This is my 5th year participating in the A to Z Challenge. This year I am going to use the life of my great great grandmother’s brother Thomas (Ray) Allen as the basis of my blog posts in April. I first “found” him in late November of 2016. Thomas served in the United States Colored Troops during the Civil War. By ordering his pension file I was able to find the names of his family, friends, people who served with him during the war and the name of the man who formerly enslaved him. Through researching these people using census records, directories, Catholic Baptismal records and DNA matches, I was able to find other family members and get a picture of his life in the late 1800s and early 1900s.
Last year I made contact with one of my DNA matches on 23 & Me, but I did not know how we were related because I did not know that the name Primus was part of my family tree at that time.
Click to enlarge documents below. To navigate back to the blog post, click on the arrow up there at the top of the page.
In November of 2016, during “National Novel Writing Month” I was working on writing a book using my grandfather Dr. Albert B. Cleage’s letters to my future grandmother, Pearl Reed Cleage.
At one point he was sending letters to my grandmother c/o Katy Allen. I couldn’t find Katy Allen the first time I looked a few years ago when I was first blogging about the letters.
I took another look and found Katy Allen in the Indianapolis directory.
Using Katy Allen’s address I was able to find them in the 1900 census with her husband Thomas Allen.
Looking at his death certificate, I was stunned to find that “Clara Green” was listed as his mother. That was my great grandmother Anna Ray Allen Reed’s mother. Thomas Allen was her brother.
I found Thomas Ray in the 1870 census living with Sarah Primus/Prymous. Family relationships are not given in the 1870 census. I had experienced family members living together without being identified as such before and wondered if Thomas and Sarah were siblings.
I set up a tree for Sarah and the Primus family and eventually found a death certificate for one of the children where Sarah’s maiden name was given as “Ray”, which was Thomas’ last name before he changed it from the slave owner’s name of Ray to his father’s name, “Allen”. Read about that name change in his Will here.
My grandmother’s handwritten family tree gives her grandmother’s name as “Clara Hoskins.” I was never able to find her using that name because she was married to James Green in the 1870 and 1880 census and using Clara Green.
I had found Perry and Rachael Hoskins living near Clara in the 1870 and 1880 census. They had also been free and enumerated in the 1860 census. I decided to take another look at them.
Although the Death Records for Marion County do not include the 1880 and 1890, I found their graves in Find-a-grave. And I found their Wills.
Perry died first. He left everything to his wife Rachael. Racheal left money to St. Augustine Catholic Churches priest and for the upkeep of her husband’s grave. She also left $20 each to Sarah Jane Primus and Anna Reed. Unfortunately she did not mention any relationship with them.
One day recently, I received an email from 23 & Me. I had 80 new relatives waiting to discover our link. I decided to go look and see who they were.
I have not checked 23 & Me recently because I can never make the connections between the DNA and my tree. I wrote a contact who matched me, my aunt Gladys and several of my second cousins in the Reed line. She wrote back and gave me two names that didn’t mean anything to me. Then she added the message “Also look for the name Primus or Promise. My dad’s great grandmother was Sue (Susan). Rae Primus”. PRIMUS! Just the family I had been looking for a connection with!
You can see Susan Primus up in the 1870 census as a nine year old. I had found Susan, one of Sarah’s daughters, but I had not found her marriage record, so her married name meant nothing to me, but Primus! These were the very people I had spent the last couple of months researching! And because I had done all that research, I knew who they were. The connection between two of my great great grandmother’s children has been made.
Now I am going to find the link between Perry and Rachael Hoskins and my great great grandmother Clara.
You can find other blog posts about Anna Ray Allen Reed and family here The Reeds
Last week I decided to take one more look at a question I had about my grandfather Albert B. Cleage’s letters to his future wife, Pearl Reed – who was the Katy Allen at 2715 N. Capital St. Indianapolis, where he sent my grandmother letters for several months in 1910? I had looked for Katy Allen several years ago when I first posted some of the letters on my blog, and found nothing. I only had her name and street address.
Recently I looked again and found Katy Allen in the Indianapolis City Directory for several years around 1910. She was listed as the widow of Thomas Allen. I then found her in the 1900 census with her husband and then I found his death certificate from 1907 (all on ancestry) His mother’s name was listed as “Clara Green”, which was my grandmother Pearl’s mother Anna’s mother’s name – which made him my grandmother Pearl’s uncle and her mother Anna’s brother. I have never found any relatives for Anna except her mother and children. I remember that Anna’s maiden name was given as “Ray” on some of her children’s records.
