Home Library 1931

Bonzo, MV and Doris Graham. 1932. Backyard of Theodore, Detroit,MI

In my grandmother Fannie’s scrapbook, I found two library cards made by my mother, Doris and her older sister, Mary Virginia in 1931.  My mother was 7 and Mary Virginia was 11.  There is no book listed on my mother’s card but Mary Virginia names “The Children’s Story Hour” on hers.  I wonder what other books they borrowed and lent or if this was a one time happening. I did notice that Mary Virginia returned her book on time.

This photograph was taken later that year in their backyard. Howard died of scarlet fever the following year. He was two and a half.

"sepia saturday 119"
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Poppy’s Garden 1953

 When I was growing up we spent Saturdays at my mother’s parents house, along with my cousins Dee Dee and Barbara and later, Marilyn.  When the weather was good we spent it outside in the backyard. There was a vegetable garden, lots of flowers and space for anything we could think of.

In the summer of 1953 I turned 7 in August. Dee Dee turned 10 in September. Barbara had already turned 6 in January. Pearl was 4.5 until December.  Poppy was 64. He would retire in December of that year when he turned 65. The yard was surrounded on all sides by a wooden fence that made it feel like a world apart.  In the photographs I can see the big house across the alley and a factory on Warren but when I was playing in the yard I didn’t much notice those things.

"collards"
In the collards – Pearl, Barbara, Kris with Poppy

Pearl and I are holding dolls and I have a purse I remember getting when we lived in Springfield, MA. A young lady who might have been the church secretary had a grown up purse just like it.  It was brown leather and had a golden metal clasp that turned to open and close. Looks like collards with the poison Poppy sprinkled to kill the cabbage worms. I think I see a little cabbage butterfly holding on to the underside one of the leaves.

"geni of the magic carpet"
Geni of the magic carpet go, go, go.

I am standing up at the table where Barbara and I are making something. Dee Dee is sitting on the arm of the swing. She was probably taking Pearl somewhere on the magic carpet (aka swing) the rider would have to say “Geni of the magic carpet, go, go, go!” and then Dee Dee would take you someplace magic.  She would tell you where it was when it was time for you to get out of the swing. Dee Dee was in charge of all the magic.  Each of our households had a little, invisible fairy that lived in the mud castle we built and rebuilt at the foot of the apple tree. Their’s was named Lucy and ours was Pinky. She also kept a box full of prizes that she gave out at appropriate times. I remember packages of soda crackers, prizes from cereal boxes and pieces of chewing gum.

"Pearl and Kris with saw horses"
With our horses.

Here Pearl and I are standing on the grassy part of the yard. The flowers are in full bloom behind us with the vegetables back behind them. We often made the saw horses into mounts. I see my purse over there on the grass to the left.

Greens in my Idlewild garden 15 yars ago.

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I have participated in Sepia Saturday for so many years that it is hard for me to come up with new photos when the same sorts of prompts come around. This week I am recycling a post from 2012.

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Fannie Mae Turner Graham Obituary – 1888 – 1974

Grandmother Clock
From top, clockwise: My grandmother Fannie in the 1950s. My grandmother Fannie was 4 holding her hat. Her mother Jennie holding Daisy. Her father, Howard Turner had been killed. 1894. My grandfather Mershell pointing at Fannie about 1917. My grandmother holding my mother Doris up, 1923. My grandmother in the back, her mother in the front holding baby Howard, on the left my mother Doris and on the right my aunt MV, 1930. My grandmother with her daughters MV and Doris, about 1934. My grandparents Mershell and Fannie (Turner) Graham, about 1945.

 

On Being 12 & 70

My maternal grandmother, Fannie Mae Turner Graham, was born 129 years ago  on March 12, 1888, in Lowndes County, Alabama. She died on August 13, 1974 in Detroit, Michigan.  You can read more about my grandmother in this post  Fannie Mae Turner Part 1.

