Sunday, December 29, 2013

Sunday Obituary
Matilda Stackhouse Demyers Brown

Matilda Stackhouse Brown, the older of two children born to the late John and Mary Stackhouse, was born in Crystal Springs, Mississippi, on March 31, 1868. She joined the church at an early age while in Mississippi

Matilda met and married Print Brown. The family moved to Chicago in 1900. Upon their arrival in Chicago the family joined the Olivet Baptist Church under Reverend L T Williams and continued under the present pastor Reverend Joseph H Jackson. To this union were born seven children, Hugh Brown, Maybelle Shannon, Lucinda Spanks, Dora Demyers, Josephine Best, Eula Mae Demyers and Elson Demyers deceased.

She was a member of the Willing Worker's Circle at Olivet Church until poor health prevented her active participation in her latter years.

We loved our beloved Matilda, but God loved her best...Sleep in, dear Matilda, and take your rest. Matilda departed this life Sunday morning, June 2, 1974 at her home at 7:30 a.m.

She leaves to mourn her passing: One son Hugh Brown; five daughters, Maybelle Shannon, Lucinda Spanks, Dora Demyers, Josephine Best and Eula Mae Demyers; one daughter-in-law, Bertha Brown; one son-in-law, Benny Best; ten grandchildren, forty seven great grandchildren, twenty great great grandchildren, three great great great grandchildren, and a host of other relatives and friends.

How does she connect to my family?
My 2nd great grandmother Alice Demyers Overton Usher had a brother
John T Demyers who had a son
Isaiah Demyers who married Matilda Stackhouse.

Photograph courtesy of Matilda's direct descendant Katherine Addison Evans.
Matilda is the one in the long coat with her daughter Dora Reeves and the little girl is unknown.

Matilda Stackhouse married Charles Mathes(Matthews) 03 Jan 1893 in Copiah County.
Matilda Stackhouse married Isaiah Demyers 24 Dec 1902 in Copiah County, MS.

Monday, December 23, 2013

The Christmas Song - Blog Caroling 2013
Marvin Gaye 1963

Recorded live at the Apollo Theater in 1963.
The music and lyrics were composed by Mel Torme and Robert Wells in 1946.

My contribution to FootnoteMaven Blog Caroling

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Wordless Wednesday
Christmas 1920s II

Christmas Season 1920s
Unidentified man who worked for the Wise family of Hazlehurst, Copiah County, MS.
The boys are Andre and John Durr Wise, Jr

Photographs courtesy of Georgia Wise

Monday, December 16, 2013

Christmas 1938
Leslie Guiser Family

Leslie Guiser Family, 1938
The Guiser family Christmas celebration of 1938 was identified in The Daily Leader. Standing around a food-laden table are (l-r): ___ Haywood, Clara L. Guiser, Genoa Sartin Sr., Nannie Jackson, Elizabeth Guiser, Ulysses Guiser and Wille Mae McDaniel Guiser. Seated is Leslie Guiser Sr.

I found this picture on the Flicker page for the Lincoln County Public Library and recognized a couple of the names. I was not familiar with Leslie Guiser, the man seated but decided to do a census search.

Leslie was born Feb 1886-1888 in Mississippi, likely Franklin County near Meadville. He is the son of Virginia/Jennie Guiser and his father is unknown. I first find Leslie, 14 years old, in the 1900 Franklin County census living with his aunt Nancy/Nannie Guiser Jackson. Living next door was his grandmother Louisa Guiser, his mother Virginia and her four children.

By 1910, Leslie was a married man with two children. He married Elizabeth Wilkinson 08 Jan 1907 in Franklin County. Elizabeth was from Kentucky. The couple's children were: Leslie, Jr., Ulysses, Nan, Clara, Elias, Sterling, and Arnell.

Leslie and his family had settled in Brookhaven, MS, when the 1930 census rolled around. Leslie worked as a laborer for the Mississippi Power and Light Company. Leslie died in 1965.

Obituary of Ulysses Guiser, Son of Leslie and Elizabeth Guiser
Obituary of Willie Mae Guiser, Wife of Ulysses
Death Certificate of Louisa McCoy Guiser, Leslie's Grandmother
Obituary of Nancy "Nan" M Guiser Riggs, daughter of Leslie and Elizabeth Gusier

Photograph Courtesy of
Lincoln-Lawrence-Franklin Regional Library
100 S. Jackson St
Brookhaven, MS 39601

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Tombstone Tuesday
Albert Gallatin Brown

He was the son of Joseph and Elzabeth Rice Brown
Husband of Elizabeth Frances Thornton Taliaferro &
Roberta Eugenia Young
Governor of Mississippi 1844-1848
Governor Brown's headstone is in the middle.

He was born May 31 1813 in the Chester District of South Carolina.
Died June 12 1880 at his home near Terry, Mississippi.
Buried in the Greenwood Cemetery
Jackson, Mississippi

In 1823, when Albert was only 10 years-old his family moved to the new State of Mississippi. The Brown family settled in Copiah County, Mississippi. Raising cotton in the new frontier state of Mississippi proved to be lucrative for the Brown family. The Brown family owned members of my paternal family.

Picture of Albert G Brown from the Mississippi Department of Archives and History

Santa is in Town
Brookhaven 1950s

The children to the right appear to be mesmerized by the appearance of Santa in his automobile. I wonder where Santa's sleigh and reindeer were. Santa is near the train depot in Brookhaven, Mississippi.

Photograph Courtesy of
Lincoln-Lawrence-Franklin Regional Library
100 S. Jackson St
Brookhaven, MS 39601

Monday, December 9, 2013

Lyntine Irene Culver Lenoir

Lyntine was a graduate of Alexander High School, Alcorn State University and Tuskegee Institute. She taught special education in Chicago and in Mississippi: Columbia, Hattiesburg, Clarksdale, Brookhaven, and Port Gibson.

