Category Archives: Cleages

NELSON Regan

This is my 7th year participating in the A to Z Challenge. In the 2015 challenge, I wrote about the Cleages formerly enslaved on the plantations of Samuel and his sons Alexander and David Cleage of Athens, McMinn County, Tennessee. Most of the people in these posts are not related to me by blood or DNA, however my ancestors were enslaved on the same plantations with them.

Late last year, I ordered the Civil War Pension files of the Cleage men who served in 1st Regiment, United States Colored Heavy Artillery (USCHA), during that war. Through these files I learned that their lives were much richer and more complex than census, death and other records can show. I am using the information from pension files and records that I found through the pension files for this years challenge.

Nelson Ragan was my great grandmother, Celia Rice Cleage Sherman’s step father. I recently joined Fold3, a military records site owned by Ancestry, to look for information about one of the people in the Katie Cleage’s series. I could not find anything, so I decided to see if there were any interesting widow’s pension files from the same troop. I noticed that Susan Ragan was from Athens.

Her file was not all that interesting compared to Katie’s. However, as I went through it, I noticed a name I recognized – W.R. Sherman, my great grandmother’s second husband. He was writing the authorities concerning final expenses for Susan Regan and he listed himself as her son-in-law. It took me overnight to realize that that would make her my Grandma Celia’s mother. And my previously unnamed 2 X great grandmother.

Inventory of the effects of Nelson Ragan late a private of Captain S. R. Russell’s Company “C” 1st Regt U.S. Colored Artillery (Heavy) who was enrolled as a private at Knoxville in the state of Tennessee on the 18 day of Feby, 1864 and mustered into the service of the United States as a private on the 27th day of February 1864, at Knoxville in Company “C” of the 1st U. S. Colored Arty (Hy) to serve three years or during the war. He was born in McMinn Co. in the state of Tennessee he was 33 years of age, 5 feet 7 inches high, blk complexion, blk hair, blk eyes, and by occupation where enrolled a farmer. He died in Regimental Hospital at Knoxville, Tenn on the 24th day of March 1864 by reason of Typhoid Fever.

Inventory

No personal effects. Buried in his clothes.

I certify on honor that the above inventory confirms all the effects of Nelson Ragan deceased.

Samuel R. Russell
Capt. Comdg Company

Witness to above
Lieut. Ed. F. Browne

Station Knoxville Tenn
Date March 20, 1864

*****

MARTHA Cleage, Widow of Charles A. Cleage

“Black woman working in an Alabama kitchen”

This is my 7th year participating in the A to Z Challenge. In the 2015 challenge, I wrote about the Cleages formerly enslaved on the plantations of Samuel and his sons Alexander and David Cleage of Athens, McMinn County, Tennessee. Most of the people in these posts are not related to me by blood or DNA, however my ancestors were enslaved on the same plantations with them.

Late last year, I ordered the Civil War Pension files of the Cleage men who served in 1st Regiment, United States Colored Heavy Artillery (USCHA), during that war. Through these files I learned that their lives were much richer and more complex than census, death and other records can show. I am using the information from pension files and records that I found through the pension files for this years challenge.

Deposition A

The Case of Martha Cleage, No. 898,476
On this 18 day of February, 1909, at Athens, County of McMinn
State of Tenn., before me, N. H. Nicholson

Special examiner of the Bureau of Pensions, personally appeared Martha Cleage, who being by me first duty sworn to answer truly all interrogations propounded to her during this special examination of aforesaid claim for pension, deposes and says:

I am 65 (?) years of age; my post office is Athens, McMinn Co. Tenn. I am claimant for pension as the widow of Charles A. Cleage late of Co. A 1 U. S. C. H. A. He never had any other service. My husband was sometimes called Charles A. Evans, because his mother was an Evans, but he was owned by David Cleage and took the name of his owner when he enlisted in the army. My owner was Judge Alex Keith and I married this soldier, Charles A. Cleage, two or three years before the war. I can’t remember just what  year it was. We were married by a colored preacher named Gillent Crawford and the marriage was with the consent of our owner. I lived with Charles A. Cleage as his wife until he died. I have never been married before I married Charles A. Cleage. I have not remarried since his death.

