Thursday, April 18, 2013

Treasure Chest Thursday : John A. Buggs [Black Leads U.S. Probers]

Adopted Maternal Ancestry

Finding this article on my Cousin (in-law) John A. Buggs is a part of my treasure chest.  There is so much I want to know about him. I remember him when I was growing up.  He was very kind and mild spirited.  I was always told about his brilliancy and his fight for justice and equality of African Americans.  I am hoping that one day I can do further study of his work and possibly write a thesis or write a book about his life.

When I was visiting Maryland one summer, Cousin John took my little cousin Will Taylor and me to one of the docks to purchase blue crabs.  This was going to be the first time I ever had blue crabs.  When we got them home, he cleaned them, and steamed them in beer.  I learned how to pick crabs, and to eat them...They were so good!

Chicago Defender
August 24, 1974

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Wordless Wednesday : Alan T Busby & Osborne Ambrose Cully at Storr's Agricultural College

Adopted Maternal Ancestry

I did a post about Alan T. Busby's headstone yesterday and thought I would share a couple of the photos that were taken between 1917-1918 at the Storr's Agricultural College, known as University of Connecticut.  Alan T. Busby was my Grand Uncle Osborne Ambrose Cully's childhood friend from Worcester, MA.  Alan Busby was the first African American to graduate from the University of Connecticut, and there is a residential student living dorm on campus named after him.

Osborne & Alan at the Storr's Agricultural College

Osborne & Alan on campus
These photos have been edited for better viewing.
Since this posting, I discovered that there is also a farm named after Alan T. Busby:

Alan T. Busby Farm
5124 Goller Road
Jefferson City, MO

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Tombstone Tuesday: Alan T. Busby

Adopted Maternal Ancestry

Not everyone you research is going to be related to you!  The saying that you make your own family is true.  I enjoy learning more about the individuals that my ancestors had friendships  and interacted with.  Our ancestor's lives are multifaceted, and when you study the lives of their neighbors, schoolmates put them in 3D 4D format.  You begin to see them in their flesh...They become REAL!

I have a fascination with Alan T. Busby.  No, I am not related to him, however he was good friends of my Grand Uncle Osborne Ambrose Cully.  I inherited Osborne's photo album scrapbook that was dated in the 1918 & 1919's.  This scrapbook is a treasure.  Uncle Ossie labeled some of the photos, which expanded my research on some of the individuals that were his friends.

In a couple of photos', Uncle Ossie and Alan T Busby were on the campus of Storrs Agricultural College on a tractor and in the dorm room of Alan Busby.  Storrs Agricultural College has gone through various transitions through the years and it is known as the University of Connecticut.  After doing some research on Alan T. Busby from Worcester, Massachusetts, I discovered that Alan was the first African American student to graduate from the University of Connecticut.  The school itself named some residential dorms after him.

The Busby's were a well respected African American family in Worcester, MA.  My research on the Busby's and on the Clough family of Worcester has become a great part of interest to me as it pertains to the migration and the development of an African American Community in Worcester during and after Reconstruction.  By my learning more about the various families in this area, I am learning more about my own, as they were all interconnected.

I made a request for the headstone of Alan T. Busby on Find-a-grave and it was fulfilled by Carol Abbott.  Alan T. Busby was buried at the Hawthorn Memorial Gardens in Cole County, MO.

Find A GravePhoto fulfilled by Carol Abbott

Alan was born on December 12, 1895 in Worcester, Massachusetts and passed away on June 10, 1992 in Cole County, Missouri.  Alan was buried next to his second wife Edith O Busby.

As I begin to build the lives of my ancestors who migrated from New Bern, North Carolina to Worcester, MA, I will be studying the families that were a part of that migration and those that were in Worcester thirty or forty years before emancipation.  Since Worcester had an already established Free African American Community, I want to understand what their role was in helping the Newly Freed Blacks to becoming self-reliant individuals in their own community.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Motivation Monday: What Do I Do With All This Stuff!?! Part #1

Oh my goodness!!  I have gotten to the point that I must organize my genealogical finds!!  Sometimes I just feel too overwhelmed!!  I really should have organized these items from the very beginning, but I did not.

I have hundreds and hundreds of death certificates, birth certificates, diaries, news articles, photos, grave burial records, headstones, military draft & registration records, last testaments & wills, including all the correspondence and other genealogical finds over the last ten years of research.  

