James Cleage 1870 – 1933

Witherspoon United Presbyterian Church Congregation. James Cleage is in the back row, 5th from the left. My grandparents are 3rd(Pearl Reed) and 4th (Albert Cleage) from the left. My grandfather’s brothers, Jake and Henry Cleage are next to him.

James Albert Cleage

James Cleage was born in 1870, the eighth of the ten surviving children of formerly enslaved Jerry and Charlotte (Bridgeman) Cleage. His parents had been enslaved on David Cleage’s plantation before the Civil War. Neither Jerry nor Charlotte learned to read or write. Jerry worked as a laborer until his death at age 92.

In September 1894, twenty-two year old James Cleage married twenty year old Josie Cleage. Although they were both named Cleage, it was not because they were related. Josie’s family was enslaved on Alexander Cleage’s plantation while James Cleage’s family was enslaved on David Cleage’s plantation and both families took the surname of “Cleage”. Both were born  after the Civil War.

They had six children – Henrietta born in 1897, Lucille in 1899, James in 1901, Albert David in 1907 and Hattie Ruth was born in 1909. One child was born and died between censuses and I do not know if it was a boy or girl or their name.

James seems to have been the only one of his siblings to get an extensive education. In April 1890 Jacob Lincoln Cook, came to Athens to establish a Presbyterian Mission and founded the Athens Academy. James Cleage was one of the small group of dedicated educators that worked with him and taught there in the early years. In 1900 James was 29 and teaching school at the Athens Academy.  He and his family were living next door to his wife’s mother, step-father and her younger brothers.

In 1900 J.L. Cook was appointed president of Henderson Normal Institute in Henderson, North Carolina. James also went to North Carolina and began teaching at the Institute. In 1901 Josie and James son, James Oscar, was born there. My grandfather, Albert Cleage, lived with his aunt’s family while he was attending high school at Henderson Normal. He graduated in 1902.   By the time Albert David (called David) was born in 1907, the family was back in Athens, Tennessee, but not for long.

By 1905 Henry and Jacob Cleage had relocated to Indianapolis, Indiana and in 1908 James, Josie and their growing family joined them there. Their youngest daughter, Hattie Ruth was born in Indianapolis in 1909.  James worked as mailing clerk for  The Indiana Farmer. Here is a link to the January 2, 1909 issue of that paper.  Josie stayed home and raised the children and kept the house.

Both James and Josie were active in Witherspoon Presbyterian Church. I found these short items in the Indianapolis Star “News of The Colored Folk” during 1911.

March 11, 1911
Officers of the Witherspoon United Presbyterian Church entertained its members at the church at a banquet Tuesday night.  Dr. H.L. Hummons was toastmaster.  Addresses were made by Henry and James Cleage, Mrs. Lillian T. Fox and Mrs. M.A. Clark.

April 9, 1911 Sunday
The Witherspoon United Presbyterian Church will give its annual musicale Friday evening at the church on North West street.  The following program will be given:  Solo, Mrs. T.A. Smythe; reading, Mrs. James Cleage; clarinet solo, Philip Tosch; reading, Mrs. Harriet Mitchel; quartet, Messrs. Lewis, Thompson, Chavis and Thompson.  The church choir will render three selections.  Mrs. Daisy Brabham has charge of the program.

My father and his siblings regularly traveled from Detroit to visit their cousins in Indianapolis. My aunt Anna remembered her uncle James as a very quiet, gentle man who helped around the house.

James’ wife Josie and four of their children. I do not have a picture of James Oscar. Special thanks to my cousins from Uncle James and Aunt Josie’s line for sharing photos with me.

The children all finished several years of high school and then got married or started working or both. Lucille seems to have been the first to relocate to Detroit where her uncles Albert, Jacob and Henry Cleage had settled.

James A. Cleage was 62 when he died from prostrate problems in Indianapolis City Hospital on October 21, 1933. He is buried in New Crown Hill Cemetery.

After he died Josie also moved to Detroit.  In 1940 she lived with her son David and his family on the Old West Side of Detroit, not far from her brothers.

