“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…”
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“… (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.

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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
Eliza Williams Allen B. Alabama 1839 – 1917
docallen
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.

 

Mershell Graham and Fannie Mae Turner Marriage License – June 11, 1919

On June 11, 1919 Mershell Graham and Fannie Mae Turner applied for a marriage license in Montgomery, Alabama. They were married by Rev. E.E. Scott at First Congregational Church in Montgomery on June 15.  I have no photographs of the marriage or memories that were handed down. I could find no record of their marriage license in the Montgomery Advertiser. They seemed to have no section devoted to “News of the Colored Folk” as some newspapers did.

Mignon, Jean, Hattie, ?,?,?,Emma Topp, Mershell, Fannie
Moses McCall on Belle Isle.

Soon after the ceremony my grandparents left and returned to Detroit where Mershell was working.  I assume they took the train, which would have been segregated at that time. They roomed with friends from home, Moses and Jean Walker. There were other roomers, all of them saving up to be able to purchase their own homes.

To read Mershell’s letter of proposal read  The proposal To read Fannie’s letter of acceptance read –  The acceptance 

I found several marriage related, handwritten poems in my grandparents papers and have printed them below. I wonder if they read these during the ceremony or exchanged them.

The gift
Yes, take her and be faithful, still, and may your bridal bower,
Be sacred kept in after years, and warmly breathed as now,
Remember tis no common tie that binds your youthful hearts
Tis one that only truth should breath and only death should part.

Remember tis for you she leaves her home and mother dear,
To have this world with you alone, your good and ill to share,
Then take her and may future years mark only joys increase
And may your days glide sweetly on in happiness and peace.

The Brides Farewell

Soon, soon I’ll go – from those I love
You, Mother, Sister, among the nest,
Where I will often think of you,
Far in the distant west.

Farewell, Mother, though I leave you
Still I love you, Oh! believe me
and when I am far away
Back to you my thoughts will stray.
Oft, I’ll think of you and home
Though in other lands I’ll roam.
Yes, though miles may intervene,
I will keep thy memory green
Mother, sister, from my heart
Thoughts of thee shall never depart.

1940 Census – Jennie Virginia (Allen) Turner

4536 Harding Street, Detroit.

 In 1940 my 75 year old great grandmother, Jennie Virginia Turner, lived with her daughters at 4536 Harding, Detroit, Michigan. She lived about 10 minutes by car (not that they had a car) from her oldest daughter, Fannie Graham and her family on Theodore. Her first cousin, James McCall, lived about half way between the two with his family on Parker. She was listed as a widow and retired with 6 years of schooling. Everyone in the house is identifed as “Negro”.  Jennie gave the enumerator the information.

Aunt Daisy was 48 years old, single, with 4 years of high school. She was the only one in the house working outside of the home. She is listed as a stock girl at a retail fur company. It had been my understanding that Daisy was a seamstress but she was also listed as head stock girl at a fur store in the 1930 census so I guess she wasn’t sewing. My mother told me years ago that Daisy also collected numbers at Annis to supplement the family income. When she lived in Montgomery, AL, Daisy was a teacher for several years and worked in her Uncle Victor  Tulane’s grocery store as a clerk.

Aunt Alice was 32 years old, single and had completed 9 years of school. This answered a question I had about Alice, did she finish high school after she moved to Detroit at age 15.  I don’t think she did.  If she started school at 6, she probably stopped when she moved to Detroit.

"Daisy with friends from work"
Daisy (the arrow points at her) with friends from Annis Furs.

 

Getting An Education – Fearless Females

What education did your mother receive? Your grandmothers? Great-grandmothers? Note any advanced degrees or special achievements.

On My Maternal Side
My 3X great grandmother, Annie Williams,  was born about 1820 in Virginia into slavery. According to the 1880 Census, when she was about 60, she spoke English and could not read or write.

Eliza - my 2x great grandmother

Her daughter, my 2X great grandmother, Eliza Williams Allen, was born in Alabama about 1839 into slavery. She was freed by 1860. According to the 1910 census, she was about 67, spoke English and could not read or write

"Jennie Allen Turner in hat"
Jennie - my greatgrandmother

Her daughter, my great grandmother, Jennie Allen Turner was born free in Montgomery, Alabama in 1866. According to the 1880 Census, she was 13 years old, had attended school in the past year, spoke English and was literate.  I found one of my favorite books at her house “Lydia of the Pines.”

Fannie - my maternal grandmother

 Her daughter, my Grandmother Fannie Mae Turner Graham, was born in 1888 in Lowndes County, Alabama. She grew up in Montgomery. According to the 1900 census, she was 11 years old, at school, spoke English and was literate. My mother told me that when Fannie graduated from high school – State Normal, was offered a scholarship to Fisk but refused it and took a job in her uncles store, which she managed until she married in 1918. Also according to my mother, Fannie could quickly add long columns of numbers in her head.

Doris - my mother

My mother , Doris Graham Cleage,  was born in Detroit in 1923. She graduated from Eastern High School in Detroit and received a full scholarship to Wayne State  where she earned a BA with distinction as a Sociology major in June/1944. She returned to school in 1951 and earned teaching certification. In 1958 she became a masters candidate in education, completing her Master’s of Education Degree in the fall of 1958.  She took postmasters classes in education during a sabbatical in 1963. She also took evening classes  in 1968, when I was a senior at Wayne State.

