Uncle Louis Plays the Organ

Louis playing the organ in the house on Atkinson while Hugh reads.

 In keeping with today’s Sepia Saturday theme, I offer my uncle, Dr. Louis Cleage playing an organ.  Louis had many talents and interests.  He spoke fluent Spanish and visited Mexico frequently.  He drove the fastest speed boat on Lake Idlewild in his day.  He had a short wave radio in the basement and as WAFM talked to the world.  He also was wrote “Smoke Rings” for the Illustrated News during the early 1960s.  He had a wicked sense of humor and a laugh unlike any other I have heard.  And I’m sure I’m leaving out half of it.

Louis began practicing medicine with his father at the Cleage Clinic on Lovett in the 1940s and continued practicing there until 1974. He closed the doors and walked away after being held up numerous times for prescription drugs.

Louis gives a polio shot to Harold Keneau. 1956.
Cleage Clinic as it looks today.

This organ also featured in a popular Sepia Saturday offering of my mother “My Mother – 1952“.

For more Sepia Saturday offerings featuring organs and other things click here.

Airplanes in the Album – About 1921

This week’s Sepia Saturday features an old airplane.  I have two photographs of a small, old plane in my Cleage collection.  Unfortunately there is nothing written on the back of either photo and I can’t recognize anybody in the photo for sure, although the baby in the top photo couldbe my Aunt Barbara.     I don’t know where the photo was taken or when.  Here is a photograph of my family standing in a field in Detroit, 1920.

My grandfather Albert Cleage holding daughter Barbara. Next to him my father, Albert Jr. In front of him, Henry.  In front of all Louis and Hugh.  Standing alone to the right is my great grandmother, Celia Rice Cleage Sherman.  And I just noticed the background looks similar…car, trees, etc.

For more fabulous photos of old airplanes and other fascinating Sepia Saturday subjects click here.

Shell and Fan 1958 and 1941 Sepia Saturday #73

“Shell and Fan under our apple tree
6638 Theodore St. summertime 1958″

Their backyard was full of flowers, as you can see, with a bird bath in the middle.  My grandfather is holding an apple off of  the apple tree just off camera to the right.  My grandmother made wonderful applesauce with those apples and lots of cinnamon.  The vegetable garden was behind the flowers.  They were married on June 11, 1919 in Montgomery Alabama and came directly to Detroit.  Both were 70 years old in this photo and had been married for 39 years.

This is one of my favorite photographs of the two of them together.  I like the peeling and the white out and even the scotch tape.  This one was taken on the side of their house.  If we could look in the basement window on the left, we would see my grandfather’s shop which smelled of machine oil and wood and basement and faintly of the pine-sol he sprinkled around. “Lizzie”, the model T Ford is behind them.  It was taken 2 February 1941.  I bet it was Sunday.

To read my grandfather’s proposal letter to my grandmother, click here.  For other Sepia Saturday photographs of older couples and who knows what else this week, click here.

Time Passages – Sepia Saturday #72

Uri – Me – Phil – Miriam – Me – Miriam – Miriam – Miriam
Jilo, Tyra- Shirley, Jim, Ife, Jilo & Ife – Me, Jim, Ife, Jilo, Ife – Jim, Ife, Jilo, Tyra

While looking through a box of photographs the other day, I came across some negatives from the 1970s.

The first strip was taken in 1970, when I was a revolutionary librarian at the Black Conscience Library in Detroit.  I was pregnant with my first daughter, Jilo.  Uri grew up to be an engineer.  Phil later confessed to being a snitch, Miriam is Tyra’s mother.  I was 23.

The second strip was made in 1974 in Atlanta.  Shirley was visiting from Detroit, as was Tyra.  Jim, my husband, was a printer with the Atlanta Voice.  I was at home full time.  Ife, my second daughter, was about to turn one year old.  Jilo was 3.  Tyra was 2.  I was 26.

Although this is not a clock, which was the theme for this weeks Sepia Saturday, it does reflect time.  You can see more timely entries here.

Easter Memories – Sepia Saturday #71

Henry, Toddy, Albert Sr & little Gladys
Henry’s back, Hugh looking out of car.
Kris ((me) and my sister, Pearl at our Cleage grandparents house with our “mashies” and Easter baskets. 1953

Memories of Easter – dying eggs in my Graham grandparent’s basement on Easter Saturday with my sister and cousins.  Easter baskets with jelly beans and chocolate eggs and one big chocolate Easter bunny.  Tiny fuzzy chicks.    The year someone gave us 4 or 5 real chicks that died one by one in their box in the basement.  Sugar eggs decorated with wavy blue, pink and yellow icing and a little scene inside.  Reading the book “The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes”, new clothes, going to church. Going by the Grandmother Cleage’s after church.  What I don’t remember is gathering for a big Easter meal like we did for Thanksgiving and Christmas.  I wonder why?

