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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Finding Your Roots! Episode #3 Gifted Storytellers Connecting With the Past

Finding Your Roots!

Episode 3

Someone once said that a storyteller tries to capture and share their most important stories.

Photo from Finding Your Roots website

Anderson Cooper
CNN Investigative Journalist

Anderson Cooper comes from the famous wealthy Vanderbilt family and I had a hard time believing that he did not know anything about his family history. But it wasn't the Vanderbilt side (the side that Anderson said came with baggage) that he was curious about; it was the Cooper side.  The Coopers were his paternal side who were from Mississippi and were poor. These ancestors fought for the confederacy and a few of them owned slaves. In fact, one of Anderson's relative was beaten to death with a garden hoe by his slave.  Unfortunately, all we were told on this segment was that the slave was hanged without a trial.

Professor Gates asked Cooper if he could meet an ancestor who would it be? Anderson wanted to meet his Dad again and find out what he thought of him now.  In the beginning of my research, I would ask myself that very same question and from time to time the answer would change.  Lately, I have one relative that I would like to meet; my maternal great-grandfather, John P. Pate. John P. Pate has always been an enigma because he died when my grandmother was around 3 years old and we have lots of "tales" about him but I have yet to confirm some of these "tales."

Anna Deavere Smith
Playwright, Actress

This segment concentrated on the Maryland native's ancestor Basil Biggs who Anna did not know about.  Biggs was a free Black man who was prosperous before the Civil War and became the wealthiest Black man in Gettysburg, PA.  His wealth came from his veterinarian business and probably his contract work with disinterring the bodies after the Gettysburg battle. Biggs received a contract to disinter the dead bodies from their temporary graves and rebury them. This took Biggs and his crew which was less than 10 men about 5-8 months to complete.  In addition, Biggs home was also a stop on the Underground Railroad.  How Anna did not know about this great man; I don't know.  But I loved it when Smith was told she came from a long line of free Blacks. Ann's response was "Boy, I have no excuse not to make something of myself!  Even if Anna did not descended from a long line of free Blacks, with Basil Biggs as an ancestor, she certainly had no excuse not to be successful.

Sadly a lot of African Americans do not know anything about their ancestor and how their ancestors helped build this country.  If I found a successful ancestor in my tree, I would certainly spread the word among his or her descendants and later contact the local historical society where my ancestor lived because every community needs to know about its "unsung" heros and sheros.

Ken Burns
Documentary Filmmaker

Ken Burns and Anderson Cooper both lost family members at an early age. Ken lost his mom and Anderson lost his father and only brother.  Burns said that someone once told him that he missed his mom and probably want her back because in his work, he wakes up the dead.  Burns agreed that he wanted to do well; "really well" to make his mom proud. I agree that we all want to do well to make our ancestors proud so if they ever wake up they would have to say "well done."

Burns research led him to ancestors on both sides of the American Revolution and a slave owning ancestor.  Through DNA, Burns discovered that he was related to Scottish poet Robert Burns and his hero Abraham Lincoln. It certainly would put me on "Cloud 9" if I was related to my American Idol or favorite entertainer, Prince.

To my disappointment, Mr. Burns was more ashamed of having a Loyalist ancestor who was loyal to England and the King instead of an ancestor who owned slaves.  But in fairness, at least he was honest.  There are a few things that would make me ashamed of my ancestors but I would try to rationalize what my ancestor was facing for him or her to make a choice that perhaps was a necessity.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Finding Your Roots - Ancestry of Champions

In the second episode of the Finding Your Roots series, we get to explore the Ancestry of Sports Champions: Billie Jean King, Rebecca Lobo and Derek Jeter.

Billie Jean King is a legend in the Tennis world. She won 39 Grand Slam Titles including 20 Wimbledon Championship titles (singles, mixed and doubles) and became the first tennis player to be named by Sports Illustrated as Sportsman of the Year. For someone so accomplish, Ms. King did not know much about her family history, specifically, her paternal grandmother.  She knew her grandmother was adopted but that was it and Ms. King also thought she had Seminole Indian heritage.

Through Dr. Gates research, we find the family bible which Ms. King didn't know existed.  The clues in the bible led to her adopted grandmother's birth record which told us that Ms. King grandmother was born in a girls home for unmarried young ladies.  Another surprise was that Ms. King is 100% European and not a drop of Native American blood.  Dr. Gates also found a picture of King's great-grandmother, the mother of her adopted grandmother.

