Thomas Ray Allen 1847 – 1907

This is an introduction to Thomas Ray Allen. The other posts during the A to Z Challenge will expand on details mentioned here.

Thomas Ray Allen was born into slavery about 1845 on Foster Ray’s plantation in Lebanon, Marion County Kentucky.  Thomas’ mother, Clara was sixteen years old. His father’s name was Louis Allen.  Two years later his sister Sarah was born and two years after that his sister Annie (my great grandmother) was born. Slave holder Foster Ray was a farmer/merchant with lands in Kentucky, Missouri and Illinois.

Foster died in January 15, 1863 leaving everything to his wife Marietta Phillips Ray and his nephew Nicholas Ray. Unfortunately there is no probate list naming the enslaved.

Troops at Camp Nelson in May 1864

On August 15, 1864 Thomas enlisted as “Thomas Ray” in Company D, 5th Regiment of the United States Colored Troops – Calvary in Lebanon Kentucky.  He was 18 years old, 5 ft 5 in. with black hair, black eyes and copper complexion. Occupation given as “farmer”.  On March 25, 1865 Thomas was appointed bugler.  The bugler’s job was to sound directions to the troops when there was too  much confusion and noise for the commanders to issue orders by mouth.

On Thomas’ enlistment papers Addison Taylor of Marion County is listed as his slave owner, however in his pension file Thomas says several times that Foster Ray was his only former owner.  Foster Ray and Addison Taylor, who lived in the adjoining counties of Casey and Marion Kentucky, were cousins.

From March 14 through 18 Thomas was relieved from duty after falling from his horse and receiving a concussion. On March 19, he was returned to duty as they found nothing else wrong with him.  On August 15, 1866 Thomas was mustered out in Helena Arkansas, along with the rest of his regiment.

He returned to Lebanon Kentucky and in the 1870 census was living with his younger sister Sarah Ray Primus, her husband Felix and their young children. Felix and Thomas were both laborers.

On 9 March 1871 Thomas Ray and Georgiana McDougal (aka Martin) were married in her home county of Larue, Kentucky.  Her older brother Thomas MacDougal had also served in the USCT, although he was part of a different company.

Thomas Ray appears in the Indianapolis City Directory in 1877 as a hostler, a stableman who cares for horses. In January of 1878 he and his first wife Georgiana were divorced.  About 1879 he was introduced to the woman who would be his second wife, Katy Wiley by a mutual friend, Lottie Sullivan.  About this time Thomas decided to stop using the surname “Ray”, his former enslaver’s name.  He began to  go by his father’s surname, “Allen”.  He explained his choice in his Will here, Thomas Allen – Last Will and Testament.

Thomas Allen and Katy Wily were married by Rev. Jacob R. Raynor, a local Baptist minister on March 5, 1880.  In 1887, they were living in the cottage at 2157 N. Capital, which they bought and lived in until his death in 1907 and Katy’s move back to Ohio near the end of her life.

By 1887 his niece and nephew, George and Sallie Reed, had moved to Indianapolis. They were soon followed by their mother, his sister Anna Reed and the rest of her family by 1894.  They shared his home for several years.

In August of 1890 Thomas was 45 years old and approved for a military pension of $12 a month due to total deafness of the right ear and disease of digestive organs. In 1894 his pension was inexplicably dropped to $6 a month. Over the next 13 years he fought to have it raised to at least $8 a month, to no avail. He was examined by doctors who documented that his deteriorating health.

Family members, former United States Colored Troop members and friends from throughout the years testified regularly that he was who he claimed to be, and that Thomas Ray and Thomas Allen were one and the same.  The also testified that he was ill and debilitated. Because this was long after slavery was over and he was living far from the place where he had been enslaved, nobody from the same plantation testified for him.

In 1904 the doctors found him to be suffering rheumatism, chronic diarrhea and disease of the stomach. His pension remained at $6. By 1906 Dr. John W. Norrel gave evidence that Thomas’ ailments made it impossible for him to support himself.  By July 1907, the medical testimony declared that he was in much worse shape and would not last much longer without some relief.

At age 60, on September 16, 1907, Thomas Allen died at home in his own bed.  He left his wife to apply for a pension as a surviving widow, which she did successfully.  Neither he nor she had any children.  In the 1910 census, Katy Allen was living in the same house and doing laundry to supplement her pension. She died in 1915.

