P is for Pearl Cleage

AppalacianExpo
The Appalachian Exposition was held in Knoxville in 1910. My grandparents (Albert and Pearl Cleage) went there on a trip to Athens soon after they were married. I hope the other Pearl Cleage was also to attend.

For this year’s April A-Z Challenge I am blogging a series of sketches about the free people formerly enslaved on the Cleage plantations in Athens, Tennessee. Most  are not related to me by blood, although our families came off of the same plantations – those of Samuel, Alexander and David Cleage.   Click on any image to enlarge.

I feel like I am sketching out the basic outline for a deeper and richer story. I really don’t have time to do them justice during this challenge. Hopefully I will work more on them after I recover from the A to Z Challenge.

Pearl’s father Peter Cleage was born into slavery in 1817 in Alabama. He ended up in McMinn County Tennessee. In 1834, a Peter who is probably this Peter, appears in a letter from slave holder Samuel Cleage to his overseer.  You can read the letter in this post Article of Agreement Between Samuel Cleage and Overseer – 1834.

In 1870 Peter Cleage and his wife Nellie, were living next door to my 2X great grandparents, Frank and Juda Cleage, and their family. Peter owned no property worth mentioning and worked as a laborer. He was 53. Nellie was 52.

Nellie died soon after this census was taken. In 1871, Peter Cleage married Margaret Guthrie.  He was 54 and she was 20.  They had 7 children together.  Five of them lived to grow up.  The parents were unable to read or write but all of their children were literate.

Family View - Printer Friendly - Ancestry.com
Peter and Margaret (Guthrie) Cleage’s Family Tree.

Pearl was born in 1887.  She is a part of the same generation as my grandparents.

Pearl’s sister Lydia Cleage (This is a different Lydia Cleage than the one that appeared as L is for Lydia Cleage) married Harrison Boyce in 1899. Pearl Cleage was eight years old in 1900. Peter Cleage was dead.  Margaret, and two of her daughters (Pearl and Angelina) moved from Athens to Knoxville to live with Lydia and her husband.  Her older daughter, Susan married and remained in Athens for the rest of her life.

Harrison, Lydia’s husband, worked as a day laborer.  This extended family continued to share housing for several years. Margaret and Angeline sometimes worked as cooks and other times they took in laundry. Harrison worked as a porter and then a janitor.

After 1909, Angelina disappears. I am afraid she died.  Margaret was eventually able to buy place a place of her own for herself and her daughter Pearl. For the next few years, Pearl worked as a laundress and Margaret as a cook, soon both were cooks.

Pearl’s future husband, Blaine McGee was born and grew up in Athens. In 1914 he was twenty eight years old, moved to Knoxville  and opened an “Eating House”, as it was advertised in the city directory.  In 1914 Pearl was a cook in Blaine’s restaurant.  The two were married in 1917.  The next year they celebrated the birth of their son, Blaine Jr. Sadly, they also experienced the deaths of Mother Margaret on January 8, 1918 and of Amitra, Lydia and Harrison’s 13 year old daughter who died 22 October 1918.  Pearl’s daughter was born two years later. They named her Margaret after her Pearl’s mother.

Pearl and Blaine lived above their restaurant on 317 S. Central, for over forty years. During all of these years, Pearl’s sister, Susan Cleage Gibson lived and raised her family in Athens. I wondered if any of her children moved to Knoxville. I could find no evidence that they did.

Pearl Cleage McGhee died in Knoxville General Hospital of a stroke on October 24 1938. She was fifty one years old. Her husband Blaine was the informant. Pearl is buried in the Southern Chain Cemetery.  Southern Chain is an historic black cemetery located in an area of Knoxville where there are several such cemeteries.  They had fallen into neglect and are presently being rehabilitated.

Blaine McGhee continued to cook and run his restaurant for fifteen more years, until his death on August 20, 1953 of carcinoma of the stomach.

Orlena Cleage

Mingo
Carnegie Steel Works, Mingo Junction, Ohio 1914 (Photo courtesy of Diane Pierce)

For this year’s April A-Z Challenge I am blogging a series of sketches about the free people formerly enslaved on the Cleage plantations in Athens, Tennessee. Most  are not related to me by blood, although our families came off of the same plantations – those of Samuel, Alexander and David Cleage.   Click on any image to enlarge.

Orlena Cleage was born into slavery about 1855 in McMinn County, Tennessee. I don’t know which Cleages are her people.  Orlena appears as a 15 year old in the 1870 Census living with Louis and Malinda (Brigeman) Evans in Athens.  Orlena doesn’t have any occupation listed. This is the same household where we found Lydia Cleage in 1870.  She never appears with a Cleage family and I cannot find her death certificate.

Orlena Cleage appears once more, on the death certificate of her son, Robert Leonard Brown, born 1893 in Rockwood, Tennessee and died in Jefferson County Ohio in 1945. His father’s name is listed as Iziah Brown.  Leonard’s wife, Ida Brown was the informant.