Like Ms. King, there's a large number of African Americans who believe they have Native American ancestors. Sadly, DNA has proven that theory wrong.  For me, my Ancestry DNA results stated that I have 2% Asian ancestry and 1% Melanesia ancestry. In fact, my Mom has the same results. According to 23andme, Mom and I both have 1.4% Asian and Native American ancestry and less than 1% Oceanian ancestry. These results made my Mom "giddy" that she has Native American ancestry but not as much as she had hoped.

Another athletic champion on this episode was Rebecca Lobo.  Ms. Lobo is currently a basketball analyst who has an Olympic gold medal and has won a WNBA championship. When I first heard of Rebecca it was many years ago when she was featured on another series about cancer.  At the time, Lobo's mother was battling breast cancer, sadly her mom lost the fight with this disease and I was hoping that Rebecca's segment was going to talk about her medical history but that wasn't the case.

Dr. Gates provided Rebecca with a copy of her great-grandmother's handwritting.  Rebecca was amazed at seeing her ancestor's handwritting.  I know how that feels. A relative gave me a copy of my paternal great-grandmother, Fannie Sherrod Powell's letter to her mother.  I cherish that letter.

The third athlete featured in this series was baseball legend Derek Jeter.  Derek's mother is Irish American and his father is African American. The researchers trace Derek's father's roots to a former slave name Green W. Jeter who lived in Alabama. On the 1870 census, Green W. Jeter had $250 in personal property. Dr. Gates stated that Green Jeter's wealth suggested that Green's father could had been white and perhaps Green's former owner.  Because Derek is a male and the male DNA doesn't change, Derek's DNA would be the exact DNA as Green Jeter and Green Jeter's father whomever that might had been. Well, Dr. Gates was able to get DNA from a descendant of Green Jeter's owner, James W. Jeter. The DNA results confirm Derek and the descendant shared the same DNA, thus Green Jeter's father was James W. Jeter.

I unfortunately have yet to have a male relative to confirm specific ancestor origin such as my Mom's paternal grandfather who was supposed to be Native American.  Meanwhile, on the 1870 Wayne County, North Carolina census, my great-great grandfather, Charles Becton, was listed as having $200 worth of personal property but no one has ever said that Charles was a a child of his slave owner. I just thought that grandpa Charles got his money through hard work but perhaps some way or somehow he got his money through an inheritance.

As Billie Jean King stated on the show, "Champions adjust!" Well the ancestors featured in this episode are examples of individuals who through struggle were able to adjust. Maybe that's why their descendants are all Champions.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

FINDING OUR FATHERS

Each Tuesday night beginning on September 23, 2014, PBS will air the series, “Finding Your Roots” hosted by Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr.  This documentary traces entertainers from “all walks of life.” The first episode highlighted three entertainers researching their fathers:


Courtney B. Vance
Gloria Ruben
Stephen King


No, this is not the celebrity version of one of Maury Povich's shows titled "Who's My Daddy" or "Help Me Find My Daddy". Instead, this episode show how these 3 celebrities are just like your everyday person who is researching their family tree, their paternal family tree. For instance, Courtney B. Vance’s father was adopted after Courtney’s 17 year old grandmother gave him up. While Gloria Ruben’s father died when she was young and Stephen King’s father deserted his family when Stephen was very young. In fact, Stephen had never seen a picture of his father until Dr. Gates found a copy; Stephen and his father could had been twins.  Through my research, I have met a lot of “DNA” cousins who are looking for their biological family and some cousins are simply looking for their fathers. 

In Gloria’s segment, we learn that when she was born her father was 73 years old. That was shocker for me!  But my mom reminded me about her grandfather, John Pate who was almost 60 years old when my grandmother Classie, his last child, was born. In fact, in those days it wasn’t unusual for older men to start a second family.  