She was born in Lincoln County, Mississippi, to Grover Cleveland Culver and Kathleen Thompson. In 1942, she married maternal cousin Lamar Lenoir. The couple enjoyed over 50 years of marriage.

Lyntine's Obituary

Photograph Courtesy of
Lincoln-Lawrence-Franklin Regional Library
100 S. Jackson St
Brookhaven, MS 39601

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Cousin Tim Winston

Timothy Ora Winston 1908 - 1993
Son of Edward Robert Winston and Ora Ardenia Terry
The lady is Tim's niece.

Cousin Tim owned a funeral home in Hazlehurst, MS, the ancestral home of my Durr branch of the tree. I went to many funerals with my aunts and uncle when I was a child up to the mid-teen years. We would often see Tim, busy with the bereaved family and the activities that went with running the funeral business. One of the aunts or uncle would say, there's Tim. It was a while before I realized to whom they were speaking. Tim didn't look like us. Who was this white looking cousin and how was he related? They could only tell me Tim was related to us through my paternal grandmother, Tim was Grandma Gertrude's people.

Several months back I was contacted about my Demyers branch, which lead to me joining a Demyers family group on Facebook. I learned a lot through this group and it turns out that is how I am connected to Timothy Ora Winston. Tim and my common direct ancestor is Peggy who was born about 1815 in Virginia. Peggy had her first child with the slave master, Tim's line. Peggy had other children with Thomas Napoleon Demyers, my line. Peggy is my third great grandmother, she is Tim's great grandmother.

Photograph courtesy of Beverly Smith.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Amanuensis Monday
In Memory of Peggy Sims - Obituary 1885

Peggy was born between 1830-1835, in Virginia, according to the census records. She was the wife of Lawrence Sim/e/s, mother of Melissa. She was the slave of Sarah Frances Adams Taliaferro who was the wife of Peachy R Taliaferro. The family resided in Copiah County, MS. It is believed Peggy was buried in the Spring Hill Plantation Cemetery. Peggy's husband Lawrence was buried in Spring Hill Cemetery. His headstone reads: In Memory of Lawrence Simes - There is Rest - Born in Rockingham Co., Va. - April 15, 1818 - Died in Copiah Co., Miss - April 11, 1880

Peggy's Obituary
Who entered into rest with bright hopes and unwavering faith, June 6th 1885. She was born in Orange County, Va., was raised by Mrs. S. F. Toliaferro, in whose home she imbibed those early pious impressions which ruled her useful life, and to this kind friend she proved through her entire life a faithful servant, a tried friend, ever true. Possessed of a warm heart, an ardent nature, she lovingly served her white friends who warmly reciprocated her attachment. In olden time the bonds that bound her to her owners, were kind and loving as a child to a parent. their children who she tended in infancy, now heads of families, in reverting to their childhood, remember the face of their kind nurse "Peddy" among their earliest and happiest impressions. Ever ready to rejoice with them in their prosperity, to sympathize in adversity, to mourn with them in their sorrow, and to mingle her tears with theirs around the "bier" of their loved dead. To her colored friends she was a bright example as a christian, counsellor and neighbor, respected and loved by white and black. Always ready to help in any way their conditions demanded, willingly giving of her abundance laid up by an industrious life and judicious management. Sadly will they miss her. In an eminent degree, she possessed the faculty of bestowing ready and obliging attention, which made her welcome in every household she visited, and rendered it a delight to be waited on by her.

Especially around the sick bed, her gentle services were peculiarly grateful, there she was in her element, unwearying, unremitting in efforts to releave pain irrespective of color, for friend or foe, faithful to the promise, "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto me." Relying, with the unquestionable faith of a child, on the blessed promises of a covenant keeping God, in the simplicity of her guileless heart, the dying bed became "Victors Couch," and as the Pale Boatman with noiseless oar approached, with joyous shouts of victory, and eager longing for the glory of Heaven, to be with Jesus, her spirit passed away from earth.

Farewell faithful kind friend! We will all miss thy tender care while we journey here, but thy triumph has been sooner won. May we meet around our great Master's throne.

A Friend

Source: Hazlehurst Signal
Hazlehurst, Copiah County, Miss
Vol 4, No. 24, July 23 1885, Page 2
Microfilm Number: 29666
Mississippi Department of Archives and History

Headstone of Lawrence Simes, Peggy's Husband

Peggy and her husband Lawrence shared the same slave owning family with members of my family.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Afro Saturday - A Girl's 'Fro

Linda Charise Neal
Daughter of Tony and Bettie McDaniel Neal
circa 1975

Photograph courtesy of Tony Neal, Sr

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Say it Loud - I'm Black and I'm Proud

The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross
Rise! 1940-1968

The Afro, Symbolic of the Movement
Angela Davis wears it well.

Episode five of PBS' Many Rivers to Cross examined the struggles of African Americans to receive their full rights as United States citizens. James Brown's song, Say it Loud, I'm Black and I'm Proud, and the afro hair style were symbols of the Civil Rights Movement. The song and the hair style were affirmation of self-love, self-respect and self-determination. The afro was seen as a political symbol that reflected black pride, wearing our hair in its natural state. The song was recorded in 1968 in response to the movement.

My brother Richard sporting his afro in the early 1970s.

Say It Loud - I'm Black And I'm Proud

Uh, with your bad self
Say it louder (I got a mouth)
Say it louder (I got a mouth)
Look a'here, some people say we got a lot of malice
Some say it's a lotta nerve
I say we won't quit moving
Til we get what we deserve
We've been buked and we've been scourned
We've been treated bad, talked about
As just as sure as you're born
But just as sure as it take
Two eyes to make a pair, huh
Brother, we can't quit until we get our share

Say it loud,
I'm black and I'm proud
Say it loud,
I'm black and I'm proud, one more time
Say it loud,
I'm black and I'm proud, huh
I've worked on jobs with my feet and my hands
But all the work I did was for the other man
And now we demands a chance
To do things for ourselves
we tired of beating our heads against the wall
And working for someone else

Say it loud,
I'm black and I'm proud
Say it loud,
I'm black and I'm proud
Say it loud,
I'm black and I'm proud
Say it loud,
I'm black and I'm proud, oowee

The African Americans Many Rivers to Cross Blogging Circle

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Afro Saturday - Three Sisters' Afros

Elnora McDaniel

Bettie Jean McDaniel Neal

Joyce Marie McDaniel Stegall

The sisters are the daughters of David and Sadie Harvard McDaniel
Two were born in Natchez, MS, and the third in Illinois, during the 1940s.
They live in Colorado and Illinois.
Photographs courtesy of Tony Neal, Sr.

