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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Joseph Turner’s Will

While looking for a death record on Ancestry for Elizabeth Turner, daughter of Joseph and Luella Turner, instead I found the Will of her father, my 2X great grandfather, Joseph Turner of Lowndes County, Alabama.  I had looked for his Will before without finding it.  Below are the Will and a transcription.

The Will of Joseph Turner appears in Will Book D,page 248,  Lowndes County, Alabama.


Will of Joseph Turner

State of Alabama County of Lowndes

Know all men by these presents that, I, Joseph Turner, of said county of Lowndes, being in good health, and of sound mind, realizing the uncertainty of life, and wishing to provide for my younger children during their minority, do make this my last will and testament, hereby revoking all former wills by me at any time made.


I will that ll my just debts be paid by my executrix here – in after named, as soon after my death as she can conveniently pay.


I give, devise and bequeath to my beloved wife Luella Turner all of my estate, both real, personal and mixed in Trust for the use and benefit of herself and my minor children, during their minority, equally, until my youngest child then living shall have reached the age of twenty-one years.


After my youngest child then living, shall have arrived at the age of twenty one years, my will is, that all of my estate of every description be divided equally, share and share alike, between my said wife, Luella Turner and all my children, and in the event any of my said children die, before such division takes place, leaving a child or children, him or her surviving, then such share as my said child should have received if living, shall go to his or her children.


I do nominate and appoint my said wife, Luella Turner to be the executrix of this my last will and testament without band. Expressly exempting her from all liability to any person or court for any misuse of any personal property belonging to my estate, and for any and all rents which may accrue during the said minority of my youngest then living child. Except, my said wife again marry, in that event, and from the date of such marrying again by my said wife Luella, she shall be held strictly accountable for the proper use and distribution of my estate as herein before set out.

In testimony whereof I set my hand and seal, this 11 day of December 1909.

Joseph (his mark X) Turner (Seal)

Signed, sealed and published as his last will and testament by the said Joseph turner in our presence, and we in his presence, and in the presence of each other have hereunto subscribed our names as witnesses, at his request, on this the 11 day of December 1909.

Jos. R. Bell

S.M. Salley

Filed for Probate in office this the March 10, 1919

W.H. Lee,

Judge of Probate Court

Testimony of Joseph R Bell.

The State of Alabama, Lowndes County } Probate Court

In the matter of the Probate of the Last Will and Testament of Joseph Turner Deceased.

Before me, W.H. Lee, Judge of Probate Court in and for the County and State aforesaid, personally appeared in open Court Jos. R. Bell, who having been by me first duly sworn and examined, did and doest depose and say that he and S.M. Salley subscribing witnesses to the forgoing instrument of writing now shown to the said affiant and which purports to be the last Will and Testament of Joseph Turner, deceased, lat an inhabitant of this count; that the said Joseph Turner since deceased signed and executed said instrument on the day the same bears date, and declared the same to be his last will and testament, and that affiant set his signature thereto, on the day the same bears date, as a subscribing witness to the same, in the presence of said testator and at his request, and in the presence of each other, and that said testator was of sound mind and disposing memory and understanding, and, in the opinion of affiant, fully capable of making his said will at the time the same was so made as aforesaid. And deposent further states that said testator was, on the day of the date of said will, of the full age of twenty-one years and upward and a resident of this county.

Jos. R. Bell

Subscribed and sworn to before me, this 28 day of April W. D. 1919.

W.H. Lee

Judge Probate Court, Lowndes County

Filed in office April 28 – 1919:  The State of Alabama, W.H. Lee Judge of Probate

Lowndes County,    I, W.H. Lee, Judge of the Probate Court in and for the county and State aforesaid, do hereby certify that the within instrument of writing has this day in said court and before me as the Judge thereof been duly proven by the testamony of Jas. R. Bell subscribing witness, to be the genuine last will and testament of Joseph Turner, deceased and that said will, together with the proof thereof, has been recorded in my office in Book No D of Wills at page 248.

In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and affixed the seal of said Probate Court on this the 28th Day of April A.D. One thousand nine hundred and nineteen.

W.H. Lee Judge Probate Court Lowndes County


Timeline for Joe Turner, Hayneville, Lowndes County AL (1849 -1919)

Wiley Turner plantation Hayneville, Lowndes county, Alabama. Man plowing with a mule. Chickens under a house. My great grandmother Jennie Allen Turner with her children Daisy and Fannie Turner after the death of her husband Howard Turner. Lowndes county Courthouse, Hayneville, Lowndes County. Click to enlarge.