Leonard's Death Certificate with Orlena named as his mother.
Leonard’s Death Certificate with Orlena named as his mother.  He was called Robert Leonard here, but in most records he was known by his middle name, Leonard. (from: FamilySearch.com)

I easily followed Leonard through his life via records but all I am going to tell you is that he had four children – Harold Clark, Gertrude Brown, Robert Brown and Charles Brown. . In the 1920 Census Leonard was living in Ohio and was a boarder in his future wife’s home.  The other border was Henry Cleage from Tennessee. In 1940 he was a stopper setter in a steel mill

One day when this challenge is over, I will go back and try to tie up all the lose ends and figure which of several Henry Cleage’s that was and if he was related to Orlena, but for tonight I am calling it a wrap.

Nelson Cleage

Market Street in 1907 (From: Preservation of Chattanooga Central History)
Market Street in 1907 (From: Preservation of Chattanooga Central History)

For this year’s April A-Z Challenge I am blogging a series of sketches about the free people formerly enslaved on the Cleage plantations in Athens, Tennessee. Most  are not related to me by blood, although our families came off of the same plantations – those of Samuel, Alexander and David Cleage.   Click on any image to enlarge.

 Nelson Cleage was born into slavery around 1850. His parents were Clinton and Sallie Cleage. Two of his siblings have had their stories told, Lydia Cleage Glass and Amanda Cleage.  He lived with his widowed mother and siblings in Athens, Tennessee until moving to Chattanooga, Tennessee about 1866. He started working for E.S. Nixon & Son, Florists, Nurserymen and Seedsmen and Dealers in Agricultural Implements.  He started off as a laborer and eventually listed his occupation as florist.

An advertisment for the Florist Nelson Cleage worked for from 1866-1917.
An advertisement in the City Directory for the Florist Nelson Cleage worked for from 1866-1917. (via Ancestry.com)
Some of the Athens Cleages in the Chattanooga City Directory. 1902.
Chattanooga City Directory. 1902.

In 1891 Nelson married Annie Wright.  She was literate. Nelson was not. Their daughter Rosa was born in 1897.  There was quite a little community of Cleage’s from Athens in Chattanooga. They came and they left. Here is a selection from one year. You will notice the little ‘c’ after some names.  That stands for “colored”.

This item was so stereotypical that I didn't really want to use it.  You will note Nelson is mentioned half way down.  Why this was newsworthy for a respected black newspaper all the way in Indianapolis, I do not know.
This item was so stereotypical that I didn’t really want to use it. You will note Nelson is mentioned toward the end.

Last Thursday Nelson Cleage and Thomas Hopkins became involved in a quarrel over a watermelon, which resulted in Cleage receiving a severe cut in the head and Hopkins being shot in the hand and thigh.  Neither are fatally injured.  July 14, 1894. 

The way the stories are all run together makes it difficult to know where one stops and the next begins.  Did this happen at the 4th of July church barbecue? I doubt it.  Why this was newsworthy for a respected black newspaper all the way in Indianapolis, I do not know, but it shows that small local stories were shared far and wide. On second thought, it reminds me of items a small town newspaper.  It shows a different aspect of Nelson’s life.  One of my great grandfather’s on my other side of the family was shot to death at a barbecue in Montgomery, Alabama about this same time.  I wonder if I will ever find an item about that.

Annie was dead by 1910 and Nelson was listed as a widower on the census for that year. Thirteen year old Rosa was attending school.  Both she and Nelson were able to read and write.  I wonder if Annie taught him before she died.

I found a death certificate for Leroy Cleage, Nelson’s son was born about 1910 in Chattanooga. His mother’s maiden name was listed as Hazel Frances. In 1917 Nelson died from pneumonia. The death certificate says that he was married. Perhaps he and Hazel married. His sister Sallie Cleage was the informant.  His body was returned to Athens for burial.

Neson’s son Leroy died when he was eight years old in 1918. Nelson’s daughter Rosa married a man by the last name of Brooks.  They had a son, Don Aldron Brooks in California. She died in California in 1995.  He was in the military for a short period of time and died of natural causes in 1997.

You can read something about   Chattanooga’s Black Community at this link.

Mary Cleage and William B. Loving

"Union Terminal Colored Waiting Room"  Woodward (http://imblacknitravel.com/amtrak-black-migration/)
“Union Terminal Colored Waiting Room” Woodward (http://imblacknitravel.com/amtrak-black-migration/)

For this year’s April A-Z Challenge I am blogging a series of sketches about the free people formerly enslaved on the Cleage plantations in Athens, Tennessee. Most  are not related to me by blood, although our families came off of the same plantations – those of Samuel, Alexander and David Cleage.   Click on any image to enlarge.

Mary Cleage was the third of the four daughters of George and Martha (Rice) Cleage.  She was born free in Athens, Tennessee in 1874. Her parents were unable to read or write, but  Mary and her sisters were literate. In 1892 Mary Cleage married William B. Loving in Athens. C.F. Evans was a witness.

