Joseph Turner’s Will

While looking for a death record on Ancestry for Elizabeth Turner, daughter of Joe and Luella Turner, I found the Will of my 2X great grandfather, Joseph Turner of Lowndes County, Alabama.  I had looked for his Will before without finding it.  Below are the Will and a transcription.

The Will of Joseph Turner appears in Will Book D,page 248,  Lowndes County, Alabama.


Will of Joseph Turner

State of Alabama County of Lowndes

Know all men by these presents that, I, Joseph Turner, of said county of Lowndes, being in good health, and of sound mind, realizing the uncertainty of life, and wishing to provide for my younger children during their minority, do make this my last will and testament, hereby revoking all former wills by me at any time made.


I will that ll my just debts be paid by my executrix here – in after named, as soon after my death as she can conveniently pay.


I give, devise and bequeath to my beloved wife Luella Turner all of my estate, both real, personal and mixed in Trust for the use and benefit of herself and my minor children, during their minority, equally, until my youngest child then living shall have reached the age of twenty-one years.


After my youngest child then living, shall have arrived at the age of twenty one years, my will is, that all of my estate of every description be divided equally, share and share alike, between my said wife, Luella Turner and all my children, and in the event any of my said children die, before such division takes place, leaving a child or children, him or her surviving, then such share as my said child should have received if living, shall go to his or her children.


I do nominate and appoint my said wife, Luella Turner to be the executrix of this my last will and testament without band. Expressly exempting her from all liability to any person or court for any misuse of any personal property belonging to my estate, and for any and all rents which may accrue during the said minority of my youngest then living child. Except, my said wife again marry, in that event, and from the date of such marrying again by my said wife Luella, she shall be held strictly accountable for the proper use and distribution of my estate as herein before set out.

In testimony whereof I set my hand and seal, this 11 day of December 1909.

Joseph (his mark X) Turner (Seal)

Signed, sealed and published as his last will and testament by the said Joseph turner in our presence, and we in his presence, and in the presence of each other have hereunto subscribed our names as witnesses, at his request, on this the 11 day of December 1909.

Jos. R. Bell

S.M. Salley

Filed for Probate in office this the March 10, 1919

W.H. Lee,

Judge of Probate Court

Testimony of Joseph R Bell.

The State of Alabama, Lowndes County } Probate Court

In the matter of the Probate of the Last Will and Testament of Joseph Turner Deceased.

Before me, W.H. Lee, Judge of Probate Court in and for the County and State aforesaid, personally appeared in open Court Jos. R. Bell, who having been by me first duly sworn and examined, did and doest depose and say that he and S.M. Salley subscribing witnesses to the forgoing instrument of writing now shown to the said affiant and which purports to be the last Will and Testament of Joseph Turner, deceased, lat an inhabitant of this count; that the said Joseph Turner since deceased signed and executed said instrument on the day the same bears date, and declared the same to be his last will and testament, and that affiant set his signature thereto, on the day the same bears date, as a subscribing witness to the same, in the presence of said testator and at his request, and in the presence of each other, and that said testator was of sound mind and disposing memory and understanding, and, in the opinion of affiant, fully capable of making his said will at the time the same was so made as aforesaid. And deposent further states that said testator was, on the day of the date of said will, of the full age of twenty-one years and upward and a resident of this county.

Jos. R. Bell

Subscribed and sworn to before me, this 28 day of April W. D. 1919.

W.H. Lee

Judge Probate Court, Lowndes County

Filed in office April 28 – 1919:  The State of Alabama, W.H. Lee Judge of Probate

Lowndes County,    I, W.H. Lee, Judge of the Probate Court in and for the county and State aforesaid, do hereby certify that the within instrument of writing has this day in said court and before me as the Judge thereof been duly proven by the testamony of Jas. R. Bell subscribing witness, to be the genuine last will and testament of Joseph Turner, deceased and that said will, together with the proof thereof, has been recorded in my office in Book No D of Wills at page 248.