Joe Turner was my maternal grandmother Fannie Turner Graham’s grandfather. This is his timeline as I continue to investigate his life and that of his community in Hayneville, Lowndes County, Alabama.

I found the Index of Deeds, Mortages etc. for Lowndes County online at familysearch.com. Joe Turner is listed both buying and selling and mortgagine propery, as are several others who were formerly enslaved on Wiley Turner’s plantation. When I order the microfilm of the actual records I will be able to see dates and names and other information.

Sources for the information below is in italics at the end of the entries. All took place in Lowndes County, most in Hayneville area.


  • 1841 Born into slavery in Alabama.
  • 1853 Age 12. Appears as “Joe (white)” in list of enslaved with ages and valuation. Wiley Turner estate file page 657.
  • 1855 Age 14. Lists of enslaved and livestock divided for heirs. Wiley Turner estate file page 717.
  • 1857 Dec Age 16 “Valuation of entire slave property of decd- names of…” Joe appears as “Yellow Joe”  Wiley Turner estate file page 796.
  • 1861 11 Jan. Alabama seceded from the Union.
  • 1861 Age 20 – Marriage to Emma Jones (1842–1901) – during slavery. 1900 US Census
  • 1862 Age 20 — Birth of Daughter Lydia Turner (1862–) 1870 US Census
  • 1864 Age 22 — Birth of Son Howard Turner (1864–1892) 1870 US Census
  • 1865 9 June Age 24 –  Bill from Dr. W.H. Haigler for Quinine for Joe.Wiley Turner estate file page 637.
  • 1865 Age 24 – List of enslaved. Joseph  Wiley Turner estate file page 544.
  •  1865 December 18 – Slavery legally over in Alabama.
  • 1866 Age 24 – Birth of Daughter Fannie Turner (1866–1880) 1870 US Census.
  • 1866 Age 25 – Alabama State Census Hayneville, Lowndes County.
  • 1867 Age 25 – Birth of Son Joe Turner (1867–1920) 1870 US Census.
  • 1867 Age 26 – Residence Lowndes, Alabama, USA Alabama Voter Registration Records.
  • 1869 Age 27 – Birth of Daughter Anna Turner (1869–) 1870 US Census.
  • 1870 Age 29 – Residence Hayneville, Lowndes, Alabama. 1870 US Census.
  • 9 Jan 1876 Age 34 – Birth of Son Alonza Turner (1876–1944) 1880 US Census.
  • 1880 (before) Age 38 – Death of Daughter Fannie Turner (1866– before 1880)
  • 1880 Age 39 – Residence Prairie Hill & Gordonsville, Lowndes, AL. Farming 1880 US Census and 1880 Agricultural Census.
  • 1890 -1891 • Age 49 — Turner vs Turner Probate Court land dispute. Hayneville, Lowndes County, AL.
  • 1892 Age 51 — Death of Son Howard Turner (1864–1892) Mentioned in court case above and oral history.
  • 1900 Age 59 — Residence Gordonsville, Lowndes, Alabama. 1900 US Census.
  • 1901(about) Age 60 – Death of Wife Emma Jones (1842–1901) Lowndes County. Emma disappears from records and Joe remarries.
  • 1902 22 Jan Age 60 – Marriage Luella Freeman (1880–1977) Gordonsville, Lowndes, AL. “Alabama, Marriages, 1816-1957″
  • 1903 Age 61 — Birth of Son John Van Turner (1903–1943) Lowndes County AL. 1910 US Census.
  • 1904 Age 62 – Birth of Daughter Anna E. Turner (1904–1924) Lowndes County. 1910 US Census.
  • 1906 10 Oct  Age 65 – Birth of Son Daniel Turner (1906–) Lowndes County. 1910 US Census.
  • 1908 Age 66 – Birth of Son Buck Turner (1908–1931) Lowndes County Alabama 1910 US Census
  • 1909 Age 67 – Birth of Daughter Josephine Turner (1909–1915) Lowndes Cty 1910 US Census
  • 1910 Age 69 – Residence Precinct 4, Lowndes, Alabama. 1910 US Census.
  • 1911 Age 69 – Birth of Daughter Elizabeth Turner (1911–) Hayneville, Lowndes, Alabama. 1920 US Census.
  • 1912 25 Feb Age 70 – Birth of Son Talmadge Turner (1912–1987) Lowndes County Alabama. 1910 US Census.
  • 1914 21 Aug Age 73 – Birth of Daughter Luella Turner (1914–1916) Lowndes County Alabama. 1910 US Census.
  • 1915 19 Feb • Age 73 – Death of Daughter Josephine Turner (1909–1915). Alabama, Death Index, 1908-59.
  • 1916 23 Mar Age 74 – Death of Daughter Luella Turner (1914–1916). Alabama, Death Index, 1908-59.
  • 1919 7 Feb Age 77 – Death Lowndes County. Alabama, Death Index, 1908-59.
  • 1919  Birth of Daughter Selena Turner (1919–2011) Lowndes County AL. 1920 US Census.