Today I looked some more and found Thomas Allen’s Will. It said he used to go by the name of “Ray” which was his former master’s name but he changed it to “Allen” after he got out of the service (he gave his unit as 5th US Colored Calvary). In the military record, there is his former slave holder’s full name! Now this particular branch of the family was very close mouthed about anything to do with slavery, although they did mention those Cherokee Ancestors who passed on no dna. So, from looking for some info for my nanowrimo, I found a new ancestor, my first United States Colored Troops family member, the last slave holder for that particular branch of the family and who the person was at that N. Capital St. address.
Last Will and Testament of Thomas Allen
State of Indiana
I, Thomas Allen, a resident of Marion County, Indiana, and being of sound and disposing mind and memory, do make, publish and declare this to be my last will and testament, hereby revoking all former wills by me made.
I, Thomas Allen, known on the war records of Company D, Fifth United States Colored Calavry, and in matters relating to my pension business (act of June 27, 1890, Inv. Cft. 693170) as Thomas Ray, wish to explain that this difference is caused by my enlisting in the army under the name of my former master owner, whose name was Ray. However, after my discharge, I took the name of Allen, which was my fathers name and which is my true and correct name, and the name und which I have transacted all other business and under which I was married to my present wife, and the name under which I am known and recognized by my neighbors, friends and acquaintances, and that Thomas Ray and Thomas Allen are the same and identical persons –
Item #1. I give and devise to my beloved wife, Kate Allen, the following described real estate, situated in the city of Indianapolis, County of Marion and State of Indiana, and described as follows: – Lot number twenty-five (25) in Ruddell and Vintons Park Place, Plat Book number four (4), Page one hundred ninety (190) in the Recorder’s Office of Marion County, Indiana.
Item #2. I give and bequeath to my wife, Kate Allen, all of the personal property of which I may die seized.
Item #3. I constitute and appoint Otts Delp executor of this will.
Witness my hand and seal, this 23rd day of July, A.D., 1907, at Indianapolis Indiana.
Wm. S. Steavens Henry C. Bade Thomas Allen
The foregoing instrument signed, sealed and acknowledged by said Thomas Allen as and for his last will and testament in our presence, who, at his request, and in his presence, and the presence of each other, have subscribed our names as witnesses there to, this 23rd day of July 1907.
Subscribed and sworn to before me, this 23rd day of July, 1907.
Affidavit of Death
State of Indiana, Marion County, Set”
Otto Delp being duly swornm on oath says that Thomas Allen departed this life on or about the 10 day of November 1907 and at the time of his death was a resident of said County and State.
Subscribed and sworn to before me, this 14 day of November A.D. 1907 Otto Delp
Leonard M. Quill Clerk
Proof of Will
Before the Clerk of the probate court of the County of Marion, in the State of Indiana, personally came William S. Stevens and Henry C. Bade subscribing witnesses to the forgoing instrument of writing, who being by me first duly sworn, upon oarth depose and say that Thomas Allen testator named in the instrument of writing purporting to be his LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT, did sign seal, publish and decare the same to be his last will and testament, on the day of the date thereof; that the said testor was at the same time of the full age of twenty-one years, and of sound and disposing mind and memory, and that he was under no coercion, compulsion or restraint, and that he was competent to devise his property. And that the said testator so signed, sealed, published and declared the same to be his last will and testament in manner and form as aforesaid, in the presence of affiant and of – the other subscribing witness…thereto and that each attested the same and subscribed their names as witnesses thereto, in the presence and at the request of said testator, and in the presence of each other. Wm. S. Stevens Henry C. Bade
Subscried and sworn to before me in witness of which, I hereunto affix the seal of said Court, and subscribe my name at Indianapolis, this 14 day of November A.D. 1907
While looking for a death record on Ancestry for Elizabeth Turner, daughter of Joe and Luella Turner, I found the Will of my 2X great grandfather, Joseph Turner of Lowndes County, Alabama. I had looked for his Will before without finding it. Below are the Will and a transcription.
Will of Joseph Turner
State of Alabama County of Lowndes
Know all men by these presents that, I, Joseph Turner, of said county of Lowndes, being in good health, and of sound mind, realizing the uncertainty of life, and wishing to provide for my younger children during their minority, do make this my last will and testament, hereby revoking all former wills by me at any time made.
I will that ll my just debts be paid by my executrix here – in after named, as soon after my death as she can conveniently pay.
I give, devise and bequeath to my beloved wife Luella Turner all of my estate, both real, personal and mixed in Trust for the use and benefit of herself and my minor children, during their minority, equally, until my youngest child then living shall have reached the age of twenty-one years.
