Congregation of Witherspoon United Presbyterian Church 1909

Witherspoon Presbyterian Church – 1909 Indianapolis, Indiana. Click to enlarge.

This is a photograph of the congregation of Witherspoon United Presbyterian Church in Indianapolis, IN in 1909, two years after they organized. This photograph is from the personal collection of my cousin Vivian Vaughn McDonald.  My grandmother Pearl Reed Cleage is the third person on the top right. My grandfather, Albert Cleage is next to her.  They wouldn’t be married for two more years. Next to Albert is his brother Jacob and next to him is their brother Henry.  Directly in front of my grandfather Albert is Jacob’s wife, Gertrude.

I was told that my grandfather’s sister Josephine, also a church member, was not there for the photograph, but was home pregnant with Hattie Ruth, the youngest of her five children. Her husband, James Cleage  stands four people to the left of Henry.  James Cleage was from a different branch of Cleages.  In the second row, second from the right, is Henrietta Cleage, oldest daughter of James and Josephine.

In the 1909 Indianapolis City Directory Witherspoon United Presbyterian Church is listed as located in Realty Hall with Rev. David White as Pastor.  I wonder if he is in this photograph and if so, which one he is?

The history below was from the Witherspoon web page, however they  have taken the history section down. My grandparents, Albert Cleage and Pearl Reed, are both listed as founders.

On April 30, 1907 the Presbytery of Indiana of the United Presbyterian Church held a called meeting at Realty Hall in response to a petition signed by 31 persons asking to be organized into a United Presbyterian congregation.

Begins With 31 Members

Prof. David Graham of Rushville was moderator and Rev. W. W. McCall of Greensburg was secretary. Other members present were Rev. Fred W. Schmuch of Milroy, Rev. N. B. McClung of Vevay, Rev. Mr. McDill of Madison, and Dr. Cowan of Indianapolis.

The petition was discussed at some length. By unanimous vote an organization was decided upon. The 31 members who signed the petition were as follows: Henry W. Cleage, Mrs. Carrie Perkins, Mrs. Emma Moore, A. T. Roney, Mrs. Cora Donann, Mrs. Cathern Crenshaw, Mrs. Daisy L. Brabham, Albert Cleage, Mrs. Gertrude Cleage, James Myers, Mrs. A. L. McElrath, O. F. Dennis, Mrs. Hattie  Mitchell, H. M. Mitchell, Mrs. Theresa Finley, Othello Finley, Miss Edith Finley, Miss Luell E. Hibbett, Mrs. Mary Peterson, Mrs. Anna Bowman, John T. Fox, Miss Pearl Reed, Thomas H. Bransford, Mrs. O. F. Dennis, Miss Alice Mathews, Miss Hilda Reeder, W. J. Perkins, Henry Moore and H. L. Hummons.

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Joe Turner Land Transaction – August 11, 1868

On my first trip to the local Family Search Center several weeks ago, the microfilm machine broke as the second roll of film was being loaded. I was afraid the ancient machine would never be fixed so that I could continue my research. Earlier this week the volunteer at the center called to let me know that the machine had been repaired.  I made an appointment to look at more film of my 2X great grandfather, Joe Turner’s land transactions.

It was hot and there was no air conditioning, although I heard what sounded like an air conditioner. Watching the microfilm scroll by made me feel queasy again. Deed book “I”, the first roll I looked through, yielded no information about Joe Turner.

Index Click to enlarge

I had been at the Center almost two and a half hours and decided to go through one more roll before I left. Chewing a new piece of gum to combat the nausea, I began to go through roll “F”, which contained the earliest dated land deal for Joe Turner. It covered from 1860 to 1871.  I was not very hopeful, but scrolled slowly through the index and found that Joe Turner’s transaction was on pages 438 and 439. Slowly scrolling through the microfilm, I learned that a complete rotation of the scrolling handle, took me through 30 pages.

Finally, I arrived at the pages I wanted. As I began to read, the volunteer came in and asked if I realized how long I had been there.  I did, about two and a half hours. She had an appointment elsewhere and I had to stop. I quickly took multiple photos of the two pages, hoping they would come out to be readable. It is difficult for me to take good photographs because of the setup of the microfilm machine.

When I got home, I uploaded the photos to see if there was anything readable. Page 439 was pretty good, but the several shots of page 438, the most important page, were blurred, or my hand with the phone blocked half of the words.  Looking carefully, I was able to transcribe the page, although the bottom left corner was indecipherable.

This morning I got up and opened a couple of the photos in Photoshop to see if I could fill in some blanks in my transcription. I did not see it but, a very readable image of page 438 came up. The Ancestors at work?  Below are those pages and the transcriptions.