Charles A. Cleage had been married before. He had one wife before he was married to me. His first wife was Amy Cleage. She was owned by the same man who owned him. I knew her. I lived about a mile from them and knew her and visited her while they were living together. She died about three miles from Athens Tenn.

I was at her funeral. She died as near as I can remember a year or so before Charles A. Cleage and I were married. I know that she died before I was married to Cleage. I visited her while she was sick and was at her funeral and a year or two later Charles A. Cleage and I were married.

Charles A. Cleage and I lived together from our marriage until he died and were never divorced or separated. We always regarded our marriage as binding and never remarried after we became free. Charles A. Cleage died here in this house at Athens, Tenn.  June 16, 1908.

Yes Sir, I have only been married the one time and that was to Charles A. Cleage. We were living near Athens when he was enlisted in the army and I staid here awhile and then went to him at Knoxville Tenn and staid there while his regiment was stationed there. After his discharge we came back here and lived within three miles of Athens until his death.No. I never heard of him having any wife except Amy before he and I were married. I am satisfied he was never married except to Amy and myself. I knew him from my childhood. He was living with Amy when I first knew him. I am not sure of the name of the colored preacher who married us. It may have been preacher Robert McDermott who married us and it may have been Gilbert Crawford. I am not sure which it was. I was young at the time and I don’t remember positively but I know we were married at my master’s place. I can prove that I was never married before I married Charles A. Cleage, by Sally Cleage, Edmund Sherman and Jerry Cleage. I can prove by the same parties that Charles A. Cleage was never married except to Amy and me. I can also prove by my sister Sarah Smith that I have never been married but the one time. Also by my stepson Hilyard Cleage and by Jerry Cleage, who belonged to the same family my husband did (name “Jerry” erased and Hilyard” line 67 underlined before signing) All of them also know that I have not remarried since the death of Charles A. Cleage.

My attorney is John J. Jackson, Athens, Tenn. There has been no agreement between Mr. Jackson and I about his fee and nothing has been said about it. I want him to have whatever fee the law allows if my claim is allowed. I have not paid him anything. I have not paid the notary Public for swearing me or my witnesses to the papers in my claim. I do not want to be present or represented by my attorney during the further examination of my claim and waive notice of all further examination I have understood the questions asked me and have heard the above read and my answers are correctly recorded.Martha (her X mark) Cleage deponent

Witness
Rosa M. Pettill
No other available.

********

Thomas LILLARD

This is my 7th year participating in the A to Z Challenge. In the 2015 challenge, I wrote about the Cleages formerly enslaved on the plantations of Samuel and his sons Alexander and David Cleage of Athens, McMinn County, Tennessee. Most of the people in these posts are not related to me by blood or DNA, however my ancestors were enslaved on the same plantations with them.

Late last year, I ordered the Civil War Pension files of the Cleage men who served in 1st Regiment, United States Colored Heavy Artillery (USCHA), during that war. Through these files I learned that their lives were much richer and more complex than census, death and other records can show. I am using the information from pension files and records that I found through the pension files for this years challenge.

Today I write about Thomas Lillard who gave testimony in Charles A. Cleage‘s Pension application hearing.

Charles A. Cleage Pension File
Deposition A
22 July 1890

Thomas Lillard

Maryville, County of Blount State of Tennessee.

I am 49 years old, and past. My business is a confectioner. PO as above. I served in Co. A 1st USC Heavy Artillery from muster in to muster out. I lived in the same town with claimant Charlie Cleage and knew him well before enlistment.

            He was a sound man and a stout one too at the time he enlisted at least if there was anything wrong with him, I didn’t know it, except he was sick at Knoxville. Yes he had good health too as far as I ever knew until just after the surrender of Gen. Lee.

           We was camped up in the N.E. part of this state on the Watauga River and the men were out firing the canon as a salute over the surrender. I was quarter master sergt for our Co. and was not out, but when the men came in Charlie Cleage’s nose was bleeding and he complained of a hurting in his ears and it seems to me they were bleeding too, but I can’t be “qualified” to it.