In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and affixed the seal of said Probate Court on this the 28th Day of April A.D. One thousand nine hundred and nineteen.

W.H. Lee Judge Probate Court Lowndes County


Then and Now St Mark’s

detroit-free-press-5121951-st-marksIn 1951 our family moved from Springfield, MA to Detroit, where my father, Rev. Albert B. Cleage, Jr., was called as pastor of St. Marks United Presbyterian Community Church at Twelfth and Atkinson. My paternal grandparents lived several blocks up Atkinson.  The parsonage was right down the block from them.  He was there until 1953 when there was a church split. My father and 300 members started a new church that became Central Congregational Church and finally The Shrine of the Black Madonna.

Here are links to two blog posts about these events, Moving Day – Springfield to Detroit 1951, A Church and Two Brothers .

Below are some then and now photographs of St. Mark’s and the parsonage at  2212 Atkinson.


Son James 2016. My father and Mr. in 1953.
My son James in 2016. My father and Mr. Lindsey Johnson from Springfield, Massachusetts in 1953.  Photograph by Paul Lee. Moving Day Revisited has more  information about Lindsey B. Johnson.
After church at St. Mark’s Community United Presbyterian Church in 1953 combined with a 2011 photograph taken by Benjamin Smith. In the group near the door I see myself, my sister Pearl, my mother Doris Graham Cleage, my uncle Henry Cleage and Choir director Oscar Hand leaning out of the door.
In front of St. Marks 1953. I see my mother in the dark suit and part of my little sister Pearl behind her in a light colored dress.  Combined with another photograph by Benjamin Smith.  This photo and the one below first appeared in the blog post “A Sunday After Church About 1953
The parsonage now and us back in 1953.
The parsonage now and us back in 1953 before the church split.  This photograph first appeared  in the blog post Then and Now – Atkinson About 1953″.


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Detroit Then and now – 5397 Oregon

blended house blog
My son James sitting on the porch of our house as it is now in 2016. My mother and I sitting next to him in 1963.

Recently my son James was in Detroit and visited many of the sites that were important in my life and my family’s life. He was lucky enough to have historian Paul Lee and Sala Adams as guides.  I have matched photographs from the 1960s with some of the photos that they took last week.

Today’s photographs were taken at 5397 Oregon, on the West Side of Detroit. Ten years ago when I went around taking photos of places I had lived, there were people living here. Today the house and many in the area are wrecks. In one photo not shown here, I could see holes in the roof. The house on the left still has someone living there. The two houses to the right are also falling to pieces. It’s tragic.

I would never have imagined that this area would look like this when I lived there some 48 years ago. Today I’ve been looking at the house I live in right now and thinking about which parts would fall apart first if it were vacant for a decade. I doubt it would be in as good a shape as this one because it was built with much cheaper materials.

You can read about my life in this house here “O” is for Oregon Street.  This is the first of a series.

My father and I sitting in the living room in 1966 while Paul Lee takes a photograph in 2016.
My father and I sitting in the living room in 1966 while Paul Lee takes a photograph in 2016.


Around the dining room table in 1963 amidst the crumbling house of 2016.
Around the dining room table in 1963 amidst the crumbling house of 2016.


My mother in the kitchen in 1963, with the present day shambles around her.
My mother in the kitchen in 1963, with the present day shambles around her.
stairs w- james-1963blog
Me looking over the railing in 1963 while James walks across the room in 2016
My sister and I looking out of the living room window. 1963
My sister and I looking out of the living room window. 1963


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The 4th Wedding – Paul Payne and Betty Shreve

Paul, Betty seated, Maid of Honor, Best man - Louis Cleage
Paul Payne back left,  Betty Shreve Payne seated, Maid of Honor Doris Mae Shreve, Best man – Louis Cleage.