State of Alabama}

Lowndes County }

Know all men by these presence in pursuance of the  direction after and of the Probate Court of said County to me this day granted and in consideration of the sum of ninety dollars paid by Joe Turner to Sarah S Givens formerly administrator of the Estate of George Givens deceased – proof which payment has been made I Thomas S Herbert administrator de bonis mon of the estate of said George Givens deceased – have bargained sold and conveyed and do by these presents bargain sell and convey to the said Joe Turner the following described lot or parcel of land to wit: All that portion of land lying west of the lot formerly owned by D C Whipley now owned by me Thomas S Herbert, – and street running North and South by John P Streety’s residence and all of the portion of land lying South of said lot (formerly Whipley now mine) and South of Mrs. Hunters lot – in the town of Hayneville County and State aforesaid, to have and to hold the aforesaid granted premises above (Can’t read) the said Joe Turner and his heirs and assigns forever. Witness my hand and seal this 11th day of August 1868 Thomas S Herbert {seal}

The State of Alabama}

Lowndes County}

  I J.V. McDuffie Probate Judge of said County  certify that Thomas S. Herbert whose name signed to the foregoing conveyance and who is known to me acknowledged before me on this day that being informed of the contents of the conveyance he executed the same voluntary on the day the same bears date. Given under my hand this 11 day of August 1868 J V McDuffie J.P.L.C. The foregoing is a true copy of the original Instrument recorded for record and recorded this 13th day of August 1868.               JV McDuffie

Judge of Probate

________________________________

Unfortunately there was no drawing of this property, but from the description, I wonder if this is the same piece of land that he sold in 1872 described here Joe Turner & Wife Emma Turner Convey Land 1872.

Next week I go back and hope to successfully view the last two rolls of film.  Maybe I will have time to look at Deed Book “I” again.

Diving Into Lake Idlewild, July 1967

I spent much time in the summer of 1967 at my Uncle Louis’ cottage in Idlewild, MI. I was there when the Detroit Riot/Rebellion broke out and remember driving into the city on that first Sunday when it began. You can read more about that here Detroit Rebellion Journal.

I spent a lot of time that summer swimming and skating. I don’t have any photos of me skating but I have this whole series of a dive.   My sister Pearl, my cousin Jan and my mother also make brief appearances. My Uncle Henry took the photos.

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Joe Turner & Wife Emma Turner Convey Land – 1872

Deed Record Book H. Click each image to enlarge.

Recently I went to the nearby Family Search Center to look at some Lowndes County Alabama property records from the 1870s on microfilm. I hoped to find more details about  Joe and Emma Turner, my 2X great grandparents. I also planned to look at records for other formerly enslaved Turners mentioned in Wiley Turner’s probate record.

There were five rolls of microfilm waiting for me. It was by no means a large research center.  It is actually a few rooms in the educational part of the Church of Latter Day Saints. In a small room there were three computers. Next to it was another small room with a microfilm machine. A local Family Search volunteer opened the building for me and got me started. She loaded the roll into the reader, showed me how it worked and advised me to put a phone book under a piece of paper if the document was hard to read. Then she went to the next room to work on her family history.

After scrolling through to page 238, which I thought was the page I was looking for in Book H, I discovered that there was nothing about the Turners on that page, nor on the pages before or after. I scrolled back to the index. At this point the scrolling was making me feel slightly motion sick but I chewed some gum and kept going. Looking at the index, I found the Turners listed with the “Ts” under a letter “O” on page 97. Very confusing. However, that was actually the page I was looking for and it was full of information about the land deal. There was even a drawing of the property that changed hands. I took photos of the various pages, not very good ones it turned out.

Index with page number for the record I wanted.

As the next roll of film was being loaded, a thin belt separated from wherever it was supposed to be.  The microfilm machine was broken. It was the only machine there and it was ancient. The volunteer said she will try to get it repaired and call me when it is. She also said I can keep the rolls of film there as long as I need them. That is only good if I have a machine to view it through.

Family Search plans to digitize all of their records during the next two years.  They also plan to discontinue sharing microfilm in August of this year. I do not hold out much hope for the repair of the machine, unless a local volunteer can do it.   Below is what I found.

 

Know all men by these presents that we, Joe Turner and Emma Turner his wife of said state and county for and in consideration fo the sum of one hundred dolars to us paid this day by Edward H. Herbert and Louisa Herbert his wife do hereby bargain, sell and convey to the said Herbert and his wife Louisa the following described lots or parcels of land lying and being within corporate limits of the town of Hayneville in said county to wit a lot of about one acre lying west and broadside of the lot now owned and occupied by the said Herbert extending west to a street running north and south by the residence of John P Streety, a lot a strip of land about twenty yards wide south of the above described lot and the said lot owned and occupied by the said Herbert containing one half acre more or less; also a lot known as the Stewart lot commencing at the south west corner of the lot on which H a Rinadi’s house stands, running east thirty five yards, thence south to a street running east and west from the residence of John P Streety by the County jail and up by the Methodist Church, thence west thirty five yards thence north to the beginning containing one acre more or less, also a lot of three fourths of an acre mor or less bounded east by the said Stewart lot south of the street running east and west from the residence of John P Streety up by the jail and Methodist Church, west by a vacant lot owned by the said Streety and north of the east half of the strip of land above described; all of said lots containing three and a half acres more or less to have and to hold to them and their heirs and assigns forever.