Dr. Gates' research was able to trace Gloria’s maternal ancestor who was born in Africa. He pointed out that this find was something that not too many researchers are able to achieve. This is possibly true in 95% of cases but not all!  Early this year, I went to one of my paternal grandfather niece’s birthday party and her son James ask me to see what I could find on his grandfather, Walter Williams. I researched Walter’s family and gave James my findings.  I wrote a post about Walter which I used as one of my 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge. My post was seen by another researcher whose ancestor own slaves in the same area where James’ great-grandfather was a slave.  This researcher sent me a few documents, including a document which was a list of slaves that the Williams Family brought from Barbados to Greene County, North Carolina from 1812-1834. This slave list was divided into seven sets of what appear to me to be families. None of the slaves were born in America all but two were born in Barbados. The other two were born in Africa. Although this research was for my cousin and it doesn’t appear that I have any direct ancestors with the “Williams” surname; I’m keeping this list for two reasons.  First, it’s a great find for anyone researching in Greene County because the courthouse was burned in 1876; therefore a lot of the records were destroyed. Secondly, a number of my relatives were born or raised in Greene County, so this list may come in handy one day and I can say my ancestor was born in Barbados or Africa. Needless to say, in this genealogy journey, you never know where you will find your Daddy or your ancestors.



This document was provided by Henry A. Williams descendant, Melanie Williams.

Monday, September 22, 2014

And Her Name Is...Anica/Anna Kaye Barnes - 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks:Week #38


This post is in response to Amy Johnson Crow's 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.  If you want to know more about this challenge check out her blog at NO STORY TOO SMALL. This week I’m writing about my great-great-great grandmother, Anica/Anarchy/Anna Kaye Barnes who I will call Anna (1822? - 1914).

Over 25 years ago at a Barnes Family Picnic, one of my cousins gave a brief family history about our ancestor. It was the history that her grandmother, Emma Barnes Dickerson, told her before Emma died.  My cousin said that Anna Barnes was the daughter of a Black Creek Indian and a Black man and that Anna was the mother of three children.  Anna's husband or mate was Bob Barnes who was sold off to Durham NC and later sold further down South. 

This post is dedicated to Anna; I don't know what her real name was because I've seen so many different spellings of her name. I also don't know how she became a landowner?  By 1880 Anna owned her own home and when she died she left her land to her 3 children.  Will I ever find out how she got her land? I don't know.

According to the 1870 census in the Holden township of Wayne County, North Carolina, 37 year old Anica Barnes and her children: 18 year old Elijah and Sallie who was 16 years old were living in John Jinkins' house. Besides Anna's family, there was a black man named John Powell living with the Jinkins family. Mr. Jinkins was a carpenter who had $450 of real estate and $500 personal property but why did he have black people living in his household, I don't know why Jinkins who was 39 years old would allow two Black men living in the same home as with his wife and two young daughters, perhaps they were living in separate quarters away from the main home. Maybe one day, I will find the connection between Mr. Jinkins and Anna.




1870 Census for Anna Barnes' Family

Nearby, living in the same county was Anna's daughter Trecinda. Trecinda and her children, Jane and Edwin were living with John and Jane Sauls. Trecinda and John’s wife Jane were described as housekeepers which seems strange that Trecinda was not working, but this may be because of one year old Edwin.  I also don’t understand why Trecinda wasn’t living with her mother.



1870 Census for Trecinda Barnes's Family

In 1880, Aniky (yep, that's how it was spelled.) is 50 years old and she's living in her own home with her two sons, 26 year old Elijah and Eddie who was 10 years old. Elijah’s occupation was listed as a farm laborer and Eddie was attending school, not a farm hand like his brother. Eddie was perhaps Trecinda's son Edwin who may have been visiting his grandmother when the census taker was in town. Meanwhile, Anna has her own home; I wonder how she purchase this home.



1880 Census for Anna Barnes and her sons.


It’s the year 1900 and Anna was still living in the Nahunta area of Wayne County but now, by herself.  She was a 69 year old widow and on this census Anna answered the question about her marriage by saying that she was 25 years of age when she married.  Anna also said that she was the mother of 3 not 4 children which leads me to believe that Eddie was her grandson Edwin. Her occupation was listed as a day laborer. She was described as a literate day laborer and she owned her own home which was not on a farm but in the city.




1900 Census for Anna Barnes




Also in 1900, Anna’s son Elijah lived in Rocky Mount (Nash County) with his family.  He’s 44 years old, instead of 48. He stated that his birth month was June 1856 and that he had been married for 14 years.  He’s a literate porter who worked on the train.  Elijah’s wife was name Janie who was born in 1875 and 25 years old and was the mother of 6 children: 13 year old Nettie, 7 year old Sarah, 6 year old Grandville, 4 year old Edgar, 2 year old Beatrice and 5 month old Katie. Janie needed a break but that’s just my two cents. Elijah had 2 borders who may had been co-workers: Charlie Bowser, a 42 years old described as a Porter and Isaac Richardson who was 35 years old and a machinist.