1854 Doctors Visits to the Turner Plantation

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





Joe Turner in the 1852 Estate File of Wiley Turner – Lowndes County, Alabama

The rebuilt plantation house of Wiley Turner. You can see more photos and information here.  No photos of the slave quarters survive.  In 1860 there were 15 slave dwellings for 75 enslaved people.  Five members of the Wiley Turner family lived in the big house.

Recently I decided to find the plantation where my 2X great grandparents, Joe and Emma Turner were enslaved. I started by looking at white Turners in Hayneville, Lowndes County, Alabama where my family lived in 1870. I found Wiley Turner and his brother Thomas Turner. Both died in 1851. Wiley’s estate file contained several lists of those enslaved on his plantation.  I found a Joe. I believe this is my Joe because there was only one Joe Turner in the area, because he is the right age and because he was described as “white”, and my  great great grandfather Joe Turner was very light skinned.

Of the four lists, this first one is the most complete in that it includes names, ages and monetary worth.  I will be writing more about the Turner plantation and those who were once enslaved on it, as I continue to try and piece together the lives of Joe and Emma  Turner and others in their community.

Inventory; and Appraisement of the Est. of Wiley Turner, Deceased. February 1852. Those in maroon were set aside for his widow, Francis Turner.
Click to enlarge.

     Sex     Name                Aged      Worth
1.   Boy     Andrew               20     $850.00
2.   Girl    Fanny                20      750.00
3.   Boy     Lewis (Tyus)         24      750.00
4.   Girl    Amy                  29      550.00
5.   Boy     Mordicai             20      875.00
6.   Girl    Leah                 20      650.00
7.   Boy     Billy (Tyus)         22      850.00
8.   Girl    Martha               20      700.00
9.   Boy     Toney                25      600.00
10.  Woman   Ellen & child        40      400.00
11.  Girl    Abby                 14      550.00
12.  Girl    Little Margaret      13      500.00
13.  Boy     Alfred               22      700.00
14.  Woman Maria & child Ranson   30      500.00
15.  Girl     Little Jane          9      250.00
16.  Girl     Louisa               4      250.00
17.  Girl     Adella               2      175.00
18.  Man      Doctor              55      240.00
19.  Woman    Mary                50      175.00
20.  Girl     Eliza               14      600.00
21.  Girl     Minerva             12      450.00
22.  Girl     Amanda              10      350.00
23.  Man      Lewis               18      750.00
24.  Woman    Lucy                30      400.00
25.  Man      Adam                22      500.00
26.  Girl Mary Ellen & boy Edward 18      800.00
27.  Man      Jack                30      350.00
28.  Woman    Big Margaret        25      650.00
29.  Boy      Jesse (Tyus)        20      900.00
30.  Woman    Elizabeth           23      650.00
31.  Man      William             50      400.00
32.  Woman    Rachell             50      200.00
33.  Boy      Little Charles       8      450.00
Click to enlarge
34.     Girl       Susan             18      700.00
35.     Girl       Eliza             34      400.00
36.     Girl       Harriett           5      225.00
37.     Man        Sam               35      400.00
38.     Woman      Lyddy             30      400.00
39.     Boy        Henry (May)       19      900.00
40.     Woman      Ellen Brown       25      500.00
41.     Man        Robbin            25      800.00
42.     Woman  Cherry & child Louisa 36      400.00
43.     Boy        Prince             5      350.00
44.     Woman    Rachell (Patten)    28      700.00
45.     Boy        Robert            11      500.00
46.     Boy        Frank              6      300.00
47.     Woman      Maria Ann         16      700.00
48.     Man     Charles (Rugely)     23      850.00
49.     Woman  Rose & child Gabril   28      650.00
50.     Boy        Washington        14      700.00
51.     Man        John              24      800.00
52.     Woman      Nelly             49      200.00
53.     Boy        Abram             16      900.00
54.     Man        Big Jesse         26      450.00
55.     Girl       Jane              18      700.00
56.     Girl       Hager             23      500.00
57.     Girl  Abegail & child Ema    23      400.00
58.     Woman      Old Rachell       60      100.00
59.     Man        Frederick         23      850.00
60.  Woman   Clara & child Alford    35      500.00
61.     Girl       Sylvia            12      500.00
62.     Girl       Lucy              12      450.00
63.     Girl       Alice              8      350.00
64.     Boy        Freeman            6      350.00
65.     Boy        Harrison           6      350.00
66.     Girl       Julia Ann          3      200.00
67.     Boy        Henry (Turner)    18      875.00
Click to enlarge.
68.     Man        Old Jim          45      400.00
69.     Woman      Menty            45      300.00
70.     Boy        Daniel            3      200.00
71.     Man        Ben              33      800.00
72.     Woman      Mary McQueen     28      500.00
73.     Boy        Harry            12      550.00
74.     Woman      Hannah           55      200.00
75.     Boy        George           13      600.00
76.    Woman   Betsey & child Caroline 23   800.00
77.     Girl       Phillis           8      375.00
78.     Girl       Peggy             3      225.00
79.     Man        Achilles         43      650.00
80.     Woman      Mariah Mosely    35      450.00
81.     Girl       Elvira           14      650.00
82.     Boy        Jim Swagert      18      800.00
83.     Man        Wilson           28      850.00
84.     Woman      Yellow Jinny     45      400.00
85.     Man        Martin           26    1,100.00
86.     Woman      Letty            21      300.00
87.     Man        Hardy            56      250.00
88.     Boy        Nelson           15      750.00
89.     Boy        Cary             13      700.00
90.     Boy        Lloyd            17      700.00
91.     Boy        Austin           16      800.00
92.     Boy        Long George      19      350.00
93.     Boy        Isaac            10      350.00
94.     Boy        Joe (white)      15      650.00
95.     Boy        Jim Patton       14      700.00
96.     Woman      Milly            55      150.00
97.     Man        Edmond           38      600.00
98.     Man        Tom              40      600.00
99.     Boy        Ned              11      475.00
100.    Girl       Emeline           9      350.00
101.    Man        Yellow John      24      875.00
Click to enlarge
102.    Woman   Yellow Milly          30      800.00
103.    Boy     Anthony infant (included with Milly)
104.    Boy     Little William        10      450.00
105.    Boy     Carter                 6      350.00
106.    Boy     Braxton                4      250.00
107.    Woman   Alcey                 40      200.00
108.    Old Man Turner                65        1.00
109.    Boy     Frank (blind)         18        1.00