            I remember well the bleeding from the nose and I remember well he complained of his head hurting him too. He said the jar of the artillery caused it. He complained after that several times of the head and he always “laid it” to that firing of that salute.

            I don’t now remember that he complained of any other part of his body was affected by that firing. No sir, I do not now remember that I ever heard him complain of his heart or any trouble with his heart. If he did I have forgotten it.

            I did not live near him after the war, but have seen him several times. He has been weakly, but I do not know what his complaint has been.

            Since you asked me the question and used the word “palpitation” of his heart, it seems to me that I did hear it said while in the army that that was one thing that ailed him, but I don’t remember it definitely enough to be qualified to it.

            I think William Porter was sergeant when claimant was hurt. James Magill, now dead, was the orderly sergeant before Porter.

            I am not related to claimant nor interested in his claim for pension.

I have understood the questions asked me.  My answers are correctly written.

Thomas Lillard

********

Thomas Lillard was born into slavery in McMinn County. He was literate when he joined the USCHA and was promoted to Quartermaster Sergeant. After being mustered out, he married Mariah Iven in 1868 and they had eight children together. One died in infancy. Those surviving all received good educations and attended college.

Lillard was active in politics and held several offices in Maryville, Tennessee. He worked to establish St. Paul AME Zion Church and schools for black children in both Maryville and nearby Knoxville. He was also a businessman. The add below appeared in the local paper Maryville Times in 1882 and covered a variety of businesses.


Thomas Lillard's Store

Thomas Lillard’s Store Thu, Dec 14, 1882 – Page 4 · Blount County Democrat (Maryville, Tennessee) · Newspapers.com

He often appeared in the local papers, nine times out of ten about his ice cream parlor or politics. David Jarnigan’s daughters visit with Thomas Lillard’s wife appeared in The Maryville Times “Colored Notes” column in 1899.

lillard jarnegin visit

lillard jarnegin visit Sat, Jan 7, 1899 – Page 4 · The Maryville Times (Maryville, Tennessee) · Newspapers.com

I was surprised to find Thomas Lillard in my family tree, in a round about kind of way. His daughter Melinda was the first wife of Franklin Marion Kennedy. After Melinda died, leaving three small sons, Kennedy married Mayme Sherman. Mayme Sherman was the daughter of my great grandmother, Celia Rice Cleage Sherman’s second husband, William Roger Sherman.

Thomas Lillard died in August 1911, leaving two grown children and his wife to mourn his passing.

Katie Cleage’s Children

This is my 7th year participating in the A to Z Challenge. In the 2015 challenge, I wrote about the Cleages formerly enslaved on the plantations of Samuel and his sons Alexander and David Cleage of Athens, McMinn County, Tennessee. Most of the people in these posts are not related to me by blood or DNA, however my ancestors were enslaved on the same plantations with them.

This year I ordered the Civil War Pension files of the Cleage men who served in 1st Regiment, United States Colored Heavy Artillery (USCHA), during that war. Through these files I learned that their lives were much richer and more complex than census, death and other records can show. I am using the information from pension files and records that I found through the pension files for this years challenge.

During her hearing, Katie mentioned that she had two children at home – a boy born in 1883 and a girl born in 1886. She never gave their names, which made it almost impossible to locate them.

The children I have had since my husband died are both living. One of them will be seven the first of next June, and the other five on the first of next April. I have had sexual intercourse with but one man since my husband died, and he is the father of these two children. This man is a married man. He is a colored man, and has a wife living. He was not married at the birth of the first child. I had no intercourse with this man after the birth of the second child. I had the man arrested and tried to get him to support the children and every once in awhile he would bring me some money. This man’s name is John Washington and he lives here in Chattanooga. No, I was never married to Washington. I had him arrested for bastardy. I never lived with him at all. I cohabited with him just long enough to have these two children. They put him in jail when they arrested him; and I didn’t know what they did with him.  I swear positively that the only man I ever married was Philip Cleage. I have never got any bounty or back pay, but have made application for both.” Katie Cleage Deposition C, March 1, 1890.