1900 Census Elijah Barnes and Family

Apparently Elijah stayed with his mom until he got married in 1886. I wonder where did he marry in Wayne or Nash County?  Elijah Barnes was 30 years old when he married his 12 year old child bride, Janie.  He’s not home all the time because of his job, a Porter on the train. I wonder if his borders were his wife’s relatives.  Finally, why did he move so far from his mom. Rocky Mount is 45 minutes via car and longer via mule and buggy. Elijah also had a daughter named Nettie.  This must be a special name in our family that perhaps was passed down from generation to generation.



By 1910, Anna was living beside her daughter Sallie. Both women were widows living in Fremont.


1910 Census for Anna and Sallie Barnes


On March 2, 1914, Anna Barnes died in Fremont, NC. Her death certificate stated that she was 92 years old but if you review the census from 1870 - 1910 her age varied. Her daughter Trecy (Trecinda) Barnes was the informer for the death certificate. Trecy stated that Anna was born in Wilson County but she lived most of her life in Fremont which is in Wayne County.  Perhaps Anna wanted to get away from her former life in Wilson. 

Besides discovering where Anna was born, I discovered her parents names: Robert and Charity Stancil. Charity, another name that runs in our Barnes family, was the Black Creek Indian. I still have not found Anna's connection to Native Americans besides oral history. I seriously would like to find out how did Anna acquire her land because  maybe the two are tied. Was it through her Black Creek heritage because the 5 civilized tribes: Creeks, Cherokees, Chickasaw, Seminoles, Choctaws provided reparations to some of their slaves. 


Anna Barnes Death Certificate

In Anna's Will dated 1906, she left her land to Sallie, Elijah and Treacy. She also left personal property such as a clothes basket, straw bonnet and an iron to her granddaughter Jane Woodward and a trunk to her granddaughter Emma Barnes. The same Emma Barnes who I mentioned earlier in this post. Emma was 16 when Anna died.




Anna's Will  

Trecinda Barnes 5/1849 - 10/15/1929 

According to her death certificate, Trecinda's father was Peter Barnes not Bob Barnes. Interesting enough Trecinda was the mother of 6 children but in her Will dated 10/22/1928, she left all her belongs to her daughter Jane Barnes Woodard. 



Trecinda Barnes Death Certificate





Trecinda Barnes' Will


Elijah Barnes (1854-?) married Janie and possibly a second wife named Julia.

It's not clear if Elijah was twice married because of the clarity of handwriting, but after 1910, I could not find a Elijah on the census. If he died before 1913, then there is no death certificate. By 1920, Elijah's widow and the youngest children are living in Baltimore, MD. He was the father of the following children:
Sarah
Granville
Earl
Beatrice 
Kate
Astor
Vivian


1900 Census for Elijah Barnes and Family


Sallie Barnes (1860 - 7/28/1930) married Isiah Barnes and according to the 1900 census she gave birth to 15 children including the following:
Laura
Ida
Jackson
Charity
Ella/Ellie
Willie
Claudie
Fraudie
Millard
Mary
Emma
Callie
Killy
Nettie

On Sallie's death certificate, her father's name is Peter Barnes. 



Sallie Barnes Death Certificate


My analysis: 

I have lots of questions; such as how did Aunt Emma know that Bob went to Durham and then "down South"?  How did the family keep in touch with him during slavery times? Perhaps, one day Bob's mystery will be solved and then, I will dedicate a post to him. 

Wilson county was formed in 1855 and it was formed from Edgecombe, Johnston, Nash and Wayne Counties. If Anna was born around 1822; she wasn't born in Wilson but perhaps she was born in the area that was originally Edgecombe or Nash county. I say that because her daughter Trecinda settled in Wilson and her son Elijah moved to Rocky Mount which is located in both Nash and Edgecombe counties.  

I believe that Anna's husband name was Peter and not Bob and if I could find Elijah's death certificate it might confirm my assumption since two of the 3 children lists the father's name as Peter.  I don't know what Anna's real name was but I believe it was Anica.  I also wonder if Anna was an only child and if her death certificate was correct. Finally who was Anna's slaveowner...the Barnes or the Stancils?

Sources:

1870 Census Place: Holden, Wayne, North Carolina; Roll: M593_1165; Page: 131A; Image: 265; Family History Library Film: 552664.