Witness our hands and seals this 9th day of January AD 1872.

Signed and delineated in presence of W.H. Taigler  R.McQueen

Plat map with easy to read additions by me.

Joe X (his mark) Turner. Emma Turner

 

 

Home Library 1931

Bonzo, MV and Doris Graham. 1932. Backyard of Theodore, Detroit,MI

In my grandmother Fannie’s scrapbook, I found two library cards made by my mother, Doris and her older sister, Mary Virginia in 1931.  My mother was 7 and Mary Virginia was 11.  There is no book listed on my mother’s card but Mary Virginia names “The Children’s Story Hour” on hers.  I wonder what other books they borrowed and lent or if this was a one time happening. I did notice that Mary Virginia returned her book on time.

This photograph was taken later that year in their backyard. Howard died of scarlet fever the following year. He was two and a half.

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Are you Gypsy?

Skirt I was wearing.
Skirt I was wearing.
gypsy_house
The house on West Grand Blvd looked like this one.

The first time I met Gypsies was the summer of 1964. I was 17, wearing a patterned skirt, my hair was long then, pulled back in a clip. I had on gold hoop earrings. My sister Pearl and I were walking down West Grand Blvd. to the Main Library. We passed a house like the one pictured above.  Three little girls ran off the porch and began to walk down the street with us.

“Are you Gypsy?” they asked me.  I wasn’t, I told them. My sister assured them that we weren’t. They weren’t talking to her, they said. Was I sure? I was sure. When we got to the first cross street, they turned and ran back to their house.

Several months later, an article came out in the Sunday Detroit Free Press Parade Magazine. There was a picture of the three little girls.  It was all about being a modern Gypsy in Detroit.  The man was their grandfather, identified as the head of their family’s clan.

In 1968 I was an art student at Wayne State.  I had been to the Utrecht art supply store on Woodward.  As I was on my way back to Campus, some women were sitting on the porch of a large house. They were wearing long skirts and of various ages.

“Want your fortune told?” One of them called out. What if it was a bad one? I thought. No, I called back and kept moving. I sometimes wonder what they would have told me was coming up if I had stopped.

In the early 1980s I was living in Mississippi. One summer afternoon, I was visiting my friend Carrie Ann, when a woman about my age came by in a pickup selling sets of hand made wooden porch furniture.  She had an incomplete set at a reduced rate and I bought it.  She drove them down the road to my house and said I reminded her of her cousin. She reminded me of my cousin Barbara, I told her.

No caravans of any kind were involved, but this is what I remembered when I saw the Sepia Saturday prompt for this week.

2013.05W.19
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Poppy’s Garden 1953

 When I was growing up we spent Saturdays at my mother’s parents house, along with my cousins Dee Dee and Barbara and later, Marilyn.  When the weather was good we spent it outside in the backyard. There was a vegetable garden, lots of flowers and space for anything we could think of.

In the summer of 1953 I turned 7 in August. Dee Dee turned 10 in September. Barbara had already turned 6 in January. Pearl was 4.5 until December.  Poppy was 64. He would retire in December of that year when he turned 65. The yard was surrounded on all sides by a wooden fence that made it feel like a world apart.  In the photographs I can see the big house across the alley and a factory on Warren but when I was playing in the yard I didn’t much notice those things.

"collards"
In the collards – Pearl, Barbara, Kris with Poppy

Pearl and I are holding dolls and I have a purse I remember getting when we lived in Springfield, MA. A young lady who might have been the church secretary had a grown up purse just like it.  It was brown leather and had a golden metal clasp that turned to open and close. Looks like collards with the poison Poppy sprinkled to kill the cabbage worms. I think I see a little cabbage butterfly holding on to the underside one of the leaves.

"geni of the magic carpet"
Geni of the magic carpet go, go, go.

I am standing up at the table where Barbara and I are making something. Dee Dee is sitting on the arm of the swing. She was probably taking Pearl somewhere on the magic carpet (aka swing) the rider would have to say “Geni of the magic carpet, go, go, go!” and then Dee Dee would take you someplace magic.  She would tell you where it was when it was time for you to get out of the swing. Dee Dee was in charge of all the magic.  Each of our households had a little, invisible fairy that lived in the mud castle we built and rebuilt at the foot of the apple tree. Their’s was named Lucy and ours was Pinky. She also kept a box full of prizes that she gave out at appropriate times. I remember packages of soda crackers, prizes from cereal boxes and pieces of chewing gum.

