Jennie Turner

This year I am going through an alphabet of news items taken from The Emancipator newspaper, published  between 1917 and 1920 in Montgomery, Alabama.  Most are about my grandparent’s circle of friends. All of the news items were found on Newspapers.com. Each item is transcribed directly below the clipping.  Click on any image to enlarge.

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Jennie Turner was Fannie’s mother and my great grandmother. I knew her for a few years before she died when she was wheelchair bound and not really talkative. I knew my aunts Daisy and Alice for many years.

The Emancipator – Sat- Jun 26, 1920

“Mrs. Jennie Turner and two daughter, Miss Daisy and little Alice, left last Friday for Detroit, Mich.”

L>R – Robert Pope, Jennie Allen Turner, Alice Turner, Daisy Turner. Back – Beulah Allen Pope. 1921 Windsor, Canada.

My great grandmother Jennie and daughters were coming to visit my grandparents and their new baby daughter, Mary Virginia, who was born in April of 1920.  They didn’t move to Detroit until 1922.  My grandmother was a seamstress who worked for herself in Montgomery. My aunt Daisy taught school. In the photo with them are my great grandmother’s sister Beulah, who was also a seamstress, and her son Robert.  The photo was labeled as being taken in 1921. Perhaps they came up again to visit when my grandparents second child, Mershell Jr. was born.

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My mother Doris Graham Cleage’s  memories of her grandmother, Jennie Virginia Allen Turner

Today I’m going to write about Grandmother.  Grandmother Turner was born about 1872, nine years after the Emancipation Proclamation. Don’t know if she finished high school – but she did go. Her mother taught her to sew and it was a good thing she did because grandmother worked the rest of her life supporting herself and her children at sewing.  That is, she worked after husband Howard Turner died. They married when she was about sixteen. Don’t know his age.  He looked something like grandmother’s father and also like my father, mother said.  He was a farmer’s son from around Hayneville, AL, but he preferred the big city – Montgomery.  His father had three sons and planned to give each one a large share of the farm when they married.  Howard and Jenny received their farm, but neither one liked the country. One day they were in Montgomery.  He was at a Bar-B-Q.  She was at her parents with their daughters, Fannie Mae, 4, and Daisy Pearl, 2.  someone brought word that he had been shot dead.  Apparently no one ever knew who did it, but mother always said grandmother thought his father had it done because he was angry that Howard would not farm and had even been talking about selling his part.  The father did not want the land sold, but wanted it to stay in the family forever.  (Bless his heart!).  He and the son had had some terrible arguments before they left to come to the Bar-B-Q. I often wondered why he was there and grandmother wasn’t.  She always seemed to like a good time.

I remember her laughing and singing and dancing around the house on Theodore. She was short, about five feet I guess, with brown eyes, thin dark brown hair that she wore in a knot. She was very energetic, always walking fast.  She always wore oxfords, often on the wrong feet, and never had time to change them.  We used to love to tell her that her shoes were on the wrong feet.  (smart kids!)

"Jennie Allen Turner funeral"
This photograph was taken in Montgomery during 1892 while the family was in mourning. Jennie holds two year old Daisy while four year old Fannie stands beside her.

She never did thing with us like read to us or play with us, but she made us little dresses.  I remember two in particular she made me that I especially liked.  My “candy-striped” dress – a red white and blue small print percale.  She put a small pleated ruffle around the collar and a larger one around the bottom. I was about Deignan’s (note:  that would have been about 5) size, I guess, and I really thought I was cool!  The other favorite was an “ensemble” – thin, pale green material with a small printed blue green and red flower in it – just a straight sleeveless dress with neck and sleeves piped in navy blue – and a three – quarter length coat of the same material – also straight -with long sleeves and lapels – also piped in navy blue.  She never used a pattern.  Saw something and made it!  She taught us some embroidery which she did beautifully but not often. She never fussed at us – never criticized – and I think she rocked me in the upstairs hall on Theodore when I was little and sick.  The rocker Daddy made stood in that hall.  I remember lots of people rocking in that chair when I was small.