For the 4th and final wedding we celebrate the marriage of Paul Payne and Betty Ileen Shreve. They were long time family friends. Paul was born in Ohio but raised in Detroit. Betty was born in North Buxton, Canada.  North Buxton was settled in 1849 by formerly enslaved Black Americans. I was told years ago that Betty was related to the Shreve side of my family.  The Maid of Honor was Betty’s sister, Doris Mae Shreve. Unfortunately I do not recognized the Ring Bearer and Flower girl.  I do recognize Best Man Louis J. Cleage. Always the Best Man, never the groom. He was Best Man at 3 out of 4 of the weddings I’ve shared this month.  The wedding took place in Detroit on July 25, 1949.  Betty was 18 and Paul was 28.

How do they fit into my family tree? Betty Shreve Payne is the second cousin of my uncle Winslow Shreve who was married to my aunt Anna Cleage Shreve.

paul & betty
Posing with the wedding cake.
paul & doctors 1
Unfortunately I do not have descriptions of the gowns or flowers but they look lovely. Betty Shreve Payne on the left, unidentified woman in the middle and Betty’s older sister Doris Mae Shreve on the right.


Outside of the house. The little girl looks like a relation of Betty’s.


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Gladys Cleage’s Marriage – Part 2

Geraldine Cleage Hill, Hildred Evans, Paul Payne, Dr. Albert B. Cleage Sr, Hugh Cleage, Barbara Cleage, Anna Cleage, Louis Cleage

Gladys wedding shorts2I found another two articles about Eddie Evans and Gladys Cleage.  This one tells a little more about what the happy couple was doing before the wedding. It also mentions more friends of the family, including Dr. Gamble and his wife who were old family friends of my grandparents. I came across my uncle Hugh’s birth certificate the other day and noticed that Dr. Gamble delivered him. He also signed the death certificate for my grandmother’s brother George Reed when he died in Detroit in 1945.  Dr. Gamble died later in 1948.  Here is a link to a speech my grandfather delivered at his funeral service.

Dr. Gamble in front of Freedman's Hospital. My grandparents on the steps.
Dr. Gamble in front of Freedman’s Hospital. My grandparents on the steps.

Click for Part 1 of the wedding story.

Wedding – Gladys Helen Cleage and Eddie Warren Evans

wedding gladysMy father’s sister, Gladys Helen Cleage was married to Eddie Warren Evans on Thursday, March 25, 1948 at Plymouth Congregational Church by Rev. Horace White in Detroit, Michigan. There were descriptions of the wedding gown and of the brides maids gowns. Unfortunately the last several lines of the article have been lost to the passage of time so we have to guess at the color and particulars of the brides maids dresses.  It was mentioned that the grooms sister wore a violet gown. I wonder if the brides sister’s dresses were rose because the theme of roses and violets. But would they dress in rose and carry red roses?

The article misspelled Cleage as “Cleague” a few times, while also spelling it correctly several times. A typo made Paul’s last name of “Payne”, “Cayne”.

Geraldine Cleage Hill, Hildred Evans, Paul Payne, Dr. Albert B. Cleage Sr, Hugh Cleage, Barbara Cleage, Anna Cleage, Louis Cleage.
Plymouth Congregational Church Garfield and
Plymouth Congregational Church, the original building on the East side of Detroit.


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Looking for DNA Connections

I recently became aware of some DNA cousins with links to Edgefield, S.C. Although I have several ancestors who were born in South Carolina or who had parents born in South Carolina, they were all born during slavery and I had no way of knowing where in South Carolina they were born.  There is no oral history to give a hint.  Below is a picture of our match on Chromosome 16. The blue is European DNA and the maroon is African. He matches me right where that little bit of blue is on his chromosome.

We match on that little bit of European DNA on Chromosome 16.
We match on that little bit of European DNA he has on Chromosome 16.

