Letter from Albert B. Cleage to Pearl Reed. March 18, 1910.

Albert B. Cleage Sr. This photo was enclosed in the letter.
This was the house where Pearl’s aunt lived. She received mail there sometimes because her mother disliked Albert.  The two houses were on opposite streets and shared a yard

3/18/10

My dear Sweetheart:-

How did you spend St. Patrick’s day? It was a lovely day sure and also has today been beautiful.  How are you? Have you gotten entirely well. I hope that pains and aches with you are now “past history.”Does your mother seem to be improving?

These are busy days with me. Examinations for the close of the winter term begin Monday and will last one week after which comes a ten or twelve day’s vacation.- What can I do with so much time all by my lone self. 

Do you remember that last year we planned a day’s outing in the country and I thinking the day appointed, too bad did not show up?  And also how you got angry with me?  See how well I remember. That has been one year ago but it to me certainly does not seem so long.  You did go to Brookside with me, which was the beginning of several very pleasant trips which will always be sweet sweet memories to me.  My vacation is about 10 days off and it may be yet that you will be able to take that trip which we planned last year.

Mrs. White, I believe goes to Lincoln Hospital tomorrow to be operated upon Monday.  Mrs. Brady – Little Marcum Mitchell’s grandmother died at the City Hospital this morning. 

Of course I selected that negative which you liked better, others whose opinion I asked were about equally divided.  I send you the other which is fast fading.

Be careful for yourself.  The things you said in your last letter were surely the product of a melancholie mind – such moods are not good for you. Cheer up!!  Of course, God in His wise providence might call your mother home, and ’tis he alone who can cause me to cease loving you.  So wake up from your dream – you shall nurse, not patients for someone else, but (__?__) for yourself – Won’t you like that better.  Yes, I believe you will – Ha! ha!

Your Albert

{Had better burn this letter up}

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My grandparents, Pearl Reed and Albert Cleage, exchanged letters for several years while they were courting.  The letters go from 1907 when they met to 1912 when they were married, my father had been born and they were moving from Indianapolis, IN to Kalamazoo, MI. Unfortunately I do not have copies of my grandmother’s letters, just my grandfather’s. You can read more of Albert’s letters to Pearl and what else was going on when he wrote them, by looking at the  Index of blog posts I wrote for the A to Z Challenge in 2014. Scroll down past the posts for 2017, 2016 and 2015 until you reach 2014. Perhaps I should give each year’s index a separate page.

At one point, this letter refers back to a letter from a year ago.  You can read it here at K is for Kenwood.

The Cleage Photographers

I first shared these photographs 5 years ago. Time to bring it back.

My grandfather, Albert B. Cleage, Sr. – 1950s
My father Albert B. Cleage Jr, 1940’s.
My uncle Louis Cleage – 1940’s
My uncles Henry and Hugh Cleage – 1960’s
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Kristin Cleage

My paternal grandfather, Dr. Albert B. Cleage Sr. sitting on the railing. My mother, Doris Graham Cleage, holding me. My father Rev. Albert B. Cleage Jr. Summer of 1947 on the back porch of the house on King street.
My parents, paternal grandfather and me (Kristin) on our porch of the house on King street in Springfield, Mass. Photo by Hugh Cleage. 1947.

For this year’s April A-Z Challenge I am blogging a series of sketches about the free people formerly enslaved on the Cleage plantations in Athens, Tennessee. Most  are not related to me by blood, although our families came off of the same plantations – those of Samuel, Alexander and David Cleage.   Click on any image to enlarge.

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Kristin Cleage (me) in 1970. Photo by James Williams.

This post is about my relationship to the Cleages of Athens, Tennessee. Kristin Cleage (that is me) was born free in Springfield, Mass. in 1946. My only sister was born when I was 2. My family moved back to Detroit when I was four. I finished high school and graduated with a degree in fine arts from Wayne State University.  I worked as a pre-school teacher, a doll maker and a librarian. Eventually I married James Williams, who had an Associates Degree and worked as an organizer and an inspector of asphalt for the Michigan Dept of Transportation. We had six children. All of our children attended college, lived to be adults and most now have children of their own. At various  times we have shared our home with children and grandchildren, and other relatives. We owned a variety of homes over the years, some with and some free from mortage.  We often lived around extended family.  I was the third generation of my Cleages born out of slavery.Pedigree View - Printer Friendly - Ancestry.com

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Rev. Albert B. Cleage Jr, preaching about 1968.