Grandmother went to work when her husband was murdered – sewing for white folks – out all day fitting and sewing – and sewing all night – finishing while mother and Daisy stayed with their Grandfather Allen, who would tell on them when Grandmother came home and she would spank them.  Mother said she remembered telling Daisy to holler loudly so Grandmother wouldn’t spank them hard or long and it worked!

Grandmother stayed single until she was about 37 or 38 when she married someone Mother hated – looked Italian, hardly ever worked.  Liked a good time. Fathered Alice and left when she was very small.  Somehow when mother spoke of him I had the feeling he would have like to have taken advantage of her.  She was about 20 and had given up two college scholarships to stay and help Grandmother.

Sometimes after her husband’s death, Grandmother took the deed to the farm to a white lawyer. (was there any other kind?) and told him to sell it for her.  He went to see it and check it out – told her to forget it – her title wasn’t clear, but he never gave the deed back and she figured he made a deal with her father-in-law.

"jennie's shot gun house"
A shotgun house. My mother’ description is off.

 Aunt Abbie (note: Jennie’s sister) said the father-in-law built Grandmother and Howard a “shotgun” house on the farm.  She would turn up her nose as she said it.  You know that is a house like this – no doors on front or back, you could shoot a gun through hall without damage.  Animals (pigs, dogs) would wander into the hall and have to be driven out.  Aunt Abbie only stayed there when the plague was raging in Montgomery.  Yellow fever (malaria) and/or polio every summer.  Many people sick or dying.  Huge bonfires in the streets every night to ‘purify’ the air”, and closing the city if it got bad enough – no one in or out.  More than once they fled the city in a carriage through back streets and swamps because they were caught by the closing which was done suddenly to keep folks from leaving and spreading the “plague”

In Detroit, when they came in 1923 when Mother and Daddy had bought the house on Theodore and had room for them (room? only 5 adults and 3 children!)  Grandmother, Daisy and Alice got good jobs, (they were good – sewing fur coats, clean work and good pay.) at Annis Furs (remember it back of Hudsons?)  and soon had money to buy their own house much farther east on a “nice” street in a “better ” neighborhood (no factories) on Harding Ave. While they lived with us I remember violent arguments between Alice and I don’t know who – either Grandmother or Daisy or Mother.  Certainly not Daddy because when he spoke it was like who in the Bible who said, “When I say go, they goeth. When I say come, they cometh.”  Most of the time I remember him in the basement, the backyard or presiding at table. Daisy and grandmother were what we’d call talkers.

Grandmother got old, hurt her knee, it never healed properly. Daisy worked and supported the house alone. Alice only worked a little while.  She had problems getting along with people.  Grandmother was eventually senile.  Died of a stroke at 83 or so. Alice spent years taking care of her while Daisy worked. Daisy added to their income by being head numbers writer at Annis!! 

"Jennie Annis Furs"
Seamstresses at Annis Furs, Detroit 1920’s. Grandmother Turner far right, 2nd row. Alice next to her. Skip 1 + it’s Daisy.

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This information came from family information. The photo is from my photo collection. The news item is from Newspapers.com. The links within the story are to other blog posts about the topic.

Duncan Irby

This year I am going through an alphabet of news items taken from The Emancipator newspaper, published  between 1917 and 1920 in Montgomery, Alabama.  Most are about my grandparent’s circle of friends. All of the news items were found on Newspapers.com. Each item is transcribed directly below the clipping.  Click on any image to enlarge.

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According to my mother’s family memories, Duncan Irby was my Aunt Daisy’s lost love. Here is what she wrote in 1980.  Daisy was my grandmother Fannie’s sister.

The Emancipator, Montgomery, Alabama Sat. Oct 20, 1917.

“Mr. Duncan Irby, accompanied by his mother and little sister, also Mrs. Mollie Dillard and Miss Daisy Turner, motored from Selma to this city last Sunday and visited Camp Sheridan.” 