1870 Census Place: Nahunta, Wayne, North Carolina; Roll: M593_1165; Page: 171B; Image: 346; Family History Library Film: 552664.

1880 Census Place: Fremont, Wayne, North Carolina; Roll: 986; Family History
Film: 1254986; Page: 650D; Enumeration District: 301; Image: 0886.

1900 Census Place: Fremont, Wayne, North Carolina; Roll: 1223; Page: 13B; Enumeration District: 0108; FHL microfilm: 1241223.

1900 Census Place: Rocky Mount, Nash, North Carolina; Roll: 1208; Page: 26A; Enumeration District: 0064; FHL microfilm: 1241208.

1910 Census Place: Nahunta, Wayne, North Carolina; Roll: T624_1137; Page: 8A; Enumeration District: 0113; FHL microfilm: 1375150.

North Carolina, Death Certificates, 1909-1975 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2007.

North Carolina State Board of Health, Bureau of Vital Statistics. North Carolina Death Certificates. Microfilm S.123. Rolls 19-242, 280, 313-682, 1040-1297. North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh, North Carolina.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: #35 – Mark Green


Mark Green was my maternal Great-Great-Uncle who was the brother of Classie Green McCall, my Great-Great-Grandmother.

Mark was born around 1844 in Pitt County, North Carolina. However, it appears that he lived most of his life in the Nahunta area which is in Wayne County, North Carolina. He married Ann Roundtree who was the daughter of Thomas and Fannie Roundtree.  I could not find their cohabitation record which is a document that tells how long former slaves had been living together as a married couple. Mark and Ann were probably slaves in one of the surrounding counties where the cohabitation records were destroyed such as Greene County. They were the parents of Sallie (1870-9/8/1938), Joseph (1872-?), Ceasar (1874-3/14/1948), Albert (1876-?), Willie (5/1878-4/29/1948), Fannie (1886-?) and Nelley (8/1887-?).

Throughout the Censuses from 1870-1920, I have never seen any additional family members, besides their children and Mark's brother Joseph, listed in Mark’s house. Therefore I was very surprised when I came across a few listings in the Goldsboro North Carolina Messenger newspaper where Mark paid pauper fees for his brother and his mother, unfortunately, their names were not listed. I assume that the brother was Joseph however, it could had been a fee for another brother.  If not, why was Mark paying a fee for his brother who lived in Mark’s home. I don’t understand how the “poorhouse” fees worked. But apparently, the fee was paid every month. But what about his mother? His mother was ALIVE but she was living in the “poorhouse?” Why wasn’t she living with my ancestor, her daughter Classie or her son Mark. I have no information on Mark and Classie's parents and this is the first "tidbit" that I have on his mother. These news articles leaves me with more questions than answers. 


Excerpt from the Goldsboro Messenger newspaper - Thursday, June 20, 1878

Excerpt from Goldsboro Messenger newspaper - Monday, Nov. 18, 1878

Ann Green died on January 22, 1929 Fremont, North Carolina. She was buried at Daniels Quarter Graveyard aka Cemetery. If Mark and the rest of his family were buried at the same cemetery, then sadly I can't visit their graves because the cemetery no longer exist and the graves were moved and its questionable where the graves have been moved to.


Death certificate for Ann Roundtree Green
I don’t know when Mark died but it was after 1920 and before his wife died in 1929. It’s a mystery why I can’t find his death certificate because on paper, Mark appeared to be well known in the community. For instance, Mark’s is mention in a book as the Justice of Peace for Fremont, North Carolina. On the 1870 and 1880 census, Mark was described as a Farm Laborer but perhaps Mark had multiple jobs because I found a few documents that listed him as the mayor, and if it had not been for these documents and my mom’s recollection; I possibly would had never known about Uncle Mark's standing in the community. To me, that is quite an feat for a former slave.


Excerpt from The Heritage of Wayne County North Carolina, 1982


My mom recalls hearing that Mark’s brother Joseph was handicapped. In fact, on the 1870 census, Joseph was described as “dum” but Joseph was probably mentally disabled. Family history also stated that Mark’s wife, Ann, would beat Joseph. It appears that Joseph had a hard life. Its ironic that the 1870 census looks like the 1920 census with the same four members (Mark, Ann, their daughter Sallie and Joseph) that were living together in 1870 are still living together as a family in 1920… 50 years later. 