Friday, November 22, 2013

JFK - A Community's Hope

A few memories of 1963 comes to my mind rather easy. It was the year my brother James was born, the year my paternal grandmother, who we lived with, had a heart attack that left her frail. I don't have memories of the March on Washington or the Birmingham church bombing where four little girls was murdered but I do remember the day JFK was assassinated.

I was a second grade student at Westside School in Jackson, MS, seven years old, just a few days shy of my eight birthday. My teacher was Mrs Anthony, a stern, strict teacher. It was a cloudy day, cool enough for a jacket.

It begun as a typical school day. Lillie Ann was late for school which was the norm. We had eaten lunch, busy at our desks. I remember one of the teachers quickly coming in whispering something to Mrs Anthony. Another teacher entering the room during class time was unusual. Nothing was said and we continued with our work. Minutes later, the teacher returned and beckon Mrs Anthony to come outside the classroom into the hall. Mrs Anthony returned to her desk, head down, and both hands over her mouth and the lower part of her face.

We knew something was wrong but couldn't imagine what. Mrs Anthony told us what had happened and some of us cried, I cried because Mrs Anthony was crying. We were sent home early. I was eager to get home to tell my mother who met me at the door and told me to be quite. The family had decided to delay telling my grandmother of the President's death until my Aunt Rosie was ready to tell her.

We couldn't turn on the TV, fearful my grandmother might hear the news, so we listen quietly to a small radio on our side of the duplex. I think my grandmother was told late Saturday night or Sunday morning because I remember watching TV the day before I returned to school.

Teachers brought TVs to school and we watched the funeral that Monday. I can still remember the sounds of the horses hoofs against the pavement, and the marching soldiers, the cannons. I can see Mrs Kennedy face draped in the black veil, Caroline and John dressed in light blue with their red shoes, the coffin draped in the flag.

Sadness everywhere. The pain of that day is still with me. Watching snippets of film brings the sadness back.

I came of age during the early 70s in which almost every home I was familiar with had a picture on the wall of MLK, JFK, along with Jesus. For the African American community, they were our hope.

Picture from Wikipedia
Jackson Daily News
Nov 22 1963
Microfilm Number: 24204
Mississippi Department of Archives and History

Monday, November 18, 2013

Jim Crow Laws
Making a Way Out of No Way

Attached is a list of the various Jim Crow laws in response to PBS The African Amercian Experience: Many Rivers to Cross
Episode 4, Making a Way Out of No Way (1897-1940)

Jim Crow laws were established to force segregation. Business owners and public places were ordered to keep groups separated and most states had laws preventing interracial marriage. Jim Crow was said to be a black character in minstrel shows.

At the height of the Miss Black America contests, I was asked by one of my white high school classmates why black folks separated themselves from the main stream. Why did we need our own beauty contests, newspapers, magazines, TV shows, etc.? I told her we were not included and had to make our own. In other words, making a way out of no way. I asked her to bring a magazine from home and show me how many pictures were in the magazine of people who looked like me. I should have told her to point out stories about black folks. She never brought the magazine and we never spoke about the subject again. This was in the early 1970s.

Barbers: No colored barber shall serve as a barber [to] white women or girls. Georgia

The Blind: The board of trustees shall...maintain a separate building...on separate ground for the admission, care, instruction, and support of all blind persons of the colored or black race. Louisiana

Burial: The officer in charge shall not bury, or allow to be buried, any colored persons upon ground set apart or used for the burial of white persons. Georgia

Buses: All passenger stations in this state operated by any motor transportation company shall have separate waiting rooms or space and separate ticket windows for the white and colored races. Alabama

Child Custody: It shall be unlawful for any parent, relative, or other white person in this State, having the control or custody of any white child, by right of guardianship, natural or acquired, or otherwise, to dispose of, give or surrender such white child permanently into the custody, control, maintenance, or support, of a negro. South Carolina

Circus Tickets: All circuses, shows, and tent exhibitions, to which the attendance of...more than one race is invited or expected to attend shall provide for the convenience of its patrons not less than two ticket offices with individual ticket sellers, and not less than two entrances to the said performance, with individual ticket takers and receivers, and in the case of outside or tent performances, the said ticket offices shall not be less than twenty-five (25) feet apart. Louisiana

Cohabitation: Any negro man and white woman, or any white man and negro woman, who are not married to each other, who shall habitually live in and occupy in the nighttime the same room shall each be punished by imprisonment not exceeding twelve (12) months, or by fine not exceeding five hundred ($500.00) dollars. Florida

Education: Separate schools shall be maintained for the children of the white and colored races. Mississippi

Fishing, Boating, and Bathing: The [Conservation] Commission shall have the right to make segregation of the white and colored races as to the exercise of rights of fishing, boating and bathing. Oklahoma

Hospital Entrances: There shall be maintained by the governing authorities of every hospital maintained by the state for treatment of white and colored patients separate entrances for white and colored patients and visitors, and such entrances shall be used by the race only for which they are prepared. Mississippi

Housing: Any person...who shall rent any part of any such building to a negro person or a negro family when such building is already in whole or in part in occupancy by a white person or white family, or vice versa when the building is in occupancy by a negro person or negro family, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and on conviction thereof shall be punished by a fine of not less than twenty-five ($25.00) nor more than one hundred ($100.00) dollars or be imprisoned not less than 10, or more than 60 days, or both such fine and imprisonment in the discretion of the court. Louisiana