 Doris Graham Cleage’s (my mother) memories of her Aunt Daisy and Duncan Irby

“Maybe here a word about Aunt Daisy.  Look at her picture, sweet, soft, pretty,

"Jennie Allen Turner and Daughters"
Fannie, Jennie (mother) Alice. Daisy standing.

taught school awhile in Montgomery (with high school diploma)  loved Congregational preacher named Duncan Erby who loved her and waited for her for years.  Had the church in Buffalo, NY.  Whenever she really considered leaving, Grandmother did the old guilt trick “How can you leave me to take care of Alice (note: Alice was Daisy and Fannie’s younger sister. She was born 20 years after my grandmother) all by myself?”  and “No man in this world is good enough to touch your little finger.  They are all no good except (maybe) Shell.” (note: Shell referred to my grandfather, Mershell Graham.) and Daisy listened and stayed and played numbers, studied dream books and drank a little apricot brandy.  I always found their house light, cheerful, full of magazines (McCall’s, Journal, etc.) which I loved to read, full of good things to eat.  All three were super cooks and they had always just had a bunch of friends to dinner and to play cards or just about to have.

Daisy took us downtown to the show every summer and to Saunders for ice cream afterward.  And I always ended up with a splitting headache.  Too much high living I guess.  She and Alice would buy us dainty, expensive little dresses from Siegel’s or Himelhoch’s.  They all went to church every Sunday,  Plymouth Congregational. Daisy always gave us beautiful tins of gorgeous Christmas candy, that white kind filled with gooey black walnut stuff, those gooey raspberry kind and those hard, pink kind with a nut inside, and chocolates, of course!  She loved to eat and to cook. Never seemed bitter or regretful about her lost love.”

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According to his draft registration cards, Duncan Irby was five feet nine inches tall, stout, light complected with brown hair, brown eyes and freckles.

Duncan’s parents, Duncan Irby, Sr and Mary Smith were married in Selma, Alabama on Christmas Eve, 1890. Mary Smith Irby was the daughter of a house painter. Duncan senior’s mother, Emmeline Gee, inherited over 100 acres and a horse from a former slave holder, Josiah Irby.  I do not know if Emmeline was enslaved on Irby’s plantation.

“Also I give and devise unto the said Emeline Gee, about fifty acres of land known as the Saw mill field, and bounded as follows to wit commencing at the point at which the P Bluff and Cahaba Road crosses the Athens and Parks Landing Road thence down the P Bluff & Cahaba Road to Chillatchie Creek at the Cahaba Bridge, thence up the said creek to a line between sections 11 and 12; thence West to Parks Landing Road; thence along said Road to the starting point in Township fourteen Range seven in Wilcox County. It is further my will and desire that at the death of the said Emeline Gee, that all the land herein before described and devised to the said Emeline Gee shall go to her and belong to her son Duncan. I also give and bequeath to the said Emeline Gee my Roan Horse named Tom”

After this, Duncan used the surname “Irby” instead of “Gee”. I do not know if they were allowed to take possession of the property. Emeline continued to use Gee as a surname.

Both Duncan senior and his wife Mary Smith Irby were literate. Emeline Gee, Duncan’s mother, lived with the family until her death in 1901.

The younger Duncan Irby was born in 1892. The following year Duncan Sr, a blacksmith, suffered injuries when he was trampled by horses while making some repairs on a hack. He recovered.

Mr. Duncan Irby Seriously Injured.

“Selma, April 4.-(Special.)_ This evening Duncan Irby, a blacksmith, while making some repairs on a hack, was run over and seriously wounded.  Mr. Irby was in front of the horses when they started on a run, dashing the unfortunate man to the ground and trampling upon him. The horses were finally stopped. Not much damage was done to the hack.”   The Montgomery Advertiser Montgomery, Alabama Wed, Apr 5, 1893

The younger Duncan’s only sibling, Mary (To add to the confusion, Duncan Senior’s only sibling was also named Mary) was born the following year, in 1894. Both Duncan Jr and his sister Mary attended school. In 1908 they were both enrolled in  Talledega College, a boarding school,  in the College Preparatory Course. They studied Latin, Algebra, English  Literature, Ancient history and Drawing along with hands on courses in Agriculture and Wood-Turning for young men and Dressmaking and Nurse-Training for young women.