1958 augkris&fan
I was 12 and my grandmother was 70.  1958 in my grandmother’s backyard.

I am the same age as my grandmother was when we posed together on her back steps.  Looking at the photograph below of me and my granddaughter made me think about the endless circle and the passage of time.

My granddaughter was 12 and I was a  a few months shy of 70. 2016, we were at the beach in St. Petersburg, Florida and the water was freezing!

 

 

Through the Years

"Jennie Allen Turner funeral"
In 1892 my great grandfather Howard Turner was shot to death at a bar-b-que. This is a photograph of his wife and children in mourning. Twenty six year old  Jennie Allen Turner holds two year old Daisy Pearl Turner while four year old Fannie Mae Turner stands beside her.  Fannie was my maternal grandmother.
"Jennie Allen Turner and Daughters"
Jennie and daughters in Montgomery, Alabama. Fannie, Jennie and Alice in the front. Daisy in the back. About 1916.
"Daisy, Jennie and Fannie"
Daisy Turner, Jennie Turner and Fannie Turner Graham standing outside of my grandparent’s fence for a photograph, probably on a Sunday after attending service at Plymouth Congregational Church.
My grandmother, Fannie Turner Graham and my oldest daughter, Jilo. Detroit, 1972.

 

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Thanksgiving At My Grandparent’s

"Thanksgiving at the Grahams"

This was Thanksgiving at my Graham Grandparents house in 1963, east side Detroit.  My grandfather cuts the turkey.  My mother sits on the right.  I am on the left, my sister next to me.  Wonder where my Aunt and cousins were?  Usually there were four more around the table.  How we all fit I do not know, but we did.  The house is gone now. Everybody in this photo except my sister and I are dead.  We are almost as old as my grandparents were.

Barbara on a Bike

My cousin Barbara on a bike around 1949. Her older sister Dee Dee is holding her up.
“1949  Dee Dee 5 1/2 and Barbara 16 months.”  On the porch of their 4 family flat on McDougall and Hunt Streets in Detroit.
The Elkins Family in 1949. Mershell and Fannie Graham's backyard.
The Elkins Family in 1949. In my grandparent’s (Mershell and Fannie Graham) backyard on Theodore.

My cousins  lived upstairs in a 4-family flat on the corner of McDougall and Hunt Street on the East Side of Detroit. Their mother, Mary V. Graham Elkins, was my mother’s sister. She worked as a secretary at the County Building.

Their father, Frank “Bud” Elkins, graduated with honors from Cass Technical high school in the late 1930s. As an electrician, he tried to join the Electricians Union but as a black man was barred.  He set up his own shop as an independent Electrician.  He drove a truck with “Elkins Electric Company” on the side. I remember riding in it a few times. There were not seats for all and we sat on the floor.

mcdougall-hunt
Their building is gone, but it looked very similar to these houses that still stand on that corner.
bird-view-mcdougall
A birds eye view of the corner of McDougall and Hunt streets. The house was on one of the now vacant corners. Both of these photos are from Google Maps.

Some other stories about this family:

Remembering Barbara Lynn Elkins

Old County Building and Mary V Elkins

The Frank and Mary Elkins Family in the 1940 Census

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On The Way Home From Work – 1943

poppy sidewalk
My grandfather, Mershell C. Graham. “On the way home from work 1943”

poppy_the_worker_poemFrom my grandmother Fannie’s scrapbook. “That’s my Shell” 1-25-59.

River Rouge Plant in Dearborn, Michigan.
River Rouge Plant in Dearborn, Michigan.

My grandfather, Mershell C. Graham came to Detroit from Montgomery, Alabama in 1917. He worked on the steamer “Eastern States” as a steward for awhile and then as a stockman in the library at the Ford River Rouge Plant in Dearborn, Michigan until he retired in the 1950s. Although he had a car, he did not drive to work, he caught the bus, first walking to the bus stop and then riding over an hour to get to work.

