Nancy Marie Disharoon Barland, daughter of the late Florine Levy and George Lindsay Disharoon, was born July 22, 1922 in Port Gibson. Mrs. Nancy Rie, or “Rie” as she was affectionately known by so many friends and relatives, including her multitude of grands and great- grands, was the third of four children.
Mrs. Barland was born and raised at Bowling Green Plantation, in Claiborne County about eight miles east of Port Gibson, Mississippi. She lived in a time that doesn’t exist anymore, but she never wasted a moment. Through her 96 years, she became a bit of a local legend, though she’d very likely dismiss this notion with a shake of her head. She thought “school was wonderful”, even during the Great Flood of 1927, when she had to be carried across the flooded Bayou Pierre on the backs of men in hip boots. It was this positive spirit and utter resilience that defined her long and storied life. Never one to shy away from a social gathering, as a teenager, she was among the first inductees of the “KS Club”. Mrs. Barland graduated from Port Gibson High School and attended Mississippi State College for Women (now Mississippi University for Women) in Columbus, Mississippi for two years. Despite her small stature, she was very athletic which translated well to the tennis courts and also planted the seeds for the notorious Friday night volleyball ball games in her front yard later. While at MSCW, as a freshman, she enrolled for a course credit to be a theater stagehand, and of course ended up being the lead in “The Blue Bird”. Later, she played a part she for which she was likely destined, Ms. Scarlett O’Hara in Gone with the Wind.
Her flair for adventure took her to the city of New Orleans where she was hired to be “secretary to the secretary and treasurer” of the famous department store, Maison Blanche. While working in the city, she resided on the 800 block of Bourbon Street, of course. Upon her return to her hometown, she married Charles Edward Barland of Hermanville, on August 6, 1949. They had two children, Charlie and Flo. Nancy Rie was a lifetime member of the First Presbyterian Church. She was a Southern lady, a devoted wife, a faithful Sunday School teacher, and a spellbinding storyteller, all rolled into one fiery package.
More than all of this, though, she was a mother and later in life, a family matriarch, serving as a trusted guide to the next generations to always live life to the fullest. Her bridge-playing acumen was not to be tested, her tomato aspic was topped with homemade mayonnaise, and her storied wit kept everyone on their toes. The doors of her antebellum home, McGregor, were always open to all, especially while hosting the beautiful wedding receptions of her three granddaughters. Her affection for travel was shared with her grandchildren by accompanying them across the pond to Italy and England. She was a fixture in the local farming community because she “kept the books” at the Claiborne County Co-Op for sixty years until she retired at the age of 92. It was a perfect match, she was the store expert and her husband, Charles, worked hard as the farmer. After her passing, Sunday dinner on Rie’s porch will never be the same.
Later in life, she was asked by a local historian about the benefits of living in Port Gibson. Nancy Rie replied, “I think the wonderful thing about being in a small town with lots of friends and relatives is that it gives you such a peaceful feeling and, also, a very happy feeling. You know, I feel like that’s kind of the feeling here in Port Gibson. We have a tenderness for our fellow man, and it’s just a close feeling that you wouldn’t want to give up.” And the small historic town of Port Gibson, Mississippi is grateful for a such a life well-lived. Her legacy of love and life will remain with her two children, many nieces, three granddaughters, and ten great-grandchildren. She is survived by Mr. Charles Barland, Jr. of Hermanville,
Mr. and Mrs. Kenny Strawn of Port Gibson, sister in law Mrs. Benjamin Disharoon of Port Gibson, and her granddaughters, Dr. Amanda Penny, Mrs. Lindsay Adams, and Mrs. Julie Brown.
Visitation will be at the First Presbyterian Church in Port Gibson on Tuesday, July 2 from 930-11 AM followed immediately by a service. Pallbearers are Mr. John Noble, Mr. Hasie Marsalis, Mr. Robert Burnett, Dr. Mike Davis, Dr. David Headley, Mr. Isiah Windmon, Mr. Jimmy Cassell and Dr. Eddie Lipscomb. Honorary Pallbearers are Mr. Mott Headley, Jr, Mr. Mike Humphries, Mr. Robert Windham and Mr. Doug Williams.