In 1900 Mary had no children. She was not working outside of the home. William was working on the railroad as a laborer. William and Mary were enumerated in McMinn County, on page 12 of District 18. I do not know who William Loving’s parents were, however 57 year old Edmonia Loving, who lived next door, is the right age to be his mother.  Unfortunately, I have not been able to find out any more about her. A few houses away Martha Loving and her two daughters Lula and Minnie lived.  Later in 1900, Minnie Loving married my grandfather Albert’s brother Henry Cleage. On page 13 of District 18, Mary’s father and sisters were enumerated. Several doors from them were Tom and Sallie (Cleage) Waterhouse.  Sallie was Lydia Cleage Glass’s sister.

Entry for William B. Loving in the 1906 Indianapolis City Directory. You can see the adds all around the edges.
Entry for William B. Loving in the 1906 Indianapolis City Directory. You can see the advertisements all around the edge of the page. (via ancestry.com)

By 1910 William and Mary Loving had been living in Indianapolis, Indiana for several years. William worked as a janitor.  Mary did not work outside of the house. Within the last ten years they had a child who was dead.  The Lovings lived in a rented house. Mary’s sister Anna Cleage, a widow, lived with them. Anna had one daughter, twelve year old Mozena.  Mozena lived back in Athens with her father’s sister.  Wiley Evans was their lodger.  He did odd jobs for a living.

African Americans arriving from the South in the early 1900s found an established black community with churches, businesses, and social organizations. Indianapolis had three black-run weekly newspapers by 1900, the Freeman, the Recorder and the World. The Recorder often ran a directory of African-American businesses in its Christmas issue. In 1901, this listing included restaurants, hotels, and grocery stores, as well as barbers, physicians, dentists, lawyers, dealers in coal, ice, oil, and junk, and even a clairvoyant.

My grandfather, Albert Cleage, two of his brothers and his sister and their families were living in Indianapolis at this time.  I wonder if the Lovings also attended Witherspoon United Presbyterian Church.

In 1920 William worked as a laborer at a mill. Mary was keeping house.  Her sister, Anna did laundry for a private family. Anna’s daughter, Mozena, had joined the family and was a cook in a private home.  They rented their home.

Mozena married Clinton Sherman in 1922. He died soon after. She continued to share the family home.  William was working as a fireman in 1922. In 1923 he was again a laborer.  Mary Cleage Lovings died in 1929 and is buried in Crown Hill Cemetery in Indianapolis. She was 53 years old.  My great grandfather Lewis Cleage is also buried there.

In 1930 William and Mozena were still in the same rented house.  He was working on the railroad and she was doing laundry for a private family. Mozena died in 1932. She was only 34 years old.  In 1940 William lived in a boarding house and hadn’t worked in the past year.  He was 68 years old. That is the last I found of the family.

 

Lydia Cleage

domestic worker
Laundress was an available job for many African American women. Courtesy of the Burton Historical Collection, Detroit Public Library

For this year’s April A-Z Challenge I am blogging a series of sketches about the free people formerly enslaved on the Cleage plantations in Athens, Tennessee. Most  are not related to me by blood, although our families came off of the same plantations – those of Samuel, Alexander and David Cleage.   Click on any image to enlarge.

Lydia Ann Cleage was born into slavery about 1851 on Samuel Cleages plantation in Athens, McMinn County. She was one of the 14 children of Clinton and Sallie Cleage. In 1852, when Lydia was one year old, she was sold to David Cleage in a transfer of slaves, money and goods after Samuel’s death. You can read the Bill of Sale by clicking the link. Lydia was 15 when the Civil War ended in 1866 and freedom came.

In 1870 at age 18, she appears twice in the census, once with her widowed mother and again with the family of Louis and Malinda (Bridgman) Evans. Malinda probably came to David Cleage’s plantation with David’s wife, Martha Bridgeman.  Louis Evans was farming in 1870 and Lydia was a farm laborer.

Lydia does not appear in any more censuses until 1930, however I was able to follow her through city directories and death certificates where she was the informant.  In 1878 Lydia’s daughter Mary Smith was born. Her father was Willie Smith. In 1895 Lydia Cleage was doing domestic work for John McKeldin and family in Knoxville.  McKeldin was formerly of Athens. In 1895 he was a big manufacturer of woolen goods.

In 1900 Lydia and William Smith were both living at Poplar and Exchange St. in Memphis. She was a cook and he was a laborer.  She was 49 years old. In 1903 she was working as a laundress. He was still working as a laborer.

Sometime before 1907, William Smith disappears from the directory. Lydia Glass appears. Lydia married Rev. Charles Glass sometime before his death in 1923, however at the same time that Lydia Glass appears in the directory, Rev. Charles Glass is still married to his second wife, Millie, who also appears with him in the 1910 Census.  In 1923, Charles Glass died and Lydia Glass appears as the informant on his death certificate. She was living at 886 Lane Avenue in Memphis.  She appears several times in the directory at that address as Charles widow.

In 1930 Lydia lived with her daughter Mary in the house at 886 Lane Ave.  Mary was the widow of Robert Jordan and worked as a cook for a private family.  She was 50 years old. Lydia had no employment listed.  She was 84 years old.  Lydia appeared in a few more city directory entries as the widow of Charles living at the same address on Lane.

In 1934, Mary Smith Jordan died of cancer of the cervix. She had been treated from January to August of 1934.  Her parents were Willie Smith and Lydia Glass. Lydia was the informant.

