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.


  1. Omg! My mom's side of my family is Gilliam too!! But we live in NM...wonder if there's any connection...?

    1. I wish you would have left your name and e-mail. If you get this, please email me at yporter@cox.net