Now how do you get motivated to organize?  I love finding items and blogging about them, however, it is very difficult to do so when you can't find the necessary documents or items that you want to share with those that might be interested.

I don't have a system, and I don't really know anyone else's system, so I figure the first thing I will do on my journey is to organize all the scans and documents, pictures, etc. that I have saved on my computer and my external hard drive.  Making folders for each type of document and within each folder place the item in a separate folder by its surname.

If any of my fellow genealogists & family historians have a system...Please Please, let me know what your system is!!!

I will be back next week to let you know how my organizing is going!!!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Treasure Chest Thursday: "Zulu Giant" Did They Really Call Him That?

Adopted Maternal Ancestry

I was perusing around Genealogybank online newspapers, and came across a notice regarding my Great Great Grandmother's son Joseph Gilliam.  I had never seen this article before.  I inputted variations of the Gilliam surname spellings.  I noticed that the surname in the article was spelled "G-i-l-l-a-m," so one of the tricks of finding articles would be to play around with the surname spellings and narrow the articles to the locale where your ancestors were living.  I did not include a first name, so I was completely surprised by this treasure in time.

The article is offensive in nature, however it brings to mind that in the 1890's "Negro's" were seen as third class citizens, and were not talked about in respectable terms.  [See article below] This is the first piece of evidence besides census records that gave any character of My Great Uncle Joseph.  My viewpoint of his mother, Hannah Gilliam was that she was an Authoritarian in her household.  Hannah had been a slave and had seen many whippings.  She disciplined her children and grandchildren with a switch.  Every Saturday, she would call over each child, recite what they did wrong the past Sunday, and she would spank them for that.  Then she would recite what they Monday, and she would spank them for that.  She would proceed in this fashion, going through the entire week for each child, while amid the cries of pain, those waiting their turn stood in line and watched and waited!

Worcester Daily Spy
Worcester, Massachusetts
Volume XLV,  Issue 215, page 8
Tues, Sept 9, 1890
I was interested in the Lyman School, so I googled it.  The Lyman School for boys was a school where delinquent boys were sent to do work labor.  I found a post with a photo that had an African American.  The gentleman thought the young boy may have been "hired help" since the person that saw the post said no Blacks were permitted to attend.  However, It is my knowledge that many of my family members had been "only" blacks in schools where there had been none before.

Lyman School Westborough, MA
Possibly Joseph Gilliam in photo
Courtesy of Dick Bolt

Please go to the link under the photo to see some photos of the school.  I just contacted Mr. Bolt to see what he thinks about this post.  I also found this blog post on Lyman School.  This was neither a school nor a place of rehabilitation.  It was more like an extension of the Adult Prison System.

So knowing about different styles of parenting, now I am not surprised Joseph became defiant.  Many children that grow up in Authoritarian households either become overly obedient or possibly become the opposite and act out being labeled and delinquent.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Tombstone Tuesday: Male Cully (d.1902) & (d.1910) So They Rest On!!

Adopted Maternal Ancestry

Photo Taken by Mary Depew
One of the markers for the Infant Graves
New Hope Cemetery
Worcester, MA

Last week I posted about Wednesday's Child: Male Cully - Can I Name Him Joseph?  If you haven't read it check it out. In that post, I made a request on find-a-grave for a photo of the headstone of Male Cully still-born in 1910. Male Cully had an older brother who was stillborn in 1902.  It was my recollection that the lady in the cemetery office stated that the area in which my great uncles were buried had been a grave where other babies were buried together.  It is possible that they all were buried in separate graves...It was just an area where many babies had been buried.  When I was in Worcester, I was not able to find the gravesite area as it was a very cold and rainy day in April 2010.

Infant Cully Burial Card
Copy from April 2010
New Hope Cemetery

Well, my request for a photo of the headstone was claimed right away by Mary Depew.  We connected immediately through e-mail.  It appears that Mary and I have quite-a-bit in common.  Our Great Uncle's were musicians and lived and socialized within the same musical circles in Worcester & Clinton, Massachusetts & our uncles moved to NYC in the same year.  As Mary was being helpful to me, I also became helpful to her.  Call it Serendipity!!  I must call it The Ancestors are Speaking...I believe everything happens in its right time.