On November 18, 1936 Lydia Cleage Glass had returned to Athens where she died of congestive heart failure. Her parents were listed as Clint and Sallie Cleage. She was a widow. The informant did not know her age, which was about 85.   The informant was her niece Sallie Sherman.  Sallie was the daughter of Edmond and Adaline (Cleage) Sherman.

******

I can only hope this is right. Not finding Lydia in the censuses for 1880, 1900, 1910 and 1920 and not finding any marriage records made it hard to picture her life.  Maybe she had more children. Finding her death certificate and her as informant on two other death certificates was very helpful.  Was that really her listed as Lydia Glass before Millie Glass was dead?  Did Rev. Glass have two wives for a time?  What happened to Millie and Willie Smith? I assume they died, but when?  Her daughter’s life was just as shadowy.  Mary Smith appears as a lodger on Front Street in Memphis in the 1900 census.  There are page after page of names with no address other than Front Street.  Mary appears in a few city directories and then in the 1930 Census and after her death on her death certificate.  Did she have any children?  What happened to her husband, Robert Jorden?   This investigation left me with many questions.

Kristin Cleage

My paternal grandfather, Dr. Albert B. Cleage Sr. sitting on the railing. My mother, Doris Graham Cleage, holding me. My father Rev. Albert B. Cleage Jr. Summer of 1947 on the back porch of the house on King street.
My parents, paternal grandfather and me (Kristin) on our porch of the house on King street in Springfield, Mass. Photo by Hugh Cleage. 1947.

For this year’s April A-Z Challenge I am blogging a series of sketches about the free people formerly enslaved on the Cleage plantations in Athens, Tennessee. Most  are not related to me by blood, although our families came off of the same plantations – those of Samuel, Alexander and David Cleage.   Click on any image to enlarge.

kris_preg_big_fro_1970
Kristin Cleage (me) in 1970. Photo by James Williams.

This post is about my relationship to the Cleages of Athens, Tennessee. Kristin Cleage (that is me) was born free in Springfield, Mass. in 1946. My only sister was born when I was 2. My family moved back to Detroit when I was four. I finished high school and graduated with a degree in fine arts from Wayne State University.  I worked as a pre-school teacher, a doll maker and a librarian. Eventually I married James Williams, who had an Associates Degree and worked as an organizer and an inspector of asphalt for the Michigan Dept of Transportation. We had six children. All of our children attended college, lived to be adults and most now have children of their own. At various  times we have shared our home with children and grandchildren, and other relatives. We owned a variety of homes over the years, some with and some free from mortage.  We often lived around extended family.  I was the third generation of my Cleages born out of slavery.Pedigree View - Printer Friendly - Ancestry.com

preaching
Rev. Albert B. Cleage Jr, preaching about 1968.

My father, Rev. Albert B. Cleage Jr (aka Jaramogi Abebe Agyeman) was born free in Indianapolis, Indiana in 1911 to parents born in Tennessee and Kentucky. His family moved to Kalamazoo, Michigan and eventually Detroit.  He had six siblings.  All of them lived to be at least eighty years old. He attended public schools in Detroit and graduated with a BA from Wayne State University, followed by a Divinity Degree at Oberlin College and doing post degree work in film at the University of Southern California.  He married my mother, Doris Graham and they had two daughters. Both daughters lived to be adults, graduated from college and had seven children between them. My father pastored churches in Lexington, KY; San Francisco, CA; Springfield, MA and Detroit, MI. He was active in politics and with friends and family, published newsletter, advocated self determination and black power for black people. He founded the Shrines of the Black Madonna with churches in Detroit, Atlanta and Houston. He died at the age of 88 in 2000 in South Carolina.   He was the second generation born out of slavery.

My grandfather, Albert B. Cleage - 1909. About the time he graduated from Knoxville College.
My grandfather, Albert B. Cleage – 1909. About the time he graduated from Knoxville College.

My grandfather, Dr. Albert B. Cleage Sr, was born free in Hackberry, Loudon County, TN in 1883.  He was the youngest of 5 children born to Lewis Cleage and Celia Rice.  Eventually the family moved back to Athens, TN and his parents were divorced.  He and his siblings all graduated from high school.  Several attended college. My grandfather graduated from Knoxville College in Knoxville, TN and the University of Indiana medical school, Indianapolis, IN. He married my grandmother, Pearl Reed and they had seven children who all lived to age 80 or beyond.  After completing his internship, the family moved to Kalamazoo, MI. There he set up his medical practice.  After several years they moved to Detroit, Michigan where he opened Cleage Clinic and practiced medicine.  Three  of his siblings and his mother eventually moved to Detroit.  One brother remained in Athens. My grandfather regularly traveled back to visit. During his life, my grandfather helped found three churches and two black hospitals.  This was in the days when black doctors could not practice in most white hospitals.  In the 1950s my grandfather retired and in 1957 he died in Detroit.  He was the first generation born out of slavery.