 

Thomas Allen – Last Will and Testament 1907

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Last week I decided to take one more look at a question I had about my grandfather Albert B. Cleage’s letters to his future wife, Pearl Reed – who was the Katy Allen at 2715 N. Capital St. Indianapolis, where he sent my grandmother letters for several months in 1910? I had looked for Katy Allen several years ago when I first posted some of the letters on my blog, and found nothing. I only had her name and street address.

Recently I looked again and found Katy Allen in the Indianapolis City Directory for several years around 1910. She was listed as the widow of Thomas Allen. I then found her in the 1900 census with her husband and then I found his death certificate from 1907 (all on ancestry) His mother’s name was listed as “Clara Green”, which was my grandmother Pearl’s mother Anna’s mother’s name – which made him my grandmother Pearl’s uncle and her mother Anna’s brother. I have never found any relatives for Anna except her mother and children. I remember that Anna’s maiden name was given as “Ray” on some of her children’s records.

Today I looked some more and found Thomas Allen’s Will. It said he used to go by the name of “Ray” which was his former master’s name but he changed it to “Allen” after he got out of the service (he gave his unit as 5th US Colored Calvary). In the military record, there is his former slave holder’s full name! Now this particular branch of the family was very close mouthed about anything to do with slavery, although they did mention those Cherokee Ancestors who passed on no dna. So, from looking for some info for my nanowrimo, I found a new ancestor, my first United States Colored Troops family member, the last slave holder for that particular branch of the family and who the person was at that N. Capital St. address.

Last Will and Testament of Thomas Allen

State of Indiana

Marion County

I, Thomas Allen, a resident of Marion County, Indiana, and being of sound and disposing mind and memory, do make, publish and declare this to be my last will and testament, hereby revoking all former wills by me made.

I, Thomas Allen, known on the war records of Company D, Fifth United States Colored Calavry, and in matters relating to my pension business (act of June 27, 1890, Inv. Cft. 693170) as Thomas Ray, wish to explain that this difference is caused by my enlisting in the army under the name of my former master owner, whose name was Ray.  However, after my discharge, I took the name of Allen, which was my fathers name and which is my true and correct name, and the name und which I have transacted all other business and under which I was married to my present wife, and the name under which I am known and recognized by my neighbors, friends and acquaintances, and that Thomas Ray and Thomas Allen are the same and identical persons –

Item #1. I give and devise to my beloved wife, Kate Allen, the following described real estate, situated in the city of Indianapolis, County of Marion and State of Indiana, and described as follows: – Lot number twenty-five (25) in Ruddell and Vintons Park Place, Plat Book number four (4), Page one hundred ninety (190) in the Recorder’s Office of Marion County, Indiana.

Item #2. I give and bequeath to my wife, Kate Allen, all of the personal property of which I may die seized.

Item #3. I constitute and appoint Otts Delp executor of this will.  

Witness my hand and seal, this 23rd day of July, A.D., 1907, at Indianapolis Indiana.

Wm. S. Steavens  Henry C. Bade  Thomas Allen

The foregoing instrument signed, sealed and acknowledged by said Thomas Allen as and for his last will and testament in our presence, who, at his request, and in his presence, and the presence of each other, have subscribed our names as witnesses there to, this 23rd day of July 1907.

Subscribed and sworn to before me, this 23rd day of July, 1907.

Bert Delp

Affidavit of Death

State of Indiana, Marion County, Set”

Otto Delp being duly swornm on oath says that Thomas Allen departed this life on or about the 10 day of November 1907 and at the time of his death was a resident of said County and State.

Subscribed and sworn to before me, this 14 day of November A.D. 1907       Otto Delp

Leonard M. Quill Clerk

Proof of Will

Before the Clerk of the probate court of the County of Marion, in the State of Indiana, personally came William S. Stevens and Henry C. Bade subscribing witnesses to the forgoing instrument of writing, who being by me first duly sworn, upon oarth depose and say that Thomas Allen testator named in the instrument of writing purporting to be his LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT, did sign seal, publish and decare the same to be his last will and testament, on the day of the date thereof; that the said testor was at the same time of the full age of twenty-one years, and of sound and disposing mind and memory, and that he was under no coercion, compulsion or restraint, and that he was competent to devise his property. And that the said testator so signed, sealed, published and declared the same to be his last will and testament in manner and form as aforesaid, in the presence of affiant and of – the other subscribing witness…thereto and that each attested the same and subscribed their names as witnesses thereto, in the presence and at the request of said testator, and in the presence of each other.  Wm. S. Stevens   Henry C. Bade