Joe and Emma Turner were the parents of Howard Turner who was my grandmother Fannie Mae Turner Graham’s father. You can see other posts about my Turner’s below.

Joe Turner – Land, Mules and Courts

Emma and Joe Turner of Lowndes County Alabama

There were at one time 4 flourishing schools in this county

“There were at one time 4 flourishing schools in this county.” 1868 Hayneville, AL

page 1 letter
“Aug 16, 1868 I have the honor to state that I have just assumed charge of the Bureau at this point and find that the spirit of abuse and austersism is uncontrollable. There were at one time 4 flourishing schools for the freed people in this county but the teachers were so much abused and threatened that they were compelled to close. H_____ men are openly assailed in the streets and there is no protection for person or property…”
page 2 letter
“… (ex)cept by shooting some of them (do)wn. A squad of them usually (are) together and if one is hurt (the) balance interferes in his behalf. I have the honor to ask that (a) squad of U.S. troop be (se)nt here. Their presence is one (tha)t is necessary to keep these (mi)sserable out-laws down. I think it is a duty this (gov(ernment owes her ex soldiers to (pr)otect them. waiting a favorable answer. (I) am ______ very truly your ob(edien)t Servant, W.H.Hunter A.S.A.C. fr(om Lowndes Co Ala

You can see all 13 sheets in the file on Family Search at this link, Alabama, Freedmen’s Bureau in Hayneville, Alabama.  You can enlarge both of the images above by clicking on them.

My 2X great grandfather, Joe Turner was enumerated in the 1866 Alabama State census with his family of five living in Lowndes County, Alabama. In the 1870 census they were enumerated In Hayneville, Lowndes County. Joe was a farmer with $300 worth of personal goods. Neither he nor his wife Emma could read or write. The children were Lydia 8, Howard 7 (my great grandfather), Fannie 6, Joe 3 and Annie born in August of that year.