My greatgrandfather Lewis Cleage was born into slavery on Alexander Cleage’s plantation in McMinn County, about 1852.  He was fourteen when freedom came with the end of the Civil War.  He married Celia Rice in 1872 in Athens, TN and they had five children. They all lived to adulthood and attended high school and/or college.  He worked as a farmer, in the steel mills, on the railroad and did other hard labor all of his life. He never learned to read or write.  He died in 1918 in Indianapolis, Indiana. He lived free for 52 of his 66 years.

My 2X great grandfather Frank Cleage was born into slavery about 1816 in North Carolina. I do not know how he came to be on Samuel Cleage’s plantation, but he was there by 1834 when he was mentioned in the letter to the overseer.  My 2X great grandmother Juda Cleage, was born into slavery about 1814. She  came to Alexander Cleage’s plantation with his wife, Jemima Hurst.  Juda was mentioned in both Elijah Hurst’s and Alexander Cleage’s Wills.  Frank and Juda both gained their freedom after the Civil War and were legally married that same year.  They had at least eight children.  Frank worked as a laborer.  I have not found them after the 1870 census.  I can only trace 3 of their children so I am unable to give death ages.  The three children I have found all did hard physical labor and were unable to read and write, as were Frank and Juda.

header_gladys_banner
Some of my grandparent’s descendents, including members of the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th generations born free. 2012 Detroit.

You can read more about each person by following the links or putting a name in the search box in the right hand column.

Jefferson & Rachael Cleage

Dayton, Tennessee.
1913 – Location unknown – Eastern Regional Coal Archives

For this year’s April A-Z Challenge I am blogging a series of sketches about the free people formerly enslaved on the Cleage plantations in Athens, Tennessee. Most  are not related to me by blood, although our families came off of the same plantations – those of Samuel, Alexander and David Cleage.   Click on any image to enlarge.

Jefferson Cleage was born into slavery about 1848 in Tennessee He first appears as a five year old in a bill of sale transferring slaves, money and household goods between the children of Samuel Cleage after his death in 1852. My 2X great grandfather, Frank Cleage also appears in this Bill of Sale to Alexander Cleage.  I wonder if Jefferson’s parents were also transferred in the bill.

Part of the Bill of Sale conveying Jeff, age 5 and my 2X great grandfather Frank to Alexander Cleage after his father Samuel's death in 1852.
Part of the Bill of Sale conveying Jeff, age 5 and my 2X great grandfather Frank to Alexander Cleage after his father Samuel’s death in 1852.

Know all men by these presents that we David Cleage and Walter Nutter and his wife Elizabeth H Nutter have this day bargained and sold to Alexander Cleage and his heirs and assigns forever Joe forty four years of age  Jane eighteen  Lynd eleven  Frank thirty nine  Phillip forty  Lewis twenty six  Sam ten  Jeff five  Martha twenty one  Lea thirty four  Julian forty three  Patsy five

For five thousand two hundred and fifty dollars being his distribution share out of the proceeds of the slaves of Samuel Cleage deceased  We warrant said negroes (sic) to be slaves for life and that we as the heirs at law of Samuel Cleage have a right to convey them

Given under our hands and seals this 20th day of March 1852

Witness

Sam H Jordon                                            David Cleage

Geo W Mayo                                               Walter Nutter

                                                                       Elizabeth H Nutter

State of Tennessee

County of McMinn

In 1864 Jefferson Cleage joined the United States Colored Troops Heavy Artillery Unit at Knoxville, TN.  He is the only one I have found who joined from Alexander Cleage’s plantation.  The rest have been from his brother David’s plantation.  Jeff was mustered out of the army and married Racheal in 1865.  Jefferson was seventeen and Racheal was fifteen years old.

They started out in McMinn County, but by 1880 had moved to Rhea County, perhaps because of the coal mining industry that was building up there.  Jefferson’s occupation is listed as farmer in the 1870 Census and as laborer in the 1900 Census. Because they don’t say what sort of laborer he was, I don’t know if he was ever involved in coal mining, but his daughter, Emma, married a coal miner in 1908 and his two youngest sons were involved in the coal mining industry by 1910.

"An undated photographs shows the Dayton Coal and Iron Co., founded in 1867 by English Industrialist Sir Titus Salt. (Rhea County Historical Society)
“An undated photograph shows the Dayton Coal and Iron Co., founded in 1867 by English Industrialist Sir Titus Salt. (Rhea County Historical Society)

“In 1877, Salt established the Dayton Coal and Iron Co. During its heyday, the company employed 1,200 people. The gorges and mountains that now are part of the Laurel-Snow State Natural Area teemed with an estimated 400 coke ovens, two blast furnaces, seven major coal mines and 17 miles of railroad.”

There were a number of horrific explosions in the mines. I was relived not to find any Cleages among the dead, although there were unnamed victims in each explosion.  There were explosions in December of 1895, May 1901 and March of 1902. All three started when coal dust was ignited while the men were leaving with lit lamps after work. The bodies were described as blown apart, burned beyond recognition and other gruesome details.

“Chattanooga, Tenn., May 28. — In an explosion yesterday afternoon at the New Richland mine of the Dayton Coal & Iron company, at Dayton, Tenn., probably thirty-five people were killed.  Twenty-two bodies were taken from the mines soon after the explosion and eight miners were taken from near the mouth of the mine badly burned, the most of them fatally.”

