Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Mary Wears a Hat

1900-1985
Daughter of James & Anna Culver Markham
Wife of Jay Lively & Wallace Young

Mary was born 26 May 1900. The 1900 census records her as a 1 month old baby in the household of her parents, James and Anna Markham, with older brother James Monroe. They were living in Caseyville near Mary's grandparents Monroe and Mary Markham, uncle Grant Markham and other relatives. They were still in the same community by 1920. The family had grown to include Mary and her siblings: James Monroe, Asriah, Bessie, Elizabeth, Theodosia, and Alberta.

The 1930 household of Mary's parents were reduced by three. Asriah died of a accidental gunshot wound on 1 Apr 1923. Mary and brother James Monroe were a part of the Great Migration. The two moved to Chicago where James Monroe was a Pullman Porter and 29 years old Mary was a beauty operator, working in a beauty parlor. In Nov 1930, Mary married Jay Lively.

By 1940, Mary and Jay Lively were listed as lodgers in Chicago. Mary continued her career as a beauty operator and Jay was a porter in a department store. Jay died in Dec 1945. Back home in Caseyville, Mary's father had died, and her mother Anna, sister Elizabeth were living on the old homestead. All of the siblings, except Alberta, migrated from Mississippi.

Mary 2nd husband was Wallace Young. At the time of her death, Mary was using the Lively surname. Mary died 27 Mar 1985, in Chicago.

Photograph Courtesy of Marianne Culver

How does Mary connect to my family?
Mary's father, James Markham, and my grandmother Alice Markham Marshall were siblings.

10 comments:

  1. Mary is definitely wearing that hat. I like the roundup of her life.

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    1. Thanks Kristin. Census records and help from a cousin can help to roundup a life.

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  2. In working on a piece of research, I recently learned that nearly 50% of African Americans born in MIssissippi between 1905-1925 migrated to the north, and 15% to other states in the south.

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    1. I am amazed at the number of my folks missing from the old home place in the 1930 census, those children and grandchildren of former slaves. Some first went to the Mississippi Delta but left after they discovered farming in the delta had the same results as back home, you almost starved to death. Some settled in Memphis, Little Rock, Atlanta, New Orleans, others kept moving until they reached the North or the West.

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  3. Your photos of your family invariably depict them as engaging, attractive, and dignified people. How they avoided feeling beaten down, I have no idea. Maybe when you live under Jim Crow, you take it for granted that that’s how things are, and you get on with your life better than someone who was suddenly thrust into a racist society.

    I know that Pullman built a town for his workers, but I have no idea if black people were allowed there. Would you happen to know?

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    1. Just the other night a cousin told me that Pullman built houses for his workers. The cousin's uncle, who was a Pullman Porter, lived in one of those houses, when he moved from Georgia to the Chicago area.

      James Baldwin said If I am not what you say I am then you are not who you think you are.

      We never allowed the racist's beliefs to define us. Yes, you get on with life but you also fight for the system to change. The Jim Crow laws that crumbled in the 60s didn't happen overnight.

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    2. Pullman did more than build houses; he built a town based upon what he thought a town should be, that is he was a bit of benevolent despot. It has been a few years, but I saw a PBS documentary about his town that portrayed it as less than the paradise he intended.

      “We never allowed the racist's beliefs to define us.”

      If I may be so bold, I think it possible that some people did, and some didn’t. Like the preacher who told my father that my father was smarter because he was white. Or, maybe, like Booker T. Washington. I’m getting old, and I know that society is delegating me to a lesser category because of my age, but I can’t tell you the extent to which that influences my opinion of myself, and if I can’t know this, then how can you?

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    3. Cousin was speaking of what he knew, Pullman building houses. I was not aware of Pullman building houses nor a town until you and Cousin shared. It is an interesting topic I intend to follow up with a little research since there are a couple of Pullman Porters in the family.

      Racism, sexism, ageism, all the isms are part of our American culture and throughout the world. You and I are in agreement, some people did and do allow others beliefs to define them. When I said "We" I was speaking of my immediate family members and those who had influence in my life.

      I don't remember anyone in my life who had the attitude the preacher who shared with your father, not one. Yes, I believe people like preacher exists.

      I plan to re-enter college in January. A sixty year old woman in school, foolish waste of money. I have no intentions of folks with ageism issues to determine the path for my life.

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  4. I like this picture of Mary and the way she carries herself. Makes me wish I could have a conversation with her. I bet she had her share of stories since she worked as a beauty operator.

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    1. If her beauty parlor was like the ones I patron, she probably had interesting stories and gave thoughtful advice.

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