Duncan’s sister Mary became a teacher. She married Edwin Gibson, a teacher and a principal. They had one son, Edwin Gibson Jr.  They later divorced.

Duncan worked with his father in his blacksmith shop and later became a mechanic. The elder Duncan Irby died in November of 1915.

“Duncan Irby, one of the best known colored men in this section, is dead. He was a most reliable man and his death is regretted by whites and blacks.” The Selma Mirror, Selma, Alabama, Fri, Oct 15, 1915
Duncan Irby senior, left everything to his wife Mary Smith Irby, with the proviso that should she ever remarry, everything would go to their children.  She did remarry in 1921. She married Rev. Marshall Talley. The family relocated to Homestead, Pennsylvania. Duncan was 35 in 1930 and worked as an auto mechanic in Homestead.

Several years later, they all relocated to Indianapolis, Indiana. Duncan, his sister who was divorced from her husband by this time and her son Edwin Gibson Jr. formed a household. Edwin Jr  grew up to become a well known architect and the first black architect registered in Indiana.

In 1966 Duncan Irby died of pneumonia brought on by lung cancer. He was 74 years old and had lived in Indianapolis for 34 years. He never married.

“Death Notices Irby.  Mr. Duncan Irby, age 74, 1238 North West St., died Wednesday at Methodist Hospital, beloved brother of Mrs. Mary Gibson, uncle of Edwin Gibson. Funeral Friday 10 a.m., Jacobs Brothers Westside Chapel. Cremation following. Friends may call after 4 p.m. today.” The Indianapolis News, Indianapolis, Indiana, Thu, Aug 4, 1966
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In writing this story I used writings by my mother, Doris Graham Cleage; Census, death, and other records from Ancestry.com and a surprising number of news items found on Newspapers.com.

Alixe Harris

The Emancipator Sat. Mar. 2, 1918

Missionary Club Meets

“On Monday evening of this week the Woman’s Missionary Club of the First Congregational Church of this city, met at the home of Mrs. Jennie Turner, 712 East Grove Street. A delicious luncheon was served. The club is working enthusiastically to raise funds to send delegates to the Alabama State Association of the Congregational Church which meets at Talladega College, Talladega, Ala., in March. Mrs. Ruby Washington and Mrs. Alexis Harris were appointed delegates.”

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The Emancipator Sat Jun 19, 1920.  Part of Rev. E.E. Scott’s obituary.

“Among the out-of-town friends attending the funeral of Rev. E.E. Scott here Monday were Mrs. Dillard of Selma; Mr. Farley, Beloit, Ala.; Mr. and Mrs. McCarroll, Shelby, Ala.; Rev. Jones, Cotton Valley Dean O’Brien, Mr. Fletcher of Talladega, Ala. Mrs. Alexis Harris, Detroit, Mich; Mrs. McKinney, Halzelhurst, Miss., and others.”

The first mention of Mrs. Alexis Harris that I noticed was in an account of Rev. E. E. Scott’s funeral. She returned from Detroit for the funeral, which was in 1920. I thought that was serious devotion to her old pastor.  I had seen her name mentioned before as one of the founders of the new Congregational Church that was started by the people from Montgomery’s First Congregational Church who migrated to Detroit.  I have a copy of this photograph that includes my grandfather, Mershell C. Graham and in front of him, Mrs. Alixe Harris. I wondered who she was and what her life was like. She became my letter “H”.

April 11, 1959. From my grandmother Fannie’s scrapbook. Newspaper unknown.

I began to research her on Ancestry and it wasn’t long before I discovered that she and Rev. E. E. Scott’s wife were sisters. That would account for her traveling from Detroit back to Montgomery for the funeral.

Alixe was born in Yazoo County, Mississippi on March 26, 1878. She was the youngest daughter of Molli Pepper, a cook.  Alixe disappears from the record until 1910 when she appears in St. Louis, Missouri as the wife of Edward A. Harris and the mother of two children, Frank and Alixe.  Edward was working as a clerk in the Post Office. They had been married in 1905.

