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.

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