My father, Rev. Albert B. Cleage Jr (aka Jaramogi Abebe Agyeman) was born free in Indianapolis, Indiana in 1911 to parents born in Tennessee and Kentucky. His family moved to Kalamazoo, Michigan and eventually Detroit.  He had six siblings.  All of them lived to be at least eighty years old. He attended public schools in Detroit and graduated with a BA from Wayne State University, followed by a Divinity Degree at Oberlin College and doing post degree work in film at the University of Southern California.  He married my mother, Doris Graham and they had two daughters. Both daughters lived to be adults, graduated from college and had seven children between them. My father pastored churches in Lexington, KY; San Francisco, CA; Springfield, MA and Detroit, MI. He was active in politics and with friends and family, published newsletter, advocated self determination and black power for black people. He founded the Shrines of the Black Madonna with churches in Detroit, Atlanta and Houston. He died at the age of 88 in 2000 in South Carolina.   He was the second generation born out of slavery.

My grandfather, Albert B. Cleage - 1909. About the time he graduated from Knoxville College.
My grandfather, Albert B. Cleage – 1909. About the time he graduated from Knoxville College.

My grandfather, Dr. Albert B. Cleage Sr, was born free in Hackberry, Loudon County, TN in 1883.  He was the youngest of 5 children born to Lewis Cleage and Celia Rice.  Eventually the family moved back to Athens, TN and his parents were divorced.  He and his siblings all graduated from high school.  Several attended college. My grandfather graduated from Knoxville College in Knoxville, TN and the University of Indiana medical school, Indianapolis, IN. He married my grandmother, Pearl Reed and they had seven children who all lived to age 80 or beyond.  After completing his internship, the family moved to Kalamazoo, MI. There he set up his medical practice.  After several years they moved to Detroit, Michigan where he opened Cleage Clinic and practiced medicine.  Three  of his siblings and his mother eventually moved to Detroit.  One brother remained in Athens. My grandfather regularly traveled back to visit. During his life, my grandfather helped found three churches and two black hospitals.  This was in the days when black doctors could not practice in most white hospitals.  In the 1950s my grandfather retired and in 1957 he died in Detroit.  He was the first generation born out of slavery.

My greatgrandfather Lewis Cleage was born into slavery on Alexander Cleage’s plantation in McMinn County, about 1852.  He was fourteen when freedom came with the end of the Civil War.  He married Celia Rice in 1872 in Athens, TN and they had five children. They all lived to adulthood and attended high school and/or college.  He worked as a farmer, in the steel mills, on the railroad and did other hard labor all of his life. He never learned to read or write.  He died in 1918 in Indianapolis, Indiana. He lived free for 52 of his 66 years.

My 2X great grandfather Frank Cleage was born into slavery about 1816 in North Carolina. I do not know how he came to be on Samuel Cleage’s plantation, but he was there by 1834 when he was mentioned in the letter to the overseer.  My 2X great grandmother Juda Cleage, was born into slavery about 1814. She  came to Alexander Cleage’s plantation with his wife, Jemima Hurst.  Juda was mentioned in both Elijah Hurst’s and Alexander Cleage’s Wills.  Frank and Juda both gained their freedom after the Civil War and were legally married that same year.  They had at least eight children.  Frank worked as a laborer.  I have not found them after the 1870 census.  I can only trace 3 of their children so I am unable to give death ages.  The three children I have found all did hard physical labor and were unable to read and write, as were Frank and Juda.

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Some of my grandparent’s descendents, including members of the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th generations born free. 2012 Detroit.

You can read more about each person by following the links or putting a name in the search box in the right hand column.

On the way to bury their mother… June 1930

Celia Rice Cleage Sherman with grand daughter Barbara Cleage. About 1921 in Detroit, MI.
Celia Rice Cleage Sherman with grand daughter Barbara Cleage. About 1921 in Detroit, MI.