So, Mary went to Hope Cemetery in Worcester, Ma, something she likes to do on occasion for her own family research.  I let her know that the babies were listed as "Scully" which was incorrect, and should have said "Cully"

This is what Mary wrote me:

I could not exactly locate the 2 Scully infants graves.  I did find the area where some babies are laid to rest and there are some unreadable stones in the area BUT I do not believe there is a stone for them at this time.  I was able to locate some lot numbers that would border the area well enough to reasonably say the Lot #5395 would be within the area of 4 readable lot number markers.  So if you follow me - I found 4 markers that are about the four corners of the area so it leads me to believe 5395 would be in the middle of that area somewhere.  There were very few markers and there was even a pile of loose markers piled together in a heap and sucken in so that I could not even loosen them to read the numbers and return them.  Anyway - I am sending just the Scully pics in this email. 
My thoughts:  I wonder if the pile of loose markers piled together in a heap was a mass grave.  I guess It is possible that the markers became loose over the past 100 years and they were just piled together because no one knew where they went...Not sure..Just a thought.

So here are the wonderful photos that were sent to me.  All photos taken for me by Mary Depew.

Lot # 5149

Lot #5660

Lot #5429

Location where Infant Cully's are buried

Area outlining the area where Infant Cully's are buried.
 I am so grateful for the photos sent to me.  When I have an opportunity to fly back to Worcester, MA, I will see what I can do to make sure that the Cully infants gravesites are marked.  You would think that two little infants might be forgotten...I hope this never happens...Life was not lived but they still have a place in history...or at least in my family history.  I am pretty sure that these two small lives affected my Great Grandparents Ambrose & Nora Cully's lives.  I am sure that my Grandmother Agnes and Grand Uncle Osborne were wondering about their baby brother born in 1910.  It was told to me that they thought that there mother got sick when the doctor came with the black bag.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Where oh Where is Michael Brown?

Adopted Maternal Ancestry

I wonder where Michael Brown is.  He was 5-and a-half months when this photo was taken.  Michael is my Great Aunt Zara Cully Brown's grandchild.  I am just unsure who his father is. He could be Emerson or James Brown Jr.'s son...In my recollections, I believe Michael is James' son.  I must confirm this with a cousin of mine.  The last time I asked about Michael Brown, my cousin Diane stated that she had not seen him in years and the family lost contact of the Brown family...I guess this means I have to find them. :-)

It is funny how we remember certain things.  My mother had told me she adored this little boy.  I have a picture of him in his pj's holding a book "Twas the Night Before Christmas."
He was quite handsome and about 6 or 7 years old.

Michael Brown
5 and 1/2 mo.
July 1946

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Wednesday's Child: Male Cully: Can I name him Joseph?

Adopted Maternal Ancestry

As long as we remember...You will continue to live in our hearts & Spirit.

This is a death certificate of my Great Uncle "male" Cully.  Makes me wonder what his name would have been had he lived.  I think I should name him.  He is more than just a male....but what name could I give him?  Would I name him Joseph?  Could I do that?  The name Joseph runs in the Cully family in North Carolina.  Yes, I think I will name him Joseph.

"Joseph" was birthed on May 23, 1910 in Worcester, Massachusetts to my Great Grandparents Ambrose E. Cully and Nora A. Gilliam.  He was stillborn.  Could this be one of the many births Nora had, where she lost her baby?  It was told that she was pregnant at least 21 times.  Thirteen births are accounted for.

Baby Joseph is resting at the Hope Cemetery in Worcester, MA.  I visited one year and was unable to find the burial plot for him.  I recently requested a photo on find-a-grave for the headstone.  Joseph has another brother who died in childbirth 8 years before.  I was told by the cemetery administrator that the gravesite has multiple burials of children.  So I am in great hopes that someone will claim the assignment to photograph the headstone so we can always remember the little spirits that came into this world.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Tombstone Tuesday: Leander Singleton Gilliam Family Final Destination

Adopted Maternal Ancestry

I have been researching my Adopted Maternal family line since 2003.   I made a promise to my mother a few years before she died that I would help her with her genealogy as she was writing a story about her life in Sugar Hill, NY.  She left me stories, that I will tell over time, and incorporate into a family history book.

The Gilliam family line begins with my Great Great Grandmother Hannah D. Nelson Singleton-Gilliam.  She had been born a slave, and was very fair complected.  Hannah had raised many of my Great Grandmother's children "The Cully's".  In doing this research, I discovered that she had a son by the name of Leander Singleton Gilliam.  The story handed down, was that he was the child of the Slave masters son William Singleton from Craven County, North Carolina.  The Gilliam surname comes from Hannah's husband Daniel Gilliam.  All of Hannah's children carry his surname even though her children may not have necessarily been his biological children.  Most were born after his death in 1867, and Leander was the only child of hers that carried the Singleton name.  This is all a mystery...but I hope to work it out.