Unknown Man Walking
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Belle Isle 1947

deedee & MV at scott statueHere is a photograph of my cousin Dee Dee and her mother Mary V. Graham Elkins taken on Belle Isle in 1947. At first I thought the fuzzy black spot on the lower right was an ink spot, but when I looked closer I saw it was a little dog.  Dee Dee is looking down at it a bit apprehensively.

There are several family photographs taken around the statue of  James Scott, who donated the money for the Scott fountain and I grew up going to Belle Isle and seeing the fountain in all it’s glory but I never knew anything about James Scott until I was working on this post and found a piece on Historic Detroit that begins “The Scott Memorial Fountain is the jewel of Belle Isle – and a monument to a womanizing scoundrel.” and gets worse from there.  Click the link for the full article.

 

James Scott statue and fountain - Detroit Michigan
Mikerussell at en.wikipedia
A picture of the fountain with the James Scott statue.  You can see a short video of the workings of the fountain underneath here “Underneath Belle Isle…”

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Ancestry.com, A Speculative Circle and Grandfather Mershell’s DNA

lunceford long connctions chart
A chart showing the other lines and the generations between me and my 4th great grandmother and the Long/Jacksons.
My grandfather, Mershell Graham.
My grandfather, Mershell Graham.

Ancestry.com has a new feature called “speculative circles”. They take groups of people that share DNA and who you do not have any matches in your tree.  They rate the DNA links from “emerging” (not enough people in the group yet.) to “very strong” which means that  the reality of a connection is high. My sister was recently tested and received several “speculative circles.” Most of them were “weak” links. I had also never heard of the people in the trees, nor could I see where we might match up. With one circle, however, there were strong links with 8 out of the 12 people in the circle.

My grandfather Mershell Graham’s sister Annie (Click for more information about Annie) and her children appear in the 1910 US census in Elmore county working as servants for Oscar and Emma (Jackson) Barron .  They were there in the 1920 census and until Emma died. Emma was the daughter of Absolom Jackson, a large slave holder in Autauga County (In 1866 Elmore County was formed from part of Autauga).

Who are they?
On the end it says “13/2/18 on Barrons farm.” I think some of these are Annie’s children.

I began to think that my family may have been slaves on Absolom Jackson’s plantation. My grandfather was born in 1888 in Coosada, Elmore County, Alabama.  His mother’s name was Mary Jackson.  About 15 years ago a Jackson descendant sent me a copy of the 1832 Will of James Jackson in which he divided up the slaves between two of his sons (Absolom and Crawford) and his son-in-law (Lunceford Long).  1832 was before Mary Jackson (my grandfather’s mother) or her parents were have been born. All of James Jackson’s adult children had large numbers of slaves that, of course, weren’t mentioned in that will. Due to these reasons, I was not surprised that I recognized no names.

I started a tree for James Jackson and his family on Ancestry.com. I do that for any people I think might have enslaved any branch of my family.  I use the information to look for wills and bills of sale, anything that might have my ancestors listed.

The circle. The grey lines are between various other circles but not ours.
The circle. The grey lines are between various other circles but not ours.  The orange ones share DNA with us.

All of this is leading up to the circle. We share Lunceford Long’s and his wife Nancy Daniel Jackson Long’s DNA with descendants who have a paper trail.  Lunceford (1797 to 1857) and his wife Nancy are the nearest common ancestors that all of the lines in the circle share. They are the 6th generation back from me. This means that we have DNA from both Lunceford and Nancy.  How could this happen?

At first I thought that meant that one of the sons had a child with an enslaved woman. But the sons are not the closest ancestor, Longford and Nancy are. I believe it means that Lunceford Crawford Long had a baby with an as yet unnamed enslaved woman?  And that said unnamed woman was related to Nancy Daniel Jackson so that they shared DNA.

I take all this to mean that I was right and the Jackson’s did own my ancestors.  Now to look for more wills and other records that might show names I can recognize and hopefully place in family groups.