I looked for a Cleage man born in 1883 and found Will Cleage. I first found him in the 1910 census. He was about 29, living with his wife, Lizzie and his mother-in-law Carrie Anderson. He lived in Hogan’s Alley and worked as a plasterer. His wife worked as a laundress and his mother-in-law as a maid. Lizzie had birthed two children and one was living, but not in that household and may have been born before their marriage.

He didn’t appear in any other censuses, although he did appear in the city directory. On June 6, 1928 Will Cleage, age 45, died in Chattanooga of unknown causes. His wife was the informant. The names and information about his parents was unknown.

In the 1900 census I found 13 year old Joella Cleage living as a border with the family of Jackson and Lucinda King. Joella was attending school. By 1910 she was not with the King family. I looked for a marriage record and a death record but found none.

Perhaps these were Katie’s children but there is no way to prove it. And thus ends the story of Katie Cleage as told through her Widow’s Pension File and supporting records.

********

This information is from Katie Cleage’s Widow Pension file and Ancestry.com.

For other posts in this series, click this link – Katie Cleage’s Pension Hearing.

In “I have had two children…” she talks about the children. In “She has always been steady.” Edmonia Charlton talks about the oldest child.

David JARNIGAN

This is my 7th year participating in the A to Z Challenge. In the 2015 challenge, I wrote about the Cleages formerly enslaved on the plantations of Samuel and his sons Alexander and David Cleage of Athens, McMinn County, Tennessee. Most of the people in these posts are not related to me by blood or DNA, however my ancestors were enslaved on the same plantations with them.

Last year I ordered the Civil War Pension files of the Cleage men who served in 1st Regiment, United States Colored Heavy Artillery (USCHA), during that war. Through these files I learned that their lives were much richer and more complex than census, death and other records can show. I am using the information from pension files and records that I found through the pension files for this years challenge.

*****

The entry below is taken from Katie Cleage’s file, you can read her complete widow’s pension file at this link. The ‘master’ she mentions below was Alexander Cleage.

Deposition S

21 June 1890

Katie Cleage

…There was a fellow around, David Johnakin coming to see me and master said I could not have any one but one of the home boys and I did not want one of them because I loved David, but master called me one day and told me he was going to make me and Philip marry. It was on a Sunday and a very warm day and master was laying at the far end of the porch and he got up and went and got some book and read something to us. I was very young and did not know and never did know what it was and then he told Philip he could just consider himself one of the married boys on the place. I disremember it has been so long, whether mistress was home or how it was. I just remember how old master made Philip and me have one another. …

Katie (her mark X) Cleage

After reading this, I wondered who David Johnakin was and what happened to him. There was no one who spelled their name ‘Johnakin’ in Athens, however, the person who transcribed Katie’s testimony spelled it like it sounded to them because Katie couldn’t write and didn’t know how to spell it. I did find “Jarnigan”.

Milton P. Jarnigan was a white attorney who lived in Athens, TN. He enslaved a small number of people. In the 1860 slave census (which gives no names for the enslaved, just age, sex and color) there was a 30 year old mulatto woman, a 15 year old mulatto woman, a 4 year old mulatto girl, a 4 year old mulatto male and a 2 year old black male that lived with him. He had no slave structure. He also rented out a 48 year old black woman and an 18 year old black man. This young man may have been David Jarnigan. He was rented to Dr. J. L. Atlee, the doctor Alexander Cleage on his place.

After freedom, in the 1870 census I found David Jarnigan living in Athens, Tennessee. His occupation was listed as “engineer”. I don’t know what that entailed. He was married to Kizzie. They had five children together before she died around 1879. The youngest child was born in 1878 and David was a widower in the 1880 census. The oldest daughter was missing from the household. She may have died or, at 15, she may have married and moved away. The oldest of the four children in the household was 12 and was literate. Their neighbors included Nelson Getty (of the bath houses) and Louis Evans, brother of Hillard Evans.