 Jefferson’s wife Racheal was born about 1850 in Tennessee. She gave birth to fifteen children and by 1900, nine were still alive.  Jefferson never learned to read or write. Racheal learned to read and all of the children were literate.  The four younger children were all attending school in 1900.  Thirteen year old Lloyd and fifteen year old Virgil had joined the adult men in the work force as laborers. The Cleages owned their home and it was free from mortgage.

Jefferson died sometime before the 1910 Census.  Racheal’s occupation was washerwoman.  Three more of her children had died, leaving six still living. Her nineteen year old son Martin ran a steam shovel while Seventeen year old Louis worked as an iron furnace laborer.  Her two year old grandson, Samuel Douglas, was also living in the house.

In 1920 Racheal was about 70 years old.  She and her grandson Samuel were living alone on Broyles street in Dayton. She lived in a rented house.  This is the last I can find of Racheal Cleage.

While reading about coal mining in Rhea County long ago, I was surprised to find that there is a plan to reopen some of the mines by 2017.  You can read about it at this link Coal Mining in Rhea County.  You can read more here about African American coal miners in Appalachia –  History of African American Coal Miners

For more Sepia Saturday posts about coal, click!
I was able to get a 2 for 1 with both AtoZ and Sepia Saturday!  For more Sepia Saturday posts about coal, click!

“I” is for Introduction To My Investigations

"Union Terminal Colored Waiting Room"  Woodward (http://imblacknitravel.com/amtrak-black-migration/)
“Union Terminal Colored Waiting Room” Woodward (Amtrak: History rides the rails)

For this year’s April A-Z Challenge I am blogging a series of sketches about the free people formerly enslaved on the Cleage plantations in Athens, Tennessee. Most  are not related to me by blood, although our families came off of the same plantations – those of Samuel, Alexander and David Cleage.   Click on any image to enlarge.

Today I’m taking a break from individual Cleages to describe how I came up with the names I am researching and how I find the information I do about them.  I did find an “I” for Isabel Sherman, the granddaughter of Jane  from yesterday’s post Henry & Jane Cleage. I plan to write Isabelle’s story up on my day off – Sunday.

How do you find the people?  As I was researching my Cleage ancestors, I found the names of other Cleages – in the bills of sale, the Wills, the letters and in the Census. I began to wonder what happened to those other Cleages.  Some of the information came from online research and some came from copies of documents that were given to me.

How do you know they were from the Cleage plantations?  I am sure they were from the Cleage plantations if their names appear on slavery era documents from the Cleage plantations.  It helps when their ages are mentioned because then I can check them against the ages in the census records.  Otherwise, I go by the name Cleage.

Where do you find your information?  I met a descendent of another Cleage family through my tree on ancestry.com and he sent me copies of bills of sale and the letter to the overseer that he had been given.

I found copies of slave holders Wills on FamilySearch.com.  On a whim, I decided to look for Samuel Cleage’s will.  They are not indexed so I had to go to the probate records for McMinn County and then look through the online books until I found the Wills.  I knew the time period so I was able to narrow it down but it took time and luck.

On Ancestry.com I was able to search for names in the census records. Slaves were only counted by age, color and sex, unless the enumerator made a mistake and put their names down.  Always nice if you run into that.  I can also find Agricultural Schedules, which tell how many animals, what kinds and what kind of crops a farmer grew. City Directories are a great way to trace people that cannot be found in every census and also to track them between censuses.  You can also find out spouses (dead and alive), occupations and addresses. An added bonus is finding who lives in the same house – are they siblings, parents and children, married couples?  The directories also are helpful in pinpointing when someone arrived in a new city and left the old one.

Alexander Cleage's Slave Census for 1860, the year he wrote his will.  That means my family is there. They give how many slaves fit that description, if they are "black" (b) or "mulatto" (m), and male (m) or female  (f) and ages.  At the end of the count for each slave holder, they also tell how many slave dwellings there were.  You can see how frustrating it would be to try and figure out who and where your people were if you didn't have some slave era documents to help.
Alexander Cleage’s Slave Census for 1860, the year he wrote his will. That means my family is there. They give how many slaves fit that description, if they are “black” (b) or “mulatto” (m), and male (m) or female (f) and ages. At the end of the count for each slave holder, they also tell how many slave dwellings there were. Alexander had 8. He was a pretty large slave holder for Eastern Tennessee. You can see how frustrating it would be to try and figure out who and where your people were if you didn’t have some slave era documents to help.(1860 U.S. Federal Census – Slave Schedules via Ancestry.com)

One category that I ignored on Ancestry.com for a long time was the military area.  I would check draft registrations, which give you a brief description, but I didn’t think of looking for U.S. Colored Troops Military Service Records and when I did I found a wealth of information. I also found military information on FamilySearch.com and on Fold3.com.

Marriage records and death certificates can give good information, including parent’s names, witnesses, occupation, address and name of spouse.   I look for newspaper articles on Ancestry.com, Newspapers.com and genealogybank.com. Sometimes I google a name and come up with unexpected and interesting information.