Other posts about this branch of the family.

The United States Colored Troops Statue, Washington DC

African American Civil War Memorial, Washington DC

  • Abraham Cleage/Abram Cleag – I have so much new information, waiting to be written up.
  • Charles A. Cleage – I have his pension file and that of his widow, waiting to be written up.
  • George Cleage
  • George Cleage There were two, I have not written up this one yet.
  • Philip Cleage He died of smallpox, but his widow’s pension file is rich in information. Still have to write it up.

All of the men above belonged to the 1st Regiment, United States Colored Heavy Artillery

Organized at Knoxville, Tenn., February 20, 1864. Attached to 2nd Brigade, 4th Division, 23rd Corps, Dept. of Ohio, to February, 1865. 2nd Brigade, 4th Division, District of East Tennessee, Dept. of the Cumberland, to March, 1865. 1st Brigade, 4th Division, District of East Tennessee, to March, 1866.

SERVICE.-Duty at Knoxville, Tenn., till January, 1865. Operations against Wheeler in East Tennessee August 15-25, 1864. Operations in Northern Alabama and East Tennessee January 31-April 24, 1865. Stoneman’s operations from East Tennessee into Southwestern Virginia and Western North Carolina February to April. At Greenville and in District of East Tennessee till March, 1866. Mustered out March 31, 1866.

Meanwhile, in Kentucky, my grandmother Pearl Reed Cleage’s uncle Thomas Allen (formerly Thomas Ray, who later dropped his slave name of “Ray” and took his father’s name of “Allen”), served with the 5h Regiment USCT Calvary.

5th Regiment, United States Colored Cavalry
Overview:
Organized at Camp Nelson, Ky., October 24, 1864. Attached to 1st Division, District of Kentucky, Dept. of Ohio, to February, 1865. Military District of Kentucky and Dept. of Arkansas, to March, 1866.
Service:
Participated in Burbridge’s Raid from Kentucky into Southwestern Virginia September 20-October 17, 1864. Action at Saltsville, Va., October 2. At Lexington, Ky., October 19. Harrodsburg, Ky., October 21. Stoneman’s Raid into Southwestern Virginia December 10-29. Near Marion December 17-18. Capture of Saltsville and destruction of salt works December 20-21. Duty at Ghent, Paducah, LaGrange, Crab Orchard and Camp Nelson till August, 1865, and in the Dept. of Arkansas till March, 1866. Mustered out March 20, 1866.

Regiment lost during service 35 Enlisted men killed and mortally wounded and 1 Officer and 151 Enlisted men by disease. Total 187.

__________________

So much new information waiting to be written up, but to see what I have already done, click on the underlined links above.

For more Sepia Saturday posts, click!

 

 

Vote FREEDOM NOW!

Henry Cleage outside of Cleage Printers 1963

I wish my interviewing skills had been better when I recorded this. Obvious things like, turn off the radio and go to a quiet room. I edited out as much of the extraneous noise as I could. Henry and I were sitting in the living room of my house in Idlewild, MI. You can hear the sounds of the kids getting dinner on the table and hollering at the dog in the background. In 1994 my youngest 4 were all at home and we were homeschooling. Henry lived about 4 miles away and often had dinner with us. In his statements, Henry couldn’t remember some names. When I posted the transcript of the interview years ago, my friend Paul Lee commented:  “Henry couldn’t recall the names of the “two brothers” who co-founded the FNP with “Afro-American” newspaper foreign correspondent William W. Worthy. They were Leftist attorney Conrad J. Lynn and Daniel Watts, publisher of New York’s militant “Liberator” magazine. As you know, Worthy and Watts attended the National Negro Grass Roots Leadership Conference in November 1963.”

Yesterday I came across these posters from 1963 and today I found the theme for this weeks Sepia Saturday was Posters. Although these are not on a wall, there were identical ones put up around Detroit during the time leading up to the election of 1964.