In 1918 Alixe appears in the article in The Emancipator going to a church association meeting. Plymouth Congregational Church was founded in 1919. Both Alixe and her husband Edward signed the original document of the intention to start a church.  My grandfather, Mershell C. Graham also signed the document.

In 1920, Alixe and her family were living in Detroit. Edward managed a restaurant. The two children were teenagers and attended school. Alixe was not working outside of the house. There were four roomers sharing the house. Everybody in the house was literate.

In 1930 Edward was 53, he listed as the head of the house and worked at an auto plant as a laborer. Alixe was 52, a trained nurse and working for a private family. Their son Frank, 24, was married and working as a die maker in an auto plant. His wife was not employed outside of the home. They had an infant son, Frank Jr.  Alixe’s daughter, also named Alixe was 23 and a pharmacist in a drug store.

Also in the 1930 census, Rachel Scott, Alixe’s sister and the widow of Rev. Scott of Montgomery, was living in Detroit with her daughter Lily Bel Foster and her daughter’s husband Paul. Three of Rachael Scotts adult children, were living there also.

In 1940 The older Harris’ were living with their daughter and her husband, Bernard O’Dell. Bernard worked as a director of a recreation department, his wife Alixe was still working as a pharmacist in a drug store. Edward, who was now 64 worked as a janitor. Alixe was 62 and working as a nurse in a sanitarium. All the adults had two or more years of college.

Alixe Pepper Harris lived to be over 100 year old. She died in March, 1980.

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I found this information on Ancestry.com in Census Records, Directories, Death Records, Military Records and Marriage Records. The news items were found on Newspapers.com.

 

First Congregational Church Montgomery, Alabama

This year I am going through an alphabet of news items taken from The Emancipator newspaper, published  between 1917 and 1920 in Montgomery, Alabama.  Each item was found on Newspapers.com and is transcribed directly below the clipping.   Click on any image to enlarge.

First Congregational Church was where my grandparents met and the church they attended when they lived in Montgomery.  My grandmother Fannie, her siblings and cousins also attended the school that the Congregational missionaries from the North started. It went from elementary through high school and became State Normal School.

The Emancipator – Sat – July 3, 1920

Notice!

First Congregational Church of Montgomery has the hope of becoming a real center for community betterment.

This Church stands for independence, freedom, fellowship and for a social gospel.

There will be conducted in connection with our church life a wide awake Sunday School Christian endeavor in the evenings, Worship each Sunday at eleven o’clock, and from time to time lectures, literary exercises, ad amusements furnished to interest the young people.

Our watch word, “Welcome.” Whosoever will let him come, and take the water of life freely.

(Rev. Chas. J. Stanley) Pastor.

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The photograph below is of First Congregational Church, which later changed it’s name to First Congregational Christian Church, came from The Montgomery Advertiser. There is a bit of the history of the church in the sidebar.

The original building burned to the ground after a lightening strike in 1995. The congregation has rebuilt in the same spot.

 

Emma Topp

This year I am going through an alphabet of news items taken from The Emancipator newspaper, published  between 1917 and 1920 in Montgomery, Alabama.  Most are about my grandparent’s circle of friends. All of the news items were found on Newspapers.com. Each item is transcribed directly below the clipping.   Click on any image to enlarge.

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After they married in Montgomery, my grandparents relocated to Detroit. They roomed for awhile with the Walkers, who were not blood relatives but related through marriage. Mrs. Emma Topp was also a roomer in the house.

“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.”

My grandfather Mershell Graham and Emma Topp in the Walkers yard. 1919.

Mrs. Emma Davis Topp roomed with Moses and Jean Walker after her husband died in 1912. Her husband, John W. Topp had been an engineer. He was a black Canadian who arrived in Detroit at age 17, in 1875.

Mrs. Topp was born in Mississippi and attended school through the 8th grade. She was a dressmaker. By 1930 she had moved to Los Angeles, CA and was living with her cousin and aunt. Mrs. Topp was no longer working and lived with her cousin until her death in 1948.