After my youngest child then living, shall have arrived at the age of twenty one years, my will is, that all of my estate of every description be divided equally, share and share alike, between my said wife, Luella Turner and all my children, and in the event any of my said children die, before such division takes place, leaving a child or children, him or her surviving, then such share as my said child should have received if living, shall go to his or her children.
I do nominate and appoint my said wife, Luella Turner to be the executrix of this my last will and testament without band. Expressly exempting her from all liability to any person or court for any misuse of any personal property belonging to my estate, and for any and all rents which may accrue during the said minority of my youngest then living child. Except, my said wife again marry, in that event, and from the date of such marrying again by my said wife Luella, she shall be held strictly accountable for the proper use and distribution of my estate as herein before set out.
In testimony whereof I set my hand and seal, this 11 day of December 1909.
Joseph (his mark X) Turner (Seal)
Signed, sealed and published as his last will and testament by the said Joseph turner in our presence, and we in his presence, and in the presence of each other have hereunto subscribed our names as witnesses, at his request, on this the 11 day of December 1909.
Jos. R. Bell
Filed for Probate in office this the March 10, 1919
Judge of Probate Court
Testimony of Joseph R Bell.
The State of Alabama, Lowndes County } Probate Court
In the matter of the Probate of the Last Will and Testament of Joseph Turner Deceased.
Before me, W.H. Lee, Judge of Probate Court in and for the County and State aforesaid, personally appeared in open Court Jos. R. Bell, who having been by me first duly sworn and examined, did and doest depose and say that he and S.M. Salley subscribing witnesses to the forgoing instrument of writing now shown to the said affiant and which purports to be the last Will and Testament of Joseph Turner, deceased, lat an inhabitant of this count; that the said Joseph Turner since deceased signed and executed said instrument on the day the same bears date, and declared the same to be his last will and testament, and that affiant set his signature thereto, on the day the same bears date, as a subscribing witness to the same, in the presence of said testator and at his request, and in the presence of each other, and that said testator was of sound mind and disposing memory and understanding, and, in the opinion of affiant, fully capable of making his said will at the time the same was so made as aforesaid. And deposent further states that said testator was, on the day of the date of said will, of the full age of twenty-one years and upward and a resident of this county.
Jos. R. Bell
Subscribed and sworn to before me, this 28 day of April W. D. 1919.
Judge Probate Court, Lowndes County
Filed in office April 28 – 1919: The State of Alabama, W.H. Lee Judge of Probate
Lowndes County, I, W.H. Lee, Judge of the Probate Court in and for the county and State aforesaid, do hereby certify that the within instrument of writing has this day in said court and before me as the Judge thereof been duly proven by the testamony of Jas. R. Bell subscribing witness, to be the genuine last will and testament of Joseph Turner, deceased and that said will, together with the proof thereof, has been recorded in my office in Book No D of Wills at page 248.
In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and affixed the seal of said Probate Court on this the 28th Day of April A.D. One thousand nine hundred and nineteen.
I recently became aware of some DNA cousins with links to Edgefield, S.C. Although I have several ancestors who were born in South Carolina or who had parents born in South Carolina, they were all born during slavery and I had no way of knowing where in South Carolina they were born. There is no oral history to give a hint. Below is a picture of our match on Chromosome 16. The blue is European DNA and the maroon is African. He matches me right where that little bit of blue is on his chromosome.
Last night I was reading the book “Our Ancestors, Our Stories”. This is a collaborative book by by Bernice Alexander Bennett, Ellen LeVonne Butler, Ethel Dailey, Harris Bailey (Jr.), and Vincent C. Sheppard who all have ties to Edgefield, S.C.. As I was reading the Introduction, which gives an historical overview of this county, I realized that although I did not know where in South Carolina my ancestors came from, I did know of at least one person among the slave holders who came from Edgefield. Her maiden name was Frances A. Moseley. She was married to Wiley Turner and it was in his probate records that I found my 2X great grandfather Joseph Turner listed among the enslaved.
Frances A. Moseley was born in 1814 in Edgefield South Carolina and died in 1870 in Lowndesboro, Lowndes county Alabama. Her father was James Alexander Moseley who was born around 1768 in Orangeburg South Carolina and moved to Edgefield before his marriage to Mary Ann Wooten in 1796. He remained there until his death in 1828.
In his Will, James Alexander Moseley named the enslaved persons that he left to his wife and children. They were
Sarah and her three children, Mariah, Caroline and Hester to be sold immediately after his death.
Fanny a Negroe that I lent to my daughter Sally that I give her the said Negroes.
Beck a Negro woman and her children that I lent my daughter Mary
Pomply, a negroe man to son John.
Arnal, a Negroe man to son Middleton
Bob to my son Clement.