Last night I visited Genealogy Bank. I spent several hours looking for items about any of the Cleages of Athens Tennessee.  I was just beginning to think this was a crazy way to spend Friday night when I saw another item mentioning my grandfather, Albert B. Cleage and his brothers on a road trip, stopping at the home of the Cobbs on the way to Athens.  I clicked through to read.  It was in the Colored Section of The Lexington Herald.

celia's death 6-8-1930“Dr. A.B. Cleage, Messrs. Jacob, Henry and Richard Cleage, of Detroit, Mich, were guests of Mr and Mrs. J.W. Cobb Tuesday for a short stay.  They were en rout to Athens, Tenn., their former home to bury their mother.”

I have spent years looking for a death record for my great grandmother Celia Rice Cleage Sherman without finding any.  My aunt Anna Cleage Shreve, who was born in 1923 and remembered that her grandmother had a stroke in their kitchen around 1930.  I am thinking that they shipped her body home to Athens, TN on the train while they drove down.

Richmond was a little over 5 hours from Detroit and 3 hours from Athens.  It was a good place to stop and get a nights sleep and a good meal during the time when public accommodations were not open to black people.

Now I have to find where she is buried and more about Mr. and Mrs.  J.W. Cobb of Richmond, KY.

Since finding this, someone told me the death certificate information was on familysearch.  It is, and the reason I haven’t been able to find it is before was that I didn’t know her first name was Anna.  I’ve been looking for Celia Rice.  The 1930 census is the only other place I have seen her listed as Anna and I thought that was a mistake!  I’ve ordered the Death Certificate and now will be waiting on pins and needles, hoping that her parent’s names will be on it and the cemetery where she’s buried will be listed. Can’t wait!

Other posts about my great grandmother.

Eight Generations of L3b MtDNA

Celia Rice Cleage Sherman

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Dunbar Hospital Article – 1995

More about Dunbar Hospital which was recently saved from being sold at auction when the it was decided to let the owners pay all back taxes, fines and water bill.  The article seems to be based on an interview with my aunt, Barbara Cleage Martin/Cardinal Nandi.

dunbar 1995

The sign on front lawn reads:

Dunbar Hospital: Michigan Historic Site.

At the time of World War I, health care for black Detroiters was inferior to that available for whites. Black physicians could not join the staffs of Detroit’s white hospitals. On May 20, 1918, thirty black doctors, members of the Allied Medical Society (now the Detroit Medical Society) incorporated Dunbar Hospital, the city’s first non-profit community hospital for the black population. It also housed the first black nursing school in Detroit. Located in a reform-minded neighborhood, this area was the center of a social and cultural emergence of the black residents of the city during the 1920s. In 1928 Dunbar moved to a larger facility and was later renamed Parkside, operating under that name until 1962. In 1978 the Detroit Medical Society, an affiliate of the National Medical Association, purchased the site for their administrative headquarters and a museum.

You can read more about Dunbar Hospital in previous posts at these links A Speech on the Graduation of the first class of nurses,  Births, Deaths, Doctors and Detroit, Part 2,Dunbar Hospital 1922 and 2014.  You can read about this building being auctioned in September 2014 here Detroit’s first black hospital hits auction

And here is an article from The Michigan Citizen about the Dunbar Hospital being saved. Let’s hope something positive is done with it now. Saving the Dunbar.

Dunbar Hospital Again

I saved this article from the Detroit Free Press years ago during the 1980s, because my grandfather, Dr. Albert B. Cleage Sr was one of the founding doctors of Dunbar Hospital and the article featured my aunt and cousins.  By August 2014, Dunbar was being auctioned for unpaid taxes, after being closed up for years.  I should have written the date on it.  Click each article to enlarge so that you can read.

dunbarcleage
Dr. Ernest Martin, Warren Evans, Anna Cleage Shreve and her daughter Dr. Maria Shreve Benaim.

dunbarcleage2You can read more about Dunbar Hospital in previous posts at these links A Speech on the Graduation of the first class of nursesBirths, Deaths, Doctors and Detroit, Part 2, Dunbar Hospital 1922 and 2014.  You can read about this building being auctioned in September 2014 here Detroit’s first black hospital hits auction

And here is an article from The Michigan Citizen about the Dunbar Hospital being saved. Let’s hope something positive is done with it now. Saving the Dunbar.

