian of the family group. His last Reunion was in Mississippi in 1998, after which it was physically impossible for him to travel. Everyone who knows Fran was uplifted by his enthusiasm and good humor and we grieve his passing. One of the most poignant events came shortly after Fran’s death, when his son completed the DNA procedure and we discovered that after all, Fran was a bonafide member of the Northern Virginia Bland family, now it appears likely he was a descendant of John Bland (C1742-1807), (25C6A). After all the years of struggle to discover his origins, I’m sure Fran is pleased.

Tommy Haynes, “Francis Bland dies at age of 86” Paragould Daily Press, February 9, 2005.

 
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