"Pearl and Kris with saw horses"
With our horses.

Here Pearl and I are standing on the grassy part of the yard. The flowers are in full bloom behind us with the vegetables back behind them. We often made the saw horses into mounts. I see my purse over there on the grass to the left.

Greens in my Idlewild garden 15 yars ago.

___________________________

I have participated in Sepia Saturday for so many years that it is hard for me to come up with new photos when the same sorts of prompts come around. This week I am recycling a post from 2012.

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Joe Turner Constable -1871, Lowndes County Alabama

In 2003 I purchased a copy of the book “Lowndes Court House – A Chronicle of Hayneville, an Alabama Black Belt Village 1820 – 1900”, a book of reminiscences by  Mildred Brewer Russell. In the chapter “Reconstruction And After, 1865 – 1900 I found my great great grandfather, Joe Turner, mentioned as one of the Negro (sic) politicians.  After that I tried to find what sort of politician he was, what office he held.  I could not find anything.

From “LowndesCourt House – A chronicle of Hayneville – an Alabama Black Belt Village 1820- 1900” Page 127 By Mildred Brewer Russell

Last week on Ancestry.com, I found the following information. Joe Turner was elected as constable on November 7, 1871.

Google defined a constable as “…a peace officer with limited policing authority, typically in a small town.”

In 1874 Reconstruction ended in Alabama, resulting in loss of voting rights and the ability to hold elected office for black people.

Here is an interesting timeline that traces how the right to vote and hold public office was taken away from black men in Lowndes and neighboring counties. “The More You Know: A History …”  It wasn’t until 1970, 99 years from 1871, that African American John Hulett was elected  sheriff in Lowndes County.

You can read more about Joe Turner in these posts:

Timeline for Joe Turner

Joe Turner in the 1853 Probate Record for Wiley Turner

Joe Turner, Land, Mules and Courts

Emma and Joe Turner of Gordensville, Lowndes County

Joseph Turner’s Will

There were at one time 4 flourishing schools…

 

Two Coffins Betsy and Austin – 1859, Estate of Wiley Turner

Betsy was about 26 years old when she was listed with her daughter Caroline in the inventory of the estate of Wiley Turner. It was February 2, 1852. Betsy and Caroline were valued at $800.00. On the list below them were eight year old Phillis ($375) and three year old Peggy ($225). They seem to be a family group.

Further down the page Austin is listed. He was 16 years old and valued at $800.

Two pages from the 4 page list of the enslaved on the Wiley Turner plantation. Joe, age 15 was my 2X great grandfather.

On January 26 and 27 of 1859, Betsy was visited by Doctor Pritchett. The cost of the visits was $2.50. On February 6 and 7, Doctor Pritchett visited Austin.

On January 29, 1859 a coffin was purchased for Betsy.  She was 29. On February 8, 1859  A coffin was purchased for Austin. He was 22. Each coffin cost $5. I do not know what they died of.

I found the two coffins listed in the estate file among a list of payments given out from the estate in early 1859. If I had not gone page by page through the file, I would have missed these, as I did when I looked through it last year and only looked for lists of the enslaved.

I found all of these documents in the Estate file of Wiley Turner, deceased, on Ancestry.com.  My 2 X great grandfather, Joe Turner came off of this plantation. Click on the documents to enlarge.

Enslaved & Freed Turners from the Wiley Turner Plantation

For the past week I have been immersed in the Turners who came off of Wiley Turner’s plantation in Lowndes County Alabama.  My 2X great grandfather, Joe Turner, came off of that plantation.  Wiley Turner died in 1851 without a Will and so his estate was probated. The case dragged on for twenty years. There are multiple lists of the enslaved, the first in 1852.  I wrote about the one from 1853 here. The others were from 1856, 1857 and 1865.  There were also the 1850 and 1860 slave censuses, which give no names but age, sex and color (“mulatto” or “black”)

There are also records of doctors visits, some patients named and some not. There are records of how much and what was sold from the plantation during this time. There were several changes of administrators due to deaths and some disputes among members of the family about what was due them.

After the Civil War was over and Freedom came, there were new records for the formerly enslaved and now free, the 1866 census for the first time named the formerly heads of households. In the 1870 census, the whole household was named. In 1880, relationships to the head of the household were given. There were also marriage and land records.

By investigating the community and households, I want to see what happened to the people and families, both before and after slavery. Right now I am going through the material and figuring out how to present it. At first, when going through the probate record, I just looked for the names of the enslaved.  Going over it again, I realized that I could not give a picture without knowing more about what was going on around them, what crops were grown, what was sold,  what was bought and the rest of the turmoil swirling around them during that time period.  Maybe I need to start by printing out the whole file.

I have never done a project like this outside of a time crushing challenge, so we shall see how it goes.