Ronald Latham

Older posts about the Freedom Now Party

The Freedom Now Party – William Worthy’s Speech

The Freedom Now Party – Convention

Transcript of Interview With Henry Cleage – Freedom Now Party Votes Stolen

And now a modern wall with posters not too far from my house. The colorful part is painted. The faces are printed on paper and glued on. To the left of my sister’s face, three artists were peeled off. Th building is a former night spot what now stands empty in a mostly deserted strip mall.  I hope they plan to put the three missing artists back up. There were men in the back painting that wall and there are similar murals on the other walls.

A wall in Southwest Atlanta dedicated to local artists. My sister Pearl Cleage, a writer/playwrite is in the center.

For other Sepia Saturday Posts, Click photo.

Baby’s First Photograph – Feb. 9, 1929

“Feb 4, 1929 – Dad snapped Baby and me through dining room sun window. Not very good – sorry as now he has whooping cough? Weather’s been too bad to take him out to have pictures made…”

Baby Howard and Mother Fannie in the window 1929.

1929 Doris and Mary V. and 1951 Barbara and Pearl

Dee Dee, Barbara, Poppy, Pearl and Kris – 1953 & Doris and Mary V. 1929

More about Howard: Howard Alexander Graham’s Death Certificate

For more Sepia Saturday, Click photo!

Gladys Cleage Evans Obituary

Click to enlarge.

Gladys was my father’s sister and my aunt. She contributed her spit for DNA testing, helping make new family discoveries.  I spent much time with Gladys when we both lived in Idlewild. We used to walk to Head Start together. I remember she told me some of her childhood  and adult memories and I wrote them down in one of my notebooks, and I haven’t been able to find them, but I am going to go through page by page soon.  She also shared memories of her extended family, which I quote in some posts. Gladys also shared with me the letters that her father wrote to her mother when they were courting, which I used to write an A-Z series several years ago Index to the Letters from Dr. Albert B. Cleage.  I wish I could have shared the letters that her mother wrote to Homer and the information about my grandmother Pearl’s uncle Thomas Allen who fought with the USCT in the Civil War. Hopefully, she knows.

Harold Thomas Allen 1932 – 1946

Harold Thomas Allen was the son of Ransom Allen’s son, John Allen. John was my grandmother Fannie Turner Graham’s first cousin. I did not know about Harold, who died the same year I was born, until the 1940 census was released. I recently found this article via the Momence Facebook Group. I do not have a photograph of Harold. That made me wonder what happened to the family photographs of John and Bobbi Allen when they died without children or siblings.

Momence Progress Reporter July 19, 1946 page 1

Harold Allen’s parents, John and Bobbie (Conyers) Allen. Photo from Ruth Hatcher’s collection.

 

Joe Turner’s Death Certificate

joeseph-turners-death-certificate-blog

Other posts about my 2X great grandfather, Joseph Turner of Lowndes County, Alabama.