Intermarriage: The marriage of a white person with a negro or mulatto or person who shall have one-eighth or more of negro blood, shall be unlawful and void. Mississippi

Juvenile Delinquents: There shall be separate buildings, not nearer than one fourth mile to each other, one for white boys and one for negro boys. White boys and negro boys shall not, in any manner, be associated together or worked together. Florida

Libraries: The state librarian is directed to fit up and maintain a separate place for the use of the colored people who may come to the library for the purpose of reading books or periodicals. North Carolina

Lunch Counters: No persons, firms, or corporations, who or which furnish meals to passengers at station restaurants or station eating houses, in times limited by common carriers of said passengers, shall furnish said meals to white and colored passengers in the same room, or at the same table, or at the same counter. South Carolina

Mental Hospitals: The Board of Control shall see that proper and distinct apartments are arranged for said patients, so that in no case shall Negroes and white persons be together. Georgia

Militia: The white and colored militia shall be separately enrolled, and shall never be compelled to serve in the same organization.No organization of colored troops shall be permitted where white troops are available, and while white permitted to be organized, colored troops shall be under the command of white officers. North Carolina

Mining: The baths and lockers for the negroes shall be separate from the white race, but may be in the same building. Oklahoma

Nurses: No person or corporation shall require any white female nurse to nurse in wards or rooms in hospitals, either public or private, in which negro men are placed. Alabama

Pool and Billiard Rooms: It shall be unlawful for a negro and white person to play together or in company with each other at any game of pool or billiards. Alabama

Parks: It shall be unlawful for colored people to frequent any park owned or maintained by the city for the benefit, use and enjoyment of white persons...and unlawful for any white person to frequent any park owned or maintained by the city for the use and benefit of colored persons. Georgia

Prisons: The warden shall see that the white convicts shall have separate apartments for both eating and sleeping from the negro convicts. Mississippi

Railroads: The conductor of each passenger train is authorized and required to assign each passenger to the car or the division of the car, when it is divided by a partition, designated for the race to which such passenger belongs. Alabama

Reform Schools: The children of white and colored races committed to the houses of reform shall be kept entirely separate from each other. Kentucky

Restaurants: It shall be unlawful to conduct a restaurant or other place for the serving of food in the city, at which white and colored people are served in the same room, unless such white and colored persons are effectually separated by a solid partition extending from the floor upward to a distance of seven feet or higher, and unless a separate entrance from the street is provided for each compartment. Alabama

Teaching: Any instructor who shall teach in any school, college or institution where members of the white and colored race are received and enrolled as pupils for instruction shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction thereof, shall be fined in any sum not less than ten dollars ($10.00) nor more than fifty dollars ($50.00) for each offense. Oklahoma

Theaters: Every person...operating...any public hall, theater, opera house, motion picture show or any place of public entertainment or public assemblage which is attended by both white and colored persons, shall separate the white race and the colored race and shall set apart and designate...certain seats therein to be occupied by white persons and a portion thereof , or certain seats therein, to be occupied by colored persons. Virginia

Telephone Booths: The Corporation Commission is hereby vested with power and authority to require telephone maintain separate booths for white and colored patrons when there is a demand for such separate booths. That the Corporation Commission shall determine the necessity for said separate booths only upon complaint of the people in the town and vicinity to be served after due hearing as now provided by law in other complaints filed with the Corporation Commission. Oklahoma

Textbooks: Books shall not be interchangeable between the white and colored schools, but shall continue to be used by the race first using them. North Carolina

Toilet Facilities, Male: Every employer of white or negro males shall provide for such white or negro males reasonably accessible and separate toilet facilities. Alabama

Wine and Beer: All persons licensed to conduct the business of selling beer or wine...shall serve either white people exclusively or colored people exclusively and shall not sell to the two races within the same room at any time. Georgia

The African Americans Many Rivers to Cross Blogging Circle

Source: Examples of Jim Crow Laws
Images courtesy of Wikipedia.

Monday, November 11, 2013

In Honor of Veteran's Day 2013

Woodrow Coleman
Son of Henry and Eudora "Dora" Markham Coleman
World War II Veteran
1st Cousin of my Mama

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Learning to Read for Sunday School

Mike Durr, Jr.
1921 - 2004

We would begin early in the week preparing for Sunday church service; making sure our clothes and shoes were clean. Mama would start Sunday's dinner Saturday night, completing it early Sunday morning. Church included Sunday school and a long Pentecostal church service of praying, singing, hand clapping, shouting, testifying and preaching.

My Uncle Mike Durr, Jr., made me an accomplice preparing him for Sunday School. Uncle Junior never learned to read. He had a great memory for dates and family history. He could add, subtract, divide, and multiply in his head but he just couldn't get that reading thing together even with extra help from dedicated teachers. He didn't hide his illiteracy but used it as a crutch. According to his wisdom, he never married because he could not read.

I lived in the same house with Uncle Junior as a young child and he recognized my love for reading, so, he decided I would "teach" him to read his Sunday School lessons. Before the third grade, I was his teacher and would continue to work with him until I was in high school. Those Hittites, Mobites, Zacchaeus, Zephaniah, etc., would tie a knot in a young reader's tongue. I would read the lesson with my mother before I "taught" Uncle Junior.

He wanted to participate in his Sunday School Class by reading one of the verses from the lesson. We would go through the lesson and he would decide which verse he would read in class. We worked on that verse at least once during the week and again on Saturday night.

On Sunday mornings with bibles and Sunday School books in hand, off to church we went. It was a small church where all classes were in one room. Occasionally, I could hear Uncle Junior telling the teacher which verse he wanted to read and hear him when he read his verse. He would stumble at the same words he stumble with at home, forget the words I thought he knew. His teachers ignored his stumbles and would continue to call on him to read Sunday after Sunday. On many Sundays my student was a star, he would recite his verse near perfect.