My great grandmother, Emma Jones Turner (My grandmother Fannie’s paternal grandmother) was born about 1840 in South Carolina into slavery.  According to the 1880, 1900 and 1910 census she spoke English and was literate. I wish I knew more about her. I never heard a story about her. After my grandmother’s father was killed when she was 4 years old, her mother broke all ties with her husband’s family.

On My Paternal Side

Celia - my great grandmother

My great grandmother Celia Rice Cleage Sherman was my grandfather’s mother. She was born about 1855 into slavery in Virginia and brought to Tennessee as a child. She was about 10 when freedom came. In the 1880 census she could neither read nor write. By the 1930 census she spoke English and could read but could not write.  I wonder if my grandfather or his siblings taught her to read when they went to school.

My 2X great grandmother, Clara Green was born into slavery about 1829 in Kentucky. She was my grandmother Pearl Reed Cleage’s grandmother. In the 1880 census she was listed as about 55, spoke English and could not read or write.

Her daughter, my great grandmother Anna Allen Reed  was born  about 1849 in Kentucky into slavery.   According to the 1910 Census she spoke English but could not read or write. Anna’s four older children were illiterate while the four youngest were literate.

Pearl - my paternal grandmother

Her youngest daughter, my grandmother Pearl Reed Cleage was born in Lebanon, Kentucky in 1886. In the 1900 census she was 16 and where it says if you were or were not in school it says “Book 1” I don’t know what that means.  At any rate she was literate and spoke English. My Aunt Barbara told me she finished high school. I remember my grandparent’s house being full of books.

 

 

More about Alice (Wright) Turner

Alice was my grandmother, Fannie’s youngest sister.   I knew that Alice was my grandmother’s half sister and had a different father but all I’d ever heard was what my mother wrote me about him, 
“Grandmother stayed single until she was about 37 or 38 when she married someone Mother hated – looked Italian, hardly ever worked.  Liked a good time. Fathered Alice and left when she was very small.  Somehow when mother spoke of him I had the feeling he would have like to have taken advantage of her.  She was about 20 and had given up two college scholarships to stay and help Grandmother.”
And then his name on the chart my mother wrote out for me that has “Wright” squeezed in after my great grandmother Jennie’s name.  At one time I was hopeful of finding him with the family in the 1910 census since Alice was born in 1908 in Montgomery. But, no, he was already gone.  I looked for Wright’s nearby and there was a Sallie Wright on the same page but I couldn’t find any connection to her and a Mr. Wright.  I sent for Alice’s death certificate and her social security application hoping for more information about Mr. Wright.  
I received the Death Certificate first.  My Aunt Mary V. was the informant. I saw that Alice’s father’s name was given as “Howard Wright”. I doubted it. Jennie Allen Turner Wright’s first husband was Howard Turner. Possibly Mary V. didn’t remember his actual name and so put in Howard.  I looked for Howard Wright and found none born in North Carolina and in Alabama during the time.  
A few days ago Alice’s Social Security Application arrived.  It looks like my grandmother Fannie helped or corrected Alice’s form. By the time she filled this out, Alice’s mother and other sister, Daisy, were dead. She was living with my grandparents, Fannie and Mershell Graham, on Theodore. Her schizophrenia had been recognized or surfaced and perhaps she applied in order to receive social security payments since she had not worked under social security.  At any rate, there is a whole name on the form – John W. Wright.  I looked for him and found a few John W. Wrights born in NC in Montgomery and the right age range, but no marriage record and never with my great grandmother.  The search continues.

They Worked at Annis Furs – Sepia Saturday #95

Seamstresses at Annis Furs in Downtown Detroit. Taken in the 1920’s.  My great grandmother, Jennie Virginia Allen Turner is in the second row, far left. Her daughter Alice is next to her. Skip the next woman and her daughter Daisy is there, 4th from the left.  The three of them got jobs at Annis Furs soon after moving to Detroit from Montgomery, Alabama about 1924.  I remember a little teddy bear Daisy made for my younger cousin Marilyn Elkins out of scraps of real fur. To read more about my Great Grandmother Turner, click Jennie Virginia Allen Turner.

Below is a photograph from the Burton collection at the Detroit Public Library.  The Annis Fur Company is in the corner building. Although this was taken in 1917 I think the area looked pretty much the same 7 years later.  To see a photograph of the Woodward Ave in 1910 click at Shorpy. You can see Annis Fur Post and Grinell Bros Pianos on the left, looking down the crowded street, past the Eureka Vacuum sign.

For more photos of crowds of women and other fascinating subjects, click Sepia Saturday.

Maternal Family Tree of Workers – Labor Day

I posted this chart last year for Labor Day.  Here is a chart showing 7 generations of workers from my 3X great-grandmother to my children.  My direct line is highlighted in yellow.  The women with children combined whatever else they did with cooking, cleaning, washing clothes and raising the children.  The first generations started their work life as slaves in Alabama.  You can see a similar chart for my paternal side HERE.