I have some Easter hats here and although you can’t see them clearly, my sister and I are holding some stuffed bunnies.  To see other Easter or bunny Sepia Saturday offerings click here.

More on the Exciting Vincents

Recently I received a phone call from my cousin Jacqui.  We met by phone several years ago.  My great grandmother Jennie was her grandmother Willie’s sister.  Jacqui sent me photographs of ancestors I did not have – one of Eliza (for whom this blog is named) and of two of Eliza’s children – Anna and Ransom.  Earlier this month, Jacqui sent me a packet of information about her father’s side of the family.  Included was this photograph of her father, Ubert Conrad Vincent and also some of his parents.  Read more about the Tulanes and Vincents in these posts.  Hitting the Google JackpotNaomi Tulane’s Engagement PhotographWillie Allen TulaneVictor and Willie Allen Tulane.   Victor, Willie and Children’s Graves.  And more.  I had no idea I had done so many posts on this branch of the family.

Anyway, back to the phone call from cousin Jacqui.  She mentioned that she did not know the names of her grandparent’s parents.  Of course I decided to see what I could find. The information I started with was from a Power Point Program Jaqui used for a presentation about her father.

Andrew B. Vincent

Rev. Andrew B. Vincent

  • Born on Cherokee Territory in Ashville, NC
  • Professor at Shaw University.
  • Later became Dean – School of Theology
  • Received an honorary Doctoral Degree on his retirement in 1904.

Cora P. Exum

  • *Born in Wilson, NC
  • *Professor at Shaw University
  • *Taught Domestic Science
  • *She had 14 children.

I first looked at Ancestry.com and found Andrew and Cora Vincent in Raleigh, North Carolina in the 1900 and 1910.  In both of these censuses everyone was listed as “black” with self and parents born in North Carolina and they were enumerated in Raleigh Ward 3, Wake, North Carolina.

In 1900 the household included

  • Andrew D Vincent  43
  • Cora P Vincent        31
  • Mable Vincent         13
  • Ubert C Vincent         9
  • Cora P Vincent           6
  • Ruth E Vincent           4
  • Baby Vincent              3/12

Andrew and Cora were married in 1884 and had been married for 16 years.  She had birthed 8 children and 5 were living.  His occupation was listed as missionary.  They were all identified as black.

In 1910  the household included

  • Andrew B Vincent  50
  • Cora P Vincent        42
  • Ubrot C Vincent      19
  • Cora Vincent           16
  • Ruth Vincent           14
  • Alfred B Vincent     10
  • Reba G Vincent         6
  • Burnice Vincent        2
  • Alice Hardin  20 (listed as a servant)

Rev. Andrew Vincent was working as a missionary for a Sunday school.

In the 1919 Raleigh, NC City Directory, Andrew, Cora and Cora Pearl Vincent were all listed as teachers.

In 1920 the family was enumerated in New York, New York. Andrew was not ennumerated there.  Perhaps he was out of town on an Evangelistic tour when the census people came to the house because he is back by the 1925 census.
Household Members:
Name                      Age
Cora Pearl Vincent   50
Ubert C Vincent       27
Pearl Vincent            24
Reba Vincent            15
Bernice Vincent        11
Claudia Foy              36
Hebda Vincent           9
Cora was listed as the married head of the household.  Ubert was a doctor at Bellevue Hospital.  The whole household was identified as black and born in North Carolina.

In the 1925 New York State Census, the family is ennumerated in New York, New York.  All were identified as “C” colored.  Housework meant Cora and Pearl were doing their own housework in their own home.

Household Members
   Name                      Age   Occupation

  • Andrew Vincent    67      minister
  • Cora Vincent         45       housework
  • Pearl Vincent        20       housework
  • Bernice Vincent    16       at school
  • Heba Vincent        14       at school

Next I went to Family Search.  I searched for Andrew Vincent and didn’t find who I was looking for, so I put in Cora P. Exum. The first couple to come up were A.B. Vincent and Cora P. Exum for 26 July 1884.  The marriage took place in Goldsboro Twp., Wayne, NC.  There were no parents listed for Cora but A.B.’s were listed as H. Vincent and N. Vincent.  Both were identified as black.

Back to Ancestry.com.  I looked for H. Vincent and found some John H. Vincents in the 1870 census and decided to just look for all the Vincents in N.C. in 1870.  There were over 8,000.  On the first page I found a Nettie Vincent married to Henry Vincent.  I believe they got Nellie’s age wrong as in the 1880 census she and Henry are the same age. Relationships are not given in the 1870 census.