Subscried and sworn to before me in witness of which, I hereunto affix the seal of said Court, and subscribe my name at Indianapolis, this 14 day of November A.D. 1907

Leonard M. Quill Clerk

1854 Doctors Visits to the Turner Plantation

header_lowndes_slavery
Turner Plantation house – Picking cotton – Slave dwelling – Lowndes County Courthouse, Hayneville AL

There are four lists from different dates for doctors visits to the enslaved on the Turner plantation. Sometimes those treated are named and sometimes they are just referred to as “Negroes”.  I have added the ages of those who are named based on other lists from the estate files.

Dr. C.B. Lampley was the doctor listed for this time period.  Lampley was born in 1830 in Richmond County, NC. His family relocated to Alabama by 1850. He married Thurza Rudolph of Lowndes County.  They had two children. In the 1860 census he enslaved four people, a 35 year old mulatto woman, a 30 year old black man, a fifteen year old mulatto girl and a 14 year old black male. They lived in two dwellings. He joined the Confederate Army where he became a surgeon. He was lamed and later resigned due to diabetes and general debility.  During 1854 and 1855 he visited the Turner plantation to treat the enslaved – pulling teeth, lancing abscesses, bleeding and dosing with medication.

Click on images to enlarge for easier reading.

1854 doctor visitsDocument3

 

 

 

 

The Death of Sam Cleage – part 2

sammuel cleage deadI have looked for the original article about the death of Samuel Cleage in 1850 with no results, other than this short item.  After reading the obituary, I noticed the following items along with ads for ink, land, “newest goods” and the Forest Hill Academy.  There was an article about the new President Filmore and the ads below, which jumped out at me.

The newspaper came from this site Library of Congress Historical Newspapers, The Athens Post.

Chancery Sale of 22 Negroes

chancery sale of negroes
Click to enlarge.

“By virtue of a decree of the chancery court at Cleveland, Tennessee made at __ February term, 1850 in the case of John D. Traynor and his wife Mary Ann Traynor and others against William B. Cozby, William McDonald and David Ragsdale Administrators of John Cozby deceased and others.  I will on Tuesday, the 20th day of August next, expose to public sale at Smith’s cross Roads, in Rhea County, Tennesseem twenty two Negroes belonging to the estate of said John Cozby, deceased.

The above Negroes will be sold on a credit of six months the purchaser giving bond with two or more suffcient securities for the price of the slave or slaves purchased.  James Berry C. & M.  July 12, 1850 – 4 Pr’s fee $3.50     94.”

A Likely Negro Girl for Sale!

likely negro girlThe subscriber has a likely NEGRO GIRL which he will sell on reasonable terms.  Said girl is in her 15th year, likely, o good size, healthy and stout.  His residence is in McMinn county, 12 1/2 miles South of Athens on the road leading to the mouth of Ocoee.  Any person wishing to purchase can call and see for themselves              Thos. Trew  McMinn co., July 26, 1850 – 3   96

 Run Away

ran away“From the subscriber living in Monroe county, head-waters of Estanallee creek, a black woman named EASTER, very black, about 38 years old, pleasant countenance, and quick spoken.   She left on the 15th last; had a good lot of clothes, and took with her two quilts, two counterpanes and many other bed clothes.  Said woman was formerly owned by Capt. Thos. Pagmore. She may be in that section or making her way off.

Any person who may arrest said girl and return her to me, or confine her so that I can get her will be liberally rewarded for their trouble.  ELIZABETH CARTER, July 30, 1850-   96″

Bill of Sale for Joe, Jane, Lynd, Frank, Phillip, Lewis, Sam, Jeff, Martha, Lea, Julian and Patsy Cleage

This is a copy of the Bill of Sale that conveyed my 2 X great grandfather Frank Cleage from David Cleage, Walter Nutter and Elizabeth H. Nutter to Alexander Cleage.  After the death of Samuel Cleage, father of David, Elizabeth and Alexander, died there was some shuffling around of slaves, livestock and household property between the siblings.  This is one of three Bills of Sale that I have of those transactions.  The documents are transcribed below. As always, click on them to enlarge.  There was no punctuation in the document and I added none.