Son James a Negroe boy Lewis
To daughter Frances a negroe girl Milly
Daughter Harriet a negroe girl Judy
Daughter Patsey a negro girl Kize and Nance
I give to my daughter Lizar a Negroe girl Silva.
To beloved wife Mary, a negroe woman Luceleathey and a Negro man Buck. He also left her the balance of his slaves.
Moesely and other family members appear in the book “Slave Records of Edgefield County, South Carolina” by Gloria Ramsey Lucas among the salers and buyers.
Joe Turner was my maternal grandmother Fannie Turner Graham’s grandfather. This is his timeline as I continue to investigate his life and that of his community in Hayneville, Lowndes County, Alabama.
I found the Index of Deeds, Mortages etc. for Lowndes County online at familysearch.com. Joe Turner is listed both buying and selling and mortgagine propery, as are several others who were formerly enslaved on Wiley Turner’s plantation. When I order the microfilm of the actual records I will be able to see dates and names and other information.
Sources for the information below is in italics at the end of the entries. All took place in Lowndes County, most in Hayneville area.
1841 Born into slavery in Alabama.
1853 Age 12. Appears as “Joe (white)” in list of enslaved with ages and valuation. Wiley Turner estate file page 657.
1855 Age 14. Lists of enslaved and livestock divided for heirs. Wiley Turner estate file page 717.
1857 Dec Age 16 “Valuation of entire slave property of decd- names of…” Joe appears as “Yellow Joe”Wiley Turner estate filepage 796.
There are four lists from different dates for doctors visits to the enslaved on the Turner plantation. Sometimes those treated are named and sometimes they are just referred to as “Negroes”. I have added the ages of those who are named based on other lists from the estate files.
Dr. C.B. Lampley was the doctor listed for this time period. Lampley was born in 1830 in Richmond County, NC. His family relocated to Alabama by 1850. He married Thurza Rudolph of Lowndes County. They had two children. In the 1860 census he enslaved four people, a 35 year old mulatto woman, a 30 year old black man, a fifteen year old mulatto girl and a 14 year old black male. They lived in two dwellings. He joined the Confederate Army where he became a surgeon. He was lamed and later resigned due to diabetes and general debility. During 1854 and 1855 he visited the Turner plantation to treat the enslaved – pulling teeth, lancing abscesses, bleeding and dosing with medication.
Recently I decided to find the plantation where my 2X great grandparents, Joe and Emma Turner were enslaved. I started by looking at white Turners in Hayneville, Lowndes County, Alabama where my family lived in 1870. I found Wiley Turner and his brother Thomas Turner. Both died in 1851. Wiley’s estate file contained several lists of those enslaved on his plantation. I found a Joe. I believe is my Joe because there was only one Joe Turner in the area and because he was described as light complected, which my Joe was. I have posted the most complete list that includes names, ages and monetary worth. There is also an Emmaline who may be my Emma.
I will be writing more about the Turner plantation and those who were once enslaved on it, as I continue to try and piece together the lives of Joe and Emma Turner and others in their community.
Inventory; and Appraisement of the Est. of Wiley Turner, Deceased. 1853Sex Name Aged about Worth
1. Boy Andrew 20 $850.00
2. Girl Fanny 20 750.00
3. Boy Lewis (Tyus) 24 750.00
4. Girl Amy 29 550.00
5. Boy Mordicai 20 875.00
6. Girl Leah 20 650.00
7. Boy Billy (Tyus) 22 850.00
8. Girl Martha 20 700.00
9. Boy Toney 25 600.00
10. Woman Ellen & child 40 400.00
11. Girl Abby 14 550.00
12. Girl Little Margaret 13 500.00
13. Boy Alfred 22 700.00
14. Woman Maria & child Ranson 30 500.00
15. Girl Little Jane 9 250.00
16. Girl Louisa 4 250.00
17. Girl Adella 2 175.00
18. Man Doctor 55 240.00
19. Woman Mary 50 175.00
20. Girl Eliza 14 600.00
21. Girl Minerva 12 450.00
22. Girl Amanda 10 350.00
23. Man Lewis 18 750.00
24. Woman Lucy 30 400.00
25. Man Adam 22 500.00
26. Girl Mary Ellen & child Edward 18 800.00