David moved his family to Knoxville and in 1883, he married Lizzie Evans and they had one more daughter the following year. David and his wives were unable to read or write. As adults, all of his children were literate. Over the years he worked as a laborer and a janitor. He owned his own home. After his 2nd wife died in 1917, he lived with his daughter and after she married, with her family. They remained in the home place.

David Jarnigan died of pneumonia. Exposure was a contributing factor. He was buried by Jarnigan and sons’ Funeral Home. This was an African American funeral home that still operates today. I do not know if they were related to David. He was buried in Daughter’s of Zion Cemetery, a black cemetery in Knoxville, Tennessee.

*****

Sarah IDENA Cleag

This is my 7th year participating in the A to Z Challenge. In the 2015 challenge, I wrote about the Cleages formerly enslaved on the plantations of Samuel and his sons Alexander and David Cleage of Athens, McMinn County, Tennessee. Most of the people in these posts are not related to me by blood or DNA, however my ancestors were enslaved on the same plantations with them.

This year I ordered the Civil War Pension files of the Cleage men who served in 1st Regiment, United States Colored Heavy Artillery (USCHA), during that war. Through these files I learned that their lives were much richer and more complex than census, death and other records can show. I am using the information from pension files and records that I found through the files for this years challenge.

Today I will share some information and a few newspaper articles about Sallie Idena Cleag, Abram and Amanda‘s only surviving daughter.

Abram Cleag answers question about his marriage and children. Click to enlarge.

Sarah Idena Cleage was born in 1876 near Austin, Texas. She was named after her grandmother Sallie Cleage Marsh. She learned to read and write, something her parents never did, and moved to Los Angeles, California with them in 1888 when she was twelve years old. Two years later, at 14 she married Richard Pierce, a house painter nine years older than she was. They had a daughter, Avalon, when she was 18 and a year later she gave birth to a stillborn son.

The family continued to live with Abram and Amanda. Their relationship was a troubled one, more than troubled. Twice husband Richard took shots at men Sarah was intimately involved with. They were finally divorced. Sarah left Avalon to be raised by her parents and went to San Francisco, where she died in the earthquake of 1906.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

The articles are from newspapers.com

HiILLARD – “I always sign my name Evans”

This is my 7th year participating in the A to Z Challenge. In the 2015 challenge, I wrote about the Cleages formerly enslaved on the plantations of Samuel and his sons Alexander and David Cleage of Athens, McMinn County, Tennessee. Most of the people in these posts are not related to me by blood or DNA, however my ancestors were enslaved on the same plantations with them.

This year I ordered the Civil War Pension files of the Cleage men who served in 1st Regiment, United States Colored Heavy Artillery (USCHA), during that war. Through these files I learned that their lives were much richer and more complex than census, death and other records can show. I am using the information from pension files and records that I found through the files for this years challenge.

Today we have Hillard, Charles A. Cleage‘s son giving testimony in step-mother Martha’s widow’s pension file.

Page 1 of Hillard’s testimony. Click to enlarge.

Deposition D

18 February 1909
Athens, McMinn, Tenn.

Appeared: Hilyard Evans

I am  56 years old. Laborer. P.O. Athens, McMinn Co. Tenn.  I am sometimes known as Hilyard Cleage, but I always sign my name Evans. Chas. A. Cleage was my father. My mother was Amy Cleage.  My mother was Amy Cleage, my father’s first wife. I remember when my mother died. I was small. Mother died in Nov. 1859. She died Nov. 7, 1859. We have an old record of the birth of my brother Phillip and he was born April 8, 1859 and I remember that he lacked one day being seven months old when mother died.

About a year, or near as I can remember, after mother died father married Martha Keith. I think they were married the next summer after mother died. I did not see them married. I was living with my grandfather then, but I remember that my grandfather took me to where they were on the Sunday after they were married and I ate dinner with them. I never  heard of my father being married except to my mother and to Martha. Martha, I remember was only a girl when she and father were married and I know she was never married before. I have lived with them and near them ever since they were married and I know that father and Martha lived together as man and wife until he died last June. They were never separated or divorced. She has never remarried since his death.