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Wikipedia says that “Progressive whist, similar to whist, except one suit is declared trumps at the beginning of play, and usually remains so throughout the evening.”

Progressive Whist scoring cards

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I found this information on Ancestry.com in Census Records, Directories, Death Records, Military Records and Marriage Records. The news item was found on Newspapers.com.

Dandy, Stoudemire Wedding

This year I am going through an alphabet of news items taken from The Emancipator newspaper, published  between 1917 and 1920 in Montgomery, Alabama.  Most are about my grandparent’s circle of friends.  Each item is transcribed directly below the clipping.  Click on any image to enlarge.

Herbert Lee Dandy and Queen Elizabeth Stoudemire were married by my grandparent’s pastor. They were probably also members of his church. Queen Elizabeth and my grandmother Fannie lived about four minutes apart.  Herbert and Queen Elizabeth were ten years younger than my grandparents and there is no indication that they were intimate friends.

The Emancipator_Sat_Jun_15_1918

“Dandy – Stoudemire Wedding

Mr. and Mrs. Stafford Stoudemire wish to announce the marriage of their daughter Queen Elizabeth, to Mr. Herbert Dandy, Tuesday night June, 12, 1918 at nine o’clock at their residence, 516 S. Bainbridge St. Rev. E. E. Scott officiating.”

Herbert Lee Dandy was born about 1894 in Mount Meigs, Montgomery County, Alabama.  His parents farmed rented land. Neither of them learned to read or write, but Herbert managed to attend school to the fourth grade while also working on the farm. Herbert’s mother gave birth to five children, two in a first marriage and three with her second husband, Herbert’s father. The first two boys did not live with her and her second husband. Herbert’s two full siblings were dead by 1910. By 1911, both of his parents were also dead.

According to Herbert’s WW I draft registration card, he was a tall and slender African American man with black hair and black eyes. He was working as a teamster for the Southern Ice Company.

On June 12, 1918 at age 25, Herbert married 18 year old Queen Elizabeth Stoudemire. She went by her middle name “Elizabeth” instead of “Queen”.  That August, Herbert was inducted into the army. He was out again in December of the same year.

In 1920 the young couple lived with her parents in a rented house. Elizabeth’s father, Stafford Stoudemire worked as a drayman for a wholesale grocery company. Herbert was a truck driver for the same grocery company. Elizabeth did not have a paying occupation. Her mother, Lucy, was a seamstress. Everybody in the household was literate. Elizabeth had attended school through the 8th grade.

By 1930 the Stoudemire’s were living with Herbert and Elizabeth in the house the younger couple owned. It was valued at $1,000. Over the years Herbert drove trucks, was a chauffeur, a pitman for the Alabama Power Company and finally a janitor. Elizabeth never worked outside of the house. After Mr. Stoudemire died in 1932, his widow continued to live with her daughter and son-in-law. She worked as a maid in a woman’s college and then did laundry for a private family. She died in 1943.

Herbert died in 1961. He is buried in Oakwood Cemetery in Montgomery. His wife, Elizabeth ordered a Veteran’s headstone. Elizabeth had a half brother, Reuben, who moved to Detroit for awhile but later returned to Montgomery.  She died in 1977.  They never left Montgomery, Alabama and never had children.

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I found this information on Ancestry.com in Census Records, Directories, Death Records, Military Records and Marriage Records. The news item was found on Newspapers.com. I also used Google Maps to figure the distance between houses.

 

 

Clifton Graham

This year I am going through an alphabet of news items taken from The Emancipator newspaper, published  between 1917 and 1920 in Montgomery, Alabama.  Most are about my grandparent’s circle of friends. Each item is transcribed directly below the clipping.  Click on any image to enlarge.

Clifton Graham was the best man at my grandparent’s wedding.

The Emancipator, Saturday, Jun 22, 1918

“Mr. Clif Graham, who has been residing in Detroit, Mich., for the the past year or more, is visiting relatives and friends in the city.”