How do you organize the information so you know who is who?  I started a new tree for each person or couple I found. That made it easier to search for information and to store it when found.  I started over 17 trees to keep things straight, in addition to my main family tree and a tree I started for the white Cleages.  There were even more but the more I researched, the more I could combine trees when I found people married into an already existing tree or that they were the child of people already in an existing tree.  The only problem is when I can’t remember which of the larger tree someone is in and I have to go search a few trees to find them.

How do you make the connections? I make the connections by using the records mentioned above, and by getting to know the families.

What do you mean when you say you found one family on one page of the census and another family two pages away?  The United States Census is taken every 10 years, in the years ending in zero.  Enumerators were hired to go out and count the population. They asked them questions about age, marital status, where they were born and other questions. Some questions changed depending on the year. You can never be sure who gave the answer to the questions. It might have been a child in the family who was home or a neighbor if nobody was home.  McMinn County, Tennessee, where Athens is located, was divided into 19 Townships in 1880. Each one had from 15 to 23 pages.  The people who were enumerated on the same page lived next door to each other or a few houses down. People on the previous page or the next page were still pretty close neighbors. A page looks like this:

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Page 20 in the 1880 Census for Athens.

 

 

Henry & Jane Cleage

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Athens, Tennessee about 1919. (Family photo from my archives – by Albert B. Cleage Sr.)

For this year’s April A-Z Challenge, I am blogging a series of sketches about the free people formerly enslaved on the Cleage plantations in Athens, Tennessee. Most  are not related to me by blood, although our families came off of the same plantations – those of Samuel, Alexander and David Cleage.   Click on any image to enlarge.

Henry Cleage was born about 1824 in North Carolina. I wonder if he and my 2X great grandfather, Frank Cleage, were related because they both came from North Carolina. Henry first appears  in some instructions slave holder Samuel Cleage wrote to his overseer in 1834.

overseer_directions
You can read the complete letter here.

“… to keep the hands his Cleage’s negroes employed and make them work as would be right to correct them when they deserve but not to be cruel or abuse them but make them do their duty and not suffer them to run about from the farm at nights.   The hands or negroes are Bill, Henry, Joe, Frank, Lea, Fannie, two little boys and Peter}  Bill is not to be a hand until his master Cleage directs as he is stiller and is to remain in the still house while Cleage carrys on stilling.”

Jane and Adaline were mentioned in Alexander Cleage’s (son of Samuel Cleage) Will of 1860.

part of will“The last Will and Testament of Alexander Cleage, I Alexander Cleage of the County of McMinn and State of Tennessee being in usual good health and being of sound mind and disposing memory and knowing the uncertanity of life and the certainty of death do make and publish this las Will and Testament and first I desire all my just debts paid as soon after my death as possible if I should die leaving debts unpaid.  Second; I give and devise to my beloved wife Jemima Cleage for and during her natural life the following negro slaves to wit Amy and her child a boy called Jeff, Juda and her five children to wit Charles, Angelin, Lewis, Laura, and Frank and Jane and her child Adaline and a negro man called Tom, they all being negros that came to my said wife from her father and from her father’s estate and the increase of said negros as she received from her father and from his estate. Also I give and devise to my wife Jemima Cleage for and during her natural life my home farm upon which I now live containing about eleven hundred and twenty five acres in addition to the negros above given to my wife for life I also give and bequeath to her for her natural life a negro man called Frank, the husband of Juda and another man called Tom, known as Tom Lane…”  30th day of May 1860 Alexander Cleage

You can see a copy of the will here: Last Will and Testament of Alexander Cleage

 In 1870 We find Henry and Jane living in Athens, Tennessee. He was 46 and she was 39.  He was a laborer and had $400 ($7,272.73 in 2014 dollars) worth of personal property and $150 ($2,727.27) worth of personal property.

Living next door were Adaline “Addie” and Edmund Sherman and their two young children, three year old William Henry and one year old Kate.  Ed was also a laborer. He had $100 worth of personal property and no real estate.  Looking at these two households, I assumed that Addie was Henry’s daughter and that William Henry was Edmund’s son.  However, looking at their death certificates, I found that Addie was Clint (known as Dick) Cleage’s daughter and William Henry was later listed as a Cleage, because his father was Nelson Cleage.  That is, if  the father’s names are right on the death certificate.

Looking through some of the other pages of the census, I found Sallie (widow of Clint) and her children on the page before them.  Several pages before that were George and Martha next door to Fannie Turk and her family.

In 1880 both families were enumerated twice, both times living next door to each other.  The first time they were still in District 7.  The second time they were enumerated in the Town of Athens.  Both men were laborers, all the adults were unable to read and write.  The two oldest children, William Henry (12) and Katie(10), attended school and were literate.  There were five younger children Bell (9), Sallie (8), Mat (5), Frank (4) and Dave (1).