Joe Turner – Land, Mules and Courts

After watching Episode 3 of Many Rivers to Cross in which the Civil War; black soldiers, contraband; freedom; 40 acres and a mule; suffrage and loss of it; the all black town of Mount Bayou, MS; lynching and finally Plessey vs. Ferguson were discussed, it took me a minute to come up with a tie in to my own family history to write about.

I began to think about my 2X Great Grandfather Joe Turner of Lowndes County, Alabama and how important land was to him and how it caused a riff between him and his son, my Great Grandfather Howard Turner. Something we always wondered about was how Joe Turner ended up with land at the end of the Civil War.  Someone suggested it must have been Homestead Land. There is no indication that it was.  I am going to write about Joe and Emma (Jones) Turner and their land.

As I started organizing materials, I looked to see if I could find any new information.  In Mildred Brewer Russell’s book, “Lowndes Court House” on page 127 she says “Prominent Negro politicians during the carpetbag regime were Joe Turner, Oliver Marast, Jasper Cottrell, James Jackson, Tom Cook, Hamp Shuford, Frank Streety, Adam Lundy, Sam Robinson, Jule Cottress, Jerry Cook, Billy Spann, Cyrus Miles, Johnson Rambo, Robert McCord, Hope Harris, John W. Jones, and the three Carson brothers, Hugh, Will and Warren.” I wanted to find a record, another book, something that validates that the Joe Turner mentioned in the book, was my 2X Great Grandfather, Joe Turner.

I had no luck with the politics, aside from his name on a list of registered voters, but within 24 hours I found 2 new documents on Ancestry.com – the 1866 Colored Population Census and an Agricultural Census form for Joe Turner for 1880. Online I found a copy of a court case involving a land case between my 2X great grandfather and his son, my great grandfather.


When shots were fired on Fort Sumter and the Civil War began in 1861, Joe and Emma (Jones) Turner were slaves in Lowndes County, Alabama on an unknown plantation. When the war ended and they were enumerated in the 1866 colored population census, they had 3 children under 10 – my great grandfather Howard who was 3 years old, his sisters, 2 year old Fannie and 4 year old Lydia. Joe and Emma were 25.

In 1870 they were farming. There were 2 more children, 3 year old Joe and 10 month old Anna. Neither of the adults could read or write. None of the children were old enough for school. Their personal estate was worth $300.

In the 1880 State Agricultural Census they farmed 76 acres, which they rented for cash. Farm implements and equipment were worth $100.  Their livestock was worth $460 and included 2 milch cows; 12 other cattle (7 purchased in 1879 and 1 that died.); 20 swine; 36 barnyard fowl, who produced 100 eggs in 1879; 1 horse and 4 mules. They grew 25 acres of Indian corn, yielding 300 bushels; 50 acres of cotton, yielding 12 bales and 1 acre of sugar cane, yielding 48 gallons.

In 1880 US Census 16 year old Howard was clerking in a store. Joe Jr. was 13 and in school. Their sister Fannie no longer appears in the census and perhaps she was married. Although I haven’t found a death record for her, I know that she died young. Several of her brothers named their daughters for her. My grandmother Fannie Mae Turner, was named for her Aunt Fannie. But that is getting ahead of myself.  Another son, 7 year old Alonza Turner, had joined the family since 1870.

jennie&kidsHoward Turner and Jennie Virginia Allen were married in June of 1887.  My mother told me this story: Howard’s father, Joe Turner, gave them land to farm in Lowndes County, Alabama. Joe wanted the land to stay in the family forever. By 1890 Joe and Howard were arguing constantly about Howard and Jennie’s desire to sell the land and move to Montgomery. The day of the fateful barbque the arguments had been particularly violent. Jennie was in Montgomery visiting her parents with their two young daughters, when word came that Howard had been shot dead at the bar-b-que.

According to the court record, Joe and Howard had agreed to purchase some land together. They both promised to pay an equal share. When it came time to pay, Howard refused and Joe paid all of it.  In 1896, my 2X great grandfather, Joe took Howard to court to recover his money. During the trial, Howard died. His youngest child, Daisy, was not yet 1 year old. The Court case against Howard was revived against his heirs and the Court ordered Howard’s interest in the land sold to pay the lien Joe had gotten in the Chancery decree in 1897.

In 1915 Daisy Turner brought a case before the Alabama Supreme Court to ask that she receive her inheritance from the sale of the land the original case concerned. By that time, 15 year had passed, Joe and Howard Turner were both dead. His second wife had moved to Montgomery with their children.  Daisy did not win her case. I think because her father hadn’t paid for his share of the land and so there was nothing to inherit.  It seems that the land was sold after the first case. I will have to see if I can find the records of that case.

