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