The memories of my uncle's struggles and triumphs with his Sunday School lessons will stay with me forever.

This blog post was re-posted from September 12, 2010 for Carnival of African American 5th Edition ~ REBIRTH: It's Time For Revival! Blog about a special memory or Ancestor story related to a spiritual experience of rebirth, reawakening and/or celebration! Hosted by Luckie Daniels of Our Georgia Roots.

When I was a child, my family attended Forest Hill Church of God in Christ in Jackson, Mississippi.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Afro Saturday - Dorothy Thomas

Dorothy Thomas
Daughter of Shelby Thomas and Katie Hubbard
Born 1941 in Caseyville, Lincoln County, MS
Currently lives in New York

Shelby Thomas' sister Ida May Thomas married my cousin James Monroe Markham
Shelby Thomas' sister Rosanna Thomas married my granduncle Samuel David Markham.

Picture courtesy of Tony Neal, Sr.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Peggy's Letter
Seeking Family Separated During Slavery

Family of Slaves - 1861
Washington, DC or Hampton, Virginia

I thought of this letter while watching the PBS series, African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross, Part 3 - Into the Fire - 1861-1896. Peggy does not connect to my family but found her letter to be very touching. My great grandfather Washington Marshall, who was a slave in Copiah County, MS, spoke of the siblings he left in Virginia. I can easily imagine him writing Peggy's letter

The letter was written by Reverend J. H. Nichols, Starkville, MS, on behalf of Peggie, to William Peacock, Shelbyville, TN. William Peacock was Kelly's former owner who had sold her away from her family many years before. Kelly was inquiring of Peacock if he knew the whereabouts of any surviving family members whom she had not seen since being sold.

The letter represents a woman's determination to locate before she died surviving members of her family from whom she had long been separated. It provides poignant evidence of the tragic and lingering consequences of slavery on the individual.

Starkville, MS
January 31, 1892

Mr. William Peacock
Shelbyville, Tenn

Dear Sirs or Friends

I am trying to find my mother and father. My father's name was named Prince and my mother's name was Rose. They both belong to above Peacock. They had four children when I was sold. Their names Peggie, Isaac, John, and George and I had two half sisters belonging to old Thomas Peacock.

I was sold to James Wortham in KY where I lived 3 years then he sold me to Jack Tucker and then was sold to Evan Davis in this state.

Any information given if any or the where abouts of them will be thankfully received. Let me know if they are dead or alive.

My name was Peggie one of the children of Prince and Rose.

Yours inquiring,
Peggie Kelly, now
Peggie Peacock

Kelly (Peggie Peacock) Letter
Manuscript Collection Number: Z1821.00S
Manuscript found at the Mississippi Department of Archives and History.
Photograph courtesy of Library of Congress

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Tombstone Tuesday
Rev A McCallum

Rev A McCallum
04 Oct 1801-27 Oct 1885
Born in Robeson County, NC
Died in Claiborne County, MS

Pastor of Union Church Presbyterian Church
Union Church, Jefferson County, MS
Rev McCallum's family owned my McCallum cousins' ancestors.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Sunday Obituary
Evangelist Barbara Ann McDaniel

Evangelist Barbara was an outstanding daughter, mother, sister, aunt, friend, conversationalist, helper, employee and a devout christian. Barbara made many outstanding contributions to her family, extended family, friends, strangers and her community

On June 18, 1942, she and her twin brother Billy Joe were the fourth and fifth children born and the second set of twins born to the union of Willie Mel McDaniel and Leveltus Ford McDaniel in Natchez, Mississippi. She attended Sadie V Thompson High School and graduated with the class of 1962. Barbara was crowned junior queen in the 8th grade and in her senior year, she was crowned Miss Sadie V. Thompson. After graduation, she relocated to California where she continued her education at Los Angeles Trade Technical College.

In 1966, she was employed by the State of California where she served as an employment officer and later transferred to the Department of Social Services as an analyst, licensing community care facilities, recruiting and training foster parents in the Los Angeles County and retired after 35 years of service.

Barbara was an active and loyal member of Revival Time Church of God in Christ and served under Pastor Charles Bennett, Sr., and First Lady Vivian A. Bennett until her illness. She loved serving the Lord and the church was her home. During her later years, she fellowshipped with God's Divine Center of Holiness Deliverance Church under the care and leadership of Pastor Irene Robinson. Because of her love and faithfulness, she was blessed to have two ministries who cared.

Throughout her life she gave, she laughed and she meet no strangers; everyone was influenced by her welcoming and outspoken personality. Her home was a local hotel to her friends, and friends of friends, her family and their friends, no reservations were needed, just a knock on the door or a phone call to let her know you were on your way. You were guaranteed a bit to eat.

Her heart belonged to her lovely daughters Terri LaJon Ferga Barber and Dr. Dione Kramer Milan Washington.

Barbara was proceeded in death by her parents, Willie Mel McDaniel and Leveltus McDaniel Carter, her twin brother Billy Joe, both paternal and maternal grandparents and two brothers Clifford McDaniel and Henry Mel McDaniel.

Evangelist Barbara will be affectionately remembered by many friends, neighbors, relatives and missed by all.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

They Fought Back
Murdered the Master - Burned his House
Many Rivers to Cross

The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross
The Age of Slavery - Episode 2

Several heart felt moments were experienced watching the second episode of the PBS series: the personal accounts of Margaret Garner and Frederick Douglass, the 2nd middle passage - transporting slaves from the Upper South to the Lower South, and the resistance to the cruelties of slavery. Re-posted from November 18 2011 is an example of resistance from slaves in the area my people were enslaved.

Slave Coffle
Image from Library of Congress.