Yes, I was at my mother’s funeral and know she was dead before father and Martha were married.

I hear read my affidavits B.J. 4 and 6 signed Hilyard Evans and Hilyard Cleage and both are exact and were signed by me or rather sworn to by me and the two names are explained by the fact that I am sometimes known as Cleage but call myself Evans. Both statements are correct. I have no interest in this case. I cannot write. I have understood the questions asked me and have heard above read. I am correctly recorded.

Hilyard (his X mark) Evans
Deponent

Witness
Clifford Shoffeitt
No other available.

********

People often think that enslaved people didn’t have surnames. They did. During slavery they were might be used by the white community and then again, they might not. In some probate records the enslaved were differentiated by adding a last name if there were two people with the same first name.

After slavery people sometimes used the name of the last enslaver, or they might pick the name of a parent instead. This makes it difficult to trace families as people may use one name in the 1870 census and another in the 1880 census. Connections can be made if households remain together so first names can be checked from one census to the next.

Hillard (Hilyard) Evans was the son of Charles A. Cleage, whose mother was Julie Ann Evans. The children of Charles A. Cleage and his first wife Amy Cleage, went by the last name of “Evans”. The children from his second marriage went by Cleage. Hillard’s death record says “Cleage”. His wife’s says “Evans”.

George Cleage X 2

This is my 7th year participating in the A to Z Challenge. In the 2015 challenge, I wrote about the Cleages formerly enslaved on the plantations of Samuel and his sons Alexander and David Cleage of Athens, McMinn County, Tennessee. Most of the people in these posts are not related to me by blood or DNA, however my ancestors were enslaved on the same plantations with them.

This year I ordered the Civil War Pension files of the Cleage men who served in 1st Regiment, United States Colored Heavy Artillery (USCHA), during that war. Through these files I learned that their lives were much richer and more complex than census, death and other records can show. I am using the information from pension files and records that I found through the files for this years challenge.

Note in the pension file, where both applications reside.

In 2015 I wrote about George Cleage. I thought I had his life figured out. He had served in the United States Colored Troops and had applied for a pension. I sent for his pension along with the others, thinking I would find out more about him. And I did.

When the pension file arrived, it contained the applications of two different men. One George Cleage applied from Athens, Tennessee in 1893. Another George Cleag applied from Corinth, Mississippi in 1894. At first I thought that two George Cleages had served, however there was only one military record so only one of them had served.

From the military records of George Cleage. He is described as “complexion yellow; eyes black; hair black. Click to enlarge

The quote below is from testimony given by Amanda Cleage during her widow’s pension hearing in 1908, gave the names her husband, Abram Cleage’s brothers and sisters.

“The soldier had four brothers, Isaac, Charley, George, Jeff and Jerome Cleag and two sisters Kitty and Sarah Cleag.” Amanda Cleag

This was the George that applied from Athens, TN. He lived his whole life in Athens. He filed his pension application but never followed up on it. He did not appear on the Veteran’s Census of 1890. He was described as “black” on all the U.S. Censuses he appeared in. On the other hand, the military record to the left, describes George Cleage as having a “yellow” complexion.

When Sallie Cleage Marsh gave testimony in Katie Cleage‘s Widow’s Pension case, she mentioned her son George Cleage, who lived in Corinth, Mississippi.

Philip slept in my house upstairs, until he went in the army. He slept with my oldest boy. My boys name was George Cleage, I don’t know whether he is living or not. The last I heard of him he was at Corinth, Mississippi.” Sallie Cleage Marsh

That was the second George and the one that I didn’t discover until I received the pension file. This George appeared in the Veteran’s Census of 1890 living in Alcorn County, Mississippi. He was always designated as “mulatto” in the census records. He filed all of the papers for his file and continued to file, including information that he had an arm amputated because of a war injury. He and his lawyer pursued his case until 1914.