Dunbar Hospital 1922 & 2014

dunbar-then &nowI received some photographs from my friend Historian Paul Lee recently of Dunbar Hospital in Detroit. My paternal grandfather was one of the physicians and founders back in the 1920s.  I combined the photo from July 2014 with a photograph from 1922.  You can read more about Dunbar Hospital in previous posts at these links A Speech on the Graduation of the first class of nursesBirths, Deaths, Doctors and Detroit, Part 2.  Click to enlarge the photograph.

I have linked this post to the Family Curator’s World Photography Day post.  I participated in 2011 with a post of photographs from Springfield, Then and Now.

 

Generations of Family Signatures

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The first page from my great grandmother, Jennie Virginia Allen Turner’s memory book. My mother’s, mother’s mother. The first generation born out of slavery and the first literate generation.  I believe that she and her siblings all attended schools founded by the Congregational Church in Montgomery, AL after the Civil War.
My great grandfather Howard Turner was born in 1862 in Lowndes County, AL. He was literate but I do not know what school he and his siblings attended.
My great grandfather Howard Turner was born in 1862 in Lowndes County, AL. He was literate but I do not know what school he and his siblings attended.  I do not have a photograph of him but I did find his signature on my great grandparents marriage license.
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My great grandmother’s brother, Ransom Allen.
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My great grandmother’s oldest sister, Mary Allen McCall.
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My paternal grandmother Pearl Reed Cleage. I found her signature on some legal papers because all of the letters I have from her were signed “Mother”.  I know that she graduated from high school in Indianapolis, IN and received all of her education in Indianapolis but I do not know the names of the schools.  Her signature came from a Marion Indiana Probate record for her older brother’s will in 1946.
My paternal grandfather, Dr. Albert B. Cleage Sr. He attended the Athens Academy in Athens TN, Knoxville College and the Indiana Medical School in Indianapolis, IN.
My paternal grandfather, Dr. Albert B. Cleage Sr. He attended the Athens Academy in Athens TN, Knoxville College and the Indiana Medical School in Indianapolis, IN. His signature came from his marriage license in 1910.
fanny
My maternal grandmother, Fannie Mae Turner Graham. She was educated in Montgomery, AL at State Normal which was a school from elementary to high school, started by the Congregational Church for Black students.  Her signature came from the 1910 Montgomery Census form via ancestry.com. She was an enumerator.
Mershell
My maternal grandfather Mershell C. Graham. My mother said he taught himself to read. The 1940 census said he finished 8th grade. From Coosada, Elmore Cty, Alabama. His signature came from his WW1 Draft registration card in 1917 via ancestry.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My father Albert B. Cleage Jr. His nickname was Toddy and he often signed his letters home Toddy. He attended Wingert elementary, Northwestern High, Wayne State in Detroit and Oberlin University in Ohio.
My father Albert B. Cleage Jr. His nickname was Toddy and he often signed his letters home Toddy. He attended Wingert elementary, Northwestern High, Wayne State in Detroit and Oberlin University in Ohio.  His full signature came from a Purchaser’s recipt in 1957 for a building Central Congregational Church wanted to buy.

 

 

My mother was born in 1923 in Detroit, MI. She attended Thomas Elementary School, Barbour Intermediate, Eastern High and Wayne State University in Detroit.
My mother was born in 1923 in Detroit, MI. She attended Thomas Elementary School, Barbour Intermediate, Eastern High and Wayne State University in Detroit.  Her signature came from a State of Michigan Teacher Oath in 1964.  The “Doris” came from a letter home from Los Angeles in 1944.
My own signature. I was raised in Detroit and attended Brady and Roosevelt elementary, Durfee and McMichael Junior high and Northwestern High school and Wayne State University, all in Detroit
My own signature. I was raised in Detroit and attended Brady and Roosevelt elementary, Durfee and McMichael Junior high and Northwestern High school and Wayne State University, all in Detroit.   The bottom signature came from my 3rd daughter’s birth certificate in 1976.  The top one came from a deed for the sale of the house on Oregon.  I was a witness. 1968.