Two diarists recorded the murder of William Anderson Killingsworth and the destruction of his home by fire in Lorman, Jefferson County, Mississippi. Slaves of Killingsworth were accused of the murder and setting the house on fire. They were tried, convicted and hung within four months for the crime. While the house was ablaze, unnamed slaves of Killingsworth rescued his body and his three children from the fire.

A motive for the murder is not known, although it was speculated by Killingsworth's descendants that the slaves who committed the crime were field hands, angry with Killingsworth because of his business of tracking and capturing runaway slaves.

Killingsworth owned Richard "Dick" Bailey, the blacksmith, and his wife Maria and their children. They may have helped to recover his body and his children from the burning house. Richard and Maria's descendants married cousins of my cousins.

Union Church, Jefferson County, MS
Photograph courtesy of Georgia Wise

Diary Entries

July 20: There was an awful murder committed at Killingsworth' s last night. He was murdered by his negroes & the house burned down. He had 4 children but the house was discovered & the children were taken out.
Susan Sillers Darden Diary

Thursday July 20, 1854 - This morning 2 o'clock or before Billy Killingsworth murdered by his negroes and his house burned down. Great many people collect. His runaway Jesse suspected.
Dr. Walter Wade Diary

Friday July 21, 1854 - People all collect again. Negro boy Albert confess to have seen Jesse murder his master & that he was with him. Caught two of his runaways today, Moses & Lucy.
Dr. Walter Wade Diary

Saturday July 22, 1854 - In pursuit of Jesse this morning.
Dr. Walter Wade Diary

Sunday July 23, 1854 - Caught Jesse at the bridge between Grand Gulf & Port Gibson.
Dr. Walter Wade Diary

Monday July 24, 1854 - Jesse bought back. Acknowledges killing his master and setting the house on fire, and says Albert, Charles and old Bill assisted.
Dr. Walter Wade Diary

Receipt for Jesse's Jail Fees

Tuesday July 25, 1854 - The above negroes sent to jail to await their trial for murder & arson. Many people present and many were for administering punishment in a summary way.
Dr. Walter Wade Diary

July 25: They have taken the negroes that killed Mr. Killingsworth; there was four concerned. They are in jail.
Susan Sillers Darden Diary

July 26: Mr. Darden went to Fayette this eve; they were trying those negroes; they were all committed to jail.
Susan Sillers Darden Diary

Oct. 21: Mr. Darden went to Fayette to serve on the jury to try the Killingsworth negroes.
Susan Sillers Darden Diary

Oct 23: Old Jesse & Albert were sentenced to be hung in Nov. For killing their master Mr. Killingsworth. They were trying old Bill & Charles for burning the house down.
Susan Sillers Darden Diary

Nov. 21 Our negro man went to Fayette to see Jesse & Albert hung for murdering their master W. Killingsworth, Jesse confessed that he done it all, that no one helped to do it; exhorted his fellow servants to be faithful & do their duty.
Susan Sillers Darden Diary

The slaves accused and convicted of this crime knew the cost they would pay if caught. The practices of tracking and capturing slaves was a crude and cruel business. They likely had loved ones who had experienced the Killingsworth's treatment of capturing runaways.

African American: Many Rivers to Cross Bloggers

William Anderson Killingsworth was born 1821 in Tennessee, son of Anderson Killingsworth and Mary Sweet. He died 19 July 1854 in Jefferson County. Mississippi. He married Nancy Ann Shaw, daughter of Thompson Breckenridge Shaw and Mary Shaw. She was born 1820 in Mississippi, and died 23 June 1853 in Jefferson County, MS. Their children were Francis, Horace, Valencia, William, and Albert.

Frances was attending school at the time of her father's death; Horace died in 1853; Valencia, William and Albert were the children rescued from the fire.

Judy's Family
Annie's Place
Diary of Susan Siller Darden 1854
Hire Appraisement of William A Killingsworth's Slaves - 1861
Diary of Dr. Walter Wade of Rosswood Plantation, Jefferson County, MS, 1834-1854;
Microfilm Number: 36015, Mississippi Department of Archives and History
Jesse's Jail Receipt Courtesy of Anthony Miller

Monday, October 28, 2013

Amanuensis Monday
Found Love in the Slave Pen

Slave Pen
Alexandria, Virginia
Image courtesy of Library of Congress

This is a bitter sweet testimony from Jane Harris Burnett who found love in a slave trader's pen in Richmond, Virginia. She and her future husband Robert Burnett likely were frighten, sold from family, not knowing where they were going and concerned about the new owner. John Torrey purchased them in Natchez, maybe at the Forks of the Road Slave Market. I wonder if Torrey was looking for a couple or if one or both asked him to buy them both.

Deposition A of Jane Burnett
Federal Pension Case of Jane Burnett (Widow of soldier Robert Burnett)
March 23rd 1898
Union Church, Jefferson County, Miss
I and Robert Burnett were bought by Mr John Torrey a number of years before the war from the traders at Natchez, Miss; I had become acquainted with Robert at Richmond, Va., where the traders first had us. My name in Virginia had been Harris, but on Mr Torrey's plantation I went by the name of my new owner. I took up with Robert Burnett at the slave trader's yard at Richmond, Va., and lived with him as his wife until his death in April four or five years ago; I cannot give you the exact date of his death. We were never divorced. Robert Burnett died of dropsy of the heart, so Dr McLean who treated him in his last sickness told me. When the Yankees had taken Natchez, Robert Burnett left for that place and enlisted in Co. C, 58 USCT, in which he served three years. After his discharged he returned home.

General Affidavit of John Torrey
In the year of 1852 February I bought them in Natchez, Miss and they lived as man and wife until 1863 when he went in the war and after he returned in 1866.