Pearl’s Letters – An Index

My Grandmother’s Letters
Finding The Letters
The Letters – The People
May 17, 1903 – Evangeline
July 3, 1903 – Hot Weather and A Train Trip
December 21, 1903 – Invitation to Christmas Dinner
January 27, 1904 – Illness and The True Reformers
January 31, 1904 – Misunderstood & Helping Homer Forget
February 7, 1904 – Evil Thoughts
March 8, 1904 – Guitar and Piano Lessons
March 17, 1904 – A New Address and The Mullins Move to Michigan
April 7, 1904 – Mother Very Ill, Minnie’s New Address
April 12, 1904 – Mother Ill Again
May 27, 1904 – Happy For Homer’s Speedy Return
June 16, 1904 – Minnie Coming to Visit
August 24, 1904 – An Entertainment
Aug 29, 1904 – An Invitation
November 8, 1904 – Pearl’s Mother Very Ill and Homer Shares “Vitality Supreme”
November 11, 1904 – Homer Advised Not to Visit
December 1, 1904 – Tired of Sarcasm and Baby Arthur Walks!
December 21, 1904 – Would She Be That Selfish?
January 2, 1905 – Mother Ill and Homer In Hot Springs, Arkansas
January 15, 1905 – Mother Better and Homer Describes Mountains
January 18, 1905 – Shall We Cease Writing?
January 27, 1905 – Minnie and Family Visiting, All Are Sick & Pearl Takes a Walk
February 6, 1905 – Pearl Accused of a Flighty Disposition & Illness in Homer’s Family
March 2, 1905 – Delighted With Stereoscopic Views, a Big Fire and Neglect of MacFadden’s Program
March 10, 1905 – Homer Sends Music and 50 Stamps. Hugh Whistles.
March 20, 1905 – Sorry to Read Homer’s Letter
April 21, 1905 – Busy Sewing for Mother’s Trip to Benton Harbor
April 26, 1905 – No Flowers For Easter & A Mystery Cousin
May 22, 1905 – Homer Reckless and Little Eulala Dies of Pneumonia
May 28, 1905 – A Walk, Request For A Photograph & Mother Ill in Benton Harbor.
June 25, 1905 – Pearl Receives Photograph of Homer, Promises to Send Hers in Return
July 11, 1905 – Missing Minnie & Music In The Night
July 16, 1905 – Music Through the Night and A Visit With Homer
July 22, 1905 – Mother Dangerously Ill, Pearl Fixes Hot Lemonade
August 27, 1905 – A Very Short Letter
Sept 7, 1905 – Pearl Sings & The Weather Cools
Oct., 24, 1905 – “Most exasperating of people…”
Oct. 29, 1905 – A Walk Into the Country, A New Aqueduct And A New Post Office
Nov. 28, 1905 – The Last Letter – An Invitation to Thanksgiving Dinner

Pearl Doris Reed Cleage Obituary

PEARL D. CLEAGE, HELPED FOUND ST. JOHN’S CHURCH

DETROIT FREE PRESS

Date: Friday, July 23, 1982     Page: 7 B

Edition: Metro Final     Secton: OBT

Pearl D. Cleage, a founder of St. John’s Presbyterian Church in Detroit, died Saturday while vacationing in Idlewild, Mich. She was 94.

Mrs. Cleage, a Detroit resident since 1915, was the widow of the late Dr. Albert B. Cleage SR. and the mother of Reverend Albert B Cleage Jr., minister and founder of the Shrines of the Black Madonna, who began the Black Christian Nationalist movement in Detroit in the late 1960s. The Shrines are in Detroit, Atlanta and Houston.

Mrs. Cleage often lectured on African-American history. She was a member of the Auxiliaries of the Iota Boule and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternities.

Survivors include four sons, the Rev. Albert B. Cleage Jr., Dr. Louis, Henry and Hugh; three daughters, Barbara Martin, Gladys Evans and Anna Shreve; nine grandchildren, and 10 great-grandchildren.

____________________

Other posts about my paternal grandmother, Pearl Doris Reed Cleage.

Introduction to the letters my grandfather Albert B. Cleage wrote to Pearl Reed before their marriage from 1907 to 1910.

Grandmother Pearl Reed Cleage’s Birthday

Pearl Reed Cleage With Baby Henry

Grandmother Pearl Reed Cleage – photographs

Two Newspaper Articles 1908 and 1960

Dr. Albert B. Cleage and Miss Pearl Reed Wed

1940 Census – The Albert B. and Pearl (Reed) Cleage Family

Pearl Doris Reed Cleage 1884 – 1982 – Two Photographs

Albert and Pearl Reed Cleage – Cemetery

Albert and Pearl (Reed) Cleage 1922

Grandmother Before the Party – 1971

Oh Dry Those Tears

 

Nov. 28, 1905 – The Last Letter – An Invitation to Thanksgiving Dinner

Courtesy of Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library/University of Georgia Libraries. Click to enlarge.

Pearl Reed

Homer Jarrett
131 Puryear St. City

2730 Kenwood Ave.
Indianapolis, Indiana
Nov. 28, 1905

Mr. Jarrett,
Dear Homer, You are most cordially invited to take Thanksgiving dinner with us at our home Thurs. Nov. 30th. It will be very informal.

Yours sincerely
Anna Reed

P.S. I neglected to tell you that dinner will be served at “7:00 P.M.”
Anna Reed

_______________