Last night I was reading the book “Our Ancestors, Our Stories”.  This is a collaborative book by by Bernice Alexander Bennett, Ellen LeVonne Butler, Ethel Dailey, Harris Bailey (Jr.), and Vincent C. Sheppard who all have ties to Edgefield, S.C.. As I was reading the Introduction, which gives an historical overview of this county, I realized that although I did not know where in South Carolina my ancestors came from, I did know of at least one person among the slave holders who came from Edgefield.  Her maiden name was Frances A. Moseley.  She was married to Wiley Turner and it was in his probate records that I found my 2X great grandfather Joseph Turner listed among the enslaved.

Frances A. Moseley was born in 1814 in Edgefield South Carolina and died in 1870 in Lowndesboro, Lowndes county Alabama.  Her father was James Alexander Moseley who was born around 1768 in Orangeburg South Carolina and moved to Edgefield before his marriage to Mary Ann Wooten in 1796. He remained there until his death in 1828.

In his Will, James Alexander Moseley named the enslaved persons that he left to his wife and children.  They were

Sarah and her three children, Mariah, Caroline and Hester to be sold immediately after his death.

Fanny a Negroe that I lent to my daughter Sally that I give her the said Negroes.

Beck a Negro woman and her children that I lent my daughter Mary

Pomply, a negroe man to son John.

Arnal, a Negroe man to son Middleton

Bob to my son Clement.

Son James a Negroe boy Lewis

To daughter Frances a negroe girl Milly

Daughter Harriet a negroe girl Judy

Daughter Patsey a negro girl Kize and Nance

I give to my daughter Lizar a Negroe girl Silva.

To beloved wife Mary, a negroe woman Luceleathey and a Negro man Buck.  He also left her the balance of his slaves.

Moesely and other family members appear in the book “Slave Records of Edgefield County, South Carolina” by Gloria Ramsey Lucas among the salers and buyers.

A Wedding Photo

My uncle Louis Cleage, second from left.
My uncle Louis Cleage, second from left.  Velma Payne second from right.

I don’t know who the bride and groom are. I only recognize my uncle Louis Cleage and the woman second from the right, Velma Payne.  I miss being able to send these mystery photos to my aunts for identification.  I wrote about Louis as one of the 7 in a boat.

Velma was born on August 4, 1919 and passed away in 2010 at the age of 90. She was the wife of George W. Payne. They had two children.  She was a librarian in the Detroit Public Library system for 32 years.  She was a librarian at the Oakman branch library when I used to go there as a child.  I remember one evening going there after school with my mother and sister and finding the book “Bed knob and Broomstick: or How to be a Witch in 10 Easy Lessons.”  It turned out to be one of my favorite books.

Not so wordless Wednesday  Talks about Velma Payne and has a wedding portrait of George and Velma Payne.

Building Louis’ Cottages – Idlewild – A post about Louis’ cottage being built in Idlewild and mentions Velma’s brother-in-law, Paul Payne.


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Another Look At “7 In A Boat”

Front, Evelyn Douglas, Cornelius L. Henderson, Albert B. Cleage Jr. Seated in the back are Henry Cleage, Louis Cleage and Helen Mullins holding one year old Hugh Cleage.

After posting yesterday about the children in this boat, I looked at different view of the same boat, same children plus dog.  I think that the baby is Hugh, not Barbara Cleage. That means it was taken about 1919.

Hugh Cleage, the baby, was the 4th son of Dr. Albert and Pearl Cleage. He was born in June 1918. Hugh took a course at Michigan State University in agriculture.  During WW2 he and his brother Henry farmed as a conscientious objectors.  After the war, Hugh worked at the post office.  In the late 1950s, Hugh and Henry started Cleage Printers where they printed far into the night putting out flyers for grocery stores, books of poetry and radical newsletters. Hugh ran on the Freedom Now ticket in 1964.  After the 1967 Detroit riot, many of the stores that they had printed flyers for went out of business. Henry went back to law. Hugh continued to run the printing plant for several years, but eventually closed it down.  He spent many years being care taker for his mother after she broke her hip and became more and more frail.  Later he helped his nephew Ernest, on his farm in South Carolina. Hugh died in South Carolina in 2005.

You can read the original post Seven In A Boat here.