Source: Federal Pension Records of Robert Burnett
Private Robert Burnett of 58th Regiment, United States Colored Infantry
Digging up the Past at a Richmond Jail

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Many Rivers to Cross
Flora's Mama Born in Africa

The Black Atlantic (1500-1800)- Episode 1

"Through stories of individuals caught in the transatlantic slave trade, we trace the emergence of plantation slavery in the American South."
PBS African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross

The Atlantic slave trade or transatlantic slave trade took place across the Atlantic Ocean from the 16th through to the 19th centuries. The transatlantic slave trade was responsible for the forced migration of between 12 - 15 million people from Africa to the Western Hemisphere. The vast majority of slaves transported to the New World were Africans from the central and western parts of the continent, sold by Africans to European slave traders who then transported them to North and South America.

The slave trade not only led to the violent transportation overseas of millions of Africans but also to the deaths of many millions more. Nobody knows the total number of people who died during slave raiding and wars in Africa, during transportation and imprisonment, or in horrendous conditions during the Middle Passage, the voyage from Africa to the Americas.

The kidnapping of Africans occurred mainly in the region that now stretches from Senegal to Angola.

Major Slave Trading Regions of Africa

Getting my people to the last farm, plantation before they arrived in Mississippi has been my genealogical goal. I didn't put much thought of tracing them back to Africa, until I saw this 1880 census entry for Flora Culver; I then realized it was possible. The first time I saw this census, I starred at the screen, ran my finger across her name to the word Africa.

1880 Federal Census - Caseyville, Lincoln County, MS - Beat 5 - Page131
Flora Culver was 95 years old living in the household of farmer James A Decell
and his family. She was born in Virginia and both parents were born in AFRICA.

I have often wonder about Flora's mama. How old was she when she first arrived in America? Was she as young as the 10 year Priscilla mentioned in the first episode? Was she a teenager?

Prior to arriving in Mississippi, Flora was the slave of Malcolm "Saddler" McNeill of Robeson County, North Carolina. After the death of Malcolm McNeill in 1833, Flora was given to Malcolm's son John David McNeill. John left NC, for Mississippi, between 1836 and 1838, bringing his slaves with him including Flora and her three sons, Daniel, John, and Robert. Flora's daughters remained in North Carolina. John McNeill settled in Caseyville, MS, with his slaves.

Flora was described as an "old woman" on the John McNeill's 1858 inventory listing of slaves, valued at $10. Based on the 1870 and 1880 census records, Flora was born between 1785-1790. Her first child was born in 1815. Going back one generation, 20 years, I estimate Flora's mama was born about 1770. Flora's mama was a child when she arrived in America.

Close your eyes, take yourself back to your child self. Try to imagine the horrific conditions, depravity, the loneliness. Take a moment to remember those young females who were forced immigrants to this county. Remember their strength.

Flora's mama is a direct ancestor of a set of my mother's 1st cousins.
African Americans- Many Rivers to Cross Bloggers
Images from Wikipedia
Private John Culver of the 58th Regiment, United States Colored Infantry

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Come Let Us Worship

Where and how did our slave ancestors who were Christians worship God? Who preached the message? Looking through records where my ancestors lived, I found five different methods used by my ancestors.

1. Slave Owner(s) Hired Preacher for Negroes
Slave owners of Jefferson County, MS, hired Rev Smily to preach to their Negroes. I haven't found information on Zion Hill but know the family worships(ed) at a Zion Chapel in the area. I don't know if there is a connection between Zion Hill and Zion Chapel.

We the undersigned promise to pay the Rev. J H Smily the sums annexed to our names for his services viz to preach to the Negroes at Zion Hill twice in each month for the balance of this year commencing with April, payable the first of January next. this April 3rd 1858

Wm Shaw $15.00 paid - Shaw owned 53 slaves in 1860
D McArn $20.00 paid - McArn owned 51 slaves in 1860
D H Cameron $5 paid - Cameron owned 21 slaves in 1860
R D Torrey $5 paid - Torrey owned 24 slaves in 1860
M McPherson $5 paid - McPherson owned 8 slaves in 1860
John C McCormick $2 paid - McCormick owned 9 slaves in 1860
J ? Scott $5 paid - J L Scott owned 18, J W Scott owned 22 in 1860
?? paid by corn

Shaw, McArn, Cameron, Torrey, and McCormick owned members of my family.

2. Separate Service in Slave Owner's Church

Mrs Lottie Warren, a member of Union Church Presbyterian Church of Jefferson County. MS, gave this account of the separate church services. The picture of the building in the forefront is the actual building the ancestors used.
Church services were held once a month. On that Sunday two services were held, one for the whites and later in the afternoon one was held for the servants. The Elders of the church always attended these services. The singing of the servants was said to be so beautiful that the people of the village would come outside to hear the singing.

We was let go to church in de white folks meetin' house an' us was taught to be polite an' how to act.
Simon Durr, Simpson County, Mississippi - Simon was enslaved by Michael Durr of Simpson County, the same slave owner of my 2nd great grandfather Josephus Durr.

3. Services in Woods Under Brush Arbor

Picture from Latiba Museum

When we wanted to have our own services we collected up an' went to de woods an' built big brush arbors an' at nite we'd build great big fires an' had sho' nuf services. We could sing an' shout, an' dats what we wanted to do. Dey would hum an' morn all through de services. De preachers didn't hab no book learning but when a darkie wanted to preacher, he was give a try out, by gitting up an' trying to preach a time or two an' if he suited de folks an' they thought he could preach, dey would say fer him to preach an' if he didnt suit 'em dey would say fer him not too.
Robert Weathersby of Simpson County, Mississippi - Robert Weathersby was a part of the same family that enslaved my 2nd great grandfather Josephus Durr.

4. Attended Services with Slave Owner
Us went to meetin' once a month wid de white folks an' set in de back. Us waited on 'em, toted in water an' tended ter de chilluns. When de meetin' was ober us kotched de horses an' led 'em to deir blocks an' brung de carriages 'round fer 'em.
Manda Boggan of Simpson County, MS

On church days I driv' de carriage. I was proud to take my folks to meetin'. I always set in de back pew an' heard de preachin' de same as dey did.
Isaac Stier of Franklin County, MS.