The household included:
Name                    Age
Henry Vincent      35
Nellie Vincent       54
Brown Vincent      12
Phillip Vincent      13
June Enox                2
Abz Bird                    2

Henry was listed as mulatto.  The rest of the family was listed as black.  Henry was a wagon maker.  Nellie was keeping house and Brown was at home.  I know that people often went by their middle names so this seems a good possibility for Andrew’s family.  It would help to know what his middle name was.I found Henry and Nellie Vincent in the 1880 census.  They lived alone.  They were both enumerated as being 50 years old.  Henry was a farmer.

To confuse matters a bit, there was a 60 year old Caroline Vincent living one house over from Henry with her 24 year old son, Brown Vincent. In the 1870 census there was a Caroline Vincent and a house full of Vincents, including a 14 year old Brown Vincent living in the same area as Henry, Nellie and our Brown. I think that this Brown is Caroline’s son and not Andrew Brown Vincent, who should be at Shaw University by that time.

Today I found a death certificate for Phillip Vincent (remember him from the 1870 census above?)  His parents are listed as Henry and Caroline Vincent with the informant being Phillip’s wife.  Perhaps she got the name wrong?  Perhaps Henry had two families and two sons named “Brown.”

I was unable to find Cora Pearl Exum in any census before her marriage record of 1884. Some time ago, I had access to the ProQuest Historical Newspaper Collection and I was able to find and download, many items related to the Tulane/Vincent family.  I finally remembered this and looking through them, I was able to find an obituary for both Andrew and Cora Vincent.   The Chicago Defender, national edition May 28, 1927.  Obituary 2 “May 28, 1927 Physician’s Father Dies.  Andrew Brown Vincent of 116 W. 130th St., father of Dr. U. Conrad Vincent, well known physician of 209 W 135th St. died at his late residence Saturday morning.  The funeral was held Wednesday evening from Abyssinia Baptist church.  “

Ta tum!  His middle name was BROWN!  Today, I goggled Andrew Brown Vincent – Shaw University and found :
VINCENT, ANDREW . . . . . Pleasant Grove, N. C. on page 9 as a student in Shaw University’s Normal Department in the 1876 – 1877 school catalogue.     I also found an ebook  History of the American Negro with an entry several pages long on Andrew Brown Vincent, mother’s name Nellie Vincent.  Much interesting information.

Cora’s obituary reads as follows, with, unfortunately, no mention of parents or siblings.
The New York Amsterdam News June 29, 1932. pg 11

Hold Last Rites of Mrs. Vincent
Mother of Physician Dies at Home Here – Husband Was N.C. Educator
The body of Mrs. Cora Pearl Vincent, 55, who succumbed June 21 at the residence of her son, Dr. Ubert Conrad Vincent, 251 West 138th street was buried Friday beside that of her husband in the family plot at Woodlawn Cemetery.

Three pastors officiated at the funeral services the same afternoon at Abyssiania Baptist Church.  They were the Rev. A. Clayton Powell, Jr., assistant pastor of the church; the Rev. J.W. Brown of Mother Zion and the Rev. Richard M. Bolden of the First Emanuel Church.

Arrangements for the funeral were in the hands of the Turner Undertaking and Embalming Company, 107 West 136 street, and the pallbearers were Drs. Paul Collins, Ira McCowan, Chester Chinn, J.W. Saunders, Charles A. Petioni, William Carter, Jesse Cesneres and Police Sergant Samuel Jesse Battles.

Mrs. Vincent, whose husband, Dr. Andrew B. Vincent, was on the faculty of Shaw University for fifteen years, was born at Wilson, N.C., in 1873.  She resided at Raleigh, N.C., until arrival in New York thirteen years ago.
She was the mother of fourteen children, six of whom survive her.  Besides Dr. Vincent they are Ruth, Pearl, Albert, Berniece and Mrs. Reba Ragsdale, the latter of the Dunbar apartments.  Ruth, who lives in Chicago, came East for the funeral of her mother.  The other children reside at 1849 Seventh avenue, where Mrs. Vincent made her home.


Read a variety of Sepia Saturday posts by other people here.


How I made my Sixties Blues Quilt – Sepia Saturday #66

Today is National Quilting Day. I am going to post about making the “Sixties Blues” quilt.  About 1975, when I was pregnant with my 3rd daughter, I decided to make a quilt. I have a box of African fabric scrapes that I used. As the years went by and more babies came along, mine and those of friends, I made many African fabric patchwork quilts.  Sometimes I had a pattern but usually I just put the fabric together however it moved me.  Here is one I made for my granddaughter Kylett several years ago.

Patchwork quilt for Kylett.