Leander Singleton Gilliam passed as a White man in Worcester, MA after slavery.  He married a white woman and his family lived separate from the "Negro" community.

Courtesy of Jim Sanders
I visited New Hope Cemetery a few years ago in Worcester, MA.  At the time, I was mainly looking at my Cully line.  I took pictures of the headstones, however, I did not get any of the Gilliam family.  I believe I actually saw their headstone, but I had not realized that this was theirs.

The members of the Gilliam family are:

Leander S. Gilliam (husband)
Flora Lawrence Gilliam (wife)
Col. William S. Gilliam (son)
Eugene S. Gilliam (son)
Lawrence S. Gilliam (son)  [note: He was buried at Long Island National Cemetery, NY]

Here is the family headstone:

Lawrence S. Gilliam was buried at Long Island National Cemetery, Suffolk County, New York in Plot L, 23110.

Courtesy of GLENN
I have made memorials for my Gilliam family on Find-a-grave.  I made photo requests of the gravesites, and since that time, these wonderful volunteers took pictures for me.  All three of the Gilliam men served in the military and dedicated their lives to service.

I have since then connected with the descendents of the Leander S. Gilliam family line.  We are hoping to reunite in the near future.  They have been of great help in confirming our connection.  I shall be forever indebted to their kindness.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Peeking Through The Window of Time Mappy Monday: Jesse & Frances Mitchell, 1940 Census Leflore, Mississippi

Paternal Birth Ancestry

Almost seventy-three (73) years ago, my paternal (birth) grandparents resided in Rural, Leflore, Mississippi. I searched and searched for my grandfather Jesse E. Mitchell in 1989, and had no luck.  I didn't know he had passed a few years before (d.1984), and I had no idea that my grandmother Frances Mae (d. 1981) had died a few years before him.  The only information I had was their names and that they had resided in the Wilmington, Los Angeles area of California.  My search was unsuccessful during this time finding any living paternal relatives, and that included my father Johnny Roy Mitchell (d.1972) and his wife Rosemary Teresa Lara (d.1983). These four individuals were the compasses to my Mitchell family.

1940 US Census,

I know very little about my grandparents Jesse and Frances Mae.  I couldn't wait to find them in the U.S. 1940 Census.  As I stated earlier, they lived in Mississippi in the 1940's.

Jesse Mitchell Sr. Household in 1940

Jesse & Frances Mae were blessed with ten children, however by 1940 only two had been born.
Jesse Jr.(3 yrs) and Dorothy Lee (2 yrs).  Jesse Sr. was 25 years old at the time and was born in Arkansas; His wife Frances Mae was 20 years old and was born in Mississippi.  Both of my grandparents attended school in their youth.  Grandpa Jesse had a 4th grade education and Grandma Frances had a 6th grade education.  Seeing that they both had gone to school, lets me know that education was very important to them.  It was not unusual for people during this time to  have less than an 8th grade education.  A life of survival and supporting the family required one to go to work and education at times would be secondary.

Jesse Sr. was a farmer and depended on the monies that he made to support his family, while my grandmother helped her husband Jesse by doing labor on the farm.  I am unsure if this means they were sharecroppers, but that is very possible.

I have never been to Leflore, MS.  However, I know in the near future I would love to visit and do some research in Greenwood, MS, and other areas of MS., where my ancestors lived

Here are some maps of Leflore, MS.

This one gives a geographical idea as to where Leflore is located in the state of Mississippi.

Wikipedia Map
I thought this map below was interesting as it was of the landscape of LeFlore in 1895.

Leflore County, MS 1895

Here is a map of Greenwood, Ms.  According to Wikipedia, Greenwood is a city in the county seat of Leflore County, Mississippi, located at the eastern edge of the Mississippi Delta approximately 96 miles north of Jackson, Mississippi, and 130 miles south of Memphis, Tennessee.  

Map of Leflore, MS
Near Greenwood
There is so much African American History in Greenwood, Mississippi.  In my recollections, Greenwood was not a friendly place to be in the 1940's, as it was in many areas of the Jim Crow South.  I believe my Mitchell family migrated to Los Angeles for better opportunities and to get away from the rural south and its discrimination and to give my Aunt Dorothy and Uncle Jesse Jr. a chance for a better education than they had received.  It was time to get off the farm and go to the City!