5. Slave Owner Gave Biblical Instructions
We didn' go to church, but Sundays we'd gather 'roun' an' listen to the mistis read a little out o' the Bible. The marster said we didn' need no religion an' he finally stopped her from readin' to us.
Charlie Moses of Lincoln County, Mississippi - Charlie lived in the ancestors hometown, Brookhaven, MS.

How and where did your ancestors worship during slavery?

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Tombstone Tuesday
James Burnett 1856-1888

James Burnett
February 08, 1856
June 18, 1888
In Heaven
Hickory Block Cemetery
Union Church, Jefferson County, Mississippi

Monday, October 21, 2013

Search the Slave Owner's Church Records

Atty and Hager Whalum with a Grandchild
Photograph Courtesy of the late Christopher Whalum,
Direct Descendant of Atty and Hager

If church records are available from the area where your ancestors were enslaved, take the time to look them over. You may be surprised at what you find. Church records from the time period are fragile, for public use the records are likely on microfilm or have been transcribed. Check with the public library of the area, college/university library and state archives to see what is available.

I found the Union Church Presbyterian Church Session Records 1820-1887 on microfilm at the Mississippi Department of Archives and History. I found a few references to people connected to my family. Below is one of those examples.

Atty, an infant slave was baptized May 17th 1840.
Atty, his parent(s), and other members of his family were members of the Union Church Presbyterian Church in Jefferson County, Mississippi.

The slaves were referred to as servants in the Session Records and the names of over 90 enslaved people were named in the records. Once I realized the slave owners of my family were members of this church, I decided to research the slave members.

Atty was born about 1837-1839 on John Mitchell's plantation in Jefferson County to his mother Mary, and father Henderson Whalum who was a slave of Gilbert Buie. Atty's mother was a slave of John J Mitchell of Jefferson County, MS.

Atty's Father: Henson a servant of G. Buie, Jr.,...were received as members and baptized on May 13, 1834.

Atty's Mother's Nieces and Nephew: ...William...Ally...Edny Catherine...Caroline... were received and baptized November 20, 1853, Slaves of J J Mitchell.

Atty served with the 6th Regiment, United States Heavy Artillery during the Civil War. His pension records confirmed members of his family and slave owners. After the War, he returned to Jefferson County, married Hager Nevils in 1869. The couple had several children: Mary b. 1871, Daniel b. 1876, Alex b. 1878, Sylvester b. 1880, Lou Fannie b. 1882, Lou Augusta b. 1882, Lester b. 1884, Laura b. 1886, Lillie b. 1891, and Thomas b. 1894.

Atty died March 24 1928, buried in the Hickory Block United Methodist Church Cemetery. The African American members of Union Church Presbyterian Church split from the church to form their own church, Hickory Block.

Atty's descendants married into my maternal family.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Sunday's Obituary
Ike Durr 1936-1982

Mr Ike Durr, the fifth child of the late Mr and Mrs Mike Durr, Hazlehurst, Mississippi, was born May 28, 1936. He departed this life Friday, Feb 5, 1982 in Hayne City, Florida. Most of his life was spent in Copiah County, Mississippi. In 1962, he moved to Jackson, Mississippi. Later he moved to the State of Florida where he lived until his death.

Mr Durr leaves to mourn his passing two brothers, Mr Booker T Durr, Florida; Mr Mike Durr, Jr., Jackson, Mississippi; three sisters: Mrs Annie Bell Ealy, Detroit, Michigan; Mrs Alice Dent, Jackson, Mississippi and Mrs Rosie L Scott, Los Angles, California; one sister-in-law, Mrs Albert Durr, Jackson, Mississippi; three uncles, one aunt, nieces, nephewss, and a host of relatives and friends.

Uncle Ike was the youngest of my paternal grandparents' children.
Ike was my father's brother.
Buried at the Mercy Seat AME Church Cemetery
Hazlehurst, Copiah County, MS

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Part of the Great Migration
circa 1925

Thaddeus Howard b. 1920, Henry Samuel Howard b. 1923, and
Evelyn Louise Howard b. 1921

These little darlings were a part of the Great Migration. Between 1916 and 1970, more than 6 million African Americans left the rural south for the big cities of the Northeast, Midwest and the West.

They were the children of Henry Howard and Mary Goodwin Young. The two older children were born in Brookhaven, Lincoln County, Mississippi. The mother reported on the 1930 census that the youngest child, Henry Samuel, was born in Kentucky. The children were the youngest of their mother's nine children.

Mary Goodwin first married Willie Young and had five children with him: Cecil, Martha, Wilma, Jessie, and Ruby. In a previous relationship, she had given birth to a son, Arthur Carter.

Willie Young died 19 Feb 1917 of pellagra at the age of 48. Wikipedia defines the disease as a vitamin deficiency disease most commonly caused by a chronic lack of niacin (vitamin B3) in the diet. The disease is described as the "four D's": diarrhea, dermatitis, dementia and death.

The second husband was the younger children's father. He was Henry Howard born about 1879. Mary married Henry 26 Jan 1919 in Lincoln County, Mississippi. The marriage lasted almost eleven years. Henry died 21 Dec 1929.

Mary's older daughters had moved to Indianapolis during the early 1920s for better opportunities. After the death of her husband, Mary moved to Indianapolis. Pictured below is her home in Indianapolis. Note the tricycle in the yard for children.

Thaddeus married Mattie Frances Martin. The couple had two boys: Anthony and Barron. Thaddeus died in 1994 in Indianapolis.

Evelyn married Allen Lorenzo Parrish and Novirters Stubbs. Two children were born to Evelyn. She died in 1993 in Indianapolis.

Howard also known as Sam died 02 Dec 1943 in Indianapolis of pulmonary tuberculosis at the age of 20.

Photos courtesy of Christi Young.
The children's mother Mary Goodwin Young Howard, and my grandaunt Alice Marshall Goodwin were sisters-in-law.