********

General Affidavit

State of Mississippi County of Alcorn. Personally appeared before me a Justice of the peace within for the County and state aforesaid George Clegg aged 52 years, a resident of the town of Hightown, County of Alcorn State of Mississippi, who being duly sworn according to law, deoses and says:

That he served in the United States being in Co. I First (col.) Artilery and that he was shot through the hand when on a march between Greenville and Ashville N.C. and about six months afterwards was struck by a piece of shell near Athens Tenn. and Dr. Elic Zander (Alexander) taken his arm off at Athens Tenn.

This is to certify that I requested J. R. Bumpass to write the above in the presents of B. G. Taylor and R. C. Cleagg. I was not prompted in the matter by any other person and did not ??? sign a previously prepared statement.

I further declare that I have no interest in said case and am not concerned in its prosecution.

George (his X mark Clegg Affiant

Attest:
B.G. Taylor
R.C. Clegg (note – George Cleag’s adult son)

******

I pick George Cleag from Hightower, Alcorn, Mississippi as the true veteran. Neither man ever received a pension.


Frequent Ablutions – a news item

This is my 7th year participating in the A to Z Challenge. In the 2015 challenge, I wrote about the Cleages formerly enslaved on the plantations of Samuel and his sons Alexander and David Cleage of Athens, McMinn County, Tennessee. Most of the people in these posts are not related to me by blood or DNA, however my ancestors were enslaved on the same plantations with them.

This year I ordered the files of the Cleage men who served in Co. I, 1st Regiment, United States Colored Heavy Artillery (USCHA), during the Civil War. Through these files I learned that their lives were much richer and more complex than census, death and other records can show. I am using the information from pension files and records that I found through the files for this years challenge.


“Clint Cleage and Nelson Gettys, two enterprising gentlemen from Africa, believing in the efficacy of frequent ablutions, have each erected a Bathing House at this place and furnished them in good style, where they will be pleased to wait upon all who may wish to enjoy the “health-inducing shower.” Athens Post, June 2, 1854.

I found this little item while looking for articles about Cleages. I found no other mention of the bathing house and have no idea how it worked. After freedom both men operated various small scale businesses. Clint Cleage was Amanda Cleage’s father and also the father of Addie Cleage, Edmund Sherman‘s wife. I have a bill of sale for him to David Cleage which you can read in this post from the 2015 A-Z “Dick” Cleage. Both Clint Cleage and Nelson Gettys were enslaved at the time of their enterprise.

Clinton Cleage was Sallie Cleage Marsh’s husband. She gave birth to 14 children. He appears on the death certificates of those who died after death records were kept. He also appeared in the bill of sale mentioned above and this newspaper clipping. His daughter Amanda testified at her Widow’s claim hearing that he had a little restaurant in Chattanooga where she was married on her way West. And he appears below in Fanny Cleage Turk’s widow’s pension application. He appears in no census records, no death record of his own, and no directories. The last record he appears in was dated 1866. He must have died before 1870, the first census taken that he would have appeared in as a free man.

Clinton Cleage signed his mark attesting that Fanny Cleage Turk was who she claimed to be. Cleage is spelled three different ways in this document.

Widow’s Application for Army Pension

State of Tennessee County of McMinn

On this 7th day of July A.D. 1866, personally appeared before me Clerk of the County Court, A court of Record, within and for the County and State aforesaid, Mrs Fanny Turk a resident of the town of Athens in the State of Tennessee aged forty one years, who, being first duly sworn according to law, doth on her oath make the following declaration, in order to obtain the benefit of the provision made by the act of Congress approved (blank) That she is the widow of Isaac Turk, deceased who was a drummer in Company “A” commanded by Captain A. B. Elliotts in the 1st Regiment of U.S.C. Heavy Artillery commanded by Colonel John E. McGowan in the war of 1861 who died whilst the service aforesaid, at Knoxville in the State of Tennessee, on or about the 16th day of June A.D. 1864, from effects of disease in the service, while in the line of duty. She further declares that she was married to the said Isaac Turk in the town of Athens in the State of Tennessee on the 1st day of August in the year 1864; and that her name before her said marriage was Fanny Clage that her husband, the aforesaid Isaac Turk died on the day mentioned, and that she has remained a widow ever since that period, as will more fully appear by reference to the proof herewith accompanying or to be hereafter filed. She also declares that she had not in any manner, been engaged in, or aided or abetted, the rebellion in the United States. She irrevocably appoints A.J. Johnson of Knoxville Tennessee her attorney, with full power of substitution and revocation on his part in her said behalf, and authorizes him to receive the Pension Certificate when issued. Her Post Office is at Athens in the County of McMinn in the State of Tennessee. That her domicile or place of abode is near the Court House in Athens, Tennessee, and on the south side of the street from the Court House. That she has no children by her late husband Isaac Turk. She also states on her oath that Isaac Turk was a slave and remained as such until after the 19th day of April 1861.