 Looking through the rest of the Town of Athens, I found Jerry and Charlotte Cleage’s daughter, America Cleage and her five children, on page 21.  On page 20 were Sallie Cleage and six of her children.  Also on that page were Sydney Cleage and her daughter Bell, and Roger Shurman and his first wife Jane and there 3 children and a border, Alice Cleage.  Roger Shurman was my great grandmother’s second husband.  On page 11 were Jerry and Charlotte Cleage and eight of their children.  On page 18 were George and Jane with their three daughters.  David Cleage who enslaved many of these families during slave times, is enumerated on page 4 with his family.

By 1900 Henry was dead.   Jane was 90 years old. She had birthed one child and that child was still alive.  Her grandson Frank and his wife Emma lived with her. Frank was a cook. Addie and her family were living next door. Addie had given birth to seven children and six were still living. Both families owned their houses free from mortgage.   Ed and William Henry were day laborers.  Addie’s daughter Sallie lived there and worked as a washer woman.

Ed and Addie’s daughter Isabelle lived next door.  She earned her living as a washer woman also. Her sister Sallie’s 6 year old daughter lived with her and attended school.  Sallie’s two year old son also lived there. The older people were illiterate while the next generation were all able  to read and write.

They were on page 16. On page 18 we find Fanny Cleage living with Charles Moss.  This was not the Fannie who was in the newspaper, but this one was also a cook.  On page 21 was Sallie Cleage Waterhouse and her family.  She was the daughter of Sallie and Clint Cleage.

Jane died before 1910.  Unfortunately She and Henry both died before Tennessee kept death records.  Addie lived to be 80 years old. She died March 18, 1923.  According to her death certificate she died of paralysis.  Her daughter Sallie Sherman was the informant.

I am going to use “I” tomorrow to Introduction.  My husband, who is my proof reader and does not dabble in genealogy or research, suggested I tell my readers how I come up with this information.  This works out well as I had no “I” Cleage. Tune in tomorrow for an “Introduction to My Investigations”.

George Cleage

“The Escaped Slave in the Union Army,” Harper’s Weekly, July 2, 1864, p. 428. (Courtesy of the House Divided Project)
“The Escaped Slave in the Union Army,” Harper’s Weekly, July 2, 1864, p. 428. (Courtesy of the House Divided Project)

For this year’s April A-Z Challenge I am blogging a series of sketches about the free people formerly enslaved on the Cleage plantations in Athens, Tennessee. Most  are not related to me by blood, although our families came off of the same plantations – those of Samuel, Alexander and David Cleage.   Click on any image to enlarge.

George Cleage was born in Memphis, Tennessee about 1845.  He joined the 1st U.S. Colored Heavy Artillery in Knoxville, TN in 1864. His enlistment papers describe him as 19 years old, 5 ft 8 inches with black hair, black eyes and yellow complexion. His occupation was listed as “farmer”. His military record was uneventful, except for being confined to the military prison at Chattanooga for several months.  When he was mustered out in October of 1865, he had $10.50 coming to him, that would be worth $156.72 today.  Not a lot to start a new life.

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The National Archives at Washington, D.C.; Washington, D.C.; Compiled Military Service Records of Volunteer Union Soldiers Who Served with the United States Colored Troops: Artillery Organizations via Ancestry.com
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The National Archives at Washington, D.C.; Washington, D.C.; Compiled Military Service Records of Volunteer Union Soldiers Who Served with the United States Colored Troops: Artillery Organizations via Ancestry.com

In 1868 he married Martha Rice in Athens, Tennessee.  His first daughter, Sarah was born in 1869.  While looking at him in the 1870 census, I looked to see who his neighbors were and right there above him was Fannie Turk, widow of Isaac and their children! I have been looking for her and not finding her in censuses.  Isaac and Fannie came off of David Cleage’s plantation and Isaac also enlisted in the USCT in Knoxville. To read more about Fannie and Isaac, go to the link above.

In 1880 Martha and little Sarah are gone (presumed to have died) and George has married Jane.  There are three daughters, Anna, 6; Mary, 4 and Lizzie, 2 years old.  George continues to have employment listed as laborer, but by 1900 he is listed as a brick mason. I wonder if George had been doing brick work all along.  Coming off of a plantation known for building with bricks, I expected more of the free Cleage men to be brick masons. (Cleage Bricks to learn more about Samuel Cleage’s brick making and construction business.)

In 1900 George was a widower.  Two of his daughters are enumerated with him.  Although daughter Anna married Frank Cunningham, she is using Cleage.  She has one child, 2 year old Mazinia.  George’s daughter Lizzie is working as a cook.  Both of the daughters are literate, George is not.  Tom and Sallie (Cleage) Waterhouse lived down the street from them.  Sallie was the daughter of Clinton (sometimes Called Dick) and Sallie Cleage, who I wrote about in “D” is for Dick.  I am loving the way people show up in each other’s lives.

That is the last I find of George Cleage. Lizzie ended up in Knoxville. Mary and Anna ended up in Indianapolis where they died in the 1920s.  Anna is listed in the city directories as “Anna Cleage (widow of Frank) and that caused me some confusion because I thought she might have been a wife of my great grandfather Louis’ brother Frank Cleage, but that turned out not to be the case.  She must have gone back to her maiden name after Frank Cunningham died.  My grandfather and 3 of his siblings lived in Indianapolis at this time. I wonder if the two families crossed paths.