by Sophie McNeil Wolf
On the northern most corner of Hawthorne Drive at Brookwood, sits a white house nestled among oak trees, a chimney flanking each side. Inside you’ll find Frank Hagaman, Jr., a 93 year old man with so many stories, it’s almost hard to believe they all happened to the same person.
A born Jacksonian, Hagaman grew up in Belhaven, the son of Frank Hagaman, Sr., an orthopedic surgeon, and Edwinna Short Hagaman Ellzey. Even from the time he was born, his father was involved, delivering Frank himself.
Growing up was idyllic, running around the neighborhood, playing baseball on the fields at Power Elementary (now the grounds of First Presbyterian Church) and hunting dove on the fields around the insane asylum (now the grounds of University of Mississippi Medical Center).“I remember seeing the patients on the property. The windows had bars on them in a row, facing State Street,” he said.
Before graduating high school at Central High in downtown Jackson, he also attended McCallie School, a private boys school, in Chattanooga, coming under the wing of Sonny Montgomery as his “freshman” his first year there. “I had to carry laundry and do errands for him,” he said, shaking his head. “I think he just picked me out of the crowd. There were a few people from Mississippi there.”
Montgomery went on to become a major General in the Mississippi National Guard and U.S. representative for Mississippi. The VA Hospital in Fondren in named in his honor.
In these later teenage years, Hagaman’s father was tragically killed in a car crash as he was heading to Kosciusko to tend to a patient. His mother remarried legislator and first president of Copiah-Lincoln Community College Lawrence Russell Ellzey and the two looked to build a home together. A country boy from Wesson, Ellzey wanted a taste of the country in the city, so the two chose the spot along Hawthorne Drive in Fondren in 1947. Back then, the north end of Hawthorne Drive was just a dirt road.
“There wasn’t even a bridge over Eubanks Creek at the time. All of this,” he said, pointing north towards Meadowbrook Road, “was fields. I used to go duck hunting out there. This was like country life.”
Ellzey enjoyed tending to the yard and picking out the plot. Many of the trees and bulbs still in existence are his handy work, credits Frank’s wife, Mary.
At the time, the GI subdivisions in Broadmeadow and Broadmoor were just being built, providing much needed homes to soldiers back from World War II.
Hagaman himself enlisted to fight in World War II in 1942. Fresh from Central High School, he had only been at Tulane University for a year before he was assigned to be trained as a B-17 flying fortress pilot.
“I trained at over 20 air fields,” he noted. But he wouldn’t make it to the battle fields. While he was training, they learned that the war was over. He was discharged in 1947. Hagaman headed back to Tulane. A course at Central in bookkeeping inspired him to study accounting, where he received a bachelor’s of business administration. After working for a few firms, he founded Hagaman, Roper, Maddox and Reid, CPA (now Haddox, Reed, Betts and Eubanks).
After his parents passed away in the 1980s, he and his first wife, Catherine Richardson, movedÂ into the Fondren home. “We loved it so much. There’s tree lined and wide streets.”
For Hagaman, Fondren is home. “I think (the progress in Fondren) is great. It’s very refreshing.”