A photograph of my aunt Mary Virginia Graham standing on the front steps of the house on Theodore in Detroit. She was named for both of her grandmothers. The writing on the photo says “13 yrs Mary Virginia 1934”. A double exposure shows my mother sideways, overlapping.
This photo looks like it was taken the same day at Belle Isle, which was 5 miles from the house. The dresses are the same. My mother is standing the same way that she in in the double exposure.
This photograph of my grandmother Fannie’s cousin, Naomi Vincent was printed on the cans of Tulane Coffee. This was one of her father Victor Tulane’s many projects, which included real estate, founding a Penny Bank, and owning Tulane’s Grocery. He was also on the Board of Directors of Tuskegee Institute and a generally active citizen of Montgomery. I found the advertisement below in the Montgomery Advertiser.
Years later, he traveled North selling Alaga Syrup. Naomi traveled with him and it was on a trip to New York City that she met her future husband, Dr. Ubert Vincent.
These are the family groups I picked out from the first (1852) appraisment done of Wiley Turner’s Lowndes County, Alabama estate. I will follow those I can through the other three lists and then see what families I can find in the 1870 census. My 2X great grandfather, Joseph Turner, is listed as “Joe (white)” on page 3. He was too old to be in a family group at 15, so I do not know if his mother was on this file.
There are four family groups on page one (above) of the 1852 probate record.
Forty year old Ellen and child, and Abby, age fourteen and Little Margaret age ten.
Thirty year old woman Maria and child Ransom, nine year old little Jane, four year old Louisa and two year old Adella.
Doctor, Mary and fourteen year old Eliza went to Wiley Turner’s wife and so do not appear in later lists. Twelve year old Minerva and Ten year old Amanda, who may be part of this family, were not included in Francis Turner’s group.
Twenty two year old Adam, eighteen year old Mary Ellen and child Edward.
Fifty year old William, fifty year old Rachell and eight year old little Charles.
There are six possible family groups on page 2 (above) in the 1852 record.
Eliza 36 and Harriett 5.
Robbin 25, Cherry 36 and child Louisa, Prince 5
Rachell Patton 28, Robert 11, Frank 6
Rose 28 and child Gabriel – to Francis Mosely Turner.
Abigail 23 and child Ema
Clara 35 and child Alford, Sylvia 12, Lucy 10, Alice 8, Freeman 6, Harrison 6, Julia Ann 3.
There were five family groups on page 3 (above) in the 1852 appraisment.
Man Old Jim 45 years, Minty 45, Daniel 3 – to widow Francis Mosley Turner
Ben 33, Mary McQueen 28, Henry 12
Hannah 55, George 13
Betsy 23, child Caroline, Phillis 8, Peggy 3
Achilles 43, Mariah Mosely 35, Elvira 14 – to widow Francis Mosley Turner
There was one family group on page 4 (above)
Yellow John 24 (from previous page), Yellow Milly 30, Anthony infant, Little William 10, Carter 6, Braxton 4
I will be taking each family as far as I can in time, through the other probate lists as groups are made up to give to various family members and into the 1866, 1870 and for some beyond to later censuses.
The photograph is from the National Archives. The pages from the Estate File are from Ancestry.com.
Grand River Avenue figured in my life in multiple ways. I walked to both McMichael Junior High and Northwestern High Schools down Grand River. I took the Grand River bus home when I worked at J.L. Hudson’s Department store during several Christmas seasons. In 1971 and 1972, the Black Conscience Library was located at 6505 Grand River and that is my focus in this post.
In 1971 the Black Conscience Library relocated from temporary quarters to 6505 Grand River, the upstairs offices in a building right across the street from Northwestern High School. I continued as librarian for awhile. This was around the time that the heroin epidemic hit inner city Detroit hard. Chimba, one of the active members of the Library, was from the North End community. I remember him saying that the year before they had a baseball team, but that in 1971 there were so many heroin addicts in the community that they couldn’t get a team together. It was Chimba’s idea to start a methadone program in the Black Conscience Library to help addicts get off drugs. This was before it was widely known that methadone was a powerful, addictive drug in it’s own right. Eventually, the drug program over shadowed all other Library programs. I spent less time there and eventually got a job as assistant teacher at Merrill Palmer preschool. I still came around but not everyday and not as librarian. It was pretty depressing up there.
There were lines of junkies waiting to collect their scripts, men and women. Some brought their children. In the beginning, I watched the kids while the parents went to the lectures. I remember one baby with a bottle full of milk so spoiled it was like cottage cheese.