1870 Census for Mark Green's family






1920 Census for Mark Green and family


I still have a lot of questions regarding Mark and his brother Joseph such as when did Joseph die and what cause his death? I also would like to know what became of Joseph and Mark’s parents, my great-great-great grandparents. If they were born in Pitt County, exactly how did the family arrive in Wayne County, North Carolina. If anyone, can provide more information about Uncle Mark don’t hesitate to contact me.

Thanks for stopping by!



Sources:

The Heritage of Wayne County, North Carolina, 1982/the Wayne County Historical Association, Inc. et al;pg. 39.
Ancestry.com. North Carolina, Death Certificates, 1909-1975, North Carolina Death Certificates. Microfilm S.123. Rolls 19-242, 280, 313-682, 1040-1297. North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh, North Carolina.
1870 Census Place: Nahunta, Wayne, North Carolina; Roll: M593_1165; Page: 159B; Image: 322; Family History Library Film: 552664.
1880 Census Place: Nahunta, Wayne, North Carolina; Roll: 986; Family History Film: 1254986; Page: 663A; Enumeration District: 301; Image: 0913.
1920 Census Place: Great Swamp, Wayne, North Carolina; Roll: T625_1328; Page: 12B; Enumeration District: 118; Image: 899.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: #26 – Moses Eddie Pate

This is a part of the “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks” challenge begun by Amy Johnson Crow, author of the blog No Story to Small.


Picture of Moses Pate (left) and his brother-in-law Leslie Fuller; Date unknown

Moses Eddie Pate was my maternal Great Uncle. He was the youngest son of John and Sarah Pate. “Uncle Mose”, that’s the name his nieces and nephews affectionately called him, was born on July 21st, 1895 in Greene County, North Carolina. He was a tall, robust man with a light carmel complexion and he had that “good hair.” With his good looks I’m positive the young Mose Pate broke a lot of hearts.  For example, my mom once told me that when she was a little girl a lady came to their home looking for “Mose Pate sister” and Grandma Classie told her “that’s me.” The lady ask where could she find him and Grandma said that she had better ask his wife. I don’t know what became of the lady but mom said that she was a beautiful lady from Wilmington, North Carolina. 
In 1917, Uncle Mose enlisted in the army.


1917 Registration Card for Moses Pate

 
Uncle Mose was married twice.  First to Carrie Barnes on September 28th, 1924 in Wayne County, North Carolina.   They had 2 sons: Charles Ray (1924-1925)  and another son who died in infancy.  After being separate for so long, in 1969, Uncle Mose and Aunt Carrie divorce.  Uncle Mose did not have any surviving children with Aunt Carrie; however, he did have 4 children from two women whom he deeply cared about.  His four children included 3 daughters and one son, Lazarus Spencer (1938-2011).

Marriage Index for Moses and Carrie Barnes Pate




Death Certificate for Charles Pate


Although Aunt Carrie remarried and moved to another town, she remained very close to our family, especially my mom, her “god-daughter.”

On the 1940 Census, Uncle Mose was living next door to my grandparents, Leslie and Classie Pate Fuller in Fremont, North Carolina. In his house, was his brother, Roscoe McCall (Pate) and his sister Hannah Pate Battle and her family.  Aunt Hannah’s husband had just died and so her step-children and grandchildren were living with her. This is another example of how Uncle Mose remained closed to his family and acting as a surrogate male figure to his younger nieces and nephews, biological and adopted. 



1940 Census for Moses Pate


On August 24th, 1942, 43 year old Mose enlisted in WWII. Why would he
re-enlist, I don't know because he was working at the Fremont Oil Mill.  Pehaps, Uncle Mose hadn’t seen enough war and killing nor did he want to stay in the South. He listed my grandmother, Classie Fuller, as the person who will always know his place of residence.
WWII Draft Registration Card for Moses Pate

 
Later on he met his second wife, Beatrice Jones (“Ms. Bea”). They did not have any children but he became a step-father to Ms. Bea’s children and grandchildren.  On May 18th, 1973, Ms. Bea died. Uncle Mose never married again but he remained in Fremont, living near his family until his death on January 9th, 1984. When he died, he left all his wordly belongings to my mother.  He is buried in August Chapel Cemetery in Dudley, North Carolina. 
I have nothing but fond memories of this man. I just wished that I had asked him about his parents, his sisters and brothers, especially his baby sister who he affectionately called “Sis Classie.” 

Thanks for reading.