By 1900 Joe owned his own farm, although it was mortgaged.  Emma could read and write, although Joe could not. She had given birth to 10 children. Only 3 were still living, Joe Jr., Alonzo and Lydia. Lydia’s two children, Anna Lisa and Joseph Davis, were enumerated with their grandparents.

Emma (Jones) Turner died around 1901. In 1902 Joe Turner, who was then 60 years old, married Luella Freeman who was 29 years old. He continued to farm and they had 9 children before he died at about 80 in 1919.  By 1930 Luella and most of her children were living in Montgomery. I hope the land went to one of the older boys but I don’t think so.

To see other posts I’ve written about this series , click this link My Responses to Many Rivers to Cross.

Other bloggers responding to the series by sharing our own personal family stories are:


Watch Night – Born into Slavery and Died in Freedom

Angela Walton-Raji of the blog My Ancestor’s Name suggested that tonight we observe Watch Night by naming our ancestors who were born into slavery but lived to see freedom. I decided to join her.

I have no photograph of Annie Williams (mother of Eliza Williams Allen) who was born about 1820 in Virginia and died after 1880 in Montgomery, Alabama.

I do not have a photograph of  Matilda Brewster (mother of Dock Allen) who was born in Georgia.

Eliza Williams Allen B. Alabama 1839 – 1917
Dock Allen B. Georgia 1839 – D. Alabama 1909










Eliza Williams Allen was my great great grandmother. She was born in Alabama about 1839 and died free in Montgomery, Alabama in 1917. She was a seamstress.  You can read more about Eliza here A Chart of the People in Eliza’s Life and Eliza’s Story – Part 1 with links to the other 3 parts.

Dock Allen was my great great grandfather. He was born a slave in Georgia about 1839 and died free in Montgomery, Alabama in 1909.  He was a cabinet maker. You can read more about Dock Allen here Dock Allen’s Story.

I have no photographs of  my great grandparents William Graham who was born about 1851 or his wife Mary Jackson Graham born about 1856. Both were born in Alabama and died dates unknown.  William Graham was a farmer. They were my grandfather Mershell C. Graham’s parents. I know very little about them but I have been gathering information which I will post soon.

I do not have photographs of my grandmother Fannie Mae Turner Graham’s paternal grandparents.  Her grandfather Joseph Turner was born in Alabama about 1839. He died in Lowndes County, AL in 1919. He was a farmer and owned his own land. His wife Emma Jones Turner was born about 1840 in South Carolina and died about 1901 in Lowndes County Alabama.  You can read more about them here,  Emma and Joe Turner of Gordensville, Lowndes County, Alabama.

Celia Rice Cleage Sherman with grand daughter Barbara Cleage.
Celia Rice Cleage Sherman with grand daughter Barbara Cleage.

Frank Cleage was born around 1816 in North Carolina. He was enslaved on the plantation of first Samuel Cleage and then his son Alexander Cleage.  I do not have a picture of Frank Cleage and have no stories about him. His name appears on my great grandfather, Louis Cleage’s death certificate.

In the 1870 Census he was living with his wife, Judy and six children, including my great grandfather, in Athens, Tennessee. I also have a marriage record for Frank and Judy dated 20 August, 1866.  I don’t know if they were married before and the children are theirs or if they came together after slavery. Judy was born about 1814.

Frank is mentioned in a work agreement between Samuel Cleage and his overseer in this post – Article of Agreement – 1834.

They were both born in slavery and lived most of their lives as slaves but they lived to see freedom and to see their children free.

No photograph of Louis Cleage B. 1852 in Tennessee and died 1919 in Indianapolis, IN.  Louis and Celia were my grandfather Albert B. Cleage’s parents. Louis was a laborer. You can read more about Louis Cleage here – Lewis Cleage – Work Day Wednesday.

Celia Rice Cleage Sherman was born into slavery about 1855 in Virginia.  She died about 1931 in Detroit, Michigan. She was a cook. You can read more about Celia Rice Cleage here Celia Rice Cleage Sherman.

I do not have photographs of my great grandmother Anna Allen Reed who was born about 1849 in Lebanon, Kentucky and died in 1911 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  She was my grandmother Pearl’s mother.

Anna’s mother Clara, my great great grandmother, was born 1829 in Kentucky and died after 1880 in Kentucky.  I need to write them up. You can see some of their descendents here My Father’s Mother’s People.