Fanny (her X mark) Turk (applicant)

Attest: A. J. Ivans. Henry Rowley

Sworn to, subscribed and acknowledged before me, the day and year first above written, and also personally appeared Henry Rowley and Clinton Clage residents of the town of Athens in the State of Tennessee persons whom I certify to be responsible and entitled to credit, and who, being by me duly sworn, say that they were present and saw Mrs. Fanny Turk make her mark to the foregoing declaration; and they further swear that they have every reason to believe, from the appearance of the applicant and their acquaintance with her, that she is the identical person she represents herself to be, and that they have no interest in the prosecution of this claim. They further state that the foregoing declaration and this affivadit were read over to, fully explained and understood by them before the signing and execution thereof.

Attest: A. J. Ivans.
Two Witnesses:
Henry Rowley
Clinton (his X mark) Clage

Sworn to and subscribed before me, this 7th day of July A.D. 1866, and I hereby…..

******

I wondered why I had no comments and checked and somehow I had turned of “allow comments”! It’s back on now.


EDMOND Shermon -“Charles A. Cleage was married twice.”

This is my 7th year participating in the A to Z Challenge. In the 2015 challenge, I wrote about the Cleages formerly enslaved on the plantations of Samuel and his sons Alexander and David Cleage of Athens, McMinn County, Tennessee. Most of the people in these posts are not related to me by blood or DNA, however my ancestors were enslaved on the same plantations with them.

This year I ordered the files of the Cleage men who served in Co. I, 1st Regiment, United States Colored Heavy Artillery (USCHA), during the Civil War. Through these files I learned that their lives were much richer and more complex than census, death and other records can show. I am using the information from pension files and records that I found through the files for this years challenge.

Below is testimony given by Edmond Sherman in the widow’s pension hearing for Charles A. Cleage‘s widow, Martha Kieth Cleage.

U.S. Colored Troops 1st Heavy Artillery Regiment, Knoxville Tennessee. I like to think the men I studied are pictured here.

*****

Deposition F
Case of Martha Cleage

18 February, 1909
Athens, Tennessee.

Edmond Sherman

I am about 74 years old. Laborer, P.O. Athens Tennessee. I have known Martha Cleage and Charles A. Cleage ever since Charles was young and ever since Martha was a baby. Charles A. Cleage was married twice. His first wife was Amy. He and Amy were living together when I first knew him. Amy Cleage died some years before the war, but I don’t remember what year it was. I was at her funeral and know she died some years before the war.

A year or two after Amy died, Charles A. Cleage married Martha Kieth. I was not at their wedding but I know they were married for I heard of it at the time and have often been at their home since and know that they lived together and recognized each other as husband and wife until he died.

I know that Martha Keith was never married before she was married to Charles A. Cleage for I had known her from her babyhood and she was young when she was married. I know that Martha has never been married but the one time and if Charles A. Cleage was ever married before he was married to Amy, I never heard of it, though I did not know him until after he and Amy were married. But I know that he was never married after Amy died except to this claimant Martha Cleage.

Charles A. Cleage belonged to Co A 1 U.S.C.H.A. and I belonged to Co. C of the same regiment. I have lived near Charles A. and Martha Cleage ever since they were married and I know they lived together until his death and that she has not remarried since his death.

I have no interest in this case. I have understood and heard above read and am correctly recorded. I cannot write.

Edmond (his X mark) Sherman
Deponent

Wittness
Chifford Shoffeitt
No other available