Sources:
Registration State: North Carolina; Registration County: Wayne; Roll: 1766040. Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2005.
Ancestry.com. North Carolina, Marriage Index, 1741-2004 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2007.
Ancestry.com. North Carolina, Death Certificates, 1909-1975 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2007.
Year: 1940; Census Place: Fremont, Wayne, North Carolina; Roll: T627_2987; Page: 14B; Enumeration District: 96-36. Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012.
North Carolina World War II Draft Registration Cards; Record Group: RG 147, Records of the Selective Service System, 1926-1975; Box: 284. Ancestry.com. U.S. WWII Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.
 

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: #20 - Fannie Vick Brooks: She was a Chairwoman

This is another article for the 52 Ancestor Challenge which was put on by Amy Johnson Crow at No Story Too Small.

For this week’s Ancestor Challenge, I chose my Great-Great Aunt Fannie Vick Brooks.  Aunt Fannie was born around 1887 to Thomas and Easter Exum Vick in Fremont, North Carolina. There isn't a lot of oral history about Aunt Fannie however, someone once said that Fannie moved to Washington, DC and was able to buy herself a home but she never married.  Well my research discover otherwise. 
                                               
1920 Census for Fannie Vick Brooks
     
In 1920, Fannie was indeed living in Washington, D.C. with her 14 year old Great Niece, Emma Fuller.  Fannie was listed as a 28 year old widow renting a home on 9th Street, NW. Her occupation was described as a “Chairwoman" for the Pullman Station and her pay was based on wage worker scale.  I don't know what a Chairwoman did but perhaps this was a job that a lot of women could fill. In fact, Aunt Fannie lived amongst other Chairwomen and laundresses, chauffeurs, cooks, porters, clerks, teachers and janitors. I believe Aunt Fannie must had been a very confident and a very fearless woman because she was living in the “big city” by herself with a teenager.  

I did not find Aunt Fannie on the 1910 census and she's wasn't living in North Carolina or Washington, D.C. under the Brooks or Vick surname.  She was MIA during that year which leads me to a few questions.  Who and when did she marry and when did her husband die?  I didn't see any other families with the surname Brooks living nearby or I would say that she was living near her "in-laws."  

 
1930 Census for Fannie Vick Brooks

By 1930, Fannie was still living in Washington and she had done very well for herself. She owned a home valued at $7,000. Fannie was still a Chairwoman but her employer was listed as the U.S. Government. At first I thought that this could not be my “Aunt Fannie” because she was listed as the head of the house with three men described as “lodgers” in her home.  Well, what respectful Southern young lady would be living in a home as the lone female with three men.  But it was Aunt Fannie. How did I know? One of the lodgers was her nephew, Ashton Saunders.  Ashton was Fannie’s youngest sister, Lela’s son. 

  
1940 Census for Fannie Vick Brooks
 
 
1940 Census for Fannie Vick Brooks 
 
 
In 1940, Fannie was still a widow and the head of the house.  She had four lodgers including her nephew Russell Saunders. Once again her occupation was described as the Chairwoman and this time her employer was the Senate Office Building.  Aunt Fannie made $800.00 a week. Eight hundred dollars a week! Now that had to be a lot of money during the 1940s. For a single widow female, she was doing fine.  But still we don't know a lot about her such as when did she die and where was she buried?

I can't help but wonder what was Aunt Fannie's duties as a Chairwoman? Did she have to wear a uniform? Was there a Chairwoman association? If so, did the Chairwomen take group pictures?

A side note, in college, I had an assignment where I had to attend a congressional hearing. When I got on the elevator there was this lady who push the buttons for those of us in the elevator.  The lady was sitting in a chair. Could this be the answer to my questions? Were Chairwomen ladies who operated the elevators?

If someone who reads this post knows the answer to my questions, please don't hesitate to respond.  So until this mystery is solved, Aunt Fannie's story is to be continued.


Sources:
1920 Census Place: Washington, Washington, District of Columbia; Roll: T625_211; Page: 15A; Enumeration District: 199; Image: 292, Ancestry.com.
1930 Census Place: Washington, Washington, District of Columbia; Roll: 298; Page: 4A; Enumeration District: 0220; Image: 164.0; FHL microfilm: 2340033, Ancestry.com.
 