Clifton Graham and his family were always referred to as my grandfather Mershell Graham’s adopted family.  He wasn’t raised by them and we all knew his birth family was in Coosada, Alabama. I never asked why he had adopted them as his family. I always assumed it was because he was friends with Clifton and they shared the name of “Graham”. Now everybody I could have asked is gone.

My grandfather is on the railing, Cliff is on the steps and mother Mary Graham is seated on the porch of the Graham home. 

Clifton Graham was born July 13, 1889 in Montgomery, Alabama. He was the fifth of the five children of Joseph and Mary (Rutledge) Graham. Only two of the children survived to adulthood – Clifton and Mattie. Both Clifton and his older sister Mattie attended college for several years. He was drafted in July of 1918, married Gwendolyn Lewis the following month and was released from the army in March 1919. While Clifton was in the army and before their son was born, Gwendolyn taught school. Their first son, John Clifton Jr. was born in Montgomery. They moved to Detroit and the second son, Lewis, was born there. In the 1930 Census Clifton Graham worked as a prohibition agent. Later he continued to work for the government.

Clifton’s sister and mother also moved to Detroit. Gwendolyn’s brother, Billingsly Lewis moved with their mother to Chicago around the same time.

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I found this information on Ancestry.com in Census Records, Directories, Death Records, Military Records and Marriage Records. News items were found on Newspapers.com. I also use Google Maps. The photograph is from my family photos.

Blakley – Beckwith Marriage

This year I am going through an alphabet of news items taken from The Emancipator newspaper, published  between 1917 and 1920 in Montgomery, Alabama.  Most are about my grandparent’s circle of friends. Each item is transcribed directly below the clipping.  Click on any image to enlarge.

Virgie and John were members of the same church that my grandparents attended.

“A marriage of interest to the many friends of both young people is that of Miss Virgie Dorsette Beckwith and Sergeant John W. Blakely, which was quietly solemnized Mar. 24 1919 at the home of the bride’s father, Mr. P.S. Beckwith, 517 South Street, Rev. E.E. Scott officiated, only relatives being present.

Miss Beckwith is a young woman of sterling qualities and has many friends who regret that her marriage will take her from Montgomery.

Sergeant Blakely left immediately after the ceremony for Evanston, Ill.

At home after June 10th at 1922 Wesley Ave, Evanston, Ill.”

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Virgie taught school  in Montgomery for several years before her marriage. She did not work outside of the home afterwards. The couple moved to Chicago and lived there for the rest of their lives. John continued to work as a barber until his death in 1952. Virgie died two years later in 1954. John and Virgie Blakely had no children.

I have found no siblings for John Blakely. Virgie was one of five. Four of them, moved north. Her father eventually moved north also and joined two of his children in Cleveland, Ohio. One daughter moved to Detroit and one daughter remained in Montgomery.

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John W. Blakely was a friend of my grandfather, Mershell C. Graham. In 1918 about a year before his marriage, Blakely wrote the following letter to him.

Montgomery Ala Feb 27/1918

My Dear Pal;
Your letter of a few days ago was received, and I can assure you that a line from my old friend was highly appreciated.  I remember writing you some time ago and for some reason I did not hear from you until now, but failing to put my address on my letter naturally would leave you in doubt as to where to write me, all of which I am very sorry.  I was indeed glad to hear that you and the other boys were all enjoying the very best of health and that the government has used good judgment in classing all of you in class A-1 and I only want you to know that when ever you all get there, you can rest assured that you will have the opportunity of seeing me for I am now in the old city taking my examination, they passed me all OK.  So you can see it is very likely I shall soon be somewhere in a training camp, I do wish however that it was possible for me to train somewhere in the Northern camps instead of the southern camps.  I am sure you understand why.  I shall leave tonight for Atlanta where I shall wait until they are ready for me to report for duty.  I was out to see your Mother Monday afternoon.  Found her looking and feeling the very best of health and was very glad to see me and to know that I had heard from you.  Of course she is worried over the thought of you boys having to go to the army, but said that if there was no way to keep out of it, why she felt she would have to make some sacrifice which is indeed a fine spirit.  I also stopped by Gwen and her mother’s.  They were both looking fine.  She was sick when I was here Xmas so I didn’t get a chance to see her and of course you know I couldn’t leave the city without seeing the Fairest Lady of the land.  Glad to say that she is looking just fine said that she would like so much to see you.