27. Man Jack 30 350.00
28. Woman Big Margaret 25 650.00
29. Boy Jesse (Tyus) 20 900.00
30. Woman Elizabeth 23 650.00
31. Man William 50 400.00
32. Woman Rachell 50 200.00
33. Boy Little Charles 8 450.00
34. Girl Susan 18 700.00
35. Girl Eliza 34 400.00
36. Girl Harriett 5 225.00
37. Man Sam 35 400.00
38. Woman Lyddy 30 400.00
39. Boy Henry (May) 19 900.00
40. Woman Ellen Brown 25 500.00
41. Man Robbin 25 800.00
42. Woman Cherry & child Louisa 36 400.00
43. Boy Prince 5 350.00
44. Woman Rachell (Patten) 28 700.00
45. Boy Robert 11 500.00
46. Boy Frank 6 300.00
47. Woman Maria Ann 16 700.00
48. Man Charles (Rugely) 23 850.00
49. Woman Rose & child Gabril 28 650.00
50. Boy Washington 14 700.00
51. Man John 24 800.00
52. Woman Nelly 49 200.00
53. Boy Abram 16 900.00
54. Man Big Jesse 26 450.00
55. Girl Jane 18 700.00
56. Girl Hager 23 500.00
57. Girl Abegail & child Ema 23 400.00
58. Woman Old Rachell 60 100.00
59. Man Frederick 23 850.00
60. Woman Clara & child Alford 35 500.00
61. Girl Sylvia 12 500.00
62. Girl Lucy 12 450.00
63. Girl Alice 8 350.00
64. Boy Freeman 6 350.00
65. Boy Harrison 6 350.00
66. Girl Julia Ann 3 200.00
67. Boy Henry (Turner) 18 875.00
68. Man Old Jim 45 400.00
69. Woman Menty 45 300.00
70. Boy Daniel 3 200.00
71. Man Ben 33 800.00
72. Woman Mary McQueen 28 500.00
73. Boy Harry 12 550.00
74. Woman Hannah 55 200.00
75. Boy George 13 600.00
76. Woman Betsey & child Caroline 23 800.00
77. Girl Phillis 8 375.00
78. Girl Peggy 3 225.00
79. Man Achilles 43 650.00
80. Woman Mariah Mosely 35 450.00
81. Girl Elvira 14 650.00
82. Boy Jim Swagert 18 800.00
83. Man Wilson 28 850.00
84. Woman Yellow Jinny 45 400.00
85. Man Martin 26 1,100.00
86. Woman Letty 21 300.00
87. Man Hardy 56 250.00
88. Boy Nelson 15 750.00
89. Boy Cary 13 700.00
90. Boy Lloyd 17 700.00
91. Boy Austin 16 800.00
92. Boy Long George 19 350.00
93. Boy Isaac 10 350.00
94. Boy Joe (white) 15 650.00
95. Boy Jim Patton 14 700.00
96. Woman Milly 55 150.00
97. Man Edmond 38 600.00
98. Man Tom 40 600.00
99. Boy Ned 11 475.00
100. Girl Emeline 9 350.00
101. Man Yellow John 24 875.00
102. Woman Yellow Milly 30 800.00
103. Boy Anthony infant (included with Milly)
104. Boy Little William 10 450.00
105. Boy Carter 6 350.00
106. Boy Braxton 4 250.00
107. Woman Alcey 40 200.00
108. Old Man Turner 65 1.00
109. Boy Frank (blind) 18 1.00
Joe and Emma Turner were the parents of Howard Turner who was my grandmother Fannie Mae Turner Graham’s father. You can see other posts about my Turner’s below.
My 2X great grandfather, Joe Turner was enumerated in the 1866 Alabama State census with his family of five living in Lowndes County, Alabama. In the 1870 census they were enumerated In Hayneville, Lowndes County. Joe was a farmer with $300 worth of personal goods. Neither he nor his wife Emma could read or write. The children were Lydia 8, Howard 7 (my great grandfather), Fannie 6, Joe 3 and Annie born in August of that year.
This was my 4th year participating in the A to Z challenge. This year I wrote about people who were born into slavery and lived to be free. I found myself (once again) spending hours everyday researching and writing up my posts.
I also visited at least 5 new blogs, most days more. In addition when I found blogs I enjoyed, I revisited them throughout the challenge. Some of the blogs that I visited multiple times were:
I want to express my appreciation for those who work each year to make the A to Z Challenge happen by setting up and monitoring the linky lists, contributing art work for badges and banners and visiting blogs.
What will I do differently next year? I am already thinking about what I want to use for my theme next year and plan to write a few posts a month and save them for April 2017. I enjoyed writing about all the Cleages of Athens, Tennessee last year because it gave me a feeling for the community and the relationships among the families. I missed that in the families I wrote about this year. I will be picking a theme that lets me go more in depth on a town where some of my ancestors lived in Tennessee, Kentucky or Alabama.
Below are links to the posts I wrote for this challenge.