slave docs cleage to alexto alex coverKnow 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

Personally appeared before me Geo W Mayo clerk of the county court of said county David Cleage  Walter Nutter and Elizabeth H Nutter wife of said Nutter the bargainers to the above bill of sale with whom I am personally acquainted each of whom acknowledge the due execution of the same on the day and year it bears date and for the purpose therein expressed and that the said Elizabeth Nutter wife of the aforementioned Walter Nutter was by me examined privately and apart from her said husband Walter Nutter who declared that she executed same knowingly & free from any compulsion or restraint on the part of her said husband Walter Nutter

Given under my hand at office in Athens the 20th day of March 1852

Geo W Mayo clerk

Bill of Sale

David Cleage

Walter Nutter

Elizabeth H Nutter

to

Alex Cleage

 

My Sister Interviews Me

My sister Pearl interviewed me in 2010 about my interest and findings in family history research. I talked about some of the stories I’ve blogged about – Dock Allen’s Escape, finding Eliza in the 1860 census and slave documents. I have found more information since the time of this interview – court records about the land case between the Turners, newspaper articles, and several Wills from slave holders who owned my Cleages.

It gives you a chance to hear my voice and my thoughts about how to start your research.  I highly recommend being interviewed like this. I am enjoying listening to myself talk, for one thing.  If you can’t find anyone to interview you, interview yourself!  I think it makes a great addition to the legacy we are leaving for those following us.

2006 Story Corps interview with my sister Pearl asking me about my research and findings.

Pearl & Kristin walking through a field on cousin Ernest's land - SC 2013.
Me and Pearl walking through a field on cousin Ernest’s land – South Carolina, 2013.

 

Escape – Dock Allen

While watching “Many Rivers to Cross” this week, an episode full of stories of resistance, escape and fighting back, this is the family story that came to mind.

Dock Allen
Dock Allen – tintype with frame attached.

It had been a wet spring, that 1861 in Dallas County, Alabama. Dock Allen was 21 years old and already a good carpenter.  He was a white man’s son, but the man who now held him in slavery was not his father.  His owner was known as a cruel man who kept vicious dogs to instill fear in his slaves. He wanted them to be afraid to run.  When Dock made up his mind to escape, he had a plan  to throw the dogs off of his track. There was a swampy area where wild ramps grew. He rubbed himself with them, poured the water on himself and rolled around in the field so the strong onion odor would hide his own human smell.

He had been running and running. He was bone tired. He could hear the dogs tracking him in the distance when he came to a small farm near Carlowville.  He couldn’t go any further. He climbed up into the hay loft, covered himself with hay and lay there barely breathing.  The dogs came into the hay room. He could feel their breath as they walked over him, but they didn’t smell him because of the ramps.  Eventually they left.

Eliza
Eliza

This was the same place where Eliza and her small daughter Mary, lived. Eliza had been freed several years before. She lived on the farm of Nancy Morgan.  Did Eliza hear the dogs and see Dock stumble into the yard?  Did she silently direct him to the hide in the hay?

Later Dock decided to give himself up. Nancy sent a message to his master.  It wasn’t long before he came to the house. He said that no one had ever out smarted his dogs and that any man who was smart enough to do that deserved to be free and he freed Dock.  Dock stayed on that place and he and Eliza married.  They stayed together until he died in 1909.  He was 69.

Doc Allen in the record.

dockelizagrave
Dock and Eliza (Williams) Allen’s grave.

I found Dock Allen in in the 1867 voter registration database living in Montgomery, AL.  He appears with his family in the 1870, 1880 and 1900 census in Montgomery.  According to the records he was a carpenter born in Georgia.  He owned his own home.  In the 1900 census he and Eliza had been married 40 years which puts the beginning around 1860.

I have three addresses for him, 237 Clay street, 216 Holt street and finally 444 S. Ripley street where he lived for the five years before he died March 29, 1909 of “inflammatory bowels” after being ill for several weeks.  His mother is named as Matilda Brewster on his death certificate.  No father is listed. He is buried in Oakwood Cemetery in Montgomery.

I don’t know if this is exactly how Dock Allan escaped from slavery.  This is the oral history that we have. I never knew this story until my cousin Jacqui Vincent and I made contact years ago.  Dock and Eliza (Williams) Allen were my 2X Great grandparents.  I’ve written more about Eliza’s story in these posts.