Montgomery is as dry as a chip.  There is really nothing doing here, all of the boys of our push have gone away with the exception of four – Adams, Taylor, Gilmer and Nathan.  Mack; I wish it was possible for me to say just at present whether or not I will be able to come west or not this spring or even in the summer but as things are arranged now it is hard for me to say.  But if I am not called in to service real soon, why I shall have more time to think it over.

I am doing nicely in Atlanta.  I have the 5th chair in a 12 chair shop, which, of course is the largest shop there.  So far as getting along OK, why I really have no reason to complain, but there is a desire to have that privilege to breath for once in life one deep breath of pure free atmosphere as a man, as well as meeting again with old friends.

I wish to be remembered to Cliff and Chisholm and to you all.  I hope your every efforts will be crowned with success.

Trusting that I shall hear from you again real soon,
I am your friend,
J.W. Blakely,
#8 Central Ave.
Atlanta, GA

 

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I found this information on Ancestry.com in Census Records, Directories, Death Records, Military Records and Marriage Records. News items were found on Newspapers.com. I also use Google Maps. The letter is from my family archives.

 

 

Announcement

This year I am going through an alphabet of news items taken from The Emancipator newspaper, published  between 1917 and 1920 in Montgomery, Alabama.  Most are about my grandparent’s circle of friends. Each item is transcribed directly below the clipping.   Click on any image to enlarge.“Mrs. Jenine 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”

“Pom, Shell & Fan” My maternal grandparents, Mershell and Fannie (Turner) Graham. August 1919 Detroit, Michigan two months after their marriage.
The Wedding – June 1918

Graham-Turner Wedding

On Sunday, June 15th at four o’clock Miss Fannie Turner and Mr. Mershell 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.

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Everybody mentioned in these articles will appear in this years challenge, plus a few others.
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I found this information on Ancestry.com in Census Records, Directories, Death Records, Military Records and Marriage Records. News items were found on Newspapers.com. I also use Google Maps. The photograph is from my family photos.

The Emancipator – A to Z 2018

This year for the A to Z Challenge, I take small social items from The Emancipator newspaper, published  between 1917 and 1920 in Montgomery, Alabama. The items are of marriage, death, travel and movement to other cities – Detroit, New York, Los Angeles and Pittsburgh. The lives of the people in the community were entwined, as those of any community are. I will try and point out those connections.

The editor, James McCall, was my maternal grandmother’s first cousin. He lost his eyesight while a medical student at Howard University due to Typhoid Fever. Later he and his family moved to Detroit where he published The Detroit Tribune for many years.

Click any of the images below to enlarge.

The Emancipator

A National Weekly

This publication is dedicated to the colored people of America, and to all other peoples of America, and to all other peoples fettered by visible or invisible chains. The emancipation of the Negro has only just begun. We have been freed from the bondage of iron chains, but this is only one step in our emancipation. We are still bound and enslaved by the invisible shackles of poverty, illiteracy, sin, sickness and human injustice; and the aim of the Emancipator is to help us as a race and as individuals to free ourselves from these chains. J. Edward McCall

Mr. James Edward McCall, Editor-in-Chief

J. Edward McCall was born in Montgomery, Alabama. He graduated in 1900 from State Normal School in Montgomery, specialized one year in Howard University, Washington D.C. and graduated from Albion College, Albion, Michigan in 1907. He took a special course from Page-Davis Advertising School, Chicago. Also a course in Journalism from the National Press Association, Indianapolis Indiana.

A page from The Emancipator surrounded by some of the people who are featured in the news items for this year’s A to Z.

Links to posts about James McCall

She Was Owned Before the War…

James Edward McCall, Poet and Publishers

The Great Migration in Poetry

Poems By James E. McCall

1940 Census – James And Margaret McCall