1940 Census Place: Washington, District of Columbia, District of Columbia; Roll: T627_571; Page: 61B; Enumeration District: 1-518, Ancestry.com.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

52 Ancestors: Week 18: Uncle Walter Williams



Walter Williams




Recently, at my Uncle Walter Williams’ daughter’s birthday celebration, his grandson James said that the family didn’t have much information on Walter. James said Walter's parents were slaves and he asked me to see what I could find. This post was created in response to my cousin James’ request.

Walter Williams married my Great Aunt Lena Powell on June 12, 1921. He was 28 years old and Lena was 19 years old.  Walter and Lena had 9 children: Walter Jr., Ernest, James, Hettie, Ada Gold, Juanita, Sharon, Rudolph and Ernestine.
 
According to Walter’s death certificate, his parents were Henry and Sarah Williams, and he was buried at St. Delight Cemetery in Green County, North Carolina. His daughter Ada Gold Jones provided the information on the death certificate. Walter probably lived near or with her because his address was listed in Kenly, North Carolina which was where Ada Gold also resided.



 
Walter's Death Certificate



Walter’s parents were Henry (1851-?) and Sarah (1851-?) Williams and they were the parents of Louise (1874-?), Lula (1869-?), William (1871-1938), John (1875-); Reddick (1877-?) Annie (1881), Sudie (1886-?), Lizzie (1888-?) and Nigat (1890-1965). Walter was the youngest of the family.

In 1870, Henry and Sarah are living in the Speights Bridge area of Snow Hill, North Carolina. Henry was 27, Sarah was 23 and their daughter was 8 months old. In the home was another person, a young man whose first name is illegible but his last name appears to be Thomas.  This little boy was 10 years old. All the occupants of the house stated that they were born in North Carolina.

By 1880, the couple’s personal information seem to drastically change. Henry was 40 years old and Sarah was 28. They family still lived in Greene county in the Speights Bridge area. I’m not sure if all of the children are Sarah’s because the eldest child was 11 years old which would make Sarah 17 when the child was born. This census also stated that Henry and his parents were all born in Virginia, not North Carolina. According to this census, Henry aged by 13 years and Sarah only 5 years.
 

 
 
1880 Census for Henry and Sarah Williams
 

Walter doesn't appear on the census until 1900. His parents are still residing in the community of Speights Bridge, in Greene County. Sarah stated that she was the mother of 12 children with 11 living. Walter was 6 years old on this census while his father was 63 and his mother was 48. Sister Lousenia (sp) was 24 and the eldest of the children. Seven of the children are living at home. Sarah and Henry had been married for 30 years.
 
 
1900 Census
 
The 1910 census was the last census that we find Sarah. She was listed as a widowed with 10 living. Three of her children were living with her: Louise, Wijat and Walter. Also in her household were her grandsons Sam and Ivy and a granddaughter, Effie. These grandchildren were probably her daughter Louise’s children. Apparently, Louise did not have a husband because the children’s last name was Williams like their mother.






 
1910 Census for the Williams Family


 


The birthday lady, her sister and niece.
Photo courtsey of Penny Brown.
 


Further Research:
 
It appears that Henry and Sarah live in Green County all their lives which is possibly where they were enslaved or perhaps they wanted to live near their extended family. If the couple were slaves in Greene County, then, their cohabitation records were destroyed in the Greene County Courthouse fire in 1897. The cohabitation records would had given us the names of their parents and possibly where the couple was born.

Between 1910 and 1920, Sarah passed away. It's possible if I traced each of Walter's siblings then I could find additional information on the Sarah and Henry.  For example, I found one of Walter’s brother’s death certificate. It was William M. Williams who died on September 13, 1938 in Greene county. He was 66 years old. His death certificate stated that their father was born in West Virginia and mother in Wilson County, NC. Since William was one of the older children; I believe he would had known where he’s parents were from. So it’s possible that William passed the information on to his wife and children who provided the information for the death certificate. On the other hand, Walter's brother Wijatt or Wyatt or Nigat’s death certificate (He died June 9, 1965 in Greene County, NC.) didn't provide much information because Walter's sister-in-law didn’t know her husband's parents name which is probably why they’re listed as unknown. But this information shows that the family remain in Greene County. 

I did find a tree managed by one of Reddick Williams descendants on Ancestry.com. This tree stated that Henry Williams died in 1910. It’s possible that Henry was buried in the same cemetery as Walter, St. Delight Cemetery. If any of Henry and Sarah's descendants read this post and has additional information, please contact me so I can pass the information on to my cousins.