In 2008 I took a Photo-quilting class. Over the years, I had made patchwork quilts but had no idea there were methods to square up the corners and other fine points I never learned because I was making it up as I went along. It took me much of this 8 week class to design my first photo quilt, sew the top together and baste the three layers (top, fill and backing) together. This is my Ancestor baby quilt using pictures of family babies from the early 1900′ to the 1920s. At this same time I was getting back into printmaking. My major in college was printmaking but once I graduated, I ended up living various rural areas and I did not have access to the supplies and equipment I needed until we moved to Atlanta  four years ago.  where I took a class, in printmaking to refresh my mind after a 40 year break. After that semester ended, I decided to continue with the printmaking and put the quilt on the back burner. For three years.

"Baby" Quilt

This fall I decided to take another quilting class to force myself to finish the baby quilt. I didn’t quite finish in the first 8 weeks so I signed up for the next eight weeks and FINALLY completed the quilt, which I will put in the Annual Southwest Atlanta Art Center. I decided to do the “Challenge quilt” for the show held each spring at Southwest Atlanta Arts Center. For each show there is a “challenge quilt” that participants can do or not. This year it can be no larger than 24 X 24 inches and has to be all one color, including the thread. I decided to do one about the years of my life from 1966 to 1969. Although there were high points to those years, there were also some depressing times so I chose blue for the color.  I have been making collages for all of my adult life. I have done a collage on the wall in most of the houses we lived in over the last 40 years. I decided to do this quilt much like a collage.

Wall collage in my front room - Idlewild, Michigan 1998.
"Sixties Blues" Quilt

I have plenty of photographs from that period. I chose the ones I wanted to use, scanned them and used photoshop to fix them if they needed it, resized them and turned them blue. I inverted several so that they look like negatives. I printed the photographs on Jacquard cotton squares, 8.5 x 11 inch cotton sheets with a removable backing. (I’m not being paid by Jacquard). I made 5 squares, 8 x 10.5 inches, two and a half on top and two and a half on the bottom. I used one square for each year, give or take a bit. I arranged them much the same as I would for a collage on a wall using various sizes and shapes, over laping when I liked the look of it.  There are some light spots that I am going to color in with blue pencil to be within the guidelines.

After I finished that one, I decided I like to work small and quickly made a smaller quilt which I wanted to look like the album pages that the original photographs were on. Then my grandaughter came to visit during her spring break and I didn’t get any more quilting done. She returned home today and I’m thinking about my next quilt. The next session starts next week and the show opens April 29 at Southwest Art Center and stays up about a month if you are going to be in Atlanta, drop by.

For other Sepia Saturday photos go here.

Quilted Wall Hanging – Sepia Saturday #65

A quilted wall hanging made of sepia photographs taken in 1938 by my father, Albert B. Cleage Jr and his brothers.
Top row: Hugh Cleage, Barbara Cleage, Albert B. Cleage Jr., Henry Cleage, Gladys Cleage, Albert B. Cleage Jr
Middle row:  Henry Cleage, Doris Graham (My mother), Hugh Cleage, Gladys Cleage, Barbara Cleage, Hugh Cleage, Louis Cleage playing the lute.
Bottom row:  Louis Cleage, Gladys Cleage, Anna Cleage, Henry Cleage, Albert Cleage Jr. Anna Cleage and family friend Paul Payne.

These are all from a small photo album with contact sheet size photos.  Every family member has their own page, as several friends do.  Everybody except Anna, the youngest.  Why?  Did she dislike getting her photo taken?  Did she take the page out?  Did they ignore her because she was the youngest?

This quilt is 20in x 15 in.  I am enjoying working small.

For other family photograph quilts see “Sixties Blues” and “Ancestral Babies”.  For more Sepia Saturday offerings go here.

Grandmother Pearl Reed Cleage – Sepia Saturday #64

Today is my Grandmother, Pearl Doris Reed Cleage’s, birthday.  If she were alive today she would be turning 125 years old.  In her honor I have posted some photographs of her from the little black album with the little photos taken by her sons around 1938.

She was born in Lebanon, KY in 1886 and moved with her family to Indianapolis, IN when she was about six.  She met her husband, Albert Cleage, at Witherspoon Presbyterian Church where she sang in the choir.  They married in 1910 after he received his Physician’s License.  Their first child,  my father, was born in 1911.  Pearl was warned never to have more children because it would probably kill her.  They moved to Michigan soon after and by 1915 had settled in Detroit.  My grandmother eventually bore and raised seven children.  She died at age 96 in 1987.

For more posts about Pearl Cleage click the following links:  Grandmother holding my father in 1911 and My Grandmother’s Family Tree and Indianapolis Research and Two Newspaper Articles 1908 and 1950.  For more Sepia Saturday photographs CLICK.