 

 

My younger sister Pearl Michell Cleage. She attended Roosevelt elementary, McMichael Junior High and Northwestern High in Detroit. Also Howard and Spellman Universities.
My younger sister Pearl Michell Cleage. She attended Roosevelt elementary, McMichael Junior High and Northwestern High in Detroit. Also Howard and Spellman Universities.  Her signature came from the return address on a letter in 1991.

 

When I started looking for signatures, I thought it would be easy because I have many letters through the generations.  The problem was that they did not sign letters with both first and last names.  Some repeatedly used nicknames.  I was able to find most signatures by searching through documents – marriage licenses, social security cards, deeds, bills of sale and group membership cards. I finally found my sister’s signature in the return address on an envelope and if I’d thought of it sooner, might have found others in the same place.

A – Z Reflections – Letters From Albert B. Cleage Sr 1907 – 1912

The Cleage family about 1930 in front of their house on Scotten. From L to R Henry, Louis, (My grandmother) Pearl, Barbara, Hugh, Gladys, Anna, Albert Jr (My father) and (My grandfather) Albert Sr.
The Cleage family about 1930 in front of their house on Scotten. From L to R Henry, Louis, (My grandmother) Pearl, Barbara, Hugh, Gladys, Anna, Albert Jr (My father) and (My grandfather) Albert Sr.

For this year’s April A-Z Challenge  I blogged everyday using items taken from the letters written by my grandfather to my grandmother from 1907 to 1912, starting with “A” and moving right through the alphabet to “Z”.  I even managed 2 bonus posts on Sundays that were related to the theme.  Doing them out of chronological order to meet the necessary letter bothered me until someone pointed out that I would have overlooked some of the words that gave the letters more context, as in H is for Henry Hummons or Q is for Questions.

This year was much easier for me than last year. I think having a theme and material that was already there, did it. It probably helped that I did little else everyday this month besides work on the blog.  I managed to visit quite a few new to me blogs and got some new visitors.  Now, if I can just use May to put these letters into a print ready form, I will be happy.  The header for this post is a picture of just some of the descendents of Albert and Pearl Cleage taken in 2012.

Me and my grandfather - 1948.
My grandfather Albert B. Cleage Sr and me in 1948.
  1. A is for Albert Buford Cleage – December 7, 1907
  2. B is for Book – March 8, 1909
  3. C is for Comet – May 27, 1910
  4. D is for Detroit – June 20, 1909
  5. E is for Eastern States – June 26, 1909
  6. F is for Flower Clock – September 14, 1909
  7. G is for Graduation – February 10, 1910
  8. H is for Henry Hummons – August 9, 1909
  9. I is for I’ll Take a Chance – December 8, 1908
  10. Extra: 4 Bonus Cards – 7/20/1909, 7/28/1909, 8/21/1909,  9/3/1909
  11. J is for June – Cadavers Post Card – June 19, 1909
  12. K is for Kenwood – March 30, 1909
  13. L is for Lincoln Hospital – March 18, 1910
  14. M is for Mother – February 21, 1910
  15. N is for Nineteen Ten Fayette Street – October 18, 1909
  16. O is for Opportunity and Operation – March 22, 1910
  17. P is for Pearl – July 21, 1910
  18. Q is for Questions – May 27, 1910
  19. R is for Remember – July 15, 1909
  20. S is for Sight Seeing – June 28, 1909
  21. T is for Thomas Dixon – January 21, 1910
  22. U is for Union Station (graduation) – June 21, 1910
  23. V is for Vaudeville -July 15, 1909
  24. W is for Wedding – September 2, 1910
  25. Extra: Home is Where the Heart Is – July 14, 1911
  26. X is for eXsenator & X-ray (Log cabin) – July 21, 1911
  27. Y is for Young Albert – July 11, 1911
  28. Z is for Zoo and Kalamazoo – July 9, 1912

Pearl and Albert with their children and 3 of the grandchildren. My sister and I were at our other grandmothers and the youngest 4 were not yet born. 1951.Pearl and Albert with their children and 3 of the grandchildren. My sister and I were at our other grandparents and the youngest 4 were not yet born. Their backyard at 2270 Atkinson, Detroit, MI – 1952.

 

A-to-Z+Reflection+[2014]
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