We came to the Library one morning to find it had been broken into the night before. All of the printing equipment and the tape recorder were securely locked up. There were no prescriptions laying around. Nothing was stolen, but we couldn’t figure out how they got in, until I noticed glass from the skylight on the table. They had come through the skylight. One night someone was found hiding in the Men’s room hoping nobody would notice they were there so they could rob the place. Another man tried to break in one early morning. Luckily, he couldn’t get through the front chained door. I remember a junkie who nodded off and fell out of his seat during the planning session for a radio program.
There were a few non-drug related activities. One I remember, was a panel discussion on the role of the father in parenting that was presented by several ex-members of SNCC (Student Non-violent Co-ordinating Committee). There were karate classes. One night I had come back after a particularly trying day and a car crashed into the shop downstairs. I caught a plane to visit my sister in Atlanta the next day. Those were the days of cheap standby tickets. I remember The Last Poets record playing over and over and over. The relief when the drug program ended.
This is one of a three page surveillance report from October 29, 1971 is from Jim’s police file. We knew they were watching, but when we got this report several years ago it was still creepy to see how much time they were actually spending watching, following, keeping track. “N/M” = Negro Male. “N/F” = Negro Female.
Several months ago I spent hours at the local Family Search Center looking through microfilmed property records trying to figure out how my 2X great grandfather, Joseph Turner became a land owner. The only thing I found out was that he bought and sold some lots in Hayneville. I found nothing about the land he farmed, until I found the article below in a 1918 issue of The Emancipator. The article says that he owned 240 acres.
Joseph Turner died in February of 1919. In 1910, Joseph Turner was 62 years old and lived on his farm in Lowndes County, Alabama. His second wife Luella, was 29 and his four youngest children – John, Anna, Dan and Josephine were between the ages of seven to one years old. He owned the farm and it was mortgaged.
In 1920 Luella was 37. She lived on the farm with her seven children, John (16), Annie (15), Dan (14), Buck (12), Elizabeth (9), Talmadge (7) and Selena (an infant). Two children, Josephine and Luella, died in 1915 and 1916. Although Joseph Turner left Luella the land, there was a dispute about it between Luella and Alonza, Joseph’s youngest child from his first marriage and the only one from that union still living at the time. Soon afterwards, Luella and her children moved to Montgomery. I assume Alonza got the land, but I have no records.
From The Emancipator Montgomery, Ala, April 30, 1918
At the closing of the Lowndes County Training School for Negroes at Charity, Ala. a few days ago many startling facts concerning the progress and development of the school and the colored patrons in that community were made known to the public. This promising school of which Prof. S.T. Wilson is principal, was established about two years ago. The institute has three splendid buildings. The colored people of the community raised $1,025 including labor and the cost of the land. The balance came from the Rosenwald School Fund, through Prof. Booker T. Washington, Jr., and the state of Alabama. One two-story building, costing $2,350 was dedicated 1916 by former Spt. Fagain, Dr. James L. Sibley, Probate Judge J.C. Wood, and others. The school also has a two-story frame teachers home worth $1,500 donated by Fisher of Nshvile, and a one story frame trades building, costing $500, donated by the Slater Fund.
The school has an enrollment of 147 boys and 129 girls, taught by five teachers.
According to Dr. A.F. Owens of Selma University, who preached the annual sermon at the recent closing of the Lowndes County Training School, within a radius of four miles, there are 43 patrons who own a total of 6,259 acres of land ranging from 2 acres of land to 1,000. Amont thes land owners are the following:
I recently found that The Emancipator newspaper was online at Newspapers.com. The Emancipator was published from October 1917 to August 1920. My grandmother’s first cousin, James Edward McCall and his wife were the publishers. You can read more about him at the link above.
Mrs. Jennie Turner wishes to announce the engagement of her daughter, Fannie Mae, to Mr. Mershell C. Graham of Detroit, Mich. The marriage to take place in the spring.
On Sunday, June 15th at four o’clock Miss Fannie Turner and Mr. Merchell Graham were happily united in marriage at the home of the bride on E. Grove St. The home was prettily decorated for the occasion.
Just before the entrance of the bridal party, Mr. Lowndes Adams sang a beautiful solo, immediately after which the groom entered the parlor to the strains of Mendelson’s wedding March, with Mr. Clifton Graham, his brother, as best man. The bride entered with her uncle, Mr. V.H. Tulane, who gave her away, gowned in white satin with real lace and pearl bead trimmings the hat, a beautiful creation of white Georgette, the bride made a very pleasing appearance. She carried a large bouquet of roses and fern.
The home was crowded to its fullest capacity, fully two hundred guests being present which bespoke the esteem and popularity in which the young couple are held.
The presents were many and varied, consisting of silver, cut glass, linen, wearing apparel, money, and many useful household articles.
Rev. E.E. Scott performed the ceremony and Miss Naomi Tulane presided at the piano.
The guests were served delicious refreshments.
The happy couple left Sunday evening for Detroit, Mich., their future home.
On Friday evening, 29th ??? at 8:30 the beautiful home of Mr. and Mrs. M.L. Walker, St. Jean Ave., was the scene of a delightful entertainment complimentary to Mr. and Mrs. M.C. Graham. The guests were limited to Mrs. Walker’s Club members and their husbands. The house was artistically decorated with cut flowers. Progressive Whist was played, mints and salted peanuts were served throughout the evening, after which a delicious salad course with punch was served.
Mrs. J.W. Topp had a few friends over to meet Mr. and Mrs. M.C. Graham on Saturday evening. Progressive whist was played after which a delicious two course luncheon and punch were served.
Mrs. J.A. Martin entertain quite a few friends at a real Southern dinner Sunday afternoon at 4 o’clock. Among the guests were Mrs. M.L. Walker, Mr. and Mrs. M.C. Graham, Mrs. Thompson, Mr. Moses Thompson, Mr. Chas. Love, the Dale Family, Mr. and Mrs Mills, Mrs. Dora Davis, Mr. James Payton, Mr. Joe Shannon, Mr. Oliver, Mr. Barnette, and others.
The window on the top left was our bedroom window.
In 2004 I spent a day driving around Detroit taking photographs of places where I used to live and of other houses family members lived in. The angle of this house fit almost perfectly with the photograph taken in 1953 of my father with my little sister Pearl and me. We are in front of the parsonage on Atkinson. My father was the minister of St. Mark’s Presbyterian Church, two blocks up the street on the corner of 12th Street and Atkinson.
My sister and I shared the bedroom on the upper left. We used to look out of the side window into the attic of Carol and Deborah. They were our age and lived next door and got to stay up much later then we did. They had a wonderful playroom in the attic. I taught Pearl to read by the streetlight shinning into our bedroom. I don’t know why we waited until we were supposed to be in the bed to teach and learn reading.
Sometimes after Pearl was asleep, I would kneel in front of the windows and look out. I remember an amazing pale pink Cadillac. The cars I had seen up until then were dark colors. I remember looking out of that window and watching for my mother to get home. Was she taking night classes while working on her teaching certificate?
On our other side lived Eleanor Gross with her family. Eleanor was a teenager and babysat with us during the rare times our parents went out. My paternal grandparents lived down the street.
This photo first appeared on my blog in 2012 in a post about my grandparents magical yard. I used that post again in June of 2017. This time I am only posting the picture of my sister looking glamorous and me looking worried as we stand next to our trusty mounts. Neither of us can remember where we went on those horses. I remember a pillow/saddle that was made of some shiney purple fabric. That may have been the one I am leaning on.
This book has seen much use. It is held together with masking tape. It is full of the old standards of the day. It was published by “The Cable Company, Manufacturers of the famous Cable Line of Pianos and Inner- Player Pianos.” Click all images to enlarge.
My grandmother Fannie Turner Graham wrote on the cover of the book “Mary Virginia and Doris Graham. 1933. From Aunt Daisy who died suddenly 1961”
I chose this poem by James Whitcomb Riley because I was feeling rather nostalgic, thinking about my sister and me back in the olden days.
One of my uncle Henry Cleage’s photographs from the porch of our house at 5397 Oregon in Detroit. Below is a photo of the house and porch from which he took the photos. They were developed at Cleage printers, where Henry and Hugh had a full dark room.
I do not know who the little girls are. I have memories of riding bikes when I lived here, but no photographs. I remember going bike riding all around the neighborhood with my cousins, Dee Dee and Barbara. We rode in the street, which I wasn’t supposed to do. My sister and I used to go bike riding too but we usually had a destination – the library or my grandmother’s house. I lost that bike when I left it unchained outside of a store on W. Grand Blvd. We were on the way home from the Main Library.